I was reminiscing recently with some of my old cronies about our past MMOs, which got me thinking about how much our guild has evolved over the many years and the factors that shaped its current form in WAR. The guild has changed with each game, but there’s a group of us that have moved together since Ultima Online. Anyways I’m gonna ramble a bit now about how my guild evolved, so you have been warned ;)
My first experience of MMO guilds was in Ultima Online, just before the 2nd age hit. In my first few days of UO I got talking to people from a guild called The Eternal Knights of the Circle (EKC). The EKC was an awesome guild, it had its own city, fought the good fight against PKs (players that had gone “red” from murdering so many other players), was very well structured internally and had a strong moral code. You simply could not be an arsehole and stay in EKC, it was all about a community of sound people. Interestingly it used a Monarchy system, no guild council or democratic malarkey, the king was the king, end of story.
I could write a whole article just about EKC, it really was the best guild I’ve ever been in (technically I’m still a member) and was where I cut my teeth in guild management as I moved up the ranks. It’s fair to say that EKC formed the foundation for everything I’ve done with or wanted out of guilds since. Just without the roleplaying bit…
I dabbled with loads of other MMOs, but the next one to get a grip was Dark Age of Camelot. Whilst playing on the beta, with a real life friend of mine “Filthius” and bunch of other ex-EKC, we started grouping with a collection of new people regularly. This naturally led to us deciding to form our own guild at launch. Soon as the game went live we got the cash together and formed the Legion of Darkness (LoD). We decided on Filth as guild master, with myself as co-GM. Filth was the main man for the in game leading, where as I focused on guild admin work and sorting out structure. With our EKC past we knew we wanted a guild that was again about the people, not the l337ness, we sure as hell didn’t want a guild full of wankers. Which led us to the development of guild rule no1 “No wankers”.
This simple, yet effective rule helped us form a great guild, which went on to become a fairly big player in the whole RvR scene. Obviously what qualifies someone as a wanker is totally subjective, but if you want a guild of likeminded individuals, then not taking in people that you would consider wankers does the job for you.
As ever with MMOs, you move on. With a new born daughter I didn’t have much spare time for running guild stuff and the temptation of dabbling with other new MMOs teased me away from DaoC. This eventually led to Filth and I jumping ship and surfing the new sea of MMOs.
Filth and I again ended up leading a guild, this time in World of Warcraft and once again with the “no wankers rule”. Yet again we had a friendly and fun guild. Over time WoW taught me a lot about running guilds, particularly as the MMO world became obsessed with loot. What a bloody nightmare, we had to write loads of sodding rules or risk watching turd hit spinny things. Like most guilds we had to make the move to a DKP variant and all the hideousness that entails.
As WoW changed more and more into Animal Crossing, I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the game. The co-GM thing was no longer perfect, Filth and I as ever got on perfectly (we’ve been RL friends for like 15+ years), but at times our guild policies could lack clarity, as it depended on which one of us you spoke to.
In the last few months before WAR I decided I’d had enough. I stepped down from my co-GM position. WAR was approaching; I was pissed off with WoW, bored and only logging in to chat with my mates.
I’d decided with WAR that I’d set up a new guild as sole GM with a small number of rules (8), tightly controlled recruitment and suffering no fools. I had my core players from Blazing Phoenix coming along with us and this time I got the website, structure and everything sorted out well in advance. Filth of course would be on my officer team ;) Blood Pact was created on launch day with everything in place. Rule no1, was of course set in stone.
Since then Blood Pact has grown to become one of the premier Destruction guilds on our server, in size, activity and most importantly, quality. We’ve had 4 other guilds merge into us, all being ones where we knew them beforehand and we were certain of the quality of their members. The guild has a great atmosphere and it’s on its way to building another awesome online community. I imagine its more luck than judgement on my part tbh, but assuming I did something right in the last 10 years of guild management, here’s 7 things that I think might have helped…
1) Don’t recruit wankers. If any get in, kick them.
2) Democracy is over rated. A strong but fair leader means swift, decisive action. Plus the existence of rule 1 means if your leader is a wanker they have to kick themselves. :P
3) More than 10 main guild rules are too many. People won’t remember them, if they even bother to read them.
4) A nice website, clever charter and fancy uniform are all good and well, but it’s your guild member’s actions that define how your guild is actually perceived.
5) Don’t take on everything yourself; share your workload with a balanced officer team.
6) Officer ranks should have clear roles and responsibilities identified. If officers don’t fulfil their role, demote them, even if they’re your best mate.
7) Quality > Quantity. Always.