31 Oct 2010

The Back Seat Guild Leader

Ever get the feeling that you’re standing at a crossroads, looking down at the various prongs of a Morton’s Fork? It’s a position that an increasing number of players are finding themselves in during the run up to Cataclysm, and I don’t think I’m an exception to that. And like many people, my thoughts at the moment run to guilds, friends and forward planning.

Like all decisions of this ilk, it’s long and complicated and involved. So rather than doing my usual stint of dispensing advice, I’ve decided to post this to solicit some instead. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this conundrum – maybe you can help me work out how to tackle it or have experiences of your own that can help.

Anyhow, pull up a chair. This may take some time…

Resisting Control

All in all, Wrath has left me with mixed feelings. The content has been easy. Ridiculously easy in some cases. It’s got to the stage where we can 3-man most heroics without a problem. For me and my small group of friends we’ve managed to conquer all the content that’s been within our grasp.

And yet… I don’t feel I’ve achieved as much as I’d have liked. Back in Vanilla I was in one of those hardcore raiding guilds. You know the type – raid 6 nights a week, sometimes from 6 in the evening till one, maybe two in the morning. I learned a lot – about people, about social dynamics, about myself – which is why I eventually called it quits. My job and my life changed, and I just couldn’t commit to the game like that any more. In early Burning Crusade, just as we were learning Magtheridon, I left.

Since then I’ve really struggled to find my feet again while raiding. During the rest of TBC I floundered, joining a series of groups that didn’t really do much for me. I even moved server and joined some real-life friends. But while the friendships are great and the heroics are fine, I can’t help but feel something’s lacking.

Moving into Wrath, I’ve cleared Naxx and Trial of the Champions. But I never cleared Ulduar and now I’m wiping continually on the Lich King. I don’t feel that I’ve achieved very much from raiding this expansion. I’ve hopped around three different guilds during Wrath, all on the same server. And although each one has a great group of people, I’ve still not really found somewhere that really clicked.

The latest guild I’m in is struggling. They are some of the funniest people I’ve had the fortune to raid with and I really look forward to our raids. Only snag is… there aren’t enough of them. We’re raiding maybe 1 night a week – if we’re lucky – and struggling to recruit new players. We desperately need more ranged DPS (I’m currently the only one) and ideally a number of other people in order to get more raids more regularly.

So where does the control come into it? Glad you asked. The problem is… there’s no organisation. The guild leader’s off to University and a number of officers are experiencing change in their lives. They desperately need an officer team that can take responsibility for recruitment, raid organisation, guild bank management and so on. All these jobs have been resting on the guild leader, who just hasn’t got the time any more.

This is where the back seat guild leading comes in. I’ve been giving the guild advice on what they need to do in order to fix things and ensure they’re around long-term. Trouble is, good advice gets you noticed. A couple of people want me to become an officer, but I really don’t want the job. I have a blog, a podcast and other commitments. I’d be happier if there were people that had the time and were willing to learn, rather than asking me (who has little to learn, even less time and buckets of jaded cynicism).

Currently I’m marking time – should I stay or should I go, and if so where to? Or should I look at… Plan B?

On The Other Hand

The other option is for me to pull a switcheroo. I have two mages, one on Earthen Ring and the other on Steamwheedle Cartel. I’ve been asked by the Guild Leader of the mage on ER if I’d help bolster the ranks – it’s a gnome-only roleplay guild, currently very small and close knit. With the right group of people it could grow to becoming a guild that regularly fields 5-mans. With the increased class homogenisation, it might even be possible to field viable 10-man groups.

Why’d I do this? Well, it’s the guild I started out with back in Vanilla, before I went gallivanting off on all these adventures. I even levelled the second mage to 80 just to stay a part of the guild. They’re my roots to the game, my origins. And I kinda owe them.

The trouble is, almost all my cool stuff is on my main. All my pets, mounts, achievements, the lot. The only thing he doesn’t have are Engineering (goggles) and the chopper. So I either swap the two mages around (and pay £30 to Blizzard), or I build the newer one up from scratch, leaving the other to languish.

I’d also have to sink a lot of time into it as well in order to get it working – time that would take me away from other things. I’m also nervous about the unknown – would it work out or would it fail? Could I actually pull off creating a group from scratch and make it attractive enough for people to want to join? And would I have the determination to see it through? Currently, I’m not so sure.

The Third Way

There is, of course, a third option. Create a group of my own, from scratch, on Steamwheedle Cartel with my current main. Pull in the close friends that would join me and construct a group with solid support from an officer team. Pitch it as a “middle of the road” group – not hardcore, not super casual, but where fun and progress are on equal terms.

Again, trouble is finding the time to pull it off, or even finding the people to help me create it. And while I’d have control to lay the founding stones as I saw fit, it’s one of these things that would evolve over time. Would I end up loathing the creation I’d spawned and leaving it in disgust? Would I destroy friendships and burn bridges because of drama? I don’t know.

Over To You

In the end, I’m tired of guild hopping. Whichever way I go, it has to last for the long term. With guild reputation and guild achievements, I’m going to have to stick with my choice for some time to come.

So there you have it. Three options that I’ve outlined, plus whichever ones cropped up in your head while you were reading this. Now comes the part where you pick. Which choice would you go for, which would you discard out of hand? How would you handle things, given the options available?

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