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The Demographics of Guild Membership

While most players are in guild, one unexpected finding was that female players are significantly more likely to be guild leaders (p = .03).

It was also found that older players are more likely to be guild leaders.

See "The Demographics of Groups" to see how the demographics flip in normal group leadership.

Posted on September 3, 2003 | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)


There must be some fundamental flaw in the data gathering technique. According to the chart, 1 in every 3 players in everquest is either a guild leader or officer. That just can't be true. Possibly, those most likely to respond to a poll of this type are the hardcore gamers, and thus more likely to be in positions of guild leadership.

Keep up the good work though--I find these studies interesting.

Posted by: jrrag on September 5, 2003 2:24 PM

jrrag - it might look high, but the data comes from other games as well, such as DAOC where officership is more prevalent. But I think you're right, overall it is skewed high.

Posted by: Nick Yee on September 5, 2003 3:57 PM

At a glance, I'd say it looks like the numbers are skewed high by the fact that this is a voluntary online survey. Perhaps the kind of people who tend to become officers in guilds also tend to volunteer that information more readily?

These surveys are very interesting, and I find them persuasive, but obviously there are some difficulties with the methodology that one has to take into account.

Posted by: Sean on September 8, 2003 4:41 AM

While not knowing the survey questions, I can assume the officer question was like "Are you considered an officer in your guild or organization?" or "what possition do you hold in your guild or organization?" If either is the case then it is up to the subject to define what an officer is. That (IMHO) is most likely the reason for the high officer numbers. However you read it, I am pleased with the data.

My biggest quetion now is why those non-guilded people have avoid going into guilds.

Posted by: Axthelm on September 23, 2003 7:13 AM

Well to answer Axthelm, I think the reason non-guilded people don't join guilds is because they'd like to play the game on their terms. Which is the case with myself. I have a feeling that these thoughts are, on a general level, rather prevalent in the unguilded. When you're in a guild, suppose your leader decides it's time to go on a raid. You're having an excellent time where you are with the group you're in but you're expected to leave for the sake of the guild raid. Essentially I'd prefer not to pay my account fees every month so someone else can tell me where to go and what to do and when to do it. Sure being in a guild has it's benefits, i.e. raid loots and status but freedom to do as you will, when you will with no interruption from some other person at a computer who envisions themselves a mighty and powerful leader just doesn't suit me at all.

Posted by: Bill on October 20, 2003 3:10 PM

"While most players are in guild, one unexpected finding was that female players are significantly more likely to be guild leaders (p = .03)."

This does not surprise me one bit. I am male, and I firmly believe that in the aggregate, women have superior group social skills than men.

Men tend to gravitate towards rigid power structures, while women's power structures tend to be loose and multi-dimensional.

I have experienced women as guild leaders and women as RL managers, and when it comes to managing multiple relationships and the inevitable conflict, women usually (but not always) do a better job.

Having group leaders be men does not suprise me at all either, as groups are task oriented and benefit from central control versus guild leadership, which is more relationship oriented.

I'm not being sexist here, by the way. The sexes ARE different, and there are numerous studies that support the idea that in general men are better than women at task-oriented projects and women are better than men at managing multiple relationships.

Hehe. This means of course that the world will eventually be filled with women bosses and men doing the tasks assigned to them by women... just like marriage!

Posted by: Pragmatic Idealist on January 7, 2004 1:06 PM

(39 female)

When I played DAOC I was guild leader of one of the larger guilds there, but the stress of trying to manage 200+ personalities, and the fact that I was not all that wild about giant PvP raids led me to abandon DAOC after about 9 months.

I have been playing EQ now for just under a year, and have little interest in being either a guild leader or an officer. I am just still too burned out. Basically I have moved to the sidelines and am generally more interested in having fun with friends.

Posted by: Kimi on July 18, 2004 11:45 PM

I've noticed from the personal experiences of myself and friends what I would call the "leadership drop". This to me explains our actions as my friends and I went from being the guild leaders of one of the larger and immensely successful SB guilds, and eventually getting tired of the stresses that come with such a massive pvp oriented game. Siege timers, active member number's, levels, group's, and "who was in charge when", used to derive a good 30+ hours of my week when I played SB.

After the SB server consolidation my friends and I left our positions within our guild gradually and tended to join smaller guilds as member's only, generally refusing or avoiding any direct leadership role.

Posted by: on July 31, 2005 8:03 AM

I used to be an officer of a quite successfull guild in daoc (3 years) and when things are running smoothly it was enjoyable it was fun, but when problems started coming and "drama" as we used to call it it just wasnt fun spending hours every day sorting out problems about loot attendance etc etc that is not fun, atm i am a member only in a wow guild and i enjoy my time online alot more also to the unguilded person above, that is why my alts arent in guild the freedom to do what i want when i want is very nice and relaxing.

Posted by: Anon on August 1, 2005 5:04 AM

Wow, there seems to be an awful lot of female guild LEADERS as opposed to men in terms of percentage, that's interesting...
not surprising to find older people being guild leaders, if they still play a game when they're 35+ then they obviously have nothing else better to do - LOL have fun with that!

Posted by: PBX on January 6, 2007 12:14 PM

Somebody above was wondering why some players avoid guilds. Well, the reason I do so is because I do not have the time or the patience to maintain the kind of social networks that develop in guilds. The only thing I even use my current guild for is grouping convenience and to listen to people spout off their opinions over the guild channel when I'm off soloing.

Posted by: Treima on August 27, 2007 9:32 PM

(28-yo female) I avoid guilds because I dislike bringing RL discussion and drama into games, which always happens in every guild but 1 I've been in. This may surprise some but I also strongly, strongly avoid women guild leaders. I've had more than one bad experience with women guild leaders. They've wanted the (younger) men in the guild to idolize and casually flirt with them, and resent when another female joins (even myself who is married, is into PVP, and uninterested in social aspects). I've never had this trouble with other ladies IRL. I suspect it has something to do with the anonymous nature of games and wanting to feel more attractive and popular than you do IRL (for which I do feel some sympathy). The 1 good guild I was in was mostly older men, who were husbands and fathers, and not interested in anything outside playing.

Posted by: SABBC on February 21, 2008 7:08 AM

I was an officer in 4 different guilds as they merged and changed for the first year+ that I played World of Warcraft. Then I started a guild with a group of friends. (I was 33 at the time). That guild survived for over a year until we lost a large portion of our membership. Then I was promoted in the raiding guild I ran with. When burnout hit with raiding I jumped ship to the Horde. In my horde guild I was promoted quickly to officer and last month I took over as the GM. Its fun thus far and not nearly as crazy as the last guild I lead. ~Z

Posted by: Zhadist on June 12, 2008 12:39 PM
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