A long time ago, on a server far, far away, I was the Recruitment Officer for a now extinct guild. My tactics involved advertising in the global channel that we did dungeon carries for low level characters. I was constantly being asked for help, and those people never stuck around once they got what they wanted. Fast forward five years and I’m much better at recruiting the right kind of people, but every once in a while a “moocher” comes out of nowhere and attempts to use the guild’s generosity for their own personal gain.
“Can someone take me through dungeons on my alt?”
“Can I have that 397 belt from the bank?”
“Can I have all the Volatiles from the guild bank so I can make strength potions?”
“Can I raid with you guys?”
“Does anyone know why I would have stopped gaining guild reputation?”
Each of these questions have been posed to us over the past three months. Some are harmless, while others set off warning bells that we have moochers in our midst. So how do you work out which ones are innocent and which ones are trying to take advantage? Asking a few key questions and observing their reactions is crucial in making informed decisions about their intent and whether or not they’re taking your guild resources for a ride.
The guild reputation question is a simple fact of a newer player who doesn’t yet understand that there is a weekly cap. By simply asking a question in guild chat, she got her answer swiftly and from trusted sources. Questions like these are harmless, and expected. We like to help people, and we lose nothing by helping her with her question. The dungeon guy, however, is a notorious altaholic who is constantly leveling toons. The last time he asked when I was around, I politely said I couldn’t help as I was about to make my son some lunch. He didn’t thank me for replying, or speak in guild chat at all for that matter, and was offline five minutes later. Perhaps he was disconnected? Or, more likely, he was sulking because he didn’t get the answer he wanted. I made sure to speak with my other officers who said that this was a common reaction. Are your Moocher senses tingling yet?
The guild bank questions are a bit more complex and they too look innocent on the surface. In the case of the guild member asking for volatiles for strength potions, he is a Priest. What on earth does a Priest want with strength potions? My co-GM asked that very question and he admitted that he was planning on selling them on the Auction House — something that is against our guild policy. This same player has asked several times if he can raid, only to ignore our requests that he visit the forums and have a look at our raid requirements. Turns out that he’s asked more than one officer that very same question, hoping for a different answer. Why be cheeky like that if your intentions are pure?
Stomping it out
I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but communication and strong guild policies are your best friend in situations like this. In all cases, we can refer to these people to our guild policies page and remind them that our resources — both guild and man power — are there for the benefit of everyone. A friendly reminder first, and then firmer actions later, stops innocent members being unfairly penalised. Using dungeon guy as an example, if it turns out he simply doesn’t realise that he’s being rude and demanding, he’s now aware of it and the behavior will stop. If not, well we’ve got our eye on him and can take firmer action when he inevitably does it again. Here is an example of our policies:
Begging/whining: While we try to help each other where possible, it isn’t always feasable – or fair – for members to continually expect others to drop what they’re doing to run you through dungeons, give you gold or other mats, etc. Offenders will be given one warning, and then booted if the begging persists.
If there is something you want from the Officer tab simply request it from an Officer. Only request stuff that you are actually going to use. The stuff there is for the benefit of the guild, and not for the AH.
By having clear, concise policies that highlight your stance on particular issues, you can prevent the more selfish people from taking advantage of those who want to help. Whether it’s intentional or simply a breakdown in social skills, you can help put people on the right track, or show them where the door is. Guilds are most definitely there to help, but there does have to be a limit to it. Otherwise your guild runs the risk of turning into a revolving door for moochers.
Next week I’ll be discussing the fun and games surrounding raid consumables and how our generosity has created a generation of lazy raiders in our guild.
How do you feel about begging, whining and mooching? Are we too harsh on those asking questions, or too lenient? How does your guild go about dungeon runs and guild resources for personal gain? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!