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Officers' Quarters: (Group)

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

With every expansion comes a slew of new quests, many of whom have that word at the end that's both aggravating and exciting: (Group). It's exciting because the rewards are generally better. But it's aggravating because now you need a few extra hands on deck to move forward with the questline.

Finding help with these quests is easy when everyone is still leveling. But eventually most of your guild will be 80, and those lagging behind or leveling up secondary characters won't have as much luck finding groups. In a month or two, guild chat across every server will be filled with people asking for assistance. In small, tight-knit guilds, it won't really be an issue. Ironically, it's usually people in the larger guilds who have trouble finding groups -- and we as officers can wind up providing most of the help. This week, one reader wants to know how to prevent this scenario.

Hi Scott. I'm the assistant GM of a guild with over 400 members (225-250 accounts), and an issue that keeps coming up is the lack of response for help, either with instances or quests. The problem I have faced personally is that at one point I went out of my way to help anyone who has asked and eventually had to make an alt to hide on. If I logged onto my main I couldn't accomplish anything that I wanted to do since all I did was help others. This also happened to one of my Officers. Then there are those who won't help anyone at all unless there is something involved that they need.

Also some members feel there are cliques forming within the guild and that they won't help others not in their inner circle. I know that happens where people play together a lot, but it's because they like to group together and are friends. I have never noticed they exclude people and have seen them help others but that is the perception.

I can't make anyone help others and can only suggest in the guild message of the day or on our website that people be more aware and helpful. Is there anything you or the readers would suggest?

Thanks,

Darr

This is common in very large guilds such as yours, Darr. Guild chat becomes almost like general chat when you don't really know who half of the people in your guild are. How many times do you go out of your way for someone who's asking for help in general?

It's also common for cliques to form as people find others in the guild they get along with. In a large guild, you're definitely not going to get along with everyone. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it probably prevents some drama. The people complaining about this situation are probably feeling left out, but that's a topic for a whole other column . . .

My guild isn't exactly small, either (150+ accounts with tons of alts). And every once in a while someone complains that no one replies to requests for help in guild chat. When I hear these complaints, what I recommend they do is to ask people in whispers rather than in guild chat. For one thing, people tend to ignore guild chat when they're focused on something. Also, people sometimes have the mentality that, in such a big guild, someone else will surely step up.

To me there's a vast difference between asking in guild chat and whispering someone. In a large guild, asking for help in guild chat is almost like begging for change on the street. You're not asking anyone in particular. You're just hoping that a kind-hearted soul will notice you and help you out. There's something mildly undignified about it.

It sort of depends on how you phrase it, too. In my mind, "Does anyone else need to do Quest X?" is a far cry from "Can someone help me with Quest X?" The former says, "I have it under control and I'm just checking to see if anyone else wants to come along. But if you just want to help me out, that's great too!" The latter says, "I'll never get this done on my own unless you help me."

When you whisper someone, on the other hand, you're directly asking them for help. It's not so much begging as it is asking a friend for a favor.

By recommending to your members that they make use of whispers, you're also encouraging them to get to know each other better. After all, if there's no one in the guild that will help you when you're directly asking them, then you probably haven't made much of an effort for others in the past.

If your members are feeling alienated in the guild's vast roster of players, a good way to get people mixing a bit more is to hold some contests or events. Design them so that anyone can participate, and give away prizes that make it worthwhile to attend.

Having said all that, you and the other officers can't be the good Samaritans of the guild to the exclusion of your own enjoyment! When you say yes too many times, people will eventually expect you to drop everything and come to their rescue. You have to set some ground rules for yourself.

Finish what you're working on before you leave to help (unless it's going to take hours, obviously). It's not too much to ask for someone to have a little patience when you're giving up some of your time. Also, don't give away so many items and/or so much cash that you go bankrupt.

Officers have some alternatives to doing it all ourselves. For instance, we can play matchmaker. If you know someone needs to do the same quest that someone else is requesting help with, recommend they get in touch with that person. It may be someone they've never really quested with, and it could be a great opportunity for members of two cliques to get to know each other.

Sometimes when I see a larger than normal number of people asking for help, I'll schedule a night where I offer my services to anyone who needs it. I'll announce it in advance and will not turn down anyone, of any level, for questing, rep grinding, recipe farming, running any dungeon, etc. The trick is to set a solid time frame, say two or three hours. Make it toward the end of a week. Then, when people ask throughout the week, tell them that you're busy now, but if they can wait till Friday night you'll help them with anything. That sets some clear boundaries between time that is yours and time that you're offering up to the guild.

If people can't wait that long, maybe they'll take some initiative and try other means of getting the quest done -- besides relying on the generosity of their officers.

/salute

Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at scott.andrews@weblogsinc.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters! For more WoW Insider gameplay columns, click here.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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