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harlzen
harlzen
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August 2009
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harlzen [userpic]
Guilds

I've been in a gaming guild for a long time. I didn't really think about how long until it looked like the guild was about to fade away to nothing. The charismatic and well liked guild leader picked Vanguard (doesn't matter if you don't know it) as the game with the brightest future and we packed up shop in WoW and moved (having done the same when leaving the original Everquest). The game was a commercial disaster with the employee's pretty much all being taken out to the parking lot and fired a couple of months after release. Technical issues and the very low number of subscribers causing the game to fail to reach its potential. As the game faded so did the guild, with people who didn't want to play silently slipping away rather than rock the boat by opposing those who still championed the potential of vanguard. I was one of those who slipped away, but then I realised I didn't really give a shit what game we ended up playing, or whether the people in the guild got their final confirmation I'm excessively verbose, I didn't want to lose touch with some of these people I'd known for up to 10 years.

So after mulling it over (a lot), overcoming my urge to stay the hell out of it, I finally got up at 5:00am and coughed this out when the current raid leader asked about alternatives and there was only silence. Part of my commitment was forming a guild in the game I was most interested in (WoW, and yes we are recruiting) but most was trying to convince others that the people come first while the games are ephemeral and fade over time.

This is long, geeky and fairly specialized to those who play online RPG's. It's really rare that I get such a passion to express something though, so I thought I'd put it here just in case someone else found it interesting. It's also not specific to my guild. I think having a group of gamers than span multiple MMORPG's (which differ from most games in having a strong social aspect) is a good model I'd like to see more of. It tends to require having played multiple MMORPG's though, and realising each will fade in time, which a lot of the people who started in WoW won't have seen yet. In the text SA is the guild initials, VG is vanguard, Conan is "age of conan" which as I write this is the hot new game on the scene, though already showing signs of holes behind the facade and novelty.



Disclaimer: Posting too damn early in the morning.

It is fairly distressing to see that a guild that once fielded a raidforce of 60-70 people and had well over 100 active members has faded to the point where a thread like this gets no response. Clearly the idea of saying "if you are in SA you must be playing this game" isn't going to keep the guild going if not enough people are motivated to progress in that game and recruitment can't make up the shortfall. It worked in EQ, and even WoW because both of those were absolutely dominant for a time. There's a lot more alternatives out there now.

And you know, that's just human nature. I think most SA people enjoy gaming with the friends they've made over the years but interest in particular games will ebb and flow as time passes. The current policy just means that when people want to try a new game they either leave the guild or fade away.

I'd much rather *know* if SA people are having a ball and kicking ass in some game. It gives me the option to go and join them, gives them a potential stream of recruits they know or at least lets me follow their adventures and learn about the game. And if some of the people or new recruits in that game want to also keep progressing in the game I'm interested in then win-win.

"If VG falls over"... SA's presence in Vanguard only ends when the last SA member un-subscribes or leaves the guild with no one to pass the guild master title on to. If you are committed to the game and SA having a presence there then you need to work on recruiting, in general and from SA people in other games, the ease of both being determined by how well the game is doing and how much enticing content it has to offer. It's still much easier to recruit if you have a large pool of SA members and new recruits from other more actively growing games who will know it exists as an option. If the game has a lean period and people leave to try "shiny new game X" then that's a little sad for those who love that game but as long as the guild is alive those gamers can always come back and pick up right where they left off when new content presents itself or the shine wears off game X (and it always will for some).

Some people won't wait of course. If the game you love can't field a raid force then each player has to consider whether they continue gaming as SA to keep the flag aloft, whether they leave the guild *in that game* to join another that can field a raid force or whether they move to another game where SA can field a raid force. There's not much the guild can do about that, each player has to make their own decision. At least having SA existing in multiple games means the guild as a whole continues and ideally grows.

Within the wider SA population there will be a hard-core group who thrive on progression. The actual members will vary a bit as RL intervenes and interest in any particular game ebbs and flows. The fact that the guild exists in multiple games does not stop these people forming and moving as a group as long as raid leader and guild leader are not seen as the same thing. And when they move a lot of people will follow their lead which helps one or two games gain critical raid mass. The larger the guild population the more of these raid groups we could support.

It will be disappointing to be the guild leader in a game which hasn't attracted a raid group and can't field one itself. The lack of activity will make recruiting hard and lots of the people you recruit might end up leaving for other guilds or other games. That's just the way it is though, you can't make a guild policy which will stop it.

For myself I am committed to keeping an SA presence in WoW, my gaming focus for the foreseeable future. While I might like everyone in SA (past and present) to move to WoW I realise there's no chance of that happening and it probably wouldn't be good for the guild long term if it did. I'd be delighted if we had a raid force in SA:WoW, I still think the game can boast some of the best raid content the genre has to offer, but that's not something that can be created by policy or writing long forum posts. It will be determined by how many members we have and what games they want to play. Of course the fact I care about SA as a whole more than raid progression in game X might be a good quality for a guild leader just as it is a bad quality for a raid leader :)

If we see SA:Conan, SA:Vanguard, SA:EQ2 or SA:Whatever I would like to think we can still be members of one extended family. I, as a gamer, want to follow your adventures. If I want to experience those games I would want to experience them with people I know and trust to be good gamers. I don't expect to automatically get a raid spot, or even full membership, but recruitment can be a lot smoother when there is past history. Naturally SA:WoW extends exactly that offer to any in SA:AnyGame .... why would we not?

The other person who gets a say is the maintainer of these forums. These are great forums and they've done a lot to keep the guild together. If there are multiple chapters then shared forums would be at the core of keeping the different groups in contact. And heck, I really want to know how people whose judgement I trust are finding Conan.

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Current Location: Waning Home
Current Mood: nervousnervous
Current Music: Silence... well, apart from fan noise on my comp.