Guild Chat: Pro tips for incentivising active MMO guild membership
Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which Massively Overpowered readers can have their guild-related questions or concerns addressed through both the articles themselves and the comments section from other readers, allowing for a broad basis of supportive advice to help the reader in need. In this edition, Wakfu guild leader Aio asks if setting up a schedule for high-level players to encourage them to run with low-level characters regularly is a good idea and wishes to find dome help with how to plan and populate such a schedule. At this point in time, Aio is almost solely responsible for looking after low-level players in the guild and would love to hear ideas of some fun activities that could help entice others into naturally interacting with lower level players.
See Aio's full submission below and don't forget to head on down to the comments section to leave your advice on guild scheduling and multi-level event planning.
Hi Tina, I love reading the guild chat section, it has really helped the guild a lot. But I realised that it was mostly centered around World of Warcraft; here in Wakfu, everyone has this tendency of wanting to level up all the time. So in my guild, we got a mixture of low-level players and high-level players; it would be nice to see high-level players interacting with the low-level ones but only I as the guild leader do it most of the time. I was thinking of running a rotating daily schedule that everyone should stick to to increase the interaction of our members but I don't know where to start or how to come up with the activities rotation. The only thing that has brought some of us together is the roleplay on our website which also is still under progress. Please offer some advice if you can.
If I had a nickel for every time a guild leader asked me about engaging members and encouraging high-level players to work alongside lowbies, I'd have a fair pile of metal to add to my dusty foreign change jar that I never bother to convert into spendable currency! The real rub with MMOs and inclusions is that most are mechanically both inherently social ventures that reward grouping yet are also distinctly distancing in terms of the gap between freshly minted and endgame characters, so players tend to naturally form cliques that are closely matched in level and are capable of running the same content together. The most attractive content is usually endgame activities, so players capable of tackling such content naturally do with the vast majority of their gaming time. When game mechanics incentivise exclusive behaviours, it's easy to see how it becomes a problem for guild leaders who wish to focus on casual, inclusive rosters in which players of all levels spend time together.
It stands to reason that a guild leader's efforts in unifying the levels will naturally come from the top down: You and those of the highest ranks in your guild will need to lead by example here, as you seem to be doing already. It's obvious that you cannot force the guild's rank-and-file to spend their personal leisure time playing the game in a way that doesn't appeal to them but putting out the call for those who are interested in running with lower level characters is sensible. That way, you can think about creating a buddy rank that makes clear who is willing and able to guide lowbies and you then open up the possibility of more organic connections being made that don't occur on schedule.
While schedules such as the daily activity rotation you're proposing can help renew focus and point disengaged players in the right direction, they can also serve to stifle more independent members and frustrate those at the upper echelons of the game's level system. That's not to say that scheduling open-to-all guild time is a bad move, but more a warning that overscheduling and strict adherence policies can cause more friction between low and high levels in the long run. Schedules work very well in large occupancy guilds in which a guild leader doesn't have to force disinterested players to engage with the pencilled-in events to balance numbers, so consider your roster size before planning largescale events that would necessitate the attendance of most or all of your high-level players.
Make use of the guild website you mentioned to maintain a calendar and encourage people to sign up for events in advance so if numbers are low on a particular day then you can reschedule rather than take up a small group of players' time. Always allow room for flexibility so you can respond to ad-hoc requests and any surprise event announcements from the developers: The schedule should facilitate content enjoyment, not hold players so tightly that their contentment is limited.
It's brilliant that you're already making steps in finding out what aspects of the game give your guild members enjoyment, and the best first step you can make for your scheduling is to bring the website hosted RPG elements into the game space through player-led events. Gathering certain types of characters with common classes, for example, or having a harvest RPG event for the gatherer professions, is a great way to gather players of various levels that still have a common thread that binds them.
Don't forget to use the bread and butter guild events handed to you in your chosen MMO: There is no reason why you can't RP your way through guild quests to enrich the experience. You're fortunate in that Wakfu features a lore-rich world that has out-of-game references you can draw upon should you ever be stuck. There's a whole universe of content that you can expand upon through your own RP work, so perhaps some players might be interested in creating a weekly saga that is played out in the game space at a set time. Players could request to be written into the RP on your website and group decisions could be made on direction there as well, making it a fantastic collaborative project with scope and tenure.
I haven't had the spare time to play Wakfu for myself, so I can't advise on specific content that would be a fantastic people grab without level barriers. Remember that guild leaders don't need to come up with activities endlessly: Open up the calendar for others to edit and encourage your members to suggest ideas for themselves. Your job is to ensure that people do what they say they will and don't impact on other members' enjoyment of the guild activities, so once you have a scheduling system in place it's best to let players manage themselves.
When you open up scheduling to the roster, you'll notice that some content is much more popular than other content, and those observations can be used to recognise patterns, activity levels, and engagement. Should an event prove popular, make it a regular occurrence at the same time each week to encourage regular running, and perhaps suggest running a second slot if you feel that demand is greater than the number of players facilitated by one run of the activity. Likewise, don't feel the need to make players run less popular content on a regular basis just to say your guild offers it.
However you decide to schedule some guild activities, remember that your casual efforts should continue, Aio: Members greatly appreciate running with the guild leader whenever they are free, and ad-hoc fun should still always be encouraged. I wish you well with your guild plans!
Over to you!
I know Aio is far from alone in wondering how to gel together players of varying levels for fun and meaningful guild activities, so I hope to you can add your own unique solutions to the problem in the comments.
Thanks to Aio for this submission. If you have a guild issue you'd like to see featured in Guild Chat, send me an email for consideration.