Focusing on progression in an MMO is hard, but it’s not just hard because of the content. Sure, that’s part of it, but it’s safe to say that if you really want something down, you’ll get it down. Eventually.
It’s that “eventually” that starts to wear thin, though. Everyone knows you need to go in for another round of practice, this content won’t beat itself, but boy you’re not looking forward to another week of wiping, and the same problems keep happening, and you’re all struggling… and before you know it people just don’t want to be there anymore. The rewards are not worth the exhaustion, full stop.
Do independent research
Part of an officer’s job is making sure that everyone involved in the progression team knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and hey, that’s great. But that does not mean that during the rest of the time you can slack off and ignore things. If anything, it means that there’s more onus on you to find out what you can be doing to improve your performance all around.
Take the time to do research on your own. Research your class mechanics and make sure you’re using the best build possible. Practice your rotation. Look for alternative strategies on bosses that are giving you problems. See if other people are stuck in the same spot and what they did to overcome that problem. Do yourself the favor of looking around and seeing if there are more resources out there to make your team better.
If you find a good alternate strategy, send it along to your officers. If you have more practice with your rotation, share it – not in a passive-aggressive way, just share on the forums that you overcame a problem and that others can use the same approach. Don’t try to take control of the guild away from the officers and the people who are actually in charge, but make a point of doing some of the lifting on your own rather than waiting for the officers to say that you have a problem.
Volunteer for what you can do
There are always things that need to be done in between progression attempts. Resources need to be restocked, guides need to be written and consolidated, people need to be reminded of the times, events need to be scheduled… it can be exhausting. And most of the time, the majority of that responsibility is on the officers, since… well, it’s their guild. So that makes sense.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer to take some of the burden off of them. If you can gather some of those resources or handle the necessary calendar functions, that’s a burden off of the officers and more effort for them to focus on actually leading the guild. This is doubly true for things like calendar maintenance, necessary tasks that no one really wants to do but everyone wants done just the same.
Understand that this means you will probably be volunteering for some boring scut work and it won’t be particularly glamorous. It’s probably going to be tedious as all heck. But it also makes the guild as a whole run more smoothly over time, so that’s a good thing.
Understand and respond to guild needs
The hardest part of being a good guild member is when your guild has just cleared a difficult fight in Final Fantasy XIV, the loot is there, and you want to lay claim to exactly what you need… but you pass on it, because it’s a bigger upgrade for another part of the guild. There’s no shame in making a few choked noises over voice chat as it happens. But you also know it’s the right thing to do, because the small upgrade for you will be a huge upgrade for someone else and will lead to more success overall.
Responding to guild needs need not be that extreme; sometimes it’s just a matter of choosing crafting specializations or professions in Star Wars: The Old Republic to match what your guild needs rather than what you like to do. But the core philosophy is the same: you are part of a group, and your decisions are primarily based around what is good for the group, even if it doesn’t necessarily sync up with the stuff that’s best for you.
And yes, sometimes it means making choked noises over voice chat. Stop shy of singing “I Will Always Love You” in the midst of it, though.
Encourage your fellow members
Your officers are your authority in your guild. Whether or not they deserve that authority is another discussion but also doesn’t matter a whole heck of a lot; that’s the position they have, regardless. Praise coming from them is naturally going to feel more like your boss giving you a pat on the back. You, on the other hand, are not an officer; praise from you feels more like a co-worker acknowledging work done well.
This is one of those times when the source of a compliment matters almost as much as the complement itself. Encouraging your teammates doesn’t need to be a big thing – it can be as simple as telling someone that you can tell they’re doing good work, or reassuring someone that they got screwed by mechanics when they drop. It’s a matter of making the environment and atmosphere one of commiseration and camaraderie, that you’re all on the same team and you recognize their accomplishments.
What’s especially nice about this is that it tends to form a self-perpetuating loop – if one person is more free with compliments and praise, everyone else tends to follow suit, until everyone is praising one another and being supportive. It’s like a master plan to manipulate everyone into being helpful, it’s great.
Liven up the atmosphere
When I was working on Naxxramas with my guild many moons ago, we would often all burst into song before the Heigan fight. He was the dance boss, after all, and so we all wanted to be in the mood to dance. And sure, we still would occasionally wipe on him, but the fact that we were all going in and laughing about someone’s terrible rendition of “Video Killed the Radio Star” made things far less tense than they would have been otherwise.
Maybe you don’t sing; maybe you tell awful jokes or share puns or just rib one another. The important thing is that you work to make the atmosphere light and fun. Yes, you all need to be paying attention and put your game face on, but you don’t need to do that instead of having fun. You should be doing that while having fun.
Please note that intentionally failing an encounter is not “livening up the atmosphere,” it’s just being a jerk. Find ways of making people smile that are focused around humor rather than just forcing a wipe.
None of this, of course, will ensure that you’re successful as you work through progression. It just ensures that you’re doing your part to be the best guild member you can possibly be, offering your fellow players the best atmosphere you can bring to the table. At least if you still wipe, you know you’re doing all you can to avoid it… or take the sting off of the frustration.