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Officers' Quarters: 4 radical ways to help your guild stand out in Mists

Fireworks over Pandaria
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.

Today we stand at the precipice of a new era. In less than 24 hours, Mists of Pandaria will usher in what could be called the Fifth Age of WoW. The long wait through 2012 has been hard on guilds, but that time is now over.

If your guild has made it this far, you should be proud of that, but this is not a time to rest. This is a time to ensure that your guild will thrive. In this new era, the best method to recruit players will not change: finding ways to set your guild apart from the dozens of others on your server. Here are four ways to do just that -- but be warned! These are not for the faint of heart.

1. Offer tutorial runs of the new dungeons. Blizzard's new guild mentoring program is a great idea, but just because your guild wasn't selected doesn't mean you can't be a force for good on your server. This strategy requires patient guild members who have run the dungeons in beta or who get a lot of practice in the early weeks of the expansion.

Start an initiative on your server in which, one night a week, you offer to run players through dungeons while teaching them the boss mechanics. Players will very much appreciate the chance to learn the runs in a low-stress and constructive environment rather than the merciless meat-grinder boot camp of the dungeon finder.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: PvP guild on a PvE realm

A goblin fights a worgen
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 from No Starch Press.

Can a strictly PvP guild work on a PvE server? According to the email below, the trolls in trade chat say that it's doomed to fail. Are they right?

Dear Scott,

I have a problem and would like some advice.

Ive been RBG leader for the past month or so for my guild. We are a pvp-only guild that plays on Elune, and thats kind of my problem. We kind of have a constant recruiting, though we have at least 10 players on all the times Im on, and about 30 at prime times. I post on tradechat a guild advertisement or two, just cause we do need decent pvpers still. Some of the people on tradechat said that our guild is bad, and that we stink at pvp. I tried to show a couple people making these remarks some ratings, but in vein. They stated that since we were on a pve server, why would we be good? I know personally that we have some VERY good players in our guild, but I dont know how to make them believe that.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Never say disband

Ruin's raid team beats Blackhorn
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 from No Starch Press.

Guilds fall apart. It happens so frequently these days that we take it as a matter of course. They can also be rebuilt, if there's a member intent on reviving them -- but is that always the wisest course of action? This week, one guild leader who refuses to disband is wondering what to do next.

Greetings, Scott!

Here's the TL;DR version: Raid Finder killed my guild. I want to resurrect it.

Here's the Paul Harvey version: A friend and I founded a guild at the outset of Burning Crusade. Our intent was to offer a place for mature people with real lives to be able to experience the raid content that at the time was mostly the domain of the hardcore players. We wanted to be serious about raiding, but more casual about attendance. ... We were never the top guild on our server, but we were fairly successful throughout Burning Crusade.

Wrath of the Lich King threw a monkey wrench into our works. It wasn't easy in BC to keep forming 25 man raids, but at least we always knew where the bar was. WotLK's split 10 and 25 man raids gave us a very tough decision to make every time we couldn't fill out a 25 man raid.

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: 6 qualities of a successful raiding guild

a guild poses after defeating deathwing
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 from No Starch Press.

Recently a reader asked me, "What do raiders typically look for in a guild?" My initial reaction was to balk at the question. All raiders have their own preferences and pet peeves. What possible common factors could there be?

However, I realized I was approaching the question from the wrong angle. Players might not agree on the details, but there are essential qualities that every raiding guild should strive toward in order to attract and retain members. Below, I have outlined six.

1. Stability A stable roster led by stable leadership is the ideal situation for a raiding guild. It's also incredibly difficult to maintain. Life, drama, and boredom can poke holes in your roster and your officer corps at any time -- and there's often little you can do to anticipate or prevent it. The best way to establish stability is by gathering like-minded players who find value in accomplishing goals as a team. Commitment is much easier to earn when your members are on the same page and enjoy raiding together.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: 6 tips for new guilds in the era of perks

level zero guild
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 from No Starch Press.

Two types of guilds in WoW are having the most difficulty right now: 25-man raiding guilds and new guilds of every sort. For officers, competing against established, max-level guilds can be incredibly daunting. Success in this game is never a sure thing. However, you can take steps to help your guild to survive and grow.

1. Establish your credentials.

You are the face of this new enterprise. Asking players to give up all their shiny perks is a big deal these days -- bigger, honestly, than I ever thought it would be. Luring people away from that into your brand new organization all hinges on their confidence in you and the other officers. They can't just assume you have a plan and the background to pull it off. They have to know.

You wouldn't buy a car designed by a guy who never learned how to drive. Likewise, players aren't going to join your guild if it's clear to them that you don't have the appropriate level of experience.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: When your guild won't recruit

closed sign
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.

While WoW continues to bleed subs, guild leaders and officers everywhere are having a tough time recruiting quality players. In this environment, guilds sometimes find themselves in a permanent state of open recruitment. This week, however, we're looking at the opposite problem: a guild that is permanently closed to new players. A concerned officer wants to know what he can do to change this mentality.
Hello Scott,

I hope you had a great holiday season. I am an officer in a small guild of around sixty people... Of the sixty members many are alts or inactive with only a handful of active people (around ten). I came to the guild looking for an escape from the sheer number of people I had to deal with in my last two guilds that had 400+ members.

