WoW has been around for a lot of years, and in that time the game has seen the release of many MMOs hoping to compete with it. When The Old Republic released this past winter, my guild lost a few people. I'm sure we weren't alone in that.
With other big MMO releases such as Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World around the corner, WoW guilds are likely to experience more losses this year. This week, one officer has it worst than most: His guild leader and most of his friends plan to leave for Guild Wars 2 when it comes out. (We'll forgive the fact that he's writing about an Old Republic guild.)
Despite not playing WoW for the past year I do follow your column in the hopes that the advice you offer could be transferred to our SWTOR guild ... My question is: how do you deal with the potential loss of a guild?
... Myself and my guild transferred over to Star Wars: The Old Republic and have stayed there ever since ... Our guild has grown to second on the republic side in terms of server progress, with several server firsts and we have a strong and active community of around 19 people who log in every day (mostly). That was until tonight when a metaphorical bombshell was dumped on me which has made me question whether I want to stay or not.
Hi, ATOWPTMOAEI. Take heart! They told you ahead of time, at least, instead of leaving you holding the bag with no warning. It could have been much worse.
... As it turns out a subsection of our members intend on quitting the game for guild wars 2, including our Recruitment officer and Guild Master - many of these I have spent years gaming with. ... With the loss of our gm, an officer and some of our core members I really don't think the guild has much of a chance of surviving and I really don't have it in me to go through that again. Guild Wars 2 has very little that interests me ... I have no intention of jumping ship full time - I'll probably give it a go at launch and just check in for content updates ...
I've been an officer in the guild since early 2010 and have since become the raid leader. I'm probably the most active of the officers so members tend to come to me with most of their problems and questions. One obvious option would be to become gm myself when the others jump ship ... but with most of, if not all of the people I came over with gone it just wouldn't be the same. The attachment wouldn't be there for me.
So, do you think I should leave now ... or stick it out and try to take the reigns?
A troubled officer with perhaps to much of an emotional investment
The right friends make the game
Good friends can make any game fun. In grad school, I'll never forget playing Super Tennis for the Super Nintendo. Let me be frank: Super Tennis kind of sucks. It was probably okay in 1991, but we were playing it almost ten years later, at the tail end of the N64 era. I don't even remember why we had it or why we started playing it in the first place. For some reason, though, we kept coming back to it.
We formulated whole strategies based on its simplistic controls, created lingo around certain moves and styles (what few there were), talked trash like crazy, and had a blast. Was it because Super Tennis is secretly awesome? Not a chance. It was fun because of the people I was playing with and the culture we had created around the game. Would I have rather been playing Perfect Dark? Sure, but I was having fun either way.
So my basic advice here is this: Give Guild Wars 2 a shot. You don't have to give up playing TOR to do it, or give up on your guild there. It's not easy to find a group of players that you really enjoy gaming with, and you might be surprised how much fun you have when you're playing it with them, even if it's not your first choice.
Game loyalty vs. friend loyalty
Yes, it's a huge bummer when you're very much into a game and your friends decide they've had enough. Keep in mind, however, that they aren't obligated to play a game forever just because you enjoy it. Don't take it personally if they want to try something new.
Changing games doesn't have to mean an end to friendships. Even if you decide that Guild Wars 2 isn't your cup of tea, you can still keep in touch with the friends you've made online. Maybe someday another MMO will come out that you can all enjoy together again. Maybe they'll want to keep playing TOR on a more casual basis.
Your guild conundrum
In my fifth anniversary column, I wrote about a key factor of guild leadership that I think applies here: As an officer, you can control very little. You can't control what your friends will do when Guild Wars 2 releases or farther down the road. So, plan for the future that you think will happen, and don't worry about the ones that may.
Make a decision about whether you want to keep the guild going as the new guild leader. You seem like the natural choice. If you want to take that on, tell the other officers. Make sure those who will stay on are OK with it.
Then start planning for the transition. Recruit some extra raiders now and work them into the lineup as part of a rotation. Ask the players who plan to leave to gradually step down from raiding once the time of their departure approaches. It's certainly not ideal but, with some effort, you could make this kind of transition work.
The question is whether or not you want to, and only you can decide that!
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.