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Making Something Out of Nothing: A Guide to Guilds
#1
[Image: guild0.png]

Alright, mates, I'm back. I mean, I've been here. You know the drill. I'm back to writing guides! After my La Calypso post, I think I raised the bar a little bit for new guild posts and guilds in general. I thought I'd help you guys along the way by sharing my ideas, since everyone loves to read what I write. This was actually written on my laptop during school hours. :> It's a bit shorter than most of my guides, though the menu is still considerably lengthy. As always, ctrl+f is your friend.

[1.0] Key Fundamentals
[1.1] Concept
[1.2] Implementation
[1.3] Moderation

[2.0] Lore-based Guilds
[2.1] Originality, Necessity and Viability
[2.2] Expanding and Interpreting Lore

[3.0] Making a Forum Post
[3.1] What to Include
[3.2] Getting a Beta
[3.3] Embellishments

[4.0] OOC Moderation
[4.1] Dealing With Bad Attitudes
[4.2] Addressing Inappropriate Character Behavior

[Image: guild1.png]

[1.0] Key Fundamentals

Alright, guys. Let's get something straight. Making a guild is serious business, though not quite as much as the whole internets. Creation of a guild is an exercise in creativity and planning. Actually running a guild tests your ability to control drama and keep things interesting. Leading a guild and thinking up ideas are two wholly different jobs, but in the end they go hand in hand. Creating a guild is easy, but running a successful one is not. Guilds that succeed cannot be dreamed up; they must be made. This does not, however, mean that you can overlook the basics of setting up your guild just because you're a good leader. No one will flock to something that is boring, trite or overly complicated, no matter how fun your leadership may be.

Thus, I've broken down the basics of creating and maintaining an RP guild into three categories: concept, implementation and moderation. The first deals with what is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult part of any roleplay: coming up with ideas. Some people are positively dripping in idea juice, while others are drier than the Barrens. It's also important to be able to translate your ideas into a viable situation, which is where implementation of your concepts becomes vital—and finally, who you let in the guild and what you let them do has a massive effect on how your guild operates. The playerbase is what can truly bring your guild to life, but only when given the stepping stones to do so.

[1.1] Concept

All guilds are implemented concepts, and all concepts are a collection of ideas, expanded upon to fit the roleplaying setting that we use. Anyone can come up with ideas. It's harder for some people than others, but if your thinking is straight then you'll have a much better time producing material to work with.

If you find yourself becoming frustrated, sit back and breathe, or talk to someone else about what you're thinking of doing. Don't get hung up on viability when you're trying to think of what to do, because that part comes later. If you're unable to come up with ideas because they don't sound like they'd work at a glance, keep trying—dream up more about your ideas so you can turn them into a concept, and only start to worry about how you're going to do something once you know /what/ you're going to do.

Concepts apply to all types of roleplay, as do ideas, but there's a distinct difference between the two. Wanting to run a restaurant is an idea. Gearing up to run a meat-and-fish restaurant in Tanaris headed by goblins is a concept. A mercenary guild is an idea. A guild of orc internment camp veterans based out of Ashenvale that work as hired warriors is a concept. Ideas are general. Concepts are specific.

Guilds based off of concepts are far more likely to succeed than guilds based off of ideas, simply because they have a firmer grounding in lore. Concept-based guilds are specialized and detailed. They typically carry more planning as they have more base material to work off of. For the purposes of this guide, I'll use the goblin restaurant as my example throughout, and expand on it as we go. Here's how it works.

Idea: I want to run a restaurant.
Idea: Tanaris needs more RP.
Idea: Goblins are fun to RP as.

Research: Gadgetzan is a goblin town in Tanaris.
Research: Gadgetzan has an inn that could be converted into a restaurant.
Research: There is a sea port town near Gadgetzan.
Research: There is a <Butcher> NPC inside Gadgetzan's inn.

Idea: Seafood restaurants can be classy.
Idea: Goblins live off of tourism, but Tanaris is fairly barren.
Idea: Players don't come to Tanaris because there's nothing to do there.
Idea: We could outfit Gadgetzan with various services to get players to at least pop in.

Concept:
Goblin entrepreneurs have bought out the inn inside Gadgetzan in the hopes of converting it to a five-star hotel. As the corporation grows and they begin raking in cash (partially due to extortion), the service expands to the rest of Gadgetzan. Naturally, the goblins don't want to do any work for themselves, so they'll have to hire lots of others to do it. This can help the little port town to grow into an economically booming empire. Behind the scenes, the higher-ups can pride themselves on their good work, but they'll be tempted by other offers—and soon enough, they're lacing the foods with poison and putting booby traps in people's rooms.

Naturally, I continued to come up with ideas as I was writing up the concept from my preliminary thoughts. As a general rule, you come up with a couple ideas that you can somehow string together, then investigate whatever would apply (pirate boats, towns, entire zones) and see if that spawns a few ideas. Work with that until you've got three things: something to do, somewhere to do it, and a description of the people that will do it.

[1.2] Implementation

Once you've got a concept, consider the world around you. How much can you affect on your own, and what will you need help with? What will players be interested in? Does it line up properly with the lore? Always, always, ALWAYS check your facts.

The first thing to do when you've decided what you want to do with your guild isn't figure out how you're going to do it. First, you need to decide if it's a) worth doing and b) something you CAN do on your own. Don't ever go out expecting that the game masters will provide for you, because in most cases we won't. If you've put a lot of work into your guild and it's been standing strong for a month or so, we'd be much more likely to do something special for you than if you'd come up to us with a great big world-changing idea on day one—how are we to know you'll handle it well?

So let's say you got a little too crazy with your idea, but there's nothing too lore-breaking about it. That's good; you can move on to the nitty gritty details surrounding how you're going to do anything. This is another hard part, simply because you've got a lot of (or very little) information surrounding your budding guild, and sorting through it all can be a daunting task.

