Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
What makes a good guild?

Did you know I am doing blog entries on request? I do, it's just that I rarely get any requests. :) Alcaras from writes:

Hi Tobold,

I run my own gaming blog over at I've also had my share of guild drama (I used to be in a high-end raiding guild, Nurfed) and have seen guilds evolve and change over time.

I'm curious as to your opinions on what it takes to found a good guild. I've recently written up a charter for a Guild Wars guild I've started, with these seven points:
(taken from here)


The Jade Sea Pirates is a PvP guild that is focused on having fun in a mature and intelligent environment. Members log on, group with guildmates, and enjoy the exciting and strategic nature of Guild Wars PvP, be it in Alliance Battles, Guild Vs. Guild, Hall of Heroes or Team Arena. The focus of the guild is on PvP.

We recruit members based maturity, intelligence and skill.

The Seven Tenants of The Jade Sea Pirates
1. Be intelligent -- ask questions to gain understanding; better to ask and learn than to not ask and never know.
2. Be mature -- act in a respectful and civil manner, towards guildmates and towards others. Do not taunt opponents, even if they taunt you.
3. Look forward -- do not despair over a loss; instead, focus on analyzing it to better understand and improve your gameplay.
4. Lift others up -- encourage and motivate your guildmates -- do not assign blame for losses and liberally share credit for victories. Do not criticize, instead offer suggestions as to how to improve.
5. Communicate -- If you have an idea for a strategy, say it. Don't assume others know something if you have never told them. Make sure everyone is on the same page before attempting a strategy. Be creative in strategizing and disciplined in execution.
6. Be friendly -- Be a nice person. Be helpful. Offer advice and support to your fellow guildmates. Help each other out.
7. Have fun -- Enjoy yourself. If you're playing a game, you should be having fun. This is not a job, this is a game. This is not saying that you should goof off while everyone else is focused on winning the battle; rather, it is to say that you should be having fun being focused on winning the battle.


I'd love to see a blog entry with your thoughts on what makes a successful guild.


I don't think creating a successful guild is as easy as setting up good rules. The problem is that a guild has two major purposes, which aren't necessarily always compatible:

1) Trust and friendship. You want to log on into the game, and find the guild chat full of people you consider friends, who are nice and friendly, how joke with you when you are in a good mood, and pick you up when you are in a bad mood.

2) Mutual help. You want to form groups, from 2-man teams to 40-man raid groups, with your guild mates to overcome the challenges of the game which can't be beaten solo. You want the people you group with to be guild mates, because of all of the advantages of playing repeatedly with the same people: You know how competent they are, and you can work out a system for fair loot distribution over longer periods of time with them.

Now I'm not saying that you can't have both, friendship and shared success in the game. But there are factors that make it difficult. For example friendship is obviously easier to achieve in a smaller group, while getting 40 people for a raid together on a regular basis obviously requires a much larger group.

Both friendship and shared success are aided by playing together as often as possible. There are many obstacles to that. One is that different people have different play schedules. That is especially bad on games with international servers, where time zone differences makes playing together impossible. But even if everybody is in the same time zone, different work schedules and family time can make playing together difficult. Another big obstacle to playing together is different goals and play styles. If part of your guild wants to do PvP, part wants to go raiding, and a third part prefers playing in small groups, getting everybody to achieve their personal goals while playing together is complicated, if not impossible.

Thus the Jade Pirate's "the focus of the guild is on PvP" is a good thing, much better than just the non-descriptive "guild that is focused on having fun in a mature and intelligent environment". Nobody believes of himself that he is immature, unintelligent, and pursueing game goals that aren't fun.

But this again shows how difficult it is to get the friendly part and the efficient part of a guild united. Recruitment for a guild is very difficult. The guy who was so very nice turns out to not play very often, and having different game goals than the others. The guy who got invited for being such an excellent PvP player or raid leader turns out to have no patience at all for people playing less well. Conflicts often arise long after people have been granted full member status, and it is hard to kick them out again. People, games, and guilds evolve with time, so even if you are pleased with your guild now, it isn't given that the guild will still be around in a year.

