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The Guild of Guilds: A Death

The Guild of Guilds was my World of Warcraft Guild which I started about 3 years ago. It began as a newb guild which quickly grew into a organised quality social guild. People were kicked for stealing, for arguing, and even being immature for a prolonged period of time. It was a Monarchy, which consisted of a King, and his Dukes (advisors to the King), and Barons who acted like Police Officers. It also contained a Queen of equal power as the King in the later months of its life. Running a Guild is very hard work, and you really need to be addicted to WoW for this to succeed. As in any group of people, Politics and bickering will always be present. However in the Guild we had a 'no public drama' policy, which stated that people who were upset with us, and publically caused a scene could be kicked. We had a semi-democracy where people could vote on some issues, which effected the vision and future development of the Guild. But all serious issues, and problematic issues were handled by the King/Queen and Dukes. We also had a LONG list of rules and regulations which we expected everyone to abide by. It was a strict Guild. But it was also a fun guild. The reason for the strict behaviour was that, in WoW, image is everything. This may seem vain, but it is indeed true. In WoW, each server has about 20,000 toons on it. Of those, only about 5,000 are actual active, and regular players. This is split between Horde and Alliance, so on average, there are 2,500 people online, per faction during the prime playing times. Most Guilds are between 100 and 300 toons in size, and between 50 and 200 actual unique players. So let us assume that a Guild on average has 125 unique players in it. In this case, using math, we determine that there should be on average 20 average sized guilds on the server, per faction, which consist of mainly active (daily) players. 2,500 may seem like a lot of people, but playing on the same server day after day, you quickly get to know people. Last I checked, the Guild of Guilds alone has a list of over 1,600 players whom had left or had been kicked, during its existence. So over half of the online players likely had been in the Guild at one time, or knew someone who was. Of course new players are always joining, but in such small numbers that it is worth noting, especially on a mature server which was full, and advised new members to look elsewhere - people would only create a toon on the server if they knew someone there. Of those 20 or so active Guilds, each one has its own unique niche and function. Of course you are likely to have a few top raiding guilds who compete and race to finish the latest dungeons. And then a variety of social guilds and lowbie guilds, even some religious guilds. Guilds who attempt to attract quality, and mature players must maintain such standards inside them at all levels. It is the Officers and Guild Masters job to scrutinize and head off any behaviours which may lead to a new player, being turned off by the Guild. This includes discussing potential problematic members or groups of members, in private, and devising a solution to rectify the personality conflicts. If such a conflict appears too difficult to rectify, then perhaps it is best to remove them. That is of course if the guild wishes to expand.  To maintain this quality image, you need to be strict. Every player in the guild who acts in an immature way, or in a manner which the guild does not condone, may harm the image of the guild.  And in such a small community, a single player who tarnishes the image of a otherwise respectable guild, can ruin the opinion of said guild, by other players on the server, and that will limit the success of the guild in question in the future. As a Guild matures its members, if it is a casual guild, generally start saying, okay, I have leveled my toon up to the Max level. Now what? So usually Raiding and end game play becomes a priority. Of course casual guilds can never compete with the top notch raiding guilds. So they must remain casual. Ususally this is where people leave. And thus a guild will need to expand further to stay in that '20 active guilds' margin. Guilds generally acquire their own unique Social-Political roles within the server. It is a delicate balance for a Guild to maintain such a position. The Guild of Guilds maintained a position in the top 20, and sometimes in the top 10 Guilds on the server for over 2 years. But alas. As friendships form, the bonds and initial trust which officers had in their leadership dwindle, in turn favouring their friends. When friends act in a manner which needs discussing amongst the officers, this dwindled trust, and personal bias towards friends, instead of towards rules and order, often spells the beginning of the end. Senior officers begin to take sides and the issue turns to personal bias vs. guild procedure - guild procedure which, until now, the same officers were all too happy to follow if it was someone they didn't know. It is hard to calculate who trusts who online, and who is faking trust. In the end, it is those who stand it out and stand beside you when everyone has left, who deserve the trust and respect. It is hard to really find good officers who will trust the leadership of a guild, over a friend. And I do not expect people to favour a guild over a friend either. But at least turn a blind eye to the issue. What happened in the Guild of Guilds was that one former officer who stepped down, was seen as becoming a loot hog in a way. She would change specs and roll need on items for each spec. So the officers were discussing this, and trying to formulate a rule in which they could pick one spec as their main spec, and the other spec would be their secondary spec. Had she not been singled out in the discussion (being that the discussion was brought on by her spec changes to begin with) this would of been just another discussion, regarding the implementation of a rule, which was to be discussed and devised with the help and suggestions of the officers. As it turns out, two of the officers had become very close friends with this person. And they told her about it. One of them even allowed her to log into their account (or was at their house, and let her see it for herself - same IP was recorded for both accounts during the same time frame), and this caused her to throw a tantrum. In our guild, content and subjects which were being discussed by officers in the private officer discussion forums were confidential. And officers were restricted from sharing such information - exactly to prevent the outcome stated above. To be fair, I as the Guild leader determined that the two officers should stay as officers until there was a hearing / meeting in which all of the officers together could discuss the situation and come to a fair conclusion. But while we waited for a time which this could happen, more and more people started becoming aware of this issue, and also aware of the discussion regarding the two officers... and aware of a number of other things. It seems that the two officers were telling people a lot of information. And at one point people started seeing the forums themselves. It was found that permissions had been changed, and somehow members were able to modify their accounts in order to allow themselves to view the restricted officer forum. The only person able to do that, aside from myself (and believe me, I would have never done that - instead I locked down the forums so tight, no one could post or see anyone elses post for a few days), was a Duke. And one of the people being questioned for leaking said information, was a Duke. A quick conference was held, and the Duke, and the other officer were removed in light of this most recent information. Anyone else who was on their side was also asked to leave or was kicked if they began to create drama. I am not sure if the Duke in question actually changed the permissions or not, Or maybe another Duke who remained silent did? But what happened happened, and there was nothing I could do about it. Trusts had been spoiled and there was obviously a strong bias against the leadership of the guild by those two officers. A few months later, that same Duke who was now in another guild, was able to talk most of the guild into leaving, claiming that I had lied about the whole thing. Just goes to show you how low some people will go I suppose. I don't really know what was said this time, as I have been taking a break from WoW, and had no idea anything like this was happening. The Guild is dead now. Will it ever be revived? maybe. maybe not. But it taught me something... ha, well sadly I had previously already been taught this lesson in the past. But it taught me that people are imperfect. No one person is perfect, no persons trust is 100% - everyone has a breaking point. People will blindly follow orders, and regulations... to the point of causing people physical harm even, until that is, that person they are to be punishing, is a friend of theirs. Then in most cases all bets are off. Of course all that being said, I would never wish to have officers under my leadership who would blindly follow me. I am sure that it is possible to find people of like minds who would help the guild progress without much bias. I suppose this is very hard to do this online where you really can't know someone 100% through their typing. So I suppose that you should always expect something like this. To me, the Guild was an amazingly accurate experiment which proved to myself many social psychological theories.

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