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The Origin of Guild Leaders

[I’d like to thank James Scarborough who offered his assistance in coding the open-ended responses for this data set.]

As I was thinking about guild leadership, I became interested to learn more about how guild leaders become guild leaders. For example, are they more likely to be guilds they created themselves, or did they inherit or get the position later on. At the same time, I didn’t want to assume that those were the only two options. So I asked players who were guild leaders to describe how they became a guild leader in an open-ended format.

I received 231 responses altogether. For this data set, I’d like to thank James Scarborough who offered his assistance in coding the open-ended responses. Of the 231 responses, 173 could be coded as either “created myself” or “became guild leader after guild was created”. The remaining 58 cases consisted of responses where: 1) the response didn’t make it clear how guild was created, 2) the player helped create a guild that he/she later became a leader to, 3) the guild was created by two or more people, or 4) a missing or unrelated response.

Among the 173 coded responses, the majority of guild leaders (68%) consisted of players who became guild leaders of guilds they did not create. The remaining (32%) created their own guilds. There were no gender differences, but there were significant age differences. Older guild leaders were much more likely to have assumed leadership of a guild they did not create, whereas younger guild leaders tend to have created their own guilds.

This suggests, to a certain degree, a life-cycle of guilds. While guilds tend to be created by younger players, it is older players who tend to assume the leadership role some point down the line.




Comments

Hard to interpret the graph at first, but interesting

Posted by: Chris on March 23, 2006 4:58 AM

This is exactly what happened with the guild I created (which I did at age 19). After a few month I decided that a senate should be chosen since my guild mates weren't happy with only one person doing all the decisions and that I couldn't be in the game 24/7. In this senate, which still exists and gets reelected every once in a while, there tend to be "older" people, like 30-40, and never young ones (

Posted by: Dexter on March 23, 2006 6:22 AM

"Older guild leaders were much more likely to have assumed leadership of a guild they did not create, whereas younger guild leaders tend to have created their own guilds...."

I have seen this life cycle many times in my 7+ years of playing, and when I played DAOC I ended up being the GL by default until I finally got tired of being "mommy" to 200+ people.

I have been playing EQ1 now for the past 3 years, and while it seems like the "under 25" crowd is much more likely to start a guild, it is us old fogeys of 35+ that are much more likely to keep it going.

Perhaps it is attention span, or lack of RL experience in dealing with people, or who knows?? - but younger GL's - esp under 20 - seem to start with too much idealism or fixed ideas and not enough practice to really keep things going. I have seen many guilds started because it seemed "like a cool idea", with little or no thought actually given to RUNNING the guild.

Posted by: Laiina on March 23, 2006 9:49 PM

At 38 now, I've been AGM (assistant GM) of two guilds, neither of which I started. Younger players tend to have shorter attention spans, and although there are some very talented, dedicated younger roleplayers, they often disappear after going off to college or wanting to travel. Older players are more settled as a rule, and also understand the fact enthusiasm alone is not enough to carry a guild. Running a guild is like having a second job.

Posted by: Cal on March 24, 2006 1:26 AM

"Running a guild is like having a second job."

That depends entirely on how you run it.

Posted by: Jake on March 24, 2006 6:31 AM

But you are there, to make their game play more fun, and be the example of how to be the best.

Not just in skills and equipment, but in mindset, behavior and attitude.

And yes I am 43, and I created my own guild.

Posted by: Craig M.Rosenblum on March 24, 2006 6:45 AM

well, in fact i was pushed to be leader too. I never wanted it, but people were unhappy with old one. Now after 2 years of leading a successfull clan i can tell: please take this burden from my back!!!

USKO-PRAETORIAN

Posted by: DESTROY on March 29, 2006 11:08 PM

I created a Guild with 2 other people in SWG on FarStar in November 2003. We originally had joint leadership, but quite soon, 1 guy left the game.

I stayed on as the "voice" & head of the guild, bringing people in & designing the rules, orginising activities etc. The in game funds were provided by my co-leader.

He then went on his Jedi grind, which I could not be bothered with, so I took over the guild full time. One of the 1st recruited members built our website. He later went on to be the leader of our EQ2 branch. The guild (The Dark Vengeance[TDV]) eventually got very large & I had to appoint veteran members as a Council.

