The Legion Starts Over

Over at Clockwork Gamer, Kendricke describes how his guild managed to finally shape itself into a raid force that could get mythicals for its members.

There’s a lot to admire about this approach. My guild doesn’t raid, none of us can commit to three nights a week. But we made a big push last fall to level up and earn enough money to get a big guildhall.

Last fall, their raiding wasn’t going well. They had some raid-focused recruits, but those recruits weren’t fitting in well, and the situation was stressful. After some meetings:

In the end, we made the decision to scrap the current raid force and start over. We cancelled all raids for two weeks. We needed time to recoup and reflect. We needed time to rebuild. However, before you can start rebuilding anything, you need to have a plan. You can’t just start slinging mortar and sheet rock without a blueprint and hope to have a house worth living in. We wanted to live in our house for a long time to come. We needed to get back to the drawing board.

The leadership of Kendricke’s guild, The Legion, decided to rebuild the raid force from the ground up, focusing first on in-guild membership.

We built a template which outlined the type of raid force we wanted, rather than what we already had. Once we had the outline built, we started planning out which classes we had available to us already and which ones we would need. We looked at our roster. We didn’t just look at primary or “main” characters. We looked at all of those secondary “alts” we had piled up at the bottom of the page. In particular, we noted which classes were already avaiable to our “foundational” raiders. If we were going to use them as our new bedrock, then we wanted the most critical classes to be theirs.

The player who had been their MT had recently gone through several life changes: he graduated from college, got married and got a full-time job. So they decided they needed a new MT.

However, as officers, we knew that things needed to change – not just with him, but with every member of our raid force that was filling a critical slot who wasn’t able to consistently give the effort they wanted to. [...]We spent a few days figuring out who could switch classes and who could simply take a less active role on the raid force.

That, in itself, is a hard place to come to. Ego is a precious and fragile thing. You’ve got to handle it firmly, yet with care. We were careful not to diminish anyone’s personal performance, and we concentrated on committments and the good of the guild. We’ve got some fantastic guildmates in this little guild we’ve kept going, so talking from a team perspective seemed to be the way to go. Everyone wanted us, as a guild, to succeed. No one wanted to be the person who held us back. Everyone was willing to do what needed doing to pull us up again as a group.

I have personally witnessed corporate professionals screw up this kind of change management. The result of this focus was that individuals started to step up, leveling up brand new toons, leveling alts and then betraying to get the critically important classes. Because of the shared sense of purpose.

We cut our weekly raids from four to three, because (as I’m sure everyone got sick of hearing me repeat) “we bond in groups”. We began running more group instances. We began gearing each other up. We started mentor groups and flat out powerlevelled several members who were starting over for us. We opened up new guild funds from our long neglected treasury and we started to outfit new members in free gear, adornments, and spells. If members were willing to sacrifice for us through their time, the guild would meet them halfway. This had started as a shared effort to rebuild our diminished raid force. What it became was a rebirth of our guild’s purpose.

The story ends with big success. Over 40 mythicals in their guild, and a bunch of people with a renewed bond and a sense of purpose. This is the good stuff, and it goes way beyond “it’s just a game”. Frankly, the story reminds me of the sort of change management described in my favorite business book of all time, Good to Great.

A big Congrats to all involved.

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