Guild Chat: Creating a solo-friendly MMO guild

    
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Welcome along to another instalment of Guild Chat, my own cozy wee corner of Massively OP in which I help readers in need with their guild-related issues by offering my two cents on the dilemma at hand while encouraging you lot to add your opinions in the comments. Between us, we’ve helped out quite a few readers with a plethora of guild drama and issues, and this week’s submission will be no different! This time, the submission asks us to focus on how guilds can support soloers and those with much less time on their hands.

Regular reader and previous submitter Rick has asked for us to help him find, or perhaps even create, a guild for those who cannot commit to a set schedule or minimum amount of playtime, but who still wish to be challenged while playing. In this week’s Guild Chat, I’ll talk about how we can bring soloers together within a suitable guild environment. Check out Rick’s full submission below, and don’t forget to add your own opinions in the comments for him to mull over during his guild search.

I would love to hear your opinion on building a guild for soloers. I am currently playing ArcheAge and don’t have a schedule that I can commit to anything beyond a “Gee I’ve got an hour – anyone else want to group?” I wonder if there are similar people who mostly solo but wouldn’t mind soloing together? How would one approach that?  I’ve tried chat – HA! Fried by trolls.
–Rick

This is an excellent topic, Rick, and I think that most MMO hoppers and soloers have thought the same thing once or twice. You’re certainly not alone in enjoying the freedom of solo playing your favourite MMOs while craving the social interaction and perks that come with having a guild full of fellow players. I’m going to give you a few pointers for building a guild that should keep soloers happy without causing you too much legwork or costing you much more extra time. The advice here can equally be applied to finding an existing guild that caters well to soloers, though, should you find that building your own guild isn’t feasible within the time you have for gaming. Good luck on the guild hunt and happy gaming!

Guild Chat, gardenPatience is key for creating a soloer guild

I have to firstly emphasise that of all the player types to attract, the solo population is perhaps the most challenging for a guild leader to draw in. Many of the perks of guild membership are diluted in scope for those who don’t want to group with others or who don’t have the time to organise group exploits. In order to be successful in creating a solo guild, then, you’ll need to be very patient during the recruitment process while you simultaneously take the work out of grouping for your guild members.

It may take quite some time for you to build up a large enough roster so that there are people you can group with almost every time you log in. Having said that, solo players won’t have built up a dependence on others being online and the guild building period isn’t likely to phase them as much as it would other kinds of player. The key is not becoming too disheartened by the chat trolls and the minority of bad eggs in the hardcore playerbase while you work on populating your guild. The sort of people you’re looking for are arguably more numerous than the hardcore demographic anyway, so don’t feel drowned out and isolated because some people want to start the casual scrub refrain.

Guild Chat, redditVisit the game’s forum and subreddit to find like-minded people

Since your time is at a premium, you’ll want to set up some passive recruitment methods to take away some of the legwork and give you more time to engage with your new guildmates. Think about posting ads on forums related to your MMO of choice, and check out the ArcheAge Reddit’s guild listings post for a great place to pop up your own ad. Don’t forget to look for community-led fansites as well as utilising more official sources, and perhaps try some more general MMO communities too. You could consider building a guild website that answers all the usual questions to save your time too: This will give you an easy-to-share spiel that’s always at your fingertips.

When you’re crafting your advertisement, don’t forget to keep it focused on soloing with the option of grabbing more people along on the journey. Many people could confuse your guild with a general casual guild if your ad isn’t specific enough, and the players you wish to attract have already decided at some point that the typical guild experience isn’t for them, otherwise they wouldn’t be guildless solo players in the first place. Offer the chance to group with like-minded people when it is convenient while enjoying the game solo when desired with the added passive perks of a guild.

Guild Chat, guild faceoffDon’t forget events simply because you’re soloers

Once you’ve attracted a solid roster of players, you’ll want to offer them some no-commitment group activities on an ad-hoc basis. It’s important to delegate at this stage in order to adequately stagger drop-in events throughout the week (or month if game time is really lacking; it’s up to you and your members to say when enough is enough). If you’re the only one running events and making groups, some players will inevitably be excluded because of the hours they keep, so leave your calendar open for others to add to.

You might find that some players end up logging in much more often when bonds are forged within your guild. Don’t rule out scheduling some of more challenging content in that case, but do make it known that commitment to more time-intensive activities is not needed or expected from your members. Fun “idle” events such as get-togethers and in-game parties might be nice ways to bond in most guilds, but soloers and those who are pressed for time are the least likely to benefit from that kind of activity. Skip the fluff and keep it simple for best results.

