A guild is a player association gathered under one name (which shows up in brackets under the character name). Each guild has its own private chat channel, text color defaulted to lime green, and the ability to give different players more or less power within the group.
The position names can be changed to something more creative, but are generally: Guild Master, Officer, Senior Member, Member, Initiate. Each position has different powers and permissions. Initiates are often not allowed to talk in guild chat or access the guild bank.
Starting Your Own
In my tips post, I advised new players not to start their own guild unless they already have friends ready to join:
if you are alone in the game and know no one, your guild will be just you and the random people you pick up along the way (usually the people who know as little about the game as you do, because experienced players will belong to more well-established guilds)If you decide to form your own guild (the pull is strong, Obi-wan):
In all the major faction cities, there's an NPC who sells Guild Charters. You'll need to buy one, and then have other players sign before you'll be officially recognized as a guild. Whatever you do, don't go around randomly shoving your guild charter in peoples' faces. This is considered rude and annoying, and you should be beaten with sticks if you do. (WoWWiki)Beside the guild charter guy (Guild Master) will be the Tabard Vendor. The Guild Master is the one who lets you design the guild's tabard, and the vendor is where you buy it.
Guild Charter: 10 gold
Tabard: 1 gold
Change Tabard Design: 10 gold
(Tabard design auto-changes when you change guilds. So hang onto your "blank" tabard and it'll update for you.)
These are my kinds of tabards. Simple, straight lining, no complicated colors, and cuteness up the wazoo. These are, however, the kinds of tabards that attract players who think they're funny, not players who want to advance in the game. (I got around it by getting my family to use the pink one as their twink guild tabard. ^_^)
Here is an assortment of tabards that a successful guild would rather have. The point is to make it simple and appealing, with colors and symbol that are acceptable to many different people. Stay away from glaring, unconventional colors and any symbol that seems gimmicky. (Many thanks to Merciless Tabard Viewer.)
I've seen some guilds that design their tabard first and name the guild after the tabard. Like the black-blue tabard design above might be for a guild called "The Blue Octopus." Which isn't creative at all -- it's just describing the tabard. Creative would be giving the guild a nautical theme like "Baby Seal Clubbers" (real guild name) and carrying the theme through the hierarchy (Commodore, Captain, First Mate, Deck Hand, Swabby).
A great guild name will relate the guild's purpose: raid, family, social, raid-family (mine), PvP, or roleplaying (guild types from WoWWiki). But most guilds will work with whatever name they can get, and that's fine. Just stay away from anything that will alienate possible recruits.
This is the part that people get disappointed on. They spend hours creating their guild in detail but don't have the members to fill in the infrastructure adequately. For new players without the levels, funds, or friends to make this work, the climb is uphill and will take a lot of work and time. (For example, my guild is a family raiding guild but even though we came in with friends and family, and those people brought their own friends and family, it's taken us a year to acquire, without active recruiting, a solid group large enough to thrive.)
Random recruiting is dangerous because you're going to have to be ready to kick out anyone you invite, and some people just don't have the toughness it takes to enforce rules of their guild (*cough*me*cough*).
There's a chat channel for guild recruitment. Just type: /join guildrecruitment
When advertising your guild, give people its type (raid, family, social, raid-family, PvP, roleplaying), purpose, atmosphere, etc.
If you're a new player, your guild purpose will probably be a leveling guild -- a guild for people leveling to have others to level with. You won't want to invite high levels until you become more established at level 70, because high levels will be bored and possibly start complaining about having no one to instance with.
Example: Green is the New Purple -- Leveling social guild hoping to grow into a raiding guild. Casual atmosphere, friendly people. Looking for members lvl 20 or lower. More details at [short website url, where you will have rules and guild infrastructure].
Make your spiel into a macro, and don't be too wordy. Suggestions for guild website: blog or site ($) or forum.
Every organization must have leaders in order to make things work smoothly. The smaller the organization is, the less leadership it requires. The larger the organization, the more leadership is required in order to spread the work evenly. A leveling guild should only require a guild master until the guild master starts having trouble with handling guild business on his/her own.
