Anatomy of a Raiding Guild: GM

This post is going to be less about factual information like the last post and more about me airing my neuroses about my role in the guild. Enjoy!

So what does a guild leader do? I think it can change from guild to guild. I’ve only been a GM for 5 months. When Kurn stepped away from Apotheosis, we all knew there would be pretty big shoes to fill. I volunteered for the GM role for a few reasons. First, I thought I was a good choice as a figurehead – I’m fairly visible in the WoW community which is good for recruitment and maintaining a good guild reputation. Second, as Kurn put it, I’m “not controversial”. I can stay neutral and calm in tough situations and I don’t piss people off too often. As far as I know, at least. Third, I’m willing and able to put lots of time and effort into the guild, whether in game or out.

There are a number of big differences between Kurn and I that have been (and still are) a bit difficult to overcome. Kurn basically did everything – GM, raid lead, rosters, strats, raid reviews, healing lead (until she gave that job to me), she did office hours for a few hours every week where people could come chat, she was always posting walls of text on the forums about changes or log dives or something. Her thought was that it’s easier to do everything herself rather than have to chase other people to do them.

As I said, I’m willing to put a lot of time and effort into the guild, but I’m not willing to put all of my time into the guild. Delegation is necessary. I’m also not nearly as vocal as Kurn, which I think can be an issue at times. I’m quiet and shy, in life and in game. I don’t really have that “hey, I’m the leader, I need to talk to fill the empty air and keep people on track” kind of mindset. In raids I’m most comfortable not talking much. I’ll call out healer cooldowns when necessary, occasionally call out other things that I think are helpful, but I mostly leave the talking in raid to the raid leader. I do communicate a lot on the forums though. I’m very opinionated about most guild-related things so I’m not shy about weighing in on review threads, or reminding people about raider responsibilities or be constructive.

To me, one of the best things about the current incarnation of Apotheosis is that responsibilities are clearly divided among the officers rather than 90% of things falling on one person. Each role lead is really responsible for their own people. They give feedback, they send PMs when there’s a problem, and the people in that role go to their lead when they have an issue. I think this is far superior to having one person responsible for communicating with everyone all the time. Anyone can come to me if they need to talk, but in general, having our raiders “split” among officers works out really well.

One thing I have trouble reconciling as GM is the idea of how much work I should be doing. When Kurn was around, or even in my old Horde guild, the GM and Raid Leader were one person. That meant they were omnipresent – always the most visible and vocal person in the guild by far. I really do think that splitting the roles is a good idea – that’s just so much work for one person to do on their own. However, it leaves me feeling a little unsure about my own place in the guild. For me, the raid leader is the most important person in a raiding guild and the person with the hardest job. That, combined with the responsibilities the role leads have taken on sometimes makes me feel a bit superfluous within the guild. Like I could disappear tomorrow and no one would notice anything but the fact that we were down a healer. Then we get 4 new apps in a week, a new boss kill and our RL is too busy to post raid plans and I stop feeling like that.

Here’s the list of things I consider my GM responsibilities (healing lead responsibilities were in the last post):

Dealing with applicants
After Sara has found us applicants, I take over the process.

  • Respond to every applicant and ask them questions
  • Seek feedback from other guild members familiar with the app’s class, weigh all the feedback received to decide how to proceed
  • Schedule interviews with the apps we are interested in
  • Interview potential apps (with other officers/raiders)
  • Extend invites to the applicants we want and turn down those we don’t 
  • Give feedback to declined apps when requested
  • Send welcome messages to all new Initiates and tell them important information (who their role lead is, where they can find important posts on the forums, etc.)

Forums
A lot of administrative-type stuff here.

  • Keep the front page updated with kill shots, progress and our recruitment needs
  • Keep the forums neat, move or delete old threads
  • Make sure everyone has the proper forum permissions
  • Deactivate spammer accounts
  • Keep policy posts up to date and post about any changes or important things happening

Raids

  • Primary lootmaster
  • As I said above, I tend to keep quiet in raids unless I feel there’s something important that needs to be pointed out
  • 3rd string raid leader (in the very rare occurrence that Serrath and Tikari are both absent)
  • Raid goals/plans – in the latter half of this tier I started to get pushier about our raid plans for the week and being more aggressive about killing new content

General guild stuff

  • I’m supposed to be the one who upholds the guild’s behavior/ language rules, though Tikari usually handles those things. I tend to be a bit oblivious to things that are potentially offensive, and he jumps on them first. 
  • Suggest changes to policies, weigh in on changes suggested by others.
  • Communicate with guild members. I’m always open to feedback, comments and complaints from guild members, though I don’t get a whole lot of them. People mainly come to me to let me know about RL issues that will interfere with raiding or to let me know they need to step down from raiding. (Please, someone just start PM’ing me with what you did today or something, all I ever hear is bad news).
  • Fill gbank requests

Officers

  • Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to anything guild or raid-related
  • Mediate any issues
  • Poke the role leads when it’s time for raider reviews
  • Help out when another officer is too busy – doing things like posting raid plans and strats.

I do tend to work in the background a lot, so I get the feeling some people don’t really see me as the guild leader (or at least not as a strong guild leader). I’m going to try to work on speaking up more, I’m still working on figuring all this GM stuff out.

I’m not the easiest person to get to know, so here are some fun facts about Jasyla, the GM.

I love it when:
- People add constructive feedback to raid, app and initiate review threads
- Other people ask applicants questions
- I don’t have to be the lootmaster
- People are chatty in Mumble during raids and keep the atmosphere fun (at the appropriate times, of course)
- People share good ideas for things to do as a guild outside of raids

I don’t like:
- Snark in the forums, especially review threads. Criticism that is not constructive, or is not at all timely, makes me want to punch things.
- Having to police things people say in guild
- Negative attitudes in raids

I need to get better at:
- Enforcing guild policies directly
- Being more vocal in raids and in general
- Being more approachable so people will talk to me when they have a concern

I wish:
- More people would talk to me when they have concerns or suggestions
- Raiders would stop having babies

There they are! All my secrets about what I do as GM and how I feel about the job. I’d love to hear from other GMs who are not also raid leaders – what do you think about your role in your own guild?

4 Responses to Anatomy of a Raiding Guild: GM

  1. Being good at delegation is important, and it sounds like you’ve done a good job of it. I wouldn’t be worried at all about not doing everything yourself – as long as you know that everyone is doing what they’re meant to be doing and doing it well, you’re doing a good job of leading and managing the guild. I always figured that the GM sets the direction of the guild by working through their officer team to get the right things done.

    Out of curiosity, how often do you do player reviews?

  2. At work, so only able to skim through, but I’ve bookmarked this for later. Looks to be some great insight!