I got into a little argument today with a fellow raider. I come from a background of a top 100 guild and he comes from a background of a top 10 guild. He had just topped off of his two professions Jewelcrafting and Engineering the min/max professions for a raiding DPS. This is because JC gives an extra stat when all three prismatic gems are used and engineering provides a burst of stats for other timed cooldowns. These are of course the same professions I’ve had for the last two months of raiding. A guild member who is ranked as “casual” brings up the fact that he wouldn’t level his professions to 525 max. He is of course remarking on the fact that you gain the raid benefit of these professions at around 505-510 of the skill. A person in fact does not have to ever bring it to max and they only really bring it to maximum if they are looking to make some gold.
His suggestion was that in a top guild you have the top players and that the skill difference between a top 10 guild like he was in and a top 100 guild that I was in is astro-metric. Of course, that is indeed false. Surely they cannot stand in AoE and they have to have some sort of output but their role in a raid is pretty minimal. Take for example the NHL which has 30 teams. If you win the Stanley Cup it does not mean you have the best players in the league. In fact there have been so many upsets where brand new inexperienced players have won the cup. In coming years those players went on to do nothing and become nothing. If the players actually were the big swing on whether teams won then you’d see more dynasty franchises (as there was in the NBA where all the good players literally were on one team). No in fact the best players in the NHL are not on the Stanley Cup winning team.
The real winner of Stanley Cups is coaches and hockey fans know this. This is why when a team loses horribly many years in a row their provocation is against coaches and not players.
This article is for you the leader, you can be one of two people (and may be one in the same) the raid leader and the guild master. In my humble opinion these two roles should be separate as personalities and roles are somewhat incompatible. You would have to be a scizhofranic for it to work with any degree of success. I will probably be doing this in two posts. So for now this is a compendium of guild manage/guild leader knowledge.
Section 1: Guild Manager/Leader
The roles and responsibilities of the guild manager/leader involves:
- Setting Social Policy
- Setting Raid Times
- Designing/Organizing Loot Scheme/System (DKP, EPGP, /roll)
- Recruitment: What you need and how to get it
- Guild Bank
1. Setting Social Policy
Different guilds have different ways of acting and communicating amongst each other. As a guild leader it is your job to facilitate an atmosphere conductive to your guild’s main activity. As a guild leader you will have to decide what that is exactly. If someone enters your guild and is immediately trashed for the low caliber of their gear then how welcome is that person going to feel? Said person is either going to quit or maintain a low self esteem. On the other hand if you’re running a progression guild and everyone is acting soft you probably won’t maintain members.
Setting a social policy means establishing to your members what is and is not considered to be acceptable behavior. This may mean keeping your raid leader in line or making some hard decisions on who to kick from the guild. Your guild will have an atmosphere and you need to maintain that. If you want to shift your guild towards more progression than you should change the attitude in your guild to fit with that.
You should also note that there is a need for ego control. When people start doing insanely well and become important parts of your guild they will want t0 be treated better than everyone else or believe themselves to be above the raid. This can lead to mistakes in encounters themselves. Truthfully some people just need to be put in their place. On the other hand people need their egos massaged. Suggesting that someone is doing something to improve their ego doesn’t help you. It just makes them angry at you. Putting someone in their place is as simple as telling them what you expect from the conduct of raiders. Massaging an ego is simply a public expression of them doing well.
2. Setting Raid Times
Setting a raid time can effect everything. You have to raid at the time where the maximum of your core can, but also must be at a time that others you will want to recruit can raid. My third guild ever had raid times between 2:30AM-6:30AM my local time. The guild was composed of a unique niche of English speaking Pacific gamers, insomniacs (like myself) and people with odd work schedules. The niche worked out as the guild was always filling up on apps and was just constantly over capacity. As other guilds opened up to fill in this niche suddenly the realization set on guild management that their ability to recruit for this time slot was diminishing. The decision was made in Wrath to transform into a 10-man guild instead of changing a time slot. They knew if they wanted to raid 25s again they would have to change their raid time.
Raid time has to be good for you as well. Remember you are going to be putting in extra time into the start up of the guild so if the raid time is stressful it just will not work.
