March 23, 2010

Chronicles of a Guild (and a half)

Posted in Musings at 7:40 pm by Aduial of WrA

So Tamarind over at Righteous Orbs posted something earlier that got me thinking (yes, yes, I know most of my posts are “So&So posted something and it got me thinking,” but it usually takes something like that for me to turn my thoughts into a coherent blog post, it seems, even when I do have the time.) Now it’s not really that on topic with his post, but his post is what spurred my thoughts to form into something resembling a post, so here we go.

Not that long ago, I had a guild. Well technically I’ve had several, but only two were made to be something beyond a personal bank in guild form, and only one of them really got anywhere. Even before I first joined WoW, my friend who was determined to get me into it and I decided we were going to make a raiding guild together. Funny thing is, neither of us actually wanted to lead, so it ended up with plans of he was going to be the mastermind behind the curtain and I was going to be the face that impressed everybody. If only things were so simple. We spent a good couple days picking out a name we agreed to be suitable (AdNocendumPotentesSumus, since there wasn’t room for spaces, which was latin for “We have the power to harm”), and a few after that working out rules for just about everything we could think of, to prevent any problems. In its heyday, ANPS (as we ended up shortening it to save our sanity in typing it every time) had 4 active members. We had a warrior tank, my friend was the druid healer, and we picked up a couple friends along the way and managed to recruit them–a warrior tank, and a warrior DPS. We levelled in this group, 4-manning everything, from Scarlet Monastery on through Outlands, where we managed to pick up another warrior DPS, who had started inviting some of his affiliations into the guild, and the core group never did really get to know them. About a month later, my tree friend and I ended up running out of time, and due to his moving and a couple emergencies on my end, we didn’t have the money to renew our game time. I got the money first, I think, about a month and a half after that; the problem was, I’d already gotten a mail from Blizzard, saying someone requested to be made guild leader “to promote and grow the guild” since I’d been inactive. Within a day, everything we’d work so hard for was gone. I played 2 days out of that two month’s time, and said never again, and I left WoW.

Fast forward about a month and a half, my unofficially-adopted sister is creating a DK on a new realm with a mutual friend of ours. I could’ve swore it’d been long enough I’d run out of time, but checked and surprisingly had either 3 or 4 days left, so joined them since it was only going to be for about a week anyway. We all chatted over Skype while rolling out our new death knights, had a blast that night, and my sister and I ended up rolling new toons after our friend could no longer play with us, and made the new realm our home. Despite what happened with ANPS I soon found myself longing for the comfort of chatting with friends in a guild, and pulled up a random guild name generator, saw one that caught my attention, saw how my sister liked it, and made a charter. I spent a couple hours that night standing outside Orgrimmar as the lowly troll tank I was, paying for signatures–though most people were more than willing to do it for free, and I even got handouts from one of the signees who sort of took me under his wing.

And so, Tattered Legends was born. And for a while, things were good. Even when I found out my tree friend had started playing again and somehow found himself on our server by coincidence and he joined, things were going smoothly. We still had some members who’d signed the charter, rather than them all leaving, and many were fairly dedicated to the guild. We leveled up peacefully for a couple months before issues arose. I’d made a friend who was stuck with Classic and I ended up running raids with him, then through Burning Crusade after I got that for him, and even though Tattered Legends had always been a ‘casual levelling, one-day-to-be raiding guild,’ some of the officers were having issues with it. To this day I’m not sure if I just wasn’t leveling fast enough, as one indicated but then stated different, or if it was because I seemed too into raiding with my friend to ‘level up,’ or what; but we ended up losing two officers soon after that, which left me confused. We had four officers at the time, one of the founders, my tree-turned-shaman friend, and two people we came across in our leveling journeys, all of which had earned the status in one way or another. Only one came to me directly about any issues, but it turned out the other two (who left) as well as other members had started to go to my tree-friend if they had any concerns, who failed to come to me until after it all hit the fan.

We learned from this, and we moved on, and eventually we (almost) all made it to 80, and starting planning things out and implementing things for the “official” turning into a more ‘proper’ raiding guild. One of the problems that faced us from the beginning through the end, however, was a lack of numbers, every time; we initially started raiding with about half a dozen actual guildies at any one time, the rest PUGed, and we’d get down a couple bosses and we’d end up calling it, and the question came over vent or /raid: What time/day is good for everyone here to continue?

Of course, between ten people, there is rarely if ever a good time for everyone to meet on the spur like that. We kept on that way for a bit before figuring out: this just isn’t going to work. And the officers of the guild, which would now be my tree-friend who was main heals, the guy who was main tank (me being off-tank), and our best and most loyal magey-DPS, sat down and figured out three days a week that worked for us, since we were the only people who showed up consistently. We stuck that in the guild info and on the website, let everyone know… and things got better, for a while. Just a little. We still didn’t have the numbers to get past Naxxramus, and the ToC stuff was the “big thing.” So we started recruiting.

