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Drama Mamas: How to leave your guild without drama or burning bridges

Drama Mamas How to leave your guild without drama or burning bridges
A poorly executed /guildquit is the kind of toxic drama bomb that can poison your online game experience forever. Even if you're fleeing drama, guild chaos, or interpersonal strife, wrecking shop on the way out the door does more harm than good. You may never want to play with or hear from those people again -- but chances are, you'll cross paths at some point in a group, another guild, a chat channel, or a forum.

Is moving on the right thing to do? Every situation is different, but if you find yourself even considering whether or not the grass might be greener in another pasture, it's time to take a good, hard look at what you want from your WoW play versus what you're actually getting. "This is your leisure time," notes Drama Mama Robin. "If your stress-relieving activity is doing the opposite, you need to make a change." And if you're sticking around based on trying to change someone else's behavior or hoping it changes on its own, she notes, you're wasting your own time. The only person you can control is yourself.

Leaving a guild is not the right solution if:
  • You're doing it to teach someone a lesson or to make things difficult for someone in the guild. Smarter solution: Realize that you're not the arbiter of other people's behavior, and move on.
  • You're doing it to direct attention to yourself or your views. Smarter solution: Get involved in guild life and business through normal channels.
  • You don't actually want to leave. Don't be one of those drama llamas who /guildquit at every perceived slight and then expect to be welcomed back to the fold with warmth and open arms. Don't leave a guild if what you're really hoping is to elicit someone to beg you to come back. Leaving a guild is about moving on to something new. If you need to move on, move on. Smarter solution: Resolve your personal or guild issues through normal channels.


Leaving a guild should be as neat and clean as a surgical procedure, despite all those slimy emotions crawling all over you. Know what you're going to do, get everything lined up beforehand, then handle your departure calmly in a well-mannered, respectful way. This is a fresh start, so don't start out with a dirty slate.

If you've decided you do need to leave your guild, keep these guiding principles in mind:
  • Don't destroy what remains or make things more difficult for those left behind.
  • Preserve your reputation by handling things with respect and aplomb. Social fallout can and will follow you across characters, guilds, and realms.
  • Above all else, remember that you'll never go wrong taking the high road.

The Basics: The drama-free way to leave a guild

Here's your basic strategy for making a classy, respectful departure from a guild.
  • Don't fuel the rumor mill. There's no breaking this news gently, 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. This is not a public debate. You'll open up a rat's nest of gossip, political maneuvering, and guilt-inducing begging for you to stay. Leaving a guild 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 the officer asks for more detail, offer whatever honest feedback you feel comfortable giving, but don't open up a can of drama.
  • 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.

Drama Mamas How to leave your guild without drama or burning bridges MON
No-No's: Mistakes to avoid

These /guildquit missteps come from Scott Andrews' advice in Officers' Quarters.
  • Don't quit in the middle of a raid. It's the worst possible time. No matter how angry you are, you owe it to the other people in the raid who aren't jerks to quit later when it won't be a huge distraction for the run. Leave the raid and log off if you have to, but keep your toons in the guild for now.
  • Don't ninja some bank items or raid loot. This is just childish and spiteful.
  • Don't hold a debate in /g about whether you should quit, weighing the pros and cons for everyone to hear. If you are starved for attention and feed on drama like a vampire, this is the style for you.
  • Don't post a huge rant on your guild's web site, complete with ASCII drawings of obscene gestures. You might feel better in the short run, but you'll probably regret at least some of what you said later on after you've had a chance to cool down.
  • Don't encourage others to quit also. If you really want some of your former guildmates to follow you, contact them privately -- don't set off a powder keg by posting recruiting notices for your new guild on your old guild's site.
  • Don't transfer off the server and never contact anyone in the guild again. You'll be saving yourself some drama, but the unanswered questions will haunt your former guildmates for weeks.

Leaving on Good Terms: For those left behind

Especially when you're leaving your guild on friendly terms, you'll want to soften the blow of your departure. Scott offers still more helpful advice:
  • Consider posting a farewell on your guild's site. When someone leaves a guild, it can be like losing a friend. Be sensitive to that, and give everyone a chance to say goodbye. Your public reasons may differ from your private reasons, but if you don't post some reason, you're going to get a hail of whispers and private messages asking you why you left.
  • Make reparations for empty raid slots and any gear and recipes you're taking with you. One of the biggest blows when a guild member quits is the void left behind in raids and/or arena teams. If possible, offer to participate in guild events for a week or two until the guild finds a replacement. They might not want you along, but at least you've given them the option.
  • Stay humble. Even if the new hardcore raiding guild you jumped ship for outfits you in full tier gear within a week, don't let it go to your head and start acting like you're better than the people you left behind. Don't rub your newfound endgame experience in their faces by bragging about the bosses you've downed or the loot you've won. If they really want to know what you're wearing, they can look it up on the armory.
  • Keep in touch, at least for a little while. Stop by your old guild's forums and say hi, run a heroic with the old crew, or invite them to your Arathi Basin premade. Nothing says "no hard feelings" better than going out of your way to let them know you miss them.

Drama Mamas How to leave your guild without drama or burning bridges MON
Special Ties: For officers and other special circumstances

Sometimes, you may find yourself ready to move on despite carrying additional guild responsibilities or having particularly strong guild relationships. Robin has a few tips for these special circumstances.
  • If you are a guild officer 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. 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 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.

The bottom line: If you're not having fun where you are, you deserve a shot at trying out something you imagine you'd enjoy more. But if there's something you don't like about your current guild, make a private attempt to rectify the situation. This isn't the time to post on the forums or open up a can of worms in guild chat; take your concerns to a guild officer. If that works, stay. If it doesn't, use our advice to make a classy, respectful, drama-free departure.

Best of luck journeying to new horizons!
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with advice 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

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