Category Archives: Guild Advice

A Better Community Starts With You

A great question was tweeted to @Rygarius recently.  Rygarius is a Community Manager (CM) for World of Warcraft.


Let’s not just limit this idea to a forum community. How about our guilds?  Or a gaming community? Or a Twitch channel?  How do we build a better one of these?  What are your community goals?  What is the purpose of your forums?

I’d like to think it’s to facilitate discussion amongst Warcraft players. Giving feedback and suggestions on the game that we love. It’s to share our accomplishments,  ask questions,  joke around and show everyone why we are continuing to play this 10 year old game.

I would ask the same of a guild.  What are the goals of my guild?  Do I want to be a top end raiding guild?  Do I want to be a fun RP guild? Should my guild be a second family?  Do I limit my guild to Warcraft only or can we make it grow into something more?  What kind of stream do you want to be?  What separates you from the others? What will make your community so great?divsm-2Story Time!

Death Jesters started off as simply a guild of friends with raiding dreams. We came from different backgrounds with the same goals in mind. We’ve had some of the best players in the world in our guild, we raided at times, 5-7 days a week and were at the top of the raiding scene until we got older.  We achieved our raiding goals and continue to achieve them but we raid far less.  We were just a raiding guild but as time went on and the months turned to years; what was a raiding guild with a great atmosphere, turned into a community.

We play games outside of Warcraft,  play Hockey together,  go to BBQs,  Blizzcon together.  We send Christmas cards!

Death Jesters Christmas Card 2013

We go to each other’s weddings, celebrate when children are born and watch those children grow up.  We are not just guildies, but also friends.   I have guild members that have not logged on in years,  but still hang out on our forums.  Or I see a guild member that hasn’t been online since WotLK,  log on with his Atiesh.  They continue to stay for the community,  guild chat, the atmosphere,  and the feeling of being welcome.  This is like a second family to them.

In terms of a raiding guild,  I have often said that your core raiders are the bricks of your guild.  You need them to keep the guild strong.  Or they are the gears of your raiding war machine.  But the casual members you have in your guild,  the friends,  the retired players,  the ones that help farm mats in order to contribute;  well,  they are the mortar. They are the oil that keeps those gears running.

Having a balance of both will build that community within your guild. Examples of community in action?  We had a tank from Dragon Soul to Tier 14 named Ethica.  Solid guy,  ex-army vet,  Iraq and Afghanistan. One day,  Ethica doesn’t show up to raid and missed a couple days after that – very unlike him.  A few days later we see a forum post from his account,  but from his sister.  Ethica was in a motorcycle accident.  He went through the windshield of a car, halfway through the rear window, nearly severed arm,  nerve damage. When he woke up a few days later, one of the first things he asked was to have his sister open his computer browser to the first page that popped up and make a forum post on his behalf.  He didn’t want to let his guild down.  He didn’t want to let his friends down.

One of our Veteran members,  Kiramaren comes to me with an idea. Ethica was such a great guy when he was around,  why don’t we as a guild do something nice for him. She proposed we get a little fund going to send him some get well goodies.  A Figureprint of his character so he could forever be immortalized,  cookies,  pancake mix (because he loved pancakes) and a number of other goodies. This would show him that we missed him and cared about our friend.  Yet, not a single one of us had met him in person.


Is that not what a community should be about?  Treating others how you want to be treated?  Banding together for a greater cause?  Understand that there is a human being behind that computer screen.  Know that you’re playing a video game but there are people on the other side. When you make a forum post, know that the recipient(s) of your message have feelings like you.  Find people like this.  Find like minded people and your community will grow.  If your community is a positive one,  it will grow much better,  will be stronger than one that does not value these things.

You want to foster growth of people that help your community. Reward those that go the extra mile to be supportive.  On the Warcraft forums we have the MVP program.  On Twitch we give those people moderator status. In a guild,  we promote those that are leading by example to Veteran or Officer positions (never take these promotions folks, it’s a trap).

