Not that long ago a guildee asked me "Is it worth it to lead a guild?" At the time it took me a few minutes to come up with some pros and cons to that question. Most of the cons were pretty obvious: lots of work, huge time sink, gotta be able to take a lot of flak from people and the pros were also equally obvious: chance of succeeding and seeing your hard work pay off, doing things your way, and you get to see things from a different perspective. Now this seemed to be enough for the guildee so they thanked me for answering their question and went off to do something else. I have been thinking about it for a while now and I have been asking myself...how the hell does a lazy, anti-social, unmotivated slacker such as myself end up in charge...and how has it not all unraveled at any time in the last 5 years?
Well...I think that I've lasted as long as I have because I like to do things my way. It also helps that I'm a stubborn bastard who doesn't like to back down. Both of which cause my fiance several headaches when it comes time to pick a movie to watch. ;-) But how have I managed to not only gather people to my banner but also to succeed and grow? Well that is a good question to which I still have no answer to. I have been in two guilds in two other MMO's Star Wars Galaxies and Final Fantasy 11. Due to the amount of text I will be breaking this post into two parts with the first one posted today and the second part later. So prepare yourself to step back into the wayback machine and read on if you dare! Lot of text incoming, you've been warned...
My first ever guild was Section X in Star Wars Galaxies (which was displayed as Sec X and sounds an awful lot like sex) which I stumbled into when the GM saw me and another noob player attempt to take on a huge Albatross outside of Theed on Naboo. Yes I am a huge Star Wars nerd but please continue reading anyway. I got invited to join the guild which was run by a mom who had her two teenage boys help her as officers. The mood in the guild was pretty relaxed and I had a lot of fun but I ended up being promoted to an officer position mainly because I was good with helping the new people who joined play the game. I enjoyed my time in SWG and I learned that recruitment is key to thriving as a guild and helping guild mates out is also very important. I also learned that there are A LOT of people who play these games who have no clue what they are doing at all. Eventually SWG died out due to other MMO's coming out like City of Heroes and Final Fantasy 11 as well as gross mismanagement and a complete nerf to the game through the NGE but thats a rant for elsewhere.
After I left SWG I decided to try out Final Fantasy 11 because several friends at school were playing it. If anyone ever complains about how long it takes to level in WoW...they should go see how hardcore it can really get by playing FF11. Leveling is a pain in that game and grouping is forced on you as soon as you hit level 10. Being in the guild(whose name escapes me at the moment) was kind of cool except for the fact that no one ever helped me with anything. I mean I'd ask a question in guild and I'd get a response but no one ever offered to help me out with gold, items, etc. and not that I expected it but it would have been nice to have some help from people who had been playing the game longer then I had. It seemed to me that being in a guild was just a way to chat with people without having to use the general chat. From that game I walked away with an idea of what a guild should not be. By the way I am not trashing that guild or its members, I am merely stating that Final Fantasy 11 was not the best game when it came to a lot of things like guilds, leveling, socialization.
After FF11 I decided to play WoW with some other people from school who were playing. We rolled characters on Darkspear and made a guild. Darkspear was chosen because a more vocal person had a 60 on the server and didn't want to make a new character elsewhere. It was mainly all people from the university so we were all pretty talkative and helpful. After a while some of the people who had rerolled to play together wanted to start fresh on a new server so no one would have any advantage over everybody. We chose Ursin and rolled alliance. After they all abandoned me to go horde I dug my heels in and stayed alliance. I made AoA and tried to make it the place that I wanted it to be. I saw all the things that I didn't want it to be in other guilds and I have been trying my hardest since to make sure that AoA is a place where people can be happy calling it home. Now at the time we didn't have a website or even a vent server because we were still new and growing so in my mind none of that was necessary. My focus was to get to 60 then to get others to 60 so we could raid and have fun.
There were several times where I was forced to learn a lesson about management the hard way. One of those lessons was: pick your officers carefully. I made the mistake of making someone an officer because they seemed nice but they ended up becoming a huge jerk who alienated a lot of people away from the guild. This guy also managed to get a few of our 60s into an Molten Core run with another guild who was short a few people. Now you may say "well he got you into a raid so he can't be all bad right?" and my response is...oh it all went down hill from there. We ran MC a few times with that guild and people were excited that we were finally raiding but then the GM of the other guild said we should join their guild. Now like I've said before, I like doing things my way so while I was flattered that he wanted me in his guild I politely declined. Now my bad officer on the other hand went whole hog and left the guild to join the raiding guild. This of course started an avalanche of people leaving the guild and I was left with a handful of people in the guild. Now to many people this may have been a sign that I should just disband the guild and join the other guild. But I'm stubborn and I refuse to give up!
So I recruited as best as I could and I ran people through instances and I held on to the guild and put it back together as best as I could. I made a lot of connections with people on the server and got to know many people. But the question that I had to ask myself was...was it worth it to rebuild? Why bother going through all the work of rebuilding when I had no clue if it would even work out in the end. Well...those questions will be answered in the next part. I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into my guilds history and I welcome you to check back when I post the next part. =D
Quick SPOILER: The guild pulls through and is still alive and well today. ZOMG! SPOILERS!