Friday, June 24, 2016

Guild Features Need Love

As a guild leader, it should not be a surprise that I think guilds are the heart of World of Warcraft.   That's not to say that solo-play doesn't work in WoW, and fun can't be had, but I wouldn't be here if it was a solo game.

Blizzard has definitely dropped the ball on giving some needed guild improvements.   Players should not be required to get add-ons to compensate for some of these core capabilities.

While they tried in Cataclysm with the guild experience and the guild recruitment tool, those were focusing more attention on the wrong areas, in my opinion.

Today, players walk up to any billboard in WoW and the game suggests a litany of solo-play activities.  But, for guilds, all they get is the guild recruitment tool that doesn't really work.

Guild Recruitment Overhaul:

  1. Ability to invite people that are offline or alts of your own.
  2. Automatically update the guild list to indicate how active a guild is... what activities they have done recently as a guild and allow queries on this information.
  3. Have guilds that are inactive - no guild activities (no one logging into them) are grayed out as inactive.  They have a guild activity tracker system, let the players know when guilds are dead or at least how active they will be before you join.
  4. Give players the ability to filter, search and set criterion to help them find the perfect guild.  
  5. Why do players have to know about wowprogress.com or guildox to be able to assess a guilds progress?

Handling Players and their Characters

  1. Guilds should allow up to 999 account instead of 999 characters.  The number of characters should not impact the number of players that can join a guild.   The more and more character slots Blizzard gives us the more characters players want to bring to their guilds but this limits the number of people a guild can have.   Please fix this!
  2. Build into the system to manage players (and their alternative characters) as a unit (by account) instead of having to manage them independently and try to figure out who is who.  Yes, I know this means that players give up some ability to have 2 toons in a guild and be anonymous on one or the other in the same guild, sorry, but I track alts already and have never had anyone have issue.

Guild Permissions:

  1. Allow us to have permission sets independent of the ranks.  Ranks usually imply what activities players do or how long they've been with the guild.  But, this doesn't mean they also need privileges.  They might, but they might not.   With permission sets, I could apply different "jobs" to different players regardless of their ranks.     Example:
    1. Member:  PvPs set, Raider set.  Bank Manager set.
    2. Member:  Raider set.
    3. Officer:  Guild Chat set.  Bank Manager set.  Raider Set.

Ranks:

  1. I'd like about 5 more ranks.  I probably don't need that many, but it's nice to have ranks to indicate length of service in the guild.   I can do this, but without permission sets, I need different ranks for different bank permissions.   Example:
    1. New 
    2. Member (> month)
    3. Tenured (> 6 month)
    4. Senior (> 12 months)
  2. Allow ranks to have a sub-titles that guildies can see on name plate.  Today you get "recruit" in your guild tag, but the guild could see guild labels instead.  The guild reputation no longer means anything:
    1. New -    Joeman
    2. Raider -  Joeman  
    3. Officer - Joeman

Guild Calendar:


  1. Ability to indicate when players are away and when they will return.  Sort of like a "leave calendar"
  2. With #1.  If someone is scheduled on leave, automatically decline for new events on their scheduled away times and link to the "away" notice.
  3. Ability to chat/set away notices from the phone app.
  4. Ability to give notes when you accept an event like "I will be 5 mins late", "can't make it, cat's on fire"
  5. Make calendar notices more "in your face" than just the blinking ?. Like when they log in.   Here are new activities on the calendar.  
  6. Allow creating repeating events so I don't have to copy paste week to week for regular raids. Perhaps just a month at a time if they are afraid of forever events.
  7. Allow for color coding activities on the calendar.

Guild Bank:


  1. Give us the ability to set types of items on a tab and when people donate the items to the bank it automatically attempts to place it on the correct tab.
  2. Make the guild bank auto sort.
  3. Have the ability to exclude certain items from being added to the bank.  If people submit junk and it's rejected and returned to the submitted ("your item type is not currently requested by the guild").
  4. Better API for monitoring suspicious guild bank activity.  People regularly withdrawing gold, regularly withdrawing items, etc.