Guild Chat, adventuringUse modern tools and apps to complement your guild

I recommend a drop-in, optional VOIP setup for a soloer guild, one that your members can invite pugs along to with little effort (thus increasing your recruitment pool) and can feel free to join even if they’re playing another one of their games. This will help to quickly forge some connections and will ensure that impromptu opportunities to run certain group content aren’t missed by being offline.

You could perhaps have a quick mailing list or WhatsApp chat that busier people can opt into so members can quickly ask each other for help: Remember that in a solo-friendly guild, many of your members will not sit around idle, ready to catch messages in guild chat, so account for that. A shared calendar can be added to your toolset; draw it up at the start of each week so that members can readily see each other’s availability.

Guild Chat, knightKeep up with housekeeping so the guild doesn’t become stagnant

Last but by no means least, ensure that you stay on top of the maintenance! A lack of time commitment is totally okay in a guild that welcomes solo players, but you do need to keep your roster fresh so you can accurately plan events and easily tell if recruitment needs to be ramped up. I recommend removing members who don’t log in for a period of two to three months in a soloer guild; this allows flexibility for busy lifestyles without cluttering up the roster with people who you can’t call upon for events. You might find that a shorterer timeframe is more comfortable for dealing with those who disappear without notice, so feel free to come up with a rule that suits you and your members. Match your expectations to the lifestyles of your playerbase and you’ll not go too far wrong!

Over to you!

I really hope that Rick finds a wonderful home for players who typically fly solo, whether he builds his own new home or decides to find one that ticks the right boxes. If you’re struggling to find your own guild, don’t forget my recipe for a great guild! What would you add on to my tips? Do you think it’s possible to make a solo-friendly guild, and if so, how would you do it? Let Rick know below! Don’t forget to email your submissions for Guild Chat as well.

MOP’s Tina Lauro is on-hand to deal with all of your guild-related questions, queries, and drama in Guild Chat. Whatever your guild issue, she’s sure to have a witty yet sympathetic response. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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mosselyn
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mosselyn

SallyBowls1 Speaking as a Recruiting Officer for a large guild, I put my kickin’ boots on once a month because my game has a 500-member cap on in-game guild size. Why should someone who is no longer playing the game take up a precious slot?
I only kick members who haven’t logged into the game for over 2 months, and only after first issuing a warning with a 2-week grace period. It’s easy enough to get re-invited if you come back.
A guild is a 2-way street. If someone can’t be bothered to seek a re-invite if they’re away from the game for months, then they were never very invested in the guild to begin with. Both parties will be better off apart.

solaralune
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solaralune

Not wanting to get into the solo vs. guild debate, I just want to say I wish there were a tick between those two options when it comes to guilds/companies/etc. Some sort of social infrastructure for smaller groups (that “grouping” doesn’t take care of) like a guild for a small group of friends, or couples that play together. I’d like to be able to get some of the perks only guilds get downsized to just a couple people. Like, I don’t want a giant floating castle because that’s clearly for a large guild and they deserve that recognition, but I wouldn’t mind being able to earn a house or small manor that’s designed around the concept of more than one player. 
I dunno, this topic just made me start rambling.

SixCentsOfHumor
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SixCentsOfHumor

Akami I imagine that the point would vary from person to person, but imo, a lot of it would be the social aircraft with like minded people.  The other advantage is potential assistance for those things that as soloer might want to do that can not be soloed.  Also sometimes the connections made are useful for things like sharing resources and crafting skills. A lot of solo players are still happy to help others at least sometimes, and there can be other advantages of being in some kind of collective beyond just group content.
 Can these things be found or accomplished without a guild? Sure, but even for us solo players, a guild can make things easier. There just aren’t a lot of guilds that are built around our play patterns.

Akami
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Akami

No offense, but what’s the point of a solo oriented guild?  You are basically talking about a glorified chat room, maybe the guild system in the game has a few perks for being in a guild.  But there’s no real sense of guild in a situation like that.  Yes through chat you might get to know the people a little, and become friends.  But I could do the same thing over general chat….