3. Designing The Loot Scheme
A loot scheme is important for the function of your guild. Getting loot itself is not important. It is a signal received from blizzard. However what you do with it might be important. There are two main concerns with loot the first is the needs of the guild and the second is honoring those who have put the time in. You need to find a personal balance between these two and because of this you will always need some sort of loot council. More often than not people will cry for gearing tanks and healers first but in all reality most encounters require high DPS as well. So keep in mind when you are loot councilling loot you’re not doing it based on expectations but instead off of current needs. Who gets loot should of course be based around an expected raiding team. I mean you really don’t want some casual who raids once a month to take amazing loot over someone who shows up all the time do you?
This is the most basic system and is most often the one used in pugs. It is also the worst one for progression. It can only really work out in a fairly balanced 10-man raid. You need people who are using different armor types (hit cloth vs spirit cloth) and on top of that… you have to be successful. If you clear a lot of content everyone will get gear. If you do not clear content. I have used /roll in one guild I ran and it worked out pretty well. It worked out simply because we were all friends and we made sure to have one of every class in the raid.
3.2: Dragon Kill Points (DKP)
This system was first developed in Everquest in order to distribute loot off of the various world dragons that would drop loot. The concept was simple, you would gain dragon kill points for killing the dragon and you would spend them on the loot that dropped. A simple electronic bartering system for simple times. Over the years important aspects have been added in. Bidding systems have been added so that higher demand items are guaranteed to cost more. People have implemented decays so that people’s total DKP does not go out of control.
One of the major disadvantages of DKP systems is just that its systems plural. There’s no set of instructions on how to build one and because of that you are going to have to do trial and error. How much should DKP hours be worth? How much should a boss kill be worth? Should DKP count if loot is distributed to that person? Should people get DKP for shards? What’s your decay rate? Will DKP cap? Can DKP go negative?
You are going to have to figure this out on your own and what some do might not work out for your particular raiding situation. When I was GM of my second guild I used a DKP system that had no cap. This caused problems as peoples DKP went out of control as people started raiding preparing their DKP for the next tier of content. Of course my solution to this was to tier off DKP and make it so you can only transfer so much DKP from one to the other. It wasn’t a popular decision by any means but it was a compromise that people appreciated.
If you’re looking for something I did it went something like this:
DKP per hour: 2
DKP per boss kill: 1
Weekly decay rate: 10%
Bid: Open bid in raid chat
The biggest disadvantage to a DKP system is that it is a legacy system. If you have been with the guild for a long time you will be the first person to get every single piece of loot. This means that you will probably be receiving every single piece of loot second in this kind of guild. In a guild that is farming this system works fine. However when you are progressing it always sucks knowing that the next eight pieces of gear are going to the guy ahead of you no matter what. This means that newer members in the guild may be waiting multiple months before they see a single piece of loot.
As a second disadvantage people like to “hoard” DKP. This is why a decay ratio is necessary. People will see that they need one piece of loot more than another and so instead of getting upgrades they will trade out on getting upgrades in favor of waiting on that one magical piece of loot. Just overall discourages people from getting any loot at all since the threat of never seeing another piece of loot again after that is so high.
3.3: Effort Points – Gear Points (EPGP)
This system first showed up in Burning Crusade but really did not see any popular application until Wrath of the Lich King. The biggest complaint about this system was that it was doing what DKP was meant for, except less effectively. That is the rigid values of GP were not allowing for loot counciling control. Usually when you get loot counciled something you’re going to receive a pretty minor penalty for it. When you are loot councilled you are not choosing to spend your resource. With EPGP initially there was no difference between receiving something from high GP, roll or loot council, it recorded everything as the same.
The addon for it can be found here at Curse.com. The concept is pretty simple. You can reward effort points for time in the raid and bonus effort points for first boss kills or mass farming contribution projects. Gear points are rewarded for obtaining gear. Note this is NOT A CURRENCY SYSTEM. You are not gaining something then spending it. In the instance of both effort and gear points they will always steadily go up. The merit for loot distribution is on who has the higher ratio of effort points to gear points. These addons have designated value points for gear so that stuff does not have to be tampered with. The main thing with this system is consistency.
