Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Guilds and intrinsic sub-structures

Ok ok the title was a little far fetched and made to be a little bit complex sounding but this post will actually be about guilds and various sub-structures in guilds so it's not completely off base.

The whole thing was brought on by one of our guild's resto shamans deciding to respect enhancing and skip town. The primary reason was that he didn't have enough to do as a healer. There was no real reason for him to leave because no one would've complained about him being an enhancing shaman for as long as he liked.

Still we're not here to judge the little bastard for his decision but to take a look at how to deal with the constant flux of members especially in the healer and tank department because well... I've never heard of a DPS shortage.

People will leave guilds. Reasoning is not important, some are selfish, some get a life, others are just burnt out or looking for attention but people will leave.

Assuming that you can't prevent people from leaving a guild the only realistic thing you can do is make sure that the gap that's left by the person leaving is filled as good as possible.

Sure you can ask people to respec, but more often than not this has it's own downsides: People playing a spec that they don't enjoy, people feeling 'forced' to do things they don't want to do and so forth and so on.

This doesn't leave much room for anything else except to work with new healers and train them as fast as possible but also leaves the possibility of motivating to provide healer/tank alts once in a while for the occasional raid / instance.

Sounds good, but too vague to actually be useable so lets see if we can come up with a basic scenario on how to make things work by looking at some very simple motivators.

1. Levelling is easier in a 'guild' group (or at the very least is generally more fun)
2. Levelling is more pleasant when at fixed intervals you have guaranteed upgrades
3. Motivation improves if there's other people taking an interest in your progress
4. Motivation improves if there's other people working on your progress (for example sending you pieces of gear while you are offline)
5. Character building is easier if there's someone who can lay out a basic guideline on how to do things
6. Character building is more pleasant if there are clear goals involved.

Properly motivated people will have more fun levelling, will be more likely to return whatever assistance they may have gotten and will generally be positive about their outlook on the guild.

Ok... all things that are still very obvious so lets dive a little deeper on how these various levels of motivations can be achieved.

0. All guild members should be motivated to have alts on various levels, if they pick up a new class commend them for the effort, offer them some simple crafted gear to start out or boost their coffers with a small offering of 10g (which is a lot to lower level chars).
1. Each and every day assign a few people (volunteers) to help other people level. Compensate them for this levelling activity via some arbitrary reward system (I.e. guild rank, some consumables, recouping the cost of not doing dailies, brownie points, hugs etc.) and some friendly comments for every person they manage to drag through the day.

2. Stop disenchanting BoEs. Bind on equip items can be guild banked, sent around to various people or even saved up. The disenchant value is never higher than the value of seeing someone get an item in their mailbox that they didn't ask for but can use anyway. Should there really be no takers for the items then and only then should it be disenchanted. you're better of losing bankspace and stockpiling items than to DE them. On a side note it is important to keep the guild bank 'clean' from trashy items (useless food, sharpening stones and whatnot) because it gives the impression that it is used as a trashbin.

3. Comment often and in a positive way to someone's progress. If you know someone just dinged tell them good job, take the opportunity to see if they need a hand with a few quests. The point is to at least pretend you care even if you couldn't care less you have to keep up with appearance.

4. Similar to 2, but extend your thought beyond that. Sure you could DE that BoE green or blue but before you do simply think about each item, each resource that you get and are considering turning into enchanting mats / gold. Can someone else use this? If the answer is yes then for heaven's sake pass the item along. If you're low on cash and have been giving out a lot of items approach the guild leader for some form of compensation which can always be arranged.

5. Appoint someone who is knowledgeable about a class to give brief instructions or to be the contact point for class questions. Post the appropriate guides in short versions on the forums and focus on providing knowledge through central places. The forum is an excellent place to display class builds, discuss them and figure out what works. There's nothing more annoying than to pick a new class levelling it to 40 and then figuring out you've been stacking the wrong stats and picking talents that don't do the job as well as others. People should not have to look elsewhere for basic information, basic information must be at hand at all times. Leave the math and the spell coefficient to the elitist jerks and focus on providing basic information on what works and what doesnt.

6. Tell people what they can expect for levelling the character they're levelling. If they won't be seeing the inside of specific instances that they're expecting to get in with their new char make sure they know this and offer them alternative goals. Don't ever let people wonder why they levelled a char to 70. Most people can figure out their own motivation, but add to it whenever you can.

The whole point of a guild is to work as a team on something that looks like progress and have fun doing so. Each and every guild member should be considered one of your alts and given the love that you would provide your alts with. Be that money, items or simply the occasional boost.

Will people abuse this help? Well of course, there are always greedy bastards who don't think beyond their own gain. But those people will eventually be found and removed, or will leave on their own accord.
Wasting 100 BoE items on someone who leaves hurts, but it will also build up a coherent and loyal core of guildmembers and improve motivation dramatically.

Perhaps my lacking wow experience made me draw the wrong conclusion, but in all fairness there really is no point to a guild if the guild doesn't operate as one person (with lots of split personalities).

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