How WoW’s guilds can survive until Legion’s August 30 launch
On Monday, Blizzard revealed that Legion‘s release date will be August 30. While this is three weeks short of the “worst-case scenario” of September 21, it’s still a far cry from ideal for guilds out there who are trying not to die of thirst during WoW‘s latest content drought.
Last week I talked about how these gaps in content are so damaging to guilds. This week, let’s figure out how to survive them!
Communicate often and honestly
When things are looking bleak, it’s important not to sugarcoat the situation or pretend that everything is fine. Your guild members may not be privy to all the same information the officers have, but they can still sense when the guild is struggling. Don’t lose their trust by trying to trick them into staying subbed. You’re going to lose some players to boredom in the next four months. It’s a reality you have to face. But if you face it with honesty you’ll keep the respect of your guild and those players will be more likely to return.
There will be many concerns from the players who remain. Be quick to respond to those concerns. If your members ever think the officers have given up on the guild, it’s already done for.
Also, stay ahead of the rumor mill. If a member of your raid team tells you he or she is calling it quits until Legion, communicate that to the guild. You don’t have to give a reason, especially if it’s a personal one, but let the guild know. Otherwise, you’ll have players whispering you, asking, “I heard that X quit. Is that true?” When you say it’s true (and you should), it’ll feel like you were purposely hiding or withholding that information.
Offer value to those who stick around
Some players want a reason to stay subbed during content gaps. These players give you the best chance to bridge the gap, but their patience isn’t infinite. Offer guild-organized activities that take advantage of the wait to experience content you might have skipped otherwise: challenge modes, raid meta-achievements, group rep grinding, mount farming, etc.
Running the previous tiers of Heroic/Mythic raids from Blackrock Foundry on down is another option. You won’t get relevant gear in most cases, but there are achievements, transmog items, pets, and mounts to be earned from those old tiers. This also helps players to complete the legendary ring quest line on alts who might become mains in Legion.
You can also form a temporary alliance with another guild if needed to run the content you want to run. Unless they’ve been extremely lucky, the other guilds on your realm probably need you just as much as you need them.
Don’t be afraid to shut down
Now that we have a release date, we have a concrete timeline. Shutting down a guild’s official activities is a risky play but sometimes it’s your only good play. If you keep trying to raid and you keep failing at it because you don’t have enough interest, that’s far worse than simply saying, “Let’s call it until Legion.” Remember that your guild members make sacrifices and sometimes rearrange their schedules to show up for raids. If you keep making them show up but without a payoff, they might start thinking about switching to another guild. If they have to make that time for raiding anyway, they may convince themselves to make the time for a guild that actually raids.
On the other hand, you can acknowledge that the guild is dead in the water right now and give people a break. Emphasize that this is temporary. Give them a date to return, whether it’s for the prepatch or the expansion launch. Don’t just leave it hanging.
During a shutdown, it’s important to stay in touch. Stay active on whatever forums or social media your guild uses. Post news and content there frequently. Invite conversation. Keep your players invested.
It’s entirely possible that by shutting down you’ll lose some raiders forever, but that was already a risk anyway. At least by shutting down you’ll offer people a chance to take a step back from the game without the guilt of “quitting” on the guild.
Talk about your plans for Legion
With guild events slowing down and players unsubbing, it’s easy for your members to think that this could be the beginning of the end for your community. The best way to convince them that’s not true is to talk about your plan for Legion. What will the guild focus on? What difficulty will be targeted? Who will play which class/spec? It may seem like it’s too early to talk about this stuff, but any way you can generate excitement about the future of the guild is incredibly important right now.
If your realm or faction is in a bad place, you might also consider switching. Now is a great time to discuss that option with your guild and make a decision. You don’t want to manage this transition at the same time that everyone is leveling in Legion. Get set up ahead of time so you’re ready to go. Switching now also gives your guild members plenty of time to level up new characters if they’d rather do that than pay for a realm/faction transfer. It also makes it more likely that they could use their level-100 boost from the Legion preorder in the right way.
Keep in mind also that the Legion pre-patch event, the Broken Shore, will allow up to 20 players to queue into it at a time. Take advantage of this and create a gameplan to experience it as a guild once we get the pre-patch release date.
Finally, keep up with the latest Legion info and talk about the guild’s response. For example, we’ve finally seen what Legion‘s world quests will look like. They include group quests, raid quests, and PVP quests, all of which are not even close to soloable for new level 100s on the alpha right now. You could talk about how the guild plans to help members with these quests by coordinating groups or setting up a daily window of time for people who are interested.
Of course, then you actually have to follow up on your plans when Legion comes around, but that’ll be the fun part — the payoff for all these painful months of holding the guild together. It can’t come soon enough, but we’ll have to settle for the end of August.
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