Guild & Raid

Casual Guilds with Structure

It was mentioned on twitter that casual guilds don’t provide structure. It was also implied that raiding, particularly progression minded guilds do provide structure. I tend to think the opposite in some situations, in fact I believe it’s the casual guilds that do provide structure that tend to stick around, and the progression guilds that don’t have structure that tend to fizzle and burnout.

Now granted, there are plenty of casual guilds out there without any structure what so ever, and I am sure we can find some raid progression guilds in the same boat.  Structure I feel comes from the leadership of the guild.  But what exactly do we mean when we say structure?  Are we defining ranks?  Expected behavior in raids?  Chain of Command?  Guild and Raid Leading?  Mandatory specs?  Mandatory game times? Maybe all of these things, maybe some?  Does a guild need to be strict to be structured?

For me structure is all in how the leaders of a guild setup and position their guild.  For a casual guild, like Phalanx of Nod, we are casual, however what I believe has kept us going for almost 7 years is the fact that we do have some level of structure.  I as the GM and a raid leader have certain standards I expect from folks.  PoN can clearly be listed under the casual status.  We raid 3 nights a week for 3 hours each.  PoN does not enforce specs, though we do look at places for folks to improve.  We don’t enforce attendance, but make it known if someone continuously does not show up, we will recruit or promote from within to replace them as it is in the best interest of the guild.  PoN by every definition is casual.  Now when we raid we hunker down and focus on the task at hand, everyone slips into their role, but outside of that we are a very laid back bunch of folks.  Many of us are working professionals, parents, full time students, who have real life things going on, many times unpredictable.  What we do value above a strict regiment is the people in our guild, but does that mean we don’t have structure?

Though despite all of the things that make us casual we still have a good deal of structure.  For example in PoN, we have a guild charter, you can view our charter here.  In this charter we break down the ranks which we place folks into.  We also define what we expect from our members in all roles in many facets of the game.  To another point in our guild application we place a contract on our raiders to accept certain things, like:

  • Do you agree with the guild charter and looting policy? Do you understand that raids will be filled based on class balance, that raid spots may be rotated depending on the fight and no spot not even for officers is guaranteed, and that we expect folks to come prepared with consumables?
  • Are you willing to accept constructive criticism, take suggestions, act on recommendations to better yourself and ultimately the guild?

These 2 questions set the tone of what each raider is expected and what the officers and raid leaders grade each raider on.  Now the second bullet there, is where my guild doesn’t enforce specs, but we will bring up suggested improvements to folks who might be sub-optimal.  Now if they accept those changes and improve it makes the raid leaders’ job much easier, especially when determining who needs to sit, how to min/max our raid especially on progression nights.

So can casual guilds be structured? Absolutely.  Do I feel casual guilds can compete with progression raiding guilds?  Depends on what you mean.  Can casual raiding guilds be just as good on progression as hardcore progression, in many times no, the hardcore progression groups will outpace a casual guild in content.  Though there are times when progression raiding just burns someone out and they get to a point where they still want to raid, they still want structure, but they need the laid back nature of a casual guild.  This is where my guild comes in, we fit that need, and we have been home to many one time hardcore raiders who have gotten to a point where they have kids, or a spouse, work commitments they need to deal with which they may not have had 2-3 years earlier.  WoW is one of those games that could go on for a full decade, a lot of things can happen in that time, hell in 7 years time, I have graduated college, got my first job, got married, had my first kid, bought a house, changed jobs 3 times.  I have known some of my members who were starting out college, are now graduated and in the working world.  Each life change one can argue puts new real life restrictions on folks.

Now I am not advocating why casual guilds are better, but in some situations we are, it all depends on where someone is in their life based on outside of game commitments.  However not all casual guilds are created equal, those that have stood the test of time like my guild, Phalanx of Nod, is one of those rare casual guilds, that provides a certain level of structure to our membership, without encroaching on our members’ real life commitments.  So yes you can have casual guilds with structure, my guild is living proof that such guilds can not only exist, but thrive, and we have been doing it going on 7 years.


4 Comments on Casual Guilds with Structure

  1. Gosh, I feel like I may have inspired this post in a way, because I remember that conversation we had on Twitter. I realized after the fact that it probably came out wrong and I certainly didn’t mean anything offensive or negative by it. I probably could have worded it better and that’s not really what I meant to say or have it come out like.

    So I do apologize greatly for that.

    I really did enjoy the post and I’ll make sure I steer some folks over here to enjoy it, as well.


    • Ceraphus

      You did help inspire it, but the conversation kept going with me getting DMs from other folks, IMs from others, it made me stop my other blog post and dig into this topic, because I felt many people saw casual guilds as unstructured and without direction

  2. It doesn’t sound to me like PoN is a ‘casual guild.’ You’ve described a raiding guild that just doesn’t raid 16-20+ hours a week. You have an app process, you have folks who understand the ins and outs of their class, you strive to improve your raiders. You have a set schedule. These traits don’t say ‘casual’ to me.

    The ‘casual’ guilds I’ve known and interacted with have much looser expectations, schedules, requirements for the players, etc. They seem to dabble in about every facet of the game without really carving their own niche in any of them. I’ve never known a casual guild to have a formal application process. My experience has tended to show more of a chat and invite and if it doesn’t work out they can move on.

    Back to the original topic, I think casual guilds as I’ve referred to them thrive with some amount of structure. As the players may lack focus and direction, the guild itself provides a framework allowing the players that freedom the enjoy. Think about a bowling alley. With the bumpers raised, even the most novice or clueless player can find success. Another metaphor is the fence around the playground. Kids are free to be super heroes, race car drivers, fighter pilots, jockeys, whatever since the border prevents them running into the street. The fence provides them the opportunity to play with wild abandon. True chaos is rarely if ever a situation which allows fun.

    A casual guild with a stable set of leaders, general behavior guidelines, and explainable norms (the basis of any real community) is certainly as strong as any ‘hardcore’ raiding guild. In many ways it’s more so.

    • Ceraphus

      While we have an app process on our site, its not unheard of that our officers talk to someone informally in-game, we ask them questions similar to the app, but our process is simply lets get to know the person, if they want to raid great, what days can they meet, and are they open to feedback, and will they fit into our culture. We have also started to use the guild finder as another means of recruitment.

      Now like I mentioned we (PoN) don’t have requirements for our players, we may ask them to change something, but if they don’t we don’t hold it against them, but if we do look for progression nights we may look to those who are most prepared or who have gone the extra mile. We do ask that those interested in the raiding aspect of our guild community come prepared for our raids though.

      The casual guilds you mention with loose expectations are the guilds I mention that may not have much structure, and the goal is saying that just because you may be casual, don’t require certain specs, don’t force mandatory attendance you can still have some structure to your guild. Casual shouldn’t mean anything goes as you mentioned in your comments.

      I think any guild needs structure, the main purpose of this is to dispel the notion that casual guilds lack structure and that is why they may not raid at a level of a more hardcore guild.

      In fact I would dare say that while my guild is casual, we do focus on raiding, but more so we focus on our community and relationships. We just happen to find 3 nights to raid.

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