Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What worked and must be reused

"I'll miss the somewhat decent behavior of the guildmembers, compared to what I was used to."
"for many of us been one of the best guilds we've been in"
"It has been a great pleasure for me to play with all of you and I am personally saddened at the news that the project will end."

These are quotes from the guild's forum. After I announced the project will end (the guildmembers knew it before the public of course), I expected "you betrayed us" kind anger replies. Yet not one has arrived and most people expressed something like the quoted ones. How can someone call a sound failure great experience? If we add that some of these quotes are from people who did not come to WG at the end, it's even stranger.

The solution is that only the aim of the guild was impossible: do PvP in a game which have no features to properly feedback PvP performance. Acting without feedback and without the chance to choose proper difficulty for you and experience progress by doing harder and harder content is dull. However the way we handled things in the guild worked very well and was great experience for everyone, at least compared to what we are used to in WoW. So while the goal was wrong, the methods were good and will be reused (post tomorrow). For now let's list what and how worked from the rules of the ganking project:
  • "Recruitment is permanent. You can join any time.": worked perfectly. People were coming, the problem was losing interest due to unattainable or unclear goals.
  • "Invitation: everyone gets invited, unless his character name is retarded or offensive (or has no clue what kind of guild we are just wants a tag)." It saved annoying and pointless application copy&paste for applicants and workload for me. Those who did not belong here expressed themselves quickly and kicked or left on their own.
  • "Anyone who violates the below rules gets warning(s) and if does not fix his error, kicked." In most guilds people get "relaxed" after a time in the guild and start to behave terribly. Not here. The experience was high all time, there was no constantly decreasing standard despite the project itself was going down.
  • "Retarded behavior like "lol", "rolf", "ftw", "ffs", "i pwned som n00b", AlTeRnaTiNgCaSe, insults, #@$!#@ words, "why r u in icc?" gets you kicked."The main information channel for a guild is the gchat. For us it was always civil, readable, non-spammy, informative, allowed to discuss relevant topics. It was a very positive experience, compared to guilds where the gchat = barrens /1.
  • "No IRL things on gchatWe are from different backgrounds and here for one and only thing: we like to play this game. We may have different purposes, but that does not belong to the guild chat. You may like soccer. Or movies. Or Megan Fox. But others may not and chatting about these are pointless spam to them at best, and alienating, excluding environment at worst." This rule created a very friendly and warm atmosphere. I am at the verge of saying "social". How? Because people discussed topics in /w with people who cared. It's much better to chat in /w with another soccer fan than do the same on the guild chat where people spam other things in the middle and "soccer noobs" intervene. Also, the gchat itself remained clear. Sometimes someone wrote "Anyone interested in X topic?" and he got whispers.
  • "No gz! As you progress in the game, you get a few great and lot of stupid achievements. Blizzard decided to inform us from these. It's mostly annoying and increasing the litter on chat by 10 lines of "gratz" is absolutely unnecessary". Counter-intuitively, this rule also increased the "warm and friendly" atmosphere. Getting a few grats in whisper feels much more that he meant to congratulate, than the impersonal and often obligatory gz spam.
  • "No hi/bye!: Everyone can see if you are online or not. No need to spam the chat with 10 lines of hi/bye!" Same as before. Getting a "hi" in whisper means he is happy to see you, while gchat spam is impersonal and ... just spam.
  • "No communist collective! You are not required to travel to the other end of the world just to craft something to a guildy. You are not required to craft for a guildy free, since leveling your prof had costs and opportunity cost of not having one more gatherer prof. You are not required to pass BoE items to a guildy. You are not required to remove your item from the AH and sell it to a guildy for discount. Your guildy has no monopoly rights on any segment of the AH. You are absolutely not required to boost a guildy. Of course you can still do it. But discuss it in whisper. Asking for any of the above on /gchat is forbidden. If you seek a crafter, offer him fee. He will most probably reject it, but it is his right to take it." This was the greatest positive and mostly a life-saver in a dead-economy server. Please read Friday post for details. In short: due to this, it was very easy to find a crafter. If someone wrote "is enchanter online", the link of [enchanting] arrived instantly. Crafters wanted to craft since it was gold for them, not slave-work. Also, it was a major factor of keeping the "freindly ppl plox hepl me lol" kids out.
  • "Alt rule: One char/account. If you changed your mind and want other class, quit with the old one." This rule outgrown its original point (to avoid inflating the guild roster). It stopped the "I carry the World on my shoulder (until I break and quit)" behavior. People in ordinary guilds often have alt army to cover all professions and different alts to be able to tank, heal, melee DPS, spell DPS just to be able to do anything the guild needs. It's another form of slave work. While helps the guild in short term, it forces the person to play more than he wants, therefore he will burn out. Also, making choices is fun! So make yours. Choose a class and 2 professions. The others will cover the rest. You are not alone, you can rely on the AH and other good players.
  • "No forced specs." It wasn't in the rules because it was obvious to me, yet I had to defend it against people who suggested others to "take one for the guild". If you want to be disc priest, you can be. No one can tell you to play something else. The only consequence of choosing "wrong" spec is competition for spots, as obviously a 10 man group can't have 5 disc priests. While this rule made some problems forming raids, it saved lot of people from being a slave. Not raiding because of your own choice is much better than raiding as a slave.
  • "No voice communication." It was also not a written rule, but had to become one after people started demanding Vent. It's one of the major success sources of Undergeared. Voice communication allows the RL to tell others what to do, spoon-feed them. The result: the boss is dead and the player stays bad. Without voice communication, we wipe, the guy is faced with the fact that he failed and wiped us, he will learn or gets his useless butt removed.
  • "No forced attendance." You are online when you want to be online. There cannot be any other consequences for not playing than missing out on the fun of playing and the loot dropped. This rule prevented another form of slave work, where people play only to serve others. Soon they get burned out of course. While you can say with forced attendance the project would still be running, you'd be wrong. People were present on the last WG, just played terribly and carelessly. Also it's better to end the project now with the perspective of lot of people come to the new one rather than keep dragging on to the point when every member hate me like the Devil for forcing them.
Summary: I believe we succeeded to create the proper atmosphere but did something (organized PvP) that lacked feedback and progression. By the PvE project announced tomorrow, we'll test this hypothesis. We'll set a goal (raid) that has feedback and progression. If this project works we proved both that the ruleset above is good and the importance of feedback and progression in any MMO activity to work.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't Undergeared already show this is to be the case though?

