With the release of Battle for Azeroth just around the corner, and more so, with the Vanilla / Classic WoW servers announced, a lot of new WoW guilds are about the see the light of day! That being said, a WoW guild, or any other MMO one for that matter, can be disbanded just as fast as it’s made, if things go wrong.
When things go south in a guild, often times the first to be held accountable by the guild members is the GM, as they should be on top of their game and prevent these issues from arising, although that’s easier said than done.
Battling through consistent complaint whispers in and out of raids, being a guild master isn’t all fun and games, and it requires a lot of extra work in order to keep a steady guild, with decent progression and a fun environment.
So, with that in mind, let’s get down to business and see what are the 9 worst mistakes a WoW guild master can make, and how to avoid running your guild into the ground!
1. Unfair loot distribution
Although master looting will be removed in BfA, this one takes the cake and is still relevant for Classic WoW servers. Most guild fights or feuds start due to loot distribution, especially with the current Titanforged system.
In order to avoid doing this mistake, make sure to state your guild’s loot distribution system from the get-go, as well as the rules of getting loot when it comes to trials. You can have any loot system or guild rank priority as long as your raiders are well aware of it and accepted it.
Furthermore, with Blizzard adding a pretty nice mount for most Mythic end-raid bosses now, do make sure to also disclose how the mount is going to be distributed, such as the GM first, officers second, veteran raiders third and so on. Jebaiting your raiders by refusing to partake in a particular fight once you get all the items or the mount yourself is another reason that can very easily kill your guild.
2. Not leading by example
Assuming your guild isn’t a world first guild that is sponsored, your raiders don’t get a salary for playing WoW. This means that they don’t “have to” put up with you if they don’t at least like you or respect you.
To achieve that, not only do you need to be unbiased and fair, but you also need to be somewhat of a role-model raider. Whether or not you’re also the guild’s raid leader, you must constantly be on your A-game when it comes to raiding, as players will lose respect or motivation if you’re among the ones that fail mechanics or wipe the raid regularly.
Being a very good player only counts as half, as the other half of being a good raider is following through with your very own rules. It’s pointless to be top DPS or the best healer if you’re not showing up to raids. Attendance is just as important, and while everyone can understand an emergency leave, making a habit out of not showing to raids is a one-way ticket for your raiders to WoWProgress’ guild recruitment.
3. Not knowing your guild’s potential
As a WoW guild master and raid leader, you must at least have an idea of how your guild performs overall, and what the potential of your guildies is.
This mistake right here is mostly the reason for which you hear players getting “burned out” from WoW. Having a heroic-only social guild push for Mythic progression too hard or too soon is just as bad as having a hardcore raiding guild still running mandatory heroic raids well after clearing the current content at the highest difficulty.
Furthermore, knowing your guild’s potential is also a key aspect of progressing new content, as you need to know exactly when’s a good time to make roster changes, extend raid lockouts or when you get past the encounter’s learning curve. Pressuring your raiders too soon can throw them off their game, and pressuring them too late will result in others getting burned out for wiping despite knowing the fight in and out.
4. Pointless raging and insulting your guild members
Raiding can get very frustrating, and a 10 minute boss kill can actually take weeks of wiping and preparations.
You gotta keep in mind that your raiders are there because they want to, and while giving accurate constructive criticism is important, there’s a very short line between that and raging or getting offensive. In the heat of the moment following a 0.1% wipe you can cross that line almost instantly, and you might say things that you’ll regret later on, or things that will cause you to lose good raiders that made just that one mistake then and there.
This is why a lot of the guilds have been posting YouTube videos or Twitch streams on their WoWProgress recruitment page about their raid environment. Of course, those videos don’t show the exact harsh reality of random raging, but they do give a glimpse of the guild master and officers’ personalities, and how vocal they are.
5. Putting your own interests ahead of the guild’s
As a guild master, you’re the most influential person in that guild, and also the shot-caller. What you say, goes, so you need to be careful not to get power-drunk and use your guild members for random and unrelated chores.
As example, it’s fine to invite your real-life friends to the guild as socials and whatnot, but if you start bringing them to raids and have your guild members carrying them, that can become a problem, especially when no other member is allowed to bring their friends. You can make an exception a few times, but those raids shouldn’t have the attendance mandatory, and you can turn it into a fun raid, by allowing everyone else to come on whichever alt-chars they want!
Another thing that started ever since MoP is heroic end-boss boosting for gold, or mythic plus in Legion, which is an awesome way of making some in-game gold for the guild and its members to pay for their WoW subscription, and also perfectly fine within WoW’s terms of service. As long as the gold is split evenly and some of it goes towards the guild’s expenses (potions, enchants, flasks, gems, etc.), that’s a nice way to pay your in-game bills, but careful not to split it “more evenly” towards yourself.
