Now, I'm not completely familiar with the origins of the meaning of snake eyes, but I do know that you shouldn't over-fill a fryer with hot oil, and you also shouldn't shove a fryer over on its side because the oil spills and combusts. But apparently, this is what gamers call "l33t b3ta inf0z," and if you're from the Department of Homeland Security, it's your job to get the word out. That got me thinking: If Americans don't know the ins and outs of cooking a turkey safely, perhaps MMO players don't know the proper way to safely be part of a guild. In this week's Guild Counsel, let's look at a few ways to avoid being the guild turkey.
Treat the guild bank like your own private QVC
Yes, that guild bank might be chock full of rare crafting materials, valuable spells, and shiny armor, but there's a reason it's called the "guild" bank. I've come across members who assume that if they can use it, they should get it, and they don't stop to think for a second that there might be others in the guild who also can make use of it. It astounds me that there are players who are the equivalent of women at a Filene's Basement Bridal Event, but the best way to handle it isn't necessarily to confront them head on. In the long run, if you keep your bank clean and don't let items sit for too long, there is less opportunity for members to covet the goods in the first place.
Go MIA for 10 months, come back, and then outbid regular raiders on brand-new loot with your mothballed DKP
I used to resent the "prodigal sons" who would disappear for months at a time and then return home to the guild. But over time, I've become more tolerant of it because you can't force people to play if they aren't having fun, and sometimes people who take a breather end up coming back refreshed and excited about the game.
What galls me, though, are the people who accumulate mounds of DKP and then come back to spend it right as the guild is beginning to chip away at new content and new loot. It's tacky, and it amazes me that someone would have the nerve to do it and not think it might ruffle a few feathers. Luckily, there are ways to prevent that, and while it's a shame that you have to put in safeguards like DKP decay or a freeze on DKP until the returning member has attended a certain number of raids, it's a necessary evil. The bottom line is that you have to maintain fairness and protect members who have been raiding even in the lean times.
If there's one thing that absolutely drives me insane, it's when one member calls out another member after a raid wipe. I believe in finding the root cause of the problem and fixing it, but I believe in doing it privately, either through a quick tell after the wipe or a chat after the raid is over. And I don't have a problem with players pointing out someone who is making a mistake, but I ask that they do it through me. Whether it's during a 10-man raid or a 50-person brigade, if you allow everyone to call each other out, it's almost certain that someone will lack the tact to do it, or on the flip side, someone will get over-defensive and take it the wrong way. And most of the time, the person who screwed up knows it, knows how to fix it, and won't make the same mistake ever again, so calling him out in front of the whole raid doesn't accomplish anything anyway. I've gamed with many players for over a decade now, yet I only consider one or two of them to be close enough I could call them out publicly and know it wouldn't lead to bad feelings. Furthermore, I think part of the reason why some of us have stayed close through the years is because we have that polite respect for one another when things go sour on raids.
Join a guild and then promptly spam the guild for help over and over
I always get a chuckle out of people who join a guild and then take on the attitude that everyone on the roster is there to serve them. These are people who join a guild for the wrong reason, and game design is partially to blame here. These players probably were soloing along and either ran into a roadblock that requires a group or picked up a quest to get a really cool item that can only be obtained with a group or raid. They still have a single-player mindset, but since they need help from others, they join a guild. And then each night, everyone in the guild is routinely spammed with requests for help by the new member.
Being in a guild requires a give and take mindset, and there are nights when you might be doing something in game that doesn't provide you with much of a personal reward but does help someone else in the guild. It's not for everyone, that's for sure, and there's nothing wrong with choosing to pass on that playstyle. It is wrong, however, to join a guild and then attempt to use it as much as you can for self-gain, with no desire to return the favor to those who helped you.
Remind guildies how lucky they are to have you as a member
Every guild seems to have that resident expert: someone who boasts of raiding with the top guilds, was ranked number one on the server for his class, and is friends with developers in multiple games. It's one thing to mention it in passing during the course of conversation, but it's another to constantly remind everyone how amazing you are and how lucky the guild is to have you on the roster. I use the Boogie Nights analogy to warn potential recruits: If you picture your name in lights, and they're so bright that they blow up because they're so powerful, then you should probably seek another guild.
I have lots of reasons to be thankful of my guildmates, and luckily, I have had fewer and fewer encounters with problem-players. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, but I also hope that everyone ends up eating lots of turkey rather than being the guild turkey. And watch out for those fryers!
Do you have a guild problem that you just can't seem to resolve? Have a guild issue that you'd like to discuss? Every week, Karen Bryan takes on reader questions about guild management right here in The Guild Counsel column. She'll offer advice, give practical tips, and even provide a shoulder to lean on for those who are taking up the challenging task of running a guild.