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Officers' Quarters: Guild control

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

At the right you'll see Blizzard's illustrious guild control panel. Anyone who's been a guild leader has had to deal with this clunky interface at one time or another. I don't know about you, but I dread having to make adjustments there. I've even gone so far as to download add-ons in order to make some changes easier. But today's column isn't about how unfriendly the interface is, but what choices to make. Here is this week's e-mail:

Dear Scott,

I found your column on Wow insider and it's a very good idea for a column!

I recently started a guild on the Haomarush server called The Kings Guard. It's going quite well with decent officers, a guild bank and tabard.

Something I do want to ask you about however is the settings on the guild control.

I'm not quite sure how much power to give who and to what rank, and also what guild bank depositing/withdrawing rules to set up.

If you could give me any help with settings on guild controls for each rank (I'd be particularly interested to hear what your settings are), it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Yours sincerely,

James Kennedy
(Jimbot) -- Haomarush

Hi, Jimbot. Rarely do I receive such a straightforward question. Usually I'm dealing with thorny, drama-fueled conflicts with no easy answer. It's like fresh air for me!

The guild control panel has a number of options for assigning various guild permissions, but you should reserve the vast majority for your officers and yourself.

Your regular members will need three permissions: Guildchat Listen, Guildchat Speak, and Edit Public Note. You could set up a punitive rank that can listen to guild chat but not speak in guild chat, but I don't believe in that. If someone is causing such an uncontrollable uproar in guild chat that you feel compelled to take the permission away, you might as well remove them from the guild altogether.

The Edit Public Note feature is not well designed. It gives you the ability to edit your own note, which is why I allow anyone in the guild to have this permission. However, it also lets you edit anyone else's note. That can be a problem, particularly since the interface doesn't track who edits what.

I've only ever had a problem with someone editing notes once in nearly four years, however, so I think the risk is worth it. It lets members give each other important basic info like who their main character is or what trade skills they know. This information really should be part of the guild interface, but until Blizzard gets around to adding it (if ever), we're left with this option.

The remaining permissions include access to officers' chat and officers' notes, demotion and promotion of members, invitations to the guild, gkicks, and the message of the day. These options are all best handled only by officers. It means a little bit more work for your officers. It also means you have to be very careful whom you promote to officer status. But in the long run, giving anyone below that rank the ability to invite or kick members -- or change someone's rank -- just introduces too much chaos into the system.

These decisions should never be taken lightly. In many cases, the officers will want to discuss their options before anyone goes ahead and acts. So carrying out the invite, the kick, or the rank change should require someone who's been privy to that discussion.

The officers' chat channel is very useful to officers -- but only if half the guild isn't already in there. It allows us to have the above-mentioned discussions in a private forum where we can be brutally honest about our members. This honesty isn't always a bad thing. Of course sometimes we talk about how someone is a potential problem, but we also talk about how someone has really stepped up and shown the promise of effective leadership.

Officers' chat can be a problem if the officers isolate themselves there and rarely speak in general guild chat. It's an issue I've encountered during the darker periods of my guild's history, where the officers felt persecuted. Since then, I've tried to encourage my officers to be more involved in guild chat. It's better for guild morale if the officers have an active presence there. That way, members can get to know your officers a little bit more. And they can be reassured that officers are paying attention to what is said in the channel.

As annoying as it is to change these guild control permissions in the basic interface, changing guild bank permissions can be even more tedious -- so you want to get it right the first time.

In my guild, we've bounced back and forth on these permissions. At first we tended to leave the permissions more open. We allowed anyone who was an official member to take out a large amount of stacks from the basic vaults, and we allowed the officers to take a large amount of stacks from the officer vaults.

Then an officer got hacked. And it happened to be an officer with a ton of alts, all of whom were promoted. The hacker got away with quite a bit of loot before we were able to catch on and demote the remaining alts. It wasn't a total disaster. Blizzard restored all the items that were taken.

Still, we didn't have access to those items for a few weeks, which was a bit of a hassle. So afterward I changed the permissions to allow very few withdrawals for any rank. This approach stymied hackers (and we did have more people hacked in that time), but it also meant that everyone had to be very selective about what they withdrew. Items that weren't highly desired tended to rot away. The vaults quickly got clogged up with junk. We realized that this system wasn't working out very well, either.

So we tried to find a happy medium between security and convenience. We raised the number of stacks per day for all members, particularly for the lower vaults that hold mostly trade items, recipes, consumables, and the like. Anything valuable that someone deposits there gets moved up to higher vault after a couple of days. People can always request those items from an officer.

Veteran members have their own vault where they can share valuable items with each other, such as BOE rares, hard-to-get recipes, and so on.

The officers' vault has more relaxed permissions now, but we try not to stack items too much. For example, when Void Crystals were used for all the best enchants, we divided them up into stacks of five. That way, instead of a hacker getting 60 shards from three withdrawals, they'd only get 15. If worst came to worst and an officer had more requests that day than they could fulfill, they were always able to ask another officer to withdraw more.

Of course, as you can see in the image above, the character who is the guild leader has unlimited withdrawals by default. I wish it were possible to change that, but as far as I know, you can't. A guild leader getting hacked is pretty much a worst-case scenario. It would be great to be able to limit the damage, but Blizzard apparently disagrees.

As far as the gold in your bank goes, that's an entirely different discussion -- and one I've already posted a column about.

/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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