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Thread: Mechanizing Your Guild (Part 1)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tacoma, Wa

    Mechanizing Your Guild (Part 1)

    TankSpot Podcast #3
    Mechanizing Your Guild (Part 1)
    Patrick O'Callahan "Ciderhelm"

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    Direct Download For This Podcast

    Podcast Information
    This podcast will offer a perspective for guild leaders, raid leaders, and officers of raiding guilds at all levels of progression. I've been a guild leader for a highly successful guild and have been a member of another highly successful guild. I know all the mistakes you're going to make, because I've made them myself. I'll help you avoid the rest.

    Today's topics are going to be guild theory, leadership and administration, mechanization, and the basic principles of building a guild that is truly built around it's raid functions. As part of this, I'll cover WWS reports and other metrics.

    This podcast will be bi-weekly.

    When available, Donors will see both the outlines and podcasts in advance of their post date.

    Pre-Recording Outline
    Notice: The following outline is a pre-recording outline that only covers the first 16 minutes of this podcast. The second half of this podcast, beginning at the 16 minute marker, was entirely off the script. On that note, if you find the first half boring, skip halfway through.

    Part 1: Guild Theory
    -Guilds can be basically whatever you want them to be
    -There are almost no restrictions on guild interactions or the content in guild chat
    -No situation under which a guild leader can be expelled from that position

    But guilds are optional. Any individual guild is not mandatory in any way.
    -No one can be compelled to stay in your guild

    -This means that decisions that are ethical in nature for other organizations are not for guilds
    --Kicking someone from a guild is nothing like firing them from
    ---People won't go hungry, people won't lose their home

    --Makes this an ideal training ground for future managers
    ---You're going to make mistakes, but your mistakes won't destroy lives, and you get to learn from them

    I'll give you the point and counter-point that you'll tend to see in guilds and on forums
    -Say that raiding guilds are similar to sports teams
    --Someone will say that players aren't athletic and the comparison ends there
    -Ask players to reach better attendance or show up on time
    --Someone might say it's a game, not a job
    -Tell them not to talk back or talk over people in raids
    --Someone will say it's not life or death, it's not the military

    But, what makes sports teams, business, and the military similar to each other is a shared set of management and leadership principles that apply directly to raiding guilds and everything else in the world

    Warcraft is unique in that it is a gaming world that attracts non-gamers
    -You will find people from every walk of life, of every age, and with every personality

    Leadership, Management, and Mechanization

    Leadership is making decisions that inherently carry risk
    --Decisions that affect more people than just yourself
    --And that implicitly carry the support of more people than just yourself
    --Embedded in your DNA
    --It's not something you're born with
    --Everyone has the potential
    --Effective leadership is a science, it's something you can learn

    Administration is not leadership; it is a tool of leadership
    --Administration is what you do with your guild to reduce risks

    Mechanization is a part of administration
    -It's the process of turning guild processes into reliable systems that don't rely on human intervention
    -Removes or seriously limits drama potential
    --People can be mad at a system without being mad at guild leadership
    --No appearance of collusion or self-interest

    Five major things you need to mechanize
    -First four are going to be covered in later podcasts

    -Your Schedule
    --People need a schedule they can rely on.
    --Doesn't mean instance-by-instance, but when to show up on what days

    -Your Bank
    --Since the new bank system, this should *NEVER* be handled outside the guild bank system
    --Does donating earn you a certain amount of DKP?
    --What rules are allowed?

    -Your Loot System
    --Reliable means of receiving loot.
    --Ask yourself about some of the strange loot rules in your guild
    ---Was one or more of them created because one guy received a piece of loot he didn't deserve?
    --Will be covered in a later podcast.

    -Your In-Raid Rules
    --Not talking over raid leaders
    --Not making important commands like "battle res"
    --Not talking back

    Finally, you need to mechanize player feedback, particularly with WWS/SWStats

    -People are split between Shame and Guilt as a motivator when faced with criticism
    ---Public WWS/SWStats lets people see their performance.
    ----For personally motivated people, they see it and fix it

    Notice: At this point I depart from the script. This makes the conversation a bit more fluid, but also less structured. The following is a post-recording outline.

