The past two weeks have been mentally busy, unfortunately drawing my time and energy away from writing. Part of the distraction was guild related. Being a guild master can be stressful, especially when you care about the happiness and engagement of your guild’s members. That stress is elevated when your guild cannot achieve what it sets out to do.
Over time, many issues present themselves to guild’s as a challenge. Some of the issues can make or break a guild. Others can improve the quality of life for everyone, including leadership. In most situations, my experience has shown that recruiting is generally the right answer.
This is the most common issue that holds a guild back. A general lack of people in total is an obvious issue where recruiting more people is needed. The obvious answer of recruiting applies to situations of people leaving the guild, someone filling a vital role (main tank, for example) leaves or stops playing, not having enough of a certain role/spec (like healers), or periods of time where it is common to have low attendance (summertime, winter holidays, end of university semesters for final exams, etc).
Another manifestation could be that the people currently in guild aren’t showing up for scheduled guild activities. In such a situation, it can be difficult to answer the question of “How do we get people to show up?” The answer is recruiting. If people are still logging on to do things like daily heroic or daily quests but not showing up for raids, there is an issue. People don’t show up for one of two reasons: your guild activity (raiding, for example) isn’t a priority for them or their real life obligations are preventing them. If real life is affecting someone, you need to get as many details from them as possible about their circumstances. This will let you know how vigorously you need to recruit someone to replace them. On the other hand, if someone simply isn’t making guild activities a priority, talk to them to see what is up and let them know that if they don’t show up they will be replaced. Beyond that, the answer is to recruit someone(s) to replace them. In the realm of MMO’s, a guild’s leadership doesn’t have many motivational tools to get people to show up: either they want to be there or they don’t. If they don’t, replace them with a new recruit.
This applies to both individuals and the guild as a whole. If an individual isn’t living up to expectations, recruiting someone who can do a better job is going to help your guild advance. Letting the person know that if they don’t step it up they will be replaced may be all they need to perform to the level that is needed. If it isn’t, recruiting a replacement is the answer.
Across the guild as a whole, if the guild is in a tight spot where regular difficulty fights are “easy” but heroic difficulty fights are “impossible”, the overall performance of the guild needs to step up. Of course you can’t replace everyone but getting some fresh blood into the guild will help invigorate people to step up. Bringing in new people also promotes healthy competition. I have seen on many occasions where 2 persons of a class get pretty comfortable with things but as soon as a 3rd person of the same class joins the guild and is doing a bit better, all 3 of them improve noticeably, sometimes drastically. Competition is good, bringing heightened awareness for people to perform better.
Leading a guild brings on many facets that can consume time and energy. The overall load of a guild must be shared and split out across multiple people. If it isn’t, all the weight resting on one person’s shoulders will become too much for them, eventually causing them to burn out. This is not a desirable outcome. When someone takes on extra load, it is because they care. Losing someone who genuinely cares about a guild because they get overloaded is an unfortunate end that didn’t need to happen.
So share the load. Finding a suitable person who can meet the needs of a guild isn’t easy. You can’t just randomly pick someone, go with the first person to raise their hand to volunteer, or force someone who you think would be good but doesn’t have the desire to. Selecting the right person means getting to know the people in your guild. Identifying who is capable of meeting the load you need to share, whether that be recruiting, handling DKP, raid leading, organizing events, etc, can take a bit of time, maybe even 6 months, but in the end choosing the right person from a pool of people that you have gotten to know and built relationships with means a win for everyone–you, them, and the rest of the guild. I have yet to see a guild specifically recruit for an officer role but part of any recruitment process should be keeping an eye out for people who have a particular passion for playing with people, contributing to a company, and an overall sense of awareness as to the needs of a group of people. A couple months down the line, that guy who said “I just really love progressing with smart players who I get to know better over time” in an interview could be your next officer.
Things happen that are outside of everyone’s control. If your guild raids and you suddenly lose one of your two main tanks, you could be really screwed. Your guild suddenly can’t down the bosses you normally one-shot and you as a guild leader are stressed and maybe freaking out a little bit. The only way to not spiral and die in a situation like this is to plan ahead. If you don’t plan ahead, trying to address a situation like this when it happens won’t yield very good results.
Recruiting slightly more than your needs means you are always ready to go. If your guild doesn’t have couple of hybrid classes that are gearing the DPS main spec and their tank off spec, you’re missing out on an easy and effective contingency plan. If you don’t have any hybrid classes, it is time to recruit some so that you do have a backup. In a more simple matter, if your raid roster is only 10 – 11 people for a 10m raiding guild or just 26 – 27 people for a 25m raiding guild, you are not prepared for the inevitable occurrences of real life. I recommend having 30% more than what you strictly need. For a 10m guild that is 13 – 14 people and for a 25m guild that is 33 – 34 people. For some guilds that may not be enough depending on how committed and dedicated the overall members of the guild are. Having more than just 10 or 25 people means you are prepared for things like people going on vacation, holidays, people getting sick, work keeping people late now and again, spouses needing more attention, kids needing to be taken care of, special events like birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. Basically anything that prevents people from logging in and playing. By having contingency in numbers, you are prepared.
In all, my experience has shown that the answer to almost every guild situation is recruiting. What situations have you experienced where recruiting was the answer?