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The Real-Life Cost of Running a Guild

May 2, 2013

Neri over at Neri Approves has been wondering why everyone seems to assume that guild leaders should be responsible for paying for guild hosting services.  This issue has come to a head for her because she has been feeling burnt out.  She decided to stop raiding and take a step back from the game and now finds herself feeling a bit resentful about having to pay the cost of her guild website and voice chat when she’s no longer using them.

I commented on Neri’s specific situation on her blog post, but I also wanted to answer her in more depth here.

Why Guild Leaders Are Generally Expected to Pay for Guild Hosting Services

Boss Lady Trixel

Guild services tend to be more secure and stable when provided by the guild leader.  In fact, most guild leaders I’ve known have been very reluctant to give up control of the guild website/voice services to another random member.  I have been in a couple of guilds where a member other than the guild leader was paying for the services, and while it worked for the most part there were issues that came up when that member changed guilds or quit the game.  Guild leaders had to scramble to replace services or gain administrative access to them, in one case having to create a new guild website from scratch when the website provider disappeared.  In contrast, when guild leadership changed we had smoother transitions as the outgoing guild leader handed over the metaphorical keys to the new leader.

The guild leader owns the guild and provides access to it and the guild services to the members.  Providing these services helps to strengthen the guild, attract new members and retain old members.  These are the goals of the guild leadership, not necessarily the guild members.  (Though you could certainly argue that members SHOULD have those goals in mind.)

Why Guild Members Are Reluctant to Pay Up

Lazy Goblins

Should the guild members be willing to contribute money to the guild?  Ideally yes… but most are probably not going to be.  After all, from their perspective: Why should they be paying for something most guilds provide for free? For a guild they don’t really “own”?  When they don’t know if they can commit to the responsibility or if they don’t know if the guild will be a good fit for them?  When they are already paying a subscription fee just to play the game?

If members don’t have PayPal they may find it a hassle to set up a method of payment.  They may also wonder how they can be sure they aren’t being overcharged, or that the money is actually going to the guild hosting cost instead of lining the pockets of an unscrupulous guild master.  New members in particular might balk at being required to donate money when they don’t know anyone yet and aren’t sure they’ll want to stick around.  If they join and discover they’ll be expected to contribute to the real-life guild fund they may turn around and walk right out the door again.

How Would Guild Leaders Even Collect Funds From Members?

Goblin Bank

Requiring members to pay for guild services seems rather complicated to me.  If you ask, say, every raider to cough up $1 a month, how do you organize that?  Do you have them pay on a per month basis, in which case they may not want to pay any transaction fees on such a small amount, or may feel like the contribution is too small to really be necessary?  Do you ask them to each pay $12 per year (meaning that each member essentially pays for one month of the service)?  If so, do you ask for it at the beginning of each year (which might make people balk if they aren’t sure they’ll play for the entire year), or do you assign each player a month and ask them to pay at the beginning of it?

What do you do if someone can’t/won’t pay?  If some people who pay feel resentful toward those who don’t pay?  If someone with limited funds feels guilty or embarrassed about being unable to contribute (to the point where they might leave the guild to avoid having to deal with issues of payment).  What about under-aged members who might need parental permission to contribute?  How do you track who’s donated and who hasn’t?  How do you penalize someone who doesn’t contribute?

If you just ask nicely for donations, what do you do if you don’t get any/enough?  Do you cut off the service?  (Possibly irritating your members.)  Eat the cost yourself?  (In which case, what’s the motivation for people to donate?  Will you feel resentful of this?)  Do you provide incentives for donating, like in-game rewards?  What if it’s the same one or two people paying the cost every month?  Will they start to feel resentful of the free-loading members?

Honestly, to me it seems like more of a hassle to get money from guild members than to just pay for the service yourself.  It’s possible that I’m just a pessimist though… If someone has experience with a successful guild donation program please explain it in the comments!

