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Loyalty Bringing Royalty

I guess my obsessive QQ and complaining about the current job market actually did me some good. (Probably not) This past two weeks I have been on more interviews then I have run random heroics (4 🙂 ). It is because of this reason I did not post last week, but since Eldoric posted his first OverRaided article I figured it would be ok. (It was a great read btw, WTB more)

On my many interviews one of the most frequently asked questions I got was “Do your current employers know you are looking for new work, and if not do you consider yourself a loyal/dedicated employee?” Obviously I was not thinking about WOW at the time, but when I look back at this question I realize this concept of loyalty can very much be applied to WOW. There are of course many different levels of it and different types/degrees too.

In WOW (and I am talking in Guilds, if you are guild-less then you really have loyalty to no one…) there are two groups of people who have a responsibility to stick to their word and remain loyal for a guild to succeed. The leadership of a guild must be loyal to their members, and a guild’s members must be loyal to their leadership. (Assuming of course that you would like to be a successful guild, if you do not want to be successful then don’t listen to my excessive rambling.)

“But TWSS why should I be loyal, this is ONLY a game…”

“There there nublet, the most successful guilds are those that stick together, not the guilds that have a higher turnover rate then your local McDonald’s.”

“Ok fine, but how can I possibly stay loyal to everyone that is IMPOSSIBLE!?!??!”

“Ahh, good question, the answer depends on what your guild is built upon…”

“Great another list…”

“DEAL WITH IT!”

So here is how this is going to go so it is easy to follow, unlike my conversations to myself. First, I will provide the type of guild and a brief description for those of you who do not know what they mean. Let me say that there is no such thing as a “Hardcore progression guild that is also a casual social guild that just likes to have fun” (watch trade chat and look for that exact tag in recruitment, doesn’t exist, or at least for very long because it doesn’t work.)  Then I will offer an opinion on who Leadership and Members SHOULD be loyal to, the most common mistake in loyalty, and how to be loyal so that a guild’s goals can be reached. Understand that like everything there are exceptions to the rule. I am sure there is a group of people out there that have been friends since grade school, they all are the best WOW players on Earth, they have exactly 10/25 people who are always on when they need to be, and they never quit the game. For the most part however this is not the case and this is why guilds have to be separated into the following categories.

DISCLAIMER: Obviously my opinions are generated from in-game experiences, and I have had more in-game experiences then I can keep track of. If you know me personally, and you get pissy for something in this post because you think I am picking on you or calling you out, please stop flattering yourself. This is a general overview that I have gathered from my 3+ years of playing this game, and I am not targeting YOU. (Although if you get “mad” from something in here it’s probably true eh?)

Social GuildFirst let me say that there is no such thing as a social progression guild, it doesn’t work. A social guild is a group of people who are simply friends, and just want to hang out with each other. Yes social guilds get together to do end-game content, but that is not their focus. People join social guilds to be with friends. View it as, “A group of friends that will go raid.” If the people in the guild had to choose between seeing all of the end-game content or playing with friends, they would choose playing with friends (or a different game). The only exception would be a guild that has a massive amount of people in it like AIE. Yes their guild is social and they have a raiding team, but that Raiding team would be considered a mini guild with-in AIE. They just happen to share a g-chat with thousands of people.

Leadership – SHOULD be loyal to = Friends first. / Most Common mistake = Ruining friendships by trying to be a progression guild. / How to be successful? = Make people understand that you are a social guild that has friends come first.

Telling people up front that friends come first will naturally hinder your ability to be the best progression guild you can be. EVERYONE has a friend, wife, girlfriend, or co-worker that wants to be a part of the game-play experience with you, but they simply are not that good. THAT IS OK. Not everyone needs to be a cutting edge player to enjoy this game. Social guilds are for people to have carefree fun and should not worry about progression, gear, and server status. Granted they are all nice things, but at the end of the day if you are in a social guild your most important focus should be to keep your closest friends and members happy. People will come to find sometimes that what makes them happy is progressing, so they move on. Trying to turn this type of guild into a progression guild is going to lead to personal conflict and possibly personal issues with people you are friends with over a game.

Members – SHOULD be loyal to = Friends first. / Most common mistake = getting upset at leadership for not taking raiding/pvp more seriously. / How to be successful = don’t be the moron who causes drama.

If you want to progress, then find people who want to progress with you. If you join a social guild and are surprised that they don’t have enough people to raid, then you’re not paying attention. If you join expecting a consistent raid schedule, min/maxing, dedication to the game over personal friendships/cliques then you are going to be disappointed, it doesn’t exist.