Denethal said...

It was indeed an eyeopening experience to many of the members.
Several have stated that they are worried what to do with their old guilds, where their mains are. Purely because of what they've experienced in a guild with mannered and thinking individuals.

So what did you expect would be the responses from a guild filled with people with grown up mentalities and business mindset?

In regards to the attendance in WG, some of us did try to be there whenever possible, but some of us lost interest, due to randoms rather wanting to behave like complete retards to spite us, instead of applying simple tactics, which could ensure victory.

As a motivator, perhaps gold could be used, to bribe the randoms into doing what we wanted them to do.

"Welcome to an Inglorious Gankers premade. By joining, we expect you to follow tactical orders and if victory is achieved, a reward of 100g for each will be handed out. Behave like a retard and you'll receive none."

But that would be way to costly for the leader alone to cover, so it's a moot idea in the end and illustrates your dilemma of "Letting others have expense on yourself."

Many of the Inglorious Gankers will most likely follow you to your new project, either by rerolling or transferring.

(Om a sidenote, due to my work, I'm usually unable to raid more than 1-2 nights a week, so your new project sounds tempting. I'll see you there.)

Anonymous said...

I think the rules of your guild were great, and all of them should be reused. Although I only leveled my dk to 71, the time I spent in the guild was nice. The reason why I gave up wasn't due the rules or goal etc, but my subscription ended and I decided not to buy more. I hope your next project will be more successful, and I'll try to join it too if I start playing again.
- Cadz, ex-member

lurkinlad said...

