Starting our own guild gives us the opportunity to learn a new aspect of the game. Its something we’re approaching with a modicum of trepidation, because as a guild leader your guild stands and falls by your actions. Nowhere to hide, no-one else to blame.
Are you sure you want to do this?
Before you even buy your guild charter, you need to think very carefully about what you expect to get our of guild leadership. Are you absolutely positively sure you want to do this? Being a Guild Master sounds cool, right? But it’s actually not all swaggering around as top dog and having everyone else do your bidding. In fact, there is almost none of that. It a lot of hassle and hard work. Our old Guild Master would be constantly getting whispers and in-game mails from guildmembers: moaning about something or someone, asking for help with things, complaining about some guild rule they felt they should be exempt from, or other trivia. You will hopefully be able to model your Guild in the way that you would like a guild to be run, but you will also spend a lot of your in-game time either doing things for other people, or dealing with administrivia, when you’d really rather be killing stuff.
OK, so if that hasn’t put you off, lets look at what you need to do and know to start up a guild.
In our case, our old guild master was quitting the game and no-one was taking over active leadership. We had been raid leaders for some time and active officers in this large guild. We had a great group of people we ran raids with, whom we wanted to continue running with and wanted to offer a home to. We had also had some bad experiences with other guilds and pugs, and had been told by people joining our guild (who had tried out several other guilds) that they appreciated our fair and mature way of doing things, which they had found nowhere else. Since this is absolutely what we wanted, and if that was hard to find elsewhere, we decided we would just create our own guild and carry on being fair and mature and hopefully running with our friends.
What kind of guild do you want to be?
There are different types of guild, you need to decide from the outset which you are going to be. It is possible to change a guild from one type to another, but its easier to start in the direction you mean to go on. Some of the main types include:
These guilds usually have no restrictions on entry, everyone is welcome, the guild is a relaxed place to hang out with friends. There may be grouping and organized events, but no serious raiding.
Raiding guilds are usually focussed on progressing through end game raid content (e.g. Naxx, Ulduar). They will often have entry requirements like minimum level or gear limits. They will also often have expectations on how often players attend raids, etc.
Where players are mainly interested in player versus player content including battlegrounds and arena.
A PVP guild focusing on players who want to own the lower level BGs by uber-equipping toons at the n9 level (the best known twink being the level 19 rogue you were pawned by when you first went to Warsong Gulch).
Usually, but not always, on role playing servers. Members will usually play and talk in-character. There may be restrictions on invites e.g. some may be all dwarf and gnome guilds.
Guild of one
Some people set up a guild just for their banker and/or their alts. This way you can have your own guild bank, which costs less per slot than filling several mules bank slots with bags. (Anelf wrote about private guild banks last September).
Some guilds will be combinations of these. Sometimes combinations work well, sometimes not so well. Our old guild, Soldiers of Fortune started as a family/casual guild and developed a raiding component within that. This worked well for a time while the guild was working on the first tier of raid content (Kara and then Naxx). However we found it hard to recruit and retain enough good and committed raiders in this casual setting to break through into harder raid content. Rather, we found ourselves an excellent training ground for more hardcore raiding guilds – something I am sure they loved, but something we didn’t – as time and time again people we had geared up and taught to raid left to join raiding guilds.
Deciding on a name
What are you going to call your guild? Are you going for a fun name, a serious high-brow name, or something else? Think, you are going to have this name under your character for as long as the guild exists. You have to live with it. You also have to recruit to it, so make it something other people will want to have under their name label too (or at least not something they’d be embarrassed to have hovering over their heads). And for god-sake make sure you spell it correctly! (You may know you deliberately mispelled the name because the proper spelling was already taken – everyone else on the server thinks you can’t spell).
You cannot change a guild name. The only way a guild name is ever changed is if that guild name is reported to Blizzard as being offensive. Sometimes you see people selling guild banks from defunct guilds, you can buy these (at your peril: they’ll probably want your cash before they make you Guild Master; and are they selling the guild because it has a bad reputation on the server?), but you will be stuck with the guild name. A friend bought a guild bank from someone. To her surprise – maybe she should have checked the armory – the guild came with a lot of dwarves and gnomes – who were also somewhat surprised. They all got on well though, and most moved voluntarily to my friends main guild with her.)
For ideas, you can look on the forums where there are posts of people’s favorite names, look at the names on the armory or in your battlegrounds.
Anelf, Neo and I batted a few names around – we thought about – Renaissance, Tribe, Phenomena, SETI, Malestrom, Cataclysm, Kel’Thuzad’s Left Foot, Murloc, I am Murloc, Evolution, Decimate, and Casually Hardcore. In the end we went with CIPHER. CIPHER is actually an anagram of the code we want people to sign up to in our guild charter. It’s a simple one word guild name, that has a meaning behind it, but is not too pretentious. We liked it. We were nearly I am Murloc, but we thought we might get tired of that after a bit :-) . We also have The Matrix jokes now, as Neo is in the guild CIPHER.
