Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My guild defies logic

Lately Alas has been focusing a lot of word count on guild drama and officer issues/disagreements. I have a feeling what she's dealing with is much more common than we'd all care to admit (going off of some of the things I've seen the Drama Mamas tackle as well as general anecdotes I've picked up here and there).

One of her recent posts included the following words in her opening sentence:
...bringing me down to a comfortable total of three officers.
Woah. Three? That's...so few.

But is it?

I have a feeling my guild is very much an anomaly.

I kinda hope Alas doesn't read this next statement. Her head might explode.

My guild has 13 officers. No, that's not a typo. Unlucky 13.

Further defying the general rules and conventions of officerism, among those 13 are 4 couples, a pair of brothers, and an Aunt/Nephew pair. (There's some overlap in there.) It's always a little fun for us as new recruits start finding out we're not an entirely random group and start trying to connect all the lines in their head.

While Dinaer is unquestionably our leader, and we rarely take any significant actions before running them by him, he also extends the same courtesy to us. We have different ranks because the guild ranking system in WoW requires it. But at the end of the day, we're run more by committee than anything else.

If you want to get down and dirty about it, there's probably 4 of us total who actually do "officery stuff." Schedule things, run things, manage things...do more than just give our voice to the general direction we'd like to see the guild go.

And yet, you know how much serious drama we've had since I joined the guild (2.5 years ago)? None. In fact, our guild has had relatively little drama of any kind. And none of it has been inter-officer. It's either been officer-member or member-member drama. But our core has stuck together with an amazing amount of harmony.

I think the trick is that Din (and other active officers) have done a very good job of assembling people with the same overall goals and a healthy respect for the fact that not all of us will always agree on the exact way to reach those goals. We'll have debates and discussions on our officer forums about policy or direction. Sometimes we'll go round and round in circles and ultimately not do anything. Sometimes it's easy and quick and decisive.

But it always seems to work out.

And we must be doing something right. We've managed to assemble a pretty large group of capable raiders. Most of whom could probably find spots on more focused, progression-pushing raid teams. But they're content here with us.

In terms of progression, we're usually ranked around 40th or 50th on the server. I think that's more because of time and our relaxed approach. Push-come-to-shove, I doubt there's 50 guilds "better" than us on our server. Maybe 20.

We're definitely one of the oldest active guilds on the server. (Jul '06?) And if you take the "Level Value" stat on WarcraftRealms to be a reasonable indicator of guild size, we're #11 on the server.

Am I bragging? I think I'm bragging.

What I'm getting at, though, is that the standard wisdom of what kind of leadership team function doesn't apply to every guild.

We're fortunate to have a group of mature individuals who want to play the game for fun, which means playing it with friends more than anything else.

I think we have 2 officers under the (physical) age of 30. So it's a group that's got their heads on their shoulders and are very accustomed to working with groups of people that share different ideals.

I'm curious, though. How far off the norm are we?

For those of you that read my blog, how many officers does your guild have? Are you one of them? What are your guild's goals and focuses? (More progression- or socially-oriented?)

I'd also be really interested in hearing from any of you that might participate in an RP guild, as I have to assume that introduces a whole new realm of complications.


  1. My old guild had something like 13 officers as well. It worked for them, but I ended up hating it and it was a major reason I left the guild.

    What bothered me was that the officer group felt more like a social club than anything else. Being an officer meant you were liked by the founding members. It worked because most of the non-officers didn't care about guild politics and were more than happy to leave that discussion to others.

    But when I was an officer, I was annoyed at how long it took for anything to get done and how only 3 or so people, including myself, actually *did* anything. To add insult to injury, there were two officer ranks and I was one of 3 officer in the lower rank (even though I was one of the 3 officers who actually did anything) so officers in the upper rank were often rude and condescending to me.

    Needless to say, when I joined my current guild, the first thing I looked at was the leadership structure!

  2. I agree that the sort of leadership structure you describe is RAMPANT in guilds and makes me feel like a second-class citizen. The officers are more like a social club, don't do "officer stuff", and use o-chat as their gossip channel, leaving gchat empty. So I'm a big fan of few officers, and good officer turnover, because then it's more like a JOB than a perk.

