Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes 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.
If there's one phrase that drives sports fans crazy, it's "rebuilding year." In sports, a rebuilding year is one in which expectations for the team are low, either because the team traded away aging veterans, gave starting positions to young and inexperienced players, or both. But sports fans are an impatient bunch. We don't want rebuilding years -- we want championships. Thus, teams do everything they can to deny that they are, in fact, rebuilding.
The same is true for guilds. Potential recruits don't want to hear about rebuilding -- they want to join an established organization in its prime. Thus, when your guild is in that starting-over situation, it can be very difficult to dig yourself out of the hole.
For some reason, I've received three emails about this topic over the past two weeks, so I figured I'd feature one of those emails here. I chose the one that bounced my message back when I tried to reply to it, so at least that person will know I did respond!
Dear Scott and the Officer's Quarters,
I am writing to ask for some perspective on the current state of my guild and the actions I could take to turn things around. I am the GM of a small guild on one of the older, more established WoW servers. I am told this server has been around since the early days of vanilla WoW.
As with any established server in any game, cliques are formed, reputation is king, and small guilds have a hard time flourishing when three quarters of the active player base belong to one of a few monster guilds. Our server has both monster progression guilds that field multiple 10-man raid groups in addition to 25-man groups as well as the Mega-store bargain perks blowout guilds that give every member the ability to invite new members with no real guidelines for membership.
My humble guild began as a way for a few real life friends to play together. Raiding, progression, and consistency were never a big deal for us toward the end of Wrath. Once Cataclysm came along with guild levels and the perks associated with them, our roster of casual and fun people plummeted. Some left the game completely because they were accustomed to blowing through the Wrath content without any difficulty. Others were deployed with their military units to the ends of the earth to fight real life wars. At this point we are left with the few real life friends in addition to a mere one or two other active members.
Enough of the back-story, now it is time for the point of my email:
How can a weak-roster guild survive amongst the concrete establishments of the dominant guilds? What can I do to find new members who could be beneficial to the guild and our goals of breaking into raiding without having to beg?