Welcome along to Guild Chat, the place where we gather to discuss a reader submission on whatever guild-related topic is giving him or her cause for concern in order to help them through. This time, we’re going to help reader John get to grips with starting up a raiding guild in Guild Wars 2, a game in which raiding is relatively new and guilds are fairly fluid and casual. John’s issue is further complicated by the fact that most of his core guild group haven’t tackled many of the raid bosses, so guild management will be difficult to establish. Join me below for both John’s full submission and my thoughts on the issue, and don’t forget to add your own advice in the comments below.
Tina, I have been playing GW2 off and on since launch and am an experienced player with over 9k achievement points. I am running through Heart of Thorns content and have had some success with raiding with random learning groups. I’ve cleared the first wing but want something more solid for the second wing, so I am looking into setting up a specific raiding guild. My question really boils down to whether you think it’s a good idea in GW2 since the guilds are so nebulous and none of my in-game friends have more raiding experience than trying out a boss or two with PuGs.
You do know how to appeal to this lass, John… raiding and GW2 in one submission? First thing’s first: I’m going to divide my advice into general guidance for setting up a raiding guild and then particular modifications for your MMO of choice. This is mostly because I dislike making Guild Chat too game specific where possible so that the advice can apply to other readers in similar situations too. Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll be well on your way to forming a solid raiding team and downing bosses.
General raiding guild advice
Establish some ground rules before recruiting
Setting up your own raiding guild will require some planning on your part: Get together with that core group of friends you described and start piecing together a guild charter of sorts and a rough schedule for a typical week. A guild charter should tackle issues such as loot distribution (not so relevant in your specific case, John), guild resource access, and anything else that’ll be relevant in the MMO you play. For more ideas on how to start out on the right foot, check out my guild ingredient list. You’ll also need to sort out a list of what roles you need to fill, bearing in mind that each boss will have specific group composition requirements, and make an ad with those details to share on all the relevant channels when you’re ready.
Think about how you wish to recruit
Recruitment is another area that requires some careful consideration. In the case of creating a raiding guild, you’ll want to outline clear requirements for your prospective members, such as gear, gear enhancement use, favoured builds where relevant, raiding commitment in terms of time, and anything else relevant to how raids run in your chosen MMO. For this reason, I recommend keeping guild documents that you can copy and paste from, sort of like an induction crib sheet for new members or an FAQ for applicants, or better yet, creating a guild website to hold that information.
I personally like to use simple application forms hosted on a guild website to handle recruitment because then I can quickly gather all the needed information from applicants without a wall of PMs. This is where having clear requirements outlined in advance pays dividends: You check that information off sequentially when looking at each application, allowing for more than one set of eyes to appraise applicants with some degree of standardisation. This is my preferred method of handling these things, but if your recruitment is small enough in scope you may not need all the formalised fuss.
Set up a guild structure and assess any skill gaps
You’ll need to decide on how you’re going to oversee the new guild and then reflect that in the guild structure you set up. I recommend keeping it simple with four ranks to begin with: You’ll have Guild Leader(s), who will be you and maybe another good friend you don’t mind sharing power with; Raid Officers, who are those who you trust help administer guild resources and teach tactics; Raiders, the members who have been approved by you or your Officers to raid; and finally New Recruits, members you’ve recently inducted while you are trialing them in a raiding spot. More advanced setups might use labeling to link people with alts if your MMO doesn’t already make those connections, and it might place raiders in different ranks based on raid role or group in larger guilds.
Once you’ve decided on a structure, you’ll need to consider whether you have enough core people to fully fill out the upper ranks, and you’ll also need to ensure that your leaders have the skills to properly fill the roles you’ve planned for them. If you’re unsure, a good rule of thumb is one raid leader for each group, plus one extra Officer for general guild admin for every fifty or so people (not characters) on the roster. To start with, I recommend running with just one raiding group that you lead plus perhaps two other people to help you out. This sounds excessive based on my breakdown above but will give you room to get to know your new role and guildmates as well as the manpower to expand without needing to recruit more officers again.
Running a raiding guild in GW2
Drill the tactics and step up your game
Another pressing concern that’s particular to your situation, John, is that you and your friends are a little short in raiding experience. This isn’t by any means a deal breaker, and there are many ways around this. I’d recommend checking out detailed raiding guides for each boss you plan on tackling, especially those you’ve not yet attempted yourself. Either recreate those tactics in a form you can digest, or have links to your favourite guides (ahem, ahem) handy for sharing.
Ensure that you have several characters primed for raiding each where possible to allow for optimum group composition for each boss: This really can make all the difference for novice and intermediate raiders, especially when it comes to DPS walls and CC. You need to practice what you preach in the guild charter and requirements, of course, so don’t slack on gearing those alts if you want to bring them along.
Gauge the general experience of your guild and start there
Don’t expect to have a guild filled with people who have fully cleared every boss: You are far more likely to find success with people who have similar (or even less) raiding experience than you do, simply because trying to find successful hardcore raiders who are willing to slow down and fill your ranks is a big ask. Since the game was never historically geared to that market, you’ll find that most guilds are jack-of-all-trade or PvP types, so you’re venturing into quite a new area with a dedicated raiding guild: I want you to manage your expectations. I can’t tell you what sort of experience level your new guildies will have or whether or not they’ll rep your guild permanently, so I’d suggest that you should ask about their raiding experience as part of your applications and should also ask about other in-game commitments so you can pitch to the audience you attract.
Communicate out-of-game to catch non-reppers
The reality of our MMO of choice is that guild hopping is not only common, it’s inherently encouraged by the guild mechanics. This is good and bad for those who are forming new guilds: It’s a plus because it takes significantly less commitment on behalf of your guildmates to join up, but the downside is that it’s difficult to catch everyone because many people aren’t going to represent a new, small guild. You can account for this by firstly being consistent with your raiding times each week so that people know when to turn up, and also by ensuring you communicate somewhere out-of-game to include as many people as possible.
I have used several different methods in my raiding guilds, including Facebook groups, online schedules on a guild website, and a whole pile of VOIP chat programs. Voice communication will make your raiding attempts go much more smoothly, so I recommend that as the first point of contact for your new guild. Keep a casual channel that people can hang out in and advertise your raid start times in your channel descriptions to capture your audience. No matter which method you use, regular communication is critical in a fledgling guild, so try to minimise the legwork in any way you can so that you don’t need to torture your raiders by whisper to keep them engaged. Good luck downing bosses and having fun with your new guildies, and do let me know if you need any more advice!
Over to you!
What do you think about John’s new venture into raiding? How would you go about setting up a guild to tackle a new type of content in your MMo of choice? Have you anything to add to my advice? Let John know in the comments.
Thanks to John for this edition’s topic. Don’t forget to email me your guild-related questions!