Updated Wed, May 06, 2009 by Messiah
Guilds in the World of Warcraft are like plants and weeds in your real life garden. Some come up and grow into maturity and provide a positive benefit to those in and around them. Others spring up, cause issues, wither and die or are stamped out. What makes one guild be considered a weed and another considered a flower? That’s what I look at here in this guide to Guild organization in the World of Warcraft.
You can find a place to create a guild in any capital city.
As you can probably guess from the very title of the article, my strong opinion on what allows one guild to flower and grow, while another lies fallow or grows into a pestilent organism is organization. A lot of a guild’s dynamic comes about right from the beginning, and spawns from…
When a guild starts, its direction is set by its founding members. While many things can change over time, if a guild is created as a levelling guild, it will likely remain a levelling guild. The same holds true for PvP, raiding, and social guilds. Therefore it is important to determine from the start what kind of guild you are creating; have a vision and stick with it.
Keep in mind that no single type of guild is better than another. It is better or worse to individual players though. A PvP player will not feel comfortable or fit in very well in a hard core raiding guild, for example. That doesn’t mean the guild isn’t a good guild, just that it does not fit that players needs. Keep this in mind as a guild grows and changes over time, players will come and go due to their personal play preferences. It is probably not a statement on the guild itself, but on what those players want from the game. If a guild sticks to its core direction, it will be successful over time.
Is being a guild leader in you?
The guild leader is the person that holds it all together. Without them, there is no guild. That being said, not everyone is a leader. While anyone can make a guild in the World of Warcraft and be a guild leader, not many people should be. Consider in real life, how many friends do you have, how many of them would you call leaders? How many would you follow into life and death situations? How many do you trust implicitly to make split second decisions? For most of us, that number is pretty low. Yet that is what we are asking most guild leaders to be, and what they should be. Therefore, realize up front, that while you can create a guild, being a guild leader is not for everyone.
Realize as well that there is no shame in not being a Guild Leader. Just as in real life not everyone can be President (nor would we want many to be), it does not make you any less a person because you are not. From the highest level player to the lowest, we are all just players, just as in life we are all just people. If being a guild leader is not for you, there are always officer positions in most guilds, or just be a member and help others out.
Once a guild has a leader it needs (or at least should consider) guild officers. These players are there to keep some of the administrative burdon off of the Guild Leader and provide players someplace else to look for help, when the Guild Leader is not around.
A guild officer’s purpose really depends on the guild’s purpose. In a levelling guild they may be there to help players by pointing out the best places to level, or to help organize group questing. In raiding guilds officers are likely the ones to organize and run raids. In a PvP guild, they would tend to help arrange arena teams and battleground groups. In any type of guild there could also be class officers, bankers, raid leaders, and many more. The exact types and numbers of officers really depend on the guild itself.
A lot of responsibility can be placed on officers, and the membership at large looks at them as a reflection of the guild, so choose carefully. All you need to wreck a guild is one officer flying off the handle at someone and the guild can fall apart.
Once a guild is formed, many players need a sense of purpose or place in a guild. Even if they will never be an officer, they still need to know where they fit in. That’s what ranks are for. The ranks that a guild need are really determined by the type of guild.
In a levelling guild, for example, it would be perfectly fine to have a guild leader, class officers, and then a rank for each 10 level bracket. In a PvP guild you may break up the players by arena score, total kills, guild elimination tournament or some other method. In a raiding guild you may have raid leaders, raiders, alternate raiders, and alts.
In all guilds you will have the guild leader at least, and likely officers to assist. In addition it is a good idea to have a probation rank for new players and a banker rank. The probation rank can be used to keep track of new players for a probationary period and potentially limit their access to the bank, guild chat, or more. Having a banker rank, makes it easy to assign a few officers banker alts access to the bank without having to assign all officers bank access.
There are many different ways a guild can be organized. Find what works best for you and then ask players for comments and adjust as needed.
Every guild should have rules of general conduct. Even if the rule is anything goes, it should be stated and made clear so that everyone can see it, knows it, and understands it. Some of the most basic rules are things such as a swearing policy, whether or not insults are tolerated, how people should be treated, and more.
You do not need a huge list of rules, but anything that you expect should be made very clear. This can and should include simple statements that describe the guild’s purpose and rules such as:
“We are a friendly levelling guild. We expect all players to assist each other when requested as much as possible. However, there is no begging for aid or items in guild and everyone should be able to play their own game, so if you need assistance ask, but if now one is available do not keep repeating it.
