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Just One Moar (formerly: How To Lose Your Life To An MMORPG)

Part diary, part commentary, part news reviews and editorials covering the world of MMORPGs Among many MMORPG:I feature Runes of Magic and World of Warcraft

Author: giantsquid

Good Guild Leadership: The PR Officer

Posted by giantsquid Saturday October 31 2009 at 5:59PM
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I’ve been in and out of my share of guilds and have learned a lot. I’m sure I have a lot more to learn, but I look forward to it. One thing I’ve learned is the advantage of keeping up morale in guild. But in mixed guilds and even raid heavy guilds it can be hard. I think it’s important to have someone dedicated to public relations.

Even in a raid guild, people take on different roles. People will adapt naturally or fall out and make room for new players. Eventually, if the guild stays together long enough, a fairly cohesive unit will form. Apart from stictly guild related roles- leader, healer, tank, etc- you’ll have a settling of personalities.

I took a communication class over a year ago where we discussed natural group roles that people tend to naturally fall into in business and other social settings. I wanted to look into this further when dealing with guilds.

Benne and Sheats’, at Mindtools, has some lists of these personalities, in relation to job or social function.

Task Roles:

These have to do with getting the job done

* Initiator/Contributor – Proposes original ideas or different ways of approaching group problems or goals. This role initiates discussions and move groups into new areas of exploration.
* Information Seeker – Requests clarification of comments in terms of their factual adequacy. Seeks expert information or facts relevant to the problem. Determines what information is missing and needs to be found before moving forward.
* Information Giver – Provides factual information to the group. Is seen as an authority on the subject and relates own experience when relevant.
* Opinion Seeker – Asks for clarification of the values, attitudes, and opinions of group members. Checks to make sure different perspectives are spoken.
* Opinion Giver – Expresses his or her own opinions and beliefs about the subject being discussed. Often states opinions in terms of what the group “should” do.
* Elaborator – Takes other people’s initial ideas and builds on them with examples, relevant facts and data. Also looks at the consequences of proposed ideas and actions.
* Co-ordinator – Identifies and explains the relationships between ideas. May pull together a few different ideas and make them cohesive.
* Orienter – Reviews and clarifies the group’s position. Provides a summary of what has been accomplished, notes where the group has veered off course, and suggests how to get back on target.
* Evaluator/Critic – Evaluates the proposals against a predetermined or objective standard. Assesses the reasonableness of a proposal and looks at whether it is fact-based and manageable as a solution.
* Energizer – Concentrates the group’s energy on forward movement. Challenges and stimulates the group to further action.
* Procedural Technician – Facilitates group discussion by taking care of logistical concerns like where meetings are to take place and what supplies are needed for each meeting.
* Recorder – Acts as the Secretary or Minute-Keeper. Records ideas and keeps track of what goes on at each meeting.

Personal and/or Social Roles:

These have to do with positive functioning of a group

* Encourager – Affirms, supports and praises the efforts of fellow group members. Demonstrates warmth and provides a positive attitude in meetings.
* Harmonizer – Conciliates differences between individuals. Seeks ways to reduce tension and diffuse a situation by providing further explanations or using humor.
* Compromiser – Offers to change his or her position for the good of the group. Willing to yield position or meet others half way.
* Gatekeeper/Expediter – Regulates flow of communication. Makes sure all members have a chance to express themselves by encouraging the shy and quiet members to contribute their ideas. Limits those who dominate the conversation and may suggest group rules or standards that ensure everyone gets a chance to speak up.
* Observer/Commentator – Provides feedback to the group about how it is functioning. Often seen when a group wants to set, evaluate, or change its standards and processes.
* Follower – Accepts what others say and decide even though he or she has not contributed to the decision or expressed own thoughts. Seen as a listener not a contributor.

In my own terms I also overlap PR Officer to include, from the lists above:

Guild PR Officer:

* Harmonizer
* Expediter
* Initiator/Contributor
* Information Giver
* Procedural Technician

In some guilds these roles may not be easily defined or needed. You may think you function just find. At the end of the day, you may get the job done, but smoothing out little wrinkles from time to time goes a long, long way.

When I was an officer in Battalion, in Runes of Magic, I started gravitating towards just lending a helping hand to the point I was doing it the majority of my time. It was easy for me, I like helping people. I’d answer many questions about how the game worked, or helped get material for players, or if some members needed a particular instance or dungeon, I’d help them out. I later started making up quizzes in guild chat and gave away little incidental stuff like pet eggs or potions to the winners. I mainly was keen to when people were getting frustrated and tried to help diffuse it. I also had a knack for unraveling any arguments or miscommunications.

It had its ups and downs. I took some well-deserved flak from the other officers for not keeping up or being able to contribute in instances. I wasn’t leveling much, or upgrading, or any kind of vertical climb in-game.

But it’s a vital role that, I’m sure, got us through many fun nights. Sure the guild would still have gotten through. We had very intelligent and competent officers. But players tend to argue a lot more than they realize, when preoccupied with their own agendas.

Whether your a successful guild or not, a PR Officer could do a lot to increase the fun you derive from the game. Not many personalities like to take this role. It’s understandable they’d rather be leveling or raiding. However, if you can find a person to fit this role, you will add a significant amount to your guild.

So while you are concerned with looking for a dedicated player who can fit the role and who has the gear you want, maybe spend a few chat sessions looking for a good PR Officer.