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Officers' Quarters: Better guild building

Scott Andrews
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 from No Starch Press.

Creating a successful raiding guild is no easy task. It requires a lot of up-front planning, a lot of hard work, and perhaps a bit of luck, too. If you are able to get it off the ground, there's no time to rest. Your work has just begun! This week, a player struggling to start a guild -- after taking a somewhat unique approach -- asks for advice.

Hello, I just recently decided I wanted to be a guild master of a raiding guild. I spend several days making sure that it was something I wanted to do. I am currently trying to recruit raiders on the server Ursin (a low population server). My friends told me it would be a good place to go because the demand for raiders would be high.

They created characters on that server to help me out, but haven't logged on in a week and don't log on their other characters except to raid in their other guild. I am currently using a recruiting macro in trade as well as on the server forums with no luck thus far. I was wondering if you had any tips for me that could help me out during this process. Thank you in advance for your time.

I'm not sure where to begin with everything that has gone wrong here! Let's start with your server choice.

Quiet realms and dubious logic

I don't quite understand your friends' logic. It's true that a low-population realm with no raiding guilds won't have any competition for yours. There also won't be any raiders. Any players who want to raid have most likely left the server long ago (which could be what made it a low-pop realm to begin with).

If there are a handful of raiding guilds, then all of the raiders are already in them. You'd have to start your guild mostly by poaching from theirs -- a practice I condemn.

In either case, you're making things difficult on yourself by choosing a low-pop realm.

Knowing your target realm is a crucial part of successfully founding a guild. If all the guilds on a server are actively recruiting and/or struggling to fill their own raids, then that's a bad place to go. Ideally, your realm would already have a healthy raiding population. You want a realm where there are more raiders than available raid slots among the existing guilds. It's hard to find a realm like that these days, but that is the best scenario.

In that case, you'll be able to recruit players who couldn't get into the existing raiding guilds. They will not be the best raiders the server has to offer, but many of them will be competent and willing to learn and improve.

A one-player army

If you're going to pull this off, you'll need your friends' support. It's almost impossible to start a guild from scratch all by yourself. The first person you recruit is going to look at the roster, see that you are the only other active person listed there, and quit.

Even if you do happen to recruit enough people to start raiding, you won't know any of them very well. Will you trust any of them enough to make them officers, or will you wind up doing everything yourself? How long can you manage that?

Overall, it's much easier to have some friends who can help you out from the beginning.

Build your "resume"

I don't mean to discourage you from your goal. WoW and MMOs in general need more people like you who are interested in leading. These games only work when people are willing to take on responsibility and volunteer their own time so that communities can form and thrive.

However, a crucial question is whether or not you have any experience as an officer. If you don't, it's very difficult to make the jump all the way to guild leader.

I would recommend putting in some time as an officer in an existing guild. Find one that seems like the type of raiding guild you want to lead some day. Help them out any way you can. Be reliable and level-headed. Work you way up to an officer position within that guild, and learn how things work. Figure out how to handle the various situations that can occur in a guild setting. Take note of what the guild leader decides and whether that decision has a good or bad outcome.

After you're gotten some time as an officer under your belt, then you'll be much better prepared to start a brand new guild. You'll be able to present yourself as an experienced leader striking out on his own. These days, players want some reassurance that the person running the show knows what he or she is doing. I don't blame them!

To sum up, three things I absolutely recommend when creating a guild are a good realm, a base of reliable and trustworthy players, and leadership experience. Even in the best circumstances, survival is not a guarantee. More new guilds fail than succeed, but you can position yourself to beat the odds.


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

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