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Officers' Quarters: From the mail bag


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


Hello, fellow officers! This week I'm going to try something a little bit different than usual. I tend to focus on one topic that requires a detailed analysis. However, I do receive many more questions that I never feature in the column because they have a more straightforward solution (or, at least, because I believe they have a straightforward solution). So I would write a private reply to the e-mail but never showcase the question here.

I've decided to try an experiment this week and feature several of these e-mails with shorter answers. Even though they may not be the most complex situations, I think the answers will be helpful to other officers. Let me know what you think! Here's the first question.

Too Many Cooks

I was wondering if you could do an article on having too many cooks in the kitchen during raids.

My guild is brand new, 3-4 weeks old, and we run Ulduar 10 and ToC 10 as well as Naxx 25 and Naxx 10 for the new 80s. As of right now, I am my guild's GM as well as raid leader. I have plans in the future to add an official "Raid Leader" to create events and lead some raids although I plan on still leading a few because I really enjoy it.

Right now though, I have a few natural born leaders that attend my raids and it causes some problems.

A couple of examples from last night.

I started the night by running OS 10 followed by EoE 10 to some of our new 80s to get them a little bit of gear. When we start EoE, we had about 5 members who had never been there so I was trying to explain the fight on vent. Now, being a teacher for a few years I feel like I do a really good job presenting information in a way that is clear and understandable to all my "students". Some times, I feel like people who explain boss fights are jumping all over the place and don't put a very good flow behind their thoughts. Well while I was explaining the fight, another raid member kept chiming in on vent and interrupting me and explaining part of the fight or restating what I just said. Eventually I sent him a whisper and said "Hey, raids can only have 1 leader or it gets confusing for people. If you would like to lead this raid, you are welcome too." He responded with "Oops, sorry man. My bad." And I said it was alright and we continued just fine. [. . .]

It was particularly bad in ToC last night because we got to a new fight that I had never actually done but had only read about. So I asked one of the people to explain the fight. He tried to explain it, but every time he would start, this other person would cut him off and start explaining some. Then the first person would try to explain something else and get cut off again. It was really chaotic and confusing to my raid members so at one point, when the person I had asked to explain the fight in the first place started talking again, I cut him off. I said ok, I am just going to read this off the website and then you can fill in any blanks that I miss. He was offended that I had asked him to explain the fight and then I cut him off.

I only did it because things were getting out of control and I was confused so I can only imagine how my other guildies felt. I tried to bring order back into the raid. I did my best to apologize through whispers to the one guildie that I had cut off. [. . .]

Sorry for the very long story but I was wondering if you could make an article on how to deal with too many "raid leaders" in the raid and the best way to go about handling it. From what I can tell right now, there are at least 4 people in my guild that like to lead raids and continue to cut me off and give orders in raids. (Like calling for BL when I don't want it yet.) One of those leaders, I made him leader of our Naxx 10 raids so that he can lead his own raids. We don't have enough members in the guild to fill enough raids to give every one of these leaders their own raids.

Thanks!

Consider yourself lucky! Many guilds have problems finding enough people who want the raid leader job.

Fortunately for you, it sounds like everything has been pretty civilized so far. But you are still in the "honeymoon" period of a fresh raiding guild, so don't expect it to stay that way forever.

You need to establish who's in charge, whether it's one person or a few. That's really the only way to run a raid.

Also, you need to emphasize that the person explaining a fight deserves the chance to finish before other people start chiming in. I agree that the way you present the information is important in order for people to grasp the fight's mechanics. Spouting off a list of abilities in random order doesn't work all that well.

If the explainer says something blatantly false, then someone should correct them. Otherwise, let them do the best they can to explain it. Others can clarify points afterward, but cutting someone off is usually counterproductive, not to mention aggravating to the explainer.

Until you have enough runs for each potential raid leader, I would recommend assigning each person a specific role. For example, one person could explain the fights and also take charge of all combat decisions, such as when to Bloodlust. That person would also determine the pace and the goals of the run. Another person could be in charge of assigning loot. A third person could handle scheduling, forming raids, and replacing people who have to leave.

This way, people aren't as likely to step on one another's toes. You just have to talk with each person and make sure he/she understands his/her role and (more importantly) what is not his/her role. If people continue to cross the line, you may have to urge them in stronger terms or take away their leadership position altogether.

Once you have a broader schedule, you could assign each leader to a given run and have that person handle all aspects. For other runs, they'd be considered a normal raider.

