Updated Sun, Mar 09, 2008 by Messiah
For this weeks interview I sat down and chatted with Bind, who is the guild master of Visions of Anarchy on the Dragonblight server. Visions of Anarchy is a large and successful Horde raiding guild.
The Dragonblight server was one of the first new servers added by Blizzard a few months after the initial release of WoW. I happened across it a few days after creation while looking for a a server to try out a Horde character on and to start a new healer. Upon joining the server I met several players and became friends with them, and then joined a guild called Distorted Visions. Shortly after, Distorted Visions merged with another guild and became Visions of Anarchy. While initially I played my Priest as an alt there (and took forever to reach 60), I was always welcomed by guild members and felt right at home no matter how long I had been way. Now that I mainly play my undead Priest Mallaria on Dragonblight, I always feel welcome, and the guild itself appears to function smoother than any other guild that I have been in. This being the case, I decided to chat to Bind about WoW and guilds to see what kind of person it took to run a successful guild.
NOTE: To not confuse the poor reader, I have marked the conversation by my site name of Messiah and Bind's character name.
Messiah: Hello Bind, I would like to start by thanking you for sitting down with me to discuss who you are, a bit about your guild and your thoughts on WoW. I guess we should start with the basics, who are you, what do you do in real life, age and anything else you would like to tell us.
Bind: Thanks Messiah. My name in real life is Lee, I am 20 years old and a college student.
Messiah: Who long have you been playing WoW? How about other MMO’s?
Bind: I’ve been playing MMORPGS for several years. My first was Phantasy Star. After that, I spent about 5 months playing Anarchy Online. Before World of Warcraft, I was a big player in Final Fantasy XI. However after playing that for a year, and being disappointed by the pvp system I switched to WoW .
Messiah:What classes do you play? Which is your favorite and Why?
Bind: I usually play a melee damage class. However when I started WoW I wanted to try a caster, so made a mage. I still think it was a good choice and like my Mage, but had to make a 60 warrior to feed my melee urges.
Messiah: How do you play? Mainly raid, pvp, solo? Times?
Bind: My mage (Bind) is raiding speced as Arcane and Frost, and all I do is farm and raid with him. My warrior (Vorkane) is an Arms and Fury build and I mainly PVP with him.
Messiah:Have you ever ran a guild in any other MMO?
Bind: I did run a guild in FFXI, however the guilds were a bit different. My guild was a spin-off of another guild. We would go in my guild for pvp, and other events. You gotta play FFXI to understand how the guild system worked.
Messiah: What lead you to start a guild in WoW?
Bind: My first guild, when I first join wow, was called Sinister. It was a good start up guild but it split due to bad leadership. I started my own guild two days after that with a few buddies. My buddies were officers with me in it, but now they don’t even play.
Messiah: Can you give us a brief history of Visions of Anarchy?
Bind: Sure, the guild started as the Order of Anarchy. However we merged with another guild called Distorted Visions early on and renamed the guild Visions of Anarchy. Myself and the leader of Distorted Visions both had equal power over the guild and things ran well for a while. The other leaded left the guild for another server the week after our first MC attempt, and I took over the guild.
Messiah: What was your goal for VoA?
Bind: I really didn’t have an original goal with VoA. I didn’t understand the game at the time that I made the guild. By the time I was 60 my only goal was to do UBRS as many times a day as I could.
Messiah: How do you decide who gets into the guild? Who gets to stay?
Bind: At the same time that we became serious about the game and guild, we implemented an application process. In order for someone to join VoA, they must apply on our web site, and then get officer approval. Once accepted, they become a recruit and have a 2-3 week recruitment period where we decide if they stay or leave. After they get membership, they have to do something really stupid to get booted.
Messiah:How large has VoA gotten? Is that the size you see it staying? Do you still look to expand?
Bind: At one point we had over 150 accounts. That was actually a problem because administration become a harder. My goal is to have about 80 hard core accounts. Were at about 100 right now, and that seems to ne a really good number.
Messiah:What kind of looting system do you use and why?
Bind: We use a DKP looting system. We use it so that people that are fully geared continue to raid to earn points for future loot, and so that those who don’t raid enough won’t have the points to get loot.
Messiah: What about trade skill items and rep items from raids? Do you run a guild bank?
Bind: We do have a guild bank. We have a few people with high Thorium Brotherhood rep thanks to cores donated by the raid. We send BoE’s to the guild bank to either sell or distribute. The gold we generate from selling boe’s we use for buying raiding consumables or rare patterns in the ah.
Messiah: I hear a lot of "we" in your responses, what exactly is the guild structure and how do you break up duties?
