Guild planning for Expansion Release

Expansions bring many changes to a game and present a perfect opportunity for transitions and changes for both established and new guilds. With an official release date announce for Mists of Pandaria, what is your guild’s plan for the big release? Are you making any changes to guild goals or day to day operation? There are many things that can be adjusted or changed to best suit the natural evolution of a guild. It is important to communicate with the members of your guild. So why is it important to ask them?

Why Ask?
How a guild operates and functions directly impacts the fulfillment that guild members get out of their MMO playing hobby. Why bother to ask guild members what they think–why not just make a change to suit yourself? You are, after all, the guild leader, giving a lot more time than anyone else to keep things organized and running for the benefit of the guild. Its true and you often feel under appreciated, so if changing a raid day from Thursday to Friday suits you better, why can’t you just make that change? Some reasons are obvious, like people might not even be available on Fridays. More importantly is the respect of your guild members. You put in the extra time and hard work so that they don’t have to but they still expect you to consider their wants and interests. Asking people for their input does many things. I like to focus on the fact that it shows you are at least interested in how change affects them and that it helps get buy in from members when a change is made. When people are able to contribute to decision making, they feel included, part of the decision.

Guild Goal
My guild’s overall goal will remain the same so long as I am its primary leader and I suspect that is the case for most guilds. However, expansions always bring about massive changes to the way a game is played, in both PvE and PvP. What was once exciting to a group of people in PvE may not be appealing, whereas new changes to PvP may draw strong interest. Completely changing the goal of a guild may be too extreme, so adjusting based on the memberships interest as well as past experience may be beneficial. In this regard, it became important in my guild to clearly state in our guild goal that after we cleared heroic PvE content we would focus on PvE meta achievements. As a player, achievements are not something that appeal to me; as a guild leader, I recognize that many of my guild members are interested in them and find great satisfaction in accomplishing them with their fellow guild members. When my guild members are happy, I’m happy, both because happiness is contagious and because it means less work for me. Adjusting goals in this regard allow for a clear definition of what can be expected in the upcoming new content.

Schedule
The times in which a guild has organized play has the biggest impact on every member. Guild schedules rarely if ever change within the time frame of a major patch or raiding tier but what about in consideration of 2 years. Playing an MMO is a hobby that is part of the bigger picture of our lives. Guild members are moms and dads, work demanding jobs, and have other hobbies and interest. My guild is simply asking everyone whether or not our historic raid days still work for them; if they don’t, we want to know what adjustments might benefit them. It is important that we encapsulate it as “exploring options” so that no one thinks “If I say I want to raid on Monday, we’ll change one of our days to Monday!” The information you get from everyone may not leave room for accommodating or adjusting for everyone; however, you just might happen to find out that everyone would prefer Thursday over Wednesday.

Class and Role
Your amazing main tank that you’ve cleared 5 raid tiers with doesn’t want to be a meat shield anymore and now wants to stick bosses with the pointy end as DPS. Expansions change the way classes play, sometimes drastically. Those changes can completely turn people off from the class or role that they used to love. I find this the hardest change to handle. You want your former-tank buddy to be happy and enjoy the game as he wants but your raid needs a solid tank that is skilled and reliable. Rock. You. Hard place. So we have almost 2 months before the expansion comes–don’t avoid this difficult question. Ask your guild members now if they are thinking about changing roles! It may merely be a shuffle of people and all the necessary roles you need are still covered. If you come up short on a role, you’ve got time to search the recruitment channels before the expansions hits.

Loot System
The only completely viable time to change a loot system that a guild uses is at an expansion. All gear previously earned becomes useless as it is replaced by the next max level greens and blues. If your guild has thought about or discussed changing loot systems in the past, now is the time to really think about it and make a decision. Regardless of the reason, expansion release is the only time that all members will be back at square zero in terms of gear, affording a new loot system the perfect time to be implemented. One word of advice: if you’re considering moving from a low-admin system (eg. loot council) to a high-admin system (eg. zero-sum) then make sure you’re aware of how much time one or two people are going to have to put into maintaining it. Also consider the necessity for addons and website plugins (some guild website engines, like Enjin, help make this easier).

Is your guild discussing any of these changes? Any other changes being thought about or put on the table? How are you addressing them–what’s your method and style of approach?

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6 Responses to Guild planning for Expansion Release

  1. Avryel says:

    We begun discussing these things a while ago. The current leadership of our guild “inherited” it in December. We had lots of changes we wanted to make, but knew we needed to wait. Our changes so far include a new loot system, attendance requirements, a slight shift in time, and changes in guild bank policy.

