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The Guild Counsel

The best of Massively's Guild Counsel column

Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

SWTOR
Karen Bryan is a seasoned MMORPG gamer and guildleader who cut her MMO teeth on EverQuest and went on to run guilds in Vanguard, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and beyond. That made her the perfect choice to pen Massively's Guild Counsel column, through which Karen dispensed advice to guild leaders, guild members, raiders, and even guild-less gamers for over three years. In honor of her column's long run, today we round up the very best of her Guild Counsel articles, those saturated in her trademark wry humor, wisdom, and timeless advice for MMO players old and new. Enjoy.

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The Guild Counsel: What do you need to be a guild leader?

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

The other day, I came across one of those inspirational posters that takes a word and then uses each letter to spell out a quality that makes up the word. And it got me thinking about what words best describe the essence of a good guild leader. There are as many different types of guild leaders as there are grains of sand on a beach, and many of them are successful. But if you took all of the longtime guild leaders and deconstructed them, what qualities would they all share?

Let's look at the most essential qualities of a guild leader in this week's Guild Counsel.

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The Guild Counsel: How to find a good pre-launch guild

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

There's a wave of new MMOs on the horizon, and with each one comes a surge of enthusiastic fans ready for launch day. Some are so excited that they want to hit the ground running by joining a guild before the game goes live. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pre-launch guilds for each upcoming game, and joining one early can help get the most out of a game from day one.

But it's hard to find the right guild when you can't really see it in action. How do you know whether the guild you join will end up being the best fit for you? Let's look at how to link up with the best pre-launch guild in this week's Guild Counsel.

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The Guild Counsel: What EverQuest Next Landmark means to guilds

Fantasy, Guilds, Opinion, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

With the arrival of EverQuest Next Landmark's alpha, the buzz is all about how the game is a fresh change from what we've been used to in MMOs. And actually, in some ways, it's a return to the roots of the MMO industry. But EQ Next Landmark is also redefining the whole concept of guilds, perhaps in the process raising the question of what guilds will look like in the future.

In this week's Guild Counsel, let's look at how Landmark could drastically change the way we think about guilds in MMOs.

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The Guild Counsel: Guild-friendly Vanguard features I know I'll miss

Fantasy, Guilds, Opinion, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, The Guild Counsel

When the news of Vanguard's sunsetting broke, I got thinking about what best describes the Vanguard experience to those who didn't play it. And the one feature that sums it up best is the /rope command. When the game launched, it came with more than a few bugs, and one nagging problem was that players would get stuck in the terrain or even fall through the world. To help solve the problem, players could target the stuck player and use the /rope command to summon him out and up to their spot. Much of Vanguard was like that: moments of frustration from bugged content, but also moments of teamwork and community pulling together to make it work.

Vanguard was the diamond in the rough that never got polished. It was a gorgeous world, with some hints of truly innovative gameplay, but it was often overshadowed by intrinsic problems at the core of the game. Despite it all, Vanguard has one of the best communities around, and there were many ways in which the game brought players and guilds together. Let's look at what will be missed in this week's Guild Counsel.

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The Guild Counsel: Seeking a guild? Watch for these red flags

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

Vanguard
Each week in this column, we explore common issues in guild management, with a focus on tips to be a successful guild leader. But this week, let's turn the tables a bit and look at things from the perspective of an unguilded player. With the rise of free-to-play in many MMOs, there's a larger pool of players from which guilds recruit. But before you take that guild invite, there are a few red flags to be wary of when joining a guild. For every good guild, there's a guild out there that makes you regret clicking that "join" button and leaves you wishing you had those misspent hours back after you leave.

In this week's Guild Counsel, let's look at what to avoid when you're considering joining a guild.

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The Guild Counsel: There are no bad players, only bad guild matches

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

If you had to pinpoint the source of what causes most guild drama, it almost always comes down to the guild's screening process. We've certainly looked at recruiting before and how important it is to create a system that effectively matches up your guild with like-minded players, but all too often, when there is a problem with a new member, the frustration boils over and the finger pointing begins.

Is it the player's fault for being a bad seed, or the guild's fault for poor management and vision? Guild leaders and players often hold long-standing resentment, and you can see it in the comments section here at Massively as well, but it's time for a change. In this week's Guild Counsel, we'll look at why even the "worst" player has a good guild match out there and why popular thinking needs to change when it comes to judging who is "bad" and who is "good."

