Elves, Ogres and Drama Queens: Stories of Digital Intrigue and Drama
Guilds are perhaps only as strong as their leaders are. In the following story, a newly elected guild leader faces challenges from an old guild leader who has returned unexpectedly.
Return of The King: A Story of Leadership Change
Our guild has been around for approximately 11 months. Around 4 months ago our leader (one of the guild founders) had to quit the game due to RL issues. This left us in the position of choosing a new leader for the guild. Due to game mechanics it took 2 months to finally get a new leader voted on and in place. During that time another guild founder returned to the game after being away for 6 months. This returned founder would have been the natural choice to have as leader but both himself and the guild knew that he had been away for too long to take the role of leader.
I was officially the new leader of the guild with all the headaches that come from trying to lead an 80+ person guild with 40+ active members. The guild wasn't in bad shape but it had lost some of its cohesion during the period between leaders. Under consultation of some of the more active members I set about to correct the known problems with the guild. That is when the returned founder became an issue. He had helped create the guild with a set of ideals in mind. The changes I was busy trying to get pushed through did not conform to the original ideals of the guild. The returned founder did not hesitate to let his dissatisfaction be known to myself or the rest of the guild.
On multiple occasions I spoke with him in private concerning his issues with the direction I was taking the guild. The biggest complaint, it seemed to me, was that the guild was not the same as he had left it 6 months previously. We still held the same ideals but could no longer implement them as we had originally. I think he understood that but just couldn't accept it. What made it worse for him was that the guild sided with me on most matters that he took issue with. I continued to hear his complaints and address them. If it was a reasonable complaint I would do something about it. If it were simply a nostalgic complaint I would tell him it was and not address it further.
He began to find problems with guild members and citizens of the town in which we are based. Most of these problems were the result of sale prices on vendors. It was his belief that guild members should get stuff either free or for a greatly reduced price. We all share that opinion but leave it up to the individual to decide what they want to do concerning sales to guild members. The returned founder did not understand that vendor prices were for the public and that if you spoke to them, guild members would provide a discount and reimburse a portion of your money or give it to you for free and reimburse all of your money. Even after this was explained to him and he was reimbursed his money by at least one of the 'offenders' he continued to 'bad-mouth' the individuals. The drama in the guild had started.
While this was going on we were also getting a council put together to provide guidelines and policies for the guild. Now instead of just me, he had 5 new people to complain to and about. I had been trying to handle his complaints in a private setting as to not worry the guild with the drama and as diplomatically as possible to avoid it getting any worse. Like myself, all of the council knew him fairly well from the days prior to his departure from the game. They didn't all try to handle him as diplomatically as I tried. The guild started to become flooded by guild mail between the returned founder and those that had a problem with him.
Knowing that nothing good would come of it I continued to try to keep myself from sending out guild mails concerning the returned founder. This went on for a week or two. None of us were having any fun and both the council and myself were having serious problems having to deal with such drama during what was supposed to be our 'free time' to game and have fun. We were now losing up to 4 members a week over the situation. I decided that it was in the best interest of the guild to have him removed. I would not ask the council about it since I was going to do it whether they agreed or not. I also did not want the new council to have a black mark on their record for kicking a member that was opposed to their decisions.
That's when I lucked out. I escaped a black mark on my record as well. The day I logged on to remove him from the guild, I was greeted with an email that stated that the returned founder was recruiting for a new guild. I did not care if he wanted to start a new guild and recruit any of our members that might wish to follow him. I did care that he was doing it in secrecy. My line of thinking is that he was committing treason against the guild. Not only because he was recruiting but he was bad-mouthing the guild and causing internal strife in order to recruit and gather members so that he could make a stand and leave with some followers. That would have brought a nice dramatic end to his drama but luckily our members are loyal and made sure that we knew before he got very far.
He was not online when I removed him so I didn't get to hear his side of the story. I mailed him to explain his removal and to let him know that if he could prove his innocence he might be allowed to return. The reply I received inferred his guilt without blatantly accepting responsibility. After two days the guild was back to normal having fun and enjoying each other. We still have work to do but it is much easier without a 'drama-king' holding us all back. That's my story of how drama turned a guild-founder into an kicked-member within a month or so. [SWG, M, 27]
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