    WWS concerns & posting
    -People can have issues with posting
    --Often people who don't want to be set to a standard
    Understand what parses mean
    -Compare people of same class
    -Understand mitigating circumstances
    --Different gear?
    --Different roles in the encounter?
    -Personally, the WWS and SWStats posts alone were enough to keep people on their game
    --I didn't need to go in and actually look at them often
    --Reduced stress load on myself as a guild leader

    DPS who are #1 may not be great
    -Especially in new guilds
    -"Being king of the hill doesn't mean you've climbed any mountains"

    What mechanizing allows you to focus on
    -Raid decisions
    --Planning, which instances, etc.

    Don't do anything radical
    -Don't do anything that will compromise your ability to raid
    -Don't go kick a bunch of people if you can't afford to
    -Use common sense

    Most important function as a guild/raid leader is to make sure your members have a raid

    WWS - WoW Web Stats
    Loatheb & Sapphiron Consumables
    Administration vs. Leadership
    Damocles Loot System
    Raid Loot Systems - Open Discussion
    TankSpot Guild Relations Forums
    Roundtable/Chamber of Guilds

    Corrections, Clarifications, & Rebuttals
    Correction: We did have two good Human Mages.

    Clarification: A mechanized system can leave the appearance of collusion or self-interest. This series is to show you how to avoid doing that.

    Clarification: We posted damage meters after wipes as well.

    Clarification: "Scared" is not quite the word I'd use in terms of the effect of WWS parses. Made aware, and being nervous of their performance, would have been a more accurate way of phrasing that.

    Rebuttal: Kavtor disagrees with the guild bank statement here.

    Ask Me Anything -- What Are Your Questions?
    Got a question or discussion subject? Post here or send me a private message through our forums!
    Last edited by Ciderhelm; 04-13-2008 at 09:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Queens, NY
    Great podcast. Oh, to find and contribute to a mechanized/organized guild! I tell you, having started late in the game, it has been difficult either building or finding a guild that is mechanized/organized into an effective community. It is the ideal I appreciate and long for most in this game (and needlessly worry that I have missed the boat on). Granted, these kinds of things are a process, and most often a difficult one to realize. Thanks for your exciting and informative opinions, Cider. Very interesting.
    The Raid - A feature length documentary following the lives of a group of virtual raiders.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Great series, i wish u'd done this when i was running my guild. Alot of great tips i cudda used.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    North Carolina, USA
    Excellent outline. I'm excited to hear the podcast, though I will have to download it first, =) Can't wait!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Methinks you need to mechanize the podcasts a little. ^^ Good stuff, a little jumbled, but very informative.

    ಠ ,ಠ
    Dovie'andi se tovya sagain - it's time to roll the dice

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Vallejo, CA
    Very Helpful, Could you clarify the restrictions you mentioned on veto power of members on the Damacles (hope thats spelled right) System? I'm picturing that the person voting against a potential recruit has to provide a reason for voting against..

    We are about to open recruiting interviews and I'm considering including a Damacles vote at the end of the recruiting process simply to make sure that no one has any issues with whomever we bring in.

    Prior to this we have had an invite upon references only policy which has worked good for us, but we need a larger raiding core to expand into 25's and multiple 10's, Hence the need for <cringes> recruiting.

    When you were sticking to the script the podcast went real smooth, But once you finished with the scripted material it started to ramble it bit, there was still a lot of very important information after that point. Dont let this comment keep you from ad-libbing though. Honestly, I thought the first part was a bit too "Mechanical" and the second portion a lot more "Human".

    Mabye a compromise format could work. A scriped line with Ad-Libbed elaboration on each point, or section.

    It just seemed that you rushed thru the script and then elaborated afterwards. Just thinking it may be easier to take a breath at the end of a line and mabye adding in some personal references that relate to that particular part of the script.

    Personally, I couldn't do anywhere near as good a job as you are doing. Please don't take my comments as criticism.
    Last edited by mattdeeze; 04-09-2008 at 11:39 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Great podcast. I really appreciate the insight you had into WWS and SW Stats. My guild is just starting to utilize these tools and I've found that it has been a bit daunting for some to look at them and say "whaaaaaat?".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    On Guild Banks.

    You argue that the Blizzard guild bank should be used, and I'm going to disagree to an extent. The Guild bank, and WoW account security isn't that robust. You've got to be very careful with who has access to what. Recently, one of my administration officers had her account broken into. ( all reasonable precautions had been taken with that account ) Since the people in that guild rank do a lot of work with managing crafting shadow resist gear, they've had pretty wide access to the guild bank. As a result, we lost a lot of material, that thankfully has been quickly returned by a GM. Fortunately I'm the only one that's able to use non trivial amounts of gold, so we didn't loose much of that. As a result, I've had to further restrict what I thought was already restrictive access to the bank.

