The Biggest Mistake

Hey gang! Happy Canada Day to you all. :)

As I continue writing my guide to being a kick-ass guild master (sneak peeks can be found over at!), I was wondering something…

What is the biggest mistake you’ve seen a guild’s leadership make?

If you are guild leadership, that also extends to what mistakes you’ve made.

(Note that if you comment, you may be quoted in one of my guide sections. You will receive full attribution and credit if so!)

My biggest mistake, as a guild leader, was not recruiting enough at the end of Burning Crusade and the start of Wrath of the Lich King. As such, the guild fell apart just about four months into Wrath.

As to the mistakes I’ve seen others make… Well, I don’t have all day. ;)

So chime in! I’d love to see what huge mistakes you’ve seen your guild leadership make or what mistakes you’ve made while helping to run a guild.

9 Replies to “The Biggest Mistake”

  1. Hey Kurn, Happy Cananda day to you as well!

    I’m going to hop into the way back machine and go back to my first guild in WoW Stars of Glory. Stars was located on the Kirin Tor (Alliance) Server and shortly after Burning Crusade I was asked to be an officer in that guild, along with my wife. At the time it was the GM and his wife, myself, my wife, and another guild member and his wife as the officers in the guild. (What could possibly go wrong in this setup, right?) The GM was also our raid leader, and held tie break in the event we had a tie vote. As you can imagine that wasn’t needed too often as the votes were either 6-0, 0-6 or 4-2.

    During this time we had some of the guild membership that wanted to take a more hard line on how we raided versus the casual environment we always had. The vote was taken and it was 4 for and 2 against going to “hardcore” raiding. The result of this was the GM totally shutting down on us. He would login and not speak in guild and just take pot shots at the other officers in the officer channel. He eventually quit the game and we lost some really good friends in the process.

    Morale of the story? Be careful when you select your officers. Make sure that there is some potential for healthy discussion within your leadership cadre. While it may be a great, fun environment when it’s working (Looking back I think it’s fair to accurately described this as a clique.) it can be disastrous when it inevitably breaks down.

    I’ll also throw out that when I was a GM of the guild afterwards, by far the most critical mistake I made was not being open and flexible to suggestions. I thought my way was the best, and I was stubborn enough to stick to that until I was miserable and stepped down as the GM.

    Can’t wait to see the completed guides!


  2. Somnar – Interesting story! Do you think a clique (or a group like that) will inevitably break down? Do you think there are situations where cliques (or other groups along those lines) can persist without harming the larger group/guild?

    I’ll see your stubborn streak and raise it with “know-it-all”ness. ;) I hear ya, basically. :)

  3. According to my research, yes. (Citing the ’04 film “Mean Girls” for reference material here.) :D

    In all seriousness, I think it would depend on the group of individuals involved in the clique or group. There are people who thrive off of status or feeling special, and for them outside influences wouldn’t matter much.

    To answer the question, it’s not always inevitable and was a bad choice of words on my part. :)

    While thinking of an answer, it did bring me to another question though. How do you deal with the perception of a clique in your officer ranks, or within the guild itself? I’ve seen a fair amount of heartburn from members of a guild when they thought that there was a clique among members or in the officer ranks. Whether it was the case or not is up to individual, but it’s something I’ve seen expressed in several guilds.

  4. Somnar – You’ll just have to wait for my guide to come out and read all about cliques in Module 4: Community Management. ;D

    Honestly, dealing with cliques can be relatively easily managed by virtue of not spending all your time with the same people and making yourself accessible to others, IMHO. It’s more complicated, but the appearance of availability is important in dispelling rumours about cliques/cliquish behaviour.

    No worries, re: inevitable, btw. I was just curious if you really thought that way or not! :)

  5. Having to articulate one of the biggest mistakes I ever made makes me cringe more than a little. The biggest mistake I made was clinging to the naive belief that I could make a home for anyone in our guild and on our teams, regardless of their personality and the skills they brought to the table. I was terrified that I would let my personal feelings cloud my judgment so sometimes when someone was a jerk, I’d tolerate them far more than I would have had not been the one calling the shots. Eventually I realized that there is a home for everyone, but that does not mean that home is in my guild or on my raid team. Making 9 other people (or 30 other people) unhappy is not the way to go about making sure one person is included. Sometimes a person just is not the right fit. I wanted so desperately to make everyone feel included, that for a long time I made poor judgments in allowing individuals who were actually disruptive to remain. I still try to set my own personal feelings aside but I’m making sure I look at the big picture, as well. If someone is causing a disruption I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors and send them on their merry way.

  6. Mirnesse – Great example, and I totally get the cringing. Disruptive individuals aren’t always easy to send on their merry way, as you put it, and it can take some time before we even realize HOW disruptive they are. Glad you realized that your guild isn’t necessarily a home for everyone out there. :)

  7. Not having the balls to kick out certain toxic members of my guild earlier. I thought it was something I could power through and control. I know better now that you can’t control toxic players. You can only excise them from the raid. Players wanted something different and I wasn’t willing to compromise on my principles for it.

  8. Matt – That’s always a tough one to get through. At least you came to your senses and learned a lesson. It won’t be a mistake you make again in the future. :)

  9. This might be a little late to the game, but here I am! I’ve been the guild leader of on Wyrmrest Accord for going on two years now, and every time I try to quit and go to a new home I always end up falling back to the home I know best even when I’m the only one there.

    My biggest mistake, as silly as it seems, was trusting my guild’s health to personal friends. I’ve made this mistake twice now, so it’s really a big shame on me. Each time I had a friend that I was close to and I made them an officer, trusting that they would take care of things while I was out. Instead of doing this, both of these people went behind my back and caused unrest within the guild, eventually leaving and taking the entire member base with them minus those who didn’t buy into the hype.

    Needless to say I don’t easily promote officers anymore and the bad experiences have made it difficult to really trust my hard work to anybody but myself.. but hey, the guild is so small that nobody really cares anyway!

    Also agree with Matticus: Toxic people are toxic no matter what you do, and the only way to fix the problem is to remove them early. Unfortunately you don’t always see how bad they were until the damage has been done.


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