Getting a charter and creating your guild
You’ve decided on a name and checked its not already in use on your server (someone my have a guild charter with that name, but that’s relatively unlikely). Now buy a guild charter from the guild master NPC in a major city. Ask a guard for his location. The charter costs 10 silver. Next, you need to get 9 other players to sign your charter. These must be 9 players from separate accounts, they cannot be alts on the same account. Also, a player can sign another guild charter before you hand it in, and you will lose their signature, so be quick to complete it and get it registered.
What not to do. DO NOT spam your guild charter under the nose of any un-guilded player you see without speaking to them. This is one of the most annoying things in game (and there are a lot of annoying things).
Hopefully, you already have 9 friends waiting to sign your guild charter. But if not (e.g. you want a guild for your banker alts, or like us you’re too impatient to get things up and running), here’s how to do it:
Buy your charter, and have some money – 25G should do it. Now take yourself off to a low level starting area where there are lots of new un-guilded players without much cash. Have some text ready so you can politely whisper each player you target. I put my text in a macro, but couldn’t work out how to send a whisper to my target with the text, so I just targeted someone, whispered, them and d pasted some text I’d already written and cpied to my clipboard. I said something like this:
“Hi, would you mind signing my guild charter so I can set up a guild for my banker alt? You wouldn’t have to be in the guild, and I will pay you 2G now as a thank you.”
Mine is quite a mature server, so most new players are alts, and know about the practice of setting up a guild for a banker alt. This was easier than explaining that I was setting up a new raiding guild (especially since I was on a level 1 char, all my others still being in SOF). I whispered the player, ran up to them and then waved or bowed to show I was standing next to them and not a bot sending them a random whsp. I waited till they responded positively before requesting a signature with the guild charter. To do this right click on the charter in your backpack, target the player, and click the request signature button. At the same time, I opened up a trade window and put the 2G in to show I had it, but I did not press trade until I had the signature. A couple of people tried to get the money without signing. Most people though responded really well to this and I got my signatures quickly. I bowed and thanked them and ran on to find someone else.
As soon as you have all 9 signatures high-tail it back to the guild master and register your charter, as there is a nasty loophole. There is nothing to stop one of your signatories signing someone elses charter after they have signed yours, in which case you lose your signature, and you paid 2G for nothing. That’s what happened to me in one case, just as I got to the guild master, so I had to run out and find another quick. (I wish I’d made a note of the names as I was collecting them so I knew who it was :-) ).
Once you have registered the guild it becomes active, and the charter signatories automatically join your guild. You can now thank all the people who set it up, and if you were not intending that they should stay in the guild, tell them that you are now going to remove them and wish them well. A couple of my people knew the drill and left as soon as it was signed. Yhe others all said bye and thank you for the money very cheerfully. It was a much pleasanter and less painful experience than I expected. A bit of politeness pays :)
Creating a guild tabard
Once you are a guild master you can create and buy a guild tabard. In fact, anyone can go and play with the tabard designer. I’ve done this before, but only the guild master can buy the tabard. The tabard vendor is in the same shop as the guild master. It costs 10G to register, and then 1G (reduced with rep) to buy tabards. You can choose the background color, icon design, icon color, border design, and border color. You cannot design your own icon, although there are quite a lot to choose from. You can change your tabard if you wish for another 10G.
Again, think about designing something your guildies and potential recruits are going to want to wear. While a lot of level 80s don’t wear guild tabards anymore – there being so many other cool tabards to choose from – you’ll still want one you are proud of. A tip – some of the tabards look bad on certain genders or races. A number of icons have hands or other designs that look like they’re clasping a female toons breasts. While that may look funny to you, a lot of people aren’t going to wear it on their female toon (though I guess some teenage boys playing girl toons might :-) ). Some icons get very distorted on female dwarves or others with rather, shall we say, curvaceous chests. We almost chose a key icon, as we though it was kinda in keeping with the name Cipher (locks, ciphers, codes, etc). Then I tried the tabard on my male toon (I had been designing them on my female toon). It didn’t look right at all, this big upright key, with a long shaft and a circular handle pointing upwards – enough said, you know where I’m going with this.
I thought I should definitely go for a black tabard, black is cool right, everyone looks good in black (well gnomes are still gnomes, but its better than a gnome in yellow). But the black is actually not a deep black, especially not on the top front. I found that the dark blue and white made a sharper contrast, so that’s what we went with. (Being an Oxford University grad, I also realized these are my old college colors, so hey even better lol! )
In part 2 we will look at guild banks, ranks and charters.