Either way, it's great to have so many options. With any luck, you should be able to avoid (or at least postpone) the all-too-common problem of raid leader burnout.

Better Communication Tools

I run two WoW guilds for RL women and girls (one Horde, one Alliance). We are social animals and like to have guild parties and fun activities. Sometimes these are level specific, like doing a dragon hunt, but often times we want to open the event up to everyone simply to gather together and have fun. We hop on vent, roll for wrapped mystery gifts, listen to all the /silly jokes, down some kegs and wine, etc. On guildie birthdays we hide in lowbie areas and each give away 10g to the first under lvl 20 toon that finds us. We have fun. My issue is that there is no mechanism to invite everyone in the guild to an event. The Horde guild (Goddess of the Horde on Nesingwary) has over 200 toons and the invite feature for events only allows for 100 invitations. So every time we have an all-guild party or event we have to create three events, sending each invitation to a different set of level groups to get everyone invited. I am also bummed that the gmotd feature has been essentially useless for months on end. The Blizz welcome message is so long that it knocks the guild message off the screen at login before anyone has a chance to see it. I essentially have no way to communicate en masse with my guild except for those who are online when I am. Will Cataclysm's guild improvements improve guild communication?

Thanks . . . keep up the good work!

Anne Robertson
Goddess of the Horde (Nesingwary)
Goddess (Winterhoof -- Alliance)

Hi, Anne. Sounds like two great guilds! I salute you for all that effort -- it's tough enough for most of us to run one guild, let alone two.

It's hard to say if there will be better communication tools in the next expansion. I certainly hope so! Blizzard hinted at it during BlizzCon, including a guild news RSS feed in the armory.

Still, all planned features are just that until we actually get them. Blizzard's intentions to overhaul the guild system, as awesome and necessary as they are, are also fairly ambitious. So there's simply no way to know what will actually go live.

In the meantime, I suggest looking outside the game. Find a tech-savvy friend and set up a Web site with forums. Domain names are very cheap, just a few dollars per year, and hosting is about $5-10 per month for a basic site. It's a small real-life cost, but it can foster a greater sense of community. It's also the best communication tool available right now. Players can check it even if they're not able to log in.

Also, are you using the in-game calendar or an add-on? The in-game calendar definitely has some annoying limitations. Group Calendar is what my guild uses for events. I don't believe there is an invite limit (though I could be wrong). Best of all, the addon can automatically invite a large number of people to a group.

The Impact of Faction Changes

Scott,

I wrote to you a few months ago on balancing progress without being a jerk in raid leading. Since that time We've got yogg 25 on farm, started hard modes and lead our faction in TOC. (not that it's too hard)

So I'm turning to Officers Quarters again because I'm extremely concerned about upcoming faction changes and how they will affect guild stability.

Being an alliance guild I constantly hear about how horde racials are better for PvP. Anyone in my guild who is anything beyond a casual pvper is convinced those racials would give them the edge they need to squeak out that next bracket rating, or whatever. Alliance loses WG constantly on my server. Unless we are leading a premade we lose in BG's.

There's an underlying current at least on my server that horde is just "better". There are less kids, they are better at pvp, their guilds are more serious. I do not know how true it is, but the upcoming faction change feature has a good number of my core raiders openly talking about going Horde.

Having been through a server xfer before, I know getting an entire guild to do the same thing is impossible. What can I do to prepare for this? I understand I may not be able to convince them to stay. Should I just recruit in advance? Preemptively replace them in our raid group? Beg them? We are on a low population server and there's not exactly skilled players just laying around ready to be plucked.

Thanks for your time.

This really sounds like a "grass is always greener" scenario to me. And I doubt that most of your guild will actually go through with it.

Switching factions not only costs real money, it also means you're starting over again. Unless most of you make the switch, you don't have a guild anymore. You only have one toon, as opposed to all your alts with their ample storage space and complementary professions. If you switch servers, too, you can only take so much money with you. It's not an easy transition.

If people do make the switch, I wouldn't be surprised if some of them came back in a few weeks after realizing that Will of the Forsaken isn't a cure-all for their Arena teams and that the Horde isn't all that different from the Alliance.

You certainly could remind your members that Blizzard intends to take a close look at racial bonuses and abilities for Cataclysm. Who knows which races will have the overpowered abilities in the next expansion? Changing factions every time an ability is tweaked could get very expensive . . .

Ultimately, however, there's nothing you can do except to make your guild the best that it can be so people want to stay, regardless of any perceived imbalances. Preemptive benchings will only create a self-fulfilling prophecy by driving players away.

/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!

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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