Here's a few techniques I suggest to help tackle guild ideas:
+
Make an outline. Personally, I use this every time I write a new guide, and keep it there as a menu. It doesn't have to be big or fancy, just remind you of what you need to do. This helps to break the concept down into a more manageable form, where you can take on each section individually.
+ Make the guild in-game first. There, you can play around with ranks before you make any specific decisions. You can also get a few friends to join the guild and have some “test RP” before anything goes public, just to see if your guild is striking the type of RP that you want it to.
+ Don't try to focus on future plans at first. Keep them in mind, but also remember that you have /no idea/ where your guild is going to go in the end. Never depend on what's going to happen in a month. Keep your beginning planning to the here and now.
+ Sleep on it. If you're not coming up with ways to get over obstacles, don't worry. Sometimes, a good night's sleep is all your brain needs to start operating at full capacity again.

Have a few of these in action.

Viability Changes:
+
Cutting out the plans for domination of Gadgetzan; I'd need GM approval for that.
+ Pulling back on the scale of operations. I know that not that many people will want to go to Tanaris just to RP with my bar. There are better places I could put it, but I want it in Tanaris for my own reasons.
+ Removing the mention of shady dealings/poisoning as it could lead to metagaming and drama that I don't want.

Implementation:
I.
Gadgetzan
> 1. Where in?
II. Ranks, uniform, guild post
> 1. Waiters (b+w)
> 2. Chefs (aprons, hats)
> 3. Security (bruiser-looking gear)
> 4. Guild post needs to advertise the location and tout it as a very good tourist spot/place for building.
III. GHI items/food
> 1. Fishy things. Check wowhead for good items.
> 2. Drinks. Note to self: ask friend about screen effects with GHI.
> 3. Menu. :3
IV. Explaining where the food comes from
> 1. Port town near Gadgetzan could work. Sure, maybe the fish is a little rotten.
> 2. Pack muels? Boats? Booze imported from Stranglethorn?

[1.3] Moderation

Once you've got your guild set up in place and you've decided how to run things ICly, you can focus more on how you want to orchestrate your guild OOCly. Playerbase is a big factor in everything that you do, and you're going to run into problems no matter what. It's a good idea to put a system in place that you can refer to when faced with drama, meta-gaming, powergaming and plain old bad RP. Exactly what you do depends on your guild and who you want to have in it, as there's no set template for rules.

As a general rule, it's a good idea to cover the following things in your ruleset:
+
Keep tabs on the players in your guild. Let them know you will be doing this, and warn them if they're getting out of line. If you have to boot someone for OOC behavior, it's a good idea to write down their forum name so that they don't try to get back in with another character.
+ OOC respect for other players. If your guild is dangerous, make sure to give others character warnings ahead of time. <CoD>, for example, has a perpetual character warning in place for anyone who RPs with them, and it's stated directly on the guild post.
+ No tolerance with anything that breaks CotH's rules. This is important. While you're free to moderate your /gchat channel any way you like as far as cursing goes, the more important rules regarding taboo topics (sexual assault, drugs, a lot of controversial topics that are best left alone) must stay in place. If your /gchat is making anyone in the guild uncomfortable, you have to respect that.
+ Let everyone know exactly who can and can't get in your guild. I can tell you from personal experience that not having it clear on the front page will lead to a lot of confusion and frustration. If your guild doesn't let in paladins, put that on the guild post. Your reasoning as to why should be clear inside the post. They're a bunch of thieves will do.

Moderation is really a learning process. You can't get it right on the first try, though you can hit fairly close to home. Don't fret if you run into problems. The most important thing you can do when dealing with the OOC playerbase of your guild is to communicate with them—if they can't do something, or you need them to be wearing a particular thing, make sure they know. Confusion kills.

Here's my goblin notes.
+
Only goblins can play in the guilds, and only non-magical classes. I don't want mages in this guild because they don't fit the profile, and it's a goblin-run restaurant.
+ All OOC guild chat follows CotH's chat rules to the letter, and it isn't barrenschat. I want to keep its uses to something similar to /lfg and /chat, which means there's no reason for cursing or pointless chatter.
+ If a player acts out of line in-character, they may get kicked from the guild.
+ If a player metagames, powergames or godmodes, resulting in detriment to another person's RP, they will be kicked from the guild permanently, with their forum name noted down. If we get into unscrupulous dealings, this will be an especially important rule.

How you control things is entirely up to you, but it's important to be consistent and clear with players what your policies are. You don't have to be overly strict or lenient, but be sure that your guild isn't having a bad effect on RP. If it could lead to frustrating other players, you need to stop the behavior. There's a reason you can't make guilds explicitly to kill other characters.

[Image: guild2t.png]

[2.0] Lore-based Guilds

Some guilds are based around developing an interesting concept in lore, such as the existence of Old Gods. These guilds, whose ranks, activities and events are just additions to things already found in lore, allow players to experience the world first-hand and feel more of an ability to affect what goes on. They help to immerse players in the game and can expand on things that Blizzard barely touches. All lore is rich and intriguing to some, and every idea has a home somewhere.

The downfall of lore guilds is their tendency to be debated. By their very nature, guilds that base themselves off of lore are either going to become the definitive and thus an unofficial part of lore themselves, or be forever debated. Lore is a touchy subject for a lot of players, who all have their opinions as to how much the players, GMs and Blizzard can interpret what's already been set in place. Setting up a lore guild is arguably difficult, and they tend to be rare because of this.

Lore-based guilds are, when done right, a huge boon to the community. They help to expand on concepts and give people a starting place for their own theorycrafting. Undoubtedly, the most important part of creating a lore guild is making sure your research is solid.

[2.1] Originality, Necessity and Viability

Before you set out to make your own lore guild, ask yourself: has it been done before? Does it need to be done? A lot of concepts in lore have either too little to work off of or are already implemented as organizations (e.g. The Royal Apothecary Society). These you want to leave alone, as players can identify with others of the organization via tabard, class or race. They don't need a guild to help orchestrate them, because there's already something in place.

But sometimes, you strike gold with a bit of lore that really deserves to be expanded on. You know it hasn't been done before on CotH, and you think it could be a great thing to think about. Your guild idea can contribute something to the current playerbase lore-wise and give players insight into things they wouldn't normally think about. That's when you go ahead to consider the last pitfall: viability.

