Community Blog Spotlight: Guilds
Every Week, Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at one or more of the entries being created in our MMORPG.com blogs. This week, she looks at Bardoc's recent entry about the treatment of new players in guilds.
This past month or so, my interest in guild-related debates has been growing. As the co-leader of a growing guild in EverQuest, I am constantly thinking about my guild, and looking at other users' experiences to parallel mine. I love that all guilds are different in little ways (no, not in a corny way like snowflakes), and through our differences in environment, policies, goals, etc. we can offer players varied experiences in the same realm.
This week, user Bardoc posts about his guild, and the relationships between older and younger members in general. He explains the inevitable internal war between these two factions of guild members:
"If you're younger the older members seem to act like they are owed something. That they need you to do it their way or when they want you to. For the older members it looks like the young members don't have any respect for or ownership in the guild. They are simply there to get their loot."
For Bardoc's guild, the solution to one such problem was the removal of three newer members.
And yet Bardoc, as an individual, is not siding with the older members; instead, he says that both parties are wrong. "My rant today is that neither is right. The older players need to remind themselves that a big part of a healthy community is providing feedback and mentorship to new and younger members...The younger players need to be able to choose a mentor and seek out an elder to help them."
I'm not sure how Bardoc's guild is run, but I agree that this is a common problem in guilds. I'm a big proponent of recruiting for attitude and personality, not just level and class; drama is the killer of many, many guilds. From this, I also support long application periods. This gives older members time to get to know the newer members, before the younger generation even become members.
I like the idea of a mentorship program, though, and I know many larger guilds use "class leaders" to act as mentor for other members of their class. The problem I often see with this system is: let's say a game has 14 classes. Even if you have ten members qualified to lead ten of the classes, you might have to pick four unqualified people to lead the remaining classes. Leaving these classes leader-less would be an insult to all members of that class, and demoting them once you have a "better" rogue would be a similar insult.
A mentorship program not based on classes, though - that could give older and newer members a good reason to interact, and speed up the newbie's integration to the guild.
One thing that I do disagree with Bardoc on is this relating to actual age - I think it has more to do with guild status. An 18 year old who has been a guild member for three months treats a 30 year old recruit in this manner, after all; age might slightly magnify or nullify some of the effects, but who really knows anyone's age or gender in the online world?
Check out the rest of Bardoc's blog entries here.