Business, Club, Venture, Secret Society: How do you run a guild?

Our guild recently raised the question of how we go about leadership. With a new expansion being an ideal time to make changes, the question is well timed. This got me thinking about how guild’s are run in general.

When chatting with dozens of guild leaders last year, it was apparent that successful guilds are highly organized with focused goals and committed leadership. In many regards, methods of daily operation were business like. However, I commonly see people operating in guilds that seem like a club, some let’s-see-what-happens entrepreneurial venture, and even elusively hushed behind closed doors.

I take a business approach, acting as a leader to ensure the guild stays focused on its goals and overall guiding principles, and as a manager delegating responsibilities and organizing the daily comings and goings. This works for me and the result is a guild that achieves our goals, building some great long-term friendships along the way. I’m not 100% sure how I arrived at this method of running a guild though I do know that being part of guilds in the early days of WoW that were managed like social clubs (riddled with favoritism and no clear purpose/goal), some kind of secret brotherhood (with lack of structure and only supposed goals), or shockingly “different” entrepreneurial business venture (no feasible plan, selling on the hollow “We’re going to be something completely different/new!”).

Different modes of operation seem to benefit different goals. A purely social guild with a goal of social fellowship probably doesn’t need to be run like a business; a raiding guild probably does. A leveling guild could probably survive well run as a social club where people work their way up socially. I’m not too sure yet it seems feasible if there is one thing true about any guild management approach: a dedicated and committed leader.

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3 Responses to Business, Club, Venture, Secret Society: How do you run a guild?

  1. Inwee says:

    Being a GM myself, I love the input. I run a social raiding guild – and our leaderhip is perhaps somewhat unusual. The GM is being elected by the officers, and should be re-elected (or changed) after 18 months. We have a minimum of 6 months leadership to ensure that the GM is not changed too often. The officers are appointed by the GM and the other officers in agreement – and we are very, very conservative about the goals and structure witin our guild. Knights of the Ancients has been around for 6 years now, and we hope to be around for a long time still.
    The guild has lived through every expansion and also 2 huge exoduses, 6 different guild leaders – and in this expansion KotA has downed a HC raidboss in the last raid tier of the exsisting expansion – yay us!
    Still, I am afraid of stagnation… of being too particular and too social-minded…
    So input like this is highly apreciated.

    • Lument says:

      Elected GM is an intriguing concept–I have never heard of a guild doing that. The potential complexities of campaigning, making and delivering on promises, and cycles of change seem like pretty big challenges to have on top of regular guild operation. Nevertheless, a commitment to minimum 6 months of leadership is definitely a crucial sticking point.

  2. Eminencehq says:

    I think for myself I treat a guild using a volunteered non-profit organization type of mentality. Like that it is a mix between running things with a business mentality where it definitely requires leadership and structure where at the same time you have to recognize that ultimately it’s about finding the right people who have similar goals and values where say helping and doing things to progress is because they are passionate about it.

    I personally find that to be the best balance as running it purely with a business type of mentality usually results in the game becoming a “job” or say a social club where it’s a who cares mentality where as a result no one is committed to doing things like end game. Of course, there is no right or wrong way as everyone has different goals and expectations.

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