Many, many lore ideas for guilds can be scrapped simply because they're not viable. Say you want to play a group of rogue voidwalkers. Okay, that's something you could work on, but how are you going to do it? Shadow priests in shadowform? It could work, but people would either have to level to 40 or get an approved profile before they could participate. Furthermore, they would likely constitute special profiles anyway. Your guild wouldn't get many members that way, if you were aiming to do anything large-scale.

You have to think about what you're planning to do. With lore guilds, you need to determine the basic viability before you start expanding on the concept, simply because of how finicky a subject lore is.

In general, things that will be a detriment to lore guilds:
+
The requirements for a character to join are very specific or limiting. This will mean that your guild is populated primarily with throw-away characters instead of people who are there to stay and commit. It will have no lasting playerbase.
+ The characters involved will be inevitable special profiles, or require you to make and approve a profile before you can fully participate in the guild. This is a caveat in a lot of lore guilds: the guild is based around doing something you can only do after a certain level.
+ The guild is limited to a single town or place, rather than an overarching zone or all over the place. Disallowing members to go elsewhere can be frustrating and lead to dissent or drama, as well as turn people away from the guild.
+ There are too many limits on what a character's individuality can be like. As a general rule, players prefer to come up with their own outfits, speak their own way, and have a personality unique to their group. If they can't have the freedom to customize their own, then they likely won't see a reason to participate in your guild.

Sometimes, it's necessary to sacrifice the absolute lore for variety in roleplay.

[2.2] Expanding and Interpreting Lore

Once you've determined that your basic idea is something that you can do without angering people, you have to be especially careful with what you do. Everything needs to be researched and documented in order to explain your interpretations. People will raise questions and you need to be able to defend your ideas in a way that makes sense.

Misinformation is rampant no matter where you go, and the only way you can begin to fix this is by educating yourself. If you aim to lead a guild, you have to double- and triple-check your facts to make certain you're not overlooking anything. If you haven't, it's a good idea to check up on the sourcebooks (through completely legal means, cough, cough) as well as wowwiki. The wiki isn't always the most reliable source, because anyone can edit it, but for basic reasoning it's reliable.

When you seek to interpret lore, be certain that you don't change anything that's already going on. If Arthas is a man, don't decide that he's suddenly a woman. If you want to make additions, be ready to explain your reasoning. Someone mysteriously appearing in the right spot at the right time doesn't make sense, and you can't chalk it up to fate or destiny. All in all, be careful—check your facts several times over, and make sure that what you say doesn't rely on crutches such as mysterious, inexplicable occurrences.

[Image: guild3.png]

[3.0] Making a Forum Post

One of the more frustrating parts of making a guild, once all is said and done, is actually pushing out the forum post. While coming up with ideas, stringing them into concepts and implementing them in-game is difficult, so is communicating your ideas to others. When you put your work up for review, people are going to unconsciously check it over for red flags. No one wants to commit to a project that they don't like or think will fail. Everyone does this; it's a part of human nature. So how do you make the best impression you possibly can?

[3.1] What to Include

Short answer: Everything that's important.

Long answer: Everything that's important to players. They don't need to know nitty gritty details such as where the bunk beds are in the (make-believe) headquarters. They do need to know things like what characters can get in, where the guild happens, and what it's all about. They need to know the faction and anything that will affect their style of play. Details like the color of the brooches on the shirts are nice, but not needed—and cutting down on a lengthy forum post is essential. I should really take my own advice sometimes, but believe me I have. This thing was originally 32 sections.

A Comprehensive Checklist:
+
What's your guild's faction? Alliance, Horde, Sin'sholai or crossfaction? Are there any specific allegiances, such as a mage's guild being associated with the Kirin Tor?
+ Are there any races/classes the guild is designed for in specific? Who can't get in? Who will have an easier time than others?
+ Where is your guild stationed? Does it move all over the world or is it generally set in one spot?
+ How much authority do differing members have? Is there a clear difference between the ranks or is most everyone in the same spot? How much authority do members have over those not in the guild?
+ What sorts of activities does your guild engage in on a daily basis? What can players expect to be doing when they're not attending events or RPing on another character?
+ What overarching movement is your guild devoted to? Are they out for the money? To save the environment? What causes do your members herald?
+ What ranks do you have? Who is qualified to fill which ranks? Are there any ranks not available to the players, or any important people related to the guild that aren't actually players?
+ Is there a uniform? If so, for which ranks, and what? Why? Is it something you'll provide? Can people wear it without having to level up?
+ What are your OOC policies on drama, godmoding, metagaming and harassing other players? What are your IC rules regarding characters stepping out of line? What are specific transgressions and how will they be dealt with, assuming they're of the serious variety?
+ Is your guild dangerous? Does it have a lot of combat involved? You may want to place a perpetual character warning on the top of your guild post or somewhere important, to make sure people see it.
+ And, of course, what's the name of the guild? :>

[3.2] Getting a Beta

If you care about your ideas and making a good impression, it's a good idea to have a friend you can trust look your post over for errors before you put it up in the community. Something that is well-written, interesting and lacking in spelling errors will be received far better than a block of ugly-looking text with multiple errors in grammar, lazy punctuation and improper spelling. No one will read your post if they have to struggle to do so, no matter how creative you are.

As such, it's best to request that someone look over your post before you do anything. It can just be a quick glance through—you missed a couple things—or an all-out redline beta with specific errors pointed out and questions about the idea itself. Personally, I don't do this, but you've gotta be confident to post without a beta. If you aren't careful and you aren't confident, it looks like you don't care enough about your guild to make a good impression on others.

[3.3] Embellishments

It's not gonna kill you to make your guild post look neat and organized. You can present people with a wall of text, or you can give them pictures. If you have a lot for people to sift through, especially with lore guilds, you'll want pictures to make it look more eye-catching. Providing people with eye candy will keep them reading. And I can tell you this: anyone can make a few pictures.

