Shameless plug for Firebrand Enterprises incoming.
I was a more casual player and RP’er for the longest, so I stayed out of most “heavy roleplay” guilds because I never considered myself reliable enough to participate on a regular basis. I’d also heard about the OOC ego-tripping, rumor-mongering, and backstabbing that can occur in various RP circles, which kind of put me off getting too involved. So in the end, I’d just join one of the massive guilds on the server for the guild perks. Maybe attend a meeting every other month or so, but otherwise do my own thing.
That changed a little over a year ago when I made this character (Tamanii) and started getting more into RP. Since I also decided to become super dedicated to staying IC and get more involved in the community this time, I treated her choice of a guild like a job search- Tam’s main concern being a good paycheck. She only joined Firebrand Enterprises at first because of the generous pay. V was the first time anyone took her ridiculous salary request seriously. And if Tam’s getting paid, then dammit, Tam’s going to make sure she’s worth it.
In the year or so since, we’ve gone from a dozen to over fifty active players, and we’re still growing. Tam has gone IC from being an irresponsible walking advertisement to a slightly less irresponsible publicist/recruiter and discovered she’s actually a more capable than she once thought. It’s been a fun journey.
We haven’t encountered any particularly bad/prolonged internal conflicts or mass exoduses since the guild’s started. I chalk a good chunk of this up to V and Ashagar’s tough but fair management. Officers are held to a very high standard of integrity and there’s nobody in the guild that’s too important to not be demoted/removed if they don’t adhere to it. If there’s an issue, she’ll come to you in private OOC to address it and won’t hold things against you if you disagree.
I think this helps IC as well, since running the guild like a company means that it’s the well being of the company that matters most. If an employee isn’t working out… Well, it was nice working with you, and we’ll put in a letter of recommendation.
I also think our guild is unique in that its mercantile focus allows it to accommodate a wide variety of character concepts- so long as there’s SOME way for their skills to be monetized or otherwise serve the company. Your character won’t be expected to adhere to a religious code or follow orders like a soldier. Your character doesn’t have to be an unscrupulous profit-minded charlatan. You don’t have to be a goblin. We have all kinds of characters, which allows us to run all kinds of events and tell all kinds of stories. Some are /roll 20. Others are entirely narrative. It’s mostly at the whims of whoever’s running the event. Since our focus is so broad, we aren’t so necesarilly tied to the advances of the gae’s overarching plot, although we do acknolwedge them and take them into account during RP. War or no war, end of the world or not, business has to continue.
Guild member engagement is another big reason I think we’ve been successful. Guild Events are not under the strict control of the officers. Any member can host an event and post it in the Guild Calendar or on Discord. Does your character want to host a hunt? Run a stall at a market? Conduct a seance? Do they need someone to provide them with a particular product or service? Post it and interested parties will show up.
Making sure players know each other and are comfortable RP’ing with each other is also very important. We have Security (combat and adventure oriented), Research (magic/engineering/lore oriented), and Commerce (merchant/services/social oriented) branches that conduct monthly meetings. Employees in attendance explain what they’re up to, what story lines they’re pursuing, and we try to pair people up who have similar interests. Once a month, we have a big meeting for everyone.
Each department is headed by a manager and their assistants, who are tasked with facilitating this networking and helping players advance their individual storylines. If we see you’ve just sitting around and not doing anything, we’ll try to pull you in or assist with any hurdles you might be facing.
Also, at the end of these meetings, we have “coffee dates”. Employees are randomly paired up with one another and tasked with going out and spending time learning about their coworkers. This gives shyer players/characters an excuse to interact, lets you associate with people you otherwise wouldn’t have any reason to talk to, and helps prevent the formation of guild cliques due to people only being unfamiliar around their IC/OOC friends. It’s honestly one of the coolest RP hooks I’ve ever seen implemented.
And that doesn’t even cover the OOC stuff we do inside and outside the game. Mog runs, Mythics, Tabletop games, streaming movie nights, partygames on 3rd party sites, drawings for character art. So on and so forth.
Long post, I know, but I can’t say enough good things about my guild! It’s exceeded all my expectations and I’m glad for all the cool people I’ve had a chance to meet. I haven’t enjoyed WoW, let alone RP in WoW this much in a good while.
Then again, I am the company publicist. I get paid to say stuff like this.