I am very interested in seeing how your next PvE oriented guild pans out. It sounds great. A first glance at the rules initially lead to me imagining a hostile environment, ran by a dictator, but I can't really argue with the results. Thinking a little more about the rules, everything makes sense - they explicitly exclude the kind of people you don't want to play with, and ensure that the only people that are there are the ones that want to be there.

However, I can't help but feel some of your success is owed to your semi-celebrity status. A LOT of people follow your blog, even if they're not officially counted (for example, I do not have any sort of accounts and read your blog from a bookmark). When you promise an idiot free utopia, you're inviting everybody who reads your blog, not just the people on your server. When you have people re-rolling or changing servers just to play with you, of course things will work out.

It would be interesting to see your results compared to that of "an average joe" who has no followers to start off.

ardoRic said...

I'm very curious to see what PvE project you have in mind. Since it's a PvE project, and I'm guessing it's NOT another blue guild, I would imagine you'll have to consider how loot is handled. Will you stick with the GDKP system you had on Inglorious Gankers?

"Doesn't Undergeared already show this is to be the case though?"

Undergeared doesn't show the success of these rules as much as Inglorious Gankers because we do not play much on a daily basis. I very rarely encounter other people online when I log during the week, so there is little opportunity for people to break the rules. Gevlon doesn't log in for long on Undergeared too, so there's usually no one there to enforce the rules (as he is the only person with powers to kick people off the guild).

If a "lol" is said on guildchat and there is no one there to see it, does it break the rules?

Denethal said...

The rules stated may seem harsh, but then you should start thinking of what the socalled "social, frndly riad gilds" demands of you.

High attendancy. No loot for you, you're boosting them until you've stayed around long enough to find out that they suck, so you're looking for a new guild by the time you're eligible to get any loot.

Boosts: You're expected to boost people in dungeons, especially if that alt #43 in the guild belongs to one of the "officers".

Making money: You're expected to give huge discounts to guildies, even take your auctions off the AH, so that they can buy it cheaper.

Raiding: Useless people who can't be arsed to read up on a fight, but who are in, since they have high attendncy and good gear, since they've been leeching on the efforts of the rest of the raid.

Drama: Whenever you do point out errors done by the guildmembers, drama ensues and you're the jackass, badguy, asshole, jerk, whatever.

Feedback: "I'm not a no-lifer like you" - Yet, you raid every day of the week, I got time for 2, maybe 3. "My gear sux, lol" - Yet, you got full T9.5 and do less damage than my blue geared resto druid. And so on.

These are the things you're expected to cope with in most normal guilds.

Dictatorship rules like the ones we had in Inglorious Gankers? Yes, please!

We downed 10/12 in ICC10, just bringing along whatever we had online, no long explanations of what to do and no yelling and screaming of the type "50 dkp minus!" or other retarded behavior aspects.

The rules are simple and not dictator-like at all. The rules simply state: "Don't be a retard."

Hard to conceive for many, but.. That's all there is to them.

Don't be a retard. We do not want to play with retards.

Anonymous said...

i remember seeing Gevlon saying "hello" or "good morning" when he logged on. We even commented on that at the time.

Anonymous said...

One of the big failures or the ganking project was the server. It was horrible to play on, no real pug community, awful battlegrounds and it left me with the desire to be ganking the alliance side (M&S) not the horde. Go for a proper server this time, I know you're concerned about cata and being able to log on etc, but personally i'd rather have an enjoyable play experience 90% of the time and some issues around launches. There are a number of nice servers with decent population split (outland is 50/50 and nice) and good pugs etc. Much more fun to play on than a desolate no economy pit.

Cathy said...

We keep our guild small and it is very social when discussing our lives outside the game. I generally prefer mature players, perhaps because I'm an old lady myself and can relate:)

We just try to avoid the ego driven, meter spamming, rude or obnoxious folks. We have had a lot of folks leave to do more serious raiding and it actually worked for the betterment of our guild.

