If you create a guild with a very specific type of player in mind, keeping those players should be easy, right? As one guild leader found out, it's not as simple as it seems.
Hi Scott. ... I've got a guild of 50 people (10-30 people and their alts) and I seem to have hit a wall. I put posts up, I scour WoW Insider for ways to market my guild (thanks for the shoutout, drama mamas) and I try to keep things interesting but nobody ever signs on anymore. We've got a core group of about... oh I'd say 5-10 people who still sign on every few days. How in the hell are we supposed to be a guild for disabled people and friends of the disabled when nobody signs on?
Hi, Skegg. I agree that it's a good and helpful idea. I like your guild name and I like your concept. I wrote last week that a guild should only exist because there is a reason for it to exist, and you have a better reason than most.
I try, as a guild leader, to keep in touch with people but nobody will sign up for our crappy forums or leave me a contact so I can see how they're doing on their mains (got a lot of alts when I posted the ad on the General portion of the WoW forums but it got moved.) Some of them will tell me when they're going away. Hey, I know how life can be. They give me an ETA and I note it down. That's not a problem. It's this "poof and they're gone" mentality that's making me, as a leader, really antsy.
I feel like my idea of having a safe-haven guild for we disabled where we're all treated as equals is going to die because people can't be arsed to in some way (RealID, Battletag, Skype, forum, STEAM, etc,) keep in touch or sign in. This idea is too good and too helpful to die because of disinterest!
Am I doing something wrong? What can I be doing? What kinds of things should I be working towards? I need a plan from a master... or at least the guy who posts about this stuff on a weekly basis :)
Skegg, Guild Leader of Direhunt
On top of that, you also have a great way to differentiate yourselves from other guilds. That should help you to recruit, and it sounds like you will need to do some recruiting soon.
Every guild has frequent turnover. If you don't find fresh blood, sooner or later you will be dead in the water. It's OK to ask people who take breaks to keep in touch and it's fine to hope that they return. You shouldn't hound them, however, and you shouldn't rely on them to come back and "save" the guild.
As you say, life happens, and there can be a myriad of reasons why people disappear. You can't worry about all of those reasons. You should only worry about the reasons that are within your control.
The big one is member retention.
As the guild leader, it's one of your primary jobs to make sure that the members in your guild are happy with their situation there and want to stay. In some ways, it's actually easier to pull off in a raiding guild. When progression is adequate and the raids are led well, then you will better retain your raiders.
For a guild that's about more than raiding like yours is, you need to do more to keep your members interested. What does your guild offer these players besides this "safe haven"? Do you organize events or activities? PvP nights? Heroic dungeon runs? Raids or LFR nights?
Safety and comfort aren't enough -- you need to give people reasons to stay rather than reasons why leaving is bad. This being a game, the number one reason players stay in a guild is because they're having fun.
You also say that people don't use the forums. Do you post fun things on the forums, or only boring guild business like scheduling, rules, etc.? Guild forums have to compete with the entire rest of the Internet for your members' browsing time. You need to offer content or some kind of reason for your members to interact there beyond the basics.
Retention also requires vigilance and communication. Pay attention to complaints. Talk to your players about what they'd like the guild to be doing. Ask them to help you when they have ideas.
To build your roster back up, you should recruit beyond the confines of your realm and faction. Your concept has appeal to a very specific segment of the WoW population. To find those players, you need to cast a wide net.
When you bring them in, however, you have to keep them in the boat. You can't rely solely on the nature of the guild to keep the roster active. Don't try to do everything yourself, though. Enlist the help of your officers and others in the guild to help you with events, group activities, etc. You could even have an officer whose entire job is to keep your forums lively and entertaining.
For many guilds, maintaining a healthy roster is a neverending battle. That's what makes being an officer both rewarding and frustrating.
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.