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Officers' Quarters: Gnome and punishment

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.

Like any group that runs an organized activity, raiding guilds need rules. Rules define expectations, set boundaries for behavior that might cause problems, and establish consequences when a member hurts the team. The latter part is often tricky. The week's email asks, What do you do when someone breaks the rules?


I have a question about guild management.

Coming into MoP raiding we have afew new people and we've written up our rules on the forums such as being on time, gemmed/enchanted/flasked, etc to make it clear to everyone what we expect from our raiders. One challenge that we currently have is coming up with consequences for breaking these rules. Our guild roster isn't large enough to always bench someone from coming to raid and while we're all gearing up denying someone gear seems to just make things harder for everyone else overall. If occurrences are excessive we will recruit to replace the person, but otherwise we need some good consequences for rule infractions.

We're trying to come up with consequences for breaking these rules. When we have extra sign ups any rule breakers will be the first to sit out, but when we need them to get the raid going what would be a good way to enforce rule breaking? Some of the possibilities we've thought of are paying a fine directly to the guild bank or being forced to provide a few stacks of mats for food or flasks to the guild bank, though these punishments seem kinda menial, but I guess that's the point.

Any suggestions for a smaller 10-man raiding guild?



Hi, Grifften. I'm reminded of my very first Officers' Quarters column more than five years ago. I wanted a topic that would get people's attention, so I chose to write about punishments. Among other, more reasonable ideas, I suggested things such as guild bank donations, forced "volunteer nights" to help guildmates with dungeons and group quests, and public apologies. (This was in the context of overall guild rules, not just raiding.)

My position on the topic of punishment has evolved over the intervening years. I don't think rote punishments such as donations, fines, or "public service" really work -- not in a recreational activity like an MMO. These types of punishments just serve to cause bad feelings and resentment, especially in smaller guilds.

The only effective solution

I fully support your decision to write down expectations and rules for your raiders. It's essential to get everyone on the same page. Otherwise, the guy who shows up ungemmed, unflasked, and clueless has the same right to be there, according to the nonexistant policies, as the next raider.

For a raid team, the only punishment that really works outside of extreme situations like a gkick is benching people.

An officer should speak privately to a player about how he or she is letting the team down, and how the officers and everyone else needs them to step up their game. When the words "benching" and "recruiting to replace" get brought up, people pay attention to that. After that kind of conversation, if they don't follow through, then they never will. You're better off replacing them anyway.

You probably want more raiders in any case, so that you have the option to bench people when necessary or just to ensure that your raids go off as planned when you have absences.

In short, if someone ever needs to be talked to more than once about this kind of thing, then they shouldn't be on your raid team. It's not worth the officers' time to come up with creative punishments for their lack of effort and commitment. Moving forward with a different raider who doesn't have to be reminded about the rules is the best situation for the team.

Not just for raiding

This policy applies to guilds as a whole as well, not just raiding. When a member breaks the rules again, after an officer talks to them, do you really want that person in the guild? Assuming the rules are just and reasonable, members of your guild should want to follow the rules. By joining the guild, they've agreed to do so. If they don't, they shouldn't be members.

Players who flaunt the rules because the officers can't adequately punish them in an MMO setting have no business on the roster. This behavior undermines the entire community. Because officers are the only people in the guild who can respond to it, they don't just have the right to -- they have an obligation to respond, for the good of the guild.


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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