How to Write a Guide

Completely different topic today. Northrend servers are down right now so I'm taking this opportunity to write a little article.

Lately I've been pressed for time, the release of Wrath of the Lich King is nearing, and my Northrend Leveling Guides are far from being finished. The guides are going to be huge, each level is an enormous task. So it's taking a lot of time to write these guides, and several external factors are slowing me down as well.

The european beta servers are laggy and unstable. In certain Northrend zones, it becomes unplayable during peak hours. There's nothing I can do about that though. So I just accept it and deal with it.

However, there's another factor which has been slowing me down: taking care of the website. Everyday we get dozens of comments and half as many new guides, which I have to read and approve.

This would take much less time if people knew how to write a guide properly. Sadly, most don't and I have to work on their guides for them or put the guides back to draft status and explain to the author why.

There are several reasons why some guide just can't be published:

1. Redundancy - This is the most frequent reason. Some people just create a guide without even checking if the topic has already been covered in another guide. I think we've got about 15 Durotar (1-12) Leveling Guides so far, and the worst part is, that none of them is of high quality. We don't need 15 Durotar Guides, we just need one, and possibly a high quality one.
So please people, before you write a guide, check if the topic has already been covered, and if it has, don't write a guide about it UNLESS you're confident you can write a much better guide on the topic.

2. Horrible Grammar & Spelling - This is reason #2. Some people just write a wall of text, no punctuation, no caps, no paragraphs, no spell check, no text formatting at all, zero image, loads of typos and grammar errors. The end result is something ugly nobody wants to read. And that's sad, because some of those guides actually have interesting content, but they are just presented so poorly that nobody will even try to read them. Hell, some people even misspell the title of their guide.

Example: Duratar Lvling Guild (instead of Durotar Leveling Guide)

3. Useless content - This is more seldom, but it still happens that some people write guides which would even be useless to complete newbie. Like: "A mage casts spells, you can either take talents for Fire, Frost or Arcane. If you take Frost talents, you will use your frost spells more...etc".
Seriously, who needs such a guide? :P

4. Poor content - This is the most painful one. Sometimes, people actually write a guide which looks nice, has a few images and decent text formatting, but the content is just bad. This happens most of the time when people try to write a guide about a topic they aren't very experienced in.
For example, many people try to write a class guide, even though they've barely played the class themselves. The end result is that they'll just disappoint people who follow their guide and then realize that the advice given was very poor.
Here's what I suggest: Don't write a class guide until you've played the class extensively, reached level 70 (or 80 soon) and tried all 3 talents trees, solo, in group and if possible in a raid.
This applies to every other aspect of the game. Only write a guide when you know that you've got above average knowledge on a certain topic.

____________________________________________________________________

Anyway, to fix this issue, I've put together a little guide this morning, covering the most important points of guide writing, in a very condensed form. I hope it will help the wow-pro community to produce better guides and I encourage everyone to read it and try to write a useful guide.

Here is the link to the guide:

Jame's Guide Writing Guide

Time for me to go back to Northrend and to work on my leveling guides :P

4 Response to "How to Write a Guide"

  1. Storm says:

    Just recently started following your blog, used your alliance 30-60 guides, was able to get to 60 in 4 days playing time, amazing work!

    Keep up the good work, looking forward to more Death Knight information ^^

    BigGoofy says:

    Do you have any of the Northrend leveling guide done? I would love to use it to level my Beta character...

    Jame says:

    Yes I have a few done, but sorry, I'm not releasing them anywhere before the official release dates I've set.

    BigGoofy says:

    no problem, wishful thinking :)