Thursday, May 22, 2008

On guilds

It's been a turbulent month for the guild. With my latency being stuck in the upper echelons of 2000ms I have effectively purged myself from any raid group and had the opportunity to return to my usual observant nature.

And I don't like what I see. One of our generals recently decided that he no longer wanted to be a general, one of our raid leaders decided that he no longer wanted to lead raids, a few members left for their various reasons...

But in all that I never heard a 'why'. No indication of why people were unhappy with their role, why they would choose to leave the guild (well that one chap who ran off with a stack of void crystals didn't need to explain really).

All this isn't new to me. It wasn't any different in ultima online or everquest or any of the other games I played and had the unfortunate role of leadership in.

I know the signs of a burnout, the frustration of having to deal with people that don't want to conform to your idea of how things should be done, the frustration of people outright stealing from you and then running off or people that were previously extremely active all of a sudden dropping from the radar.

Sadly a lot of times it stems from an inability to delegate. Every guild in every game anywhere runs on the back of not 1 but multiple people. There has to be a core to each guild, a core that is willing to pick up the lousy chores that need to be done, a core that is willing to deal with infinite cycles of people leaving and new recruits coming in.
This is not something that can be handled by one person over an extended period of time without that person burning out on the game.

You can't lead a guild, run the raid, do the recruitment, do the farming for raid materials, lead 5-mans and do all the planning surrounding these things yourself without running into the inevitable burnout.

I've been down that road. I learned the hard way that you need to assemble people around you that you can delegate things to. You need to have people around that will put forth the effort and get things done. You need to realize that you can be in control without micro-managing everything that goes on.

Maybe my guild is fine, maybe there are no problems and it's just a temporary hickup that doesn't affect anything... but I don't know... there is no information to be had about things, it's an uphill struggle to get any form of information and any attempt to suggest a little structure is often met by 'why didn't you discuss this first in a whisper to me?'

In the meantime most of the guild lives under the assumption that raid consumables just spawn in the bank rather than costing (probably our gm) a day a week to get it replenished.

I have always run my guilds under an open information policy. Tell your guild what's going on, why people leave, where there's problems. Set out a structure and then actively motivate people to pick up tasks.

As a guild leader you should be 'able' to do anything that's needed but only rarely required to do so because you should actively delegate responsibility to the people that _want_ to do specific things like lead 5-mans or grind mats (yes there are people that enjoy that).

If you don't set out the necessary structure in a guild and reward people for their efforts (especially for shitty tasks like raid consumable grinding) then people will fall away from you and you will end up with a guild full of people that can't be arsed to pickup anything (there's no fun in having 80 people in your guild when you're doing all the work).

Delegating responsibility has it's risks and drawbacks and drama may ensue but that's no reason for anyone to turn a game into a job.

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