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Nomads in a virtual world

"A nomad wandering a desolate wasteland, Conceived in the mind of a woven world. Surrounded by habitual creatures of a dark cult, Of fickle fashion and agonizing arrogance..." -Ralfe Poisson

Author: Kalin

How does a good leader handle his guild

Posted by Kalin Saturday September 15 2007 at 7:10AM
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An intro to this would be long and pointless. So straight forward and without the crap:
* You need to have convictions.
What you think or believe in, is the only way some people will relate to you. Learn to consider all players
as individual personalities who have their own judgement. Offer them your cup of tea flavor and if they like it too
you have a group going. The base of everything is a common ground of understanding. YOU -the leader is the binding glue,
not the game. Offer your points of view with conviction and dedication.
If you are the type of person who doesn't state his mind clearly just to avoid conflict /criticism /rejection, you will
never gain respect.

* You need to earn respect
Earn is the key word -not demand it. Nor facilitate it through elaborate structures of officers who worship you.
They will affect the croud for a while, yes, but sooner or later they will abandon you themselves, since you never earned their respect.
When you speak your mind, stick by your words. If you did wrong accept it. Don't apologise or ask for forgiveness.
Just be a man and accept you made a mistake. Things will happen to land you on your face and -no matter how hard your nose is- you'll bleed.
Get up, wipe off, straighten your posture and acknowledge the blow. Sometimes humor might help you, others it won't.
If you claim you're a strong player, you have to prove it. The members that  look up to you to be their champion will grade you on
any and every encounter. When you are facing an offender, stand your ground. Confront him. Punish him. Even if he's right at his offense,
show him that there should be another way to bring it to you. In other words demand manners. If he wanted to correct your wrong, he'd simply
speak to you. He offends you because he simply wants to make you lose face and humiliate you infront of others. Deal with him swift and desisive.
If he's a member of your guild, ban him. If he apologises publicly for the incident, decide on your own what you wanna do.
Don't cut him slack because he's popular or because he's competent and you need him or because you fear the others will dissaprove.
You are the institution of the guild and this must get across clear and solid. I'll say it again -demand manners towards everyone!

* You need to show respect
In the same aspect, you need to show your good manners and respect to everyone.
From your recruits, to your members, to your enemies. In languages where plural is used in conversations as a means to show respect,
when someone speaks in plural to you, you respond in plural in return. If you don't it's considered a sign of rudeness.
Likewise, when you respect someone and they're decent and polite, they respect you back. If you show respect to a rude guy and you speak
as you should, it's aparent to all around that you're the gentleman. You win the game of verbal conflict by simply dusting off the pin on your tie.
However show caution to exsessive displays of respect or overacting. At some point respect and courtessy border to subservient manners.
And overacting respectful will only point to just that -you are acting. Respect others honestly and plainly.
There's something to respect in everyone. It will take you 5 minutes to bring all you know about them in mind and see the true reason why you should respect each of them.

* Handle well your memberbase
Some people look good on forums. Others don't even visit. Some debate well on channels while some are just good friends to trust and rely on.
The most successful PvPers I met rarely read or posted on boards. They rarely spoke in group hunts and when they did, they had nothing brilliant of
cosmic consequence to say. Achievers, min-maxers, socialisers, explorers, carebears, RolePlayers, saviors, etc... It's all in the mix.
Even if you run a narrow focused guild and your members are quite alike, they'll have secondary desires and playstyle atributes that will differensiate them.
Think through about them. Consider their needs and characters. Facilitate groups of similar needs and tastes. Above all -LISTEN to them.
When they come to you for their needs or disputes or questions, don't discard them as commons. Because they're not commons. They make you who you are,
don't ever forget that. The guild will not last long by your ideals and stature only. It's the players who shape it in the long run.
How do you handle all member needs and requests? That's what you have officers for.

* Handpick your officers and assign them useful tasks
Starting to shape your guild structure by numbers like "a tree of 3 high officers, 5 sub officers and 7 group captains" is a poor way to do business.
Sure, whatever guild structure games offer you is somewhat limiting, but you don't always have to follow what looks good on paper to some developer.
It's simple, you do what you can with the staff you got. If you have a very social and verbal guy, then you got yourself a Public Relations officer.
If you got a very likeable and friendly figure, you got a Recruit Officer or a personel manager. A knowledgeable guy on game mechanics, a portal-man (someone who frequents game portals)
a webguy who makes website, and handles forums, a javascript mapmaker, a seasoned PvPer, an explorer who makes item /mob /location lists, a crafter of renounce,
a patient trader, or an ex leader with beliefs close to yours -you've got your staff. Sometimes the same guy will match 2-3 of the guild needs, and more often
you will lack these people. Look around for valuable guys and try to recruit them. When you get 1 of them you open an officer spot. So numbers are not quite set -are they.
So, depending on the features you want your guild to have, you appoint officers. I can already imagine many of you recognising common "best" practices.
Well, all this is good if you have covered your basic need: help your members play a fun and worry free game.
What you should have is a personel officer who gets a kick out of solving relation problems, a seasoned gamer who's willing to help with game knowledge,
a socialiser to handle your guild to guild relations and GM /community relations, and yourself as a leader who trully understands that you're the glue that binds.
The leadership of a guild is more often like a public service office, rather than an elitistic family of kings and princes.
You're not in the army. People play games to have fun. Why would anyone (anyone that you'd value and respect anyway) want to bow down to your own majesty?
Help them, have fun with them and eliminate problems at their making to keep a loyal memberbase.
Sometimes, all the tasks mentioned above can be done by typical members. You don't have to make them officers for that.