Voice System:


  1. Provide an API for external voice providers to hook in for quicker voice joins.  Yes, I know WoW will have a new voice system soon, but unless it can compete... folks will still prefer Discord, Teamspeak, Ventrilo.   Don't close the voice economy down.    Then, if voice services choose to allow it, they can auto join voice servers in a single click.

Guild Notes:



  1. Give US a LOT more space for guild notes.  
    1. 1024 characters for the player (per account).  The play can tell a little about themselves, offer up contact information if they are willing, etc.
    2. 1024 characters for officers.  A small space to track notes about the players play schedule, teams the participate on, what kind of activities they like.
    3. 1024 character for the guild manager.  A small space to track issues or conversations with the player in case of dispute.

Guild Planner:

  1. Give guild planners the ability to plan activities.  Quick and easy way to add raids to the calendar.
  2. Suggest ideas for guild activities:  Raids, 5-mans, challenge modes, rated battlegrounds, pet battle tournaments, races.   Have a suggestion of the month that pops up.  Keep the players engaged.  Help guild leaders improve their guilds.
Just think of how much better organized a guild would be if we had the tools to make a guild sing.

Guilds didn't need guild perks, guild leveling.   They are nice, but they need tools.

What about your guild?  What would you add?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Leader Moment: Don't be a douche

My guild may just not be your style.  I get it!   But my guild is over 250 people from all walks of life and a multitude of age ranges.   I have learned that each generation has it's own social tolerances of what is acceptable.   Usually the younger the generation the edgier.

I feel I am pretty progressive for a 50 year old southern boy living in the bible belt that I can take a lot of what I would call "aggressive banter".   Perhaps playing WoW has added "salt" to my diet.

Anyhow, last night, I was recruiting and I give my usual spiel about the guild and the the only really simple behavior rule I have.   Essentially it is just a simple "don't be a douche".
  1. Don't bring up topics you know are going to get people all hot and bothered because if it gets you hot an bothered it will definitely do the same for others.
    1. Politics
    2. Gender, Gender inequalities
    3. Sexual Orientation
    4. Race, race relations
  2. Swearing is allowed, but don't be lewd.   And, as a southern boy, this means using any term that's derogatory against women.   You JUST DON'T DO THAT!
  3. Don't troll the trade channel.   Everyone that sees that will immediately think... their guild leader is also a douche because they allow this.
I personally don't think that's really asking too much.  I mean you have a full spectrum of topics to talk about and let's be realistic, 90% of what people talk about is the game anyhow.

And, I always tell folks that in smaller audiences... say like on voice chat, once you get to know the person you are talking to, the barriers will slack a little.

Now, why would have such a restrictive rule.   It is VERY SIMPLE.

Because:
  • I don't want to deal with whispers of the offended.
  • I don't want to deal with the overly emotional.  
  • I don't want to clean up a mess that you could of avoided.
Hey, disagreements happen.  But most people here are here to play WoW.

Play nice!

Check out my write up with dealing with the "offensive".  I guess I need my write up on dealing with the "offended" as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guilding up for Legion

With the way people play World of Warcraft today, Guilds have sort of become marginalized and this makes me a little sad.

You can essentially boost a character to end-game and gear up quickly with catch-up mechanisms and essentially complete all the content without ever really engaging with the other people that play.

I get it.  I understand that not everyone has the scheduled play time.  Not everyone can commit to a group of people all over the country and try to organize something larger than the temporary affiliations that the premade finder or raid finder can provide.  And, of course, not everyone has the social temperament to play with others.

But, I seriously feel as if I could never really enjoy this game that way.  Part of what makes me stick to this game as long as I have is not the game play at all, but all the people I have met and get to play it with.   If not for the people, I'd have left long ago.

If you are new to WoW, or if you haven't been guilded for a while, perhaps it's time to give a go.