Every guild has a different goal for sure.

Kris said...

How to have a sucessful guild:

1. Make up some kind of goal and profile for the guild community
2. Get people who are actually interested in reaching that goal and being part of that community.

It's not rocket surgery... as you have analyzed yourself, the error was choosing a goal that was hard to measure and wasn't properly supported by the game.

The challenge is usually to find these likeminded people. You have an advantage by drawing on your reader base.

The rules you have made up for this community will help it along by giving it clear guidelines to follow, but the content of your rules are unlikely to be the cause.

Do you think a guild full of goblins would fall apart if you allowed alts? That it would fall apart if those who wished, discussed IRL?
Isn't the way you approach these things alot more important?

Nielas said...

With a few minor differences this is what my old highly 'social' guild used as its main rules and that guild survived for four years and three different games.

We actually had no issue with the 'grats' and 'hi/bye' as long as people were not stupid about it. We had open recruiting and often would end up as the largest guild on a server. Yet we managed to keep things from degenerating by enforcing an atmosphere of respect. If you behaved in a way that was deemed inappropriate you were warned and if you persisted you were booted.

The key thing we realized was that it was an ongoing project. You can't 'frontload' everything so you only invite good people to the guild. You will get a few bad apples and you have to deal with them quickly and professionally. That creates an atmosphere where people want to log in and interact with their guildies. A social structure forms without having to resort to artificial means of forcing one on people.

ardoRic said...

"I'm just questioning the need for rules in a guild where supposedly everyone is mature. Unless not everyone is mature."

I think these particular rules serve an informative purpose. The idea is for people to know what can get them kicked, not exactly deter people who would do this because they are retards to leave.

There are people who do this kind of stuff without being retards, but will act accordingly if they know there are set rules against it.

A guildie of mine is in the habit of "gz"ing for every achievement people get: "It's a social behavior, to feel people welcomed and like they are part of a community". I won't kick her for it, but I do make fun of it whenever I can, because I find it silly. That and the spam of "hi"'s. No problem in someone saying "hi" [or some variation] when they log on (like Gevlon himself usually does on Undergeared), it's the subsequent flood of "hi"'s that's spammy, which is what I think Gevlon is trying to avoid with that particular rule.

I'll wait for tomorrow's post to decide whether I wanna join the project or not (damn you, noisyrogue for not answering my mail), but I'd sure like to see how these rules work on a day-to-day basis.

Andru said...

Ok, time for me to speak up, since it seems the fake Andru took y'all on the troll trip around the world.

First off:

This is one of my quotes when the ganking project first began:

"Kaaterina said...

Well, at least you got one thing right.

Most well-run guilds are both a enlightened dictatorship and have a well-written coherent set of rules with no gray areas.

While I still think your goals for this project are non-existant, the means to be put in practice are reasonably well-thought out. "

I haven't changed my opinion, and what's more, Gevlon arrived to much of the same conclusion as well. While I could spend my evening brushing my inflated ego due to this occurence, I won't.

While I'm certain he's trolling, I'm going to answer this seriously, because the misconceptions deserve a clear answer, despite the rather transparent trolling attempt.

@Fake 'Andru'

Good guilds are kept together by social consensus? LOL. Seriously. Allow me to laugh in your face for such a stupid opinion. They are not, and if you think that, you're living in lalal land.

Social consensus is a mirage. It depends on nationality, it's hardly a global thing. Secondly, not only does it depend on regional factors, it depends on INTERAL factors as well, on what each person finds socially acceptable or not, more often than not derived on the social background, education and temperament.

And not only that, it's both unstable in time. What is socially acceptable now might not have been 5 years ago, and may not be 5 years from now.

So allow me to say that basing one's guild on unwritten social consensus is the stupidest things a guild leader can do.

Moving right along.

Joining a guild is a contract. The applicant reads the rules and AGREES to them, or DOESN'T. If he agrees, and he's accepted, he joins. It's a MUTUAL understanding. The applicant obeys the rules, and the leadership keeps retards out, by ANY means necessary.

