The Guild Leader's Handbook: Strategies and Guidance From a Battle-Scarred MMO Veteran Review
Developer: Scott F. Andrews
Creating a guild for a massively multiplayer online game is an arduous and drama-filled effort for anyone who wants to include more than a few personal friends or outlast the next content update. Scott Andrews is the successful leader of a World of Warcraft guild that has stood the test of time (at least in the abbreviated timeframe of MMOGs). In The Guild Leader's Handbook: Strategies and Guidance From a Battle-Scarred MMO Veteran , he offers solid advice for building an MMOG guild that will persevere more than a few weeks and survive arguments over who earned that epic loot drop.
Want to succeed in business? Want to become a billionaire, run a successful corporation that spans industries and continents to international acclaim? It's probably not going to happen. Becoming a successful guild leader, however, is an achievable goal that requires many of the same skills. It's something you can do, and Scott Andrews wants to help.
Books offering business advice are huge business. We've all seen bookshelves (virtual or otherwise) filled with titles ranging from Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People to Machiavelli's The Prince to Geneen's Managing. In many ways, The Guild Leader's Handbook, rehashes much of this advice, putting it into the parlance of MMOGs. In fact, Andrews has largely re-created much of the business literature, acknowledging such with his headings and references, such as his call-out box entitled "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Raid Leaders" (after Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). That said, there are some very important differences between corporate business and guild leadership: the key one being that everyone involved is a volunteer, paying for the privilege of playing the game, and the goal of most players is to have fun, rather than accumulate real-world wealth.
Andrews' book is filled with solid advice. Like in the business world, one can learn by starting at the bottom, joining a guild and working one's way up, but The Guild Leader's Handbook is good for a strong head-start, especially for those who insist on leaping into the deep end of the server and starting their own guild right away. The Guild Leader's Handbook contains cogent advice for starting a guild, and managing the most contentious of issues from officer's roles to loot distribution. The book won't prepare you for all the wild game issues or interpersonal problems that crop up, but it will help you think through important issues that are most likely to arise, such as real-life conflicts or arguments over raiding roles.
You'll find much of the advice in The Guild Leader's Handbook scattered across myriad installments of Andrews' regular column "Officers' Quarters" on WoW.com, but only in The Guild Leader's Handbook is all this wisdom compiled and indexed in a comprehensive and useful manner. Because the info is available elsewhere, the book can feel a bit superfluous, but one can never underestimate the value of a decent index when compared with a halfhearted search through thousands of internet links. Besides, if that aspiring guild officer you know doesn't need this book as a convenient keyboard-side reference, it makes for great guild-related bio-break reading material.
The Guild Leader's Handbook is a clear and concise read. Andrews identifies himself as a copy editor, and (true to that claim) this is easily the cleanest and most clearly written game reference book I've read. Florid prose isn't what you want in a reference book. The Guild Leader's Handbook is a useful reference for guild matters.