    I'd recommend being exceptionally careful with your most valuable guild materials, and the bulk of your guild gold. If you can restrict access to only one person you'll be more secure. I'll be keeping a few gems, HoD's, etc in the guild bank for easy access for all the officers, but our bulk stores of valuables will be moved onto a single account that only I can access.

    Looks like it'll be a great series, it sounds like you have a lot to say and contribute on the subject!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    I would like to hear more about how to handle difficult people (other than kicking them).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Baltimore/DC area
    The only complaint I have so far is that it sounded too mechanical. It reminded me of some college lectures. As soon as you went off-script (both in the first and second half), it was much easier to listen to.

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing to use the script, or that the mechanization of your podcast was bad (sorry, had to use that word!), because it's better to plan ahead and hit every point than to miss something. Just giving my (hopefully constructively received) opinion.

    Great content, though

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tacoma, Wa
    My apologies on some of the jumbled parts. This was very late last night when I finally got my computer running smooth, and there was no opportunity for a do-over. I will continue to refine my approach based on your criticisms.

    The scripted vs. unscripted areas, it's a lot smoother and easier to listen to in the unscripted areas, but it's less organized. If I know what I'm going to say it's usually bullet-point. If I'm unscripted I'm usually making sure there aren't dead spaces, which makes it difficult to think back to whether I've said something or what direction I need to go. I need to get more discipline with this, and good advice on it, everyone.

    Kavtor, that's not bad information. I'll point to it with a rebuttal link.

    Thist, how to handle difficult people? A lot of methods, and I hope to get to that soon.

    Let me see if I can flesh out an outline for the second half for people.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tacoma, Wa
    Quote Originally Posted by mattdeeze View Post
    Very Helpful, Could you clarify the restrictions you mentioned on veto power of members on the Damacles (hope thats spelled right) System? I'm picturing that the person voting against a potential recruit has to provide a reason for voting against..

    We are about to open recruiting interviews and I'm considering including a Damacles vote at the end of the recruiting process simply to make sure that no one has any issues with whomever we bring in.
    Here you go:


    Damocles Recruitment
    1) Applicants are voted on by all guild members. A single denial resulted in a denied application.
    2) If a vote of denial is unreasonable then removal of the guild member who voted against the applicant would resolve the issue. This was never used.

    This was set up with a separate applicant discussion forum. When an applicant was accepted as a potential member after 2-3 weeks of raiding, their application was reposted within this forum.

    Once the application was up there was a 24/72 rule in place -- any concerns about the player needed to be brought up within 24 hours in that thread and the resolution to those concerns was to be posted within 72 hours. Negative votes were not permitted until the issue had been addressed either positively or negatively.

    All votes were public. This can be done in vBulletin and other forum software through a special option when posting polls. A lack of vote from a member was considered a positive vote -- abstaining was never considered negative and the membership was aware of this.

    Votes could not be made for class balance reasons. If there was a class balance issue, leadership was expected to prematurely veto the application or the queue system was expanded.

    Premature vetoes could occur at any point in the application process. Since a negative vote from the Guild Leader was just as valid as a negative vote from any other raider, many poor applicants never reached the stage of a public vote as the premature veto had already taken place.

    Recruitment Posting
    Recruitment posting on public forums clearly explained our Damocles policy. It was presented in such a way that potential applicants understood they would have to both perform well and have an attitude that the rest of the raiders appreciated.

    On our own forums, we had a lengthy application format which required at least fifteen minutes to properly fill in. The length was intended to discourage those who were only generally interested in a guild instead of enthusiastically interested in our guild.

    Did It Work?
    For us, yes. Our guild raided only 20 hours a week but fully cleared all content up through and including Kel'Thuzad. Our biggest strength was that we had motivated players who showed up every night; with planning, we were able to compensate for the natural declines in membership that occurred as school began again and as the holidays approached. Though we raided a small schedule by the standards of a 'hardcore' guild, we raided every posted night for every posted hour.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Miami, FL
    Awesome. Only suggestion. . . is there any possible way to get it dialogue/interview based so it sounds a little more conversational?

    Oh, and while I enjoyed it I must say it does get a bit off the cuff. . .

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tacoma, Wa
    Let me make sure I'm getting the criticisms correct before I work on improving the format.