What if the Guild Leader Honestly Can’t Pay?

Poor Goblins

Obviously, if the guild leader is financially unable to pay for guild services other arrangements would have to be made.  I can think of four possible solutions to the problem:

  1. Have a trusted officer or long-time guild member take over payment.  This seems like the simplest option to me, though finding someone willing and able to do so might not be easy.  Approaching people individually is probably more likely to work than just issuing a blanket request for a volunteer.  (In the same way that telling a specific bystander to call 9-1-1 is more effective than just yelling for anyone to do so.)  This also has the benefit of minimizing the embarrassment a guild leader might feel about having to ask for financial help.
  2. Ask your guild members for donations.  Explain what the cost will be and exactly what services/features the money will provide.  I have no experience in handling this sort of situation, but I imagine that it would be necessary to track the level of donations somewhere your members can see it, (on the guild website, message of the day, etc), so that everyone knows where they stand and how urgent the need is.
  3. Look for free alternatives.  Do your members really need and use all the premium features of your website?  Maybe your members would be open to using Facebook or another social media platform instead of a traditional guild forum.  Can you find a free voice client somewhere?
  4. Do without.  Especially if your guild is a leveling guild or more casual/social guild you may not need any guild hosting services at all.  If your members complain you can tell them to feel free to donate!

What if I Can Pay, But I Resent These Free-Loading Slugs I Call My Guildies?

Begging

Ideally, I think every guild leader (or officer) should be providing guild services because they want to do so — because they enjoy being the bearer of guild perks and take pride in the thriving guild community they help create.  But if you’re starting to feel like guild hosting is a chore or a burden then it’s probably time to step back and re-evaluate what you find fun about the game.

First of all, is the burden a financial one?  If you’re stressing out about being able to afford to pay for your guild website, maybe you should pass the burden on to someone else.  WoW is a game and your other financial responsibilities should definitely come first.

If money is not the real issue, then maybe you’ve taken on too much responsibility within your guild.  Are you resentful of having to do all the recruiting, scheduling, raid leading, loot mastering, guild bank management, etc, etc?  Maybe it’s time to start delegating some responsibilities to the other officers.

Or perhaps you are just burnt out and have lost interest in the game entirely.  In that case, you should consider taking a break.  Hand over leadership to someone else, transfer ownership of the guild hosting to the new leader, and let THEM deal with paying for everything.

Maybe you just feel that if everyone benefits from the services then everyone should help pay for them.  This is a perfectly legitimate viewpoint!  However, you might find it difficult to convince your members to contribute.  Resenting your guildmates is never healthy for you or your guild atmosphere, so you should probably talk to your members and encourage them to donate.  The good news is that if you create a guild full of members who are generous with their donations you probably have some quality people in your guild!

Should Guild Leaders Be Expected to Pay for Guild Hosting?

Boss Mida

I guess this was Neri’s original question, and instead I’ve mostly explained why people expect guild leaders to be the ones that pay.  But should guild leaders be the ones to pay?  I suppose the answer to this question is “not necessarily”.  However, the guild ultimately belongs to the guild leader, who has the ultimate responsibility for everything about the guild.  If the officer paying for the website /gquits in the middle of the night and turns your website into a SWTOR site the next day, guess who your members will expect to fix the situation?  If you don’t get enough donations for the vent server this month guess who they’ll expect to come up with the shortfall?  Sure, the members might help, but in the end… it’s on the guild leader.

*Distracts the Internet With Kittens*

March 31, 2013

No WoW update — though I have so many things to talk about.  I’m a terrible combination of really busy and incredibly lazy.  So here!  Have some pictures of my cats instead!  :D

Karma is the ginger colored one. He’s an 8 year old domestic long hair.

Simba is the tuxedo cat. We got him in February from a local rescue society. He was found feral as part of a “trap, spay/neuter, release” program, and they clipped the tip of his left ear off so they’d know he was already neutered if he ever became wild again. He’s about 11 months old now.