If the applicant DOESN'T accept the rules, he's free to pick another guild.

The idea that the applicant must adhere to some fictitious construct of implicitly universal social rules is simply ludicrous.

It doesn't work IRL, and it doesn't work in WoW.

Next up. Even if a person doesn't agree to a guild's rules, he must obey them. In time he may even grow to see the wisdom of having them (or, as the case may be, lack thereof.)

A M&S is not a M&S due to genetic reasons. He is that because he doesn't know any better. It's entirely possible that such a person joining and OBEYING the rules might even grow to be a positive member in the future.

Barring potential applicants on an a priori judgment took on some interview is a bad thing. Not only if forces the interviewee to 'guess' what the interviewer wants to hear, it also makes the interviewer crumble under bad first impressions.

The burden is not on the interviewee to 'guess' what the officer wants to hear. The burden is on the officer to make clear what he wants. Honesty is the prime reason why successful guilds are successful, not the social accepted qualities of cajolery, brown-nosing and answer double-guessing.

"I have no grudhe. I'm just questioning the need for rules in a guild where supposedly everyone is mature. Unless not everyone is mature."

I'll pick this gem to end my diatribe. You know what this is, my good man? It's called the 'no true Scotsman' informal fallacy. Look it up. Assuming that all 'true mature players' all act according to some unwritten set of fictitious rules and then calling them 'immature' when the opposite is proven.

In short, since I'm certain you're trolling.

11/10, I raged.

Gentlemen, I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

"Undergeared doesn't show the success of these rules as much as Inglorious Gankers because we do not play much on a daily basis. I very rarely encounter other people online when I log during the week, so there is little opportunity for people to break the rules. Gevlon doesn't log in for long on Undergeared too, so there's usually no one there to enforce the rules (as he is the only person with powers to kick people off the guild).

If a "lol" is said on guildchat and there is no one there to see it, does it break the rules?"

Technically it does, however the rules were set up in order to give the people playing an atmosphere that Gelvon deemed good therefore if the rules are still enforced when people are playing then there is no real difference. It's slightly silly to say that there was no one enforce the rules when there was no one to really break the rules either. But I can see what you're getting at though for the most part.

Gevlon said...

@Real Andru: thanks for your well thought ideas.

@Fake Andru: you are out. I wrote down the ID of the real one, so I can AND WILL delete your trolling.

GoldenBough said...

I would kill to join a guild with Gevlon's rules. Only problem being the EU/US difference really screws people over on time difference.

Vinnz said...

I'm interested in the practical enforcement of the rules, but couldn't find much about it.

Were many players kicked? (maybe after a few hours or a few days?) or players leaving on their own because of the rules? Or maybe all of the applicants easily followed them?
Was there a small set of rules responsible for most of the warnings/kicks?
Did you find any players unable to correct their behaviour after being warned?

Anyway, I wish you success with your next project!

Andru said...

While I didn't join the project, I'm fairly sure that the number of kicked people was low.

This is not necessarily due to tight rules, buy as a consequence of the self-selecting mechanism of the project. (It did take a certain kind of masochist to join a project with no tangible goal other than 'drive away Ensidia fanbois", on a nigh-on-deserted side.) Obviously, the rules were peanuts compared to the hard constrains of server conditions.

Tonus said...

I think those rules worked for two basic reasons: one, you were clear about them up-front. Two, you enforced them. This provides a simple and important benefit-- you build exactly the sort of guild you want. The kind of people who do not belong will either refuse to join (they do not like your rules) or leave/be removed quickly.

Most guilds that have drama is because the leadership is not willing to describe what they want, and unwilling to enforce what they create. They bend the rules because they "need a tank" or because So-and-so is a friend of an officer, etc.

The EJ forums, which you refer to from time to time, are an example of how this works when you make a clear set of rules and enforce them strictly. You get exactly the forum you want, and no drama except from idiots who are on their way out the door anyway.