For a while everything worked just fine, but in the last few weeks some members have began making requests for recruitment. With the small amount of active players being on at odd hours some new members feel a bit alone and put off and end up leaving. We have a strong desire to make a 10 man raid team but don't have enough geared/leveled/interested people. We are just short of the perfect storm needed to raid with our current members so recruitment seems to be the only answer. The issue is that while I may be all for it, the other active players have issues with recruitment.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Thanks, but no thanks

do not want
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.

With all the emphasis this summer on complaints, prima donna raiders, AWOL guild leaders, and rebuilding, this week seemed like a good time to focus on an email from a guild that's flourishing. Success, alas, comes with its own set of problems, but at least many of those are good problems to have. For example, when your guild is the rising star on a server, it seems like everyone wants to get in on the action. One guild leader wants to know: How do you turn down players politely when you don't want to invite them to your rapidly expanding roster?
Hello,

I hear a lot about small guilds falling apart in the new guild system that was implemented in Cataclysm, but my guild is having the opposite problem.

In classic, I started a guild for myself and several real life friends. It was just our five man team for a very long time, no recruiting. We were very active in our realm community, so we had a lot of in game friends outside the guild and eventually some of these people began asking to join. We were glad to have them and so we grew slowly. But in Cataclysm our roster exploded. Every time an efriend's guild would die because too many quit or jumped to a mega guild, they would ask to join ours. The problem is that many of those people wanted to bring their friends too, so with every person that asked to join we would have one or two of their friends also asking. We grew so fast it all caught us unaware.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Rebuilding your roster

orgrimmar's gates under construction
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.

If there's one phrase that drives sports fans crazy, it's "rebuilding year." In sports, a rebuilding year is one in which expectations for the team are low, either because the team traded away aging veterans, gave starting positions to young and inexperienced players, or both. But sports fans are an impatient bunch. We don't want rebuilding years -- we want championships. Thus, teams do everything they can to deny that they are, in fact, rebuilding.

The same is true for guilds. Potential recruits don't want to hear about rebuilding -- they want to join an established organization in its prime. Thus, when your guild is in that starting-over situation, it can be very difficult to dig yourself out of the hole.

For some reason, I've received three emails about this topic over the past two weeks, so I figured I'd feature one of those emails here. I chose the one that bounced my message back when I tried to reply to it, so at least that person will know I did respond!
Dear Scott and the Officer's Quarters,

I am writing to ask for some perspective on the current state of my guild and the actions I could take to turn things around. I am the GM of a small guild on one of the older, more established WoW servers. I am told this server has been around since the early days of vanilla WoW.

As with any established server in any game, cliques are formed, reputation is king, and small guilds have a hard time flourishing when three quarters of the active player base belong to one of a few monster guilds. Our server has both monster progression guilds that field multiple 10-man raid groups in addition to 25-man groups as well as the Mega-store bargain perks blowout guilds that give every member the ability to invite new members with no real guidelines for membership.

My humble guild began as a way for a few real life friends to play together. Raiding, progression, and consistency were never a big deal for us toward the end of Wrath. Once Cataclysm came along with guild levels and the perks associated with them, our roster of casual and fun people plummeted. Some left the game completely because they were accustomed to blowing through the Wrath content without any difficulty. Others were deployed with their military units to the ends of the earth to fight real life wars. At this point we are left with the few real life friends in addition to a mere one or two other active members.

Enough of the back-story, now it is time for the point of my email:

How can a weak-roster guild survive amongst the concrete establishments of the dominant guilds? What can I do to find new members who could be beneficial to the guild and our goals of breaking into raiding without having to beg?

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: How different is too different?

Turkish flag
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.

One of the most important things you can do when you start a new guild is to differentiate your community from other guilds on the server. When you offer a different experience or a different set of expectations from the typical guild, no matter how slight, you increase your chances of garnering attention and, thus, recruiting players who are attracted to those differences. It's a concept I've mentioned in a number of columns over the years.

But is there such a thing as differentiating too much? One guild leader wants to know:
Hello,

I'm Emir Ergenç from Turkey, i read your wowinsider column for a long time. And i really enjoy your writings.

Me and my girlfriend found a new guild named "Efsane" (meaning Legend in English) in our realm (Wildhammer-EU), i'm telling this to you for checking us :). Our website is efsane.guildomatic.com (although its Turkish). My characters are Alhara, Faelha, Eladia on guild. My girlfriend is guild leader and Shehrazad.

Together we wanted to form a Turkish speaking Rated Battleground guild. Our aim is to have about 14-20 members (we do not aim to be a big guild, but time will tell) and get high ratings (read: hardcore) in rated battlegrounds as Turkish people.

This is a very specific aim, thats where i started having some issues.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: The three biggest mistakes new guild leaders make

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.

Starting a new guild in WoW is an uphill battle. Make no mistake: It's not an endeavor to undertake lightly. Every server has established guilds that you'll be competing against with an unknown "brand."

