The purpose of this article is to provide some insight to those that are considering starting a guild. This is in -no way- the absolute only way to do it, it is simply a compilation of information that I have acquired over a very long period of time as both a guild leader and a member across several mmos. This is going to be very long but it will play out more or less every aspect of a guild that I can think of by using a fictitious guild as an example in most scenarios presented below. This is also taken from a PvE aspect, but a lot of the same points could be made for PvP guilds.

First, let’s start off with the very first scenario that will likely happen: You’re a little level 15 and you’ve come across some like-minded people that happen to be guildless or unhappy with their current guild. The following ‘conversation’ is more common than you think. “Yeah! Let’s start our very own guild!” “Okay! I’ll be an officer in it for you!” “YEAH!” *gets charter signed and guild forms* “Woo!!” “.. Awesome!” “… … y.. yeah.” “Ok.. so.. now what?”

‘Now what’ indeed.

There is so much that goes into leading a guild, and you’re being naive if you think you can run it all by yourself and expect it to grow. Finding the right officers and establishing a loyal team of people is critical for both guild success and maintenance.

Guilds need two things. Goals and members. What was the purpose of forming your guild? to run lowbie dungeons with a group of friends? If that’s the case then good news! You’ve achieved that already and can safely quit the game because you just beat Rift! *happydance* .. wait.. beat Rift? Well yeah. MMOs are what you make them to be under a social setting. With a very easy to reach goal like that, what else is there to do?

So you now decide that you’ve run every single dungeon there is and your band of merry men has grown from 10 to a more sizable guild of 20. You are also now almost max level. Having also decided that you refuse to claim that you’ve beaten Rift, you begin to search out more difficult objectives and the ‘next step’.. but wait… something is amiss.

A few of your guildmates have outleveled you and have been max level for a while now.

Morale is very important in a guild. This does not mean cater to everyone’s whim, but there are a few solid facts that must be accepted in order to properly lead your guild:
1) People WILL leave. Either by you kicking them or by their own accord.
2) You need to be as good a player or better than them.
3) Your decisions should be stuck to and will affect the guild’s perception of you as a leader.

One of your officers has been max level for a while now and is becoming impatient with the rest of the lower leveled members. He has also been grouping with a few other guildmates of the same level and they’re quite a bit ahead of you and the rest of the guild in terms of progression. Before you can even act, he has taken half your guild and gquit. You are now, once again, the highest level in the guild with no officers. As you sob silently to yourself in the corner of your room and get it all out, you have two choices. You can say ‘piss on it all’ and disband the guild, or you can get back up and keep going.

This is very important. Guilds have trends. They go up and down, and up and down like a graph. If you think you are at your lowest point after losing a big chunk of your members, think back to when you formed the guild to begin with. How much farther from that point are you now because of the tenacity you’ve had so far? If it is indeed that dire, you should probably just disband. If, however, you look back at your guild and think “You know what.. f!#* them.” Then you brush it off and keep going. There will almost always be more players. You’d be surprised at how quickly things change for the better sometimes.

Ah, so now you’ve hit max level (finally) and have several guildmates with you. You’re all running dungeons together and learning the fights as a group. Well done! More people have joined too! Yus! Friends of friends.. other like-minded players.. and life is happy again! “Alright! We win now!!.. right?”

10 man dungeons.

There is a gear requirement now. “But I thought hitting max level was the end!!” Well it is.. if you want it to be. If you have no aspirations for your guild beyond hitting max level, then kudos to you for hitting this goal as well! That’s like.. another achievement! “W..well yeah. I guess. … sigh, ok what’s next then?”

With a good group of officers you trust and a solid team of max level characters that are entertained and happy in the guild, gearing up becomes the next task. For our example, we will use IDH and TDQ. You need a certain amount of hit rating/dps and hitpoints. I’m not talking about how to progress in dungeons though, I’m talking about how to progress as a guild, so we’re not going to discuss that here.

