The Rise and Fall of Guilds
The management and organization of a guild is usually more work than most guild leaders initially realize. The personality conflicts, cliques, backstabbing, deliberations and other tensions that arise in the everyday management of a guild oftentimes feel out of place in what is supposed to be a form of entertainment. The following narratives highlight the experiences of MMORPG players who have watched guilds fracture or dissipate, and the lessons these individuals learned. These stories show that guild management in MMORPGs is a much more elaborate and complex task than most realize.
One common dilemma that causes most guilds to fracture is the tension between power and casual players – the former wanting to carry out more difficult raids while the latter being perfectly happy the way things are. Eventually, this unresolved tension causes the guild to either split or fall apart altogether.
We are a family-type guild. Our ideals are to help others, especially guild members, as much as we can, to have fun, and to not be a prick. However, since our only rule is to not be a prick, we have had a few major problems. Part of it is that we are not a very large guild and once people reach a certain level and have attained their epic, they usually leave for a higher tier guild to do things that we can't or don't do as a guild. The same issues keep creating the same problems. Mostly members feeling like they have been left out or feeling like we don't do enough high-level stuff. We have to work the issue out each time it happens and we usually lose several members. It seems that every three to six months, we lose about 30% of our guild. A couple leave because of issues they feel we don't resolve, others because they want to do bigger things than what the guild is doing. Each time we lose people or have issue come up, we have to work through it and we come out with our ideals intact. There have been a couple close calls where the guild leader was about to disband the guild. It is a difficult process made even more complicated by our wish for no rules (other than our don't be a prick rule), member's differing maturity levels (we have our most difficulty and explosive problems with college students), and everyone's different interpretation of what is wrong and what is right. [EQ, F, 26]
Our guild has been attempting to challenge the Sony/Verant stereotype by being a family-oriented guild that nonetheless succeeds in the high-end game. Unfortunately, we have suffered for years from the rollercoaster which occurs when a push to emphasize family values bumps heads with the need to make decisions to further military/strategic goals. We go through periods of build-up and success, then someone gets what I affectionately call 'uber disease' and loses sight of the fact that we are in our guild as opposed to another is because we don't choose to raid 24-7-365 or make the acquisition of 'Phat L3wt' our raison d'etre. During these times, people leave in a huff (although its amazing how many people *lie* about their reasons for leaving rather than just say they are leaving because they are unhappy we aren't moving fast enough for their taste. You sooner or later -- usually sooner -- find out the truth when you see them raiding the server's uber the next day and members soon thereafter (even though they told you they were just 'taking a break from the game' but needed for some reason to untag while they did it LOL). Usually their social clique follows, and there is a period of contraction with a loss of guild capability. Followed by, of course, reflection and rebuilding with a core of old die-hards and new members. We half-jokingly refer to ourselves as a training guild at this point. Some of us are accepting that this will be ongoing and may be something that we cannot ever permanently change, because people change in their approach to EQ as they level. But we're still thinking about how we can change this phenomena, rather than do what 99% of non-powergamer folks do -- abandon raiding/high end gaming or abandon the friendship/value system that brought them together in the first place. Some of us 'old-timers' are getting weary of the cycle and the emotional toll that it takes on those who choose to remain loyal to a guild over a long period of time. [EQ, F, 41]
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