2 & a half years on, we span 3 games WoW, EQ2 & SWG (although this branch is struggling now) & officially I am the Guild Founder, even though I no longer play the game where I originally started the guild. Other veteran members are the leaders in the other games.

Posted by: Rycher on April 10, 2006 4:56 AM

The hardest thing is keeping the guild alive when are so many different interests from the members.
Finaly, becoming tired of all the complains and nagging, I decided that the guild should about what a game is in the firt place: FUN.
We renounced at political dreams to be able to keep the guild alive and a place of good atmosphere, wich I think counts the most.

Posted by: Warhorn on April 12, 2006 9:08 AM

i've seen problems with a guild-wars guild i was in, in that a somewhat hot-shot 19 year old, who had been, and still is the guild leader, lost basically all of the control over the guild. I think that some people who create guild in an effort to have a sort of follower system aren't actually leader material, in that more often then not if he didn't get his way he would resort to name calling and cheap shots at other peoples characters.


when i stop and think about it i find that keeping a guild like his may have worked amongst personal friends (a few people in the guild supported) but the others dropped his guild and about 15 others (i stayed until the collapse) all joined a more serious guild with people who apparently take the leadership aspect more seriously. I'm not sure whether it worked out but a couple of the ones whom left are still on my friends list and seem to have gotten a long a lot better then i have (i'm trying to go guildless a while).

I find that a Supportive guild increases everyones ability, whereas a guild that just bickers with one another dragged everyone down... just my thoughts.

Posted by: Phen on April 18, 2006 2:25 PM

i'm sorry if that seemed more of a guild leadership post but, i see it as at one point a scenario where someone more mature could have saved said guild...

Posted by: Phen on April 18, 2006 2:27 PM

Yea, i just recently discoved this site, and many of the things i have read and seen on this site are so very true. But as far as older people stepping up and taking the leadership position... I really havent seen it in my guild. My guild went through a real rough patch, in where the leader disappeared, so i was chosen to step up and move the guild along, and im (hopefully) taking the guild in a new and positive direction. btw im 19

Posted by: Loretannis on April 23, 2006 7:11 AM

I think it really depends on how long the guild is around. Older guilds (that are stable) almost have to be run by older people with stable lives.

Posted by: Eric on May 12, 2006 1:28 PM

The graph shows that younger people create guilds and older people assume leadership. Has anyone ever considered the obvious answer that young people create guilds, stay leader, and get older? Maybe I'm misreading the graph.

Posted by: Jonathan on May 15, 2006 8:27 AM

Based on the graph, most guilds are created by persons in the 18-22 bracket, and run by persons over 35. So no, I don't think natural aging accounts for it...MMOs haven't been around that long.

I lead my guild for two weeks, very much as a temporary measure until a "real" leader could be identified and suckered into the position. Not that my guild is necessarily representative, but out of the 6 Guild Leaders we've had, their age, tenure and member satisfaction during their reign correlate precisely. Being a Guild Leader, or even an Officer, is a part-time job. Why would you offer it to someone who can't commit to a regular time slot for a few years? And how many 18-22 year olds can make that sort of commitment?

Posted by: on May 25, 2006 11:00 PM

I've been observing this lifecycle on my warcraft server and have given some thought already to the potential causes. I think a variety of factors come into play. Younger players seem to be very 'material' goal oriented and their youthful exuberance makes them keen to set up organisations that will help them attain those goals in the shortest time. However, I think largely due to the size and nature of the task, they typically don't have the life experience or interpersonal skills required to develop a successful team. This leads them to tend to take a fairly dictatorial and singularly focused approach which ultimately results in differences of opinion and conflict.
I had guild leadership thrust upon me, and have sought to create an environment that supports the real reasons why (especially older) people play the game. Our progress could have been faster but I am more focused in maintaining cohesion and a convivial atomosphere. Add to that organisational and team leadership skills that one can only acquire professionally, and you end up with a group of people who are driven, motivated and fun to be with. I think younger players tend to overlook this essential groundwork; and that you need a lot of help to make it all work. Common ultimate objectives (reasons for forming a guild) are easy to come by in MMOs - everyone wants the end game loot and challenges - however creating and leading a successful team are skills that only come with experience and maturity.