There's a program out there called WoWmodelviewer. It lets you—surprise!—look at WoW's models and play with their animations. You can download this from http://www.wowmodelviewer.org for free. It's a wonderful tool when used in conjunction with your game. Another program, called GIMP, is very similar to Adobe Photoshop. GIMP is free and works much the same as photoshop.

Here's the basics for making a pretty picture, assuming you've downloaded GIMP and the modelviewer. I use this technique with pratically everything I do.

1.
Take a moment to sketch out the basic idea for what you want to do: who you want to be in the picture, where it will be, and what's going on. This can be stick figures, for all it matters.
2. Open up GIMP and create a new document by the dimensions that you plan to use. Remember that CotH's forums change size based on your browser window, so an image too big will stretch the page.
3. Log on CotH and travel to the area that you want to take pictures in. Run around until you find a nice scene, then press alt+z (sorry macs) to hide your interface. Take a screenshot with the print screen key and paste it into the document you have open with GIMP using ctrl+v. Or Edit > Paste if you're the kind of person who doesn't like shortcuts.
4. Exit WoW if your computer is bad, though if you have a decent quality one you can keep it running and take more pictures.
5. Pull up WoWmodelviewer and play around with the controls. You'll get how to use it fairly quickly, just take some time to experiment. Take a screenshot of the character when you're done and paste that into GIMP as well.
6. You might notice that you can no longer see the bottom layer (the picture you took in WoW). You need to remove the color around the character, and you can do this in a variety of ways. The most common way is to select the Magic Wand tool from the toolbar and click on an area that isn't your character, so that the background gets selected. You can delete that.
7. Move the character around and you're done. You can mess with contrast, colors, layer styles and screen effects, but sometimes a simple composition is the best.

Learning how to use GIMP or Photoshop is difficult, but it's the kind of thing that you'll want to remember how to do for the rest of your career on CotH. Remember this: pictures sell.

[Image: guild4z.png]

[4.0] OOC Moderation

People can be stupid sometimes. They won't do what you want, and so you've got to have something in place to keep them from running your guild their way—badly. Everyone will, when given anonymity, make a complete arse of themselves. Just look at the bowels of the internet. So you have to control this—there are things you can do, such as take down forum names, to keep people from being unidentifiable when they act out. If they won't tell you, or you're heckled by someone you don't know, you can always screenshot it and send it off to the GMs.

GMs aren't going to deal with all your problems, however. You need to be mature enough to control trouble in your guild yourself. You need to be able to handle drama without letting it take over your guild. People will raise hell if you kick them out, but some of them you don't want to keep around because of how they behave as it is. If you can withstand a ragequit, you can withstand anything—and we've got your back, so you don't need to worry if it gets too rough.

[4.1] Dealing With Bad Attitudes

There's going to be players who will give you crap for leading the guild the way you think is best. These are probably going to be the players that you kick from the guild for OOC disrespect in the first place. They may make a nasty post about you on the forums, in which case we'll notice. They may scream and rant in Barrenschat. They may kick you from their own guilds, or publicly denounce your ever having been a good person—so what if they act like children? Don't let it get to you.

If a player consistently gives you trouble, don't be afraid to get rid of them. You can do it nicely, or you can do it poorly—but if you don't think you can do it period, that's the point you should involve a GM. Say you think that a player is metagaming and starting fights, but he doesn't do it when you're around, so you can't get screenshot proof. You can ask a GM or another player in your guild to watch for a bit and confirm that this is indeed the case.

Don't try to involve other people in pointless drama, however. Above all, stay out of it. Don't lower yourself to the same level as the other people you're already dealing with. Just because someone calls you a name doesn't mean you need to call them one back—that's just common sense. We learned that back in preschool. Stay level-headed and have a system to deal with players that have bad attitudes towards you OOC—you can always report them to us if there's a serious problem.

[4.2] Addressing Inappropriate Character Behavior

Some people are perfectly nice OOC, and very reasonable—but their character isn't fit for the guild. They don't want to change their character, and you get that, but by now they likely would have died or been booted from the guild. How do you explain this to the player without angering them? It takes a little tact and forethought.

First, don't just complain about the player to others in private. Make sure you let the person know that they're getting out of line ICly—have your character react in a negative manner while RPing with them, for example. If they don't respond to IC reactions, warn them OOCly and give them a bit of time to think about it. If the actions keep up, kick the player out for IC behavior. Remind them that it's no big deal and they can still join in on another character.

[Image: guild5.png]

Let me just say this: I'm glad to be back and writing, and if you bothered to read this, I'm really glad for your time. This whole thing is here to help you, and it's part of an effort to improve the RP quality here all around--the next time you think about making a guild, run it through this guide. You don't have to do everything, but it's a good thing to reference. And if I see even one person improve from my nine pages of writing and six hours of work, I'll just squeal.

Until next time,
Moose
[Image: lichkingfell.png]
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#2
[Image: guild0.png]

Alright, mates, I'm back. I mean, I've been here. You know the drill. I'm back to writing guides! After my La Calypso post, I think I raised the bar a little bit for new guild posts and guilds in general. I thought I'd help you guys along the way by sharing my ideas, since everyone loves to read what I write. This was actually written on my laptop during school hours. :> It's a bit shorter than most of my guides, though the menu is still considerably lengthy. As always, ctrl+f is your friend.

[1.0] Key Fundamentals
[1.1] Concept
[1.2] Implementation
[1.3] Moderation

[2.0] Lore-based Guilds
[2.1] Originality, Necessity and Viability
[2.2] Expanding and Interpreting Lore

[3.0] Making a Forum Post
[3.1] What to Include
[3.2] Getting a Beta
[3.3] Embellishments

[4.0] OOC Moderation
[4.1] Dealing With Bad Attitudes
[4.2] Addressing Inappropriate Character Behavior

[Image: guild1.png]

[1.0] Key Fundamentals

Alright, guys. Let's get something straight. Making a guild is serious business, though not quite as much as the whole internets. Creation of a guild is an exercise in creativity and planning. Actually running a guild tests your ability to control drama and keep things interesting. Leading a guild and thinking up ideas are two wholly different jobs, but in the end they go hand in hand. Creating a guild is easy, but running a successful one is not. Guilds that succeed cannot be dreamed up; they must be made. This does not, however, mean that you can overlook the basics of setting up your guild just because you're a good leader. No one will flock to something that is boring, trite or overly complicated, no matter how fun your leadership may be.

