Welcome along to another instalment of Guild Chat, my cozy wee corner of Massively OP in which we break down the issues and questions presented to help readers improve the guilds of MMO enthusiasts everywhere. In this edition, I’m going to look at the fun side of things because I received an email from a reader who thinks that we’ve been a little heavy on the guild drama front recently and wanted to brighten up the mood. There’s no name attached to this one, but thanks very much for the submission, mystery reader, and I hope you enjoy my ramblings on the topic. See below for both my solution and the many opinions offered by the commentariat.
Hey Tina, Guild Chat has been a little drama filled and serious recently so why not do an article on how you can have fun as a guild? Things to do, places to see etc.
Short, sweet, and to the point: I love it! In all seriousness, this is actually a great question that lies at the heart of why I adore guilds and MMOs so much: The fun that can be had as a group, for me, outweighs what I can usually come up with myself. The whole point of the massively multiplayer thing is that I have a massive amount of people to engage with, which absolutely elevates the player experience. Often, though, guilds can get stuck in a grindy rut: How familiar is the ‘eat, sleep, raid’ scenario to any of us who are or who have been part of a raiding guild, for example? I know I’ve been there with my own guilds, so perhaps a reminder of how to keep things fun is needed from time to time.
Explore everything the game has to offer
MMOs are amazing little gems when it comes to diverse content. I don’t want to make this MMO-specific, so you can apply this to absolutely any MMO ever. Try out a different kind of PvP, start doing your dailies together, revisit old content on alts, grab friends together for a grand old achievement run, start a spontaneous war with rivals… the virtual world is your oyster, friends! If you’re really stuck and can’t find anything to do in your MMO of choice, drop me a line and I’ll create a challenge for you, or perhaps get some guildies together and explore a new game together. Whatever you decide to do, I recommend using your usual VOIP weapons of choice to have a giggle while you do it. It’s amazing how refreshing just having a simple laugh while exploring basic content together can be.
An old World of Warcraft guild of mine is a fabulous example of how to keep the fun alive: We had a riot running all sorts of content together, but some of the best laughs were had during downtime or prep time. People dying to “the elevator boss,” my phobia of wasps meaning that my toons walked backwards every time we encountered them, random bear-mounted assaults on the Alliance… we made our own fun. Of all the guilds I am and have been part of, I think that one was the best at keeping things fun because we actively sought it out on a regular basis without having a specific aim or target. You and your guildies will have your own stories to tell and little things that set you all off in a wrinkle of laughter, your own little in-jokes that are just yours. That’s the thing: You don’t need me to tell you how to make your own fun, but you might perhaps need the reminder to go and seek it out from time to time.
Make it optional, keep it light
Remember that you don’t need your Guild Leader or Officers to organise the fun all the time, or even any of the time. If things are winding down and you’re not getting the best out of your game time, take up the fun mantle for yourself and organise something. If more people within guilds would use some initiative and offer fun downtime content, I wouldn’t have an article to write every month! Someone just has to mention what they’re thinking to me and I’ll volunteer to join in, so you’ll be surprised at how many people leap on a suggestion once it’s been made. Whatever you decide to do, always maintain that attendance isn’t mandatory and that it’s OK to mess it up repeatedly, especially if your guild usually requires a dedicated focus on the content at hand and is known for a no-nonsense approach. Not everyone will have time to join you for more mandatory sessions, and you can’t just order people to have fun, after all!
If your guildmates won’t run content that isn’t serious, you can still make it more fun by keeping the banter up on chat during downtime. Some of my best moments in my MMO history have come from throwaway comments in the face of failure. Guildmates are excellent at reminding me that, no matter what happens, it’s still just a game and should be enjoyed. I can recall so many heavy moments when I sighed in frustration at yet another wipe and tersely recited the tactics once more, only for someone to come off with a clever quip or have a dig at my squeaky, animated voice and accent to make all right with the world again. No matter what content you run and how hardcore you feel you are, you should never forget how to laugh at both your guildies and yourself.
Reevaluate often to ensure satisfaction
Most guild dissatisfaction stems from a lack of communication and reevaluation of the state of the guild. Remember that your guildmates are very human and their real-life commitments can change drastically in even a short space of time. Sometimes you might need to modify the goals of your guild to suit the changing requirements of your playerbase: That’s not a soft way of saying back down from the challenging stuff but rather a suggestion that you switch up the goals to suit you better and keep things fun. Matching your content to the players is the only way to keep everyone engaged and happy, so don’t dawdle on this front if your guild members are overworked or stressed. Likewise, never be afraid to up the challenge to keep things fresh if you’re cake-rolling everything in your path, and look beyond the current endgame content if things have gone stale. Ungeared ICC run, anyone?
MMOs are quite unique in that the time commitment and longevity associated with the genre can make fun finding more of a challenge than you might firstly imagine it to be. It’s OK to get bored from time to time, especially when we’re waiting for an expansion or content drop, but do bear in mind that the average MMO player explores only a fraction of the content offered in the game. Push your comfort zone and try your hand at something unfamiliar while you wait: Your guildmates are all in the same boat and you could surprise yourself at how much fun you have.
Over to you!
I’m hoping that I’ll read loads of great guild stories in the comments on this one! Offer up some inspiration for our fun-seeking reader in need and tell me your top tips for keeping the fun alive in MMOs.