Posted by: Jools on May 31, 2006 8:01 AM

I've also been in the role that this chart has pegged me on. I'm 20.

I tend to create guilds in the MMOs I play, but I also tend to leave those MMOs before too long (months rather than years). I handed off leadership of a guild I made in EQ2 to an older player, who by now has managed it for much longer than I ever did.

When it comes time for a moving-on younger guildleader to pick a successor from the ranks, it's often one of the older players that makes the most attractive candidate. I've seen that myself.

Posted by: Urwin on June 5, 2006 5:59 PM

From what I have seen, there can be anyone abitious enough to create a guild or take the reigns. (MMOs for about 8 years)The successful guilds tend to have goals and mature leaders. The younger folks while sometimes mature do not tend to have the attention span to control it long, they lack the patience, and/or they simply lack the organizational skills. And it is not easy to maintain focus for months on end even for an older individual. The key here is really setting short term goals reaching them then moving on. That helps keep everyone focused, including the leaders. Also, build a support base you can deligate authority to. Officers who can handle the light work.

I left out the let's have fun and hang out guilds. I did that on purpose, those tend to end up being MMO chat rooms and not players actually playing the game together. Not that do that is a terrible thing. We each seek out what we enjoy from our games. If that is so, then let it be :)

Posted by: Fulk on June 8, 2006 2:25 PM

I'm 14 and my guild on guild wars ( Wich I founded, funded, recruited for, and so on) has been going strong for about 1 and a half years now. It started out as a fun group, but with the release of Factions, and soon to be Nightfall,it has turned more towards Fame and Fortune. out of 100 members, we have 10 officers, 3 of which are 35+ years of age.

All of my guild members/officers know my age and they say that i have done a perfect job of running a guild.

I think that the graph is yes, in greater of a way i wish to beleive, correct, except for me of course. =P

Posted by: BioHazard112 on July 24, 2006 1:16 PM

I created my guild,The White Plague,with some difficulty and I believe it was worth it,I am a proud leader of 15 members and Officers whom are also my friends.Hiwever some guilds just recruit members who just wan't to screw them over and steal as many members as they can,I believe my guild is a place for my friends and I,not for scammers,so If i find that I've recruited a member who seems to be using me and my friends/officers/members,He gets drop kicked out.

Posted by: White Bayvon on July 27, 2006 9:23 AM

Hope this is not too far off topic:

I would love to find a guild leader who can relate to older players. I'm 53 and I just started a couple of weeks ago, but I passionately love this game. As a 3D artist myself, I have great appreciation for its art and scope. I'm in a guild, but haven't really tapped into it as a resource at this point, although I'd like to, but it's new and all the players are young ... one of them about fell over when they found out I am a mom. All you guild leaders, any suggestions? How does one be a good guild MEMBER?

Posted by: Channery on August 15, 2006 10:12 AM

I've only had a brief stint in a leadership position, one that in retrospect I certainly was in no position to take. At the young age of 14, during the EVE-Online Beta, I was a member of a modestly decent sized corporation, an organization at least large enough to earn its own group beta invitations and equipment allocation during planned test events. During the course of the beta, the founders (who were also relatively young, though older than I at the time) ended up drifting off due to other responsibilities. I was drafted to be leader by popular vote not too long after I posted a 'strategic plan' for achieving success in the following beta phase, which involved a lot of technical details and idealized theory, but not a whole lot of practical details. I was pulled into power with a governing council of mostly other people my age. Unsurprisingly in the end, we didn't have the organizational skills nor motivation to take the plan and go anywhere with it, and soon thereafter I lost interest and the corporation floundered without much direction from its 'leaders'. In the end it lived on, but as far as I know, it never got terribly far off the ground.

In general, younger people (and I still include myself in this) do not have a grasp of the level of dedication and effort it can take to keep any fair-sized organization running, or a good grasp of compromise and diplomacy. And I think more than a few have idealized dreams of success and influence, which leads them to jump head-first only to discover they can't really swim.

Posted by: KaleRaven on December 4, 2006 9:20 AM

The first guild I was ever in, for any game, was actually run by a sergeant in the US Army color guard, and was he approximately 31 years of age at the time. The guy was a great leader, and the guild was a blast.