Your guild, at this point, should be your top priority. If you started a guild to profit from it or become the best geared whateverclass you are your guild will likely fall apart. Corruption is easily detectable and can only be hidden for so long. You will need to spend some plat, run some dungeons that you have no need for, and put in a significant amount of time into your guildmates to help them get to the level that they need to be at.

Grouping with your guildmates and carrying them a bit is a great thing because not only will it develop loyalty to you as a guild leader, it will also show you where their weaknesses and strengths are. You might even learn a thing or two from one of them. You won’t know everything and they will aid you by telling you things that they see will help others, the guild, and others within the guild. Don’t take that for granted.

“Yes! Hey look we’re in our first 10 man!!” Well done, sir. You can now begin playing Rift.

Now that you’re running raids there are a few things you need to be aware of. “More??!” .. you shouldn’t be even running a guild *sigh*. “No ok.. Ok! I got this!” Ok then, here’s what you need to know.

People play the game for themselves. This is not a bad thing. Personally, I can’t stand selfish people and they usually don’t last too long in our guild. This doesn’t mean never get anything or be mother theresa, this means the guild’s progression as a whole should always supersede your own.

Let’s take two scenarios of loot dropping in a raid for example. Depending on how you do loot, it may look like this:

(Pretty geared) Person A’s view as he wins a roll over someone else. It is an upgrade for him. If you’re this person, you’re feeling pretty good because you just won a phat epic! It’s an upgrade for your main spec and totally badass! Yus!

(Less geared) Person B’s view as he rolls on the same item and loses. He is busy staring starry-eyed at the loot, knowing it could easily replace his blue and be a complete upgrade across the board. He may get mad, or sad, or perhaps nothing at all.

The point is, be aware of how everyone feels when any loot drops. Loot drama is a monstrous guild killer and should be squashed IMMEDIATELY before it festers and ends up becoming something that you -really- don’t want to deal with later.

When raiding, there are things that you’ll likely notice. You may have a few people trying to step up to the plate as a raid leader. What you’ll need to do is determine their worth versus their loyalty to the guild. If you see someone taking charge that you bump heads with constantly, you may want to watch this person closely.

Pay attention to this: “The strongest person socially in a guild is the person who leads your raids successfully!”

Think of them as your general. If the you and your general fight all the time, the results of his success are easier to see than yours. What I mean by this is people see a big guild and think it is easy to get to that point. You know otherwise, but theres a very good chance that they don’t. What they -do- see are bosses being killed under the leadership of your ‘general’. People follow success.

Earlier I had said that you need to be as strong or stronger than your guildmates. Running your guild and leading your own guild in raids is clearly the best option, but is very difficult. Be your own general if possible or find someone who is capable and loyal. Our guild, as an example, I have several members that want to see the guild succeed on a raid level and provide me with assistance. You’ll notice that a lot of other guilds have the same structure. People will rise up to help you if they want you (and the guild) to succeed.

From here on, the world is your litterbox.

You can become hardcore and schedule every single raid, be a social guild and just kick it while letting members pug, or casual and raid whenever. Or pvp. Who pvps though.. ugh. Gross. It’s like the herpes of mmos. You know it’s there but you’re like.. Yeah she’s hot so I .. guess I’ll kiss her. And at the time it’s great but then you feel kinda itchy afterwards.

Every guild is going to have their way of doing things on the high end. Some have a democratic process that involves voting on different issues that may arise, others are more totalitarian, authoritarian, or fascist. The difficulty is in finding what works best for your goals in both getting to a guild benchmark and maintaining a pace of both social and raid progression.

The guild will tell you what it wants to be and the direction it will take.

I hope you found this somewhat useful or at least a good time-killer while at work. 😉

Quick Guide:
Do not want officers that are there just for the ‘achievement’.
Do not want selfish players.
Do not cater to every whim
Do not tolerate drama across any board.
Do not fear people leaving.
Do not be afraid to kick.

Do look for like-minded people.
Do try to lead your own raids.
Do be precise with your rules.
Do keep the guild above yourself in terms of priority.
Do have tenacity and resilience in times of ‘bad’.
Do be strong and stick to your decisions.
Do accept that you can’t predict everything.

Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!