Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tips for Creating a Successful Guild

Running a successful World of Warcraft guild takes a great deal of time and effort. With proper planning, the right attitude and a hearty helping of patience, however, anyone can sit atop the guild of their dreams. Below are some tips to help you make your World of Warcraft guild leader dreams a reality.

1. Decide What Type of Guild You Want and Plan Accordingly

What makes a guild "successful" is inherently defined by the drive of its members. If a guild exists only as a social space for friends, the bar for success might be as low as having a couple bank tabs and keeping everyone happy. On the other hand, a progression guild might only be successful if it is capable of clearing the latest raid content or if it can master challenging achievements. Lastly, a leveling guild might solely be judged by the size of its membership.

If you have low expectations for your guild, your initial effort and ongoing administrative burden will similarly be low. If, however, you plan to compete with the top guilds on your server, you better be prepared to do your homework and put serious time into keeping your guild rolling. Make sure to not bite off more than you can chew while similarly not falling short of your own reasonable expectations.

Contemplating the kind of guild you want is also important in that you must be able to clearly express your expectations for the guild to potential members. If you do not have a clear idea of what goals you have for the guild, it is going to be impossible for other players to know if joining your guild will help them further their own personal goals.

2. Choose a Reasonable Name

John Locke once said that there is much in a name and that holds true for guilds as well. Though you and your friends may find the name "ZomgPawners" hilarious, odds are you will have a harder time recruiting your server's top players into a guild where the first impression your name creates is "these guys are ridiculous."

If you do not care about your guild's "status" or the size of its membership, the name you pick is largely irrelevant so long as it is not obscene or a violation of the World of Warcraft Terms of Service. If, however, you want to grow your guild, try to pick a name that will appeal to a broad audience. Lacking inspiration, try paging through a dictionary to get your creative juices flowing.

3. Form, Then Fill

Every guild, no matter its type, starts with 10 signatures on a Guild Charter. Many players make the mistake of trying to track down the entirety of their guild's membership BEFORE the Guild even exists.

If you are truly committed to forming your own guild, do not get too hung up on who signs your charter. Obviously, if you have friends or acquaintances who are on board and available, may as well have them be founding members. Otherwise, any warm body will do. Targeting new players and or offering a gold or two per signature can quickly fill your charter and have your Guild ready for business.

4. Offer Guild Benefits to Draw and Keep Members

Though there is a great deal to be said for the sense of community and organizational benefits a guild provides, that is not enough for most players. If you want to draw quality players into your guild, you are going to need to offer perks.

The perks start with a guild bank. A well stocked, multi-tab guild bank with reasonable use restrictions is a must for any respectable guild. Be certain to protect the bank from ninjas by restricting access to new members, but also do not preclude its use entirely. Give your members the trust they deserve, but nothing more. A guild tabbard is also a nice touch even though most high level characters will neglect it entirely. For a leveling or PvP guild, however, it is nearly a must.

If you are serious about your guild competing with the big boys, you will need to offer meta game benefits as well. For any serious raiding guild, a Ventrilo server is a necessity. You can purchase these servers for only a couple bucks a month from companies like Dark Star Communications. A website will also go a long way towards boosting guild communication and organization. There are many free guild website hosting providers available. I generally recommend Guildtag.com as they offer lots of customization options at a truly free price point.

5. Screen Applicants Carefully

Never forget, your guild can never be more successful than its members. If you are only looking to create a large guild, go ahead and invite whoever you can. If, however, you are trying to form a raid guild of any kind, quality is always superior to quantity. It is better to have a strong core group of players and have to PuG a couple slots for raids than to have bad attitudes and lazy players poisoning your guild. Eventually, the quality players you meet in those PuGs can be brought into the fold. It will take a while for your guild to be independently raid ready, but the results will be well worth the extra time and effort.

6. Be Flexible

As your guild grows and changes, it is important that your leadership grow and change with it. Allow trusted members to take on certain guild administration responsibilities. Modify schedules, raid targets, and policies as needed. It is your guild afterall, but unless you are flexible and adaptive, it will ultimately be a guild of one, sitting in Dalaran and wondering what might have been.

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