If your guild has been struggling during the last weeks of 2012, now is the time to take steps that ensure a better 2013. Here are three ways you could get the New Year started off right.
1. Add fresh blood to the officer ranks.
Are your current officers pushing themselves too hard? Or are they doing barely anything at all? If so, then it's high time you took a look at what needs to be done around the guild and who's actually doing it. You may have some lame-duck officers who shouldn't be officers anymore, and some hard-working regular members who deserve a promotion.
Adding new officers -- and/or culling useless ones -- can energize your leadership corps. Having more hands to man the ship can spread the work around and ease burnout symptoms. New officers also means new ideas that can spark new guild activities or better approaches to old ones. New officers can also inject some much-needed enthusiasm as they seek to make their mark and prove to the vets that they are worthy of the rank. If your guild has been stagnating lately, a new officer or two can liven things up.
2. Recruit outside your comfort zone.
Recruiting is such a painful ongoing task that we often fall back on the same routines. We paste our message in trade chat or bump our post on the realm forums, hoping that this time we'll actually find somebody.
Doing such things is not futile, but the results are often meager. Recruiting is fundamentally about connecting with people. These impersonal techniques don't really allow us to do that.
Expanding your efforts to more personal and proactive methods may provide a better return on your time. Opening up guild activities to outsiders comes with inherent risks, but you may be surprised at the quality individuals you can find if you simply give people a chance.
If you see a guildless player doing dailies, invite them to a party to help them (and you) do them faster. Be friendly. Use it as an opportunity to get the know the player a bit. Don't just pitch to them about your guild.
For social guilds, holding public contests for your faction (with prizes, of course) can be a much better advertisement than any trade chat post.
For raiding guilds, use LFR to your advantage beyond just a source of extra valor. In the weeks after a new raid releases, bring others from the guild with you. Then take the lead in your runs. Explain each encounter in raid chat as you clear its trash. If the group wipes, identify why right away and provide constructive tips on avoiding that same mistakes again, so people are less likely to quit on the group. At the end of the run, make sure to let people know that your guild is recruiting. People who are looking for a good raiding guild run LFR in the meantime, so those runs are a great way to meet raiders.
3. Have more fun.
Even a game as fun as WoW can become tedious if you let it. Grinding dailies, grinding raid bosses, grinding valor and honor points -- it can become a real drag if your guild isn't adding anything to the experience.
Running a guild can be just as tedious. Creating policies. Reviewing apps. Dealing with the bank. They're not very exciting tasks. It's easy to get bogged down in them and forget that you're actually supposed to have fun at some point.
Do yourself and everyone else a favor and remember to enjoy yourself now and then. Let someone goof around on Vent during a farm kill. Tell a few jokes in guild chat or strike up a conversation about a good movie you saw.
Schedule a guild activity that isn't just about gearing up or grinding points. Go after some achievements or do some world PvP. Do something beyond the typical. Do something that your guildmates will actually remember next week, or even a year from now.
Remember that tons of guilds can achieve rapid raid progression or dominate in BGs. Players might join your guild because of those accomplishments, but they are far more likely to stay when they enjoy the community's environment and the people who contribute to it.
How many progression raiding or competitive arena guilds form overnight, have massive success over the next two or three months, and then disband? They don't go their separate ways because they're having too much fun -- it's because the guild was focused so much on accomplishing tasks that they forgot to enjoy themselves while doing it. Tempers flare over a dumb issue and the guild environment isn't unique or enjoyable enough to convince people to stay. So it all falls apart.
Don't let it happen to your guild in 2013! Think about what you can do better, but most of all, what you can do to make it more fun. Happy new year, and
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.