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Officers' Quarters: Left behind

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

In the WoW universe, a guild can change practically overnight. Someone quits or a new person joins, and the guild is never the same again. Logging off for a while can feel like traveling through time when you finally return. You take a modest break, do some important real-life stuff, and then you come back to an entirely different landscape. This week, one reader wants to know how to readjust to a guild that's nothing like the one he logged out of just a short time ago.

Dear Scott,

I am a fairly casual player [. . .]. As such, I am a part of a fairly casual guild without strict raiding rules that was founded by a group of friends wanting to do end game content together during the BC days. [. . . M]y two friends eventually quit WoW altogether for different reasons, and I was left as a senior member to a pretty awesome and friendly guild! I don't mind saying that i was a sort of "character" in the guild, and got along with everyone and entertained with my antics and helped with my knowledge and well-geared toon. Especially through WotLK and its patches I proved myself to be very reliable as an officer and a functional part of our core raiding group (I was about 3rd or 4th highest DPS in guild for awhile).

Well, I had to take a trip to visit an old friend of mine for awhile, and informed my guildies I'd be gone for a week or so. Well . . . That week turned into nearly a month, as when I returned home my computer decided to explode and fry its motherboard. So i shipped the computer off, hoping to get it back soon so i could continue to play with my WoW buddies and get the guild further along!

Now, as i said, when i last played before taking my vacation, I was well known in the guild and a fairly personable and vocal player. We weren't very hardcore at raiding, so we were still in the beginning steps of guild raid progression in WotLK. I personally had only completed Vault 10-man and The Military and Plague Quarter of Naxx (also 10-man) with the guild. I knew the guild had already been progressing when I wasn't on, but I wasn't really ready for the change of dynamic when I finally got my computer back.

My guild had beaten all of the current raids on [Normal] and Heroic. They had enlisted NUMEROUS new and outgoing players into the guild. They had reorganized leadership and raid schedules and were leaning away from the "casual" nature of the guild, though not nearly "hardcore" . . . I don't think anyway. But the first night I logged back on I was overwhelmed by the number of people talking in vent and in g-chat. I could barely get a word in edgewise! The first full night I was on we cleared 10 and 25 man Vault and Sarth, which to my casual self was just NUTS (though very fun :). Unfortunately i noticed that I had gone from 3rd highest DPS in the guild to not even in the upper half of the 25-mans. It was a bit disheartening. It seemed that although i was missed by the older members, that I wasn't exactly an essential part of the guild anymore. They had new leaders, better DPS, and new personalities to be the face of the guild.

So i guess my question is do you have any tips on how to readjust to this "new" guild? And have you ever heard of someone going through anything similar?

Thanks for your time, sorry for the long letter :)

Z

As I read your e-mail, Z, I was certain that your story, like so many I receive, would end in disaster. I figured you'd come back to a guild that had disbanded or replaced you and kicked you out. In your absence, many terrible events could have unfolded. Compared to any of those outcomes, you're a lucky guy!

Take a moment to appreciate the resilience of your guild. They lost some key officers and then had to do without your leadership for a fairly long time. But instead of imploding, they flourished. That's a very good thing.

Even so, I can understand why you're feeling a bit left out. While it can be a burden at times, it's great to feel needed. Now all of a sudden both that burden and that good feeling are gone.

Don't despair -- you are still important to the guild. For one thing, every guild needs an officer who can make people laugh and put them at ease in the face of adversity or drama. Also, the nature of the guild has changed somewhat, from being highly casual but moderately successful to being highly successful, yet now only moderately casual. This is your chance to make a difference.

You are still an officer, and an officer's job is to make sure that guild members are still having fun after some big changes. It sounds like most people in your guild are having a blast. But is everybody enjoying it?

Get yourself caught up to speed. Find out how it all went down. Talk to the people who made it happen. Then talk to your members to make sure everyone is just as happy about this new world order. Sometimes when a guild makes this transition, long-time members who aren't able to keep up with everyone else just stop getting invited to raids. No one helps them to play better. No one reaches out. They just become irrelevant. Hopefully this hasn't been the case, but as the casual face of the guild, you should be the one to make sure it doesn't happen.

As far as your DPS goes, talk to one of the people who plays your class and beats you on the meters. Get some advice about how to improve your game. Then encourage that person to reach out to others of the same class to help them improve, too.

You don't want a guild environment where the best players are set apart from the guild as shining, unapproachable paragons. Rather, these new people should help other members to do their jobs well. That way, no one gets left behind.

But even in this ideal scenario, there will be future conflicts about the direction of the guild. Older members will look to you to speak for them. Don't let them down!

/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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