* Use Point systems
Acknowledging the fact that people need recognition for what they do, implement a Guild Contribution Point system as oposed to a DKP (Dragon Kill Point -wrongly adopted as a generic Raid Point system).
The ones who contribute in ways beyond their typical membership behavior, should be rewarded. Naturally the seasoned leaders will see the need for a Raid Point system as well in conjuction
with this -more- social system, so you could set plainly and transparently what each system's points can buy.
An idea would be to reward raid points with raid drops and social guild points with items from the guild coffers like crafting materials, money loans, or stashed items.
Maybe even titles. Make sure to periodically round up the points so that they don't stack too high.

* Consider your consistancy
Time zones and work hours will often mess up your perfect world. Spouts who whine, babies that need to be fed, bosses with deadlines, parents and in-laws who visit,
buddies who need support or just beer nights. The worst example of bad member timezones could be an English guy who's never online when all US members play
and who always protests that the guild is dead. Nobody can blame the poor fella but he unknowingly becomes a generator of bad influence and brings down the guild mood.
So a) Zone your guild. Equalise the members and even them out into timezones upon recruiting. It's very hard later on to support the "lonely" dude.
b) Get extras. If you have your mind set on a 40-members guild, get 52. Cover your absences with 2 extra groups that can mingle optimally.
c) Name meeting times for any guild activity. Keep an online calendar if you can. Let people know how to arrange their time because eventually they sleep, go shoping,
watch TV, flirt, spend time with family etc.
d) Keep a weekly guild meeting to discuss important matters and always hold a guild hunt after it. Players like to be involved in matters as long as they don't
waste their day on it. But if they know that discussions, promotions, item hand-downs and guild photoshoots are held in pre-arranged times, they handle their game pursuits accordingly.
Personally I always dedicate the guild hunt of the weekly meeting for guild coffer needs. That way I avoid member taxation and mandatory item donations.
It's a fun hunt that's meant for the whole guild to play together, not an EXP event or a raid or even a loot oportunity. It's meant to be FUN. Pure and simple.

* Keep your enemies closer
Guild to Guild relations are important. They are what grands you friends and foes you can respect -and you know what they say: "the value of my enemy measures the value of my victory".
They are your interactivity in the widespread of the game's community. They are not just enemies -they're YOUR enemies.
Learn the leaders at 1st. Who do you message when guild frictions arise. Then learn their officers. Then their most valued members. Lastly learn their worse mannered members.
The later will be your most often friction point.
Try to mesure up against good guilds by arranging friendly wars. Your members will learn to play together better and win-or-lose
you'll all have fun. Do not fear to lose members to another guild by socialising too much. If you lose a member like this, you would lose him anyway someday or another.
Don't let worries and petty fears get in your way of contributing to shape a better game community -it's a shame and injustice to yourself.

*You can be King Solomon
Be fair and just to all. Guild mate or unknown player -doesn't matter. Do the right thing, or rule as you should and then you see what it takes to patt both sides in the back.
Give the chance to each side to explain their point of view and pay both their dues. Then show with actions that there are no hard feelings. You are not wise when you
act wise however. They came to you to hear them out because they both value your position or respect you as a person. Don't slap them in the face for doing so.
Keep in mind that most times both sides will be right in the concept but wrong on the spot. Distance yourself and imagine the case with 2 puppets instead of the actual people.
Brake it down to the fundamental principals and rules of human interaction. Speak your mind firmly and elaborate.
And close it down. As the saying goes, the buck stops to you. You are expected to be the desision maker, the organiser and the ultimate principal in a guild.
Nobody else you can point them to, and if you don't deal with it, nobody will, so don't push the dirt under the carpet.
It will be there for you to deal with so put it out of the way as soon as you can and be as fair and just possible.

kept the most important advice for the end...

Don't forget that you also play to have fun. You won't serve any purpose if you burn out. If things frustrate you too much, appoint a temporary successor and take a brake.
Hunt casually or group with strangers, do a pleasant quest (if such things still exist), or flirt around. Keep daily hunts for the sheer fun of it and explain that
EXP or loot is not your priority. If you prefer, power-grind while semi watching TV now that you have no guild chat to worry about, do anything you want -but get it
out of your system. And when you feel relaxed and ready to return, put on your best suit, a fancy smile and arrange another guild war event, or a naked party in a dungeon ;)
Hehe, what can I say? I write this guide as it suits for me, you find your own best practices.
If you ever need help or advice I'm at your disposal, sometimes you don't want answers you just need to let it off your chest and as you speak you also make up your mind.

Thanks for reading that long
See you all around.

Hathi writes:

Nice blog. I have to give my hats off to someone who wants to run a top level guild. It requires commitment and passion to something whose only reward is love of the game. New friends and such will come as well, but I cannot imagine one creates and maintains a guild to build lifelong friendships.

Me being an average joe gamer, I play to enjoy myself. A group of like minded individuals to share my fun makes the game that much more enjoyable. That is why I enlist in guilds and not lead them. To see some of the time, effort and work come from these dedicated guildsites amazes me. For those of you who want a top notch guild, this blog is a good guide!

Sat Sep 15 2007 11:28AM Report writes:
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