Karma and Simba March 2013 1

Karma and Simba March 2013 2

Karma and Simba March 2013 3

Karma and Simba March 2013 4

Karma and Simba March 2013 5

Karma and Simba March 2013 6

Karma and Simba March 2013 7

Simba March 2013 1

Simba March 2013 2

Chibify Me!

March 12, 2013
tags:

Ok, so I’m very, very late to this chibi meme party, but I’m going to post mine anyway.  Here is my Druid main Kashina with both a blue and green version vaguely representing her two current transmog outfits:

Kashina Chibi BlueKashina Chibi Green

I’d just like to point out that it’s very difficult to make a human chibi look like a Tauren.

If you want to play too check out the Chibi Maker.

Breaking Jin’rokh the Breaker

March 11, 2013

Yay for the Throne of Thunder raid!

While it’s sad that we didn’t get to finish up all the Tier 14 heroic bosses, it’s very refreshing to get into a new instance.  So far this week we’ve managed to get Jin’rokh and Horridon down.  We have our third raid night tonight, so with any luck we’ll get the Council of Elders down too.

What’s really exciting to me is that we managed to get the server first kill of Jin’rokh!  Now, I know that getting the server first kill of the first raid boss on normal is not particularly special, and other guilds on our server have already blown way past us (one guild is at 11/12 and one’s at 6/12 already), but it’s my first ever server first, and I’m going to allow myself to be proud of it, dammit!

Jin’rokh the Breaker

Jin'rokh the Breaker

Raid composition:

  • 2 tanks
  • 3 healers
  • 5 DPS

DPS Requirements:

We had an average DPS of 106.4 k and killed him about 2 minutes before the enrage.

Healing Requirements:

Our average HPS was about 55k.  It would probably be possible to 2-heal the fight, but it’s not necessary since the DPS requirements are fairly low.

Strategy:

Chances are that you won’t need this guide because Jin’rokh is a pretty easy encounter.  We only wiped twice before we killed him, and he died before summoning the 4th pool. But hey!  Here’s a guide anyway.

I’m not going to go over the strategy in detail, as Icy Veins has a good explanation posted.  There are only a few important points to remember:

  • Always stand on the edge of the Conductive Water, moving outward with it as it expands.  This will allow you to quickly run out of the pool and kite the Focused Lightning to a safe place before it touches you and drops a Lightning Fissure.  If the orb touches you while you are standing in a pool it will cause a wipe.
  • If someone drops a Lightning Fissure in the path of an expanding Conductive Water pool, you simply need to get out of the pool a couple of seconds before the pool reaches the Lightning Fissure and wait for the fissure to explode.  As soon as the fissure has exploded you can move back into the Conductive Water again for the buff.
  • There are slightly raised areas around the room that are not affected by Conductive/Electrified Waters.  (You can see some of these areas in the video below.)  If you manage to drop Lightning Fissures in those areas they will not be detonated by the pools and can be ignored.  Alternatively, you can safely stand in these areas after the room is full of Electrified Waters if you are running up against the enrage timer.
  • When Jin’rokh casts Lightning Storm the current Conductive Water pool turns into Electrified Waters.  The combined damage from both Lightning Storm and Electrified Waters is quite deadly, so you should move out of the pool a couple of seconds before Lightning Storm and stack up about 5 yards behind Jin’rokh for AoE healing.

Video:

Here is the video from our first kill:

You can see how we move the Lightning Fissures off to the side and move in and out of the pools as they expand and hit the fissures.  (Including how we moved out for one we thought was going to explode, but it didn’t because it was in a safe zone.)

Good luck, everyone!

Life, Kittens, and our Heroic Spirit Kings Video

February 28, 2013

Life Update

Hey everyone!  Have you missed me?  Sorry to have been gone for so long.  Once again, I am the worst blogger ever.