According to WoW Insider, officers should be chosen for (in order of most to least important) maturity, generosity, communication skills, emotional intelligence/control, and game knowledge.
I highly recommend not making any officers until you actually need them. This will give members more time to rise to fill guild needs on their own, and will keep guilds from an over-abundance of officers sitting around doing nothing. It will also keep you from the drama of having to kick someone out of an officer position so you can fill it with someone better suited.
Guild Master: This should NOT always remain the person who created the guild. Sometimes someone else has more time, energy, and skill to make the guild run smoothly. Our guild started with a council of 5 leaders and eventually one rose seamlessly as the most dedicated and the most willing.
Bank Officer: Always your most trustworthy and level-headed player. This officer controls the distribution of the guild bank according to the guild's rules (and you should have rules, so that no one abuses their privileges).
Raid Officer: The more raids you do during a week, the more of these you'll want. The main raid officer has a huge job researching boss fights, keeping raiders in line, and bringing extra supplies for anyone who forgot theirs. A raid officer must be tough, knowledgeable, organized, and always, always prepared. Raid officers also must deal with Master Loot Distribution, which can be a touchy situation, so the officer must be fair and have a distribution chart to follow.
Recruitment Officer: This person mostly advertises for the guild and gets to know recruits so the guild can make an informed decision whether or not to accept the new player.
PvP Officer: Has played multiple classes in Player vs. Player situations and concentrates his or her efforts on the game's PvP system. Mostly available for advice, this officer can also schedule city raids and battleground preforms.
Class Leader: Members who are extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of their class (warlock, druid, priest, etc) are often asked to be the class advice-dispenser. They are the go-to person for anyone with specific class questions.
Senior Member: In my guild, this is for any officers who retired (who weren't fired). These members are proven to be mature, reliable, and who have and continue to serve the guild selflessly.
Member: Your most numerous catagory. All those who belong to the guild, who are no longer initiates.
Initiate: Players who are brand new to the guild. Most players are given a 2-4 week trial period to determine if they are right for the guild and if the guild is right for them.
Probation: Players who are undergoing punishment for bad behavior.
Joining: Are you going to let just anyone join, will you only allow people with recommendations in, or will you have a strict application process?
Punishment: Define penalties for specific behavior. This way, if your BFF does something dumb, you have policy to follow for how to handle the situation.
- Ex: If members have asked another member to stop negativity, inappropriate jokes, or spam in guild chat, and Player has not responded, Player will be banned from Guild Chat for ____ days/weeks.
- Ex: Players must give the guild a 1 week notice and acceptable reason before /gquit. Players who wish to reenter the guild, having given neither appropriate notice nor an acceptable reason (define acceptable vs. unacceptable reasons to leave) will have to reapply as a new applicant and submit a public apology for the guild's consideration.
- Ex: Ninja-looting shall be punishable by probation for one offense and /gkick for a second offense.
Raid Loot: Typically, the Raid Leader will hand out loot (using Master Loot) and thus needs a guide to go by. In my guild, people who want an item say so in raid chat and say for what spec (main or off-spec). If more than one person wants the item, we go through this list to tie-break (tank > healer > dps):
- for main spec and has not received loot that night
- for main spec and has received loot that night
- for off-spec and has not received loot that night
- for off-spec and has received loot that night
- disenchant to guild bank
Bank Withdrawls: Policy for your bank officer, so he/she can know what to dispense and what not to dispense. Some people have a credit system, where members can do certain useful things for the guild (running others' alts, recruiting needed classes, donate money or needed items to the guild, group to help another member, raid, etc) for points which they can use to get items from the guild bank. Our guild is more lax, but we also have fewer people willing to ask for things. A general policy of ours is that you can get mats for enchants/etc on any gear you use to raid, because then it helps the guild.
That's all I can think of at the moment. ^_~ Feel free to fill in anything I missed.