  3. Well, my head didn't explode but I did boggle just a bit.

    When I said we have three officers that wasn't taking into account myself or the two co-GM's so we do have six people in leadership roles overall. I think that's still even a little topheavy for how small our guild has gotten to be lately.

    I like the advantages that come with having a smaller leadership team. When I bring something up for discussion, I want people to discuss it and something to be resolved ASAP. When we had more officers that was nearly impossible to achieve and there were a few people who wouldn't contribute to discussions but who would then bitch that they didn't like the outcome. Very tiring behavior, really, and proof (I think) that some of the people we have lost weren't necessarily "mature individuals".

    As with so many things, there is no one right way to set something up for a guild. I think it's great that you guys make your stuff work they way you have it. I think I am closer to getting my stuff to work the way I want it. :)

  4. The last thing I want is to log onto a game and have it be like a job.

  5. I think that a lot of guilds make things way more complicated than they have to be. Like I said in the guild meeting last night, running a guild is not like running General Motors. Honestly, there is very little to do when running a casual guild.

    We don't recruit, so we don't need an officer for that. We don't do Loot Council or have anyone in charge of a loot system. The only actual "job" that any officer has is Raid Leader (thanks, Saniel).

    The rest of the officers are there to answer questions, provide guidance, and defuse issues in guild chat. You could do that with 3 officers or 30 officers and it wouldn't change things. As long as no one is on a power trip, and as long as the officers don't get special treatment, then the number of officers is pretty meaningless.

    In guilds where top-heavy officer structure becomes a problem, I expect that officers are getting preferential raid spots, or other perks that cause strife between them and the other members. In those cases fewer officers would be better. In our case, our 13 officers are just fine. It could be more, it could be less.

    Everyone was promoted because they earned it. No one was given an officer spot just to fill a vacancy. Everyone had earned the respect of the guild members before getting promoted. Its all about the culture.

  6. We actually had 3 different ranks that, while they were different in intended meaning, were functionally all the same as "Officer." One of the things we're doing in this next week before Cata (and by "we" I mean "Din"...sorry, Din) is revamping our ranks, including collapsing all of those "Officers" down to a single rank.

    If there were more to do, I would probably feel resentful of the fact that about a 1/3 of us really do it. But everything we need to get done is getting done, and I don't feel like I'm being unfairly asked (or forced) to shoulder more of it than I already am. Earlier this year another one of the officers actually took over a huge chunk of what I did (the actual scheduling and pulling together of raids) so that I could focus more of my time and attention on just leading them.

    And, to be completely fair, we are a little bit of a social club. I'm not going to lie about that. But we're also, first and foremost, a social guild. We've had some definitely challenges as a guild over the last few years, and I think having that strong social core is what kept it going.

    And we are all just as social in guild chat as we are in officer. In fact, more times than not, officer chat is filled with logistics and decision making more than anything else.

  7. Like I said above to Ophelie, we are a little bit of a social club. But we also don't all just congregate and converse amongst ourselves in officer chat and leave the rest of the guild to fend for itself. We work hard to maintain a social guild atmosphere and a big part of that is leading by example and actually being social where everyone can see it and be a part of it.

    I hope none of our guildies feel like second-class citizens. And if any of them do, I hope we're open enough for them to be okay with letting us know (although I can understand how that wouldn't always seem to be true).

  8. I hope I didn't come across as suggesting I thought there was actually anything wrong with the way you want it. :-)

    We do manage to address most of the issues that come up quickly. Or, at the very least, in a timely manner. There's only one thing we really dragged our feet on and it came to a head in the last couple weeks. I think for most of the guild it was a little more than a ripple on the surface. It was only among the officers (and the one or two members directly involved) that it felt like a big deal.

  9. My Horde guild has 3 officers (I'm one of them, which is a recent development), and a GM. However, we are a guild that is based around a group of local friends, so we actually have 7 people who decide on most things, a few of them just dont have the officer title. Our focus is mostly raiding, but we also have a sizable amount of social members.

    Most of the guilds I've been in have had a fairly small group of officers. I think 7 or 8 is the maximum.

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