Okies, so a friend of mine’s guild is going through a rough spot and for once, we aren’t regarding attendance. What are the differences and what am I, as a guild leader, doing differently to what I’ve done in the past?
Where did all the people go?
We know guilds fluctuate all the time with trends over the hollidays, Start and End of school terms and summer always has an interesting effect. Lately, all guilds have seen a decline, many good ones have gone bust as a result! There is a lot of speculation as to where the people have gone. In our case, we had 3 social members make the move to SWtOR and two main raiders (that we know of) play it part-time.
Are we bitter? Hell no! But we do wish to know what people’s plans are so we can recruit accordingly so those who are sticking to WoW won’t have to miss raids or struggle gearing up another new member who just returned after a 2 year break. *sigh* My friend’s guild saw similar numbers of people moving over. Some let them know their plans, others just disappeared never to be heard from again.
Attendance and Punctuality
Two of the main problems guilds are having at this time is Attendance and Punctuality. This is a tough thing for a casual guild to address since you’re supposed to be, well, casual! Right? Wrong!
Casual doesn’t mean irresponsible or rude. It means understanding of the time restraints people have in their lives and trying to get as far in the game in as little time as possible. My guild raids Max. 2 nights a week for a max. 4 hours per raid. Because we don’t raid more, we need everyone to be present and prepared to roll at the same time. Our progression is comparable to many guilds who raid 3 or 4 times in the week. I like to think this is much thanks to the responsibility and consideration our members have for each other.
What to do?
Many small casual guilds are faced with the problem of missing one or two sign-ups for a raid. Leaders don’t want to punish those who showed up by calling the raid. Often, they don’t want to replace the late people with pugs in fear they will be offended and not sign up next week. We went through this phase for most of last year, and it caused a lot of unnecessary stress!
- Ask for consideration and responsibility. It’s not crazy to ask people to behave responsibly in a game. Just like in the real world, if they can’t make an appointment, they call to cancel. Exchange contact info (even if it’s only an email used for game purposes) so that anyone can leave a message somewhere you look often. People don’t always log onto a guild website, but in today’s day and age, it’s hard not to be able to send an email or text message.
- Don’t be afraid to pug spots. We found many of our best members by PUGing. It is a good way for potential new members to test run your guild and see if your raiding style fits in with what they are looking for. They are PUGing for a reason and you clearly missed a spot. You also get to see how they perform and behave. Are they loot crazy or relaxed? Do they play well or not quite ready for your level of raiding? PUGing is a great way to get to know people on your server.
- Don’t be afraid to call a raid. By cancelling a raid due to low sign-ups, it brings it to everyone’s attention how important every member is. Chances are, the guild will discuss and encourage the no-shows to sign up next week.
- Make your expectations clear. Something I notice is that people like rules. We like to know what is coming. Set your expectations, act accordingly, and people will rise to meet them. If you get into the habit of making exceptions for the “slackers”, the hard workers will see no reason why they should bother trying so hard to do what’s right.
- Replace repeat offenders. Do you have someone who is always late, consistently for the past few months? Ask them what they want, what the problem seems to be. Do your raid times no longer work for them? You can look into changing your raid times if it suites the rest of the group to do so, or demote the person to social and start looking for someone who’s able to make the raids on time.
What works for us?
Every guild will have different rules that suites your group of people. Our guild is made up of somewhat older professionals, students and parents. People who have lots to do in the real world and little time to play for hours on end. We also recruit only those who we feel would be a good fit, regardless of how much we need a certain class. As a result, we keep a harmonious environment of like-minded individuals.
For us, a clear simple set of rules works. Being reliable leaders who set good examples is the best policy! In the beginning of our “new” way of doing things, it was painful. We cancelled a few raids and had some poor PUGs, but after a few weeks, it’s been smooth sailing ever since, something we’re very proud of!