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Officers' Quarters: All star team

All the faction leaders
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.

This week, a raid leader faces a difficult decision: stay with his current guild or join the hottest raid team on the realm. (FYI, this email is from mid November so adjust your progression expectations accordingly.)

Hello, I am in a conundrum and require some help.

I am a Raid Leader for a guild, and have been since early Dragon Soul for this guild (2 years in total). our team has always gotten content down, just took a long while to due so, usually to low numbers and unskilled players and poor attendance. We have been progressing through Mogu'Shan Vaults and Heart of Fear with some pace, just getting Zor'lok and Will of the Emperor this Thursday on Normal. Now i am one to play to the utmost caliber, pushing the limits of my class (Blood DK) with both mitigation and damage, even ranking on all bosses killed aside from Elegon.

Now here's where my issue is, a guild on the server that was just recently formed and stomped 6/6 MSV and 4/6 HoF in 1 week has asked me to tank for them.

I know 1 person in the guild (was on my team for a bit) and the rest only by name. Now i know that i will kill more bosses with the new group as long as it lasts but being a new guild it doesnt have a solid base, but i would alienate a lot of people that i have grown to like in my current guild if i left, especially considering my position and officer rank.

Now my question is, in your experience, do you think i should struggle leading the team i have and know that i will not only have to fight bosses, but poor players/attendance or should i give it a shot with the new guild that is made out of some of the top players on the realm?

Thank you for your time,

Raid leader with a conundrum.

Hi, RLWAC.

It's the classic problem: friends or progression. Unfortunately it's very hard for me to give advice about such things. In fact, I very rarely post such emails on WoW Insider, because in most such scenarios it's all but impossible for me to give useful advice. You have the weigh the relationships that you have in your current guild against a better raiding experience. Which one is more valuable to you?

That's not to say you can't move on and stay friends with the guildmates you've left behind. It's absolutely possible, but it's also true that you won't see or talk to them nearly as much. You'll have to spend time getting to know the people in your new guild if you want to build new relationships there.

The all star cycle

What makes this situation so different that I would turn it into a column? Well, I'd like to talk about the phenomenon of "all star teams." In the eight years I've been playing WoW, I've seen this happen over and over again. A bunch of the realm's best players get fed up with their current guilds and get together to form a new one. Or, one of the better guilds collapses and ex members start their own. Either way, this new guild goes on a poaching rampage to collect all the realm's best and brightest into a carefully selected team -- or in other words, an all star team.

Now, as a vocal opponent of poaching, I don't support this strategy. However, I do recognize it's inevitability. These things go in cycles on every raiding realm, as far as I can tell.

And it is a cycle, I assure you. Why? Well, these guilds always start out by absolutely crushing content. They tear through bosses and quickly rise to become the top guild on the server. With so much talent on one team, it's expected.

As their fame grows, they get tons of applications. They quickly figure out who the weakest links on the team are and discard those people in favor of better players. Soon, they really do have the realm's best under one guild tag. However, they've angered a lot of people in the process, both with the initial poaching and then the subsequent gkicks.

Doomed to implode

Such enterprises are doomed to implode under the sheer weight of all the egos on the team. The best players frequently have the biggest egos. Friction begins to heat up as soon as the team hits a Heroic encounter that gives them some trouble. Egos clash as everyone has their own idea about how to fix the problems or who to replace next.

Since the guild came together entirely out of self-interest, it's no surprise that its members feel very little loyalty to the community. As soon as they don't like the direction the guild is headed, or they have a verbal throw-down with someone on the team, or they think they have a better offer from another raiding guild, they bail.

The raid leader struggles to keep everyone happy and eventually it all falls apart. They go their separate ways, transfer servers, form less ambitious guilds, or return to their old communities.

The reason this happens is because it was never a real team to begin with. Real teams have loyalty and trust, and players who are willing to put their own needs aside for the good of the team. Most "all star" raid teams have nothing of the sort.

There's nothing wrong with trying to assemble a great raid team. The problem is the way that many such guilds go about it. Some do it in a fair, nonpoaching way and should be commended. Others poach shamelessly, and it sounds exactly like what's happening on the realm in question here.

Weigh all the factors

So, RLWAC, as you weigh this decision, keep in mind that there are a lot of other factors to think about besides progression. Will you get along with the people there? Do they get along with each other? Is the guild stable, with solid leadership? Are people committed to it and to staying on the server? How do they treat their raiders? Is raiding with this guild actually fun, or just efficient? Is this an organization you'd be proud to say you belonged to? If you join and it disbands a week later, will you be able to return to your guild or will that bridge be burned?

If you do decide to stay with your guild, however, don't do it because you feel obligated. Stay because you genuinely want to. Otherwise, you'll just resent the players in your guild for holding you back, and you will quickly burn out. This other guild may not be the answer, but your desire to join it may indicate that you're feeling trapped and not having as much fun as you should be. In that case, you may want to start looking at other guilds, but an all star team comes with a lot of red flags attached. Go into it with your eyes open or not at all.

/salute

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 scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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