The best of Massively's Guild Counsel column

SWTOR
Karen Bryan is a seasoned MMORPG gamer and guildleader who cut her MMO teeth on EverQuest and went on to run guilds in Vanguard, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and beyond. That made her the perfect choice to pen Massively's Guild Counsel column, through which Karen dispensed advice to guild leaders, guild members, raiders, and even guild-less gamers for over three years. In honor of her column's long run, today we round up the very best of her Guild Counsel articles, those saturated in her trademark wry humor, wisdom, and timeless advice for MMO players old and new. Enjoy.

General guild topics
How EverQuest influenced guild management and why it's time for change
As we look forward to the newest title in the EQ franchise, it's worth taking time to look back at the beginning of EverQuest, particularly when it comes to guilds and guild management.
Why broken economies hurt guilds
I have to admit, I read the recent article by Ramin Shokrizade on the pre-endgame economy of Guild Wars 2 and shrugged. He made a lot of great points, but the problems with GW2's economy are really not that unique.
Simple ways to build a successful alliance
Recently, we looked at the benefits and pitfalls of guild mergers. While a merge is something that can work, it's a pretty drastic step that comes with some big risks.

Guild leadership
What do you need to be a guild leader?
The other day, I came across one of those inspirational posters that takes a word and then uses each letter to spell out a quality that makes up the word.
Looking at loneliness in guild leadership
The advice given at last week's SOE guild panel was helpful, but what was really valuable was just the opportunity for guild leaders to meet face to face and openly discuss a variety of issues.
Why Jack Sparrow would make a great guild leader
Recently, I was watching Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and remembering how much I enjoyed the weird yet adventurous personality of Jack Sparrow.
How many guild officers do you need?
One piece of advice you often see in guild advice write-ups is that you should delegate tasks to officers, not try to handle everything on your own.
Guild leadership isn't a job
Guild leadership is challenging, but as I've written before, sometimes guild leaders shoulder the burden of extraneous responsibilities and make the role harder than it should be.
To kick or not to kick
Over the past year, we've touched on several tricky topics regarding guild management, yet we've never waded into the topic of actually removing someone from the guild.
Fighting the flames of burnout
Everyone, and I mean everyone, who plays MMOs will face burnout at one point or another. It doesn't matter what your playstyle is; it doesn't even matter whether you're in a guild or not.
The crisis of cliques
Last week, a few readers offered up a terrific subject for the Guild Counsel to take a look at -- cliques. Those little pockets of exclusivity can wreak enormous havoc on an unsuspecting guild.

For the members
Why you need these seven samurai in your guild
More often than not, when the subject of recruiting comes up, guild leaders can easily explain what they don't want from a potential member. We've all seen the usual reasons for wanting to turn someone away, and there have even been a few write-ups that neatly label and describe troublesome members.
The guild leader's gone - now what?
Every guild needs a good leadership structure in order to succeed, and much of it revolves around the guild leader. The leader helps establish the vision, tone, and atmosphere for the guild, screens potential members, and establishes goals for the guild to work toward.
Three problem players and how to handle them
Guild drama is something that can bring headaches to a guild leader. When you have dozens of players with a variety of personalities under the same virtual roof, there are bound to be some conflicts.
Dealing with problem players
Whether she's an in-your-face, type A general or a laid-back denmother, no guild leader enjoys dealing with disruptive players. There's enough to manage as it is, and problem members can put the leader in a very difficult position.
Can guilds and lone wolves coexist?
There are some things in life that naturally go together. Peanut butter and chocolate, peas and carrots, peaches and cream, the Captain and Tennille.
Gender choice and guild drama
There are many reasons for guild drama, but one of the most challenging comes from a single choice that we make before our characters even see the light of day.
Bad gamers
You'll have to forgive me this week for channeling the spirit of Andy Rooney and getting my grump on, but I need to get something off my chest.
How to leave a guild gracefully
Last week, we talked about ways to leave with extreme drama and much messiness. One thing I intended to add in that column was the "right way" to leave a guild, but it's really something that deserves a column of its own.
Five ways to burn bridges with your guild
There are ways to leave a guild, and then there are cringe-worthy, horrifying ways to leave a guild, burn your bridges, and never, ever leave the door open for a possible return.
The six most embarrassing things you can do in a guild
There are some things in life that just go hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, Bert and Ernie, sun and sand, and guilds and embarrassing moments.

Recruiting
What every leader should know about recruiting
We've all been there -- you came up with "Your Vision," the paint's dry on the guild hall, and you're ready to select some quality members, but instead you're surrounded by chirping crickets and tumbleweeds.
How to find a good pre-launch guild
There's a wave of new MMOs on the horizon, and with each one comes a surge of enthusiastic fans ready for launch day. Some are so excited that they want to hit the ground running by joining a guild before the game goes live.
What if the game leaves you?
In previous Guild Counsel columns, we've tackled the issue of players leaving their guilds or even their games, but what about when the game leaves you?
Running a guild on a free-to-play server
If there's one trend that's dominated the MMO industry over the past year and a half, it's the notion of free-to-play. What was once taboo has now become mainstream, and while it's breathed new life into the genre, it drastically changes the ground rules for players and guilds.
Seeking a guild? Watch for these red flags
Each week in this column, we explore common issues in guild management, with a focus on tips to be a successful guild leader. But this week, let's turn the tables a bit and look at things from the perspective of an unguilded player.
Recruitment tips in the age of free-to-play
Free-to-play is here to stay, and in just a few short years, the MMO landscape has changed dramatically. It seems like just yesterday that games like SWTOR and RIFT were adamantly insisting that the subscription model was the best plan for them.
Running an MMO guild on an empty server
Guilds and MMOs have a surprising number of things in common. They both want the game to succeed, they both want lots of players to be in game playing, they want people to be happy and having fun, and they both constantly struggle with attrition.
Dealing with returning members at the dawn of a new expansion
The launch of an expansion is always an exciting time. There's new content to explore, new features to check out, and for guilds, a sudden influx of new and returning players.
Help, other games are stealing my members!
I have to start off this week's column with a hearty show of sympathy for current guild leaders because in some ways, it's much harder to manage a guild now than it was a decade ago when MMOs were just in their infancy.
Want to join my guild?
Out of all the issues involved with guild management, there's nothing more important to a long-lasting guild than a solid, time-tested process of screening potential members.

Raiding
Raid leading 101
It's time to break out the chalkboard and textbooks, as The Guild Counsel begins the subject of raid leading 101. Ironically, the more I think and write about guild management issues, the more I realize how much they really do have in common with my experience in the classroom management.
Jumping from casual to endgame
It's a classic scenario that's all too common: A guild builds up a solid roster, with enthusiastic members, and decides to make the leap from casual to hardcore.
DKP will set you free
There are many questions in life that have been debated for eternity. The chicken or the egg? Pie or cake? Fish or cut bait? Pirates or ninjas?
Should guests get an equal shot at raid loot?
In last week's Guild Counsel, we looked at how to rebuild a guild, and one suggestion I made was to use PUG groups and even raids as a way of advertising your guild and screening for new members at the same time.

Guild tools
What's the worth of a website?
On the "to-do" checklist of practically every guild leader is setting up and maintaining a guild website. It's a central hub that serves as a source of news, a resource base, and a virtual locker room where members can bond with one another.
To vent or not to vent
As we've looked at the ins and outs of managing a guild, one issue that's often overlooked is whether to vent or not to vent. No, not the Minus 50 DKP type of vent -- I'm talking about Ventrilo and voice chat in general.

This article was originally published on Massively.