Archive for the ‘Guilds’ Category

A Raid Leader’s Manifesto

Posted: July 8, 2009 by Kendricke in Guild Leadership
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I saw a post by Suzina over at Kill Ten Rats that reminded me of a post I’d made within my guild’s forums.  In Suzina’s post, she talks about how monsterous she felt after she asked a particular underperforming player to sit out on a raid and he refused.  Later, the raid failed and she felt guilty – guilty because she didn’t kick the player when she knew she probably should have, guilty because she asked the player to leave and he felt badly over that, and guilty because the raid later failed. 

Raid leadership is tough.  It’s one of the hardest positions in any guild, but it’s particularly hard because it requires a cold, calculating aspect that many people find hard to pick up.  It’s truly a thankless job much of the time and it can be one of the more stressful ways to play an MMO. 

I wanted my own guild to understand what it’s like to lead a raid.  I wanted them to understand the pressures I place upon myself and the realities they place upon me each time I form up a raid.  I conveyed these facts to my guild in the following way:

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Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
-John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”

 

Over the past several weeks, my guild’s raid force has finally begun taking out targets we’d been after for months. It’s a source of pride to see more and more guildmate names broadcast to all of Guk server showing that we’re finally earning Mythical epic weapons. Personally, it’s also a source of relief and vindication: the plan worked. Frankly, for a while there, I wasn’t sure it would. I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing for my guildmates. I just wasn’t sure.

As a guildmaster, you’re going to be faced with many challenges. The older and more successful your guild becomes, the more challenges you’ll face. Different guildmasters will face challenges differently, to be sure, but sometimes the best plan is to scrap the plan. Sometimes, the best plan is to simply start over.

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Ten Years!

Posted: October 4, 2008 by Kendricke in Guilds
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On October 4, 1998, I founded the Legion of the White Rose as an online gaming guild for the MARI Telecom turn based strategy game “Archmage: Reincarnation from the Hell”.  It was a free to play Korean based game which picked up a massive (for its time) playerbase that numbered well into the tens of thousands (I believe there were 30,000 of us playing at one point). 

It’s been ten years to the day that I founded my guild.  During that time, we’ve founded 8 different chapters across six different games, maintained a mailing list which held over 500 addressees and had archived over 14,000 emails before we shut it down 3 years ago, and have seen more than 2,000 members fly our flag in various games. 

Currently, we hold two official chapters and a couple of casual chapters across four different games.  Our flagship chapter is our Regal Chapter, currently on the Guk server of Everquest II, while our Imperial Chapter calls the White Tower server of Warhammer Online home. 

With online gaming so relatively young, it’s very, very rare that we see guilds which are even 5 years old.  I can count on my fingers how many guilds I know of that have reached 10 years old or older…across all games.  I’m proud that I can now count one more.

Happy birthday, Legion.  I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store.

How NOT to Join the Guild of Your Dreams

Posted: August 7, 2008 by Kendricke in Guilds
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In the past month alone, my guild has had around 20 actual applications filed for membership.  Of those, we’ve brought in a dozen so far, and we’ll probably bring in half of the remaining applicants providing that their officer interviews pan out well.

I’m pretty proud of our membership application process, because it’s kept much of the drama out of our ranks that seems to afflict many other guilds so frequently.  Generally speaking, just the act of requiring an application to be filed weeds out roughly half of all potential applicants right away, while the applications and follow-up interview period probably cuts down another third of those who managed to make it that far.  That means only about one out of every three candidates for membership in our guild ever makes it to our ranks.

Now, keep in mind we’re not talking about a top end exclusive guild here.  Our requirements to join have no level restrictions, no referral or sponsorship requirements to apply, no requirement to use voicechat to join – if you can read and write English fluently, you don’t belong to a current guild, and you’re able to log on once every 30 days, you already meet our minimum requirements for membership.

So, even with the bar set that low, what keeps 7 out of every 10 potential members out of our guild?  Honestly, it’s almost always the same things.
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A little over a month ago, I was starting to grow concerned over some issues I was seeing regarding my guild.  Activity levels were starting to drop, raid attendance was starting to flag a bit, and I was starting to hear a bit more grumbling than I’m used to in our guild’s chat channels.  When we did raid, we often had to start late due to critical classes being absent, and even then our performance would often be much lower than expected.

None of these issues were particularly troublesome individually, but together, I was starting to see the patterns between the problems, and started to identify the problems I felt were the root causes.

I knew part of the problem was due to the standard summer “doldrums”.  I knew some members were trying out Age of Conan.  I knew other members were probably just tired of hitting the same content over and over.  I had to find ways to overcome these issues and put the guild back on track, or I knew I’d have to deal with the repurcussions all the way up till the next expansion.

It’s now six weeks later, and looking at my guild now, you’d hardly realize that the picture I painted above was ever an accurate depiction of my guild.  Activity levels are soaring.  Raid attendance is at record highs.  We’re taking down new targets frequently.  We’re receiving several new applications to join us per day, which enabled us to pick and choose 8 new members so far.

In less than two months, we’ve gone from a guild which was having issues just getting members to log in to a guild which is the envy of much of our server.

How did we do this?  More importantly, how can YOU do this?

I can’t speak for every guildmaster’s situation, but I can tell you the issues I identified and what I did about it.

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The Dark Side of New Recruits

Posted: July 11, 2008 by Kendricke in Guilds
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For nine summers I’ve watched.  Every year, I see it happen.  I know it’s coming.  I remind my members to prepare for it.  I try to warn other guildmasters what they can do about it.

Yet, every year, summer arrives and guilds die.

As I’ve mentioned previously, with the coming of summer, playtime tends to slump across the board.  In larger, more stable guilds, this is a time to weather the storm.  The more organized guilds simply accept the downturn in activity and wait for better days to arrive.  For other guilds, however, this drop off in online members can be a death knell.

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I’ve been leading my guild for close to 10 years now.  Throughout that time, I’ve learned a thing or two regarding the ebbs and flows of activity levels.  One thing I’ve learned along the way is to be constantly aware of a few times of the year that will naturally result in lower activity.

The end of spring is one of those times where you’ll start to see a dramatic drop off in nightly attendance.  Oh sure, your die-hards will be on no matter what’s going on, but as May starts to wind down and June starts up, I know that I’m going to start seeing some of my more consistent members suddenly not logging in as much as they used to.  I may even lose a few members to inactivity over the next month.

Come late August or early September, I’ll start to see a resurgence in activity levels again, but till then, I’m sure I’ll start seeing some issues with group formations or even raid starts.

Though there’s certainly no real way to prevent this from occuring, there are several actions that guild officers can take to mitigate the effect this will have on your memberships.
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