5 Steps to Prepare your Guild for Major Patches
One of the jobs of a guild leader is to prepare the members for major events. Mostly guild leaders discuss changes to guild policy, raiding schedules, raiding strategies and individual expectations. However one thing I have found is many guild leaders leave it up to the individual to know whats going to happen with the latest patch. One major problem with that thinking is not everyone spends their days living and breathing the latest news like many guild leaders or even your guilds’ bloggers.
So it is up to the GM to provide a guiding hand, but how? Let me tell you what I do and maybe it will help other GMs in their guildly duties…
Step 1: Obtain Patch Notes
First things first, find the latest patch notes. These are the main source of information regarding a new patch. You as the guild leader don’t need to know everything that is changing, but understanding the changes at a high level is important. Is current content changing? Is there a new raid on the way? Are there new dailies your guildies should participate in?
These are things at a high level you need to find out. New raids mean new strategies and with the arrival of Cataclysm the swap of Valor points down to Justice. If there are new dailies like in patch 4.2, let your guildies know about it, especially if the rewards for them provide gear upgrades that could benefit the raid (if you are a raiding guild).
Next up is looking for major class changes. If you see new spells, or drastic changes to existing spells, you want to highlight those to your folks. If it is minor changes like a small bump in mana here and there, it is still worth mentioning but not something you need to prep someone on.
Also as the patch gets closer to launching, many folks in the blogosphere will begin posting updates on how to play with the new changes, you want to take those blog posts and provide them to your guildies. You want to get as much information into your guild’s hands before the patch happens to adequately prepare your members for patch day. Nothing is worse than having someone not realize their main spec drastically changed, you enter a raid and boom they need to respec, or their go-to spell just isn’t that great anymore.
Some blogs that provide great information can be found here. Also Elitist Jerks is a great source for class changes in an upcoming patch, just know that sometimes the posts are not updated until post patch, depending how active the original poster is on the forum and in the PTR.
Step 3: Officer & Guild Discussion – Do Patch Changes Require Guild Policy Changes?
Next item up is to determine if anything in the next patch provides a potential to change guild policy. New raids usually offer up the opportunity to start with a fresh loot system, if the one you are working on just isn’t cutting it. Has the guild UI changed, do new features require additional modifications to guild charters or policies? These are some questions that the officers and depending on how open to conversation on policy changes your guild is, to the general membership as well.
Prepare discussions with polls if there are different options people can choose. Provide guildies updates to guild policy and charter changes before they take place. Make sure to open up the floor for conversation on these and get proper feedback before pulling a trigger. Blindly making a major change when a major patch is coming, may be too much change for some to process if not properly prepped.
These discussions should also include if there is a guild strategy regarding a new legendary, you don’t want to go into a new patch and have guildies feel like they are not part of the discussion on who they are backing for a new legendary item. Provide criteria for who the guild will back to get it, why you are choosing this criteria, etc. Open communication on this will prevent drama later
Step 4: Distribute Strategies & Information on the New Raid(s)
If there is a new raid, you need to post up as much information on the raid fights as possible. Most likely there won’t be much yet on tankspot.com, however you can probably find some videos of the fights. Most of the raid testing videos are on youtube and MMO Champion usually posts them up as well.
You may even find folks updating wowpedia.org entries for the bosses, or on wowhead.com. Go check out those sites and if you find useful information, I stress useful, because there is potential to find bad or incomplete information. Provide links and details regarding the fights.
The more information you can get to your team before attempting the fights the better off you will be. Even if the information doesn’t solidify a solid strategy yet, it could start conversations on what the right strategy for your raiding team might be.
Step 5: Consolidate All Information & Broadcast 1-2 Weeks Before Patch
Finally take all the information you may have already posted or found and bring it all together. Create a post on your guild forums in a highly visible place, like news or the general members forum, and include all the information you have. Basically you are creating a table of contents of all the information. Continue to add and modify this as the patch gets closer with additional information.
Basically you are providing your members a one stop shop to get to the information. Now that you consolidated it all, communicating it in game becomes much easier, directing people via voice chat prior to raids or guild events to one post instead of several is much easier and direct.
So while most of this may seem like a no brainer, however you would be surprised at how little some guild leaders tend to communicate. Several of my members have told me this is the first time that a guild leader or officer corps brought together all the information in one place. Fact is there is a ton of information out there, and it can create info overload. By spending the time yourself as a guild leader or officer to send your guildmates to the right information will go a long way with your members.
Also if you are not a guild leader or officer but know this type of information is not getting to your guildies, following these steps won’t necessarily step on any toes, and I encourage you to be that communications liaison for your guild. Its a much needed role that needs to be filled.