Welcome back to the Inspirational Guild Masters series. Last week we spoke with Casadella of Concur, a leader who found herself in the role when her Guild Master quit suddenly. This week we speak with with Reliq of Harvest Moon, a guild master who took the position when he realised that the best way to deal with guild dissatisfaction was to take the plunge and start his own. It’s refreshing to see that in the world of guild leveling and perks, people are not deterred to break away and start fresh. Harvest Moon is proof that you can still create a successful new guild even if your competition has a level or progression advantage. Anyhow, it is with great pleasure that I present to you my interview with Reliq of Harvest Moon, an inspirational guild master:
[Neri]: Firsty, I want to thank you for agreeing to chat with me! In the email nominating you, Wabbage mentioned that you built Harvest Moon from nothing into something incredible. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you came to be Guild Master?
[Reliq]: I started Harvest Moon up earlier this year, mid-January actually, with Wabbage and two other friends. I was unhappy with the guild we were all in for a variety of reasons, and was looking to just get out and go solo. But then the others said, “If you leave, start a new guild – we’ll follow you”. And as a Leo, that’s something of a red flag to my ego!
Seriously though: I saw it as an opportunity to create the ideal guild for me, rather than struggle to change one that had been around long before me and will be long after.
So that’s my GM origin story!
[Neri]: It’s fantastic to hear that you weren’t afraid to strike out and start fresh. It has certainly worked for you! Can you tell us what your vision is for Harvest Moon?
[Reliq]: The core vision was quite simple, and is best summed up in something I wrote to one of my co-founders, and oldest WoW friend, Natcat when I was still coming to terms with moving on:
The guild has two functions: to be a social experience for like-minded adults, and to also be home to a casual raid team that progresses through content.
The raid side of things isn’t to everyone’s taste, and we don’t expect everyone who joins us to be into it. We have a very strong social side to the guild, enough that people have encouraged their friends to realm transfer to join us (a big ask!), so it’s important for me that the guild provides a welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of their aims in the game.
The idea as far as the raiding aspect is concerned, though, was to have everyone put in the effort on raid night without needing to put in hours on end – we raid one night a week for 2.5 hours, leaving plenty of time for people to enjoy other aspects of the game. We’re serious when we need to be, and silly when we don’t.
[Neri]: It sounds like Harvest Moon has a very healthy mix of business and pleasure. You mention that a few members have actually server transferred to join your ranks. Do you have a preferred method of recruitment?
[Reliq]: For the raid team, we prefer people to apply via our website (www.harvestmoon.eu), although in the early days recruitment was done via trade, or word of mouth. To be frank, it was all over the place in the first few months while I built a 10-man raid team from absolute ground zero, but now that the team has solidified then the website is the way to go.
For social folk, again the website but we’re happy to talk to them quickly in-game just to make sure they’re aware of our approach and general code of conduct (the main rule being: don’t be a d***head!).
[Neri]: Haha, I am definitely a big fan of the “Don’t be a d***head” policy! You mention that you have both social and raiding members. Can you explain to us how the ranking structure works in Harvest Moon and why you went with it?
[Reliq]: Sure. We have a few different ranks, but they boil down to 4 levels:
Veterans — Social/Raid officers (typically the same as ‘normal’ members, but w/ the ability to invite/see officer chat)
The raiders and social ranks are separate levels, but this is purely administrative, really – we need to see who we have at any one time, and also it allows us to give the raiders slightly higher guild-bank-repair allowances. Otherwise, they’re just the same.
Our officers rank are for people who’ve offered to help me in some way, be it recruitment (for the social officers), or help with raid preparation (getting mats for feasts, flasks, reminding people to sign up, and such).
Trials are purely for raid team apps – social members move right to social rank.
It all came down, really, to trying to keep things as flat as possible, and to not put anyone on a higher pedestal than anyone else, just because they’re an officer, or a raider, or whatever. People see this by the fact that social members get guild repairs, officers being labelled as ‘Veterans’ rather than ‘officers’, etc. Or at least, I hope that’s how they see it!
[Neri]: It’s fantastic that you avoid an “Us and Them” mentality with your ranking system. I imagine it prevents a bit of drama! Speaking of, what has been the toughest decision you’ve had to make a Guild Master?
[Reliq]: I’ve been fortunate in that we haven’t faced any particularly difficult decisions yet. The most difficult has just been letting some trials know that they weren’t going to be offered a place on the raid team – that’s not the best thing to have to do, but being clear, open and honest helps make any potentially-difficult conversation much easier.
We’ve had our share of drama in the past, mainly around the raid team as we were coming together – new team, new people getting to know each other – but nothing guild-breaking, luckily!
[Neri]: Glad to hear it! Great communication and honest expectations definitely goes a long way to keep everyone happy. Onto a more enjoyable subject, what would you say is your proudest moment as a Guild Master?
[Reliq]: Two things: clearing Dragon Soul as a team – a brand new team, with many people who hadn’t raided in while or ever – for the first time; and after just a few months realising the guild had grown into exactly the place I’d hoped it would be when we started it.
[Neri]: That is an awesome achievement! You and your members should be very proud of your efforts. As a final question, if you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is thinking about starting their own guild, what would it be?
[Reliq]: ”Imagine your ideal guild, work towards that, and don’t let anyone get in your way.”
You have to be true to yourself. If you’re starting your own guild, then it’s for a reason (or it should be for a reason). Whether you want to have a hardcore progression raiding guild, a roleplaying guild wanting to build unique stories around its members, or a social guild who want nothing but to explore and enjoy the world of Azeroth, you must have an idea of what you want the end result to be, and not be swayed away from that.
Also be aware that, regardless of what type of guild you’re aiming to build, it’s a community of members. Some people are there to get what they want out of the game (and guild), others there to be selfless and give their all to ensure the guild succeeds, and plenty of people inbetween. They’re all valid ways to approach it, in my opinion. For guild events (raiding, roleplay, whatever) you’ll have people logging in if its something *they* want/need, and others logging in because they want to spend time with the guild. You get that with any group of folk, and you can’t control it. It’s important to be aware of this, and as long as eveyone’s working towards your goal, in their own way, then let that multi-personality group grow.
When we started the guild, although there were four of us, due to some personal issues the other three co-founders weren’t able to be around as much as I was for the first few weeks. It was lonely trying to build the guild up, and bloody hard work, but slowly it began falling together. There were times when people were willing to join but were looking for something slightly different (in our case, a guild raiding more than one night a week).
I was tempted to agree just to get people on board, but I knew it wasn’t what I really wanted. We grew slower because of that, but soon enough we found like-minded people, who agreed with our ethos, and so the guild has grown in a friendly, welcoming group with similar aims.
My final piece of advice to other GMs would be: be present. Be a part of as much of your guild’s happenings as you can. Nobody likes a group where the ‘leader’ swans in and out infrequently, especially a new community like your new guild will be. And be sure to act the way you expect others to act.
Do you know an inspirational guild master that deserves to be acknowledged for their hard work and dedication? I would love to have a chat with them! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling me a little about why your Guild Master rocks and the best way I can contact them.