Focus on Guilds:Guild Leadership

In Cataclysm, Guilds will be taking on a more important role in the game. In other games like Warhammer Online, and older games like Dark Ages of Camelot guilds, and alliances played a very important role. In that regard over the course of the next few weeks I will be tossing some articles up on Guilds, such as Guild Leadership, Guild Profiles, other things guild related.

My real first MMO was Dark Ages of Camelot, In that game I met the most successful guild leader I have ever known. He managed to bring not one guild to the top of the ranks, but two. When our original guild was usurped the Knighthood of the Red Dragon, we broke off and formed the Phoenix Ascension. Then he carried that success to World of Warcraft, in a time of 40 man raids, when being a raid leader meant something he was out front leading us all. Then in PvP in a the days of 12 hour AV’s, we would conquer in 10 minutes as a guild. There was many posts on the Blizz Forums for their hatred for us in World PvP, but alot of our enemies respected the hell out of us as well. 

His name was Bitaken, and I tracked him down cause he no longer plays, but since I’m forming my own guild soon I wanted to touch base with him and get his insight on leading a guild. So I gave him a few questions, and he gracefully answered them.  

1.  In your opinion what are some of the qualities a guild leader should have, and how to draw the line from being firm, to being an out and out douchebag?

First and foremost you have to be honest with yourself and your goals of the guild.  Why do you want to be a leader of a guild?  For me it was about bringing other people I liked together so I could play and have fun with them and help me and them be more successful in our online play.  That I guess is pretty rare because most people form a guild simply to bring more power under their online gaming wings.  That’s a selfish motivation and where you see so many problems come in.  I basically looked at every situation that arose as how I would feel if it were something that happened to me.  Analyzing everything in that manner makes it so you are seeing things from all points of view ( both protagonist and antagonist ) and then coming up with a solution that attempts to solve the problem for everyone.  Again, once I talked to a few other people and felt I had the real gist of what happened I looked at it from every point of view then discussed it with the other officers as to what I wanted to do, then did it.  Once done it was what it was and that was that.  
2.  When I was in KoTRD, and PA, I always felt like a part of something bigger. Our motto was Guild, Realm, Self. Do you think in current MMO’s like WoW, those philosophies have been lost in the search of the mighty purple pixel?

Absolutely, and one of the big reasons I finally quit playing WoW.  It became all about getting stuff, instead of having fun.  I remember when we did guild raids and how happy people were when someone else won something and that’s always how I felt.  In WoW it started to get to be about what “I” wanted and not what “we” could accomplish.  That sentiment ruined things for me.  I always found it most exciting to accomplish something together because of teamwork, dedication, and friendliness.  In WoW it became greed, malice and impatience.

3. I think what really impressed me with you as a guild leader you always took time for us rank and file members to improve the way we played, but also when we had complaints, and problems you took the time as well. I remember when I had an issue, you took the time explained everything to me, where as I seen other guild leaders would of wrote me off. That really impressed the hell out of me. Do you think that had alot to do with your success the personal touch so to speak?

That was actually Engels ( a fellow guildie, and all around good guy. Scary picture of him half naked in a goofy hat is still burned in my brain) rubbing off on me.  He was one of the best people I ever met online.   He Horb and Why (Horb and Why are other guildies, Why has some strange fascination with Chicago Hot Dogs, and Horb is just dirty) actually were the three people I interacted with the most.  Engels was always a socialist and I guess I was too!  The thing was if they wore the tag for the guild they were a part of not just a group, but of me.  I thought of everyone with the tag as a brother or sister and that meant if I saw them not doing something right or was able to give them some pearl of wisdom I gave it freely.  I also made an effort to include them in all the things I would do, just as I always wanted folks to involve me in the fun things they did. 

4. The pressures of being a guild leader, and frustrations, what do you think are some of the obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest obstacle is and always will be human nature.  We are all competitive by nature and top that off with a bit of frustration it can always lead to a tinder box environment.  That can be waylaid by people just making a real effort at involving everyone in everything, but sometimes there are things we all want to do for ourselves and then human nature causes jealousy, frustration and dissension.   Continually involving folks in things and making an effort to come up with things to do was always the challenge.  Making those things team oriented, team goal focused and rewarding simply by being present is the trick.

5. How important is delegation?

Critical, or you are constantly dealing with every little bullshit thing that happens within the guild.  However, as GM you must always be ready to make the final say on anything.

Thank you Bitaken for taking the time to answer my questions. If you have a Guild Leader that you feel deserves some recognition, I would love to talk to him/her shoot me an email at cc0926(at)gmail(dot)com

18 Responses to “Focus on Guilds:Guild Leadership”

  1. I like this idea, I’m interested in seeing more topics. 🙂

  2. ” In WoW it became greed, malice and impatience.”

    I was real impressed with this statement. This sums up WoW perfectly. I remember the old days of WoW when people cheered each other on and I remember the day someone deleted their accept because they lost a roll.

  3. Bitaken was the man. He has my respect not only for how he ran the guild but for making me feel welcome and included.

    This Bud’s for you Bit!

