Return of the Mixed Blessing

“Hey guys, I’M BACK

What fol­lows isn’t always a fan­fare of trum­pets for the offi­cers of that guild.

If you’re in a casual guild over the last two weeks, you’ve seen some­thing along these lines:

“Good to see you!”

“Yah I let my sub­scrip­tion lapse and I’ve been wait­ing for The New Hot­ness to come out and now I’m back!”

“Right, we noticed that! Well, it’s great that you’re back.”

Offi­cer pro­motes Imback from Who Dat? to Member.

“Hey thank u”

“Sure thing, it’s good to see you.”

“Yah I cant wait to raid I miss all the funny jokes and I can’t wait to see Zom­graid and I already have a list of items that I’m hop­ing for”

(offi­cer chat: Didn’t he insist on get­ting that rare thing from that raid the week before he vanished?)

(offi­cer chat: Yep.)

“Um, ok! Look for­ward to see­ing you in instances.”

“Yah yah!”

<five min­utes pass>

“Hey I see that we have a lot of mats in the guild bank I’d like to pow­er­level my pro­fes­sions up do you think I could use them?”

“Let me check with the other offi­cers and I’ll get back to you.”

<five min­utes pass>

“Hey what about those mats?”

“No other offi­cers online at the moment, Imback. We meet on Thursday.”

“oh ok I was hop­ing to get that done today but I can wait”

<five min­utes pass>

“Hey when are we going to start raid­ing? Do we have like a date in mind?”

“We’re going to see how soon we get peo­ple to max level and are ready to raid. Just have fun instancing.”

<five min­utes pass>

“Hey can you help me with some group quests?”

<silence>

“Hey can any­one help me with some group quests?”

So! Here you have this nice per­son with raid­ing aspi­ra­tions, who is a capa­ble player when they show up. Like most peo­ple, their goals are per­sonal. Unlike most peo­ple, they’re known to be unre­li­able. You know that at some point, they’re going to flake with­out warn­ing, van­ish­ing into the Emer­ald Dream or wher­ever it is that such play­ers go. In a casual raid­ing guild, how do you deal with such a person?

The key is to run­ning a sta­ble guild is man­ag­ing your resources. The trick is to match over­all invest­ment and not imme­di­ate investment.

A quick diver­gence: Lead­ing a good guild of any kind is, in part, about hope. You hope that with each per­son you recruit that the per­son will take that mag­i­cal leap from rank and file to enlight­ened mem­ber, where they wholly par­tic­i­pate in some­thing greater than them­selves. This will hap­pen with some frac­tion of peo­ple. Then, beyond all rea­son, some frac­tion of those peo­ple will make the ascen­sion to Core, the peo­ple who are lit­er­ally syn­ony­mous with the spirit of the guild. These peo­ple are rare. As a guild leader, you need to have that hope. You need it for every appli­cant, you need to seek out appli­cants with this hope in mind. If you lose it, your suc­cess­ful recruit­ment flags and your guild will suc­cumb to entropy, which is con­stant. You extend that hope to each per­son, not putting the guild on the line for them, but all the same cre­at­ing a wel­com­ing envi­ron­ment for them.

A new per­son is an unknown. You lay out some small bit of guild resources, whether it’s instance runs or raids or free craft­ing or voice chat or your guild web­site or chat­ting with offi­cers or arena teams… what­ever it is that makes your guild what it is. As you get to know a per­son, the hope gets added to the guild side of the equa­tion of invest­ment. So the real­ity is that the new per­son invests X and the guild rec­i­p­ro­cates with X + hope. It’s not some­thing for noth­ing; it’s water­ing the lawn.

The trick is how you han­dle peo­ple who are not new, and are known quan­ti­ties. The time after a break can seem like “new player hope” applies.

Of course, the player isn’t new. Even in casual guilds, there’s a thresh­old of reli­a­bil­ity that a per­son needs to have in order to have guild resources flow their way. This per­son has demon­strated that they will take what’s offered. You know that at some point, they’re going to van­ish and those resources are going to go with them.

The answer is to remain friendly while mak­ing invest­ment a hard match. You do this by remov­ing hope from the equa­tion. Make player X = guild X. Full stop. Then when the player flakes, the guild isn’t burned at all.

This isn’t easy to bal­ance, espe­cially when your guild is likely wel­com­ing real new peo­ple. Nobody said that lead­ing a guild was easy.

More Words!

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2 thoughts on “Return of the Mixed Blessing

  1. Kikidas

    What we do in our guild, which is mostly fueled by a lot of REALLY superb peo­ple, is that we have quests for ranks. Each rank you suc­ceed in, you get to view guild bank tabs AND get a dis­count on the items. If you can’t see it in the guild bank, you can’t get it.

    To go up in rank, it requires a cer­tain amount of ded­i­ca­tion into the guild. Be it help­ing in instances, craft­ing, turn­ing in stacks of mats for the next per­son who needs to level up a skill, etc. We’re also think­ing of adding achieve­ments into that list. And of course, a gold dona­tion to the guild. Also included are Guild Event Days — you have to attend a cer­tain num­ber of these to go up in rank, and the fur­ther up you go, the more you have to attend OR RUN!

  2. Kikidas

    Noth­ing leaves the guild bank with­out pay­ment in return. We offer it at LESS than AH prices, but we still get some­thing from it. So if peo­ple are look­ing for an easy free way to get some­thing for noth­ing… the guild bank ain’t it.

    Peo­ple won’t get into the spirit of a guild if you don’t make them some­times. Some peo­ple spring in will­ingly, and it’s best if you have some­thing in place to help them get set­tled in. Other peo­ple need a kick in the pants. Either to get into the guild, or get out of it.
    (Sorry for the two posts, it wouldn’t let me fin­ish in one!)