  2. Jtrack says:

    Glad to see you are back. This has been an exceptionally trying time for my guild. We came to raiding in Wrath and it “fit” our play style. Then, Cataclysm came out more difficult than Wrath (on normal) and it decimated some of the older-casual raiding style. We lost 1/3 of the players (left WoW disappointed) hoping SWTOR would be better.

    We slowly held up through Firelands, but Dragon Soul’s LFR was a kick in the nuts. Everyone was so sick of Death Wing from LFR, that making an effort to see the same content (slightly different) on Normal or harder seemed empty (for lack of a better word) when you saw it weekly in face-roll mode. We finished it, eventually, but week-by-week, more people just stopped showing up raid nights. The more that left, the more we had to borrow from other guilds. <7 of us and it was probably a "pass" night. Blizzard saying people of the option to NOT do LFR is a ludicrous excuse when LFR provides the shortest path to gear.

    Faced with MoP, I'm not sure which direction to go to kick-start the guild with what I have left. I don't have a way to know who is coming back, for sure. It really is time to recruit, but recruiting is very difficult. Most older players are in established guilds and if they are looking they only offer up Alts and then never play their alts so your guild is a ghost town.

    Guild Finder doesn't help, when people use alts to request and then never sign-on the alt to get an invite or even an interview.

    So, now is the time to review what didn't work last expansion.

    1. I tried to run a large raid team to account for people that: show up late, travel a lot for work, etc. This was a major fail. I held a 18 person roster for a 10-man team. Every night felt like a new raid team. The less they attended the more of a hindrance they were. Casual can't mean "when I feel like it", but it can mean, that "you don't always have to be there". I really don't know how to find this balance.

    2. Taking people that make too little effort to play the game. They do their jobs by staying out of fire and following the mechanic, but can't put out the DPS for example. It is really hard to create a non-subjective means to say someone needs to work harder or get sat on the bench until they can either be carried or get better. I guess I am too nice and I subjected the raid to to many nights of "fail" at the hands of being nice / fair. We aren't elitists by any means, but the range of the raid can't with too much weight to carry. I need to find a means to say objectively when someone isn't working well.

    So, how to move forward is what I am trying to decide. My guild is mostly older working guys and no one plays wow to sit in trade and recruit.

    My thoughts on steps would be…

    1. Create a well thought-out description of what the guild is about and put it on the web page.

    2. Every time you enter town, click a macro to spam the web page and just direct people to it. I don't have the energy / time to interview over and over.

    3. Ask others in the guild to advertise the web page as well.

    4. Look for an entertainment director – Boy, I wish Blizzard had a forum or place where they posted weekly ideas for activities for the guild, outside of just raid and pvp.

    Any other ideas appreciated.

    • Lument says:

      Hey Jtrack, thank you for sharing. I have felt your pain: my guild went through the same thing at the end of Wrath. Here are my thoughts on your points.

      1. You nailed it: major fail. I learned this in the same manner, running a roster of 40 people for a 25m guild to try and accommodate everyone’s schedule. It doesn’t work and you need consistent attendance.

      2. There are so many points to be make on this, all coming down to your experience and comfort in being a leader (links are to posts where I’ve talked about these points in detail). First and foremost, be honest and truthful–people respect the truth even if they don’t like it. When communicating, do it with confidence. When working through a problem, be assertive. Don’t surprise anyone and provide them regular feedback. Learn to help individuals by encouraging them to practice and reviewing their performance. In the raid setting, encourage people to own mistakes and on a day to day basis make sure you are regularly communicating the expected ethos of the guild.

      …and…

      1. Definitely. Specifically, you need to identify what to market about your guild.

      2. I don’t see this approach as effective as the overall WoW community is not server-based. The majority of people that will suit your guild will transfer from other servers. If you want people who are committed and skilled, you need to make the time to find them. A formalized application and interview process is the only way you will find people who have the commitment level you want in a raid member.

      3. Yes, absolutely. Identify someone who is committed in your guild that has time available in their day to day life to spend [cumulative] an hour a day browsing all the various recruiting forums and websites. You should delegate to this person the responsibility of keeping recruiting threads updated and seeking new sources to find people to recruit. You should make yourself available to do spoken (ventrilo/mumble) interviews with applications–it shows you are serious about recruiting like-minded individuals and that you give the necessary time to keep your guild alive. It feels like a lot of ‘work’ when starting but once in the groove, it is cake.

  3. Pingback: Business, Club, Venture, Secret Society: How do you run a guild? | Officerchat.org

  4. Forzaken says:

    My current guild is mostly dead. :( So in preperation for the expansion I am looking to server transfer my many toons to a more active server and guild. I have noticed alot of the guilds on my server are in hibernation or DOA

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