Review – The Guild Leader’s Handbook: Strategies and Guidance from a Battle-Scarred MMO Veteran by Scott F. Andrews
“Why would you need a book about leading a guild?” That’s an actual comment I got from a friend when they saw me reading the book. And I can see why someone who has not played an MMO would think that it would be easy to run. The thing to remember is that while these are video games, you are dealing with the personalities of the people that play that running a guild, especially an end game raiding guild, can be like a second job. Well one long time guild leader in various MMOs put together a book using all of his experience and compiling it into guidelines and advice for those looking to start a guild.
In general I have to admit I highly enjoyed reading this book. I went in a bit skeptical since author Scott F. Andrews is a blogger for the website WoW.com (he writes the Officers’ Quarters column), but in the end I have to say that it surprised me with the depth that it went into and how well it was written. Admittedly I felt that some of his anecdotes regarding his guild or experiences weren’t necessarily needed and that some of the charts in the book weren’t needed. But in the grand scheme these were pretty minor.
I think one of the best things that Andrews describes are player personalities. The first terms that he talks about are “The Eedies”: The Greedy, The Needy, The Leety, and The Cheaty. He goes in depth about the traits of these types of people and what warning signs to look out for when one of them may show up in your guild. Andrews talks about the fact that any of these types of people can become a cancer within your guild if you do not do something about them, and he also provides tips on dealing with each type.
The other section regarding player personalities that I found even more in depth and something I had not heard or thought of were the player archetypes. These aren’t bad qualities like The Eedies, but instead the personalities of people that you can run into in any guild on any server. Like for example those who are born leaders or who are mentors and their different approaches towards the same goal. These types of personalities are also given fun names to remember them by: The White Knight, The Black Knight, The Sensei, The Priest, The Bard, The Spymaster, The Vagabond, The Scholar, The Jester, and The Poet. He also talks about the different subclasses within these main archetypes that also effect how the person thinks, acts and even gets along with others.
Andrews also discusses more basic guild leadership responsibilities in the book from the basic founding of the guild, to if you’re playing serious or casual, and application processes. Some of these points are dull for those who have been playing MMOs for years, but may be a good refresher course. Andrews gives some good tips regarding deciding and running a serious or casual guild and what the expectations will be from the people who join your guild. He also gives some excellent advice about how to put together a guild application and tricks to sneak into the applications to weed out people who may not be as dedicated as they want you to believe they are.
In the end I loved reading this book. I think it’s a great refresher course for those who may have been leaders in the past as well as a good primer for those just getting into leading a guild. Also, I think that it’s a good read for regular members of the guild and officers. There are some useful tips for officers scattered throughout the book, and it’s a great eye opener as to what your guild master may be doing (or not doing). I have to thank No Starch Press for sending me a copy to read! If you’d like to find out more about “The Guild Leader’s Handbook: Strategies and Guidance from a Battle-Scarred MMO Veteran” or would like to get a copy yourself you can check out the info on the No Starch Press site here.
Review copy provided by No Starch Press and does not effect the outcome of this review.