Wanted: Glutton for punishment

Main Entry: guild
Function: noun
1: a group of people with shared interests and common goals; especially: an association of needy MMO players - who require constant attention, never read forums, can't tell time, and constantly argue - that was created for the purpose of defeating the game's most difficult bosses for virtual items.

Part manager, part parent, and part coach, the guild leader enjoys the unenviable task of managing and directing a mass of MMO players with conflicting needs and wants. Without them, the most challenging and exciting dungeons would go unexplored, and the best loot WoW has to offer would go untouched.

But being the boss isn't always easy. Rule too harshly and people will leave. Show too much leniency and people will leave. Raid too much and people will feel left out and quit. Raid too little, and... well, you get the picture. Managing a guild really is like a full-time job, so we thought we'd show you a day in the life of one of WoW's unsung heroes, the guild leader.

Above: Coffee and constant forum checking is key to good guild management

We wake up, grab some coffee, and check the forums. Apparently a warlock won an item some feel should have gone to the shadow priest. Five forum pages later, and the ranting is still going strong. Ruffled feathers must be smoothed out.

We grab a second cup of coffee, update the member information, and check the sign-ups for that night's raid. Not enough people signed up. There are 40 eligible people in the guild, but getting 10 of them online at the same time is a Herculean feat. Still, if we don't have a raid ready and waiting and there will be hell to pay.

We log on and spend 20 minutes responding to tells, answering questions that have already been answered on the forums.

"Yes, there's a raid tonight. No, we don't know what time seven p.m. server is in Hungary, but there's a link to a world clock on the forums. Yes, you have to be attuned to Kara to get in. No, we don't want to do Black Morass..."

The whispers trickle down and we focus on what we originally logged on to do. We send out a mass mail reminding people to log on for the raid, and check the bank to see if the guild can make our main tank a piece of armor he needs. We hit the log off screen after changing the guild message to an all-caps reminder about the raid that night and go to work.