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The Guild Counsel: Lessons from you

Karen Bryan

Each week, I tip-toe to the sidewalk and plant my soapbox to pontificate on the trials and tribulations of guild life. I'm a little biased, obviously, but I really enjoy the social side of MMOs, and apart from a few brief months when I first started gaming back in 1999 (trying to figure out what the heck it was all about), I have always been involved with guilds. For every frustrating moment, drama-filled clash, and annoyance of management, I can cite 10 moments when being a part of a guild has made MMO gaming more enjoyable and satisfying for me.

But each weekly topic has brought a wide variety of opinions from all of you, and while not everyone agrees, there have been some valuable comments. In this week's Guild Counsel, we'll look back at some of the hotbutton topics of the past and highlight some of the advice and commentary that the Massively readers have had when it comes to guild management and guild life in general. The soapbox is all yours!

Leaving guilds

Earlier this year, I put together a piece on how to leave guilds gracefully, particularly for those who might have deep roots in a guild but want to move on without creating too much disruption and drama in the process. Many of you felt that the best plan is to actually just /gquit without a long goodbye, but reader Cyclone_Jack had a creative way to leave the guild: a knock-knock joke. Instead of a big speech, the conversation would go, "knock knock." "Who's there?" "Not me anymore!" What it might lack in tact it makes up for in creative genius!

Raid wipes

The conversation regarding raid wipes centered around two main points. One was whether or not to publicly point fingers at those responsible for the wipe, and the other was the issue of raiders sending tells to lobby for a particular strat tweak. Regarding the latter, reader Malagarr wrote some sound words of advice:

As a raider, your first rule of thumb needs to be this: trust your raid leader. If you don't trust them? Find another raid. Don't question their authority, and don't question their strats unless they ask for your advice.
The problem with guilds

Each week, no matter what the topic is, there are always a few readers who reply with, "I won't ever join a guild and this is why." Even though I am a big fan of guilds, I can completely sympathize with the reasons that so many players have thrown up their hands and walked away from the guild experience. One week, I tried to look at a few of the most common reasons for not joining a guild in order to see how the glass might indeed be half full. One great observation, though, was made by reader Space Cobra, who explained things from a perspective that I had neglected:
It's basically, "I don't want to be a problem to others in the guild." I like some flexibility and jumping around to different games, online and offline. Sometimes, I don't log in enough and I can totally understand getting kicked, especially if I don't give prior notice (or if I do, my time away starts getting longer). There's a variety of factors for it. Me being a loner. Me being friendly enough with the guild and they me, but not "clicking" with them. Not website to leave a message. Goals of a guild changing. I could go on.

But, it's mostly on "me"; I realize that. I'd like to join a group; maybe a guild who plays in many games probably would be best, but I have yet to locate a good one that has staying power in my search.
Often, players will avoid guilds because they resent the various hoop jumping and demands that are sometimes put upon them, but to Space Cobra, it's the opposite. He is more concerned with the possible demand that he's putting on the guild, and I have actually run into guildmates who have that same view. It goes to show the complexities of guild life, and the fact that communication is hampered by distance makes a situation like this even more challenging (but not impossible) to overcome.

The Guild Consel  Lessons fromYou!
Stop yelling!

When it comes to the decibel level of raid leaders, there was a great discussion on whether it's OK to yell, and if so, when it's appropriate and when it's not. Reader Borick summed it up well:
Sometimes -- very rarely, but sometimes -- you need that "left hand of God" -- the Gunny, the drill instructor, the angry coach to focus disappointment into something that motivates the team.

There's a difference between getting a team worked up toward a goal and self-aggrandizing abuse. If a team is having trouble with focus and everyone has a healthy appetite and respect for the team, then the guy screaming things at you is just a loud point of focus that makes you angry enough to prove him wrong and win the encounter.
I like this point because it emphasizes something important about yelling, which is that if you have control over it, it can be a useful tool in getting people focused and on the same page. If you're yelling to blow off steam and you've lost your temper, it tends to have the wrong effect on the guild.

As I put this article together, I ran into many other great comments and guild advice from everyone. In fact, I've barely scratched the surface, so I plan on revisiting older topics and reader comments in the future. Having said that, if you have anything you'd like to bring up as a discussion topic (or a reply to one of the topics above), chime in below!

Do you have a guild problem that you just can't seem to resolve? Have a guild issue that you'd like to discuss? Every week, Karen Bryan takes on reader questions about guild management right here in The Guild Counsel column. She'll offer advice, give practical tips, and even provide a shoulder to lean on for those who are taking up the challenging task of running a guild.

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