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?