Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.
To the esteemed druid Shapez:For casual raiding guilds, attendance can often be a huge struggle. The handful of players who seem to show up (or not) on a whim are the bane of their officers' existence. The example above is of course exaggeration, but you do begin to feel that you should send your players written invitations on fancy stationery. This week's email is from a guild leader who seems to be running an entire guild of such people, and he's looking for answers.
The Guild of Heroes formally requests the honor of your presence to attend our martial gathering, to be commenced on the evening of October twenty-fourth, in the year of our lord two thousand eleven, for the purposes of assailing that fiendish realm the Firelands, forthwith to slaughter its inhabitants most precipitously and attire ourselves in the abundance of their worldly treasures. The horn heralding our advance shall be sounded precisely at seven o'clock.
Your humble servant and friend in all things,
I have been the leader of a small, casual, friends-and-family guild for over three years. We have seen good times and bad together, including a LK kill before the end of Wrath. Cataclysm, however, just isn't working out. At any given time our roster is experiencing a great deal of churn, and despite the fact that several of our core members are rock solid, I just can't put a raid together any more. We customize the schedule, confirm it, re-confirm it and still have people not show up. Recruiting is a bit tough due to the atmosphere of the guild. If you're not casual enough to enjoy raiding with three generations of the same family, you probably won't stay, and that's okay. We usually wind up picking up entire clans, for at least a little while, but these affiliations just don't seem to be strong enough to keep the guild running.
I've read your book, and we've adapted a lot of our practices around your advice. Unfortunately, it hasn't been enough. A week ago we lacked enough players to field our regularly scheduled progression raid, even though I had confirmed we were raiding only the day prior. I was angry enough to hang it all up right then and there. I decided I'd give it a week, try harder on the organization and make sure to express how important it was that everyone be on time, etc. Same result this week.
I suspect that because my guild members know that I'll never actually remove them from participating -- because, after all they're all someone's family -- they just don't have any reason to uphold their agreements.