Rank and File: What Kind of Officer Ranks Does a Guild Need?

Officer Ranks — what do they mean in your guild? What should they mean? These two questions have been top of mind for me over the past week as our guild has been discussing a need for new ranks that reflect the hard work folks put in to make our raids successful, and to empower some of the new volunteer positions that are proposed to be filled. But it’s clear even with the limited discussion thus far around ranks, that not everyone is in favor of adding a rank of officers to the mix with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Given my past experiences with progression raiding, I found that to be surprising. When you have raid members who go above and beyond in fulfilling raid assistant roles, if they do not have an official rank that gives them some sort of authority, they are put in the position too many of us are put in at work — trying to persuade others over whom we have no real influence to see things our way. And that can have limited success.

In my most progression-focused guild, in vanilla, we probably had what seemed like too many officers. There was the GL, the class officers, the raid officers,, and guild crafters for each profession. Additionally the main raid and the secondary raid had their own guild bank alts. But then again, that guild fronted 1 progression raid, 2-3 MC raids per week, 2 Ony runs per week, and often had 100+ members logged on at any one point over the weekend. They needed the officers just to keep things moving smoothly from an administrative perspective. The RL didn’t want to be scheduling the 5-6 druids each week in addition to everything else he was doing.

I’ve been a class leader, in charge of picking druids for raids and coaching them on gear and their rotations. I’ve been the guild enchanter, tapped to DE (and usually ML) in every raid for 2 years. I’ve been a plain old Officer, in charge of recruiting ad raid readiness. And I’ve been an enforcer in a recurring ad hoc raid, inviting folks, helping keep things moving, and doling out potty break time.

Throughout my 4 years of playing WoW, has my Officer title affected how I play, or how much energy I put into improving myself and helping my guild? No. However, when I have worked my tushy off for my guild, and have just been expected to do so and seen Officers whose official duties seem to extend only to chatting in O, inviting people to the guild and shooting down any new idea brought to the officer council because it wasn’t their own, that *has* made me unhappy, and even caused me to /gquit.

Then there was the guild that had class officers and a swath of general officers. The class officers included a tree druid who outgeared me and healed, I kid you not, 50% of what I did as an officially (per armory) hybrid spec druid. A few months after I joined, they announced they were consolidating officers since the 25-man raid size didn’t merit having so many officers. That’s great, right? Except that it meant is the GL kept all his buddy officers and cut the rest of the slate free. And the really bad tree? She got to stay. Cronyism is the way of the world, including in guild officer politics, but it’s still a disappointment no matter how you slice it.

So what’s the right balance between enough officers and not enough? Should officers have clearly defined roles and responsibilities or just be responsible for broad governance? What’s worked the best for your guild?

6 thoughts on “Rank and File: What Kind of Officer Ranks Does a Guild Need?”

  1. Interesting. I’d mention that I had a very similar expeience in which We had “The Officers” and the rest of the guild. Officers would always get raid invites and never be asked to sit out. When we have 5 main officers (and their subsequent spouses as Officers too) 3 Role Leads (Tank, Heals, DPS) taking up over half of the raid it becomes a joke that the Loot Council will vote a drop to one of the non officers.

  2. What worked best in the guilds I’ve been part of have been those with clearly defined roles. With my most recent Alliance guild promoting ‘friends’ was the name of the game and well, to be honest, most of them weren’t qualified to be in that position since they really didn’t do too much to help the guildmates. Sure they would do things for those in their clique, but in that position you need to be willing to help/assist others too. Not surprisingly, my toons aren’t part of that guild anymore.
    I do think those that go above and beyond what others do should be recognized for what they do. At times I’ve seen those without titles do more than those with titles. 🙂

  3. I think the most annoying Officers for guild members are the stereotypical GL friends who are not knowledgeable about the game and do little more than suck up raid spots. Bleh to that!
    I agree that Officer rank should go hand-in-hand with a desire (that you put into action) of helping your guild succeed.

  4. I think Loot Council is one of the hardest loot systems to fairly implement from what I’ve read in comments here and elsewhere. You wouldn’t let the toddlers decide who gets to eat cupcakes vs who gets to eat the broccoli for dinner.

  5. In a raiding guild I prefer several ranks of them. 1. The GM or Officer Council. 2. The regular officers if not a council. 3. Class Leaders and people who need authority such as loot council or whatever. 4. Raid Leaders, mostly so they can communicate privately amongst themselves in raids if needed.

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