In the late stages of any expansion players in WoW begin to feel the game is stale and yearn for something new, most notably the next expansion that’s coming out. So what happens, well mostly likely you have seen it, been part of it, or thought about it, its really just taking a step back and taking a break. Now that break could be from raiding, from WoW completely, or maybe you just want to kick back and do some pvp or level an alt. Or perhaps some folks are in the bucket of, oh my god, a new expansion I must see all the content as quick as possible even though I don’t know the release date and need to join a top end raiding guild. For those that are not top end raiding guilds all these things can be a problem. So what can you do? Two words, Guild Alliance.
How to Form an Alliance
Now a guild alliance is not something that may come easily. Best places to look are friends who are in other guilds and find out their situations. This is how my guild formed an alliance, I had several friends in another guild. We all were in the same guild back in vanilla WoW, but when the raid size changed, 40 man raiding guilds just weren’t necessary so they went back to their original guild (before they joined mine in vanilla), and we remained friends since then. This brings us to the doldrums of today, where neither of us have been able to do 25 man content lately due to members taking breaks, going MIA, or leaving for raiding guilds to see more content. Well we were able to come together on equal footing and setup and organize 25 man raids in ICC for our members.
Now other ways are broadcasting your specific needs. So lets say you are a 25 man raiding guild and you lost 5 members, instead of recruiting those 5 new members, advertise on your realm’s forums for a guild alliance and be specific and say something along the lines of “25 man raiding guild looking to ally with a small guild to fill 5-7 raid spots mix of ranged dps and healers on a weekly basis”. In that one sentence a potential ally knows up front that if they are a 10 man raiding guild they can expect 50-70% of their raiders to be involved, including what types of roles you need. You can also advertise in game the same way.
Setting up the Rules
1. Loot rules. Are you doing flat 100 rolls, will you be implementing a specific system? Its important to finalize these details and broadcast it to both guilds. For my alliance we chose flat 100 rolls, and if you won something you can continue to roll but if someone who didn’t win something rolls against you they have priority.
2. Who gets chosen to go if you have more than 25? The GMs of both guilds should seriously talk about this because you don’t want one guild to feel like they have all the power and the other is just along for the ride. You want this to be a partnership. So whether you use web logs to determine dps, health and mitigation for tanks or raw healing for the healers, you all need to discuss how you will decide who goes. For me, before each raid the other GM and I talk about class balance, who sat last week, what roles we need and we make the decision together. We strive to not sit the same people, and we try to rotate as much as possible. However the choice to sit folks is always a joint decision
3. Anti-Poaching. Another big one that is a fear of guild alliances is the fear of poaching the other members’ members. This breeds mistrust, so its important to nip this from the beginning. What I and our ally did was setup a rule where neither guild would accept any applicant from the others’ guild. Members were free to go anywhere else, but could not apply to each others’ guild.
4. Who will organize and run the raids? This is really the last one, just setting up responsibility for who is going to be creating the calendar invite and inviting folks and who will be the main raid leader once the raid begins. This should also include what days and times you will be raiding. As another example of what we did is that we had the other guild GM create the event and provide admin access to myself, this allowed both of us to invite as necessary. Both GMs are sharing the Raid Leader responsibility, and talk frequently in order to not step over each other during the fights.
5. Expectations. At some point you may find your alliance treading on the “progression” path and may want to set forth expectations with members on performance during progression fights, whether that’s dps numbers or gear score, survivability, etc. This rule is optional of you are treating the alliance more casually but you should at least think about it.
By defining all these things ahead of time will limit a lot of headaches and questions people have.
Executing the Alliance
The final thing is moving forward with the alliance. Share information with one another, strats. Let the members mingle before hand on vent and joke around. The idea is to form one guild temporarily during the runs and then disband back to their own families afterward. Letting members know more about each other and feeling open to joke and talk makes the unit more cohesive. Praising the joint runs, congratulating the team as a whole and sharing the success as an alliance will continue to nurture the alliance and allow it to grow and become successful.
In the end any alliance can succeed or fail, it all depends on the amount of effort you and your officers are willing to put into it. Both GMs need to be on the same page, communication amongst each other and your respective guilds is absolutely key. And one thing I can’t help but caution you about is not trying to stretch the alliance beyond its means too fast. Let it grow and progress organically. Guilds spend many months becoming a lean mean team, an alliance is no different.
Alliances are a great way for guilds who are experiencing some issues, downturn, slowdown, whatever you want to call it, to really help each other out. Providing members with means to see content and have success doing it increase member morale and ultimately member retention. But remember the number one rule of it all, keep it fun. If its not fun, you are missing the whole point.
I want to give a big shout-out to both my guild and my ally guild for executing our guild alliance perfectly. We have received such great feedback from our members regarding it, and we have had such great success too. The officers of both guilds have done a fantastic job of creating a successful and fun environment for both our members to enjoy the game that much more.
Good luck to any of you who pursue this path, its a great option for the doldrums at the end of an expansion.