That is, if you are rewarding 1 effort per hour of raiding and 2 for a new boss kill then make sure it stays the same all the time. Do not get into the habit of increasing these values because it will just throw off ratios. If you want to make any changes you have to do a full reset of all people’s values or consequently go back to each individual person and change what they were gaining to match with what they are getting now.
The advantage to this system is pretty clear. In the long run you are going to have a healthier guild. In a DKP system if a person was to take a week off from raiding they could easily fall behind everyone in the guild within the week. This is because these people would be picking up loot for cheap (cheap now that you’re not there keeping them honest) and they’re accumulating DKP as well. So in a DKP system you are always feeling like you should make every single raid instead of taking some necessary time off for a vacation. When you leave with a ratio you ratio stays the same. If guild members are picking up gear they go behind on their ratio. They may accumulate more EP and if they don’t pickup loot by the time you come back then obviously they deserve said loot, but you won’t find any of these weird DKP situations where someone is just picking up tones of loot while you’re off.
If you’re understanding this vacation scenario then you’ll understand it makes sense in a guild that is overburdened with members. If you have people sitting out they are going to feel cheated if a piece of loot gets won for a bid of 1. An EPGP system will make it so that people sitting out will get rewarded properly without any sort of sitting punishment which is present in DKP systems.
The biggest disadvantages to this system are of course for starters it’s reliance on an addon to do loot. If the addon ever bugs out or needs to be updated than you really are unable to do loot for the week.
Another major concern with this loot system is how insanely favorable it is to new people in the guild. After a night a new guild member will gain EP but still have little GP. This means that if you have been picking up every single upgrade your brand new member can hypothetically snake one of those major upgrades.
3.4: The Loot Council
This is probably the slowest system you will ever see specifically because it relies on a republican council. A proper loot council will be devised of proportional representation from your guild. In the days of a 40-man guilds (which usually had between 200-300 members) you would have an officer for each class, an officer in charge of recruitment, a raid leader, the loot master and the raid leader in a council. So that is 13 people on the council. 12 people would give a vote and if there was ever a tie the guild leader’s role would be to break the tie. A piece of loot would be presented in guild chat and if the piece of loot was an upgrade you would display in a tell to the loot master if it was an upgrade. The loot master would take all names to officer chat and each council member would vote on who they felt should get it.
In today’s setting you’re not going to have 13 officers in a guild. You might have 5. This makes loot counciling a little more elitist and more open to favoritism.
In a 10-man guild loot councils can be composed of the entire guild. The key part to a loot council is that you have to actively discuss the piece of loot and why you feel said person deserves it. This means this system is going to be intellectual driven and loot decisions can cover both merit and need. As an obvious downside it is open to corruption and favoritism.
In the end whatever loot system you go with has to be appropriate to your guild’s situation. Your loot system has to be approved by the majority members of your guild or else they will just not want to do it. If you cannot present a reason why you do things then they’ll be upset about it.
Recruitment is possibly the most important aspect of being a guild master. You can think of recruitment in three ways: resource, standard, and trialing.
Your resource is the number of possibly applicants you can draw from. As a first tip never try and make a guild or really play on a Low Pop server. Low Pop servers are death for any guild. On a low pop server you better help there are very few guilds or else you won’t be able to raid. Low Pop servers are insanely political meaning that you are going to have to steal members from other guilds in order to survive. Honestly aim for medium to high pop realms or else you just will not find members.
A lot of people like to do the trade channel advertisement. This is effective in letting people know your recruitment needs or advertising that your guild exists. It’s not actually a particularly effective way of attracting people to your guild however. People like to be approached. The best members you will recruit are going to be pugs or friends of friends. The key part in attacking your recruiting is that you need to have contact with this individual somehow. You cannot just randomly invite people into your guild and hope for success.
Reputation is an insanely important concept when you are recruiting from your own realm. People that are joining your guild with any semblance of gear should be known on your server in some such way. You do not have to 100% consider their opinion but their opinion should carry some weight. I mean if the opinion if a recruited raider is “constantly AFKs” and the first thing he does is AFK, that opinion has been verified. A person’s reputation is going to determine how you will monitor them. If a person has a particularly poor reputation you will probably emphasize on that aspect of him.