    1) The dictation-oriented, college classroom "professor ciderhelm" is boring and droning.

    2) The relaxed second half was easier to listen to and more enjoyable, but the lack of structure and clear drive hurt the presentation.

    The goal being to get more structured and more concise while maintaining the laid back nature of the second half.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Yeah, I'd say just have an outline of your points, and loosely follow it. That's generally speaking, of course. For some things, such as where you need to go really in depth, using a script can make it work out better. Just don't worry too much about adhering to it 100&#37;.

    Regardless, though, they're awesome. I honestly didn't think that I would enjoy these podcasts (nor Vene's) when I first saw them. Now I actually wait for them.

    Funny how things turn out...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Canada, British Columbia.
    Very informative even for people not strictly running a guild but also for those interesting in helping to keep things smooth.
    Raid leader: "why in the #"# did the tank die?"
    Priest: "his health points reached zero...."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    I have to agree, even if you get slightly off-topic, the more relaxed Ciderhelm is definitely more enjoyable to listen to. Great stuff as always

  18. #18
    Wonderful podcast. I took your information about mechanization to heart-- often being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work it takes to get momentum rolling. With the WWS charts.. tbh I never thought about the psychology behind them- how it effects the raid. Perhaps because they only time I cared about them was on my enhancement shaman. I believe I'll start posting WWS charts after every raid.

    I must admit, I was iffy about the weekly topic for this podcast. No longer. This has proven to be a very strong podcast in amounts of new information for me.

    Thank you ^_^
    Last edited by Hollowskin; 04-10-2008 at 07:27 AM.
    80 Prot Warrior | 80 Feral/Resto Druid | 80 Enhancement Shaman
    Alliance Days

  19. #19


    These are nice. I listened to it yesterday. I have to agree with most folks here you speaking style comes across better during your improvisational moments but the information is jumbled. However when you are working directly from the bullet points it is a little less lively. I feel that this is because you are a little more passionate about the topics that you deviated with.

    The mechanization works nice. I didn't really have a name for it until it was mentioned by you. Having an impartial set of rules and procedures in place makes the job of being an officer much easier. It turns a lot of problems from discussions to "What's the policy on such-and-such?". Of course coming up with the policy in the first place is always interesting.

    I agree with the post a little further up in regards to the bank. The guild bank as it is implemented at the moment is not robust enough to deal with a large guild. If you have a small guild with a lot of members that you know and play with personally on a daily basis (such as a progression raiding guild) it is fine. However if you run a large casual/family guild where you may only know some of the people through a degree or two of separation then there are several issues that can come up. We get around the issues with allowing view to most and then asking an officer to retrieve the item from the bank. Brand new recruits can't see anything. This tends to remove most of the bank ninjas.

    Also its funny you mention the WWS stats posting. We kept it to the officers until about three weeks ago. When we promoted two new officers they loved the idea of being able to look at it. Because of that we decided to open it up to the rest of the guild to view. In three weeks I haven't heard one word about it. I didn't even think that people were looking except I accidentally posted an anonymous version and people freaked out due to the names being different.

    The information that you put up in these is good. I have found it useful to validate ideas we had on our own and for some new things for us to try. Keep up the good work, work out the kinds and I think this will be a great addition to an already great site.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Baltimore/DC area
    I have a suggestion about how to deal with the on/off script issue that I learned in my public speaking class:
    - when you make your outline, don't write complete sentences. Since you're speaking about things you know well, you don't NEED the complete sentence, you just need a short phrase to remind you to hit that point, and then you can just talk. Rather than having a point be:
    --Makes this an ideal training ground for future managers
    ---You're going to make mistakes, but your mistakes won't destroy lives, and you get to learn from them

    just write "future management, mistakes aren't serious" or something similar.

    Second suggestion: Dead space is OK in moderation. Most people who are speaking publicly aren't comfortable with dead space and use filler phrases like "um", "and", "so", etc, because they feel like dead space is bad. It really isn't. If we're taking notes, dead space gives us time to finish writing. It also gives us time to absorb what you just said. This is also good for you to go back and review your outline to make sure you didn't skip anything (you shouldn't be staring at it when you're talking; even though you're not looking at your audience because it's a podcast, try to act like you're having a conversation with something and look at it instead of your notes. I guarantee it would sound much more laid back).

    Again, I loved the content, I sent it to the rest of my guild's leadership and we all learned a few things. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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