Tuesday, February 24

Guilds -Expectations and dissapointments

A short background on my current guild : I got a random invite while standing by the trader in old Tarantia by a warrior , alarms should have rang on 2 counts:
  • Random Invites are never a good sign
  • The inviters IGN was a little less than RP
Being guildless and being on an under populated server I threw caution to the wind and joined
forearmed with the knowledge that it was large, focused on high end PvE and was light RP.

True to form, being the geek I am, having discovered that a guild with 100+ members have no forum (shocking state of affairs for a forum junkie like me) I took the task in hand and found some free forum space along with an easy (ish) to modify template. Fairly quickly the guild had a pleasing on the eye forum ready to go. As expected it took a while for the members to catch on to this new interwebz phenomenon and it was also no surprise that new guild members became the ones to embrace it.

Some days later I login to discover I've been promoted to Ambassador (officer) for my efforts, now lets get a few things straight about my feelings on officership. Officers should hold that position for a reason, one of those reasons maybe a contribution to the guild of some sort but a continuing contribution is required if that title is to be retained, I see no point in having officers who are there in name only, if they dont contribute to the guild in some way that is over and above what is expected of a regular guildy then they shouldn't have the title.

I'm no stranger to holding 'positions of power' within a guild so finding myself unexpectedly attaining the status I ensure that I attend the next officers meeting so that I can continue to contribute in someway, it becomes clear that while the guild has some ambition it's officers and leader take a very relaxed attitude, it also transpires that their idea of the evolution of a guild is to sit back and see what happens.

For a large growing guild that sets it's max level of membership at 200 and attains it I start to get the feeling that this evolutionary approach is limited and will probably ultimately mean the guild shrinking rather dramatically.

It is no surprise that a guild whose leadership takes this approach succumbs to the 'ooh look a shiny penny' syndrome. Those in power who gain a sudden shared excitement about something will then lead the guild in that direction regardless and this is where the problems begin.

Tonight I suddenly find myself in a guild whose direction has suddenly changed and changed by the few 'leaders of the guild' that chat together regularly on Vent, typing, open debate and discussion on the forum is apparently too much of an effort, decisions can be made between the few that share a joke, who take solace and feel protected by the warmth of each others voices. Bugger the rest of us.

It's at this point I realise the futility of thinking on doing positive things for the guild or taking any active role, Lani had a great description for my leadership style which I wish I had noted but it contained the word consensual, which brings us to the point (which will probably be expanded on later as I'm tired and really should be in bed) of democracy within a guild set up.

I like to think of myself as egalitarian in my approach aswell as recognising the importance of strong leadership when needed, some people will see that idea of equality as an excuse for bickering so you need to be strong enough to tell them to STFU :)

You can probably guess the outcome for me in all this, I've handed over admin rights to said forum/raid planner and web hosting and requested a demotion. I've ensured I did this in the most non drama way possible so that I can hopefully quickly and quietly fade into the bakground, enjoy the company of guildies I like and do the occasional raid while I think on my next move.


  1. This contribution is worthy of a long reply, but let me suffice for the moment (last hour of my night-shift) with:

    Whew! So it wasn't me. That gut feeling I tried to squelch was right afterall. I have dozens (well, maybe not literally dozens but more than 6) separate bits and responses i'd like to toss out now, but that'll come later, after I slept or it will be even more rambling than my latest post :-)

  2. First of all great to see and hear from you, EG! We are truely sharing this blog together now. Now hoping it is not only the three of us reading it. But even if it is, it is still ok since I love reading the views on our beloved (MMO) universe.

    I have been pushed into officer roles in various guilds as well simply by the fact I opened my mouth (or more exactly, I let my fingers do some talking). In some cases it worked out quite well, but I am no leader, so in some cases it just muddled on while I just concentrated on having fun myself.

    Personally I loath vent/teamspeak/etc. It is the main tool for disaster. If I would have been in your position I would have done exactly the same. In fact, I have done it when some folks took it upon themselves to destroy the coh.gameamp community with secret vent talks.

    I think the main rule for any guild or community or whatever is to make sure everybody feels welcome and able to bring out concerns or ideas. And of course the same rule [AMP] was founded on, and that is to have fun. Which I only found out much later was its main rule :)

    I don't think there is a fixed ruleset for making a successful guild. Especially not since the players I like to have in my guild are not exactly the achiever kind of players that simply follow wherever the best xp can be found. But maybe we should still try. After all a great guild can make any MMORPG a great MMORPG.