I think if you want to found a "good guild" it is important to be very focused on what the main purpose of the guild is. It is a lot easier to run a guild when everybody in the guild has the same goals in game, and expects the same things from the guild. That might exclude otherwise very nice or very competent people from being recruited, but it is better to stay focused on one goal than to pursue many different goals and never reach any of them.
It is a lot easier to run a guild when everybody in the guild has the same goals in game, and expects the same things from the guild.

You just summed up what makes a guild work. Gather people who kinda are and want the same. I highly doubt that the 13 year old newbie, goes along with the 30+ year old veteran. Same thing goes for the PvP/PvE combinations. If you want your guild to progress within the game, your people need to have a couple of braincells for sure. One more thing, as long as there are items in the game, i suggest a valid loot system.

Humor is something i do value maybe too much. But if co-players can not laugh about the samt things i can do, i could not play with them for a longer period of time.

I am not sure about the leader component yet. My experience is, that the more hardcore or "endgamish" (if that is a word) your guild is, the less important is the leader guy. The big ego fascist leader types can only exist in guilds, where the value of the single member differs, if this makes any sense to you. You could say that, if the guild always has anything to to, it does not need someone to call what to do. Members should be intelligent enough to figure that out on their own. If they do not, your guild will not work in the long run. To give an example: if the majority of players does not realize, that raidboss-X is just to hard yet and still jumps into death cause their leader told them to, the guild has problems. And if you get kicked out for calling the problems names, your guild is in real trouble.

On last thought for PvE-centric guilds. You can have the most intelligent and kindest players of the world, if your roster is unefficient, your guild will run into problems too.
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Good lord, that's sage-like advice. Excellent response & position, Tobold. I completely agree.
Thanks for the reply Tobold! Some wise advice there :)

What do you think is the worth of tracking tools like DKP? Are there any other tools than that and maybe forums? I haven't been in a regular guild in years and other than tracking posts and availability I always wondered how guilds really manage themselves. Word of mouth in game I guess. Thanks.
My favorite guild tool is some sort of calendar for events. Those exist as addon in-game (like GEM, the Guild Event Manager), or on a guild website, linked to the forums.
let me start off with, that was one of the best debates ive seen in awhile. secondly, i came to read this page because im thinking of starting my own guild. i came for advice, to learn, and to get differant views and perspectives from people on what make a "good guild". i would like to inform you all that you have helped me with my goal and would like to thank you for doing so. if i may add in a peice of my own thoughts though. what about diversity. if you had ALL the same type of people in one guild, where would be the information? what would you learn, and how fun would that be. like in highschool. your not just friends with all the white kids. your friends a few a black kids, some hispanics, maybe asian kids. ive met many races. apply that to this scenario. diveristy teaches alot. one person might do something that could teach another person to do better. randy rhodes was the guitarist for black sabboth. what made him amazing was that he never quit learning. his philosophy was that someone that even is lower skill than you can ALWAYS teach you something. even if its something you already know how to do, it could get a totally differant aspect and view out of being taught by someone else. secondly, you need a spark. that guy that is short, no patience, he is what puts color to the guild. what would life be with no outbursts. that would later bring up humor within the members. reminiscing on when he lost his mind in the raid the other night. and hopefully last. the newbie vs. the 30+. put both of your views together on that. how can a guild grow if you dont start out young? to create bonds and ties, trust and friendship, you need to grow together. how will you show that your guild is strong if you dont have someone to raise. think of the lower levels as the young of the pack. you have to raise and teach them. a guild is not run by one person or 2 people. not even 40 people. the guild is run by the people inside it. its not just a group of people. its a family. and with all families there will be discomfort, and outbursts, immaturity, young and old, fun and excitement. i think that you have taught me that guilds are as strong as the people in them.
I would have to disagree with chrismue on a few points. For one, yea, I believe that the people should have a fair intelligence, but the guild leader should have tactical prowess. Do you think that the military just puts people through basic training (boot camp), chucks em into the battlefield and says "okedokee, you're smart enough to know what to do now, so we shouldn't have to tell you our objectives or how to reach them, as you should be able to figure them out anyway because you're a readily qualified soldier now." Obviously, this scenario is absolutely absurd, and would never happen unless the CO (commanding officer) who was either insane, traitorous, or completely incompetent and/or unqualified.

