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Officers' Quarters: What's in a guild name?

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Naming your guild is a funny thing. You want it to stand out in some way, but, at the same time, you don't want to give it such a weird or offensive name that people are embarrassed to walk around with it above their heads. It can be an agonizing decision. I remember back in the days before my officers and I founded our guild, we exchanged dozens of messages trying to find the perfect name. So I can sympathize with the author of this week's e-mail, who discovered that her carefully chosen name had also been chosen by another guild with some eerily similar characteristics.

Hello, Scott.

I don't know if I have a conundrum, a mystery, or a coincidence. I find it kinda funny more than anything else, but wonder if I should feel some concern or do something about it--

More than a month ago, I split off from a friendly, pretty well-knit social guild to form my own of same. I had decent ideas about the sort of people I wanted together, and still have aims of trying to build a Kara team (I follow the casual raiding articles religiously). We're still very small, but we're out there, and we have a pretty notable guild name. It was also the only guild of that name across all servers -- I checked the Armory at that time.

Just last night I happened to be trawling the armory, looking up some friends and their gear, and, of course, popped in my own guild name. Much to my surprise, I see a brand new guild (~10 members) on another Normal server with the same name, cross-factioned. Further, their guild tabard is nearly identical (save for a slightly different border; the colors and image are same), and their GL is the same class as I am, a Blood Elf to my Human.

I could still buy a coincidence, because it's not like my guild is THAT notable yet. But overall, it's just kind of amusing and weird. But the only point I can figure being concerned on is that a guild's reputation is sold by what people associate with the name -- and I am not affiliated with this other guild -- and wonder if any of their future reputation might spill onto our guild, possibly to our harm. Do I attempt to make contact, flip out and demand a guild name change for these guys and pitch a lot of drama (not preferred), or just live and let live, knowing that my own version of Star Trek's Mirror Universe is out there?

Thanks,
[Anonymous]

I'll admit it: The first thing I did when I read this e-mail is immediately go to the Armory and look up my own guild name. Fortunately, we're still the only guild with that name. But there are plenty of guild names that seem to proliferate. According to the Armory, there are 106 guilds named Killers. There are 120 guilds named Death. There are 122 guilds named Guild (how lame). But those are all pretty generic.

How about people who think they're being clever by naming their guilds after NPC labels? They're not nearly as original as they might think. 54 guilds are named General Goods. 105 guilds are named Innkeeper. 172 guilds are named Banker!

Then there are the silly and off-color puns. Sorry, you guys fail at originality too. 47 results for Riders of Lohan. 58 results for Naga Stole My Bike, 62 for Me So Hordey, 99 for Bloodbath and Beyond, 110 for I'd Mana Tap That, 127 for Crit Happens, and 146 results for Gnomeland Security.

And all of these totals are just from U.S. servers.

When you go through the trouble of coming up with a unique name, you'd like it to stay that way. And our anonymous author chose a pretty cool name, although I'm not allowed to tell you what it is. It's also kind of creepy how the two guilds have several other similarities, but I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

What can you do about it? Not much, I'm sorry to tell you. You could try to contact them by rolling a toon on their server, but I doubt they'd be willing to change their name just because you ask nicely. Even so, I wouldn't worry too much about them doing something to "stain" your guild's reputation. Since they are cross-faction on another server, it's unlikely that people would confuse the two guilds. If worst comes to worst, you could always screenshot your /ginfo and say, "We were here first!"

However, you could also look at this situation as an opportunity. Get to know them a little bit and maybe you could start a cross-faction exchange program of sorts, where people in your guild roll their Horde toons in this "Bizarro" guild and vice versa.

Has this sort of thing happened to anyone else? What did you do about it? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't happen to me!

/salute

Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at scott.andrews@weblogsinc.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters! For more WoW Insider gameplay columns, click here.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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