MMO research, Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 I outlined some of my recent findings in MMOs.  In part 3 I offer some suggestions for guild leaders.

Build group identity – Even simple things like having a guild logo and guild forums help to build a sense of belonging.  Try to come up with some fun rituals you can do as a group.  You don’t have to make a cult, but it does help you distinguish your group from others.  For example, if you’re a PVP group in EVE and you do a Friday night combat patrol, maybe you could fly part of your route through an under traveled area and offer to escort lone transports.  Or how about Goonswarm’s classic single, “Little Bees”?

Represent the group – be what we call a “prototypical leader”.  Talk the talk and walk the walk.  The more you look and act like the leader of your guild, the more influence you will have.  If you lead a peaceful mining guild in EVE but your alternate character is a pirate who flies around shooting down unarmed mining transports on weeknights, you will lose credibility with the group (if that’s not what everyone else wants to do).

Screen new members – Being exclusive can be a good thing.  Make sure new members have goals that align with the group.  Find out how they want to accomplish those goals, not just what goals they want to accomplish.  If you take recruitment seriously, Google some common interview techniques.  Anyone can put together a simple behavioral interview where you present sample situations that your group might face and ask the applicant how they would handle them.  Just try not to take all the fun out of the game!

Learn more about your guild members and be a facilitator – find ways to match up their individual goals and play style with your vision for the group.  If you want to take over a dangerous sector with rich resources, sell the combat piece to your PVP members and the rich mining opportunity to your “care bears”.  A grand vision won’t eliminate the need for a sound plan to make it happen, but if you tie together the vision you can often let the team put together the specifics.  Your job as guild leader is to bring those players and resources together.

Ask for ongoing feedback – Tell your guild what leadership behaviors you’re trying to build and ask for their ongoing feedback.  Clear training goals and constant feedback are what separate leisurely games from training simulations.

Have fun! We play games to escape.  It’s okay to kill some zombies and not worry about your professional development!  Guild leaders burn out all the time so try to keep things interesting.

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