No other guild has ever come close to that one in terms of fun and comradery. However, you could tell that running the guild was taking it's toll on him. Between job, family, and running the guild it was a lot of work.

In fact, the guild was so great that I took it for granted that other guilds would be run this way. Boy was I wrong.

Posted by: Eddie on July 6, 2007 9:34 AM

I have been something of a guild hopper on WoW, and have noticed that a lot of guilds are indeed run by younger folks. My current guild is run by a 30-something female, but before that every guild I was a part of has been run by folks 20 or less. For a while, I was a member of a guild run by a friend of a friend's 13-year-old brother. It started strong, but deflated almost a week later thanks to lack of leadership, involvement, and recruiting. The guild still runs to this day, although it is depleted down from about 40 characters to about 15, with an average level of 25 (median 22).

Posted by: Treima on August 22, 2007 6:22 PM

I have been in the mmorpg area of gaming for about 7 years and through that time i have played many games and been in many guilds. I have found that when joining a new guild the person running it is usually younger in mentality (whether or not they were such age wise). I have never been a leader, though i have been an officer, and i find that running a guild is hard work but it is more than just the leaders responsibility. Some guilds that i enjoyed were run by young folk and some by older folk but one of the key things i really noticed were how dedicated the players in the guild were. The guild can be run by a great person with time to dedicate to the guild and leadership skills but fail because of players who do not hold themselves to higher standards (and of course it works the other way to). I think for a guild to succeed people who join, wether leader or recruit, need to be involved and must be dedicated to not only time but keep to a "code of honor" as it were. Now each guild must come up with their own "code" but i have only seen guilds works that all focus on the realistic goal together.

Posted by: Deathmist on January 5, 2008 4:56 PM

I've actually been in both groupings.

I have been in what's basically the same guild for about 2.5 years, since I started playing MMORPG. The guild was started by a someone who was 16, but when he decided not long after to quit playing, his 16 year old friend took over "official" leadership, while myself (30) and one of my other guildmates (35) were the de-facto leaders that everyone really looked to for leadership.

In the guild's 3rd generation, I ended up becoming the actual leader after the 2nd Gen leader spent about 6 weeks away from the game and people started to drift from the guild. I had a choice between disbanding it, letting it fall apart, or taking over. He came back as one of my officers, and said that he enjoyed playing a lot more not having to be the leader.

When I was getting close to deploying overseas, I decided to merge the guild with a friend's guild that had a very similar philosophy, but with a slighty larger and more experienced player-base. I had offered to turn over the reigns, and no one volunteered to grab them, so I went through with the merger in order to keep the group together. The first 6 weeks of the merger were great (before I caught the plane overseas), but as soon as I left, I started getting e-mails and messages from my old guild mates that as soon as I left, everything got very cliquey between the old and new people.

Two of my former members asked me for permission (not that they needed it) to break back off and restart our guild with them as the leaders. This 4th Gen of the same guild is what I'm now a member of. While I'm not the leader, I again am in a senior role, and I'm sure that if the leader quit, I'd probably end up the leader again.

I've created special purpose guilds, to accomplish specific series of missions/quests with a static group of players, too. Of course those accomplish personal goals, but they help everyone in the group to accomplish the same ones, so it's a mutual-benefit association.

Posted by: Aramina on April 10, 2008 2:32 AM

The guild I am leader of a guild that was started by a 19 year old. I am now 39. He had RL problems and did not want the responsability of running the guild. He offerd me the postion and I gladly took it. Two years later and I am still the Guild leader of that guild.
There have been alot of changes in these last two years. Ups and Downs thats for sure. I had a high ranking member of my guild who was with me over a year leave and tried to break the guild apart. Frustrating to have some one who helped me build a great guild turn on you and try to destroy it.
She was able to pull some away from the guild butt I also had a loyal fallowing of my own. LIfe goes on butt things like that really causes stress and creats drama for ppl who play to get away of real fife problems. Things have been straightend out.
During the problem, as ppl were leaving the guild becuase of the drama, I asked for some advise from another guild leader who had a simular situation happend to him. He gave me great advise. THere is no such thing as loyalty in a Game.

Posted by: Grimior on July 8, 2008 9:32 AM
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