A year ago when I got into streaming, I asked Towelliee how he dealt with trolls. “Ban them asap, they do nothing for your community and spread like a cancer”, he said.  What most people think of as trolls these days, are not actual trolls;  just idiots spamming stupid things and making defamatory posts or messages. Yes, remove those.  But the trolls we really want to watch out for,  are the ones inciting hatred and building negativity.  That negativity can be directed at the game, at Blues,  at the streamer or someone else. If you can’t rehabilitate and show them why that doesn’t belong in your community,  remove them. One day they may learn,  but that day/year,  is not this one.

That’s not to say someone should not disagree with a CM,  a Dev,  a streamer or other people in your guild/channel.  Those things happen and SHOULD happen.  Friends and family argue, but at the end of the day the bond grows stronger. Discussion is good to foster change and community growth.  You can’t fix issues unless you discuss them.  I love to have good debates with Hordies on why those rock-eaters think they are the good guys.  Obviously they never win,  but it spurs good discussion!

On your forums, in your guild and on Twitch; you want to have a great support system.  Without this,  your chances of building that community are slim to none.  In your guild,  your officers should be an extension of yourself.  Embodying your qualities,  but building on your weaknesses.

On the forums, we have our Community managers (CMs),  Zarhym, Nethaera,  Bashiok, Lore,  Rygarius, Crithto and many others. They are Blizzard’s Support system and they have their own help through the MVPs.

On Twitch,  we all have our support systems that we couldn’t succeed without. The ones making pictures and intros – to the ones that are your tech gurus – to the ones that just do a bit of everything and are on your ass, to get things done.

What about building a better community in game?  I hear many complain about the community in Warcraft. They say that it is a terrible,  vapid cesspool. You join an LFR or a dungeon as a new player and people start swearing at you. Telling you to “L2P,”  jump off a cliff and  go to ‘Toxxic’ websites for information. You ask a question on the forums or in a Twitch channel;  then are told to ‘GTFO noob’,  go learn basics.  You are basically made fun of.

So what are we as a community doing about it? Complaining about it doesn’t solve anything.  What are we actively doing to help build our community? What are you personally doing, to better YOUR community?

Click Image to Share your best “Noob Moment” on Sparty’s Facebook Page!

We all have hilarious tales of noobery.  Who helped you?  Many of us are now heroic raiders.  Are we trying to build a community of raiders to help sustain us?  Why does our Community exist?  What are we trying to get out of it?  Let me help you with this one:

It is our turn to help others. Our turn to ‘Pay it Forward’.

I ask my Twitch viewers everyday,  what good deed did they do today to help build the community?  How did they help some poor noob out?  How did you handle that guy in your LFR that thought it was okay to berate people that were new to the game? What did you do about the person that heard rumors about you being an elitist streamer?  Did you ban them or convince them of the opposite?  Did you allow your community to grow today?

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” – Libba Bray

Foster positive growth and the community will build itself.

The Making of a Guild

The Making of a guild.

Before the blog starts off I need to thank Midgette, Sear, and  Whammo for their hard work putting it together and getting this functional. Without them, our community would not be as fantastic as it is now.

This blog will cover much of everything Warcraft related, from creating and managing guilds, to recruiting, raiding, personal improvement, paladins, and theorycrafting. This will all of course have anecdotes and stories from the past 10 years of Warcraft.


All stories have a beginning, and ours starts in the Warcraft beta, September 2004. A number of friends had come from different backgrounds, end-game guilds in Everquest, Shadowbane, Asheron’s Call, Ultima Online, and Dark Age of Camelot.  We had randomly found each other in Beta and started the foundation that would one day be one of the oldest raiding guilds in the game.

Initially the EQ friends and I made a guild: Liquid Courage in preparation for Scotch Hour 10 years later. We had a closely knit guild, just a bunch of friends leveling up.  And by random happenstance the friends from Beta ended up on Stormrage. We didn’t plan to see each other after Beta. We wanted to make a raiding guild but needed to think of a name. You see, names are important, they help define you. If your guild name is “Trolls R Us” or “Asshats and Friends,” certain people will flock to your guild based off the name. This was especially true in the early stages of the game. We voted on different names, Element of Darkness, The Relentless, and Death Jesters. You know what was chosen.

