I view the most successful guilds in the game similar to the most successful businesses. I’ve put together a step-by-step approach that, on paper, can help any aspiring guild leader or business owner. A ton of people create guilds every week and most of these guilds die off. They’re victims to a lack of organization and a truly thought out plan. If creating a successful guild interests you, check out this piece. If you have created a successful guild, feel free to give insight on what made you successful.
Step 1: Vision (The What)
What do you want your guild to look like in 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Draw out a chart with these categories and fill them in with where you want your guild to be at the end of each time period.. Here’s an example:
The vision is to create a growing guild that raids regularly.
Day 1: Create the guild, charter, and invite 3 other core members. Begin recruiting active players with a similar vision.
Day 30: Have 8 core members and 4 once-a-week players. Begin working on each player’s 60 epic quests. Use the epic bosses as test-run raid mobs 3 days a week. Continue recruiting.
Day 90: Grow to 12 core members and 8 once-a-week players. Continue working on epic quests and encourage guild members to create classes that are needed for the guild’s success in future raids. Continue recruiting active players.
6 months: Grow to 15 core members and 10 once-a-week players. Begin targeting larger mobs. Schedule weekly KV raids and begin working on spells for the eldest members first. Continue recruiting active players.
1 year: Grow to 20 core members and 15 once-a-week players. Schedule 3 KV raids a week. The end of year goal is to always have 6-8 players online at any given time.
Now that the vision is set with future goals mapped out, start to ask yourself how these will be achieved.
Step 2: The Plan (The How)
The first thing to do, is to look at the vision you have written out. In this case, it’s to create a growing guild that raids on a regular basis. Take that idea and put it into a single sentence that every member of the guild can comprehend. Make this your guild’s charter. An example would be: “Our guild will only be successful through the recruitment of trusted, active players.” The vision is to grow and the mission is to recruit. The plan of how to accomplish these is rooted in your core members and your guild’s marketability.
Core members are your active players that are involved in guild activities from helping others to the scheduled raids. Probably nothing else in any MMO is more important than your core members. Every member of your guild bares the name and reputation of your organization but your core members are what saves you when one of your newer members pisses someone off. If your core is made up of easily-angered players, your guild probably won’t last. If it’s made up of loyal and helpful folks that are good at impressing other players whether through their social abilities or gameplay, expect to be moving toward your goals much faster.
Marketability is what you are selling to other players outside the guild. This doesn’t mean you are recruiting everyone, but the best guilds are always known for something. In a game like EQOA that doesn’t have many new players coming in, it’s tough to poach great players from big guilds. So ask yourself what people want in a guild and what you can offer. Don’t create unreal expectations and don’t be too direct. By too direct, I mean, don’t go around with the message, “we plan on raiding KV daily!” Be savvy. A good line to use is, “we’re a close-knit group that’s working toward long-term goals.” In this instance, you’re selling the idea of a family and the idea of sustainability. In 6 months, your guild will still be around.
Step 3: Maintaining and Suriving
The last step to any guild’s success is staying alive. You have a vision, a plan to meet that vision, you know how to market yourself, and you have 4 great players that make up your core. Most guild’s can make it to this point. The hardest part is surviving.
Survival as a guild in EQOA is based on recruiting. If you only have 4 players, things can get dicey when just a single player goes on hiatus or even quits the game. The other 3 are finding themselves looking for a 4th and eventually join up with a bigger guild that offers more activity. Thus, whether you like it or not, if your vision is to be around in a year, you’re going to have to recruit.
Recruiting is where most guilds go horribly wrong. It’s much easier to manage 4 people who “get it” than 20 people who just want to meet their personal goals. Every person you add increases the chances for drama and risk of ruining your guild’s reputation. Thus, recruit slowly! The best guilds NEVER shout recruiting messages in Freeport. That’s because the best players don’t respond to them. The best players are met in groups and other means within the game. View shout-recruiting as a mass marketing scheme to just build numbers. There’s no goal of sustainability.
Put your potential recruits through the ringer. Play with them several times, talk to them a lot, and ask yourself if they’re a step toward your final vision or will they potentially create problems in the future. Be picky.
Once you have recruited, instil the same ideas in your new recruits has your core established when you first started. The vision and plan need to be clear to the new member as well as how to vocalize the guild’s marketability.
Lastly, make sure to offer activities that create a feeling of community. If that’s a raid, then put together simple raids. The goal is to create loyalty to your vision. Yet, people are rarely loyal to ideas. They’re loyal to people. Putting yourself around the new players will improve their confidence in you as a leader and good players tend to stick around for the long haul if they trust their leaders. Community is also built through tenure. The best guilds have a clear chain of command. To ensure long stays from newer members, reward more tenured players by installing a no-roll clause on rares/spells dropped during raids for newer members. Once someone has been with a guild for more than a month or two, there’s a rare chance that they’d consider leaving.