Casual –  Casual guilds are what you get when a couple of people from a social guild decide they want to take PVE/PVP progression more seriously, so they start their own guild with a couple close friends who are willing to put content first. Most progression guilds and hardcore guilds start as a casual guild by default simply because it is rare to have a new guild start with a complete raid team ready to go deep into progression. The ultimate goal for most casual guilds is to eventually become one of the better progression guilds on a server; they just do not have the resources to do it at this time. This guild mostly consists of a small core group, with a decent turnover for the remaining raid spots. The successful casual guilds are able to hold on to 1-2 people to stay core for every 5-10 new members. Eventually this group will work their way up to higher status if they stay together and do it well.

Leadership – SHOULD be loyal to = Core / Most Common mistake = Being too picky on new members / How to be successful? = Stay patient and work with people to make them better.

Like I said before, most leadership in this type of guild is very close to each other. They more than likely have a decent history behind them, and all of them will be invited to every raid regardless of their skill level. The problem a lot of casual guilds suffer from is the inability to keep members that are not part of that core for an extended period of time. It is very hard to start off a guild that is filled with great players, simply because most great players are already part of a guild that is going to progress further then you.

To have a good retention rate of players, it is important for the leadership to make the new members, which they want to keep, feel like they are a part of the group. In the past I have stayed in a casual guild for an extended period of time, simply because it had potential and I felt like I was important. Back then I could have easily left for a more progressed group, but I was willing to stick it out much longer then I would have ever imagined. Once you have done this you have added another person to your “core” and that is one less spot you have to fill in a raid.

Another way to generate a good player base here is to work with some more in-experienced players to improve their play. Every single player was a noob at one point. Someone may be a skilled player, but simply does not have the knowledge base to maximize that raw talent. Guilds that are in progression at this stage of the game are not looking to train someone, this is a place where you can snag some great players, and of course some bad ones too. The best time to create a casual guild is towards the end of an expansion or tier. A lot of top guilds will fall apart or take breaks because people want to do other things than kill Cho ‘Gall for the 25th time. This leaves you the window of opportunity to grab a group of people who still want to roll through content with alts or even their mains.

Members – SHOULD be loyal to = Core / Most common mistake = Being loyal to them-self first and guild hopping. / How to be successful? = Understand where you stand and know the grass is not always greener on the other side.

There are 2 types of people who join casual guilds for the most part. People who do not have a lot of time to dedicate to progression, and people who could not get into raids with a progression/hardcore guild. A lot of people who think highly of themselves will try to use casual guilds as a “Gear Stepping Stone” so that they can be accepted into a “better” guild. There are two issues with this logic. 1. It is a casual guild, I don’t think casual guilds are going to have everything on farm so that you can join and gear up in full epics in a matter of a couple of weeks. People you are raiding with probably need the same gear you do. 2. Guild leaders are aware people do this; even the best guilds will view what you are planning on doing as bad form. Great guilds will know your guild history, along with other things, and noticing that in 1 month of time you joined a guild, got gear, and left is a massive red flag. Getting to the top is not a free ride, and it may require you to spend some time in a group that struggles with content.

Give it some time and one of 3 things will happen. 1. The guild will actually become a great guild, and since you were part of the building process your spot in that guild will be a solid one. 2. After some time the guild falls apart, you still got gear but showed that you are willing to put in the time and effort to progress. A higher guild will see this as effort and take your application more seriously. Remember that all guilds run into a wall at some point in content, a progression guild doesn’t want someone who cannot handle failure too well. 3. You decide that raiding seriously is not for you and you quit the game, join a social guild, or stay in the casual guild because you don’t care about being the best you just want to see some content.

Progression – This is the space where I currently stand, and it is where I would like to stay. Progression guilds are guilds that actually make progress through content and by the end of a tier have everything killed through heroic difficulty. People here are not satisfied with just seeing the content, they want to kill it. The most successful progression guilds are those who were built up from a casual guild simply because there is a history and background built into the raid. The ones that have been around for a long time tend to maintain a consistent core that can always be counted on, and getting into a raid spot for a progression guild SHOULD not be an easy thing to do. For most servers progression guilds are the top guilds in the server, simply because there are not a lot of truly hardcore guilds in this game. The most challenging thing a progression guild must do is anyone, no matter the personal relationship, can be and must be replaced if they are not cutting it. These guilds also will see some turnover when raiders are poached by a different guild that is further in progression then they are, simply because the members want to be #1.

Leadership – SHOULD be loyal to = The Raid / Most Common Mistake = Letting personal friendship get in the way of progression. / How to be successful = Make a clear distinction between raiding and friendship. Offer warning to individuals who are behind in performance and let them know that they are going to be replaced if something doesn’t change.

