Stabs has an intriguing series of posts on his blog, looking at guild dynamics by dividing people into ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ of what he calls player-enabled content. (Basically, anything which needs to be organised in game by actual players.)
I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, but I know that I have mentally divided players in the past into active or passive, which is a similar concept. So if an active player decides to follow a goal which requires more people then they take it on themselves to organise as needed. A passive player will wait for someone else to organise the group and then join.
The active player actually doesn’t care if the members of her group are active or passive, as long as they show up and do whatever is required and don’t dispute her leadership. The passive player is often happy to help actives with goals that they themselves do not need.
As Stabs notes, some high end guilds require all their members to show evidence of being ‘actives’. That is, to show that they have led raids or taken a raid leadership assistant type role (eg. main tank) in the past. My gut feel is that this is not so much because they want everyone to be able to lead raids, as that it shows that people are dedicated, hardworking, and understand what raid leaders want.
He also goes into more detail about how different player types might seek out different in game roles (for example, he thinks that healers and tanks are more likely to be ‘producers’). Go read it and see what you think.
Is it good to have more active players in a guild?
Personally, I think it’s good to have a mixture. ‘Passive’ players who will enthusiastically turn up and give 100% at everyone else’s events are absolute gold dust, they probably aren’t given enough appreciation, but they are the bedrock of many successful guilds, both casual and hardcore.
It’s also good to have a mix of active player types. Hopefully they will a) not try to poach players from each other’s events and b) offer a good range of events to the guild.
3 ways to encourage or discourage active players
I have also noticed that some guilds are better at encouraging and supporting active players than others. Much of this comes down to guild leaders and officers and the guild examples that they set. But a lot also comes down to recruitment. Do you try to recruit active players?
- Insist on micromanaging every event in person. Take control of any raid you attend, even if you are not the organiser.
- Refuse to support events organised by anyone who is not in your ‘clique’, and encourage the rest of the guild not to support them either. You can do this sneakily by organising another event on the same day, after the first one was announced.
- Be very very possessive of your guild and events and take it as a personal challenge if someone asks if they can run something.
- Have an events bboard or guild calendar and encourage other players to use it to announce their events.
- Stomp hard on any drama arising from people not getting invites when they wanted. Support your event organisers (even if they’re wrong), it’s never easy deciding who gets to go and who gets benched and hopefully it’ll be a learning experience.
- Don’t put unnecessary obstacles in the way of people organising their own events. Don’t insist that everything needs to be run past you first, unless you actually don’t trust your players.