You might as well just look at the tags on this crap

Today I am going to put on my GM hat and pretend I know what the hell I’m talking about. I know you all love it when I do that.

Somewhere in the middle of Nebraska – which is a tediously boring landscape through which to drive – some thought jarred my brain and, as I was driving, I asked At to write it down for me so that I could later expound upon it. I know you also all love it when I expound.

The thought was on what do guild members expect out of their leadership? Conversely, what do guild leadership expect out of their guildies?

I thought about “doing science” and polling people for answers but then I realized I would almost rather be driving back across Nebraska, provided I were driving West because then I would at least have something enjoyable to look forward to.

So I’m going to speak from my own experiences in both roles, but I would like to hear thoughts from other people so long as I don’t have to collect them and try to make meaningful sense out of them.

What do guild members expect from their leadership?

I would say that when I first joined a guild, I didn’t expect anything from the officers or GM. I was so new to the game that I didn’t even know enough about guild structure to understand that there were such things or that they might have some other role to play.

But when the GM quit, I found I did have expectations that the leadership should be there for continuity if nothing else. When we had the emergency guild meeting, I learned that I expected that leadership should have a plan for moving forward. I was ready to be told what to do or what to expect. I wasn’t prepared to have them all abandon the guild and leave it in the hands of the more casual people.

Leadership, I think, is also expected to settle disputes, to guard over guild resources, to look down the road for potential problems and plan on how to deal with them or cut them off before they should arise. They are also largely responsible for the atmosphere of the guild. They are – or should be – expected to lead by example whether that’s by treating everyone around them with respect or by following the raiding rules to the letter.

In WWAB, we also have an expectation that leadership should be helpful, whether that’s lending a hand to someone who just can’t get a group going for a specific heroic (rare these days with the LFD) or answering any questions that come their way through tells or general guild chat.

When it comes to raiding, leadership is going to be different depending on what type of guild you are in. In a hardcore raiding guild? Leadership will be responsible for keeping things moving, for weeding out anyone who is holding the rest of the team back and for enforcing the myriad of rules that dictate the raiding scene from loot to preparedness.

In a “softer” sort of guild, the leadership will likely gently chide people, “Darling, please stop standing in the fire,” and will make more attempts to mentor people who just aren’t quickly getting the whole raiding experience.

And then there’s guild life in general. In the casual guilds that care more about atmosphere than getting server firsts, leadership is more likely to be active in resolving situations that are causing hurt feelings and the ever-present Drama. In a hardcore guild, from what I have seen, you can be a douche all you like as long as you can perform to the very best standard.

I find this funny. Not so much in a humorous way so much as in a “Oh God, why on earth would anyone want to subject themselves to a guild like that or even be a person whom no one likes but is kept around for their knowledge and skill?”

The world needs more Yngwe’s, to pull an example from my guild. Ever so good at his game and ever so nice to be around. And pretty.

Now, what does leadership expect from their guild members?

My real question might be more along the lines of do guild members realize that they also have expectations imposed upon by them? I know I didn’t. Some of the expectations are pretty obvious and should be spelled out in the guild forums under some guise, whether that’s a charter/mission statement or spelled out through rules and regulations.

But what about the more unspoken expectations? Here, I can only speak for myself, and I have honestly never tried to articulate much of this before. But expectations I have had that don’t show up in the rules are often the sorts of things that you simply can’t govern in other people. Examples:

  • I expect that anyone in a guild would want to be a vital, active and integral part of that guild. Guild-hoppers who sit quietly in a guild for months at a time before leaving to do another stint of several months in another guild puzzle the shit out of me.
  • I expect that anyone who had some sort of problem arise would take it to their leadership to seek resolution. People who sit on things and then, one day, explode in a fury also puzzle the shit out of me.
  • I expect that anyone who is thinking of leaving a guild for any reason would discuss the matter with someone before going and state some reasons. People who sneak out like thieves in the night puzzle the shit out of me. Especially when they do it over time and never reply when asked about it but there’s enough evidence that the account wasn’t hacked to rule that out.
  • I expect that anyone wanting to be a part of whatever it is the guild is doing would want to be actively involved in trying to make that happen. People who have to be approached before they’ll admit that they would like to raid and then who have to be guided a step at a time through becoming a raider (and in some cases don’t raid unless you actually ask them directly because you need a warm body that night) well – they also puzzle the shit out of me.
  • I expect that people will naturally gravitate to whatever role it is that makes them happiest. So those people I’ve seen – and it’s been more than a few – who are always complaining about how much they hate their class or they hate healing but who then keep on doing it, yep, they puzzle the shit out of me.
  • I expect that if a guild has prominently displayed rules about language and an acceptable level of crassness, that people would understand going into the guild that they need to keep their behavior within the acceptable limits. People who come into my guild and tell racist jokes and then get angry or hysterical when told to stop and/or claim to not understand why they just got gkicked, puzzle the shit out of me.

In closing because I’m strangely woozy just now

I find it interesting how often I’ve discovered that I have expectations that I don’t articulate. Unsurprisingly, I only notice that I had these expectations after someone else has violated them. Does anyone else find themselves doing that? Or do all you brilliant people out there have a very clear mental list of how you expect people to act and are able to adequately pigeonhole those expectations according to an in-game ranking?

This is why I should “do science.” I lack a point.


You might as well just look at the tags on this crap — 4 Comments

  1. You know, you make a good point. A lot of things I don't think of either until they happen. While we do try to make provisions for most situations, there's bound to be new ones popping up that you didn't think of.

    Pretty much everyone in my guild is currently acting in a way I don't understand. Okay, so yes it's summer and we're a few hands short. But does that really mean we can all just go "oh well then", shrug and stop even trying? I'd still like to do some raiding, I'll PUG people if I have to.. but what's the point if I have to PUG 9 other people instead of maybe 4 if the people I know still are around would bother showing up.

    I expect people to give a damn about the guild. I think in the end that's what it boils down to. That includes members as well as officers. And at the moment in my guild everyone's just doing the "shrug" and goes off to play Starcraft or something.

    Sorry about the rant!

  2. I'm totally okay with rants here. I mean, it's what I do half the time.

    I'm sorry you're having a tough time right now. Summer is always difficult, but I think this one is more so since there is so little new content and the burnout is dropping people left and right. Stupid Starcraft isn't helping either. The good news is it's almost time for school to start up and that usually brings a lot of people back!