Being part of the leadership of a progression guild is basically a full-time responsibility. There is a lot of pressure to always be progressing, simply because you know that there are others guilds just lying in the weeds waiting to snatch some of your best players when shit hits the fan. One of the most difficult things a progression leadership must do is maintain recruitment so that if someone does leave you are not left to degrees until you find a replacement. This can be difficult simply because people, who are accepted into a progression guild, expect to raid. (And not ride the bench). The solution to this problem is to ALWAYS recruit, and if people leave before they get their chance then that is OK. Just make sure to let it be known ahead of time that there is no permanent raid spot available, but there will be opportunities to get in. Another difficult thing a progression leadership faces is the decision to bring skill over friendship. Obviously in a perfect world all of your friends will be the best raiders in your guild, however this is definitely not the case. (Unless you only have one friend, then it can happen).

When I led raids back in the day, we started as a casual guild. We had a decent core of people that I knew I could count on and always show up. By default they became my friends since I would spend 6-9 hours with them every week working through content. When we decided to pony up and try to become a progression guild, we started getting some good applicants into the guild. People that were complete strangers to me, but I knew they were good. One of these compete strangers was a tank, and a good one at that. The problem was that one of the people who had been with us forever was also a tank; however, his ability to tank was sub-par at best. My “friend” had always thought that his spot as the guild’s main tank was sealed forever, so he never strived to do better. (Why would he try hard if he thought his spot was un-touchable?) At the time I was stubborn and fell into the trap of staying loyal to the friendship I had over the good of the raid. After losing a couple good apps from the guild because people did not want to deal with the sub-par playing ability of this tank, I decided to sit my “friend” for a week and gave this “new guy” a shot. (Note that it is important to not just replace someone with the next best thing. There is value in someone who is reliable. However there needs to be a balance of reliability and dedication to being a good player. Replacing someone who has been around for 3 years with a new guy who does 300 more dps is dumb.When the difference is 5-6k, then your buddy is not taking it seriously.) Two things happened, 1. Our guild progressed further that week than any previous week. 2. My old tanking friend got pissed off and spammed me with QQ. This opened my eyes and I came to a crossroads where I had to choose between progression, or staying friends with someone I have known for some time. I choose progression. (COLD-HEARTED BABY haha 🙂 ) I told the “friend” that he was not performing up to par and was holding us back. I told him that I would love to keep him as a tank, but he had to know that he needs to put in as much work as the rest of the raid because no one’s spot was safe. I explained to him that we have the responsibility as a progression guild to put the Raid above personal relationships. It is not fair for me to hold back 23 people because I like someone on a personal level. To end a way-too long example, the “friend” realized that he is not untouchable and after realizing where I was coming from, he improved his game, did research, took it seriously, and my two tanks ultimately were the “new guy,” AND the “friend”.

Is this going to happen every time you tell a long time friend that they stink and need to play better? Definitely not. However, it will allow you to keep your Raid in tact, which is what you should care about anyways. If you look at this situation and say “F that I’m going to keep my friends in no matter how badly they play” then you are not doing yourself or your raid any favors. In the end it will fall apart, or keep treading water.

Members – SHOULD be loyal to = The Raid / Most Common Mistake = Feeling entitled to gear, raid spots, or kills. / How to be successful = be patient, and remember that there is always someone else who wants your spot, even if they are not in your guild. DO NOT take it for granted.

Progression raiders are probably the most impatient of all types of players. They all want to be the best, which is why they are in a progression guild. The best progression raiders have thick skin and understand that some nights it is just not in the cards to move forward. A lot of players will get to this point as a progression raider at some point in their WOW life, however very few maintain it for an extended period of time. These players get burnt out from either killing everything (no more new content so they take breaks), or not killing enough when they expect to. This is why it is so important for progression guilds to keep progressing, because once they hit a wall, some people are going to jump ship to a guild that is one step further than them.

Just know this; the grass is always greener on the other side. “Guild A” may be one kill ahead of “Guild B”, but unless that one kill ahead is the final boss there is no telling who is actually going to finish on top. If your guild hits a rough patch I suggest you tough it out. A lot of times people assume that they can just go to another guild and get an instant raid spot no problems, and then they show up and see that there is no room for them and they have to ride the bench. So yes, you are in a guild that is doing better than your most previous guild, but you are busy running Stormwind laps while you could be progressing on content. Couple things to mention here. If you are new to a guild, don’t expect for them to hand you everything you want. Most guilds expect you to EARN your way through the guild ranks and that means something. It sucks sitting on standby for weeks while your guild does progression, but know that somewhere down the line you are going to get your shot because people pay attention to the guy who was willing to wait for his chance.

