On Guild Leadership

Once again I have found myself in a place I didn’t think I’d ever reach again in my gaming career.  Through a series of rather unfortunate events, I have been left without a cohesive group structure to take interest in.  I’ll admit, I’ve made some mistakes along the way that have nudged me to this point, but I would have never thought  I would have been in this position ever again.  I thought I had found the communities I would be with until I stopped playing games altogether.  But sadly, things changed for the worse, and I’m left without a direction to go from here.

Since I started playing World of Warcraft in 2009, I have called six guilds across two games my home.  Each of these guilds promoted me to an officer position at some point, and each one eventually led me to move to a different place.  And in those six years, I’ve learned a lot across those positions of leadership, and I think I’ve come to realize just why each of these fantastic communities has driven me away.  This is by no means meant to be an attack against any of these guilds, but merely my observations on leading them over the years.

What it takes to be a guild officer

To me, being a guild officer is not merely having a  major responsibility, and thus a title to designate that.  The position of guild officer is so much more than just a list of duties.  It’s a mindset.  It’s an undying sense of loyalty to one’s guild.  It’s a vested interest  in the day to day operations of the guild.  It’s having an attitude to constantly make a mark on the community as a whole, and having pride in the fact that it’s your guild doing it.  It’s making the decisions no one else wants to, and bearing the brunt of the consequences.  It’s having an open mind and a loud mouth, especially when something isn’t how you envisioned it or shows all the signs of being a problem.

Officership doesn’t always mean a concrete responsibility

I have only twice ever held the position of officer based upon the responsibilities I had taken on.  Once as a guild recruiter, and once at first as a raid leader.  Each other time I was either given or took duties upon myself because I had taken on a position of authority.  Only one other guild I have been in has required a responsibility before receiving an officer position.  And after each of these times, what I’ve found is that it just doesn’t work.  Officers lose their interest in what they’re responsible for.  Responsibilities change hands, sometimes leading one officer to have no duties anymore.  Being an officer only really means being a workhorse for the guild, no more, no less.  And often, due to the necessity of having everything being done by an officer, the number of officers often dwindles or never increases, which leads to more burnout of those already in the officer positions.  It just doesn’t work. A guild can’t rely on a small set of officers to maintain its presence.

The biggest part of being an officer is being vocal

Nothing ever happens if nothing is ever said, and stagnation is often worse than decline.  A guild officer must be able to speak  their mind, be heard, and acknowledge responses.  If not, ideas get left on the floor, discontent breeds contempt, and the guild slowly dies from the inside out.  I’ve seen this problem three times now, I’ve left or lost my position as officer, and twice those guilds died a painful death.  I can’t stress enough how important clear, concise, and honest conversation is necessary for a guild’s survival, especially amongst officers.

Sometimes, the best way to lead is to move on

Sometimes, despite an officer’s best efforts to keep it going strong, a guild just cannot survive.  Sometimes, the guild’s environment moves itself in a direction against one officer’s best interests.  Sometimes, the echo chamber is just too strong to fight against.  Things change through no fault of the officer, and in some cases, it’s best to let time run its course and settle down somewhere new.  True friendships will last forever, and depending on the guild’s makeup, some may move on with the officer.

And I guess that’s really where I am now.  I’ve been forced to move on, take my experiences and motivations in another direction.  But is it really worth it for me to go through the struggle of finding a new place to call home?  Every time I do it, the more jaded I get toward the idea of playing group-based games as a whole.  How long am I willing to wander before I just settle in the desert?

Woo Patreon

So I started up a Patreon page.  It’s located here.  I’m hoping to get a little support so that I can work on making my stream better and spend more time on writing and playing games rather than adjusting equipment, cooking,  cleaning, and all kinds of other stuff I waste my time on.

Go ahead and check it out if you feel like wanting to give me some reason to get off my ass and stop being lazy about writing and streaming!