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Drama Mamas: A guide to when and how to leave your guild

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

The most popular question we get goes something like this: "X is happening in my guild, but I really like the rest of my guildmates. Should I leave?" We've covered this many times throughout the history of this column, but things changed quite a bit once Guild Rewards were introduced in Cataclysm. Also, we're now going through one of those pre-patch/expansion slumps (though the excitement from BlizzCon may rejuvenate interest for a bit).

So this week is an update of our guild leaving advice -- both when to leave and how.

Should you stay or should you go now?

When you are trying to make it work with your guild, there are a few things you must remember:
  1. This is your leisure time. If your stress-relieving activity is doing the opposite, you need to make a change.
  2. You can't change other people.
  3. You are the only person you can control.
Valid reasons to leave your guild Invalid reasons to leave your guild
  • You are hoping to be invited back and you are ashamed or embarrassed.
  • You have a fight with your friend who is also a guildie and want to quit in a huff.
  • You issue an ultimatum and have to quit because your guild calls your bluff. (Just don't use ultimatums to get your way.)

The right way to leave a guild

So you've decided to leave your guild (regardless of the validity of your reason). Here's how to do it in a drama-free fashion -- which I have only slightly changed from our previous column about leaving guilds.

LisaLisa's advice still works years later:
  • Don't fuel the rumor mill. There's no breaking the news gently here, and there's no talking it over to get a feel for things if you're still merely considering a move. Do not open the "I've been thinking ..." door. You'll open up a rat's nest of gossip, political maneuvering and guilt-inducing begging you to stay. This is your decision; make it on your own, and go public only when you're ready to make it happen.
  • Use official channels. Once you've decided a move is the right thing to do, go straight to your GM (guild master or guild leader) or a guild officer.
  • Be brief but honest. Example: "I've decided to move to another guild, where I'll be playing with a good friend. I've really enjoyed my time here and appreciate all the help and guidance you've given me along the way. Thanks for having me!"
  • If hard feelings erupt, don't burn bridges. "I have such limited time to play that I think I'd be a better fit with a guild on a more active raiding schedule" is better than "You lied to me about wanting to raid, your members suck Cracked Eggs and I can't wait to be outta here."
  • Fall back on a letter. If you're simply too uncomfortable to speak with your GM or an officer in person, send an in-game note or private message on the guild forums.
  • Be discreet. Timing your /gquit for a time of day when fewer members will be online to take notice helps minimize awkwardness.
  • No matter what, make contact somewhere. If none of the leadership is online and you need to /gquit right then and there in order to start activities with your new guild, make your brief but honest statement (see above) in guildchat, and follow up with a note (in game or on your guild forums) to the GM.
RobinSometimes there are additional complications to deal with:
  • If you are an officer in your current guild This makes leaving a bit tougher, because you theoretically have some say in the direction and guidance of your guild. The solution is simple, however. Along with Lisa's suggestions, make sure you have someone to recommend as a replacement. In fact, it is almost always a good idea, in work or in play, to groom a replacement so that you can be promoted or move on when the opportunity arises.
  • If you are the guild leader Do not transfer leadership to your alt or to anyone else who is not active in your old guild. Your old guild needs a resident leader to thrive. Pick an active and capable successor, transfer leadership and move on with your fun.
  • If you are in a leveling guild The guild that never quite makes it to being an endgame guild is is a story that is so common, it is more of the rule than the exception. Every day in trade chat and newbie zones, you hear guilds recruiting with almost the same sales pitch: "[Insert Guildname Here] looking for all levels. We are a helpful, level X guild. We will raid once we get enough people to max level. PST!" And every day, people level up, get some 5-mans in and move on to an endgame guild. These friendly leveling guilds rarely get enough people together who want to raid in the time frame they originally hoped for. Leave an alt or two in this guild and help them out when you have time, but don't give up raiding for them.
  • If you are leaving behind good friends You aren't leaving anyone, actually. If you know them in the physical world or otherwise trust them with your most personal of information, you can keep in touch via Real ID. If you remain on the same server, you can keep them on your friends list. And, of course, there's always email, messaging and social networks. Just make sure to privately explain to them your reasons before you leave. If they don't understand, then they aren't really your good friends anyway.
You control your own fun and can't expect others to reduce their fun in order to accommodate you. The opposite also applies. What it all really boils down to is if you don't like something about your guild, make a private attempt to rectify the situation. If that works, stay. If it doesn't, leave in a non-dramatic manner. Good luck!

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas, Guilds

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