Tobold's Blog
Monday, December 14, 2009
 
Running a guild without social skills

Science has tried with mixed success to measure the mental capabilities of people. From that research we got the IQ, intelligence quotient, as unit of measure of logical, analytical, and numerical mental capabilities. Lesser known is the EQ, the emotional quotient, defined as measuring your capability "to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups." The two are not correlated, in fact cases of people with high IQ and low EQ are quite common. Being more intelligent than others makes you "different", and being different is a handicap in social situations. That rejection can evoke a response of the intelligent person isolating himself socially ("I don't need the help of these morons, I'm better than them."), and over time withering the social skills.

Now obviously it is hard, if not impossible, to judge a person over the internet, as you only see a small part of him. Nevertheless, if you read enough of what a person writes on the internet, and assume that he is writing from the heart (and brain), and not faking a personality, you can make an educated guess of that persons IQ and EQ.

Based on his writings, I believe that Gevlon has a high IQ and low EQ. Thus I couldn't help but wonder about Gevlon's latest scheme, in which he wants to become the guild leader of a new raiding guild for raiding in blue gear. It is not that I don't believe that a guild consisting of 25 Gevlons in blue gear couldn't raid Naxxramas. Rather the problem is that running any guild requires quite some social skills. Cold, hard logic only gets you so far. Ayn Rand would pretty much suck as a guild leader. Thus, even if Gevlon manages to get the guild together by leveraging the advertising power of his blog (which is a good plan in itself), I do expect the whole thing to spectacularly explode after a short while.

I'd nearly be tempted to join his guild just to see that, but I haven't got the time. But if you are playing on European servers and are interested in Gevlon's concept of a blue gear raiding guild, you are invited to see for yourself. What do you think about Gevlon's plan to become a guild leader?
Comments:
Funnily enough, Ayn Rand did have a devoted group of like-minded individuals back in her day, the Nathaniel Branden Institute. It ended badly due to a personal disagreement between Rand and Branden.
 
I'm not planning to be a "guild leader". My leadership will be purely technical: inviting those who want to join and kicking those who don't contribute.

There will be no Vent for two reasons: to prevent hand-holding (guy with no brain but responds to all commands), as hand-holded dumbs cannot adapt to strange situations. The other reason is to minimize chit-chat and the chance of social drama.

This won't be a "guild" it will be a PuG run like you do with dungeon finder. The only exception will be that the underperformers will be kicked with no exeption. Meaning: if there are 15 DPS spots and I'm not in the top 15, I'll be sitting outside.
 
Ayn Rand would pretty much suck as a guild leader.

You do realize there is a substantial amount of planning and logistics that go into writing/publishing a book, right?

But, that besides the point - either you are making some cryptic sexist comment about females and emotions where organizing and leading a Guild are concerned, or you're just being flippant for whatever reason to elevate your topic in this case.

I take issue with this post, because you are trying to use a binary set of qualifiers to describe something that is multilayered and cannot be distilled down into one or two components(IQ vs EQ). Sure, they play an important part in being successful in how we interact with others, but in the context of an online game where avatars and anonymity exist, you only get a glimpse of a persons true identity. God forbid people actually implement Role Play in their online existance in an MMORPG, right?

Also, the one thing you fail to mention in this post, is how you would guage success as related to the lifespan and goals of a Guild - regardless of a preconceived notion of failure on your part. If Gevlon puts his Guild together for the purposes indicated in the post that you linked, what would it matter if the guild only existed for 6 months but managed to complete the content and get the majority geared as a result?

Just exactly how are you going to define success or failure where Gevlons endeavor is concerned when you offer your postmortem in this case?

Call it a failure regardless of outcome and blame it on Karma?
 
I still have my doubts that you are not Gevlon, actually :)

Gevlon plan can work, because a person with a low EQ in one society can have a very high EQ in the other one.
 
It might work for 25 of him, all working rationally towards a common goal. But good luck finding 25 clones. In practice there will be egos (oh, there are even in his clone guild) and biases and those blasted emotions that make us human.

