GMs Talk: Things We Share, Things We Do Not

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<Apotheosis> must be sick of me whenever I pop into their mumble late at night. That’s Kurn’s guild. Every so often I like to drop in there and have a chat with another GM (who doubles as a blogger herself). Not too many of us around, I’m afraid. She doesn’t know this, but she plays a big part in making sure I remain grounded. When it comes to guild matters, there are certain unspoken rules even among the company of those similar to us. There are topics that we’ll talk about and others that we do not ever, ever discuss. It’s the equivalent of talking shop with others in the trade.

Stuff That’s Fair game

War stories

“And he’s slowly backing up pulling Arthas with him and then falls over the ledge! He just starts screaming over vent, Taunt! TAUNT! I fell off the ledge!”

Everyone loves a good war story. Hilarious events or tales of awesome heroics (that may or may not have been slightly embellished). It’s even funnier if it’s a player that both GMs are familiar with. Typically, whenever war stories are exchanged, there’s usually an important lesson that can be learned and applied. Both leaders walk away knowing more about how to avoid similar situations in the future. The exchange of knowledge means that only one of us would have to experience an event. We’ll then share it with our GM friends in the hopes that they can recognize the symptoms of a problem before it occurs.

In this case, like not tanking Lich King so close to an edge.


Anytime I’ve wanted to make sweeping policies that affected the guild or the raid, I’d try to consult with someone outside. I search for someone who’s familiar with a similar issue. Even better if the guild leader successfully implemented a policy in the first place. I also to try to get in touch with someone who wanted to put a policy in place but ultimately didn’t and listen to their point of view as well. An outside perspective can shed a spotlight on additional factors that weren’t taken under consideration. I listen to what worked well and what didn’t. Maybe some changes or adjustments were made after the fact to help smooth the transition over.

Speaking of which, I need a consult about whether or not I should implement a policy dictating that all raiders show up with pants worn at all times.


This is another reason why I’ll consult with another GM. Sometimes we’ll run into a brick wall when we’re working on an encounter and I like to turn to other people outside who have done the boss. Oftentimes they can offer a little insight into a possible solution. Not everyone’s raid composition is exactly the same. But with strategy changes, you can usually account for that by getting a different class to try and do the same thing. Sometimes it’s a simple solution like moving the raid over slightly or altering the timing! Asking a “How did your guild handle this obstacle?” can sometimes lead to light bulb illuminating moments.

Evaluation techniques

Determining player performance is never going to go away in progression raiding guilds. We’re always looking for methods where we can excel and find tune the players under our raiding core. If a GM happens to be an expert at a class, it’s not a bad idea to pick their brain a bit and find out what they look for when gauging the effectiveness of players.

Stuff That’s Off limits

Current damaging drama

Any active, dramatic issues are kept off the table. I don’t like discussing things like ultimatums, problems or people just giving me a hard time without making certain things really vague. If the guild is going through a really rough time, a lid’s kept on it. However, if a problematic issue has been resolved and passed, I’ll classify it under the war stories category.

Exception: If it really does get to a breaking point, and every option had been considered, I’d probably shoot some ideas and get someone to play devil’s advocate and see if there’s a possible solution that was missed or we walkthrough scenarios of what would possibly happen. Sometimes it isn’t possible to do that within the guild.


I tend to obscure names unless it’s someone well known to the community. If I’m describing a situation, I tend to go with the class or the role.

Example: I think Lodur’s moustache is compromising his ability to heal.  Or worst yet, he’s using the moustache to heal.


I’ve had players who leave Conquest apply to guilds of other bloggers and vice versa. As a personal rule, I never bring them up at all. As far as I’m concerned, the business is always between the recruit and the guild they applied to. I don’t ever ask about their application nor would I ever meddle in any guild’s affairs. I have a hard enough time running my guild and it’s not my place nor interest to run someone else’s.

Exception: However, if the player who applied did something particularly heinous like break into the guild bank or exploited in game, I believe it’s the duty of the former GM to relay the necessary information and then let them deal with it how they see fit.

Code 21

We never, ever talk about code 21 unless it’s under extreme circumstances. Sorry guys, it’s a GM thing.

And there you have it folks! If you’ve ever wondered what goes in the GM’s lounge, I can assure you that there’s no plot to take over the world or to gkick everyone from the guild. It’s mostly business and nothing to be worried about!

9 thoughts on “GMs Talk: Things We Share, Things We Do Not”

  1. You nailed it, nice post. As a blogger and GM (there are probably a lot around who just keep quiet about it) I’m sometimes tempted to use my blog as a platform to correct something, or a as tool to recover from some drama or other.

    I have a post drafted at the moment that contains names and screenshots of the idiots involved in drama recently, who all behaved like dull witted children. Unless they all do something totally insane that post will never be published. It was a process of me sorting out how I felt, and making sure I had dealt with it in a mature way.

    I certainly use the drama and issues as source material for posts – the inspiration and good story that starts a thought process.

    As GMs we have to hold ourselves to the standard of the guild, a higher standard than the normal community, and as bloggers we are far more public than other wow’ers. I might not get much traffic – but all it would take is a nasty and truthful link if I did something awful and my blogging name would become mud along with my wow profile. Again, good post.


  2. “… whether or not I should implement a policy dictating that all raiders show up with pants worn at all times. ”

    Not that I’m an expert, but do you mean leg armour, or pants irl?

    Because I can tell you right now, you’re never going to get people to raid wearing pants irl. Half of them are wearing skirts, and the other half are naked unless you use video chat, and even then they only put on a shirt.

  3. I’m still getting some heat from sharing the world of logs with plusheals who knew asking for help can be bad.

    But anyone that has not been a GM, Its like herding cats and always someone will be unhappy. I am so happy I’m a grunt again.

  4. I’ve also chatted up competitive banter. When you’ve been on a server for a long time, it is likely you get to know the other GMs of the guilds with the same goals/progression as yours. The strategy discussion definitely takes place AND friendly competitive banter finds its way in 🙂

  5. Is this an open invitation for GM’s to come to your mumble for advice Matt? 😉

    Maybe we should just stick with the emails.

    As a legit question – Who are some 10man Guild Leader bloggers I can look up and /follow?

    • I’ll see if I can find out for you. I’m not as well versed in the blogging circles these days as I should be. So many new ones spawning and depsawning.

  6. Don’t sweat it Wynn as Wow-Heroes is now linking WoL parses to characters for the whole world to see. Also I am so glad I got another sucker…errr person to lead our guild back in the day. He is far more patient and suited for the job than I ever could have been. Hats off to all good guild leaders.

  7. Wow really? How could you tell the public about the unspoken thing that we shall never talk about??? You broke the first rule of code 21! Nice blog as always…good luck on your rebuild and if you need any advice/help etc feel free to shoot me a holler on the Shadowmoon server horde side…rebuilt the guild I became GM of and have been pretty successful.


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