  4. Sounds like an awesome guy. Thanks for sharing Riv 🙂

  5. chris aka Krybaby Says:

    Nice write up. I knew some guys like that in the military. I also think that being a good leader comes natural to some people, born leaders.

  6. […] leave my main server and join forces with River in his new guild, Latency Lowlifes. After reading this awesome post of insight, I hope we can bring back the old days of what it means to be a […]

  7. Great post, Riv. Being a guild leader in any game is hard work. I agree 100% with Bit’s assessments of a successful guild and guild leader. Having that Guild – Realm – Self motto is still what makes all of us friends today.

    Other thoughts:
    You have to be available constantly. (At least by PM on a board, if not in game)
    You have to constantly delegate and monitor. (Get good officers and hug them close. Gay!)
    You have to buy Whynot a set of Hot Dougs Gourmet Meat product and ship them to Georgia. Preferably at your own expense.

    Good luck setting up your own fiefdom. I’m sure you’ll do great.

  8. Just poking my head in ’cause I saw that it had Bit in it, and thought I should check it out 😛 Good to hear from him, even if it is indirectly /poke

    I disagree with the implication that WoW(or any other game) is the ’cause of said negative things. Inevitably it comes down to the people. You choose to join a guild or stay in one; you choose the people you play with. When they act selfishly(as often happened in WoW), I think it reflects more on the players involved than the environment they choose to put themselves in. I think the problem run into when we were playing was that it required such a massive shift in the overall structure of the guild that it couldn’t adjust. Going from maybe 15 active casual players to over 40 playing almost every night in a couple weeks ultimately did us in the first time around I think.

    It was more about getting warm bodies than, “Is this person in line with what we want for ourselves and each other?” So I guess in part I would blame the way that raids in particular were structured back then, ours certainly wasn’t the only one to be victimized by it, but there are plenty of guilds out there that simply have fun with it…they’re just tougher to find ’cause the population is so big. It’s the only reason I’ve been able to resubscribe and enjoy the end of WotLK(and hopefully Cataclysm, lot of good changes in the overall game design that help with these sorts of leadership issues in my opinion).

    I do think the average player’s age in Dark Age of Camelot was significantly higher though. I think in recent years more and more teenagers and even younger kids are playing, so the maturity level drops noticeably…that’s true across all games. Either that, or I’m just getting older so it seems like the whippersnappers are talking over….ugh….get off my lawn!

    /essay off hopefully it made sense 😛

    Riv, tell Bit not to be such a stranger

  9. “Is this person in line with what we want for ourselves and each other?”

    The part I left out(obvious wall of text is obvious) is that the guild has to cling to what it wants for itself. Look yourself in the mirror as a guild and say, “what do we want to do or accomplish?”

    ‘Cause honestly, on Garona, I think most of us were content to PvP in blues. It was frustrating playing against T2/3 players that could annihilate us 1v1, but it made it all the more satisfying(at least to me) when we did beat them ’cause they had absolutely zero excuses. Everyone we played against regularly knew we were in blues too. I think a good chunk of us got alot of satisfaction out of that, but I think the frustration overwhelmed that idea.

    From that frustration you get the desire to start raiding with the idea that you can get better gear and then we’ll be invincible since we can already beat some of them. I think the problem is/was that from a mental and structural standpoint, raiding every day just wasn’t what we did. We’d been doing RvR/PvP for years and almost nothing but…Caer Sidi doesn’t count(maybe ToA does, but *shudder*). If you look back and ask, “What does PA want for itself?” the only I think, almost overwhelmingly would have been “killing people on the internet.” Really, we convinced ourselves(I think anyway, it’s all relative) to do the opposite of what we wanted to do. Any guild should have a very clear, concise, and concrete goal or idea of what it’s going to try to do. If that goal is to do everything, that’s fine, but you have to know that you either need nothing but hardcore players that can sink hours into it or be satisfied with only doing a little of everything. PA got sucked into trying to do too many things at once(I think).

    Interesting idea I’m learning in StarCraft 2 however…if your both playing say Terran…and he has a crapload of vikings and you have none, you’re not going to catch up to him to be able to compete by switching to vikings. He’s got 10 of them, you’ve got none….unless he’s a terribly player, he’s gonna have 20 by the time you have 5 and you’re still boned.

    [/walloftext] Maybe I should write a book…that was only supposed to be a couple sentences I forgot to put in…

  10. Miss that guy! Best guild leader EVER!!! /SALUTE BITAKEN!!!

    • Cely!!!! Wasn’t for you I wouldn’t know what Teal was.

      Me: “What color is that helm?”
      Cely: ” Ahhh Teal!”
      Me: ” That’s a color?”

  11. […] has been a lot of talk around here lately about guilds. Riv’s been doing some guild profiling and Chinese Finger Trap High Latency Lowlifes is in full […]

  12. Kurt Borg Says:

    Thank you very much for your contribution, I just got handed the leadership to a Guild on WoW, and this helps me alot to establish a fun and team-working guild.

    Really thank you very much,


  13. Geir [Engels] Says:

    uff, memories. mmos, internet crack.
    had fun times with ya peps.

    • theerivs Says:

      ENGELS! We had great times, I miss ya. I will always remember that pic you shared with us. half nake d with just a big pimp hat on. Dear lord.

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