If you have and had a bad experience, do your homework and try again.  Don't just accept the first guild that you see advertising but ask other members in that guild what it's like first.   Talk to the recruiter and find out what it takes to get involved and what the guidelines will be required.

You may find that guild just for you.  You may not.   But you'll be missing something if you don't try.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Leader Moment: Present Leader

So many things about guild leadership can be delegated if you can find people that are equally dedicated to making a guild functional except for one thing.

Being present.

I believe that it's a responsibility of being the guild leader to be the "glue" or the "anchor" of the guild.  If you aren't present then the anchor is gone.

It isn't difficult to maintain a presence even if you aren't online all the time.

Ways to be omnipresent.

  • Give the guild ways to contact you off-line - I give my personal phone number, e-mail, and they can use DiscordApp.com to contact me.   For the most part, even with my 250 person guild, people don't use it.   Just like you, they like to maintain some distance as well and will respect it.
  • Participate in a little of everything - I like to be involved a little in everything so I understand the dynamics of the issues involved in those things.   Even if I don't raid with all the raid teams every time, occasionally making appearance is a great way to let the guild know you are hands-on!
Don't give your guild members a moment to wonder... where is everyone and is it time to start looking again.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Managing the Guild Roster

As your guild starts to get larger you might begin to get overwhelmed by the number of players in the guild and perhaps their alternative characters depending on if you allow them in the guild.

I recommend starting early and figuring out how you will manage the roster before it gets too big.

How many Alts is enough?

How many alternative characters can a player have?   I have found that the majority of players will have 1 character.  Then, after that, about a 1/3 of the players will have from 2-3 and the remaining 1/3 of players will have from 5+ characters.

Since we are currently limited to 1,000 characters (not accounts) in a guild, it is important to decide in advance if you want 1/3 of your players taking up the lion share of your guild.

I understand you want all their toons in the guild so they feel welcome and can talk to their friends, but at some point it limits the number of players your guild can host.

For me, I have set the max at 5 and I will trim that back as the guild grows.

Here is what I do to keep track.

First, I run the add-on called ALTS.  The biggest plus to this add-on is that it allows me to export my entire roster to a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file that I can import into Google Sheets.   It takes a little effort, but from there I can do all sorts of filters and manipulations to get a better look at what I have in terms of guild size, levels, ranks, etc.

Primarily what it does for me is:

  1. Let's me set a note tag indicating the players main.
  2. Let's me export to Google Sheets
  3. Let's me see if I have typo's in mains/alts.
  4. Announces the player's main name when they talk in chat so I don't lose who they are.

This add-on supports several formats of placing the information in either the officer or guild notes.   I chose guild note because everyone can see it and use the same add-on to help themselves track people.  Or, if they don't have the add-on, they can just look at the note and see who someone is.

Here is how I set the notes:

Toon1: 05/06/16
Toon2: ALT: Toon1

In my notes this tells me that Toon1 is a main and it joined the guild on 5/6/16.  Toon2 is an alt of Toon1.

There is a newer add-on that does something similar, but I am pretty well established with this one and this system works pretty good, but it's not perfect.  You have to stay on top of it because Toon1 might leave the guild and Toon2 is orphaned.  Players won't warn you.   This is why I always ping a toon on wowprogress.com.   It can help you track down those pesky alts and see what they are about and who they were.

Next, I run an add-on called Guild Tracker.  It tells me all the changes to the guild since I last logged in.   This is great because then I know that Toon1 left the guild.  I think it even tells me their note when they leave so I can see the "05/06/16" and quickly repair the associations.   Just be sure to turn off achievement tracking and level ups.  I mostly use it for join/leaves.   It's nice to know without going to look what has changed.

Finally, I use Guild Search, also created by the person that wrote ALTS.  This lets me find players quickly with a GUI instead of command line using only ALTS.   /gsearch Toon1, finds all their toons.

Huge Guild?

If your just that great of a guild that everyone wants to join.  Then, I recommend setting up a second guild using the GreenWall add-on.   Make all the "extra" alts go there.