Beyond that you are going to have to blindly invite people to guild with limited information on them. This will mean you will need a standard, covered in the next section.
As another resource to mention for recruitment considering checking out blizzard’s Guild Recruitment Forums. There are literally hundreds of server transfers every day. People are transferring for a reason. Some are transferring to look for a new start on a new server. Some are looking to get off a high population server. Some have found guilds through the guild recruitment forums. Either way there is a vast untapped potential here. A few things about these forums:
- Top rated guilds all come and maintain threads on this forum. Even top rated guilds are needing people. Do not be intimidated by this. Although a lot of people are going to app to top rated guilds it does not mean they will not look at yours.
- The forum moves insanely fast. I mean insanely fast. If the first page held 30 threads there will be 120 active threads being bumped every 5 minutes. This means that in order for you to get noticed you are looking at bumping this thing every 2-3 minutes for some serious front page exposure.
- People post individually on this forum so if you sift through 8-9 pages of forum posts and try and contact these people you may get lucky if you are what they are looking for.
- Make sure your post is informative and states your needs. You should give a history of your guild including any major achievements from any of the expansions, your current status and your current recruitment needs. Too many guilds get caught away in 10-page ballads about their guilds… just not necessary at all.
- Title should catch an eye. It doesn’t need to be shock an awe but if you need a hunter, a hunter should go and want to click on it.
If you are going to tap into this resource you will need to LOOK PROFESSIONAL. No one wants to join a guild that looks like it was put together by a 5-year old. A guild web site is essentially if you are going to be recruiting cross realm. People on other realms will not be aware of your progression and will not want to put the effort into finding it. Linking your WoWProgress profile will help if it is accurate. But that isn’t all that professional. Think of your web site as a way of them leaving you a message. What kind of message do you want from someone? I bet you want it to be clear, concise and direct. So setup your web site in that regard.
Most people use their application forms on a forum. Make sure your recruitment section is accessible by everyone and make sure that it is as easy for them to post as possible. Think of this, if you have to apply for a guild and you have to register for their forums first are you really going to want to do it? The guild would have to be amazing for that. Some guilds even require you to verify yourself via email which is just annoying and unnecessary. Big guilds get harassed and need this spam protection, you probably do not.
You are also going to want to start taking screen shots of boss kills. If you are just starting a web site after many boss kills I would suggest taking screen shots of all your boss kills from here on out and just make up headlines and post each screen shot as if you had this web site for a long time. You can edit dates to coincide with your kill dates. You just need to give the impression that this web site has been around for a while as has your guild.
If you can give the presence of a professional run guild you will attract way more people. Your forums don’t have to be active. Hell your forums can just be recruitment forums. They don’t need to know there’s nothing else there until they join. Your web site may also indicate the standard of quality in your guild to people joining which is of course, very important. In one of my guilds the title of every single kill post involved calling hard modes easy and making it look like we didn’t even have to try to kill these bosses. Even something like a boss that took three weeks might be titled “20 days for everyone to log on, 1 day to kill the boss.” Case in point be careful with indicating that you struggled on a boss unless its pretty well known that its a hard encounter. No one wants to go down as the person who called Patchwerks hard.
Standard is a 2-fold approach, the standard for your guild and the standard for your recruit. Each represents one in the same as each member of your guild must meet the standard of the guild and the guild must meet the standard of the members.
When you are looking for a recruit you need some sort of scale as to know whether this person is good enough for your guild. Remember you are not taking some random nobodies in your guild. If you do that you will have to fail with them in raid to figure out whether or not they are worth anything. Your standards can be rigid or they can be flexible. For example in the last guild I was in I required recent WorldofLog/WoWMeterOnline information to indicate how they are doing on DPS/HPS. This also told me how much avoidable damage they are taking, a nice way to see a players skill.
