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Officers' Quarters: All in the family

An orc father and son
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.

This week, a player wants to start a new guild with family members as officers. I'm not quite sold on the idea . . .

Hi Scott!

I've got a bit of a 2-part conundrum for you, and I was hoping you could help.

First, I want to start my own guild. I know I've got the qualifications, as I've run several events in the guild I'm in now. The reason I want to leave is the guild I'm in now is completely ignoring (and shows no interest in starting) the challenge-mode dungeons and scenarios, things that I want to experience in it's entirety. The guild I'm currently in, however, has a great player-base. I've developed many relationships here that I don't want to give up. My Guild Leader is a gem, and she and the officers have been nothing but nice to me. In fact, they even took me on my first raid!

Starting my own guild is something I've always wanted to do, and both my dad and brother (who both play) have both expressed interest in being officers, but I'm not so sure.

Both have the potential to be fantastic officers, but my brother has the "I'm in-charge, gimme shiny" mentality, and my dad simply doesn't converse with others other than me and my brother whenever he is online. Both are naturally very charismatic, and my dad manages people for a living, so I feel if he could bring some of that to the guild, we could be great. If I could get my brother to settle down, he comes up with some sick ideas of fun time-killers to do as a guild.

To sum up, the questions I've got for you are:

  • Is now, being the beginning of an expansion, a good time to start a guild?
  • How do I leave my current guild while still maintaining friendships with the officers of my current guild?
  • How do I whip my brother/dad into shape to be great officers?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Aspiring leader

Hi, Aspiring. That's a lot of questions! I'll answer them in order. First, however, a question for you.

Why leave?

You sound like you're in a great situation now with your current guild. You like the players in it and the leaders seem very solid. Are you sure you want to give that all up?

I know you are eager to become a guild leader of your own, but I would urge caution. I think it's great that you want to, and by all means someday you should, but why now? You could stick with your current guild and work your way up to an officer rank there. As an officer, you'll learn a lot about what it takes to run a guild.

With all due respect, running a few events is a far cry from leading a guild. However, because you've done those things, your current officers may have an eye on you as a future officer.

Would your guild leader allow you to recruit players to build a challenge-mode team? Pulling that off is also the kind of thing that could lead to an officer rank. It's something to think about, if that is the major reason why you're considering this move.

These questions three

1. Yes, now is a great time to start a guild. People are coming back to the game now and realizing that their old guilds fell apart. Or else they just started playing and are looking for a first guild. Or their current guilds are not what they were hoping for in Mists and they want a fresh start. There are more reasons for people to look for a new guild at the start of an expansion than at any other point in WoW's content cycle.

2. I wrote a column about gquitting the right way back in 2008. It's geared more toward officers, but the core principles still apply.

3. You can't and shouldn't. If you have concerns about them before you even start this enterprise, that's a serious problem to me. Maybe they just aren't cut out for it. By starting a guild with officers you don't believe in as leaders, you're already going to start off on the wrong foot.

Future headaches

One of the traps that new guild leaders fall into is promoting the people who start the guild with them simply because they were the "co-founders." Or they promote their friends/family because they trust them, not necessarily because they will make good officers. If you have doubts about their ability to handle a leadership role, then you're just setting yourself up for major headaches down the road.

It's a sad truth that the people who are closest to you in real life are also least likely to take your "authority" seriously in situations like this. If you promote them, it will be very difficult to rein in your brother, or to encourage your dad to do more. It will also be very difficult to undo the decision to promote them -- so choose carefully.

Now, I'm not sure how you go about starting a guild with them while at the same time not allowing them to be officers. Would they accept that? Do you know anyone else who would make a better candidate for an officer role?

Overall, my vote is for you to stay in your guild for now and aim for an officer rank by running more events and supporting the guild however you can. The challenge modes will still be there later. Since they normalize gear, challenge modes will always be relevant content.

/salute

Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

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