Thus, I've broken down the basics of creating and maintaining an RP guild into three categories: concept, implementation and moderation. The first deals with what is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult part of any roleplay: coming up with ideas. Some people are positively dripping in idea juice, while others are drier than the Barrens. It's also important to be able to translate your ideas into a viable situation, which is where implementation of your concepts becomes vital—and finally, who you let in the guild and what you let them do has a massive effect on how your guild operates. The playerbase is what can truly bring your guild to life, but only when given the stepping stones to do so.

[1.1] Concept

All guilds are implemented concepts, and all concepts are a collection of ideas, expanded upon to fit the roleplaying setting that we use. Anyone can come up with ideas. It's harder for some people than others, but if your thinking is straight then you'll have a much better time producing material to work with.

If you find yourself becoming frustrated, sit back and breathe, or talk to someone else about what you're thinking of doing. Don't get hung up on viability when you're trying to think of what to do, because that part comes later. If you're unable to come up with ideas because they don't sound like they'd work at a glance, keep trying—dream up more about your ideas so you can turn them into a concept, and only start to worry about how you're going to do something once you know /what/ you're going to do.

Concepts apply to all types of roleplay, as do ideas, but there's a distinct difference between the two. Wanting to run a restaurant is an idea. Gearing up to run a meat-and-fish restaurant in Tanaris headed by goblins is a concept. A mercenary guild is an idea. A guild of orc internment camp veterans based out of Ashenvale that work as hired warriors is a concept. Ideas are general. Concepts are specific.

Guilds based off of concepts are far more likely to succeed than guilds based off of ideas, simply because they have a firmer grounding in lore. Concept-based guilds are specialized and detailed. They typically carry more planning as they have more base material to work off of. For the purposes of this guide, I'll use the goblin restaurant as my example throughout, and expand on it as we go. Here's how it works.

Idea: I want to run a restaurant.
Idea: Tanaris needs more RP.
Idea: Goblins are fun to RP as.

Research: Gadgetzan is a goblin town in Tanaris.
Research: Gadgetzan has an inn that could be converted into a restaurant.
Research: There is a sea port town near Gadgetzan.
Research: There is a <Butcher> NPC inside Gadgetzan's inn.

Idea: Seafood restaurants can be classy.
Idea: Goblins live off of tourism, but Tanaris is fairly barren.
Idea: Players don't come to Tanaris because there's nothing to do there.
Idea: We could outfit Gadgetzan with various services to get players to at least pop in.

Concept:
Goblin entrepreneurs have bought out the inn inside Gadgetzan in the hopes of converting it to a five-star hotel. As the corporation grows and they begin raking in cash (partially due to extortion), the service expands to the rest of Gadgetzan. Naturally, the goblins don't want to do any work for themselves, so they'll have to hire lots of others to do it. This can help the little port town to grow into an economically booming empire. Behind the scenes, the higher-ups can pride themselves on their good work, but they'll be tempted by other offers—and soon enough, they're lacing the foods with poison and putting booby traps in people's rooms.

Naturally, I continued to come up with ideas as I was writing up the concept from my preliminary thoughts. As a general rule, you come up with a couple ideas that you can somehow string together, then investigate whatever would apply (pirate boats, towns, entire zones) and see if that spawns a few ideas. Work with that until you've got three things: something to do, somewhere to do it, and a description of the people that will do it.

[1.2] Implementation

Once you've got a concept, consider the world around you. How much can you affect on your own, and what will you need help with? What will players be interested in? Does it line up properly with the lore? Always, always, ALWAYS check your facts.

The first thing to do when you've decided what you want to do with your guild isn't figure out how you're going to do it. First, you need to decide if it's a) worth doing and b) something you CAN do on your own. Don't ever go out expecting that the game masters will provide for you, because in most cases we won't. If you've put a lot of work into your guild and it's been standing strong for a month or so, we'd be much more likely to do something special for you than if you'd come up to us with a great big world-changing idea on day one—how are we to know you'll handle it well?

So let's say you got a little too crazy with your idea, but there's nothing too lore-breaking about it. That's good; you can move on to the nitty gritty details surrounding how you're going to do anything. This is another hard part, simply because you've got a lot of (or very little) information surrounding your budding guild, and sorting through it all can be a daunting task.

Here's a few techniques I suggest to help tackle guild ideas:
+
Make an outline. Personally, I use this every time I write a new guide, and keep it there as a menu. It doesn't have to be big or fancy, just remind you of what you need to do. This helps to break the concept down into a more manageable form, where you can take on each section individually.
+ Make the guild in-game first. There, you can play around with ranks before you make any specific decisions. You can also get a few friends to join the guild and have some “test RP” before anything goes public, just to see if your guild is striking the type of RP that you want it to.
+ Don't try to focus on future plans at first. Keep them in mind, but also remember that you have /no idea/ where your guild is going to go in the end. Never depend on what's going to happen in a month. Keep your beginning planning to the here and now.
+ Sleep on it. If you're not coming up with ways to get over obstacles, don't worry. Sometimes, a good night's sleep is all your brain needs to start operating at full capacity again.

Have a few of these in action.

Viability Changes:
+
Cutting out the plans for domination of Gadgetzan; I'd need GM approval for that.
+ Pulling back on the scale of operations. I know that not that many people will want to go to Tanaris just to RP with my bar. There are better places I could put it, but I want it in Tanaris for my own reasons.
+ Removing the mention of shady dealings/poisoning as it could lead to metagaming and drama that I don't want.

