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Officers' Quarters: Oil and water


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

Is it possible to turn a roleplaying guild into a casual raiding guild? Can the two groups mingle in the same community, or is it like mixing oil and water? This week, one guild leader has tried to do just that. Read on to find out how it has worked so far!

Hey Scott,

My boyfriend, and I recently made a guild. He's more into the RP aspect of the game, and mainly focuses on recruiting RPers. Most of these individuals are nice people, but are usually under level 40, and don't play or care enough to do anything serious end game when they get there. I was set on making it more of a raiding guild. Nothing too hardcore, but enough progression to be able to down most bosses in current raids. Before it was all put into practice it seemed like a good idea.

We're having two problems. The first is that while I'm trying to recruit people, I also need to mention that we're partially an RP guild, and that seems to make a lot of raiders not want to join our guild in favor of a full on raiding scenario. This is making it hard to gather enough people for a core group, soon making the ones that ARE there leave shortly after. The same applies to him. Since we have two sets of people with different focuses, we aren't exactly a strict RP guild. We have weekly events, but we don't enforce the use of brackets in gchat or any other basic rules most RP guilds have, making a lot of people not want to join, doubting our seriousness and devotion. At least on our server, it's hard to find people who are both serious RPers and raiders, so it seems we're out of luck. Our old guild however, did both things and executed them almost perfectly, so I know it's possible.

The second problem might be solved by fixing the first, but it might just be a matter of weeding out the bad people, or something else. When we make our events, a lot of people sign up, but most end up not showing up. This is making it frustrating and unfair to the people who do, because we normally have to cancel what we planned. Many people tend to not say a word in gchat either, even when being asked a question. We try to encourage people to open up, and help them when we can, to develop some chemistry, but nothing seems to be fixing it. We also have told people countless times to NOT sign up unless you're willing to come to an event, but they continue to do so. Mind you this isn't one or two people, this is a good portion of them.

We made this guild with our friends in order to have a laid-back, fun spot to play, but it seems to be a time-bomb ready to fail. We're losing hope in the situation and I really hope you can help us. I don't want to see all the work put into it done for nothing.

P.S. We also have a website and vent we encourage people to use, but it's neglected en masse besides mostly officers and above.

Thanks for your help!


Well, it's quite an experiment you've undertaken here, and I'm sorry to hear that the results are less than stellar. First I'd like to address the problems as I see them. Then I'll talk about how you can proceed from here.

You're well aware of the problems, but you don't seem to have a handle on why these problems are occurring. Why do raiders reject a roleplaying guild? Is it because they perceive roleplayers as too unskilled to raid successfully? Do they feel uncomfortable with the roleplaying going on in guild chat? You and I can only speculate unless we ask them.

Likewise, why are your roleplayers failing to show up for events? Are the events scheduled at a time when they can't commit (even though they sign up)? Are the events unpopular because they just aren't much fun? Has the string of cancellations hurt morale to the point where people don't bother to show up? Again, these are questions we need answers to.

The best solution to all your problems is communicating. And I'd argue that the lack of communicating is what got you into this mess to begin with. It can be tough to get a message across when people don't frequent your website -- believe me, most guilds have that same problem, including mine right now. But if you're going to make a major change to your guild's goals and policies, you have to let people know about it somehow, whether by spreading the word whenever you're online, sending out in-game mail messages to every member, or some other method.

Ideally, you'll ask for feedback from your members to see if they agree with your proposed changes. If the majority seem to be against your plan (in this case, to start recruiting raiders and try your hand at tackling raid bosses), then you should have second thoughts about following through with it. It doesn't seem like you really asked them, and that could be a potential source of your roleplayers' current apathy.

So make up for that and talk to them. Find out why people aren't showing up and see what you can do to remedy the situation.

At the same time, talk to some of the raiders that left and ask them why they didn't feel like the guild was a good fit for them. Talk to new recruits about what they like and don't like about the guild.

Then take action based on these answers.

Personally, I don't know if you can make a guild work when its two focuses diverge so greatly. Slow-leveling roleplayers and endgame raiders are about as far apart gameplay-wise as you can get.

One thing you could consider in order to separate the two player groups is to take roleplaying out of guild chat. Many roleplaying guilds reserve guild chat for out-of-character speech only, since the concept of a dedicated chat channel doesn't really jive with the "reality" of communication tools in Azeroth. Some hardcore roleplaying guilds ban all use of guild chat completely. If you limit in-character speech to a separate channel or to party chat/whispers/say, then your raiders might feel more comfortable in your guild.

That only deals with one side of the issue, however. If your roleplayers consider the presence of non-RP raiders disruptive, you will be fighting an uphill battle with many of your long-term members. A possible solution to that is to go out of your way to make your RP sessions particularly fun and awesome to lure back in those players who are failing to show up week after week. Try to address any other issues they raise with scheduling, etc., as well.

If you plan to keep walking this tightrope, you might have better luck if you build up your core raiding membership between expansions, when Icecrown Citadel is old hat. Then, raiders won't be so anxious to gear up and get into the brand-new content. They will have had their fill of ICC and they won't be afraid of getting left behind anymore. They'll be more willing to give an unorthodox guild a try, especially if you have a good plan for raiding moving forward into Cataclysm.

Overall, though, I feel like you're trying to make one guild out of two guilds. I'm just not sure how long you can sustain this. It would be one thing if your guild was built from the ground up to do both, but it's not. You've made a huge change, and that change has and will continue to impact both your existing membership and any new members who join. You have seen the results so far, and they have been unfortunate.

Have you considered splitting into an RP guild run by your boyfriend and a raiding guild run by you? You each may have more success that way than trying to mix oil and water in the same community. It will require a bit more communication and organization from the two of you if you have members in each guild who like to participate in both raiding and RP. But it might be worth it in the long run in order to keep everyone comfortable.

Have any guilds out there made this transition successfully? How did you pull it off?

/salute



Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at scott@wow.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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