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Officers' Quarters: Friends and family

family of dwarves
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

Many raiding guilds have a rank called Friends and Family that indicates someone who is just that, rather than an active raider. Having such members not only broadens the community, it also improves the social aspect of a guild. But as we all know, friends and family can also be a headache sometimes. This week, I'm featuring two emails: one about friend drama, another about family drama.

Scott,

Recently I transferred servers and joined a new guild to get a fresh start after a 3 month break from the game. My goal upon arriving at my new server was to find the right guild, I spent weeks searching for the perfect guild (it would be only my 3rd guild in 6 years) a place that had a little of everything. After much searching I found that guild. It was a community, a family that does tons of things together, a place that isn't only about the progression but about doing things together. It's an atmosphere I love.

Shortly after joining the guild, two long time friends from my previous guild returned to the game. I have become very close with these two people and enjoy playing with them, so I convinced them to server transfer. These friends had been hardcore raiders since vanilla and GM and officer of our previous guild before taking break. I had some reservations about them joining my new home because I knew their reactions from lack of power (due to a failed guild merger) but they are really nice people and I really wanted to play with them again.

A week or so after they joined the complaining started.

It's not outright griping but a passive aggressive wall they seem to have against the guild. To give a few ideas of what I am dealing with:
  • Both long time friends complain that they are snubbed and overlooked for raids. There is no snubbing going on however -- our guild utilizes a very detailed and efficient events system and it is used exclusively for non progression raid events. The long time friends do not make use of this tool and complain they are not liked because they are never included in things.
  • They want to raid progression but have not taken the necessary steps to discuss their inclusion in one of the three raid groups rotations that is outlined in detail. Then complain they don't get invited.
I am worried, I see the outcome. My friends are going to leave the guild for their incorrect assumptions and resistance towards the guilds atmosphere and style. I am going to be caught in the middle, because they are going to feel I should side with them and I can't because they are wrong. I have tried several approaches from subtle hinting and guiding to get them to embrace the guilds atmosphere and set ways and to outright saying your perceiving something wrong. Nothing is getting through to them. They don't seem to realize that the guild leadership in this guild is the strongest most cohesive group they will find in all of WoW. This guild has the stuff together and it shows, but they just don't see it.

I don't want to loose two long times friends over this, but I really don't want to leave my new guild either it may be the best I have been in ever.

Help me Obi-Scott-Kenobi you're my only hope.

Sincerely,

Rock and a Hard Place
Hi, RAAHP. It's hard not to picture you six inches high, translucent, and wearing a white robe when you say that.

Situations like this often happen when players join a guild to play with friends rather than because they like what the guild has to offer. For this reason, they can sometimes struggle to feel comfortable with the new environment. To me, it simply sounds like these friends aren't a good fit for your guild's culture.

That's not your fault, and you shouldn't blame yourself. I actually think you need to distance yourself from the problem. You've done what you can to help them understand how things work. It's not your job to "assimilate" them by force.

Leave it be, and let them decide for themselves what they want to do. You're happy and you're staying where you are, so you don't have any more decisions to make.

The next time they complain to you, I suggest simply saying that you already explained how to get involved and it's their choice whether or not to do so. Don't turn it into an argument, but don't falsely sympathize with them either by saying it's the guild's fault when it's not. Just stay neutral on the issue.

Over time, they'll either adjust or they won't. The only way you can lose them as friends, the way I see it, is if you put yourself in the middle of this whole mess so that they blame you for everything.

Brother against brother
Hi Scott,

I've been a firm reader of your blog for quite a while now and am a Guild Leader myself who has to deal with many dramas mostly with good success. However the one issue which I do face is a complicated one.

My Brother is also in my Guild, and with some bias he received an Officership a long time ago. Unfortunately due to his Blood Connection to me he seems to be of the opinion that he runs the guild, and when I'm not around to see it, he has no problem voicing this fact. I've tried many things to try and pull him into line and keep him from having thoughts above his post. I've previously demoted him for a 2 week period to cool off after an abuse of his officer powers. And More recently he has faced a ban from Raiding for 2 weeks in an effort to make him realise he cannot keep acting this way.

What can i possibly do to make him realise that as far as the game is concerned, he is a class leader like the other class leaders and is not above them or in any way attributed to the Guild Mastership.

Please help me Scott!

Thanks,

Apocalyptic GM
Hi, AGM. Family issues are always a challenge.

The Drama Mamas wrote a column a while back about a very similar issue. It's not specific to family members, but you might find the advice relevant to your situation.

I wish you had provided some specific examples so I could gauge how severe the problem is. If he's actively driving people out of the guild with this behavior or causing drama over it, then that's something that has to stop. But if he's just bragging or showing off, it's not quite as serious. Either way, the fact that he won't cut it out after you've specifically asked him to is disrespectful, not just as his guild leader but as his brother.

In this case, I think the only thing that will get through to him is a permanent demotion the next time this issue comes up. He's already been warned and punished -- twice! If that hasn't done the trick, then nothing else short of stripping him of his rank will suffice. Clearly, promoting him in the first place was a mistake, and undoing that error can only help at this point.

If demotion isn't enough to curb this behavior, then you'll have no recourse but to ask him to leave the guild entirely. It's harsh, but he can't say you didn't warn him.

/salute

Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

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