This last weekend we had some guild drama. So our guild has never been big, and many in our guild do not want it to be big (leaders included). It is a rule free, fairly rank free guild, that by design is meant to limit the drama and strangers (some might call this family oriented).
The build up to the trouble
A couple of months ago, someone left EQ2 for Lords of the Rings Online. This actually hurt the guild quite a bit. When a guild only has about a dozen regulars, losing one is big. But this guy was different than just a regular, he was home and disabled and thus always on, and even more importantly, always willing to help. This meant that he was a big part in the day to day life of most of the other guildmates as he was even on when the rest of the server wasn’t. When he left, shortly after another person left, whom I think had only stuck around for the other player in the first place, and that guy took with him 1 regular and several who rarely played. So in the span of about a month, our guild lost 3 regulars and some random others.
Like I said, for a guild with a dozen regulars, this is huge (25% of our regulars, can you imagine?). However, this wasn’t the end of it, simultaneously to this, many of the main core (which numbers another 3 or 4) decided to spend more time out with each other (they are family) and their kids and enjoy the summer.
We could have likely dealt with one of these two scenarios happening, but we had both. We went from a small guild to a tiny guild. What makes this yet worse is that the few who were on came on at dramatically different times; day side, night side and kiwi time. So we opened up recruiting. We’ve always been on the lookout for new peeps, but we never actively recruited. We brought in a bunch of people to replace some of the older ones. Some worked, some didn’t.
The Drama Begins
On Friday morning I was talking to a few of these new recruits and trying to get them to come on a raid that evening. The impression I got was that 1 of the 3 would come, the other two were unsure if they could because the woman called her family back in the states at that time (a couple who lived in New Zealand). I said that was fine, maybe another time would work. That evening, the husband logged in, asked if they were coming, he mentioned that his wife was on the phone but he was coming. I assumed that meant she was not coming, but in truth he apparently mentioned that she was and I totally missed it.
I saved a spot for the two i knew were coming, and then when the third one came and asked to join I said we were full. Which we were. She told me that he had in fact said she was coming and I realized that this likely happened though I missed it. She got really pissed off… I offered her a plat to start with for my screwup, she didn’t want it. Then I offered her my spot and she didn’t want it. At this point I pretty much gave up because I had no idea what else to do and she left the guild.
She said she wasn’t really leaving because of me, but more because there was never anyone on during their time zone and they were fed up with the lack of people in the guild (apparently they also misinterpreted our guild leader when she told them that we didn’t want a bigger guild as saying we were happy with the 3 or 4 players we had).
Could a Merge be the Solution?
So later that evening, they approached another regular member who actually recruited them and asked him to start his own guild that they could all join. He did. This started a panic on my part because without him, there really was only one regular left besides myself. I realized that with just 2 people in the guild being regular, we had no chance to rebuild the guild. Hell even with 4 (assuming 2 of the leaders returned) we didn’t have a huge chance of doing it. I immediately began talking to some friends who are leaders of another guild about a merger.
Well as all mergers go, that didn’t work out… they didn’t wanna merge into us, we didn’t wanna merge into them. It is difficult to pry leaders away from their position. I don’t think it was helping that the other guild wasn’t even willing to bring us in as anything more than recruits, to us that isn’t a merger, that is a mass recruiting… to merge, you really gotta offer at least one person of the opposing guild a leadership position, or at the very least officer so that the other guild can make sure that their former members will still be attended to.
Everything Settles Down for awhile
Eventually we talked to the guy who left as the new guild leader, and cooler heads prevailed and he came back. I think we also made it known that the other two were not really welcome back. I think the consensus was that while she had valid complaints, the way she went about dealing with them was not appropriate for a good guild. So the issue has resolved for now. The leaders have decided to try to increase their playtime a little more, to be in conjunction with the guy who left to start the guild. In order to help him stay entertained until we pick up numbers. The guy has resumed his recruiting of various people, he is working on an illusionist now who seems to have some more daytime like hours which would help a lot. I’ve personally started inquiring about people who I didn’t want to really approach previously because they were already in guilds. Though they haven’t turned out well, I applaud my effort to try. I also have begun work on creating a real website for the guild to help showcase who we are to allow people to join easier.
I have a feeling we will be dealing with this again soon, but the hope is that we can make it to the expansion because it is likely that many people will be playing more, as well as a new influx of newbs may bring more people into the guild again. We’ll see.