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How Do You Motivate Members?

In my own opinion, I feel I belong to one of the best guilds on my server. Granted I helped found the thing, help run the thing, and have a huge investment in it so I might be a little biased. 🙂 So naturally I have a huge emotional attachment to it. I’m proud of having <ICESTORM> float above my head.

The difficulty of running a guild varies depending on the purpose of said guild. It can be easy having a life of it’s own and run itself.  These are often leveling and social guilds. There is no purpose other than to just have a little fun and communicate with each other. A raiding guild is a completely different animal and sometimes I ask myself when did start a second job with no pay?!  So it is with no surprise that this little exchange took place last night:

    To [Guild Master]: i’m /gquitting
    [Guild Master] whispers: really*
    To [Guild Master]: yeah you don’t pay me enough to do this
    [Guild Master] whispers: lol

Recently I’ve been experiencing a lot of frustration in my own guild. No this isn’t drama related stuff, although drama sometimes comes from it, it’s more normal day-to-day activities and I’ve been at a loss for what to do.


<ICESTORM> was founded on the idea that a successful raiding guild could still remain casual in it’s approach. We’ve had varying success with this and struggled over the last several months, but we feel we’ve gotten it to a pretty good place. More information can be found by going to our website. I’m not going to go into all of that here.

Initially we didn’t want to have to dictate a bunch of rules so we set some loot rules and generally went with it. Later on as we experienced issues with people not being prepared for raids and just needed more organization, we set some general guidelines or rules as each new issue presented itself.


Recently we’ve been making quite a bit of progress through Naxx and even made a little progress in 25 mans last week by downing Sartharion and the first two bosses in the Spider Wing of Naxx. This required a few pugs to be included, but we didn’t mind as it was still the holiday season.

We have several competitive officers and raid members who want to be the best that we can be on the server.  At least Alliance-wise we were 18th on WoWJutsu the other day and we feel we should be in the top 10. We already feel we have the capability and people to clear half of heroic Naxx, but we can’t get the people to log in or sign up.  Last I checked we had roughly 48 level 80s and have had some difficulties running 10 mans. Yeah it was the holidays, but this has always been an issue in our guild and I think one major problem is motivation.

The Problem: Motivation

Remembering that <ICESTORM> still wants to maintain a casual atmosphere, we do not want to dictate when a person plays, how they play, or even how often, but first and foremost we want to raid.  But how to motivate people to raid?

Appeal to their base nature, that’s how! Appeal to their egos by offering rank and loot.

However it’s done in your guild, in <ICESTORM> we have Officers, Raid Members, Members, Apps, and appropriate Alt ranks. We’ve recently decided to limit the number of Raid Members in our guild. Our loot distribution is based on it and to promote progression we need to reward those that are going to help us get to where we want to go. So one of the requirements for raids is signing up on our website.  Easy, right?

    [Guild] [Officer 1]: only see 5 people signed up for tonight’s raid
    [Guild] [Member 1]: why don’t we use in-game calendar?
    [Guild] [Member 2]: why do i have to go to a website?
    [Guild] [Member 3]: when’s the raid tonight?
    [Guild] [Member 4]: there’s a raid tonight? can i go?
    [Guild] [Officer 1]: /sigh

You’d be surprised at how often these same questions are asked on a weekly basis by the same people. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

We’ve made it very clear to members that if they want the Raid Member rank they need to do a few select things among which is the signing up for raids. We obviously need this to make things work and plan ahead. I asked three times the other day for people to sign up in a space of about 4 hours and no one additional signed up.

A few people have gotten a taste of what running an organized fun Naxx can be like by joining our Group 1 raid when we’ve been short some people.  When they were relegated to our Group 2 Naxx raid last week, it didn’t fare so well. It was somewhat chaotic, there were a few pugs, very inexperienced people, and some very poor leadership by the tanks. Through whispers it appears that some intentionally do not sign up now because of these issues. Apparently people weren’t listening or following instructions and a total lack of patience as it was the first time for several people in Naxx. All in all it was a frustrating night for them as they only downed 7 bosses.

[insert various curse words]

/breathe deeply

/ask wife to find my Benicar**

I finally had to tell one of the tanks to suck it up because after his first week in Naxx downing 7 bosses he had absolutely no right to complain about raid costs as it took Group 1 three weeks to get 7 bosses***. Debating whether to keep this tank as a backup or politely tell him we don’t think it’s going to work out. He had a headache and refused to tank for Naxx last night resulting in no one getting to go for Group 2, but he did have time to stay on and play his alt.****

Well obviously appealing to their base nature worked out really well! So how do we motivate these people to put up with wipes, lesser geared members, frustrating raid nights, etc?

How To Motivate Your Members

You can’t.

WHAT?! You set this whole thing up only to tell me I can’t motivate my members?! You Bas…!!!


Homer Rice said “You can motivate by fear. And you can motivate by reward. But both of these methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.”

I received a whisper from a member last night asking when the next guild meeting on vent was. It’s something we did once a couple of weeks ago to give some reassurance to the guild after some officers quit. Evidently it went down very well and they’re hoping for more. I’ve set one for Friday. Here I will talk about what to do to attain Raid Member rank and our active recruiting currently underway to find those that will fill those spots. Then I will open it up for them to talk about whatever it is they want to talk about.

People like feeling secure. They like feeling included and a part of the group. The only thing you can do is give them the opportunity to motivate themselves. Do this through communication. Give them ample opportunity to know the goals. Be honest and clear. Do not be afraid to call attention to the failings of your members when required. Do everything in a respectful manner, even when removing someone from the guild. All these things create an atmosphere of respect.

Those who do not motivate themselves to achieve the goals of your guild, whether it be PvP, raiding, leveling, or even socializing you don’t want in there anyway. Let them weed themselves out by showing where they truly stand.

* You could hear a pin drop even though it was typed. I was LMAO! Yes I am somewhat sadistically evil. 🙂
** Blood pressure medication.  Yes I’m on it.
*** It was one month after the expansion, we were barely geared. We were lucky to get two bosses in Naxx down the first week.
**** This is the type of behavior that exhibits a ‘for myself and not for the guild’ attitude. These you don’t want in your guild except as backups anyway. He will never be a Raid Member.


3 Responses

  1. Me: “Here’s the carrot.”
    Raiders: “lol you had to bribe us?”

    Me:”Fine, here’s the stick.”
    Raiders: “OMG ur a bitch!”


    It really is a lose-lose situation unless the motivation comes *from* the players. I wholeheartedly agree. Nothing I do seems to make a difference in the long run, unless it’s the work I do that creates an environment where people can provide their own motivation.

  2. […] guild leadership. It was constantly on my mind. One of the biggest things we had problems with was how to motivate members which ironically continues to be a really hot topic and my post continues to gets hits on a daily […]

  3. […] guild. We’ve had officers leave, raiders come unprepared, refuse to sign up, cause drama, show lack of motivation, and generally not be there for the guild as the officers would like. There is no guild that is […]

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