A small, 10-man guild may seem to lend itself to a more casual approach when it comes to running the guild. There is a much smaller member base to contend with therefore the formal structure and systems typically in place for a 25-man progression raid guild may not feel as necessary. While it’s nice to dream about a guild where loot rules, websites, raid sign ups and the lot aren’t needed, there’s a reason any successful guild out there employs them – they work.
I’ve seen many a prospective GM attempt to create a 10-man raiding guild with very little forethought, going about it with an “I’ll just get a group of my friends together and we’ll go raid stuff” fly by the seat of one’s pants approach. If you treat your guild that casually, so too will your members. It may work for a short period of time but if it’s long-term stability and success you seek, a different strategy is required.
Before purchasing Production Company’s charter, much prep work was done to make sure the guild’s first impression was a strong one. It was imperative that even the very first member who joined the guild understood we meant business. I put the website in place complete with our goals and mission statement, guild and loot rules, membership application, raid calendar, and FAQ. I even populated our forums with several posts such as raid stat requirements, keying guidelines and the like to get people in the proper direction right off the bat. A Vent server was purchased, and I had the design ready to go for our guild tabard.
My goal was to make the guild feel established at its inception. While the initial membership would consist mainly of friends I had been playing with for a while, it was important they perceived us as a real guild the minute they received an invitation. The foundation I had set up in advance not only provided a sense of permanence and confidence from the beginning, it set the appropriate tone and gave us an identity. We looked official from day one, so people treated it that way.
Take your guild as seriously as you want your members and the WoW community to take your guild. If you truly want a progression-minded raid guild (let’s take the word small out of it), act like one on day one. The success of a guild will have very little to do with its size and everything to do with its implementation.