Guild Ranks and Controls
Today, I’d like to offer some practical advice for new guild leaders on how to set up your ranks and controls before you start inviting members.
But I’ve Already Invited Members To My Guild!
Oh well – sucks to be you. And I mean that literally, since the only person who can make the modifications to guild ranks is you, and the task really does suck.
To be fair, it’s not that much work than starting with an empty roster. What you need to do is:
- record the current rank of everyone in the guild (not just those who you think will be moving)
- temporarily ensure that the lowest rank isn’t too restrictive (i.e. make sure they can talk in /g)
- move everyone (including officers) to the lowest guild rank
- reconfigure ranks and controls as described below
- using the list you made earlier, move people back to the right rank. One … rank … at … a … time.
What Do You Want Your Ranks To do?
This of course will depend on the purpose of your guild. Here, I am going to assume that you’re setting up a raiding guild using the EP/GP loot system. You allow members to invite friends and family to the guild for social reasons, and sometimes your members need to sit in the corner while they cool off.
Here are the ranks we will set up (in descending order):
There can be only one member at this rank, but as a test of how well you have set things up, you should not manage the guild from this rank. There are few things that cannot be delegated to a lower rank:
- have unlimited access to the guild bank
- modify guild controls (including enabling guild bank repairs)
- assign a new guild leader
- disband the guild
The last three of these you’ll shouldn’t be doing on a regular basis, except maybe enabling guild bank repairs. In the case of disbanding, you are protecting yourself against accidental stupidity when someone asks in trade “how do I disband my guild?”
You can effectively give yourself unlimited guild bank access on a lower rank by using an arbitrarily high limit, but putting some realistic limits even on yourself probably isn’t a bad idea.
So, create an alt to put at this rank, or stick an existing character that you rarely if ever log onto here.
The guild leader’s main character should all be at this rank. Whether you put your alts at this rank or at the Alt rank is a matter of preference, patience and paranoia. As we’ll discuss further, you’re going to force your officers to perform their guild duties on one and only one character – you may wish to force yourself to do the same as a show of solidarity.
This rank should have all permissions enabled with guild bank withdrawal privileges on all tabs. Exactly how much gold and stacks you allow yourself to remove on a daily basis is up to you. I would suggest that you start low (500g and 10 stacks per tab) and see how it goes. If you need to move around more than that on an occasional basis, log onto the GM alt to do so. If you find yourself doing so regularly, change the permissions.
If you know you are going to be away from the game for a while, you can promote your chosen heir to this rank temporarily (possibly after tweaking the withdrawal limits depending on your level of trust). This makes it clear who you’ve left in charge without giving someone the ability to rob the bank dry or disband the guild in your absence.
If you choose to have officers, this is where they go. Depending on how you delegate, your officers may have all permissions enabled or a subset.
As this article at World of Matticus shows, there are very good reasons not to have Officer alts at the same rank as officers. Your officers should understand the risks of doing so and accept that when they need to something as an officer, they’re going to have to switch characters.
How much access to the guild bank you give your officers can be a contentious point. I believe that you should trust your officers, and give them the ability to manage the guild effectively in your absence. To that end, you need to let them withdraw a reasonable amount of gold and items from the guild bank. If you regularly keep high-value BoE items in the bank, you might restrict withdrawals from one tab, but otherwise officers should have access to the same tabs as the leader rank, with limits between 10% and 25% of what the leader can take out per day.
Hand-in-hand with giving your officers this level of access is to make sure that everyone knows that their actions in the bank are subject to scrutiny. Officers should be checking the guild bank log and reporting suspicious activity, as should members. Attempts to slowly drain the guild bank dry over a period of time should be found and dealt with quickly. There is a slight risk that all the officers could collude to drain the bank and not report each other during an extended GM absence, but by the time mutiny has risen to that level, is there anything really left to save?
The EP/GP loot system requires those who modify EP and GP values to have the ability to edit officer notes. It can be very helpful to have members who can be responsible for loot even though they are not officers.
This rank should look just like a raider with the addition of “Edit Officer Note”. If you trust members of this rank to organize loot (say to split consumables into reasonably-sized stacks for your raiders), you may need to give them addditional withdrawal permissions to other tabs.
This is the rank any regular member should aspire to. Whether this rank conveys intangible privileges like a guaranteed raid spot, it should allow members access to deposit into any guild bank tab, and withdraw from certain tabs (like a free-for-all tab or a single stack of consumables). If you offer withdrawal of items, you may need to have an officer organize that tab into reasonable stacks – so keep your flasks on a tab that only officers can withdraw from and have them split each stack of 20 into ten stacks of 2 on the tab that raiders can withdraw from.
