Casual Guilds Are Not Easy! is a weekly series on Destructive Reach which is devoted to the running of those oh-so-mysterious creatures, the ultra casual World of Warcraft guild.  This series covers many of the problems which arise in the day to day running of a casual guild, possible solutions to these, and the implications of these solutions.

Choosing your officers

Your guild has many people who are good at many different things.  It is getting difficult to run everything by yourself, especially when you are totally unfamiliar with many of the things your players enjoy doing.  Your battleground grinding warlocky self just has no idea what to do when your instance loving warriors say that they are interested in doing some light guild raiding. You have no idea how to solve the dilemma your shaman faces as to what they should spec and why.  When the guild members have differing goals, they begin to bicker amongst themselves and you just don’t know what to do.

Being a GM is a difficult task.  You are the person everyone essentially looks to, whether it be for advice, organisation, mediation or just ideas and a chat.  In a casual guild, the most difficult thing to overcome is your players will have a very wide variety of interests and skills, and you yourself will not have all of these.  Try as I might, I just can’t find myself interested in PvP, and so am utterly useless for advice or organisation in that regard.

You need to have an officer group who can play to your strengths and cover your weaknesses.  Just as raiding guilds have class leaders or role leaders, casual guilds need people to cover the foci of the guild.  The first step is to assess what it is your guild members are interested in.  You don’t want to have a plethora of officers in your guild, but you don’t want to be the only one holding the reins.  If you have a large contingent of PvPers in your guild, it may (or may not) be worth your while appointing someone who is interested in PvP to the officership.  Remember, the purpose of officers is not only to help out people in the guild – they also represent the group of people that they identify with.  If you do not have an officer within a certain contingent in the guild, their interests can often be forgotten and ignored.

The question is, how do you select someone from your players to be an officer?  Should you appoint an officer when there is no clear officer material within the contingent?

The simplest way for me to answer this is to describe the qualities I possessed which led to me being appointed as an officer.

I had been in the guild for a long time (although time itself was not necessarily a requirement).  I made it clear that I was interested in being an officer within the guild, and dedicated myself to that goal.  This meant that I logged in as frequently as I was able to manage with my lifestyle, ensured that I was always polite and helpful to people, volunteered ideas and information where required, and basically demonstrated the qualities that I thought officers should have.  This paid off, and I eventually was given the position of officer within the guild.

Good qualities to look out for in an officer include:

  • a sound knowledge of the game and/or their class
  • good people skills
  • good organisational skills
  • an ability to prioritise
  • an ability to delegate where necessary
  • desire to lead
  • the confidence to make decisions and stick to them
  • the confidence to mediate conflicts fairly

Obviously a person does not have to have all of these qualities to make a good officer.  The key is to see what their qualities are and give them a role which is appropriate to their strengths.  For example, you may have someone in your guild who lacks the strength to mediate conflict, but has excellent organisational skills and is very creative.  That person would probably be well suited to organising in guild events and maintaining a guild website.

Sometimes it is difficult to spot people who would make good officers.  I would suggest making it known in the guild that you are interested in appointing officers, and see who is interested, why they are interested, and what qualities they possess.  People who make great officers are not always immediately obvious!  If you already have one or two officers (which may be all you need), then ensure that they are involved in the process.

After I became an officer I ensured that I kept doing all the things I had been doing before, but I also took on some added responsibility.  You need to ensure that people don’t start slacking off once they become an officer.  A great way to do this is to ensure that you delegate responsibility fairly and evenly, so that all your officers have to pull their weight.  Many people will go above and beyond what you ask them to do anyway, but ensuring that your officers have a role is key.  Throwing people in to an officer role and not giving them something to do is useless, and doesn’t foster a good guild attitude towards officers.

Finally, what sort of roles do you want your officers to have?  It all really depends on your guild’s interests, but some examples include:

  • Role officers: Officers who give advice to the different roles people can play (ranged DPS, melee DPS, tanks, healers)
  • PvP officer: responsible for co-ordinating guild PvP activities and giving PvP advice
  • PR officer: responsible for recruitment and liaison with other guilds
  • Raid officer: responsible for co-ordinating guild raids.  May be shared with another officer
  • Conduct officer: monitors conduct of guild members
  • Event officer: organises guild events
  • … and many more!

As always, here is J @ Casual WoW’s take on the matter in his series ‘Of Guilds and Such’.  I must say, his post is much more… logical and well informed than mine!

4 Responses to “Casual Guilds are Not Easy! Choosing your officers”
  1. We started out with way too many officers for our then small guild. But they were co-founders and as such it was difficult to not give them something.

    In the end that turned out to be a bad choice. Essentially we did have 5 guild leaders or at least people who felt entitled to say “it is my guild” even if I was doing most of the guild leader work and shouldering the responsibility. We were trying to do “democratic” … right now I feel that this is not the best choice to go for a small organisation.

    Anyway we did not start out with every officer having an assigned area of responsibility. That came later. We just stumbled into everyhing.

    But here’s a list of “Areas of Responsibility” we used to have – before we abolished having officers alltogether:

    * Guildmaster, also responsible for the technical infrastructure (Teamspeak + Website etc.)
    * Co-Guildmaster, his job was also PR + relations to other guilds
    * Officer responsible for inviting and trial processes
    * Officer responsible for events (worst job ever because people felt he needed to serve them events on a silver tablet)
    * Counseling + Mediating Officer – to be there to listen to people’s problems or mediate in fights. Was supposed also to try pick up the current mood of the guild

    I think we had one more. Could have been that we had 2 types of event officers. One for “classic” events like organising the occasional raid and one for “fun events” like snowball fights or naked races …

    Right now we have managed to eliminate the need for officers. We have a very well defined invite process and a lot of Veteran members have invite rights. The only “officer” type people are now GM and co-GM. But we got there after nearly 3 years of experimentation and several severe crisis …

    I should do my own post instead of a comment here, eh?

    Oh well. Too late.

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  2. Our guild officers (which includes myself) have had many roles which have changed over time. At the moment, we’re kind of jacks of all trades, role mentors, guild management, raid leading, judges, juries and even the odd case of executioner!
    To pick your Officers: I would say that they need to have patience, a little common sense, a sense of humour with some skill in researching information (and where to find the resources!).

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  3. @Yashi I think that is a common problem with small guilds. Most people have a sense of obligation to give all the founding members a rank straight away as some form of recognition for them being ‘first’, but it doesn’t always work out.

    Sometimes I think the ‘no officer’ model is a great idea for casual guilds, but then I guess it also depends on the size of your guild. I have been a member of guilds with only 30 members, and guilds with well over 100 accounts. The important thing is to ensure that you don’t have too many chiefs!

    @Noobiewan I definitely agree with the officer qualities you listed there – I knew I had missed some!

    I think the problem I have had when writing this is really trying to come to terms with the contradiction between ‘casual’ and ‘officer’. I don’t believe that officers should be forced to become less casual than they would like, but I also think that they need to be an active presence in the guild. It’s a difficult conundrum!

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  4. We got over the trouble of giving all founding members a nice rank.

    I think one of the huge troubles of casual guilds is, that as an officer you have to do some real work to hold it all together and when doing that it is hard to keep that casual attitude. Especially since most problems in our guild were always drama related. There are no goals to work for. It’s just “staying alive” or something like it.

    Therefore it is very important to be precise and think hard what you as founder really want and then stick to it.

    Officers need to be aware that there will be work to do as an officer and that is often no less than in a less casual guild or one with clearly defined goals in raiding or PvP.

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