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The Guild Counsel: Recruitment tips in the age of free-to-play

Business Models, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

Free-to-play is here to stay, and in just a few short years, the MMO landscape has changed dramatically. It seems like just yesterday that games like SWTOR and RIFT were adamantly insisting that the subscription model was the best plan for them. And four years ago, if you had suggested that most MMOs would adopt a free-to-play business model, people would question your sanity. Today, if you claim that the subscription model is the best bet, you'll get funny looks.

The change has had an impact on guilds, and it's caused many guild leaders to have to rethink the way they recruit and manage their guilds. Let's take a look at how the free-to-play movement can actually help guilds build and maintain a healthy roster.

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The Guild Counsel: Seven New Year's resolutions every guild leader should make

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

As 2013 comes to a close, it's a good opportunity to look back at your guild's year and remember the success and memorable high points you reached together. For every guild that made it through the year, there are hundreds if not thousands that didn't. There are many challenges to running a guild, and sadly, there are too many potential pitfalls that can cause even the most cohesive guilds to fracture and fall apart.

The start of a new year is a good time for guild leaders to make a few resolutions to strengthen their guild and make the coming year more enjoyable for all. Let's look back at some helpful advice from the past year's Guild Counsel as we look forward to 2014.

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The Guild Counsel: Making the most of holiday events with your guild

Events (In-Game), Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

EQII Santa Glug
The holidays might seem like a good time to lay low and take a break, but they can actually be a great opportunity to get ahead, particularly for more casual guilds. The arrival of holiday events means that players can relax and enjoy the short-term change of pace, but with the right approach, those limited events can help your guild boost its finances and its morale at the same time. Let's look at how even the most casual guild can benefit from holiday events in this week's Guild Counsel.

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The Guild Counsel: All's fair in love, war, and MMOs

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

When we're playing MMOs, we're in a virtual world, but we're also playing a game, and as in all games, there are rules to follow. It's one thing for an individual player to break the rules, but when that player is part of a guild, it can have a ripple effect that affects every other member.

Guild leaders are in a tough position when it comes to rule-breaking because knowingly allowing someone to exploit could make the guild complicit in the process. And when the banhammer strikes, it could come down hard on the entire guild. How much responsibility should a guild leader have over players who bend or break the game rules? Let's consider a few points in this week's Guild Counsel.

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The Guild Counsel: Survive the holidays with these fun guild events

Events (In-Game), Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous, Player-Generated Content

The holiday season can often mean that things slow down in the guild. Members have their hands full with gift buying, holiday events, and travel to visit family. That slowdown is OK. Guilds should encourage players to take a little time off, while recognizing that it'll be harder to organize and run larger guild events like raiding or PvP.

But just because things get quiet doesn't mean the guild can't have a little fun and merriment. In this week's Guild Counsel, let's look at some memorable events that are easy to run, bring the guild together, and leave everyone with a smile.

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The Guild Counsel: How to lead and still have fun

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel

Leading is hard. Whether it's a sports team, an office of workers, or a guild, there are many challenges that all leaders share and make even the toughest person want to walk away. And because running a gaming guild is less of a job and more of a hobby (or at least, it should be!), it's hard to get good people to step forward and run things. We're all here to have fun in game, after all, and if leading a guild detracts from that, it's not surprising that some shy away from it.

But running a guild isn't always about taking power and making hard decisions. In fact, there are plenty of successful guilds that have rejected the top-down mentality. Can leading a guild really be that easy?

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The Guild Counsel: Revisiting the Guild Turkey

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

A couple of years ago, we looked at a few ways that guild members can turn a guild into a nightmare, creating all sorts of drama and becoming the official guild turkey. Being in a guild can be a challenging experience as it is because you have dozens if not hundreds of people under the same roof, with many different objectives and ways of seeing things. But there are some members who amp up the drama and excel at creating tension. Everyone has a bad day here and there, but some players have more than their fair share.

Let's look at a few guild turkeys for guild leaders to be careful of inviting in this week's Guild Counsel.

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The Guild Counsel: How to keep your guild from disintegrating when you need a break

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

Let's face it, everyone needs a little MMO break from time to time. The open-endedness of MMOs gives a lot more freedom than a fixed-content single-player game, but after a while, that freedom begins to feel grindy.

For a guild leader, taking a small break is a dicey prospect, and many leaders have returned only to find that the guild they carefully pieced together and managed is now empty and defunct. The thought of losing the guild has even led many guild leaders to press on and continue playing even though their hearts aren't in it. Can a guild leader take a vacation and have a happy guild upon returning? This week's Guild Counsel suggests a few ways to do just that.

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