Uncommon guilds – the Training Guild

This is a continuation of my earlier post on associate guilds, delving into one of the types I find… fascinating, if rarely seen. Everybody knows that most guilds are aimed at top level instances, with most of the rest being aimed at battlegrounds. I’m going to write a few articles on some of the less common guilds, starting with one of my favorite oddballs – the training guilds. No, not “how to train a guild” or even “how to train guild members”. I used to call them “farm team guilds”, except that in WoW farming has a completely different connotation. And in the earlier post I used my third description – Development guilds. I’ve rarely seen it on various games, but when I do… it’s worth examining.

The basic premise is simple. It’s a guild where everybody is developing themselves in preparation for the endgame. The quirk is that THIS guild won’t be doing that endgame. The clue here is my label “farm team”. In several sports – most notably American Baseball – there are teams that are less than top tier in which players are seasoned. And when they’re ready, they’re brought to the Big Leagues. The same principle applies here.

Members are brought in at a certain point. The guild does nothing but run (repetitively) instances and quests, over and over, with a rotating membership. When the member’s reached a certain level, the Big League guild (or more often guilds) which support this guild run the player(s) through an evaluation instance or two to see if they’re interested in bringing the player on board.

The guild leader -and guild officers – are often trusted alts of members of the sponsoring guilds, but are rarely officers in those guilds. They act as, well, as headmasters and trainers in a school. They accept applicants, train them, EVALUATE THEM, and send the names of those “ready” up to the majors. Sometimes, guild XYZ will say, “we need a Warlock” and the Headmaster (this guild’s leader) will present those he thinks ready. Sometimes the Headmaster will say to the guilds that he’s got a player – perhaps a hunter – who is ready and would be an asset to the guild, and the guilds make their recruiting test and play.

There are a lot of benefits to this. Not least is that the training guild will be able to report not only the skills and gear, but also how well this member works and plays with others. Does he promise more than can be delivered? Is she always on time and ready, or is there an inevitable wait to pick up a repair?

To make it work well requires some support from the hosting guild(s). Ideally, each guild’s officers and members commit to a block of time – either on their primary or their alt – in which they’ll run these guildies through instances and quests. Minimally, the guilds provide some members who guarantee support.

What the headmaster does is SCHEDULE RUNS – much as senior guilds schedule raid runs, and with similar arrangement.  Time and place, in advance.  As for other functions of a ‘normal’ guild – guild bank and guild support (enchanters, alchemists, that sort of thing) – they are optional, but I don’t tend to recommend it.  It’s somewhat hard to wrap the mind around, but the players are passing through – there is no long-term investment.

I think this sort of guild can be a lot of fun for many people. It gives numerous benefits all around, many unanticipated. For example: if the Major Guilds have members who need rep runs (say, the guild decides Exalted in SSC is mandatory so repairs can be done on site), the Training Guild’s scheduled runs provides an unexpected opportunity.

As with all guilds, doing it well is hard work.  Many of the difficulties are different from a “normal” guild, meaning the leader of such a guild is treading ground on which advice from experience is rare.  But it can be rewarding – for the guild master, the supporting guild(s) and their members, and the “students”.

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~ by Kirk on October 5, 2007.

13 Responses to “Uncommon guilds – the Training Guild”

  1. I love this idea. I think it would be great if WoW could “increase” the current guild content. Make like a “tiered” or “ladder” type guild set up. How about something like guild sub-guilds? You have this big guild (you call a clan) with several subguilds underneath them.

    I envision it to be like a company with several divisions. You have corporate president, regional managers, supervisors, and peons. Your “rank” would be the determining factor in which “guilds” you have access to. Kind of like permissions over a domain structure in the IT field.

    I agree with your thoughts here %100 there is no “need” to stay with guild. There are really no benefits or penalties from joining / leaving a guild now. You may miss out on l337 drops, but chances are if you are /gquit then you are not happy anyway.

    Perhpas to encourage guild membership, Blizzard could have a /gquit /ginvite cooldown. Kind of like res sickness. I am not sure how much such a feature would help, but it may make people “play nice” …

  2. Ye gods, I love this idea. Lovelovelove. I could so do this.

    Have a guild that is ADVERTISED as boot camp, basically. You come to the guild because you KNOW that you’re not raid-ready yet, but you want to be. The guild tells you up front that it’s a bumpy ride, you are not guaranteed to graduate, but if you DO, then you’ve got a slot in a raiding guild.

    You put the applicants through virtual hell. They have to submit “papers” to show that they understand their class. Do they know what hit rating is and why it’s important? What is their spell rotation? If they’re a rogue and they have a melee druid in the group, are they using bleeds? Do they even know what a bleed is?

    TEACH THEM. And don’t be nicey-nice. You’re not there to make friends, you’re not there to coddle them. They’re looking for an introduction to the big leagues, and by joining, they’ve already admitted that they have stuff to learn.

    And then the guild gets trained applicants and THEY can provide the “nice” atmosphere full of friends.

    Man, oh man, I can only imagine how many raiding guilds would jump at the chance to ally with such a guild, to have a stream of possible applicants that have the Boot Camp stamp of approval.

  3. I’ll agree with Wildhermit that I’d like to see a LOT more done by Blizzard in terms of giving us more robust tools with which to manage a guild (e.g., more flexibility in what “permissions” different ranks have, the ability to have co-GMs), but there comes a point when what you’re addressing, Kirk, becomes less like “fun” and more like “work.”