I don't think it will do well because of the formation stage. It won't instantly emerge as 25 people. It will have to be built up and weed people out and organize. During that time a bunch of self-interested people with no concept of loyalty are likely to determine that it is more profitable to go to pre-existing guilds. What rational person would follow someone on such an irrational quest? He'll need socials, and yet must avoid socials.

But, best of luck to him.
 
This won't be a "guild" it will be a PuG run like you do with dungeon finder. The only exception will be that the underperformers will be kicked with no exeption. Meaning: if there are 15 DPS spots and I'm not in the top 15, I'll be sitting outside.

And you don't think this approach is likely to cause guild drama? Who decided who is in the top 15 and who isn't? How do you determine who are the top healers and top tanks, where you don't have a numerical value you can measure? Will people who aren't "in" not just leave the guild and not be there as replacements when somebody else leaves?

It ended badly due to a personal disagreement between Rand and Branden.

What I read about Ayn Rand's biography (and not a "cryptic sexist comment" as Chris thinks) were the basis for my remark that she wouldn't make a good guild leader. Personalities clash, and stronger personalities, not softened by empathy, clash harder.
 
@Tobold: Healers of the same role can be measured by numbers. Tanks is harder issue, rather trial and error. If two tanks alternate the boss and always the same dies, simple answer.

Those who leave because they are not in for a specific fight are socials and not needed.

It's also NOT a guild (a permanent group) but a project. It's not meant to last. Most probably we won't play together again after Arthas bit the dust.
 
I see problems in that project :
1. Dps meters are highly unaccurate as a raid performance indicator. Your dps topper is probly breaking CC, not helping healers, and generally playing like an ass.
2. Social interaction is needed to overcome difficult content (what did we do wrong, what can we change) - It will only work on content you faceroll
3. and most important, social skills are NEEDED in any group, whatever the purpose. Without this, criticism will be taken as rejection, drama will insta explode... etc

I'm betting it'll work very briefly, but explode at the first difficulty (like all pure intellect based project i know tbh ;).

Finally, imo, people Lacking / Denying social interaction make awful MT and healers. Could be wrong thou.
 
Rand would have made a fabulous guild leader. She had absolutely amazing social skills.

She was a freeloader who culled dysfunctionals with pathological hatred of freeloaders out of the herd to finance her lifestyle by convincing them that paying for her to live in luxury was a blow against slackers.

Hats off to one of the finest pieces of bridge-selling of the twentieth century.
 
I'm skeptical that he'll be able to find 25+ people to do it. In my mind it's not the social thing so much as the trust thing. How much trust will these players have for Gevlon, and how much will he have in them? And how will that affect the outcome. I wonder...

Regardless, it's always interesting to watch an experiment. =)
 
It might work. People in this "Guild" won't expect social behavior, it isn't advertised as "this is a great place to hang out" and it is limited to a short time. All participants will have the same goal and a roughly equal skill. In my book that eleminates the two biggest guildbreakers: People having different expectations and peoples goals changing after some time.

Gevlon as he depicts himself in his Blog would surely be unfit to lead anything else than a bunch of purely goaldriven raiders and he might mess up if he had to sustain the group over a longer time, but the way this is set up it could work if he finds enough people.

Beating Naxx like this is a No-Brainer, but I'm very interested to see how far they get.
 
It's an interesting project. I do wonder if you'll find ~30 people willing to join in the project. But as I think my guild is too soft on slackers I like the idea of just kicking those who can not make it out of the raid.

Tobold does have a point however. If you're going to decide who gets kicked and who won't get kicked those who do get kicked will cause drama. And if he has any "good" friends in your guild he'll cause drama. In short: drama drama drama!

We'll see how it goes, I'm looking forward to see any progress.
 
If I wasn't stuck in Europe for 6 more weeks with a laptop that probably can't run WoW (or if it does, the video card isn't supported by Blizzard), I'd actually be tempted to get back into WoW by Gevlon's experiment.
 