So the dozen or so of us formed Death Jesters.  The Canadians, Swedes, South Africans, a couple Americans and the gold farmer. We had now formed a guild, Stormrage’s premier Swedish raiding guild. We probably had 6 or so Swedes in our guild then. But what next? Random bunch of Jackalopes trying to run a guild, did we have any clue what to do? Well some of us had led guilds in the past, but we could only apply so much from previous MMOs to Warcraft.

What kind of guild did we want to be? Were we a family guild, were we going to be as hardcore as we were in Everquest and other MMOs? How did we want to define ourselves? When someone saw a Death Jester walking around Ironforge, what should they assume about that person? Elitist asshole? Good person? Helpful? Amazing raider? So we made a charter found here:   Take a look and you’ll see what we originally drew up was pertinent to Vanilla WoW but it is every bit as relevant today.  That charter should reflect your goals, your ideals and what it means to be part of Death Jesters/Cobra Kai Dojo/Trolls Anonymous.

Your guild tag is like a uniform you wear, and wear it with pride. That is your logo, your name, and what defines you. Yes its ‘just a game.’ But it is also ‘just your valuable time.’ Why waste it? If you want to be a dickface, I’m sure there is a cesspool just for you. Why be somewhere you don’t want to be? Doesn’t everyone deserve to be treated with respect? Just because you’ve killed that big pixel boss weeks before everyone else, does it entitle you to be an elitist jerk? When a random person sees you behaving like that, they will generalize your guild that way. Yes sometimes there is that bad apple, but that is how reputations start. That asshole in your guild, was a dick to someone in an LFR/pug/trade chat. They looked up your guild name and thought to themselves “I bet this entire guild is like that.” Even though they are wrong and they generalized your entire guild, next time they talk to their friend about good guilds or bad guilds to join, your guild won’t be at the top of their list. Their friend who heard bad things about your guild, could potentially be that amazing player you’re missing out on and they will go to another guild just because of their friend’s recommendations.  Everyone need to realize how important a reputation can be, and how important a reputation should be.

So we were starting a guild, what kind of people did we want to recruit? Well anyone that didn’t seem like a douchebag, or was named xxLegolasxx. The only avenues we had for recruitment were trade chat(which we have never used to this day), realm forums(which no guild used for recruitment), and simply running dungeons with people. That was the most effective way we found to find good people. We simply invited pugs. “LFR 1 more UBRS, full on huntards” In that way  we were able to chat with people that we invited, see if they were able to follow simple commands: Sheep this, Fear this, Don’t stand in fire. They were being interviewed for a position and they didn’t even know it. If we liked them, we offered them a spot as a trial. Since there were only three established raiding guilds on the server, we were quickly becoming a formidable force on the scene. Some days I would just do a random dungeon with people I didn’t know just to see if we could find some good potential players.

Death Jesters 2005

Even for our first boss kills of Onyxia, Ragnaros, and other Molten Core bosses, we brought random people in. If they had dungeon blues, we gave them a shot. So when people ask me what I think of pugs being brought in to fill spots in their guild raids to kill bosses, I shrug and say “So what? We did it, to get bosses down.” Your raid leaders and guild leaders are problem solvers. If you are running a small guild and emergencies arise, people are missing, you have a few options. You can cancel the raid, you can try running a raid with not enough tanks, healers, dps (good luck), or you can find a solution. Find a random person, bring a friend or a casual player in for a day. Give them the opportunity to raid because you don’t know if you have that diamond in the rough that just needs a little experience. Make it work, don’t just whine and complain about it.

Ultimately the best way to start your guild is start small, find players, and make friends with people with the same mindset as you. Too many guilds like Rome, grew too fast, too big and in the end collapse. Start slow, get people you like hanging around with, have the same expectations from each other. Push each other to perform better, fight, compromise with the best interests of the guild in mind. Those players will become your best friends, and your officers. You’ll play hockey with them, go to their weddings, see their kids grow up, and send each other Christmas cards. Some of your friends will move on, you’ll barely talk to them, they’ll move onto other guilds or will stop playing the game entirely. And after 10 years of running a guild you’ll wonder, “Was it all worth it?” Were the sacrifices you made, the time you spent cultivating the right atmosphere, becoming friends, laughing and slaying dragons together worth it? If you did things right you’ll have an easy answer.