Building Bucklers: Guild Charter

If you took the time to read the history, you’ll notice that it was pretty rough going for my guild on more than one occasion.  Part of the issue was that the guild was only roughly organized, and there was no real direction other than, we’re going to try to down more content.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but we recruited to down things at a hardcore pace while being very casual in our execution.  While there’s a lot of things you can be casual about, unfortunately execution is not one of them.

What we didn’t realize at the time, is that if you want raiding success with less stress, you need to have a plan.  This plan needs to be written down where everyone can read it.  It should include a purpose, and all of the information necessary for execution.  I am, of course, refering to a Guild Charter.

Today I’ll disect the Bucklers guild charter, and hopefully convey how to create your own in the process.  Having direction and guidelines in place so that you don’t have to make things up on the spot will save you time in the long run.  Creating and following a charter will also help with the smoothness of all of the behind the scenes work that goes into making a guild work.



–  Guild Charter  –

It’s time to break down the Bucklers guild charter, and take a look at it for what it is.  Note that although charters are fluid documents, they’re not something to be tinkered with constantly, and your members should know if you’re going to change something and why.  It’s best to get this figured out agreed on and set, than to try and make one work as you go. 

If I’ve piqued your interest in creating or revamping your charter, I’d grab a pencil and paper.  Outlines rock when writing a charter.  I’ll take it section by section; here we go:

1.)  Set a purpose for your guild, and put it in the beginning of your charter.

As I said earlier, if you’re going to get anywhere, you have to have a direction.  It doesn’t  have to (and probably shouldn’t) be the same as ours, but for reference:

Bucklers of Swash is a World of Warcraft guild that aims to progress together to see endgame content.

We are a casual, social guild with raiding at its core, but we do not require members to raid, and it is not the only thing we do.  We participate in all aspects of World of Warcraft.  This is a game, and by definition this means that it should be fun to play. Our main goal is to progress into the endgame content of World of Warcraft, and our focus is to have fun doing it.

I wrote that myself, and looking back now, it could afford a rewording, but the point is there.  Without going into any incredible detail, That bold point and paragraph express that this guild is most serious about raiding, but will not sacrifice fun for it, nor will we confine ourselves to it.

2.)  Create simple rules that govern guild activities that are reasonable and purposeful.

It’s difficult to express to someone that they’re not acting in the way that’s expected when you don’t lay out those expectations.  Expectations and rules are an important component for the structure of your guild, and they should be listed after your purpose.  All of them should be concise, and be in the best interests of the purpose of your guild.  Here are ours, paraphrased:

  • Reflect positively on our guild
  • No offensive or hurtful behavior
  • Behavior issues can get you removed from Raid/Party/Guild
  • No guild drama

Again, those are extremely paraphrased, but the main rules in our guild boil down to have fun, but don’t intentionally upset people.  Yours will be different, but that’s a good place to start.

3.) Explain the privileges, responsibilities and promotion requirements for each of your in game ranks.

 Ranks are important to most people, and they generally want to know what they have to do for advancement.  In addition to the perks that people gain as they progress through the ranks, its also important to make note of any responsibilities or expectations that come with the ranks as well.  Why? Because, you can’t expect a person’s actions to reflect the way a person of rank X is supposed to be if you haven’t spelled out what rank X is supposed to be.

We have 5 ranks in our guild, and each comes with a paragraph of information in the charter.  For instance, when someone is invited to our guild for the first time, they start with the rank of Prospective Member (working on pirate themed names soon).  The description of that rank is:

Prospective Member: Prospective Member of the Guild.  This rank is given to players that have applied and been accepted to the guild; this is considered a trial period to see if a player is a good match with our guild.  Players of this rank should expect to have it for at least one month, in which time it is encouraged that they introduce themselves to the membership and participate in guild activities.  During this period of time, loot may be restricted, as full membership is not guaranteed.

This clearly lays out that being promoted to the next rank is contingent on how good of a match a person is with the guild.  Participating in guild activities is strongly encouraged  and the loot restriction shows that we’re serious about protecting the guild from players that “guild hop” to get gear. 

 4.) Make a set list of expectations for those who raid.