Will people who aren't "in" not just leave the guild and not be there as replacements when somebody else leaves?

Are the group his project is appealing to those who act emotional or childish when they are under-performing and left out till they pick up their act. Or, will they be the types to say "Right, well I need to improve".

The issue is when the person in charge thinks they are underperforming, while they believe they are not. If you have reasonably like minded people, all of a similar skill level i dont see it being a common problem. It will depend who joins the project.
 
Healers of the same role can be measured by numbers.

No, they can't.

There is a brilliant but old piece of writing around on "how to top the healing meter", which describes in detail how to come out on top of any numerical measurement of healing, while being in fact a horribly bad healer of minimal usefulness for the raid. Healing mathematecally is simply different from dps in that quantity counts for less than quality (timely heals, mana efficiency, etc.).
 
the best guilds I found had a core membership (leadership) with good social skills and without huge egos. Thus a generally drama-free core.

the chance of finding a bunch of random people who magically arrange themselves in coherent drama free fashion seems slim at best and my experiences with PUG guilds doesn't bode well either.

As a side note, (for some unknown reason) I experienced many more ego prominent guilds (linkshells) in Final fantasy online. Such guilds tended not to last long, even amongst people who were friends beforehand or in real life.
 
The issue is when the person in charge thinks they are underperforming, while they believe they are not. If you have reasonably like minded people, all of a similar skill level i dont see it being a common problem. It will depend who joins the project.

I think the problem is usually when the person in charge has to make a judgement call. Say there is not a single warlock among the top 15 dps, but there is one at #16 only minimally behind. Do you take the warlock for healthstones and imp stamina bonus?

I think if you wanted to write a perfectly objective raid invite ruleset which would not require a single judgement call, the document would run many pages. In the real world, a raid leader has to make decisions, and somebody is always losing out on any decision.

Nevertheless, kudos to Gevlon for trying this project. I find the attempt of objectivism in raiding extremely interesting, and I'm looking forward to read his reports on how it worked out. I just don't think they will finish more than a handful of raids before falling apart. Just like real life, virtual life can't always be managed with purely objective criteria.
 
I disagree. Guild Leadership in a raiding guild is NOT about social skills. I think you're confusing a raiding guild with the social guilds of the old days.
 
Like all of us, Gevlon tends to forget what he's good at. He realized and wrote up a series of economic things related to WoW. Full Stop. Outside of that he's got no claim to anything and he's socially an ass. The post of "Guild Leader" is almost a class in an MMO. Many people who do it well have spent a decade learning how. Any guild he attempts to setup will sputter out before it gets two feet.
 
Relevant update: Turns out either Gevlon has been hacked or this is an even more cynical side we haven't seen:

From his blog:

@All:

Socials are so predictable.

Why would a PuG-type guild need a forum? And would anyone make a PuG-type guild? If i want to PuG, i PuG.

This project is over with great sucess and my superior mind is once again right.

14 December, 2009 16:13
 
I don't understand the purpose of this exercise. Is he planning to lead a pug-ish guild to Naxx, gear up there, then proceed to the rest of the raids while gearing up? Or try to raid everything in blues? If the former, there's nothing special in that. If it's the latter, I very much doubt it's doable - I bet they won't even get to finish totc25.
 
I think Ayn Rand would be a great leader for a hardcore guild.

Shit leader for a fun guild though.

But that's just her. In my experience as a guild leader of a mid level raid guild, a certain amount of Machiavellian thinking was inevitable. You tried to keep people happy, but how much you did depending on whether they were contributing, and how much making them happy would piss off someone else, etc. I don't know how you could lead a guild and not inevitably come to view it as a bit like managing a McDonalds. You need fry cooks, you need cashiers, you need somebody on the drive through. Who you have on those is less important than having a machine that can continue to operate regardless of whether the fry cook is burnt out, or the cashier decides he wants to move up a higher class establishment. In fact, excessive emotional involvement with guildmates will lead to accusations of favoritism from all the people you aren't on a first name basis with and that will cause lots of problems.

