To be completely fair, I want to admit up front that I have stolen this analogy from Roksi. She first posted it in the FAQ for the guild before I had even joined. The first time I read through it though, something just clicked in my brain. Ever since I encountered it, this analogy has become the predominate model my brain uses when trying to solve or address issues with our guild, individuals, and raiding in general. The basic question I start with when confronted with an issue is –> how would this work if we were on a softball team?
DPS that refuse to switch targets when asked? This is sort of like a fielder (in or out) that refuses to throw the ball to anything but first base.
People who claim they don’t need the best enchants/gems in their gear? Reminds me of a guy I played with once who insisted he didn’t need to wear cleats.
Anyone that has spent any real time reading the various guides and discussions around the web on how to start a guild, how to run a guild, or tips and tricks to leading a successful guild are probably familiar with the types of analogies that are typically used. ”Running a guild is like starting your own business” or “running a guild is like leading your own group of soldiers into battle”. The thing is, I have been in charge of soldiers and I have run my own business and neither one of them really fits running a guild nearly as well as the idea that being in a raiding guild is like being on a softball team (or a bowling league, or any other similarly organized recreational activity)
Business and Military analogies tend to break down when you start looking at anything other than the generic leadership roles, theories, and discussions and try and draw parallels between the rest of the group. The motivational theories that drive your typical soldier or wage slave are completely different than those you will find behind most of the raiders in a WoW guild. Transparency in policy and a clear understanding of expectations for everyone involved are the core solutions to about 95% of the issues I see people asking for help with when it comes to leading and organizing guilds and raids.
Randomized list of similarities between raiding and playing softball:
- All of the people on your team are usually paying some sort of participant fee to be there (unless you are somehow awesome/lucky enough to have full sponsorship)
- Everyone on the team has chosen this activity as the thing that they want to spend their leisure time participating in.
- You can have wildly different backgrounds and experience outside of the game/sport/activity, but you all share an interest in the playing the game.
- There are some basic *shared* expectations everyone on the team has (or should have at least) for each other.
I think that this last one is, hands down, the most important concept in forming, running, and leading a successful raiding guild. Any guild that raids successfully needs to have these expectations available somehow to everyone in their group. Whether they are written down, explained during the application/invite process, or just somehow “understood” by everyone, every guild is going to have these in some form or another, the question will be whether everyone in the guild is on the same page or not.