Basically, here's what I think a guild should focus on, in order to achieve those 2 aspects that Tobold brought up (which were quite valid).

1. A leader is only as great as the greatness he/she inspires in their followers. Basically, if you can't rev up your guildies, and get em pumped up for a raid or something, they're going to be about as useful on the battlefield as a dried up sack of potatoes.

2. Organization is key. Don't just expect everyone to stand up in line on their own, and for everything to fall perfectly into place without outside influence. You need to make a SYSTEM, otherwise everyone will be running every which way, and nothing can be achieved. All forms of tactics require firm discipline of the commander and the soldiers, and they need to do what they're told, when they're told to, WITHOUT hesitation.

If a good soldier were told by his CO to run down the streets in an area that was, to his/her knowledge, infested with hostile sniper posts and ambushes, and do it unarmed and naked, the soldier would do it. Whether or not the soldier should follow orders should not be linked to whether or not the leader is fit to lead. Of course, this situation is also absurd, but I'm using it to prove a point. If something sounds completely STUPID, it doesn't necessarily MEAN that it's wrong. The reason for this, is that the soldier may not have known about certain factors that may have changed in the environment: such as if the snipers were no longer there, and the area was cleared of hostiles, and that it was simply a test of loyalty and discipline.

If a soldier hesitates, people die. Therefore, they should do what they're told, when they're told to.

3. As for the leader, you should try studying tactics for fighting different "genres" of enemies (big and strong, small and numerous, medium and fast, etc.) have note cards if you have difficulty remembering how to do this. Of course, you don't want to be micromanaging, so if your guild starts getting bigger (say, 20+ members) start promoting people based on tier ratios (ie. if you have 90% of your guild at tier 2, promote 90% of the number of officers you want at tier 2)

better example:
game has 4 tiers
100 guild mates
30 are at tier 1, 20 are at tier 2, 40 are at tier 3, and 10 are at tier 4

you should promote the 3 best and most reliable people at tier 1 to an officer rank, then 2 at tier 2, 4 at tier 3, and 1 at tier 4 (if you're a tier 4, and there's only 10 people at tier 4, you might want to just BE the tier 4 officer for now, it might help establish your superior rank in the minds of your guild mates).

The biggest issue I've ever seen with guilds is when the members get quiet and independent. Quiet MMO players are more often than not the kind that DON'T LISTEN. An independent soldier is one who has lost sight of the fact that they are on a TEAM, and that they cannot win on their own. Often, they become arrogant, foolhardy, and basically run full force straight into a large group of enemies, separating from the group, and putting both themselves and their team in danger. Sticking together is about the best tactic a team can use, and if they do it well, they will probably almost always win.

Of course, if there are AOE (area of effect) factors coming into play, this may be an issue, as the group should still stick together, but may need to increase the diameter of their formation to reduce splash damage effects (like, for instance, a fireball, might do 200 damage to everyone within a 7 meter radius, if they're all clumped up, it will hit them all at once, but if they're at least 10 meters away from everyone else, no more than one person will ever get hit at one time)

There's a lot more tactics similar to this that people can use, that are quite generalized, and applicable to almost any MMORPG in PVP or PVE, but overall, guilds require discipline, which causes victories, which causes morale boost, which causes more victories, and so on and so forth in a sort of reversed-vicious cycle.
thanks everyone for your advice.
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