We opened recruitment on basically “asketh for an invite and thou shalt receiveth.” We needed numbers, and we figured anyone was better than no one until they proved otherwise. The best members we got out of that ended up getting an interview anyway, because they had questions more than we did. However soon things were changing, noticeably, on the social end, for the worse. As most know, it only takes a couple people to disrupt the normal flow of guild chat and turn it in the direction they wish it to be in, and it especially gets bad in small guilds.. Tattered Legends was always a fairly small guild, even at the peak. While some people were just silly and only seemed to bother a couple people who weren’t exactly social anyway, there were some that bothered everyone, but we didn’t have rules about this, so all the officers sat down again and figured things out. Unfortunately, partially thanks to this, one of our “pinch-hitters,” the person who could heal like 2 healers or DPS like 4, the one who dragged me happily from classic raid to classic raid, ended up leaving, which was more of a devastating blow than it should have. Following this the rest of our DPS that all but carried the PUG DPS soon left for one reason or another… And we were back in Naxx again, training a new recruit or two every week, and losing twice as many members to the larger guilds. We ended up doing Naxx two to three times a week for a good couple months trying to train new recruits, becoming a training ground for larger raiding guilds, before we were too burnt to continue any further and put the raids on hold, in theory until we could get the numbers needed consistently.

Unfortunately, this day never came. We tried just about everything we could think of, everything we could do, and just couldn’t cut it. Even when it was proposed to us that it was Naxx that was the problem, if we started Ulduar or such our numbers would improve, and we did, that didn’t change anything. All we ended up with was a friends list full of good PUG members (and a few friends) who for one reason or another couldn’t become regulars.. And some who did, but couldn’t carry our tag. Soon Tattered Legend’s raiding days were over, and because we had no real cause at that point, the guild slowly started emptying.

Relating to Tam’s blog post, we went from People A to People B back to People A then back again, essentially. ANPS was People B too, in its heart; my tree-friend set the precedent that we only invited people we liked after we liked them, not before, no open recruiting like Tattered Legends did (even though the last warrior didn’t really follow by that).

So I have to wonder–Can a People B really last? Tattered Legends was a lot of fun at times, but when it stopped being so much fun for one person, it started becoming a chore for everyone. Hopefully they can, personally I’d love to see it even if I’m not the most fit for raiding these days.

Even still, I don’t count Tattered Legends so much as a failure as I did ANPS; we lasted almost a year, made a reasonably good run of it, and there only seems to be room for 6 raiding guilds across the whole small little server anyway, 3 each side, beyond that the small ones dissolve soon after. Tattered Legends was one of the longest running of the smaller guilds, even when most of the others dissolved into the bigger ones we outlasted them and kept trying, even if we didn’t succeed. I’m not sure I’ll be leading another guild again any time soon, but I don’t count TL among my failures anymore, even though I did fail to do my job in several points along the line.

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7 Comments »

  1. Tam said,

    I get the warm fuzzies when I get people thinking 🙂

    This is an intriguing post – and, if anything, just illustrates how bloody, impossibly complex the whole business of guild management is.

    I genuinely don’t know if People Bs can make a guild work, and last, if if it inevitably spirals into the kind of compromises you write about here – but I guess I’m about to find out?

    • AduialOfWrA said,

      I genuinely hope it is possible and that your new guild is everything you could want it to be and more. Only time will tell, I suppose; but here’s hoping nonetheless!

      And maybe it’s completely different from the side of just being a member rather than having the responsibilities of leading the whole guild itself..

      (You just totally made my day, by the way!)

  2. […] guild musings over at Bonfires are Good […]

  3. evilbeards said,

    When you’re in a position of authority in a guild, and there are many problems, it can be very energy-draining. Especially when you’re starting up a raiding guild. Problems have a habit of snowballing into bigger issues, and people leaving always begets more people leaving.

    I can empathise with you about just wanting to be a member without any of the worrying, that’s what I’m hoping to do now that the guild I created has stopped raiding and is emptying of members.

    And hey, if you get bitten by the guild creation bug again, you can always just try it out in early Cataclysm, there’ll be lots more opportunities for a starting guild then.

    • AduialOfWrA said,

      That’s true, I sometimes forget about all the changes coming up with Cataclysm, despite being excited about them. Though it makes me wonder if there’ll be a boom in new guilds shortly after Cata’s release like there likely will be Worgen and Goblins, and if it wouldn’t be wiser for some people hoping to create a new guild after release to hold off a couple months…

      • evilbeards said,

        A different form of the idea of not being caught up in the rush of new guilds could be to make a pre-loaded guild. What I mean by that is start it before Cataclysm, near or after the 4.0 patch drops. That can be a great time for recruiting, as people are willing to experiment with different sorts of guilds, as the expansion is practically over and their gear will soon be outdated.

        I commend you if you’re able to give leading another shot though, I know that I probably couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore, too much stress. Though if you manage to make a utopian group of Person B’s it could work. 😉

        • AduialOfWrA said,

          That does make a lot of sense and could definitely work.

          I’ll have to wait and see what my guild situation is exactly when the time comes, for now I’m content with the guild I’ve found my healadin in and my several bank guilds, though I imagine it’s probably likely I’ll want to try leading again at some point in the distant-enough future. Maybe I’ll revive Tattered Legends for 4.0, though…


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