Implementation:
I.
Gadgetzan
> 1. Where in?
II. Ranks, uniform, guild post
> 1. Waiters (b+w)
> 2. Chefs (aprons, hats)
> 3. Security (bruiser-looking gear)
> 4. Guild post needs to advertise the location and tout it as a very good tourist spot/place for building.
III. GHI items/food
> 1. Fishy things. Check wowhead for good items.
> 2. Drinks. Note to self: ask friend about screen effects with GHI.
> 3. Menu. :3
IV. Explaining where the food comes from
> 1. Port town near Gadgetzan could work. Sure, maybe the fish is a little rotten.
> 2. Pack muels? Boats? Booze imported from Stranglethorn?

[1.3] Moderation

Once you've got your guild set up in place and you've decided how to run things ICly, you can focus more on how you want to orchestrate your guild OOCly. Playerbase is a big factor in everything that you do, and you're going to run into problems no matter what. It's a good idea to put a system in place that you can refer to when faced with drama, meta-gaming, powergaming and plain old bad RP. Exactly what you do depends on your guild and who you want to have in it, as there's no set template for rules.

As a general rule, it's a good idea to cover the following things in your ruleset:
+
Keep tabs on the players in your guild. Let them know you will be doing this, and warn them if they're getting out of line. If you have to boot someone for OOC behavior, it's a good idea to write down their forum name so that they don't try to get back in with another character.
+ OOC respect for other players. If your guild is dangerous, make sure to give others character warnings ahead of time. <CoD>, for example, has a perpetual character warning in place for anyone who RPs with them, and it's stated directly on the guild post.
+ No tolerance with anything that breaks CotH's rules. This is important. While you're free to moderate your /gchat channel any way you like as far as cursing goes, the more important rules regarding taboo topics (sexual assault, drugs, a lot of controversial topics that are best left alone) must stay in place. If your /gchat is making anyone in the guild uncomfortable, you have to respect that.
+ Let everyone know exactly who can and can't get in your guild. I can tell you from personal experience that not having it clear on the front page will lead to a lot of confusion and frustration. If your guild doesn't let in paladins, put that on the guild post. Your reasoning as to why should be clear inside the post. They're a bunch of thieves will do.

Moderation is really a learning process. You can't get it right on the first try, though you can hit fairly close to home. Don't fret if you run into problems. The most important thing you can do when dealing with the OOC playerbase of your guild is to communicate with them—if they can't do something, or you need them to be wearing a particular thing, make sure they know. Confusion kills.

Here's my goblin notes.
+
Only goblins can play in the guilds, and only non-magical classes. I don't want mages in this guild because they don't fit the profile, and it's a goblin-run restaurant.
+ All OOC guild chat follows CotH's chat rules to the letter, and it isn't barrenschat. I want to keep its uses to something similar to /lfg and /chat, which means there's no reason for cursing or pointless chatter.
+ If a player acts out of line in-character, they may get kicked from the guild.
+ If a player metagames, powergames or godmodes, resulting in detriment to another person's RP, they will be kicked from the guild permanently, with their forum name noted down. If we get into unscrupulous dealings, this will be an especially important rule.

How you control things is entirely up to you, but it's important to be consistent and clear with players what your policies are. You don't have to be overly strict or lenient, but be sure that your guild isn't having a bad effect on RP. If it could lead to frustrating other players, you need to stop the behavior. There's a reason you can't make guilds explicitly to kill other characters.

[Image: guild2t.png]

[2.0] Lore-based Guilds

Some guilds are based around developing an interesting concept in lore, such as the existence of Old Gods. These guilds, whose ranks, activities and events are just additions to things already found in lore, allow players to experience the world first-hand and feel more of an ability to affect what goes on. They help to immerse players in the game and can expand on things that Blizzard barely touches. All lore is rich and intriguing to some, and every idea has a home somewhere.

The downfall of lore guilds is their tendency to be debated. By their very nature, guilds that base themselves off of lore are either going to become the definitive and thus an unofficial part of lore themselves, or be forever debated. Lore is a touchy subject for a lot of players, who all have their opinions as to how much the players, GMs and Blizzard can interpret what's already been set in place. Setting up a lore guild is arguably difficult, and they tend to be rare because of this.

Lore-based guilds are, when done right, a huge boon to the community. They help to expand on concepts and give people a starting place for their own theorycrafting. Undoubtedly, the most important part of creating a lore guild is making sure your research is solid.

[2.1] Originality, Necessity and Viability

Before you set out to make your own lore guild, ask yourself: has it been done before? Does it need to be done? A lot of concepts in lore have either too little to work off of or are already implemented as organizations (e.g. The Royal Apothecary Society). These you want to leave alone, as players can identify with others of the organization via tabard, class or race. They don't need a guild to help orchestrate them, because there's already something in place.

But sometimes, you strike gold with a bit of lore that really deserves to be expanded on. You know it hasn't been done before on CotH, and you think it could be a great thing to think about. Your guild idea can contribute something to the current playerbase lore-wise and give players insight into things they wouldn't normally think about. That's when you go ahead to consider the last pitfall: viability.

Many, many lore ideas for guilds can be scrapped simply because they're not viable. Say you want to play a group of rogue voidwalkers. Okay, that's something you could work on, but how are you going to do it? Shadow priests in shadowform? It could work, but people would either have to level to 40 or get an approved profile before they could participate. Furthermore, they would likely constitute special profiles anyway. Your guild wouldn't get many members that way, if you were aiming to do anything large-scale.

You have to think about what you're planning to do. With lore guilds, you need to determine the basic viability before you start expanding on the concept, simply because of how finicky a subject lore is.

In general, things that will be a detriment to lore guilds:
+
The requirements for a character to join are very specific or limiting. This will mean that your guild is populated primarily with throw-away characters instead of people who are there to stay and commit. It will have no lasting playerbase.
+ The characters involved will be inevitable special profiles, or require you to make and approve a profile before you can fully participate in the guild. This is a caveat in a lot of lore guilds: the guild is based around doing something you can only do after a certain level.
+ The guild is limited to a single town or place, rather than an overarching zone or all over the place. Disallowing members to go elsewhere can be frustrating and lead to dissent or drama, as well as turn people away from the guild.
+ There are too many limits on what a character's individuality can be like. As a general rule, players prefer to come up with their own outfits, speak their own way, and have a personality unique to their group. If they can't have the freedom to customize their own, then they likely won't see a reason to participate in your guild.