We expect players to be available to help each other in group quests and instances Tuesdays and Thursday evenings. If you need help, or an instance run, please save it for then.
We are also a family guild, so keep it clean, no swearing, no putdowns, and be friendly.”
The above statement while not completely defining everything to a tee, is descriptive and sets the tone of what is expected in the guild.
Although many players will argue that loot rules are not needed for most guilds, I disagree. Loot starts more fights and arguments than any other single thing in the game. I have seen players rant and rave over someone getting a piece of loot that they believe they should have received, and then leave the guild more times than I can count. I have seen this equally with end game raid epics and level 20 blues that you will replace in a few levels.
A simple fact is that when loot is involved, greed kicks in and common sense tends to go out the window. While having rules will not alleviate all of the issues surrounding loot, it will help. Therefore set out rules in advance and then spam them again before every raid or run.
Situations that are unclear always arise however and the guild leader and officers should discuss loot early on in the guild’s existence. They should have a certain “feel” for what they want, and all agree. This way any of them can step into an argument in guild about loot and resolve it in a similar manner to any other officer would.
In raiding guilds, it is strongly recommended to have some very clear rules, such as “we use DKP” or “we have a loot council that decides all raid gear’s destination for the betterment of the guild”. While no one solution fits all guilds, your guild needs to have is predetermined.
Guild size can be important depending on the type of guild you run. Some guilds tend to go great no matter the size. For example, a social guild can work at 10 players all the way through to 500 players. PvP guilds also seem to do fine no matter the player number. Levelling guilds tend to do better the more players they have, as it then ensures that someone is near your level to help.
A guild of almost any size will work, depending on what you expect.
A raiding guild tends to work best at set sizes. The size depends on the raid size that they aim to complete. For 10 man raiding, that number is about 12-13 core players and several alts. For 25 man raiding it is about 30 cores and then several alternates. This is due to a few simple things. The first is that inevitably not everyone will attend every raid, yet the rest will still want to raid, so you need some spares. The second is that everyone wants to go, and therefore you do not want too many extras or people will feel they are always sitting out and look elsewhere.
These are not the only sizes that work, and in some cases any size will work, but remember no matter if you have been told otherwise, “size matters”.
When creating a guild it is important to think about guild resources. Many guilds do not need anything outside of the game, such as levelling guilds. However, how many raiding or PvP guilds would attempt to exist without Ventrilo or Teamspeak? Also, many guilds require a website and forums so that they can set up guild raids, PvP, and other events ahead of time and notify their players.
Guildportal.com is a great place to host your guild's website.
While not necessary, you should consider these things initially and ensure you have what you need. For instance, many players will not join a guild that does not have a website or ventrilo, knowing that they are not likely to raid.
Picking a Guild
Let’s face it, after reading all this, many of you will be overwhelmed and not want to start your own guild. Maybe you just want someplace to play, and this whole bit about running a guild sounds too much like work. That’s perfectly ok, if everyone ran their own guild it would be a pretty sad world, as no one would socialize. So, how do you find a guild?
Start with playing with people as much as you can. Play the way you normally play, if you like instances, find groups in the LFG system. If you like levelling, try talking to people in your zone. If you like PvP, chat with players in battlegrounds. If you are a raider, look in LFG and check the official forums for your server.
The important thing is to see what’s out there that fits your play style. Don’t just jump at the first invite you get. Determine what you really like to do and find a guild that does it at your level. There is no good reason to join a PvP guild if you hate PvP, just like joining a raiding guild when you are not max level will not do you much good. Besides the type of guild, make sure the players suit your style. If you like to socialize and chat, and everyone is a hard core raider and speaking is forbidden in raids, it’s probably not the best fit. Keep looking until someplace just clicks and feels like home. There are a lot of guilds out there, you will find one.
As you can see, what is required in a guild more than anything is a preset structure and organization. While that structure or organization may not fit everyone, it will allow you to attract, keep, and succeed with other players that do fit in.
Very few guilds are perfect for everyone, so my suggestion is do not try to be. Stick to what you like, organize around it, do it well, and go from there. After all, the World of Warcraft is a game; it should be fun. Don’t try to become what you are not, for a game.