Thursday, August 7, 2008

Guest Post: Button!

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The Secrets to Gun Guild Control

More than 8+ years in the business of guildleading gives one an interesting perspective on the needs and wants of small and large guilds alike, and has led to this small compilation of "rules and regs" of guild control and maintenance.

1) "You can't please everybody. Your mouth would get really, really sore." - A Friend of Button's from High School

No matter what you do, everyone will not be happy. It's been said, yes, it's cliche, and if you're a guildleader, you "know" it already. However, most of you, if you are indeed a guildleader, try to do it anyway. It's inevitable. Yes, you are loved. Everyone in the guild is your best friend. But the guild doesn't survive. No matter how hard you try, someone is unhappy, and that leads to choosing sides (which I'll get into later). The trick to it is simple: make them happy by making the guild happy. No matter how you edit your laws in order to give people leniency, people will always be more happy when they are successful, and when a guild is successful, the people in it are successful. Whether you're a raiding guild, a PvP guild, or a casual guild, success is measured in the happiness of the people within that guild. Guilds inspire loyalty through love (yes, it's cliche, but some guilds take on a feeling of family), through greed (a tricky emotion, but a powerful one), or competition (a desire to be the "best" at any cost. The trick is, which one will you use to inspire?

Sounds like a catch phrase from Fable or some nonsense, doesn't it. Doesn't make it any less true, though. The simple decision is what kind of a guild are you. Eventually, even casual guilds have to choose a side. Growth leads to specificity. When a guild grows to a certain level, it grows through a (sometimes) brief period of definition. Either it goes the raiding route, or it goes the "we're still casual" raiding route. Raiding is the endgame and its hard to get away from that. It's a little like playing to the end of Super Mario Brothers 64 but refusing to actually use any of the stars you earned. The one exception, and it's a loose exception at that, is the PvP guild, a dying breed but a noteworthy guest star nonetheless. The point, however, is that in order to make that transition, some people are not going to be happy with the final analysis (see how we got back to the point?). So, whether you think you're capable of it or not, come gametime, you aren't. Sad but true.

2) "No mercy for the weak. No pity for the dying. No tears for the slain." - Some Online MUD

Really it's only the last part of this particular phrase that bears an important mention in The Secrets to Gun Guild Control. A lot of us guildleaders have led a guild in the past. It had it's heyday and we miss it. We had our moment to shine, members that backed us up, a name we had carved from the burning flesh of what was left of our victims, yadda yadda, a disney story made in hell. Now here's the kicker: you need to get past it. You'll never be able to make your new guild (or the same guild, remade, or the same guild two years later, whatever) the same as the one before it. All that glitters is not gold, and all that. And the truth is, you're shortchanging your new guild by trying to compare it to the old one. Different situations call for different approaches. I forget who said that. Sun Tzu, Winston Churchill, Mickey Mouse, one of those geniuses of warfare. Anyway, the point being that in order to make a guild great, it needs to be it's own guild. Trust me, it's one of the (many) mistakes I've made.

3) "Give them a foot, they take your freaking leg off." - RP2 Debaun

This one is the one that isn't true. In order to lead a guild, you'll be required to make sacrifices. Whether it's time (the unspecific variety of sacrifice) or changes in the guild makeup or organization (the specific), sacrifices are required. The trick is to not let those sacrifices pile up, or in essence you're sacrificing yourself, and you're the one that brought these people together. I hope. Anyway, the truth is that the more that you sacrifice, the more you think that maybe it's not worth it. Now if it's not worth it, then why do it. And if you take that mentality, you're shortchanging your own guild. Learn to make the sacrifices with a smile on your face and sunshine in your heart, or maybe leading a guild isn't your thing. Maybe you'd be better off as an officer or a raidleader (it's a route that I've taken twice, and both times it worked out okay).

4) "Organization isn't everything. It's more like....damn, now where did I put that speech..." - Robin Williams

Don't, DON'T, DON'T try to organize a guild after it's launch. If you're a group of friends and you don't want a lot of restrictions starting out, fine, but at least have a set of guidelines that you can build on. The death of too many guilds has been the attempt to change too many leadership and member roles too late in the game (no pun intended). If you're going to lead a guild, have a set leadership structure, and a mission statement or charter in place. A name and a "catchphrase" do not a guild make. Let the regular members settle back and do what they want, when they want. If you've assumed the mantle of leadership, it's your responsibility to make sure that they have the freedom to do just that. Yes, it sucks, but if you don't want to do it, maybe guildleadership isn't for you.

If drawing up things like that or making motivational speeches isn't your thing, find a guildmate to help you out. Just because you've taken on that responsibility doesn't mean that you need to shoulder every burden on your own. Take the time to delegate early on, and then those rules and parameters will be set in place for that eventual redefining of the guild. It's not necessary to rule with an iron fist (unless that's your style) but at least make things easier for you later on down the line. Lack of organization from the beginning has been the result of many a guild's downfall. Don't let it catch you off guard as well.

5) "Take the shit you do seriously. Don't take yourself seriously." - My Father/ "A leader who leads from the rear takes it in the rear." - Shoot 'Em Up

Don't just let your guild skate by. Put the effort and time into making your guild worthwhile, fun, organized, and most of all, successful. But at the same time, take some time away to just be a regular player. You're playing this game for fun, and you're just like the millions of other players out there. Maybe you're a leadership genius, but you aren't the next Napoleon. And if you are, don't act like it. Guilds are made and lost by their leadership. Make sure you're someone worth following.

There are hundreds of other small rules that guildleaders should know and follow, but most can be summed up in these five easy points. I hope this helps some of you to realize yourselves as the best guildleaders you can possibly be. You don't know me and have no reason to listen to me, but I hope my years of (I think) successful leadership can lend me some credence. One last tidbit of goodness, take from it what you will:

"We all gotta die of somethin'." - Button
"Yeah, but I'd rather burn out than fade away." - Trentacosta

Get out there and take over the world.

- Button
"One team, one fight." - USNavy Saying

Bellwether is no longer on vacation; she's just really busy. She's got some articles in the works and will be back soon. However, her guest posters are just awesome. Love them!


Armond said...

Awesome post, Button. I've been toying for a long time with the idea of starting a raiding guild with some PvP or heroics on the side (like "hey, it's AV weekend, let's waste a few hours getting marks"), and this is really useful.

A said...

You were a good guild leader. Now pass your knowledge and rid your hands of this addiction!

The Power of Jesus Compells you!!

Looking back, yeah it's all true, but I think there are things that you can only learn from being a guild leader, and I think that some of the things for our guild were complicated by the fact that we met up with about half of the main players at starbucks every night

Muckbeast said...

I think the MUD from #2 is the graphical MUD 2moons.

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