Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
As people approach the end of their lives, they often think about how they will bestow their wealth and possessions, what is called their "estate." Guilds likewise have an estate in the form of their bank: BOEs, consumables, mats, all sorts of miscellaneous items, and potentially thousands in gold. Most guilds have an awful lot of stuff in there. So who gets what if the guild goes six-feet under? This week, a reader asks how to go about dividing it all up.
I'm in a "progression" guild and we are in the tough situation that we were doing good in Ulduar until Final Exams came up for many of our raiders. [. . .] Over the course of a 2 week break, the amount of raiding actually completed was dismal due to low attendance [. . .] The GM and RL logged on basically to say that they were taking an indefinite break from the game, and as soon as this happened, one of our tanks left for greener pastures, leaving us with only one tank (Me being the "MT" and the RL being another tank).
On our guild website, this was posted by 3 of the officers:
Well you have all been wondering what state the guild is in, so I'm here to address the guild and let you know. [. . .]
We're going to give [our guild] another week to pull together a 25 man raid. if we're unable to get together a 25 man and make some successful runs in Ulduar next week, it's safe to say that we're going to fold, and you will all be free to explore your other options. [. . .]
So, if you want this guild to come back together and be like it was 2 months ago, show up next week with your game face and let's do some damage in Ulduar. I think then it will be a clear sign to the rest of the leadership that it's worth pushing forward
Since it's not looking good, a lot of people are worried about the gbank -- what's going to happen to it? [. . .] Of the handful of guildies that I personally have spoken to in the past few days, they would like to see it get broken up and given to the raiders that contributed something: time, mats, repair bills, gold, etc... and would really be unhappy if it all suddenly disappeared to another server.
But it raises new questions: how does the bank get split up? Does everyone that has been reliable to showing up to raids and put forth 100% get an equal share, or does the money get split up by who has deposited what? [. . .]
I greatly appreciate any suggestions you and the WoW Insider readers can provide, and feel free to ask if there is anything that seems vague or needs clarifying.
It sounds like what your guilds needs is a will: an official posting by the officers saying that, in the event that the guild does not survive, the bank funds and items will be divided in a certain way. It should be a solution that the majority of the guild feels comfortable with, so there's less temptation for someone to walk away with the entire thing.
I've definitely heard of guild leaders who kick out every other member in the middle of the night, transfer servers, and walk away with the entire bank. However, such cases are rare (and despicable).
In a normal situation, it may not hurt for a guild to write such a provision into its policies, to cover any eventuality. In Reaper's situation, it makes even more sense, since the officers have acknowledged that closing up shop is a real possibility.
So the question remains: How to divide up the bank?
Your first provision could be to allow anyone who made a personal contribution to the bank the option to retrieve it. Any item they personally farmed and donated should be returned to them.
If you go to the WoW Armory, you can see a good number of recent transactions. My current guild's bank page goes back to early April, with over 400 deposits and withdrawals listed during that time. You can sort the list by several parameters, including by donor. If you have doubts about whether someone really contributed what they said they did, one place to check would be the list of all the deposits they've made in the past month. If their item isn't listed there, you can still get a sense for how often they were placing items in the vault and what sorts of things they were most likely to contribute.
Your second provision could be that everything that was gained as a result of raiding will be split up evenly among all active raiders. That list could include BOEs, shards, Runed Orbs, epic recipes, rare gems from mining enemies, flasks and herbs from the Alchemist's Cache, etc. If you have a lot of shards, it's probably easy to divide them somewhat evenly. The other stuff could potentially be a mess.
If you have a DKP system, one way to decide who gets what could be to give the best items to the players with the most lifetime points earned, and then work your way down the list.
Another way would be to schedule one night where the most people can be online. Form a raid and have everyone roll. If you have a lot of people, you could do 1-1000 to prevent a bunch of ties. Give the best items to the highest rolls, next-best to lower rolls, and so on.
This sort of thing has the potential to get out of hand. Don't let people haggle with you about what's better, or you'll be there all night. Just tell them to trade with other people if they both want to. If the situation deteriorates, screenshot the numbers, explain that everything will be sent out tomorrow, and log off.
You can also just auction everything, thereby liquidating your fortune into an easily divisible pile of gold coins. Speaking of gold, you might have quite a large sum in your bank that must be assigned. The answer to this conundrum depends on how all that gold got there.
If it came from personal contributions, give back what was donated. But if it came from selling raid-drop BOEs or outsiders paying you for Zul'Aman bear runs during TBC, then you should divide it among the active raiders. Either way, your third provision should account for this gold and who will receive what, should the guild fold.
Overall, you could consider giving more of everything to officers, raid leaders, and your highest-attending members, in recognition of their efforts. But I wouldn't say it's necessary to do so, and it could stir up drama to single out individuals.
Avoiding drama during this process will be a challenge. Whenever money is at stake, arguments seem to get more heated than they normally would. I'd encourage your guild to err on the side of fairness, even if that means some people get more than they deserve. When your policies favor fairness, it makes anyone who argues against them sound like a selfish jerk.
Hopefully, Reaper, your guild will shake off the cobwebs and soldier on. Then you won't have to worry about it.
Has anyone out there gone through this process? How did your guild handle it?