4 August 2008

Weathering the storm

About two weeks ago I quit my guild in a huff of indignation without much of a clue what I would do next. And since then, I've been putting off writing about why.

Actually, I've been putting off thinking about why, because I don't want to corrupt my memories of a very happy time with the guild. It's tricky gauging how much to say about what went on. Skullcrackers is a real guild with a lot of great players. I was very happy there for the best part of a year and have no wish to turn on them now.

If I tried to catalogue the problems in Skullcrackers, you would doubtless recognise many of them from your own experiences. Guilds the world over face the same issues — how do you balance the conflicting wishes of 'casual' and 'hardcore' players, how do you recruit tanks and healers, how do you ensure enough players are online at the same time to raid, how do you keep experienced players interested while newer players gear up, how do you make that jump from Kara to Gruul's?

But what defines a guild isn't the problems it experiences but how it responds to them. The guild that faces up to its problems will go on to prosper; the ones that ignore them will wither and fade away.

While we had endless chats in Skullcrackers about how we could recruit more tanks and healers, how we could ensure reliable raid attendance, how we could actually make some progress through ZA while gearing up enough players for 25-man raiding, we never took any significant action to tackle them. When even the guild master is an hour late to raids without apology, while the guild is haemorrhaging its best raid-level players, you begin to see how cheap words are.

It would be easy to blame the GM for the fate of the guild, but that would be unfair. As an officer, I have to accept part responsibility for the fact that Skullcrackers struggled to address any of these problems in a meaningful way. But when I stop beating myself up and consider what I could have done better, or differently, I draw a blank. I genuinely tried to drive change and force the guild to adapt for many months; resistance or apathy simply beat me down.

That's not to say I am blameless for the problems the guild had; simply that it was the right time to leave, and leaving was the best thing for both me and Skullcrackers.

So now I join several other ex-Skullcrackers in Freak on a Leash, hoping we don't fall prey to the same flaws. We have the benefit of knowing where Skullcrackers went wrong, and vowing not to make the same mistakes. But knowing and doing are two different things. Just like Skullcrackers, we are having to recruit fresh level 70s and help them gear up through Kara and heroics just to move forward.

At the back of our heads, I think we are all aware that the time for raid progression could well have passed. With the expansion looming, if we can't build a balanced roster of active, like-minded players soon, we may have to accept that the future of Freak lies in the 10-man raids of Northrend. There's no doubt that the development of more 10-man content will make it much easier for guilds like Freak and Skullcrackers to prosper, we just have to hope that we can all make it there in tact.

1 comment:

Kyrilean said...

Similar issues in my own growing guild. Just last night we held a meeting to address these things.

Regarding the problems with recruiting healers and tanks to ensure enough people. Last night I pointed out that sometimes we're the biggest group of idiots in WoW.

We have enough geared healers and tanks to attempt Gruul's and Mag's, but for whatever reason we scheduled a night when most people can't go. I only found this out Sunday evening. The solution up til now was to recruit more!

Sometimes just talking to your guild members directly rather than through forums, guild chat, etc. works wonders! As such, we're changing the schedule.