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?
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.
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.
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.
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?