Guilds are a Marathon, not a Sprint

12 Years ago today, we formed one of the oldest raiding guilds in Warcraft. While the guild formally started on that day, the core friendships began well before that. Treat guilds as a marathon that last’s for multiple years. Raiding tiers are different hurdles, different curves but the race is one long journey in which the guilds that survive, the guilds that last, and the guilds that make the best memories, are the victors.

Instead of giving you a history lesson about my guild I want to leave this blog as advice for Guild Leaders, Officers, and Members.

Guilds and teams are not about one person, they are about every person. Would the Edmonton Oilers have won so many Stanley Cups in the 80s without a solid overall team?  From scoring(Dps), to defense(healers) to goaltending(tanks), each played an integral part in those teams back then.  Appreciate those players that you have, whether it be a dps, healer, or tank. Give them opportunities to grow, and constantly challenge them.  And when they do things right, absolutely give them the pats on the back they deserve. Share and celebrate in their success.

Guild Masters are only as strong as their support staff. Without a solid officer team, and solid veterans leading by example, a Guild Master will quickly burn out from all the work that is necessary to run a guild smoothly. I’ve been lucky enough to have a solid Officer and Veteran team for the majority of this guild’s life. But finding those players that have the extra drive, that have the people skills, and want to deal with people’s complaints, is a difficult feat. If a person has that initiative, foster that, mentor them, and slowly ease them into a leadership position. It typically takes me a few months to groom a Veteran or 6+ months to groom an officer. Take the length of time to ensure you have the right people in place to support you. They should be an extension of yourself, supporting you, but also questioning you as needed.


Sparty’s Four Adages to Running a Guild.

“You are only as valuable to your guild as what you put in.

I’ve told people my advice for this year was to ‘fill the vacuum, intentionally, not accidentally and you’ll be indispensable.’  Leaders lead by example. I would have no business correcting players and coaching players if I wasn’t willing to step up to the task I give them.  And as a player, if you want to find out what you can do to help contribute to your guild outside of raid teams, talk to your officers and GM, I guarantee there is always something to do that they could use help with. Make the lives of your leadership easier through supporting them in return.

“I am never happy, and I will constantly challenge everyone. “

For those of you that know me, this is pretty true. I am a perfectionist and I am constantly challenging those around me to be better. You ranked 90th percentile on dps? Ok nice, why not 95th? That was a nice picture and strat you built, but how are we handling X, Y and Z? You were highest dps, that’s nice, but were you highest dps on the targets that matter? How could you be better utilizing your cooldowns? How are you challenging me for my raid spot? Are you in it for yourself or helping make the team better? My goal is to have any player that enters my doors not only a better player, but a better person.

“Success is the only option.

Constant, forward moving progress. Failing as a guild is unacceptable. Your guild is a representation of you. If your guild fails, you fail. And while mistakes or failures happen within a raid or guild setting, failing forward is what is important. Learn from those mistakes and grow. Ensure your guild is stronger after every single wipe, tier, gkick, and mistake. Because the final goal – success, is the only acceptable result.

“Celebrate Success.”

Find what method works for your guild. Pats on the back, whispers, mount rewards, public recognition, hall of fames, or more opportunities for growth. Praise players that need it, that deserve it. It is what we as humans crave, acceptance and recognition. They’ll say they don’t need it, they’ll say they don’t want it, but deep down everyone needs to feel appreciated.

“Is this decision the best for the guild?”

Every single decision I make in a raid or guild setting comes down to that one line. Is this the best thing for the guild? Is giving that piece of loot best for the guild? Is promoting this person, sitting this person or taking a chance on this applicant, best for the guild? If any decision is made selfishly or without thought of the above, then it is not a decision ready to be made. Don’t make emotional decisions, make logical, pragmatic ones.

And when your guild struggles, when you lose players to other guilds, to real life. When you wipe hundreds of times on bosses, when you lose guild ranking on a made-up website. When you feel discouraged and as a leader aren’t enthused about showing up for raid. And when it seems like everyone on your team is unhappy and finding something to complain about, know that we’ve all been there. I’ve been there too.

There’s been times when recruiting was so poor that we had to siphon our casual raid team. There’s been times where I debated dropping to a 10man(from 25). There’s been times this guild has hung on by a very tiny thread and I nearly quit. Players will leave with legendaries, and the guild’s loot. An intelligent member in your raid will accept free flasks from a random player. And there will be times when you wipe on farm content because tonight simply is a bad night.

Trust me when I say ‘we have all been there, and you can recover from every one of those situations.

You’ll have those moments and times in your guild when things are going poorly and you haven’t had a playoffs appearance like the Toronto Maple Leafs. But there will also be times when you have a dynasty and are winning multiple Stanley Cups.

You may lose a sprint, but being part of a guild is a marathon.