A simple list of requirements for raiding, along with a clause that states your position on removing players who are unwilling to meet those requirements, is a necessity for a strong core raiding group.  Each of the follwing are requirements for our raiding group, and are explained in more detail on the site:

  • Follow Raid Leader instruction
  • Basic knowledge of playing your class in a group
  • Install Vent; talking isn’t required, but listening is
  • Install raiding addons from our list
  • Arrive on time; preferably early
  • Read about encounters before we get to them

Nothing on that list is outside of the realm of common sense, and none of those requirements take a large amount of effort to comply with.  If there are any specific requirements for a certain tier of raiding, we add them to our raid forum.  We’ve had little to no issue with these rules since they went in place.  Before their existence, chaos ensued.

5.)  Lay out the Rules of your loot system.

Loot can be a very touchy subject at times, but it doesn’t have to be as big of an issue.  Unfortunately, no loot system is perfect, and there’s always going to be the case of someone getting the shaft.  As we’re currently running 10 man content, we’re using /roll with little to no issue, as we’re taking the same basic people every week.  There’s a more complicated loot system that we’ve been using in our semi pug 25 naxx, but here’s how we spelled out the 10 man loot system:

Looting may be announced through Ventrillo or in Raid chat.  The raid leader will place the item to be rolled for in Raid chat and call for anyone interested to /roll for the item.  The highest on-spec roll will win the item. If no on-spec players roll for the item, players may roll for off-spec; the highest roll wins.  If no one wants the loot, it will be disenchanted, and the mats put in the guild bank for later use.

In order to facilitate faster gearing of our raiders, there is one loot restriction.  Once you have received loot, your rolls will not be counted against someone who hasn’t.  This should prevent  a new player coming in and receiving five pieces of gear when other veteran raiders (raiders who have attended several times already) needed one of those pieces.  This restriction is only applicable for one piece of loot, after which your rolls will be counted equally with all others who have already received loot.  This does not apply to items on which all raid members are eligible to roll for, such as BoE items.

Whether or not you agree with this loot system or not, you can easily understand it.  Everything is spelled out specifically, so there can be no confusion as to how loot is distributed.  Loot rule confusion is one of the largest causes of guild drama, and this will all but eliminate it.  

The other part of our charter for loot talks about reserving loot.  We’ve never actually used it, but it’s for situations where a veteran can only use one item from a raid :

Loot may be reserved if and only if the loot in question has been discussed with the raid leader prior to raid.  A majority of the other players in the raid must agree before the raid begins that the loot reservation is acceptable.  A request for loot reservation will only be taken into consideration if the request is deemed reasonable by the raid leader, and would directly benefit the guild.

If you’ll notice, this is for players that actually need something.  Crazy off-spec requests like a tank reserving a best in slot 2 handed DPS weapon wouldn’t be allowed.

And that’s the end of the Bucklers of Swash Guild Charter.  It’s all of the basic information a player needs to know to function in our guild, and without it, we’d be no better off than we were when everything fell apart.  If you’re looking for a little less chaos, start with your charter, set a date when it becomes effective, and enforce what you write.  It should make things run smoother.

– Sam

2 Responses to Building Bucklers: Guild Charter

  1. Banibaq says:

    Rule number one might probably one of the harder ones to follow. How easy is it to slip up or just have a bad day and go off on someone.

    Had a particularly interesting case tonight. Pugged 25 OS with a group of people that seemed particularly unfocused. Somehow we down Sarth on the first try and as I click to look at the loot it says that the Valorous gloves bind of pick up. I was confused but without thinking I clicked yes before I realized that the loot has been set to free for all. Why, I have no idea. All the other items were gone in no time and lot of those logged out of the instance almost instantly. I felt bad so I put the gauntlets for a roll. I lost to a Pally who was pretty much decked out with Valorous items except for the gloves. Boy oh boy was I debating if I should put in a ticket to give it to him or not. But I didn’t, because – see Rule #1: Reflect positively on the guild. What worse reputation is out there than being a Ninja…

    Sucks, because I really wanted those gloves, but – sometimes there is more to it than gear… *sad face*

  2. samueltempus says:

    How about we get you even better gloves in a guild run? 🙂

    But seroiusly, thanks for doing the right thing, it does make a difference.

    – Sam

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