If you are a core member of a progression guild know that when that guy sitting on standby gets a chance to take your spot, he/she will. People who read this and think that this does not apply to them are the ones who are probably at the highest risk of losing their spot. Lastly if you are someone who is in a progression guild and is thinking of making a change, just remember that what is promised to you by the poachers trying to take you, may not be what you actually get.

HARDCORE (all caps for the nature of the word) – This type of guild is insane. Not only do they expect to get everything killed, they expect it to be killed quickly and do it before anyone else. A lot of guilds mistake themselves for a hardcore guild simply because they are a good progression guild. False. A Hardcore guild not only is skilled, but they also require a massive time commitment. Remember getting server first does not = Hardcore. Plenty of servers are without hardcore guilds and so the best guilds are called hardcore by default. Building a Hardcore guild is extremely difficult simply because there is not a lot of people who can, or are willing to, dedicate the amount of time required to be classified as hardcore. These guilds tend to recruit cross server since the pool of people on each server who can be hardcore is very small.

Leadership – SHOULD be loyal to = RAID / Most common mistake = removing good players for someone slightly better. / How to be successful = Expect and accept nothing but the best out of your raiders.

There is not much to say that is not already been covered in the progression guild spot since they are similar, with the exception of the time commitment. You can make an argument that Hardcore guilds require more out of their players when it comes to min/maxing (like buying epics for thousands of gold), but some progression guilds also require that, it just depends on the guild. Like I said the big difference between a progression guild and a hardcore guild is going to be the time commitment.

With that begin said make sure that all the choices you make when selecting your raid has that factored in. When you pay for someone to server transfer to join your raid, have it worked out so that they need to show up and prove their worth before you pony up the cash for their services. (Maybe instead of paying for their x-fer, pay for 2 months of game play if they fulfill the initial agreements). Know that if being a hardcore guild does not work out for you then you can always take the same group of people and go back to being a progression guild. These guilds are mostly long time guilds and they have a lot of things already figured out. Plus I would be willing to bet a boat load of money that few true hardcore guilds reads my blog since they are probably raiding right now, so why waste a bunch of time writing about it?

Members – SHOULD be loyal to = Raid / Most common mistake = Thinking you are joining a hardcore guild when it really is just a progression guild. / How to be successful = Look cross servers for the right Hardcore guild and be willing to dedicate a large portion of your time to playing to their schedule.

I get the feeling that a lot of people think they want to be a hardcore raider, but when they actually do it becomes more of a job then a fun thing to do. Obviously there are people that truly enjoy being in a Hardcore situation and kudos to them I could not do it. That being said the reason there is not too many hardcore guilds that survive is simply because to most, it turns out feeling like a job more than a game, and people get burned out. Just like the leadership this hardcore member pool has the same responsibilities as the progression raider, except you should already know that your spot is not safe because you probably took it from someone else.

Knowing what exactly you want in your guild is by far the most important thing. Also know that you are human (I hope) and you will make mistakes. You may think you want one thing, and then realize you want something else. Most people go through cycles of what they want out of this game, even to the point where they don’t want anything at all and stop playing. Being upfront with your guild / guild leadership will always lead away from drama. It is not always avoidable and some people tend to be hard to work with. In the end you have to stay true to what you want to do with your time in this game, and much like in life that leads to uncomfortable situations. However in the end if you stay loyal to the right people or groups of people you are going to get what you want and end up in a better situation then you were in before. Like I said before there are exceptions to the rule and not every guild fits into these spots, but I feel that most of them do. Take a look at your guild and ask yourself… “Are you loyal?” (Probably the most corny ending in history but I have to go bio so I am rushed 🙂 )

Thank you yet again for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. I would also like to thank all of you who have submitted  feedback and questions, I truly appreciate it. It definitely helps me improve my quality of work so keep it up. I had mentioned before that I am looking for some in-game screen shots so that I have more pictures to use other than ones of TWSS (I know he is sexy, but we need more). If you want you can submit a screen-shot to me at DKTWSS@gmail.com and if you like, you can add a caption to the email (guild shout-outs, personal shout-outs, a joke at my expense, w/e you want.) I’ll have it included underneath the picture so you get the proper shout-out for your submission. All I ask is that you hide your UI (alt+Z) and try to keep it creative. If you have any questions or comments as always please leave them for me below or send me an email at DKTWSS@gmail.com. Thanks again and see you all next week.

-TWSS

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