Bind: The guild is basically me and a band of dedicated officers. We all pitch to get all the work done. Between running a raid, and doing the points, all officers get pretty beat up after a long week of raiding. I refer to we since it is really a big team effort with all of use doing a ton of work to keep things running smoothly.
Messiah: How much work and effort goes into running the guild each week? By you? Your officers?
Bind: Way too much effort then its worth sometimes. Everyone puts in a lot of effort and time. Thank god the epics are dropping thou.
Messiah: You always hear about guild animosity, is there any of that on your server? Are there guilds that you work together with? Compete with? How do you feel you rate against the other guilds on the server?
Bind: For the Horde, I believe we’re tied for third place right now. Two guilds have Nef on farm status, and were competing with another two guilds to be the next one to down him.
Messiah: What areas are you progressing through currently? What areas are in farm status?
Bind: We have Molten Core, Ony, ZG, most of AQ 20, and BWL up to Flamegore all on farm status. We are finishing up BWL and AQ20 right now.
Messiah: When working on new areas, do you look for guides, forum threads, etc for help, or does the guild do it on their own?
Bind: Yes, when moving through new raids we look for help to get the basic strategies down and find Wowiki.com to give a lot of help.
Messiah: Do you share your knowledge with others? Help others? Why or Why not?
Bind: Yes, we share any good advice with other guilds just as they share with us.
Messiah: What do you like most about WoW?
Bind: In FFXI, I swear the makers went out of there way to make things inconvenient. Blizzard is way above that; travel is fast, leveling is easy, money is easy to farm, etc… It's very well put together.
Messiah: What do you like least about it?
Bind: I hate the fact that after every patch I gotta redo my interface!
Messiah: What would you most like to see changed?
Bind: I want to build a house. Lots of other MMO's allow this, especially for guilds, I want it in WoW.
Messiah:What are your opinions on the raging raid / anti-raid debate regarding epic loot? Do you believe that non-raiders should get easy access to
Bind: If a non-raider has skill, and puts in the time outside of raids as well as putting money into consumables… In other words isn’t a gimp, I’m all for them getting epic loot. But if your just looking far a free handout in the form of epic loot, you can kiss my ass.
Messiah: What do you think about the upcoming change to level 70 cap? Do you look forward to it? Dread it?
Bind: I don’t like it. I’m afraid that all of my hard work will be worthless when we get the new cap.
Messiah: Yeah, we have heard that in the past from other guild leaders and players. The fear is that even the new level 70 quest blues (the ones that can be soloed or done in small groups) will be far better than the epic's earned after months of hard work in 40 man raids.
Messiah: After all the hard work put into the guild do you feel it is a success? How do you keep it successful?
Bind: Yes! The guild is very successful. To keep a guild successful you always need to look for good players. People quit the guild and / or the game all the time, so to stay successful we always need to watch for good players to replace those that leave.
Messiah: How do you keep yourself motivated? How about others in the guild?
Bind: Simple, it's all about progression. The first part of BWL can easily break a guild. We ended up being stuck on Razor and Vael for weeks, and I thought that would be the end of VoA. Thank god we are past them.
Messiah: Do you always set new goals?
Bind: Yes. As long as we're progressing, setting new goals is just an extension of that. Our current goal is to have BWL on farm status. After that, its on to AQ40.
Messiah: What’s the best thing about running a guild? How about the worse thing?
Bind: The best thing is that I get to make the rules. (smiles) The worst part is that I always have to set an example. I’m the last person who can break a rule and that can be frustrating sometimes.
Messiah: Has running an end game guild been worth the effort?
Bind: No comment. Because I really don’t know the answer. To be certain, It’s a great experience, but one I will never likely take again. There are several things that can get frustrating, like; constant spam, always updating the web site, reading nonsense, moderating adults who can’t get along, keeping the kids in line, etc, etc, etc …
Messiah: Any parting words for other GM’s either running guilds currently or starting new ones in WoW or other MMO’s?
Bind: If your starting a guild don’t make the mistake of tagging anyone and everyone right off the bat. Set a standard, be patient, and the good players will come to you eventually. Also, don’t let people get to you. Know that you can’t please everyone. When VoA implemented the DKP system many members were very upset and said some nasty stuff on the server forums (like:"VoA are communists"). Roll with the punches, defend your own, move on. Probably the most important thing though is that your officers had better be good players, communicators and easy to get along with. We are very lucky to have found a ton of people like this to be officers in VoA.
Messiah: Wow, that went a lot longer than I ever thought it would, Thanks again for spending your time with me Bind. It is always interesting to hear other players opinions on many of the issues with WoW, and even more so coming from someone who has had to deal with them while trying to run a successful guild.
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