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Officers' Quarters: Ready to abandon ship

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

Last week's Officers' Quarters was all about people who complain endlessly to their leadership and what you as an officer can do about it. This week is a bit of a reversal: The officers involved have some legitimate complaints about their guild leader and their guild. They're wondering if they can do anything about the current situation before they all jump overboard.
Hey,

So, i'm a lower ranking officer of my guild for about 2 years now. My 4 closest friends are higher ranking officers in the same guild. We have been having issues, so many in fact that one letter is not enough to explain it all. Let me try to hit the top problems we're having though.

The players in this guild are not good players for the most part. Nice enough, good people even, but you name a standard raid rule, and its broken every night in this guild. Talking over the raid leader? Check. The Guild Master personifies pretty much everything that is bad in the guild...she treats the Guild Bank as her own personal stash, even the highest ranking officers can only access one slot per day from current content materials. She asks for advice in gearing and rotations and then completely ignores it and claims she tried everything she could.[...] And when it comes to raiding, she, and most of the guild are frankly "special". As in, we can not down a fight until the tanks and healers can sustain keeping the raid alive due to superior performance through standing in things, and accidentally toggling enrages. And poor dps [...]. As of now, the only current raid content we can even come close to downing is BH and normal Magmaw. Thats it.
If you havent guessed by now, me and my friends play the tanks and healers in the guild. Back in wrath, things were similar but tanks and healers could be so overpowered it almost didnt matter. [...] Every time we do get a few competent people over just the 5 of us that are qualified, a bunch of "special" normal people in the guild run and cry to the GM and she makes us blow up the raiding team and take people who want to go. [...] We regularly have to "8-man" raid bosses and the like in this manner.

Recently, its just been getting really old. [...] A few of the officers that had been there when i got there are gone now, random friends of the guild master are practically insta-promoted to high officers; but really, everyone expects handouts. No one researches fights, no one brings consumables to raids, no one gives to the guild, everyone shows up 5-10 minutes late (or joins an instance 10 minutes before a raid), the only people who do anything for anyone is the same 5 people. And we're all sick of it and we're all feeling like we want out.

I dont think we all want to gquit on the same day, we want to talk with the GM about it before it happens...but we dont think this can be resolved. Do you have any tips or things that we might want to try or good ways to not quite "blow our way out of town"?

Thanks,

Anonymous
Anonymous, I've written quite a few columns about casual raiding, and the one point that I make over and over again is that casual raiding doesn't mean lazy or selfish raiding. Lazy or selfish raiding doesn't work. Players need to exhibit some degree of personal accountability, and more importantly, the leadership of the guild needs to uphold some minimum standards about what qualifies someone to raid with the guild.

If everyone gets to do what they want, that's not guild raiding. That's a PUG where everyone just happens to be wearing the same tag. In fact, it's actually worse than a PUG, because most PUGs will not tolerate players who willfully underachieve.

In your case, it sounds like you and your friends have the necessary accountability, but few others do. To make matters worse, your guild leader doesn't seem to understand that raiding can't be a free-for-all. That sort of thing might have worked to a limited degree in Wrath, and heck, it might actually work when Blizzard nerfs Tier 11 in patch 4.2. For current Cataclysm tiers, though, this guild will never be able to clear bosses until someone steps up and imposes some kind of organization.

Last chance

It's understandable (and even commendable) that you want to give the guild leader one last chance before you all quit and leave her to pick up the pieces. I would recommend that you and some of the other frustrated officers ask the guild leader if you can chat with her privately over Vent at a scheduled time. Immediately after a raid would be a good window, because you can use examples in your arguments from that same night.

You can invite officers outside of your friends, too, but it sounds like your guild has quite a few given that there are multiple officer ranks. You don't want this dialogue to turn into chaos, so limit the meeting to no more than seven or eight people if you can.

When you talk to her, explain your frustrations in a constructive way. Try not to lose your cool or get emotional. Don't simply complain and point out the problems. Instead, offer realistic solutions. You're all officers, too, so your suggestions should carry some weight.

For example, recommend using the calendar to set up events. Ask people to sign up for the raids that they plan to show up for -- on time -- and then hold people accountable if they are late or don't show up without letting an officer know. Keep track of consistent offenders and stop bringing those players to raids.

Give priority to people who commit to the raid by signing up and showing up prepared. Poor players can usually be coached to improve if they're motivated to succeed and willing to do what's best for the raid team. Players who lack such motivation will never improve.

That way, you can gradually filter out the people who are selfish, lazy, or don't communicate properly. Odds are, most of them are the ones who are driving your raids into the ground.

Bring a list of similar constructive suggestions to this meeting and discuss them with your guild leader one at a time. Based on her reactions, you'll know whether anything will ever change. If she is too unmotivated to take these steps herself, as a last resort, one of you could offer to serve as a raid leader to help the guild progress. Just make sure she understands, if she agrees to this, that the new raid leader will be changing the ways raids are run.

A lot to overcome

One big problem that I see is that she is also one of the players who are holding the guild back. She's probably pretty comfortable with putting in such little effort, and she won't want things to change. After all, your suggestions will mean she has to step up not just as a leader but as a raider, as well.

Even worse, your guild has allowed its entire culture to thrive on self-interest, apathy, and favoritism. At least, that's the picture you're painting for me. None of this can change overnight. It will take some serious housecleaning and the imposition of policies where none exist today. Some guilds have managed it, but it requires a hefty buy-in from the officers in order to enact lasting change.

Casual raiding can work just fine, but successful raiding in any guild requires work from the leadership to make sure everyone is on the same page and work from the players to show up on time, prepared, and ready to do their best. Lazy, selfish players have no business in a guild, let alone a raid -- and it's the job of the officers to make sure that kind of attitude does not prevail.

In your case, that attitude has run amok from top to bottom, but that doesn't have to be the end of the story. Give your guild leader the opportunity to turn things around. Offer your help and support if she'll do it. After that, she can't blame you if she chooses the status quo and you leave for a better overall environment. In the end, what's the point of a guild where everyone, aside from a select few, only cares about themselves?

Whatever happens, I wish you and your friends luck!

/salute

Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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