Remember that your standards are evaluations. Not everyone is going to immediately meet your standards, people have to be molded into it. When you accept someone into your guild you need to let them know where they need to improve. A typical standard for me is:
- Knows his/her class entirely
- All gear enchanted/gemmed
- Max level professions (within reason must have access to personal stat buffs)
- Positive raiding attitude
- Willing to take time to research fights
- Must have microphone, head phones, and ventrillo
- Must download and use all required raid addons
- Must attend 80% of raids over a one month cycle
- Maximize performance in raids
These are pretty simple standards but they are those that I can keep track of in a scientific manner and if the person does not comply I can deal with it. Some people may have a modified version of this list. Some people feel that a person should only know their spec instead of their class. Some people feel that fights should only be explained by the raid leader. Some do not require you to be audible in vent. Whatever it is your guild needs some organized standard for the recruitment process. When the time comes you should be able to tell a person how they need to improve with a criteria you have already set.
Your guild will also be looking towards you to maintain a standard. It might be a little simpler. Something along the lines of a pleasant atmosphere, killing bosses, raid at raid times, and/or high quality members.
If you stop looking for a standard in your members and your members stop looking for a standard in you, you will quickly find your raiding experience will end fast.
Your guild needs to have some sort of apprenticeship type program. The goal of an apprenticeship is to groom someone who is newer to what you’re doing to standards set by the industry (in this case by the raiding community) and to your own company (or in this case your guild). There are variable designs for trialing. The ones that top guilds in the world use are most often the worst kind. Their trialing goal is to get the best one player out of a large group of trials. They are simply monitoring their standard and the person who is performing best will stay in the guild. It works pretty well for them because larger guilds post their videos on YouTube and so a person can actually research how the guild does things. A person’s work ethic is taken heavily into account.
But if you’re not receiving ten applications a day then you are probably going to want a more realistic trialing process. The most important part of trialing is monitoring. It does not make sense that one person (you) monitor every single person in great detail. It’s too much work and you have more important things to do with your time. You will want to assign someone to monitor the performance of an individual. The person should be looking for positive and negative qualities of that player.
They should also help that player in any way improve their performance. After all if a person is messing up on something it is in your interest to have them fail as little as possible. This person should make this person aware of boss mechanics and how the boss works, specifically in regards to their class type. So a proper monitor for your guild will be someone who has a similar role to that one, ideally the same class if possible. However having a prot paladin evaluating a holy paladin is not optimal. You want melee evaluating melee, rogues and hunters looking at each other, casters looking at each other, healers looking at each other and tanks evaluating each other. You should have a good idea of how all the specs work but you shouldn’t make yourself responsible for looking after everyone.
With this you are going to be limiting the amount of time you are spending on giving boss explanations. This will help you in overall progression and raid management.
Trialing is also important for protecting your long standing members. Your members are not going to like the fact that they are being replaced and geared over someone who is new to the guild.
Upon entering my most recent guild I was promoted entirely based on my reputation as an amazing DPS. As it stands I’m currently the highest DPSing warlock on the server. For them this was enough to give me full guild benefits including flasks, food buff, pots, and guild repairs. I started receiving loot immediately. How do you think this made my fellow raiders feel?
5. Guild Bank
The guild bank is not new to raiding but it is new to being a raiding guild requirement. In the olden days you would use alts as banks and just store a few essential things like Hearts of Darkness or Core Leathers. It was presumed at some point that they would be distributed. There was a sense of trust. When Blizzard implemented the guild banking system all of that went away. If something that was “banked” did not show up in the guild bank it could be brought up into question. If the amount of gold from selling epics did not look right then. The guild bank has also created the habit of the random donation. When people had needs before they would tell their guild members specifically what they needed to farm out and then make a guild effort to farm it. Sometimes it could be an EPGP or DKP event. However with the new guild bank people just end up throwing anything they do not need in the guild bank for the off chance that someone else will find it useful.
When I run a guild bank I leave one completely open called the “community tab.” This is the only tab that can be used for donating or withdrawing from the guild. You set something around 4-5 withdrawals a day and let people dump their stuff in there. If something has been sitting in there for a long time I’ll either vendor it or put it on the auction house. If there’s actually important stuff put in I’ll put it to another guild tab. The important part is control, don’t let your guild members just randomly throw all their crap in there.