    Not to say there aren’t people who enjoy that, but I suspect those in positions of power within such a large organization–however many tiers there may be–lose touch with the lower class.

    Unfortunately, history has shown time and again that this happens, no matter what size the organization is.

    For that reason, I appreciate that Blizzard got rid of the 40-man raids. (Had they made it easier for cross-guild communication other than kludgy ad hoc chat channels, it might have been more successful.) And I think the 25-man raids are going to be closed to all but perhaps 1% of the players. That, to me, is unfortunate.

  4. @Wildhermit – the “corporate” concept bothers me. It’s why I referred to it as a clan. The reason – and likewise the reason I don’t want LOTS of guild-support tools from blizzard – is that most guilds are small. Ten seems to be the floor, and there seems to be a natural ceiling of around 50 (excluding alts). That last is an important element — I am no longer surprised to discover that the number of PLAYERS in a guild is less than 1/4 the guild’s “size”.

    As to the play nice and guild cooldown… To the former, I’ll repeat myself when I say you’re running a purely volunteer organization, and if the players don’t like what’s happening they’ll leave. Running a guild successfully is, in my eyes, an OUTSTANDING resume bullet point. To the latter… no. Well… maybe. One day, maybe, which would somewhat shut down the “please sign my guild charter and then you can /gquit kthxbye” noise. On the other hand, how are they supposed to learn? And to restrict anything longer… yech. It would kill the training guild I’ve noted already. It would make guilds far more burdensome, I think. I see your point and why you made it, but I don’t think I like it.

  5. @ Ego – yep. Thing is it’s kind of hard to run. And you’ve got to have outside help – the guild(s) for which it’s basic training unless/until you get some longtimers willing to stick around as ‘instructors’ at a minimum. It’s a different kind of fun. And as you said when I’ve seen it it’s wildly popular with the supporting guild – as long as it lasts, of course.

  6. @ Kestrel – Some tools. As I said to Wildhermit, it’s easy to go overboard. As to work… running a guild is a lot like work. This is fun/work of a different kind. Note that what Wildhermit proposes is NOT what I was trying to say.

    This is a semi-independent guild – can be part of a ‘clan’ of guilds, could be otherwise – with the focus solely on “Getting you from the Dark Portal to Karazhan Ready” (or similar concept).

    As it happens I agree that the 40 mans were too much. The 25s… I’m mixed, actually. As you said, a good cross-channel communications system would help, but getting a good 25 from a guild means you need at least 38 player members (personal rule of thumb — 150% membership minimum to regularly have enough players for the “run”). That rule of thumb, by the way, means 60 regular players to run a 40-man.

    It’s the work, and the different focus and set of rewards, and the fact that players are ‘passing through’ instead of potentially being long-term investments for the guild, that all contribute to making this an uncommon guild to find. But in the end, it’s not that much more work than running a good raiding guild – just different. And there are plenty of people who find that sort of thing fun.

    In the end, this is one of what I hope will be several posts on “unusual guilds” – intents and structures that aren’t exactly “end game” oriented.

  7. @Kirk : I apologize. I in no way meant to “redirect” where you were going with your post. I can honestly say I have no idea what makes a good guild a good guild. I have been in exactly “1″. That guild fell apart after the three “guild owners” graduated from Med School. It was a fun guild that still did things.

    I was just throwing out random thoughts, nothing more. I found your ideas interesting and have recommended that others I know at least come read.

  8. pfft – no apology needed. Seriously. Redirects are a fact of my life, only I call them digressions. (in almost every post, at that). In fact, it wasn’t really a redirect, just a slight veer (grin) down a road I wasn’t intending to take.

    By the way. A good guild is one in which you’re having fun. All else is gravy. Or so goes my opinion

  9. Amazingly enough, I founded my current guild with that very objective in mind, on a fresh server, a couple of days after TBC went live.

    How it turned out is an entire blog post in its own right, though, and I’ll write that up at my own :)

  10. For those who couldn’t follow Gwaendar’s link, try http://altitis.blogspot.com/2007/10/planning-raiding-school-notions-we-had.html

    Gwaendar – fascinating. And fair warning for those who want to attempt it. Thank you.

  11. To perhaps complete the post mortem, what is needed to make a proper “Raid School” work, with hindsight:
    - a populated server with 20ish+ guilds doing endgame raiding
    - an equivalent to ZG, in the sense that there needs to be an instance where you can take 5-10 newbies in quest blues without any other requirements, on a short reset timer, with a first boss that can be learned within 2-3 weeks even if 66% of your raid is new to it

    The lack of ZG is, IMO, what TBC misses most in terms of raiding. In WoW 1, even a relatively casual late-nighter like me could log on, and if there was no spot for MC as a replacement for early leavers, the raid would get called around Midnightish but very often you’d get 15 people together for 2-3 bosses in either ZG or, later, AQ20. I miss ZG.

  12. [...] we’re not the only ones thinking along these lines. The fellow at Priestly Endeavors established a good foundation and hopefully we’re going to realize his [...]

  13. [...] at Priestly Endeavors (again, two links a day keeps the boredom away) wrote about Training Guilds last Friday. This struck a chord with me because I originally founded our current guild with that [...]

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