Recently a reader asked me, "What do raiders typically look for in a guild?" My initial reaction was to balk at the question. All raiders have their own preferences and pet peeves. What possible common factors could there be?
However, I realized I was approaching the question from the wrong angle. Players might not agree on the details, but there are essential qualities that every raiding guild should strive toward in order to attract and retain members. Below, I have outlined six.
1. Stability A stable roster led by stable leadership is the ideal situation for a raiding guild. It's also incredibly difficult to maintain. Life, drama, and boredom can poke holes in your roster and your officer corps at any time -- and there's often little you can do to anticipate or prevent it. The best way to establish stability is by gathering like-minded players who find value in accomplishing goals as a team. Commitment is much easier to earn when your members are on the same page and enjoy raiding together.
2. Consistency This principle applies to many aspects of a raiding guild: loot rules, policies about raid slots, the manner in which members are treated, and so on. The details of these administrative choices aren't important. What matters is that they are applied the same way each time.
The officers are the key here. Every officer must know the guild's policies and enforce them accurately. It's all right to change a policy or a rule if the officers decide that it's bad for the guild, but such changes shouldn't happen very frequently.
Consistency in your schedule and your ability to raid week in and week out are also vital.
3. Achievement This concept all depends on a player's raiding goals. Some players just want to beat the normal mode of a raid; others want to be the first to kill a heroic boss on their realm. Regardless of their goals, they have to believe that your guild gives them a chance to achieve those goals.
That is why setbacks or stalls in progression can rip apart your roster. Members lose faith. It's also why you should celebrate your guild-first victories rather than treating them as a matter of course. Nothing about raiding is a given!
4. Accountability When someone makes a critical mistake, they own up to it. They explain and apologize so everyone can learn from it and the raid can move on. Fewer things are more awkward than when a raid leader has to ask who wiped the raid, except maybe when he or she is answered only by a tense silence.
Any team effort calls for personal accountability. The lack of it leads to resentment, whispered conversations, and drama. As officers, it's our job to foster accountability. We should also seek to create an environment where players feel comfortable admitting errors and asking for help to avoid them.
Accountability also applies to the basics: showing up to the raid on time and prepared or communicating an absence in advance when you are expected.
5. Efficiency Time is a precious commodity to players, and they hate when guilds waste it. If your raids are supposed to begin at eight o'clock, then you shouldn't make the first pull at 8:45. Likewise, guilds who let players take extended AFKs will quickly exasperate their membership. Raid time is a resource -- don't squander it without a good reason.
6. Leadership Leadership isn't just making sure the raid has feasts and cauldrons every week. A properly functioning raid requires true leadership, which means motivating your players to excel, mediating arguments, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, setting a good example for raid behavior and performance, and communicating effectively with the team.
An adequate leader handles the logistics of coordination. A great leader inspires loyalty and confidence. Of course, beyond these general concepts, a raiding guild has many aspects to it that can never please everyone. And you shouldn't try to please everyone -- no guild can. Instead, officers and raid leaders should lead the type of guild that's ideal for them. If you're having fun, and you recruit like-minded players, then they'll have fun, too.
The most important factors aren't the details about loot, schedule, and applications. If you can provide the six qualities above, then your raiding guild will succeed.
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.