Here at the Guildmasters, we seek to explore and examine leadership from guilds of all types. Most traditional guilds tend to focus on raiding and progression which leads to most of our content being based around that. One thing that I’ve always wondered about was the workings of a roleplay guild. How do GMs balance their responsibilities on top of their own character development? Is everything conducted “In character”?

To find out, I spoke with RP leaders Kerowynn and Khai’xur about their respective guilds and what goes on day-to-day behind the scenes.

1. First, tell me about your guild

Kerowynn: Before migrating to WoW, Clan Woad was created in 1995 as a light Celtic based RP guild while waiting for Ultima Online (See pg 121 of The Official Ultima Online Strategy Guide). But our first game together was Diablo. Our Founder based the Clan loosely on The Endless Knot Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead (NOT Braveheart LOL) and the “family” that developed from a ragtag group of war veterans, displaced warriors and survivors of war looking for peace, just rule and a place to call home. Family is a big deal for our Clan. Some of us have been gaming together since the founding but we’re always looking for the lone wolves who are tired of playing alone or by strict rules.

  • Alliance server: The Scryers
  • Horde server: Argent Dawn

Our rules are simple and the same for both Alliance and Horde side.

Respect one another (no sexism or racism) inside or outside of the Clan.

Have a great sense of humor.

Be compassionate & loyal.

And never turn down a flagon of mead or barrel of whisky!

All members are treated equally and have a voice in Clan business. We currently have two generations of “Woadies” (as we call ourselves) now.

New recruits are known as Fosterlings, it’s the “Getting to know you” phase. Your membership is voted on by all Clan members. When you’re voted in, your character is placed in its preferred play style rank (RP, PvP, PvE etc) and you have full membership rights as our kin. We’re as loyal to you as you are to us.

Khai’xur: My current guild is called Rangari – we are Draenei themed and based off the loose and uncertain bits of lore we’ve received about the Rangari so far, from in game quests and NPC interaction.  Our site is rangari.enjin.com – we’ve unfortunately been in a bit of a slump lately, due in large part to a lot of drama caused by an officer (which I ranted about on twitter).  Not an uncommon thing for RP guilds, unfortunately.

2. What are the week to week responsibilities of an RP GM? Other than the typical guild, are there other aspects to being an RP GM that need supervision?

Kerowynn: Week to week responsibilities are no different than any other laid back guild. Members are able to create group and guild events as they see fit. My only job as an RP GM is to help plan RP events (if needed), fill Clan positions (Historian, Diplomat, Bard) with capable people and keep the Drama Llama tucked away in the barn, so to speak. Not to mention, keeping minors away from ERPers. Our minors are ranked as Cunning Runts to make them easily identifiable to other members and no minor is allowed in without a parent also being a member. There is zero tolerance for sexual advances toward our Runts, RP or otherwise. However, we are not G rated, so parents have to keep that in mind. F bombs can, & will, occur.

Khai’xur: Generally, when in an RP guild, the primary function is simply interaction, which isn’t too different from your normal PvE guilds. One thing I think that needs a bit more supervision is how your members interact with other members of the community, or even where they often tend to hang out.  Yes, we are on Moon Guard, and yes, certain places on our server have very poor reputations on both factions.  If I am online and I see someone consistently logging in and out and hanging around in Elywnn – especially when there is no Holiday event or the DMF?  I will make sure to address that.

3. Are there any problems or issues that would come up exclusive to an RP guild? Would you happen to have an example?

Kerowynn: Exclusively? Griefers. Thank goodness for Grieferfish and our kind healers who try to cure the Griefer affliction! This is where fluid role play comes in. Being able to adjust your role-playing as the environment changes around you is encouraged. If someone comes up to grief (harass, ridicule), acceptable behavior would be to treat that person as “cursed” or “sick”. Screenshot and report without having to break out of character.

Lack of world role play on our RP servers is also a problem. People will RP within their guild or in an out of the way place to avoid griefers. In my opinion, doing this only discourages others from acting in character as they explore the world, or the contents of their bank vault. We need more world open RP interaction.

And I imagine this happens in non-RP guilds, real life personal relationships that form out of RP can be trying when a “break up” occurs. Members are not allowed to make other members choose sides, it’s disrespectful. Those issues should be dealt with privately between the involved members. It’s rare for the Clan to kick someone out because of personal romance issues. It only happens if you continually let the Drama Llama out (we’ve only done this once). And that applies to everyone.

Khai’xur: Tying back to point #2 – how your members interact with other people and the community at large is fairly important.  Reputation has, at many points, been very heavily focused on, so much so that the more elite or self-centered groups on the RP community will refuse to include/interact with you if you carry the tag of a guild that doesn’t meet their ‘standards’.  I think another problem is having to weed out the people that either don’t understand lore, or don’t -want- to understand it.  There’s a sort of unspoken rule that if you are going to RP in WoW, you are generally going to adhere to the basic lore that already exists in game.  And yes – while it may be a running joke, very often you can run into Half-Vampire Half-Worgen, elves that are only 16 years old, or Draenei that were born in Stormwind.

Elitism in lore knowledge is a problem you can find all over the RP community, and I’ve even seen several guilds that force you to take a lore quiz on their website as part of their application.  Personally, I believe that everyone can be taught the basics, and I encourage people to ask questions and learn.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and if we make it a habit to exclude new people or those just starting to learn, we severely damage the continued growth and expansion of the community.