The big plus for GreenWall is that users don't have to configure it.  Only Guild Leaders.

The big drawback for GreenWall is, that only those players that have it, see the conversations.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Leader Moment: Just Chime Up Already

You may find you have a guild member that just never says what they want out loud.   They might mention it at first when they join the guild, but after that, they expect a personal invitation to everything or they feel snubbed.

There is nothing you can do to placate them.

My response is, don't accept that criticism.  Just respond quickly that it is not how you operate your guild.   If they want something, they must tell you and your job then, is to help them toward that goal.

They may not have what it takes to be the greatest Mythic raider or even a Rated-BG star, but that doesn't mean you cannot help them toward that goal.

But, I believe, it isn't the leads job to pull them off the sidelines if they aren't willing to meet you half way.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Keeping Raid Attendance

Keep Raiding Attendance Helps Lead

Any guild trying to build a raid team, I think, should try and keep an attendance record.  Mine looks like the screen clip here.

For my guild, I try to track the following kinds of information:
  • Did they stay the whole raid period (leave early, join late)?
  • Did they tell me they wouldn't make it or just not show up?
  • Did they post it as away vacation?
This information can help you in many ways. 
  • Recruiting - If I know what my attendance looks like, I can do a good job of knowing how many people I need and how hard I should be recruiting.   You should never stop recruiting, but I am talking about how much effort you expend as a result of where you are and your guild's need.
  • Learning Player Dedication - With a good statistic you can start to know what the probability a certain player will attend (whether they tell you or not).   You can use this to decide if they are a good candidate for your Progression Mythic team or should stay more as a backup.   You start to see signs and patterns in behavior.  These are the kinds of things that people won't tell you. This information doesn't have to be used to judge players, but it does help you plan and planning will ensure the show goes on.

    Here are some samples of what I mean:
    • Joe - Never signs up for raid, but has excellent attendance and if he's going to be away lets you know.
    • Mary - Always signs up.  Always shows up.
    • Fred - Will tell you he'll make it and won't.
    • John - Only shows up on farm nights.  Claims excuses for other nights.
  • Dealing with issues - Occasionally, an issue comes up where someone that has lackluster raid attendance argues that they deserve some thing (raid slot for certain boss, item that drops, etc.) based on being a consistent raider.   You can just point and say," really?"
Side Story: I like to jokingly compare this to my desk office at work.  I sit right across the hall from the men's bathroom.  No matter how hard I try not to pay attention, indirectly, you learn the bathroom habits of all the people that use it: who doesn't wash, who won't go in if someone else has a stall, who wants a particular stall, etc.   It isn't something I want to know, but I just can't help it.   Watching your attendance is the same kind of thing.  You will start to see patterns.

My Attendance Sheets

The system I use has evolved over time because if some aspect of it isn't working or if I am not using information in the way I originally intended, then it's time to redefine it make the information useful.

First, I created a Google Sheets on the web.  It works great because I can publish it as a fixed web page that the guild can see as well as a motivator and it just updates automatically.   Google also offers an only publish when you want option as well so you can work and then publish.   But, I prefer to just keep it out there.   People won't be staring at it as much as you will.

Down, I have names and across the dates.  In the cells, I put:
  • 1 = Full attendance.
  • fraction = partial attendance, present about 1/2 the raid, they get 0.5, etc.
  • purple fill = they told me they'd be missing.
  • orange fill = they told me they are away on vacation.
  • N = they just joined the team and these previous dates were before their joining so don't use it to assess them.
With a little bit of Spreadsheet magic, I can tell you that of my 29 raiders, I have 10 that attend 85-90% of the time and I have 5 that are about 70% of the time and another 10 that are 50% of the time, etc.   I can predict the odds that I'll be short raiders.

The crudest check for odds of attendance is just sum the % attendance on people.  If they add up to a full team, you have good odds.  I have thought about creating a more definitive equation for determining odds of being short, but this has done well enough for me without getting to complex.

If you have a cool way of keeping attendance and how you use it, let me know!