Sometimes, it's necessary to sacrifice the absolute lore for variety in roleplay.

[2.2] Expanding and Interpreting Lore

Once you've determined that your basic idea is something that you can do without angering people, you have to be especially careful with what you do. Everything needs to be researched and documented in order to explain your interpretations. People will raise questions and you need to be able to defend your ideas in a way that makes sense.

Misinformation is rampant no matter where you go, and the only way you can begin to fix this is by educating yourself. If you aim to lead a guild, you have to double- and triple-check your facts to make certain you're not overlooking anything. If you haven't, it's a good idea to check up on the sourcebooks (through completely legal means, cough, cough) as well as wowwiki. The wiki isn't always the most reliable source, because anyone can edit it, but for basic reasoning it's reliable.

When you seek to interpret lore, be certain that you don't change anything that's already going on. If Arthas is a man, don't decide that he's suddenly a woman. If you want to make additions, be ready to explain your reasoning. Someone mysteriously appearing in the right spot at the right time doesn't make sense, and you can't chalk it up to fate or destiny. All in all, be careful—check your facts several times over, and make sure that what you say doesn't rely on crutches such as mysterious, inexplicable occurrences.

[Image: guild3.png]

[3.0] Making a Forum Post

One of the more frustrating parts of making a guild, once all is said and done, is actually pushing out the forum post. While coming up with ideas, stringing them into concepts and implementing them in-game is difficult, so is communicating your ideas to others. When you put your work up for review, people are going to unconsciously check it over for red flags. No one wants to commit to a project that they don't like or think will fail. Everyone does this; it's a part of human nature. So how do you make the best impression you possibly can?

[3.1] What to Include

Short answer: Everything that's important.

Long answer: Everything that's important to players. They don't need to know nitty gritty details such as where the bunk beds are in the (make-believe) headquarters. They do need to know things like what characters can get in, where the guild happens, and what it's all about. They need to know the faction and anything that will affect their style of play. Details like the color of the brooches on the shirts are nice, but not needed—and cutting down on a lengthy forum post is essential. I should really take my own advice sometimes, but believe me I have. This thing was originally 32 sections.

A Comprehensive Checklist:
+
What's your guild's faction? Alliance, Horde, Sin'sholai or crossfaction? Are there any specific allegiances, such as a mage's guild being associated with the Kirin Tor?
+ Are there any races/classes the guild is designed for in specific? Who can't get in? Who will have an easier time than others?
+ Where is your guild stationed? Does it move all over the world or is it generally set in one spot?
+ How much authority do differing members have? Is there a clear difference between the ranks or is most everyone in the same spot? How much authority do members have over those not in the guild?
+ What sorts of activities does your guild engage in on a daily basis? What can players expect to be doing when they're not attending events or RPing on another character?
+ What overarching movement is your guild devoted to? Are they out for the money? To save the environment? What causes do your members herald?
+ What ranks do you have? Who is qualified to fill which ranks? Are there any ranks not available to the players, or any important people related to the guild that aren't actually players?
+ Is there a uniform? If so, for which ranks, and what? Why? Is it something you'll provide? Can people wear it without having to level up?
+ What are your OOC policies on drama, godmoding, metagaming and harassing other players? What are your IC rules regarding characters stepping out of line? What are specific transgressions and how will they be dealt with, assuming they're of the serious variety?
+ Is your guild dangerous? Does it have a lot of combat involved? You may want to place a perpetual character warning on the top of your guild post or somewhere important, to make sure people see it.
+ And, of course, what's the name of the guild? :>

[3.2] Getting a Beta

If you care about your ideas and making a good impression, it's a good idea to have a friend you can trust look your post over for errors before you put it up in the community. Something that is well-written, interesting and lacking in spelling errors will be received far better than a block of ugly-looking text with multiple errors in grammar, lazy punctuation and improper spelling. No one will read your post if they have to struggle to do so, no matter how creative you are.

As such, it's best to request that someone look over your post before you do anything. It can just be a quick glance through—you missed a couple things—or an all-out redline beta with specific errors pointed out and questions about the idea itself. Personally, I don't do this, but you've gotta be confident to post without a beta. If you aren't careful and you aren't confident, it looks like you don't care enough about your guild to make a good impression on others.

[3.3] Embellishments

It's not gonna kill you to make your guild post look neat and organized. You can present people with a wall of text, or you can give them pictures. If you have a lot for people to sift through, especially with lore guilds, you'll want pictures to make it look more eye-catching. Providing people with eye candy will keep them reading. And I can tell you this: anyone can make a few pictures.

There's a program out there called WoWmodelviewer. It lets you—surprise!—look at WoW's models and play with their animations. You can download this from http://www.wowmodelviewer.org for free. It's a wonderful tool when used in conjunction with your game. Another program, called GIMP, is very similar to Adobe Photoshop. GIMP is free and works much the same as photoshop.

Here's the basics for making a pretty picture, assuming you've downloaded GIMP and the modelviewer. I use this technique with pratically everything I do.

1.
Take a moment to sketch out the basic idea for what you want to do: who you want to be in the picture, where it will be, and what's going on. This can be stick figures, for all it matters.
2. Open up GIMP and create a new document by the dimensions that you plan to use. Remember that CotH's forums change size based on your browser window, so an image too big will stretch the page.
3. Log on CotH and travel to the area that you want to take pictures in. Run around until you find a nice scene, then press alt+z (sorry macs) to hide your interface. Take a screenshot with the print screen key and paste it into the document you have open with GIMP using ctrl+v. Or Edit > Paste if you're the kind of person who doesn't like shortcuts.
4. Exit WoW if your computer is bad, though if you have a decent quality one you can keep it running and take more pictures.
5. Pull up WoWmodelviewer and play around with the controls. You'll get how to use it fairly quickly, just take some time to experiment. Take a screenshot of the character when you're done and paste that into GIMP as well.
6. You might notice that you can no longer see the bottom layer (the picture you took in WoW). You need to remove the color around the character, and you can do this in a variety of ways. The most common way is to select the Magic Wand tool from the toolbar and click on an area that isn't your character, so that the background gets selected. You can delete that.
7. Move the character around and you're done. You can mess with contrast, colors, layer styles and screen effects, but sometimes a simple composition is the best.