4. How is character development handled for the GM, if any?

Kerowynn: The only stipulations I have with character development, as a GM, is keeping your character relevant to the world you’re playing in and being fluid in world role play. No Mary Sues/GodModding. We’re all commoners in the grand scope of things, despite the game calling us “The Hero”. Although level 100s can be called “Commander”.

Khai’xur: Before I founded and started running Rangari, I was part of a very large and long-running Draenei RP guild.  People were always interested in RPing with the GMs and it did end up causing a time and often a story conflict.  People wanted to be –involved – with you, because for one reason or another, they respected and looked up to you or your character.  Often, character development had to be on your own time.  Some of the guild RP stories did involve the GM’s, but you never want it to be all about you. When I did my own story development, it commonly occurred out of game, RPing over email or IM, just to get “caught up”.

5. If disciplinary action is required, how is that addressed?

Kerowynn: That is voted on in a Clan meeting unless it involves sexual advances toward a minor. It’s an automatic kick if screenshots or recordings are presented. False claims, lack of evidence, will be sorted between GM, parent, the accused and the minor. It takes a village to raise a child, no?

Khai’xur: When discipline is required, it is usually handled in the way the incident happened.  If the character was being unruly or causing trouble, then it is addressed in character via a short RP.  Either addressed in person by the GM, approached by other guild members, etc.  If, however, the problem is the player themselves being a troll, upsetting people, or intentionally being an ass – I never hesitated to pull them aside into a private chat and talk to them, one on one, about the issues.  You sort of have to keep up two faces at once – the IC (in character) game face, and the OOC (out of character) leader face.

6. What is it like for recruiting?

Kerowynn: Diffucult! There’s so much competition because of the number of guilds out there. Once in a while we’ll spend a week, or two, announcing that we’re recruiting. But if you can’t be bothered to learn about us at our website, then we can’t be bothered with inviting you in to get to know our members. We want decent, compassionate, fun loving people in our “family” and they’re hard to come by.

Khai’xur: Recruiting, I find, is a pain.  RPers tend to be long winded, and as such, they like their recruitment posts to stand out and be impressive.  The Guild Finder Tool is one of the worst things Blizzard did for RP guilds and their recruitment, as is the removal of the official Guild Recruitment channel. Players have tried to re-create it several times, but it is always hijacked by someone trying to troll.  These days, you usually see guilds in trade chat, spamming two+ paragraph recruitment messages over top of one another.  More often than not, I’ve found that word of mouth tends to be the best way to get new people.  I lost count of the number of times I’ve been sent a whisper that opened with “I heard about your guild from Soandso, and…”

The second aspect of RP guild recruiting is the interview.  It’s not unlike applying to a raid guild, though instead of getting to come along on raid night and seeing where you land on the meters, you are plopped either in front of the GM or among with the guild, and expected to interact.  Every guild does it differently, but often you’ll find that people are looking at your spelling, grammar, lore knowledge, and how well you adapt to different people all playing differently around you.

7. How has Warlords been for your guild? (Productive, worse now than previous expansions, etc).

Kerowynn: Warlords has been more exciting than any other expansion because of Garrisons. They’re great for private RP events and parties! Progression isn’t high on our list but it will be in the near future. RP isn’t our only focus. Near future plans are to mass recruit a couple teams for charity streaming, raid progression and eSports.

Khai’xur: Oddly enough, despite being a Draenei guild in an expansion that heavily features Draenei, Warlords has been pretty difficult for us.  Recruiting was great at first, but it seems that the stagnant, “nothing to do” feeling that lasted for a year at the end of Mists has carried over.  People are leveling and gearing to whatever level they desire fairly quickly, and then finding they have nothing to do.  People that RP do not play the game just to RP – they also want to level and raid and play the actual game (usually).  If the both of those factors aren’t present, together, people get bored and head off, looking for something else to do.

More-over, it seems the lore for Draenei has, once again, really been tousled and re-arranged, for no real reason.  This is causing confusion, frustration, and general annoyance with Draenei from a story standpoint, and I’ve witnessed a lot of people just throwing their hands up and saying “eff it”, as far as serious RP is concerned.

8. What addons are mandatory for a GM of an RP guild?

Kerowynn: The only add-on I would consider “mandatory” is a mass mailing one. Especially if you send out newsletters in game. Copy/Paste can get very tiresome. Other than that, it’s up to the Clan to decide what add-ons they feel are needed.

Khai’xur: I am not one to generally believe in MANDATORY addons.  I think you can survive without anything, but I also believe in making life as comfortable as possible.  The biggest boon to any RPer, GM or otherwise is Total RP 2.  This is a multi-function addon that lets players write a detailed description of their character, highlight traits and characteristics, and save it to their profile to be viewed by other people.  It also comes with a basic RP item creation tool, the ability to claim places to stash these items on the world map, a dialog and language learning, system, and more.  I am aware that Total RP 3 is now out for testing, and apparently improved on every aspect of the previous addon – I just haven’t tried it out yet, myself.

Nice for the two of them to shed some light on this side of the gaming and leadership spectrum that’s not as discussed often. Thanks again to Kerowynn and Khai’xur for taking the time out of their day to answer my questions.