BigMikeyOcho
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BigMikeyOcho

Damonvile plynky12 Also, could be a reason most “soloers” tend to not look as favorably toward other players is that when they are forced to group by the game, be it for an unpassable quest or dungeon or something, they’re mostly met by non-soloer players. And so are then submitted to more judgement passed their way for not knowing the dungeon before setting a foot into it, for not keeping up pace, not having exact builds, etc. Those judgemental players, they dislike.
Some of the best PUGs I’ve ever had, though, were ones I created myself and instead of the ridiculous “must have 12000+ stat” requests, were more like “New players welcome. First time dungeon runners welcome. Soloers welcome” and the group I usually get with that are more friendly, non-judgemental, and overall more competent players. A guild filled with those players sounds like MMO-heaven.

Neo_Wolf
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Neo_Wolf

Being predominantly a soloer this is a subject I am well versed on as I have created and run solo, casual friendly MMO Guilds for many many years.

For me the following things are key
1.  Layout your criteria and expectation for your minimal commitment guild beforehand and discuss them with founding members to ensure everyone is in agreeance and on the same page.  If their is one thing I have learnt it is that miscommunication of intent or poor communication of minimal commitment expectations from members will inevitably lead to them assuming your not solo friendly but disinterested and they will leave.  For us the minimal commitments have always been simple.  Communication.  that’s it.  We have no time or activity commitments.  So our members can log on when they want, do what they want, if they want to group or need help they ask.  But all that is expected of them is that when they are on they are chatting either via text, voice or whatever (as preferred by the individual).

2.  Have a means or place for people to communicate, ask questions etc.. Guildportals let you make a page and get forums free and are indespensible for such things.  They won’t be massively active as you will be a guild of casual soloers, but it is a place for all to reach out and connect then they are available in game or out.

3.  Recruit selectively not indiscriminately.  Many guilds without any clear sense of purpose assume that quantity is more important than quality.  i.e so long as they have enough bums on seats they can always manage to get something done, never mind that they have no idea who they are, or may never ever play with them again random guild member no. 3756..  I disagree.
If you recruit anybody simply because they ask to join you invariably end up with many people who aren’t on the same page or are disruptive or want time or attention that the guild was never suited to provide from the start and then invariably leave.  Recruit people that are looking for what you are, and that your guild is likely to support and be ideal for.  Square pegs simply will never fit in round holes..accept it and find a square hole from the start it will save you less grief in the long run lol.  
We for example have a recruitment process which involves us not recruiting anyone unless they are recommended by an existing member and whom we/they have played with for some time and can say in confidence that they will be a good fit.  This is because timewasters and those who say they want what a solo casual guild is about but then in actuality want something more active or involved invariably pop up because some people would sooner belong to something rather than nothing even if the something was not ideal for them to begin with.  
A small like minded guild is to me far more preferable than a large and mostly disconnected and fractioned guild any day of the week. (which is not to say all big guilds are that way..just most of them lol).

4.  This last one is mostly a personal preference thing but I would not any more recruit for a guild when a game is new (beyond those half a dozen die hards who come with me from game to game anyway) but rather wait until six months in and the sightsee’ers and window shoppers have moved on before opening the doors to recruitment.  This saves a lot of time and messing around and getting to know people who don’t really have any intention of hanging around and therefore less disruption to the guild as a whole.

BabbageUK
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BabbageUK

Siphaed Damonvile plynky12 This is very true. You describe yourself and then find a word that fits, rather than find a word and try to fit into it’s definition. Now myself, I’m introverted by nature and an adult with a family – I would consider myself both a casual (which implies a forced style of play) and a solo’er (which implies a chosen style of play).

Serrenity
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Serrenity

plynky12 Omedon Also – most groups of friends have the quiet one who just hangs around, doesn’t say much, but enjoys being in the company of others.  And almost always helps out with the check ;) 
I generally don’t have time to spent raiding anymore, but I love dungeons and I love logging in and having people say “Hey! How are you?!”

Veldan
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Veldan

Elikal Ialborcales Just as people date for more reasons than sex, people play MMOs for more reasons than grouping.

plynky12
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plynky12

Omedon plynky12 Yeah, I guess that makes sense. And those spammed guild invites in starter zones can be bloody annoying.

Thinking about it, my ESO guild is like that. The others in it are all fellow guildies from another game, where we are very group-oriented. In ESO, though, I have never even met any of them toon-to-toon, they are just people I say ‘hello’ to in chat while playing. So really I am a split-personality player, both a grouper and a soloer, depending on what game I’m in. Not sure why that is. I think deep down it may be because I never really wanted an Elder Scrolls MMO, just more Skyrim. But that’s a whole other issue. :)