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Would I ever be an MMO guild officer again?

I don’t exactly recall how we got on the topic, but the other night in LOTRO kin chat we got to talking about officer roles. And in that conversation, it came out that a number of us normal kinship members were, at one time, officers in various MMO guilds. So we shared memories of that and also reasons why we weren’t interested in doing that again (at least for the time being).

In my salad days, I had a few stints as a guild officer and one or two leading small guilds. My time as a guildmaster wasn’t that interesting; usually it was just setting up community groups for Massively. But I was pretty heavily invested in being an officer in a couple World of Warcraft guilds as well as at least one LOTRO kinship. In fact, my very first blog was for my WoW guild’s entertainment.

But would I do it again? No, I don’t think so. Certainly not at this point in my life, where I’m measuring free time in precious 15-minute segments. My general maxim to volunteering is that if you can’t do something the right way and to the best of your abilities, don’t sign up. It doesn’t help anyone if you can only give a sporadic 20% of what’s needed.

And the thing about guild leadership is that it’s very, very time-intensive. Officers need to be present more often than not, which doesn’t really gel with my work schedule and family time. Most officers that I know tend to fall into the “we have more time than responsibilities” arena — no judgment, mind you. But a lot of at-home parents, retired folk, people on disability, or jobs that are part-time at best.

The other reason why I wouldn’t want to be an officer again is that it takes time out of your gaming while you’re in the game. You’re kind of always “on call” to lend advice and assistance, and that can be a little tiresome when it’s been a long day and you just want to log in and veg out doing your thing. I’d rather help people because I want to, anyway, not because it’s part of my in-game job description.

I’d love to hear from any of you — have you been or are you now a guild leader or officer? Is it worth the time investment to you?

4 thoughts on “Would I ever be an MMO guild officer again?

  1. Even I’ve been an officer in several guilds and I am about as negative about the whole guild concept as it comes. I don’t think I ever volunteered for any of those posts, either. I just got promoted from the ranks without being asked or there was an automatic process that made you guild leader based on some algorithm when the current one stopped logging in (Rift had that – the guild i was in changed hands several times because of it – it was like musical chairs.)

    I rarely did anything as Officer – occasionally invited people into the guild on someone’s request was about it. I certainly wouldn’t have accepted the rank if it meant doing anything I didn’t normally do in the game. I also don’t really recall ever asking any other officer to do anythign much or even seeing much get done. Most of the guilds I was in operated more on a system of “Hey, anyone want to do something?” than with any kind of forward planning.

  2. I’ve been an officer in many games over the years, and actually am also one right now, in a guild in ESO.And i luckily never was in the situation Bhagpuss describes, that i would’ve become that automatically due to whatever strange stuff going on.

    What i did learn over the years though: i make sure to talk about what responsibilities the officer position in this guild would include. During old university times, i had a position which in the end became kind of a job, where every monday we leaders had a two to three hours session of talking and deciding stuff. No fun. I won’t ever end up in anything like that again.

    In contrast, in the current guild i am in, my tasks are well defined: recruiting. Which basically means that i spend about 15 to 25 minutes each evening advertising the guild by going through all zones and talking to applicants. And of course, as any reasonable officer, keep an eye on the chat and act if something bad happens… which it does once, every other year.

    So really, it boils down to how the guild is running. If it is well organized or if you see a chance to get it well organized, with enough officers to spread out the responsibilities so it does not painfully cut into one players fun, i am ready for it. But i’ve also seen plenty of guilds in the years, where everybody was kind of just looking for the one gullible fool to put all the burden of work upon.

    In such a case, i dare to give three points of advise:
    1. Don’t go for a position like this in such a guild.
    2. Leave the guild and find a good one.
    3. Never, really never EVER be such a person yourself.

    Once you find a guild where enough persons follow rule #3 you are golden and it’s a great group of people to spend your time with.

  3. Guild leadership always feels like a blessing and a curse to me. On the one hand, you get to define (or help to define) the culture of the group and make it an environment that embodies what you want to see. On the other hand, it is a lot of work depending on the guild – my experience is all from raiding guilds, so you have to put time and effort into defining loot systems (well, until Personal Loot), scheduling, handling interpersonal conflicts, and when I was most active in such a role, managing a roster to hit a specific group size without going under and without making going over feel bad to people who have to sit or rotate in and out. My biggest stresses ever in gaming were around guild leadership – managing rosters and loot, and more recently trying to advocate for cultural changes (and losing, which is a part of what pushed me out of WoW). A lot of those stresses boil over into personal life, especially if you play with friends, and it can be really hard to untangle.

    So I think I’d agree with your assessment of not doing it again. Free time caps or not, it is a lot of burden to sign up, which can have big upside but takes a lot of work and effort to get there.

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