Learning how to use GIMP or Photoshop is difficult, but it's the kind of thing that you'll want to remember how to do for the rest of your career on CotH. Remember this: pictures sell.

[Image: guild4z.png]

[4.0] OOC Moderation

People can be stupid sometimes. They won't do what you want, and so you've got to have something in place to keep them from running your guild their way—badly. Everyone will, when given anonymity, make a complete arse of themselves. Just look at the bowels of the internet. So you have to control this—there are things you can do, such as take down forum names, to keep people from being unidentifiable when they act out. If they won't tell you, or you're heckled by someone you don't know, you can always screenshot it and send it off to the GMs.

GMs aren't going to deal with all your problems, however. You need to be mature enough to control trouble in your guild yourself. You need to be able to handle drama without letting it take over your guild. People will raise hell if you kick them out, but some of them you don't want to keep around because of how they behave as it is. If you can withstand a ragequit, you can withstand anything—and we've got your back, so you don't need to worry if it gets too rough.

[4.1] Dealing With Bad Attitudes

There's going to be players who will give you crap for leading the guild the way you think is best. These are probably going to be the players that you kick from the guild for OOC disrespect in the first place. They may make a nasty post about you on the forums, in which case we'll notice. They may scream and rant in Barrenschat. They may kick you from their own guilds, or publicly denounce your ever having been a good person—so what if they act like children? Don't let it get to you.

If a player consistently gives you trouble, don't be afraid to get rid of them. You can do it nicely, or you can do it poorly—but if you don't think you can do it period, that's the point you should involve a GM. Say you think that a player is metagaming and starting fights, but he doesn't do it when you're around, so you can't get screenshot proof. You can ask a GM or another player in your guild to watch for a bit and confirm that this is indeed the case.

Don't try to involve other people in pointless drama, however. Above all, stay out of it. Don't lower yourself to the same level as the other people you're already dealing with. Just because someone calls you a name doesn't mean you need to call them one back—that's just common sense. We learned that back in preschool. Stay level-headed and have a system to deal with players that have bad attitudes towards you OOC—you can always report them to us if there's a serious problem.

[4.2] Addressing Inappropriate Character Behavior

Some people are perfectly nice OOC, and very reasonable—but their character isn't fit for the guild. They don't want to change their character, and you get that, but by now they likely would have died or been booted from the guild. How do you explain this to the player without angering them? It takes a little tact and forethought.

First, don't just complain about the player to others in private. Make sure you let the person know that they're getting out of line ICly—have your character react in a negative manner while RPing with them, for example. If they don't respond to IC reactions, warn them OOCly and give them a bit of time to think about it. If the actions keep up, kick the player out for IC behavior. Remind them that it's no big deal and they can still join in on another character.

[Image: guild5.png]

Let me just say this: I'm glad to be back and writing, and if you bothered to read this, I'm really glad for your time. This whole thing is here to help you, and it's part of an effort to improve the RP quality here all around--the next time you think about making a guild, run it through this guide. You don't have to do everything, but it's a good thing to reference. And if I see even one person improve from my nine pages of writing and six hours of work, I'll just squeal.

Until next time,
Moose
[Image: lichkingfell.png]
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#3
The Walluce Weekly proclaims -

"An incredible guide once again, Mistress Moose!
A very helpful read indeed!"
[Image: walrus_family_affair-2.gif]
"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings" - Lewis Carrol
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#4
The Walluce Weekly proclaims -

"An incredible guide once again, Mistress Moose!
A very helpful read indeed!"
[Image: walrus_family_affair-2.gif]
"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings" - Lewis Carrol
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#5
The Vrahn Report called it -
"A necessity for every guild master."
[Image: Signature.png]
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#6
The Vrahn Report called it -
"A necessity for every guild master."
[Image: Signature.png]
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#7
Piken Today questions -
"how does i shot web"
Frogspawned: RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
Frogspawned: Frogspawned flips a table.
Frogspawned: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

FROG, STOP FLIPPING TABLES. YOU'RE MAKING A MESS.

Frogspawned: ┬─┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ)
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#8
Piken Today questions -
"how does i shot web"
Frogspawned: RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
Frogspawned: Frogspawned flips a table.
Frogspawned: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

FROG, STOP FLIPPING TABLES. YOU'RE MAKING A MESS.

Frogspawned: ┬─┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ)
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#9
The Moose Fanclub Newsletter (whaaaat?) said -
"WAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOW SIGN MY SHIRT"
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#10
Spoiler:
[Image: loligv.png]
[Image: lichkingfell.png]
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#11
Spoiler:
[Image: loligv.png]
[Image: lichkingfell.png]
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#12
... And once more Moose puts out a guide that makes me wish to kill myself. To be clear, I want to kill myself because I can never do guides this well. T_T

Bravo, Moose, bravo.

An excellent read and definitely going to be used when I pull up my next guild attempt.
As someone wise once said, the important thing is never to be fearless or confident. Most people have more than enough trouble with both. The trick is to fake it, because if you learn to fake it properly, it's the same thing as actually having confidence.
Spoiler:
[Image: c4i6Zq5.png]
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#13
... And once more Moose puts out a guide that makes me wish to kill myself. To be clear, I want to kill myself because I can never do guides this well. T_T

Bravo, Moose, bravo.

An excellent read and definitely going to be used when I pull up my next guild attempt.
As someone wise once said, the important thing is never to be fearless or confident. Most people have more than enough trouble with both. The trick is to fake it, because if you learn to fake it properly, it's the same thing as actually having confidence.
Spoiler:
[Image: c4i6Zq5.png]
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#14
Good initiative there, Moose. People usually need help when creating guilds, but doesn't know how to find it. This will hopefully inspire them further.
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#15
Good initiative there, Moose. People usually need help when creating guilds, but doesn't know how to find it. This will hopefully inspire them further.
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