Any guild that has performance expectation ends up being run a lot like a business. If its just a bunch of dudes chilling and having fun, that's great, but you aren't leading a guild so much as just being foremost among equals. Which is great and all, but doesn't give you a lot of actual leadership experience.
 
Well, it's an interesting project at least. Better than sitting on your behind and following mainstream.

i hope it goes right and i'm proven wrong tbh :-)
 
Disregard/delete my previous comment. It was indeed just an imposter. Not a hack, fortunately.
 
I honestly wish I could play on the EU servers. I've never been able to level another character to 80 (I have a paladin at 73 that I started almost two years ago that I just got bored of), but I would roll on that server just so I could watch this project's progress. Should be at least interesting to read the reports that come out about it.
 
Consider that most guilds are formed with some lofty purpose and ideal and everybody is going to get along and we'll all sing songs and kill bosses and it will be a grand old time please join us!

Whereas, Gelvon's group has a very specific purpose / goal, people will be measured against their ability to meet that specific goal, there is a defined end, nobody needs to give up a spot in their current social structure, and the entire proposition is being primarily marketed to a group of people already established as (mostly) like minded.

I think it has "win" written all over it. It's not a task that requires the social manipulations of a guild leader. It requires the planning and management of a skilled project manager.
 
I think it's funny how many people are looking at your Ayn Rand comment and not the rest of your post. I agree with you that social skills are needed to start a guild.

And i think Gevlon's idea is pretty sweet, no matter if it fails miserably or not it's still a novel idea.
 
Gevlon said: "Those who leave because they are not in for a specific fight are socials and not needed."

Don't know if I can agree with that. If I joined a guild with the goal of raiding, and then was told I couldn't raid, I'd definitely entertain the notion of going somewhere where I *would* get to raid. A different guild, a PUG run, whatever opportunity presented itself.

Remember, I'm (hypothetically) not a social player. I use groups of people to advance my own personal goals while maintaining emotional distance. Your guild isn't advancing my goal, so I'll be moving on first chance I get. It's logical.
 
Technical Leader Gevlon! Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? And if you get kicked by the Technical Leader you get the in-game title of "Technically, I Suck". That would be so cool!

This sounds like an experiment doomed for success. I only wish I wasn't a M&S, then I might have the sense and skills to join this Blue Army. Good luck Gevlon, but I wish more good luck to those who join his "PuG".
 
Anyone wanting to be a guild leader must be suicidal. I wouldn't take that job even if it paid me 100k a year.
 
Damn you, Gevlon... You made me try WoW again with your dastardly plan...

B. is back, in WoW. Now that's an odd feeling.
 
For those worried about whether this project will find 30+ people, that much has already happened. Even the US group, which isn't being run by Gevlon, has 42, Gevlon's group has double that.

The only question is how many of us will be able to meet raid requirements at 80 and stick together in a guild with little to no social fabric.

The difference between the US side and the EU side will also be interesting. I definitely do not share Gevlon's randian ideas, or his feeling that pure social interaction is useless. That said, I still plan to be all business when running the US side.

I wavered somewhat about the no chitchat in gchat rule personally, but it does have its benefits. For one, if you try to say "very little chit-chat", one reasonable person's definition of very little is different from another's, so it's hard to decide exactly where the "unreasonable" line should be drawn. Plus, no chitchat means no non-game-based drama.
 
Sibyl said:
'Don't know if I can agree with that. If I joined a guild with the goal of raiding, and then was told I couldn't raid, I'd definitely entertain the notion of going somewhere where I *would* get to raid. A different guild, a PUG run, whatever opportunity presented itself.'

But the goal is not just to raid, but to raid in blues up to ICC level. Unless someone starts up a similar project there will be no other guild offering the same opportunity (and even if there was, its standards would likely to be just as high). The only choice would be leave and maybe never get another chance to do it, or work harder at improving.
 
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