Some time today, we'll probably start the upgrade for Guild Hall 10.
Edit: We not only started the GH 10 upgrade, we upgraded the lumberyard to rank 4!
The GH upgrades are what unlock the other structures, allowing new plots and also increasing the maximum level of existing buildings. The Guild Hall upgrades are also what slows down our progression - this upgrade is going to take 9 days.
Each Guild Hall upgrade takes the rank minus 1 day - 10 = 9 days, 11 = 10 days. The upgrade period caps at 15 days starting with rank 16.
Right off the bat, that means we have to do our best to time our upgrades to make the most of the down time between starting the guild hall upgrade and when it finishes.
However, it takes a lot of resources to upgrade structures. You also have to have a minimum number of structures at maximum rank to do the odd-numbered guild hall upgrades - the even numbered guild hall upgrades increase the max levels.
I'm explaining all of this because future upgrades are going to become progressively harder and we need to make the smartest use of our time and farming in order to get the best results we can for our efforts.
Poison Clan has never and will never require donations. First, we're primarily a "learn and level" guild, so a lot of our players can't afford to make a lot of donations - they need to grind out their boons and get their gear first. It isn't fair to make them donate. It isn't fair to make other players donate while these players do not. And, honestly, I've always been dead set against making a game into work. This should be recreation for us, not manual labor.
On the other hand, if we don't make enough progress on our Stronghold, we may be replaced in the Alliance. The Alliance isn't as profitable as I'd hoped it would be, but it still offers huge opportunities for our guild and our players, so I'm interested in protecting our place in it. I'm also interested in us not being the lowest ranked guild in the Alliance, too :)
So, to summarize, we have tough upgrades ahead, they will continue to get tougher, a significant part of the guild can't do much to help, and if we drag things out too long, the Alliance may decide a higher ranked guild in our spot will benefit all of them more.
So that's the struggle.
The answer, in my opinion, is that we follow a fairly simple plan. The players who participate have to do so entirely of their own desire to do so, 100% volunteer, or else it will not work.
1) Identify our core players, the ones who are active every day, participate in the guild and interact with other memebers, who will still be here three months from now, and who care about stronghold progression.
2) All core players cooperatively farm in groups - either to complete boons or to farm currency for the coffer. Remember that the campaigns now have tasks that generate vouchers that are worth more than the value of the consumed currencies - you can make your voucher and have leftover currency from your dailies, in most cases.
3) Those farming groups should set regular times of day that they run, to attract additional players into the groups, possibly even getting them to show up regularly. When you've got missions that would have you competing with other groups, take turns or split up into different areas to allow respawns.
A. Keep in mind that farming for campaign currency also rewards you with RP, which everyone should be stocking up for 2x RP events. B. Also remember that you can pick up missions each day and run a zone every three days to clear all the missions - this is often easier than visiting multiple zones each day. C. Once players complete their campaigns and boons, they'll be able to contribute more to the coffer.
4) We'll need to start selectively recruiting more players who are around the 2.5 - 2.8 item level, or higher when we can. We need to look at players we team up with as PUGs, running daily dungeons in different zones, friends and friends of friends, basically looking for players who want to join in, who can afford to help us build.
5) I personally need to stay on top of the roster, every 2-3 weeks instead of evry 4-5 weeks, which will allow us to continue bringing in new players, removing players who have quit, and making sure we have room for both the players who need us and the players who can help us with our mission.
6) We need to prioritize our build out by balancing what can fill requirements the quickest - which means that we'll occasionally need to put off upgrading a boon structure until we've accomplished another goal that allows us to rank up the boon during other upgrades.
7) We need to make a real effort to get conqueror's shards. Each character can earn 20 a day fairly easily. The "Fight To The Finish" quest awards 10 shards for completing 5x5 domination, IWD Black Ice domination, or Gauntlgrym. You are also awarded 10 daily for Stronghold siege.
8) Our core players need to continue running Influence every day and should becoem even more vocal about it, inviting other players along, so that it is easier and faster for everyone to help out. Influence is going to be a non-stop need and if everybody runs it on at least 1 character a day, we'll be able to keep up. Skipping it sets us farther and farther behind.
Everybody won't be able to participate in every activity, and some activities just won't be fun for some people, but there should be a way that every core player can solidly contribute to our goals.