Even so, the number of players you need to recruit to experience most of what WoW has to offer is a mere 12-15. In that sense, taking a guild from an idea to a fully fledged community is much easier now than in the past. For players who are unhappy with their current situation and wondering why they can never find a guild that's just right for them, why not create your own?

WoW needs dedicated player leadership now more than ever. Too many guilds are failing because their leaders and officers have burned out on the game after playing for so many years.

Taking up the mantle of leadership brings with it many pitfalls. But of all the mistakes that a new leader can make, these three are the ones most likely to turn into major headaches -- or even guild-shattering drama.

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Making the most of the guild finder

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.

A helpful feature for guild officers was added with patch 4.1, but I haven't seen many people talking about it yet. The guild finder isn't going to replace other recruiting techniques, but it can be a solid addition to your toolkit. For WoW, it represents a milestone: Players now have a viable method of searching for guilds within the game. In the past, looking for a guild usually meant whispering players you didn't know, combing through forums that often lack good search features, or -- worst of all -- asking in trade chat. (Yes, there is also a specific guild recruitment chat channel, but I've never heard of anyone using it.)

With the addition of the guild finder, players have a far better option, but only if guild leaders use it -- and use it wisely. I did a quick search for guilds on my own realm (Khadgar US). With apologies to the guild leaders there, I didn't see a single ad that took full advantage of what the finder can provide. Let's talk about how we can make the most of this new UI feature.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: That other guild reputation

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.

These days, when you say "guild reputation," most people think of the guild rep grind that's required to buy items like the Armadillo Pup and the Dark Phoenix. Cataclysm didn't invent this concept -- the expansion simply turned what already exists into a specific number with some fun rewards attached. As long as there have been guilds, there have been players with an opinion about them, and vice versa. This kind of reputation plays a huge role in a guild's success or failure, particularly when it comes to recruiting. This week, an officer with a rep problem asks how to deal with a handful of former members who are sabotaging the guild's recruiting efforts.
Hey Scott,

So my guild is fairly new (about 3-4 months) we started at the beginning of cataclysm as a guild of friends who wanted to raid on the weekends together. We slowly built up and developed a raider base however it was very difficult to get new players as every other guild on the server was looking for people. We had around 6-7 devoted raiders but those last 3 or so raiding slots left it difficult for us to pug and find members in general who were willing to raid. We went through a variety of members in these slots but most of these people didn't understand the concept of a "raiding guild." Some misunderstandings occurred and over the course of our guilds existence we developed about 4-5 "haters."

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: 5 tips for guild recruiting in a post-Cataclysm world

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, we talked about why officers are burning out so early in the expansion. Many of the same factors have burned out average raiders and PvPers, also, leaving gaping holes in our rosters. In the current environment, recruiting can be extremely difficult. I've received quite a few emails lately asking for tips. Here's my best advice.

1. Don't be intimidated by guild level and achievements.

So you just started a guild, or your guild hasn't kept pace with leveling since the expansion went live. Those perks are awesome, and no one will join unless you have them, right? Wrong -- players care a lot more about the type of community they're joining and the sorts of members that inhabit your roster. They care more about whether or not your schedule meshes with theirs. And they care more about having fun than 10% more justice points or faster mount speed.

Well, maybe I'm generalizing a bit and not everyone feels that way, but honestly, do you even want a player on your roster who cares more about those things than the quality of the guild? Don't fill your roster with random players just to level faster. You'll only hurt the community in the long run.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: How a guild dies


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.

This column is a special one for me. A reader wrote an email to the Drama Mamas, who passed it along to me as a topic that seemed more appropriate for OQ. When I read the email, it struck quite a chord, because the issue the guild leader raises is one that led directly to the collapse of my own guild. Yes, my own guild is finished, and so I can now reveal what guild I led and why it is now defunct in the hope that others can avoid the same fate.

But first, the email:
My girlfriend and I are the founders of a casual raiding/leveling guild. It's always been an eclectic mix of people, and it's one of my favorite parts of playing WoW.

We're both friendly and empathetic, and people tend to develop bonds with us. We spend time together to the point where they feel comfortable in asking us for advice with serious real-life problems.

However, the major problem is that our guild is that it's highly focused around my girlfriend and I. It feels like the only people who can lead a raid are the two of us, for example. People help in other ways, like donating to the guild bank or recruiting, but there isn't much leadership in the guild.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: The great raid size debate, part 2


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, I received an email asking me for my thoughts on raid size in Cataclysm. As it turns out, I have quite a few thoughts -- three columns' worth, in fact, covering four different categories: gameplay, logistics, rewards and intangibles. My goal is to help officers and their guild members to choose which raid size is best suited for their guild. A week ago, I wrote about the gameplay category.

This week's column will cover two topics that have been linked together throughout the history of the game. From the very beginning of WoW, Blizzard has made a connection between more difficult logistics and greater rewards. Molten Core, Onyxia, and later 40-man raids rewarded the best available gear in their respective heydays. Throughout The Burning Crusade and Wrath, 25-man content yielded the best items. For Cataclysm, this paradigm is shifting.

Let's take a look at the logistics involved with the two raid sizes and the rewards that each size offers.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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