6. Not delegating or delegating too much
Trying to solo all the work that’s required to run a successful guild is a sure way towards getting burned out.
Recruiting new people, raid leading, assigning loot, researching helpful WoW raiding addons, applying encounter tactics to your roster or even making WeakAuras or configuring the awesome Exorsus Raid Tools are just a few of the chores required for raiding, and doing all of them yourself while answering random guild master whispers isn’t an effective way of managing a guild.
Because of this, delegating some of the chores to your guild officers or loot council is an ideal way to get everything done properly. This way, they will also feel relevant to the guild as per the roles they have, and it won’t take up all your free time either.
You can have someone making sure the guild bank is constantly stacked up with raid consumables, someone recruiting people, someone making the WeakAuras and so on, but do be careful not to delegate everything and just log for the raid, as that’s also a bad way to manage a WoW guild.
7. Not criticizing or rewarding your raiders
This is something you’ll need to learn as you go, but both of the above are just as important. An ideal way would be to criticize a raider in a private whisper if it’s their first mistake, while rewarding good ones publicly.
Criticizing a player that made a mistake in private is really a nice way to not embarrass them straight up, especially when it’s a trial that just joined, or a player that had to re-roll to a different class or specialization in order to meet the new encounter requirements or guild needs. Making a mistake is common, and we all make them, but you need to have a sharp eye to spot when it’s a legitimate mistake, or if the player actually has no clue as to what he’s doing.
Another important thing is to publicly address it when a particular player keeps wiping the raid or makes the same mistakes over and over. This can very quickly make others believe that you’re simply not dealing with this issue and ignoring it, and will make everyone upset very fast, as they feel disrespected by that particular player not bothering to read the tactics or watch a video before the raid.
Publicly rewarding your raiders is just as important, especially when they’re doing something good, like volunteering to do the fight mechanics nobody else wants to, such as kiting, solo soaking, etc. They’re probably just as nervous about wiping the raid, but at least they’re willing to put in the extra effort, and without them, you’d be probably wasting more time having to look at alternatives.
8. Keeping an eye on guild gangs
Also commonly known as “guild cliques” or alliances, it’s very important to disallow these if they start affecting others or making them uncomfortable.
On EU servers at least, most old guilds have small cliques such as “the danes”, or “the swedes”, and while a lot of them are harmless, this can very easily make others feel left out. Starting with their own inside jokes or speaking in their own language can have a demoralizing effect on other members, especially trials.
Guild gangs can also be formed by a bunch of people that also play other games than WoW together, and in order to make sure nobody is left out, your guild should have a Discord where everybody hangs out.
As a pretty funny note, I’ve been in a guild that was formed only of cliques. There were about 3 groups of 5 people each, all of which were on their own Skype calls during raids, and just the raid leader saying anything at all on TeamSpeak.
Cliques can also disband your guild very fast should you upset one of their members, as if one of them leaves, 9 times out of 10, they all leave. It’s best not to compromise yourself, and just try to disallow them from forming if possible.
9. Don’t be biased
Last but not least, don’t be biased! Don’t be afraid to bench or demote someone just because you like them, at the cost of upsetting the rest of the raiders. Same goes for the other way around, don’t bench someone just because you don’t like them, if everybody else does and if they play well and contribute to the guild.
If you want everyone else to put the guild’s interests ahead of their own, you must do the same.
Dealing with “guild drama” should also be done in a fair manner, and you shouldn’t take biased decisions when solving the fight.
Although we’ve covered that already, don’t be biased with loot either, and don’t assign it to people just because you want to. Loot isn’t “salary” per se, and it should go towards the guild’s interest as well, meaning that if the next fight you need to progress is a healer-fight, you should assign it to healers, and so on.
Benching the best players in guild can also go a long way, especially if they don’t need any loot from that fight, and giving others a shot at it will be very much appreciated. If you want to have a stable guild, you must have more raiders than the current Mythic lockout accepts (max. 20) to cover for any absences. This means that you need to rotate them constantly and keep everyone happy!
These are the 9 worst mistakes you can make as a WoW guild master, and now that you know about them and how to avoid them, you can surely be a better GM to those players that just left their guild and applied to yours!
As a bonus tip, in order to avoid awkward situations and potential disbands, it’s best to disclose on your guild’s recruitment page the exact raiding hours, days and whether or not you extend or add extra days during progression, as well as your policy towards split runs. A lot of guilds don’t mention that to not scare off applicants, only to have them leaving half-way through to the new content.