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Officers' Quarters: When to give up

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

If you were reading WoW Insider over the weekend, you might have noticed a couple of rather depressing posts. Adam talked about when you should make the personal decision to stop raiding. Then Jennie talked about the reasons why raiding guilds break up. I might as well continue the trend, but at least I have the excuse of a reader's e-mail. Last week I addressed the problems that small guilds will face in the coming months. This week, by request, I'm going to look at larger, hardcore guilds. And I'll also examine a nasty stereotype in the community that continues to proliferate.

I am in this guild for the past 2 years of my WOW experience. This is my first guild, and my only guild so far. The atmosphere was friendly when I first joined it to join my real life schoolmates, hoping to down boss and experience content together. But a couple of drama and event took place, and my friends all quit the game which they felt was taking too much of their time. The original management when I joined all left the game due to other real life commitments and burnouts from over-WOW-ed.

So with a twist of fate I took over the role of Guildmaster. The other veterans in the guild has other reasons that forbid them from taking the helm. And so I begun my quest to reform the dying guild in the dying server. We are a guild with predominantly Asian players, but we welcome western players too. But apparently playing in a US server meant you always have to being abused at for being Asian. Some people just cannot differentiate Chinese Farmer and general normal Asian players. And so I have been working for the past 6 months trying to recruit new blood into the guild and keeping the raiders around. We finally managed to down Rage Winterchill only in the past 2 weeks, after the top end guild in our server's endless poaching of our raiders to warm their bench . . . And a few other core raiders announcing their quitting of the game soon.

And now I feel I don't enjoy WOW the same anymore. It's no longer the same for me.

Leadership role in WOW really killed my experience. I have to yell at people for mistakes causing wipes. I have to monitor and troubleshoot all the problems in raid and as well in guild. I also have to ensure that I perform to the top to encourage the rest to perform as well. This is just not the kind of things I used to be able to handle. But I have to now, by hook or by crook.


The other problem is that my guild members seems to be indifferent to my effort. I would be online all my free time after work just to check out strategies and videos on downing bosses. But the guild forum where I posted my instructions just remains a deadtown. This coupled with the fact that a few other newer guild managed to out-progressed us led to an outflow of serious raiders, and added to my woes.

The scenario now is this. I still wish to experience newer content. I want to see Illidan downed. I want to kill Kil'jaeden. But obviously my guild is holding me back, or it could be because I cannot lead it to higher level (my management sucks?). The top guild in this server is looking for a class I am playing now. Should I just jump ship and leave this guild? Or should I just stick with it and ignore the new content?

(The above might sound incoherent to you, I admit I am just typing what went into my mind at that moment while I was typing. Sorry for the poor structure)

Thank you very much.
M

M, your story is pretty much living proof of Jennie's description.

This summer might be the toughest time that raiding guilds in WoW have ever faced. With no new content close at hand, and many PvE'ers wondering why they should bother raiding when their gear will be obsolete with the new expansion, the pool of available players, especially for high-end raiding, is perhaps the smallest it's been in two years. The end result is that guilds have to cannibalize each other to get seasoned recruits. If you're not the type of person who poaches members from other communities, and your guild isn't progressing as quickly as its members expect, you could be left with a depleted membership sooner than you thought possible. It's ugly right now, and unfortunately it's not going to change anytime soon.

M, your experience of going from member to leader and then to a burned-out, stressed-out wreck is all too common these days. The sad reality is that it's just too easy for most members to quit the game, or stop raiding, or just twiddle their thumbs waiting for an officer to fix everything, rather than step up and try to make a difference. Or, as you've seen, they leave for greener pastures.

What you have to remember is that one person can't do it all. I highly recommend that guild leaders don't lead raids and vice versa, as you've done. Leading a guild has an enormous set of inherent difficulties and stresses. Leading a raid is no different. Combining those roles is a guaranteed recipe to burn yourself out. If you don't get more support from your other officers and members, I won't blame you for throwing in the towel.

Right now they are all leaving you hanging or skipping off to another guild. The problem you face is that you don't know exactly why. You're speculating about it in your e-mail, but have you tried asking your members what they think the problems are and what you can all do to fix them?

You're in a desperate situation, and I'm sure many guilds out there have found themselves in the same place. At such times, you have to energize your membership to all pitch in and help keep the guild afloat. Get them excited about making one last push to achieve your goals before the expansion hits. Ask everyone to become a recruiting officer for a few weeks. Get them out on the "streets" trying to find unguilded raiders who are looking to see the content they haven't conquered yet, like you and your members want to do. Or have them look for other guilds to make an alliance with.

Killing an endgame boss requires sophisticated coordination and teamwork. Every single person in the raid has to do their utmost to ensure the raid survives and succeeds. So why then, when it comes to making sure the guild itself survives, do some players become so apathetic? Teamwork shouldn't end when everyone ports out at the end of the night.

If your members won't help you, if they continue to be indifferent toward the guild, then what's the point of pouring your heart and soul into it? If the members have given up, then it's time for you to give up, too.

There's nothing honorable about quitting your guild just because you want to see all the game's content. That makes you no better than all the other members who have already jumped ship.

Quitting because the guild has quit on you, on the other hand, is not only valid, but necessary for your mental health and enjoyment of the game. So I implore all those members out there: Recognize that it's a tough time for raiding guilds and do your best to help your officers that have sacrificed their time and energy for the guild over the past weeks, months, and years. In essence, help them to help you.

I'd also like to touch on the discrimination against Asian players that M writes about. I recognize that there's very little I can do about it. People are going to be the way they are, and on the Internet they're usually even worse. (We all know that famous equation from Penny Arcade that I won't even bother linking to. Everybody has seen it by now.)

But I hope that, by reading about M's situation, we can all be more aware that players like that are out there. Like everyone else, they're just trying to have fun. It's easy to make assumptions about someone because of where they're from, and it's just as easy to be completely wrong about them.

Thus ends my preachiest column ever.

/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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