I am not personally a fan of repairs funded from guild bank funds. In a raiding guild, everyone should be able to provide for themselves, and the selection of daily quests in WotLK should never leave you wanting for repair funds.
If you choose to offer guild bank repairs, my suggestion to not play on the actual guild leader character can be annoying, becuase you will presumably be raiding on your main, unable to turn repairs on or off given the nature of the raid.
If you trust your members, you can choose to leave guild bank repairs on all the time. Give members a reason to be checking bank logs regularly. Make sure people understand that they are not meant to use this for repairs after solo activity. If someone messes up, address it with them privately and have them pay back the funds. Rather than enabling guild bank repairs up to 100 or 150 gold (which is what a night of wipes in Naxx-25 plate can add up to) and turning it on only when you’ve had a bad raid night, you can instead subsidize raider repairs after each raid to the tune of 20g.
This is the rank for anyone brought into the guild purely for social reasons. If you offer a path by which a companion can apply to become a raider, you should demote them to Trial once they start down that path. I prefer to make it clear that companions do not participate in any official part of the guild, which is why they can’t view bank tabs or view officer notes (for EP/GP).
All alts go here, regardless of the rank of their main. Don’t be tempted to create a mirrored “alt” rank for every other rank, except as absolutely required (i.e. officer alt as described above).
Some of the desire to write this article comes from my experiences re-organizing guild ranks after I set up ranks where we had officer alt, raider alt, member alt, trial alt, etc. When we next needed a new guild rank, we had no space, so I had to re-organize everything along these lines. The task took a good five hours, and that was with only 85 members in the guild.
I would recommend not giving any bank access (other than perhaps view) to alts. The reason for this is to make sure that the bank log always reflects the main character – when trying to follow the history of something that happened in the bank, you don’t have to be mentally mapping alts to mains at the same time. Also bear in mind that as this rank is used for all alts, you may inadvertently give more access to someone’s alt than to their main. In our case, having view enabled for bank tabs for alts allows the alts of companions to see the bank whereas their main character cannot. You may wish to ensure that alt has the least privileges of any of the other classes whose mains will populate it.
My favourite rank.
This is where you stick anyone who can’t control themselves in /g and causes grief for others online. This rank is the same as Trial, but lacks the ability to talk in /g. Depending on exactly why you put someone in here, you may not want them to be able to see /g either – if you want to be able to discuss the member with the guild as a whole (instead of just with officers), preventing them from seeing /g might be the way to go.
When you stick someone here, whisper them (if they don’t whisper you first) to explain why they were thrown in the penalty box. Don’t leave people in here for long. The idea is not to shut them up – just to make them realize that they crossed a line. If you’re dealing with someone rational, a few quick whispers should be all it takes to bump them back to their regular rank. If you’re dealing with someone irrational, a /gremove or /gquit may be the next thing that members see.
This is where your new members go. This rank should have the ability to talk in /g. You may want to allow trials to see the contents of your guild bank, but I would strong recommend against letting trial members deposit gold or items into the guild bank.
If someone doesn’t pass their trial, you don’t want to get into arguments over what they may or may not have contributed to the guild during the trial period. If things go well, they’ll be a member soon enough and can start depositing the stacks of craftables they couldn’t move on the AH.
Other Ranks To Consider
I’ve described nine ranks, and WoW allows you to have ten. You may want to leave that last rank blank for future need, or use it right away for one of the following:
The only downside to forcing officers to keep all their alts at the Alt rank is that they will not be able speak in /o, which can be a problem if they swap characters during guild events. In the case of swapping for raid balance, I would imagine that this happens less often since patch 3.1 introduced dual specs. If you feel this will be a problem for your guild, you might want to establish an Officer Alt rank that is identical to Lootmaster, but also has permission to listen and talk in /o. Take note – this is a very slightly enhanced copy of the rank below Officer, not a reduced copy of the Officer rank itself.
If you have attendance requirements, you may need to have a rank that has the same permissions as a raider, but doesn’t have the same benefits (like a guaranteed raid spot). If you have such a rank, make sure that members understand what will cause them to end up on it and how they get back to raider status.
If you use the EP/GP addon with the outsiders patch, you may want to establish a dedicated rank where you can put the surrogate alts that people will need to join your guild on. As this rank exists solely to create a place for EP/GP to store data, it requires no guild permissions at all.
Happy Guild Leading
I hope this has helped a prospective guild leader or two. Feel free to leave comments if you organize things differently.