Average Retail: $17.00 - $24.95
The Guild Leaders Handbook is a book thats recently been released, dedicated to the unsung heroes of MMOs the Guild Leader. It takes you step by step through the process of creating and maintaining a successful guild that will align with your goals and the way you have fun in the game. It covers recruitment, officers, websites, drama, loot, roleplaying, PvP, PvE, raids, and even how to meet in real life or how to deal with someone who is having relationship problems in the guild. Its written by Scott Andrews from WoW.coms Officers Quarters, a weekly feature about guilds in World of Warcraft. Though, we have to ask, does the book share the information were looking for and is it really necessary to have a book that tells you how to lead a guild? Well, lets peek inside of the book and find out if its really worthwhile.
Before I begin I would like to say, for full disclosure, that I have lead many successful guilds in many different games. One of the most prominent was the Angry Businessmens in Guild Wars, a guild (in a game dedicated to guilds) that was quite successful. I dont feel that Guild Leadership is something thats necessarily new to me nor something that Im a novice at. Additionally, Id like to provide a quick fact. The Daedalus Project, a psychological study of MMOs, found that about 15% of players were at one point or are currently guild leaders. Thats a lot when you apply it to WoWs massive population. Now that Ive disclosed those two points, lets continue.
Sitting down and reading a book about guild leadership is something I do find a bit strange. After all, most of us who lead guilds find ourselves either promoted to the role or naturally leading a group of friends to success, growing the group as we go. Yet, this book is very informative and entertaining, even for an MMO veteran such as me. A good example is the section on guild applications. Ive never given thought to the questions that Ive placed on applications until Ive read this book. The book includes a detailed section about the application, how you should think about the applicants reaction to each question (up to and including questions that determine the mental health of the applicant). Of course, for me, Ive often accepted people into the guild solely based on the fact that theyve thrown the application away and simply posted pictures of their cats.
Though, looking at the book through expert eyes may bring it into too much of a negative light. The new guild leader, someone who is starting fresh, may find a ton of information sitting within this tome of knowledge. Personally, though, I dont feel that this is the book for just for the new guild leader. Guild leaders are organic, trained through battle and a book like this will highlight how desperate you are to be in control. A trait thats bad for a guild leader, even though the book isnt a bad supplement (especially the parts on loot and drama).
This is a book for the common player. This is a book for everyone out there who plays MMOs, especially World of Warcraft, no matter their standing. From guild leaders down to the simple peasants who have yet figured out the trick to downing Hogger. It takes the guild leaders that we all take for granted and breaks down every problem, every bit of drama, and every decision they make and shows it us. It puts it right in front of us. Reading this book might make you a better guild leader, but more importantly this book will make you a better guild member or guild officer.
Thats why I will say that this is a very entertaining book for everyone, no matter where you stand in the game. Its something that helps explain every bit of the dynamic inside of a guild. Thats the kind of information that makes a good player a great player. Thats where I think this books strengths are, in the fact that we dont often think enough about how guilds work and instead just take advantage of the system.
Of course, with that said then we can obviously say the content of The Guild Leaders Handbook is solid. It is well written for a self-help book and contains a lot of information in an easy to read format. It goes into everything you need to know about starting a guild, keeping a guild running, loot, drama, officers, PvE, PvP, roleplaying, and meeting up in real life.
To that extent though, the last two topics on that list were a big problem for me. The part on erotic roleplaying was strange and awkward, although I will accept that it was necessary for the discussion. The part about meeting up in real life was really awkward for me, especially the part talking about sunscreen and checking about the laws about grilling out. Again, a section that was necessary, but not necessarily for me.
Additionally, I would have liked the book more if it focused just on World of Warcraft. The sections that went to talk about other games felt shoehorned in, outside of an excellent analogy to EVE Online (that really impressed me). It is clearly a book for WoW players, although a lot of the principles carry over to other games. That might just be a personal thing for me, though.
The only other complaint is the one I made earlier. You shouldnt be a guild leader if youre so desperate that you need to go out and buy a book to tell you how to be a guild leader. Its something thats organic. It comes with experience, practice, and a bit of natural talent. Of course, that doesnt mean to dismiss the book. Its a great book for reading and helps us all understand our gaming selves a bit better. It even has a lot of tips for current guild leaders, but no book can teach us lessons we have to learn ourselves in the game.
Overall I would say that this is a good book for some light reading. I had fun with it when I was reading it, many parts made me laugh and a lot of the book made me think, something that many books fail to do these days.
The Guild Leaders Handbook retails for $24.95, but is currently available from Amazon for about $17. Prices do fluctuate a bit, but for around $15 I see this book to be a fair value. You can purchase it from Amazon or directly from the publisher, No-Starch Press.
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