Your guild bank should function as a resource center for what you will be providing in all or some raids. For example my bank setup is as follows:
Tab 1: Fish/Meat
Tab 2: Herbs
Tab 3: Consumables/BoEs
Tab 4: Mining and Gems
Tab 5: Community
That’s it, 5 tabs. 8 are available but I only need 5. The first tab is for making food. However we got both the Seafood Magnifique Feast recipe by fishing 10000 fish from pools and the Broiled Dragon Feast from cooking 5,000 Cata foods. Since these recipes are BoE we want to keep our food stocked in case the regular person who drops feasts cannot make it that night.
Our second tab herbs works in the same way. Because we crafted so many flasks we have access to the Cauldron of Battle. You get this from making 1,000 flasks. We have flasks in this tab at the moment because we made 1,000 flasks and we use those to make the cauldron. Before I left the guild we were planning to use up those flasks and then use this tab specifically for herbs. At the time of me leaving this tab actually only had the herbs to make pots we might use in raids.
Our third tab was for finished goods and BoE epics we would get from the raid. The BoEs get stuck in the guild vault for a set period of time where people can see them. If no one requests it after a week we will sell it on the auction house.
Finished goods are any sort of crafted item that is used for itself. That is we consume it or wear it. There are no herbs in this tab. There are massive numbers of pots and flasks. We get carried away and we make sure it is full but realistically you only need a months worth of raiding materials in your guild bank.
Our fourth tab is for mining and gems. We do gem our guild members so we had a guild JC just prospect a bunch of elementium we bought for cheaps and drop the gems in there. Green gems transform into blue gems or get sold on the auction house (they sell extremely well for whatever reason).
BUT TROUBLMAKER WHERE DOES ALL THIS STUFF COME FROM!?!?!
Glad you asked. Raiding makes a tonne of gold. You would be surprised by how much gold established guilds have. There is now a guild perk that earns you 5%/10% gold from looting mobs. So the larger your guild is literally the more gold you will be making. I often found myself inviting people of all levels into the guild just so they’d feed us guild XP and gold. You are also eventually going to find BoE epics that people do not want anymore. Eventually you will have so much gold you will not know what to do with it (unless you of course have been properly spending it).
Gold is going to build up slowly and so you need to pace your spending. What you need to do is set priorities, that is what will you offer as a guild. Obviously the more you offer as a guild the more attractive your guild will be for recruitment. If you’re looking to attract a player of my caliber I will want to spend nothing at all on raiding. My priority for raiding was to make sure that everyone was flasking, so we provided flasks. We felt repairs were something that could come later because everyone was going to repair regardless… but not everyone feels the same way about flasking… especially when an hour of flasking costs 150 gold.
So if each flask costs us on average 150 gold to make and we raid three hours we will need 30 flasks. That means for each night of content we would need 4500 gold. That would mean a 5 day raid week is 22500 gold respectively. Obviously you won’t be flasking for all fights so you can cut some costs there. But with this you will need to average one BoE epic a week in order to sustain it. Guild repairs end up being far cheaper (hence why so many guilds offer them) sitting at roughly 200 gold per person (10,000 gold per week).
You need to be able to get a good idea of how much gold you’re making per week before you can figure out what you can spend. If you have inconsistency in services you provide it will be bad. Think of a raid encounter that requires food buff and flask to do. Every week but this one you have provided it. Suddenly everyone is forced to get it on their own. You’re wasting raid time and you are demoralizing the troops. Remember that services your guild provide are going to keep people in your guild. I mean who wants to leave a guild that provides three square meals a day for one that doesn’t? Blizzard added in guild perks to emphasize this simple fundamental that you as a guild master should be enforcing every single time.
Not everyone is meant to be a manager of something. The guild leader is likely to be one of the most unpopular people in the guild because he does all the work and gets none of the credit. At the end of the day you are making all of the big decisions in the guild. You are the one who gets the final say in things. If you cannot handle that responsibility you probably shouldn’t be doing it. What I’ve out lined here are your bare minimum standards of what you need to do to have a successful guild. You may need to provide more to be the best.
Edit: February 26, 2011:
– Added in Guild Bank section
– Updated link for EPGP mod