I was really busy over the Christmas season.  My husband and I went to Canada to visit my family and friends for a couple weeks.  Then when I got back I had hundreds of blog updates to catch up on, which felt overwhelming.  So I just… procrastinated, as I often do.  And I got distracted playing TERA for a while….  ^_^;

I’ve also had some real life medical issues to attend to (nothing serious, don’t worry).  I started seeing a nutritionist and began an exercise program.  Anyway, long story short, I’m still alive, and I do intend to blog more often.

Really, I’m totally going to blog more consistently.  You can count on me.  >.>

OMG Kitty Kitty Kitty Yay!

Last week we got a new kitten!  His name is Simba.  Isn’t he adorable?!

Simba

That’s not the greatest picture of him.  We adopted him from a local cat rescue and it’s the photo they had of him on their website.  Once he settles in (and learns to sit still for more than 2 seconds) I’ll try to take some better pictures.  Karma, our older cat isn’t too pleased with the situation, but they’re tolerating each other without fighting, so things are going well.

Oh, heck, I suppose I should post a picture of Karma here too:

KarmaCatResized

Karma looks more like a lion than Simba does, so I’m sure that’s going to confuse people.  I didn’t name either of my cats though.  They both came pre-named by the people I adopted them from.

Raiding Update

Obviously I’ve been a terrible slacker where it comes to my boss strategy posts.  I’m way too far behind to bother with doing more of them for this tier, and they wouldn’t be very relevant anyway since Patch 5.2 is right around the corner.  Oh well.  At least I seem to have helped a few guilds get that pesky Elegon down.

As for my guild, we’re currently 5/6 Heroic MSV, 1/6 Heroic HoF, and 4/4 Normal Terrace.  We’re not as far progressed as I had hoped we would be, but we’ve still done pretty well and I think we’re in good shape for next tier.

Our raid leader has started recording our boss kills and just uploaded our first ever video.  You should totally watch it, for several reasons:

  • The bloopers at the beginning, showing a few of our spectacular wipes.  (This is the best part, imo.)
  • Getting to see your favorite tree Druid (me) in action.
  • Getting to see your favorite tree Druid (me) lie dead for about half the fight.  >.<
  • Watching us barely squeak out a kill with one person left standing, because we’re so totally pro.

You can’t actually see my spectacular death in that video, but I got pinned down by Rain of Arrows right in the path of Flanking Orders and the DPS couldn’t free me quickly enough.  :(  But because I was dead I was able to take over calling out everything, which I personally think helped everyone else because they could focus on their jobs and not keep half an eye on the timers, so I still contributed to our victory, yay!  (At least, this is what I tell myself to feel better about my failure, LOL.)

Thanks for reading and continuing to stick around despite my sporadic update schedule!  :D

Levitate ALL the Things!

November 19, 2012

Sorry for posting so many of these lately, but farming on my Priest has become an endless source of amusement for me.  Did you know you can levitate both Tilled and Untilled Soil?

I grew turnips today because my husband requested that I try levitating a root vegetable.  Perhaps tomorrow I should try carrots.

So far I’ve discovered I can levitate tangled, parched, infested, alluring and growing crops. Unfortunately it’s not possible to levitate wild crops or occupied soil.  (But wouldn’t it have been awesome if you could lift up the occupied soil and reveal the virmen there?)

My Priest is still only level 85, so she hasn’t been gaining any rep with the Tillers yet and it will be a while before she has access to a plow — but I really want to see if it’s possible to plow while levitating.  If you’re a Priest with access to a plow please test it out and show me screenshots!  Bonus points if you’re in shadowform at the time, because a shadow plow has got to be more amusing than a normal plow.

Priest Farming is the Best Farming

November 18, 2012

Ok, so, not only can Smite healing hit Runty crops, but it turns out that crops can be Levitated!

I discovered this when I went to give myself the speed boost from Levitate and instead created a flying pumpkin.  I nearly died laughing!

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