7 Habits of Highly Effective Guildmasters
Sometimes, MMO players (and their avatars) qualify for the minimum requirements in forming a guild within the current game they’re playing. Be it level requirements, money or item requirements, etc – more often than not, most will say “Hey! I can start my own guild now… let me just hop on over to the NPC and then I’ll invite my friends”.
Sadly, this process is just the start of a long and ardous journey. A journey which is not for the faint of heart, which calls for dedication, leadership and a HUGE amount of your time. So, if you are forming your guild to be competitive and have no idea what you’re getting into, this post of mine might help…
What follows are 7 tips or habits that GdMs (I use this abbreviation to separate it from the “GM” norm) can emulate:
1. Have A Vision – First, ask yourself the question “Why am forming this guild???”. The answer can be one of many choices: to “dress up” your characters (of yourself and your members), to compete in PVP or in a tournament, to become the best in the server, or simply to “kick ass” (*hey – that’s a goal). Whatever your answer is, it must be clear to YOU and your members. Everyone must share the common vision or else your guild is doomed to failure. It would be wise to discuss this with your “core group” even before you form your guild.
2. Write Things Down - whether you collaborate online in an official guild forum, e-mail list or blog it’s best to write things down. Better make sure that your medium is a private one if you don’t want your secrets to fall into the hands of the enemy. It would also be good to invest in a notebook (the paper kind, not the PC) with a calendar where you can keep track of goals, guild treasures, expenses and other unfinished quests or raids. Share this with your lieutenants and your other leaders.
3. Lead by example – if you don’t want your members to be late for a raid or instanced quest, you gotta be the first one there. Don’t want them using 3rd party programs or cheating, then you should be the first one to condemn such acts. Remember, followers will (duh) “follow”. As a GdM you should be setting the standards. What you do (ingame and iRL) reflects not just on you but on your guild as well.
4. Have Rules - As part of Habit#3 above, having a guild “Code of Conduct” (whether a simple or complex one) is a must. You should set rules on membership, responsibilities, and sanctions and penalties for offenders. There will be Chaos if there are no rules. And as uber-GdM, it is up to you again to enforce these rules. Of course, you will have your fellow leaders to help you along the way. My personal motto on this is to be “firm yet fair”. Easier said than done… but striving to follow the rules will go a long way to keeping order within your ranks and avoiding factions and politics.
5. Be There When They Need You –
“Ok… we’re up against a bad-ass guild… but where is our fearless leader???”
“Ahh… I think he went his mom to buy groceries. He won’t be logging in”
I’m not saying that you frag your mom and avoid shopping altogether! The point is; to be there for your group when they need you. Remember, I told you that when you took this job it WILL require a LOT of your time. If you are not prepared for this, you will have some troubles along the way. Sometimes you cannot say no to personal events or schedules. Try to come up with a solution by appointing a “next in line” to take over the chores for you. If you communicated all tasks well ahead of time, this wouldn’t be a problem.
6. Know the Game – As a leader people will look up to you and PM you for a LOT of questions. Either you’re a super dork and know all the trivial things like how much a certain item wieghs or you take some time do your homework and research about your game on the web. You can appoint the “rules lawyers” within your group to this for you (They’ll love you for and be honored, hehe). But you must know at least the major features of your game to be an “expert” so that you can help your new members as well.
7. Treat Everyone Fairly - this is a tough one. This is easier said than done. Sometimes you will have “favorites” within your group (heck, you’re only human). But don’t be unfair and give all the rare drops to that dude 3 weeks in a row! Your members are not dumb and they WILL see through that. You have to be fair in all your actions. Loot division is central to most guilds. Everyone must know the rules to this (see Habit#4) to avoid squabling and whining.
I hope that aspiring and current GdMs learned a little something from the above. Let me leave you with a quote:
“Great things are not done on impulse, but by small things done together” - Van Gogh
Best of luck in your guild(s)!