Monday, October 6, 2008

Should you feel betrayed when a goblin leaves your guild?

When is it time to leave a guild? This question never seems to get out of fashion. Have a look at the guild relationship forums and I bet half of the posts are written by players asking for advice: “I don’t feel good about xx… Should I leave the guild?”

Sooner or later I think everyone in the game who has ever belonged to a guild will be confronted with the issue. How should you value friendship towards your personal goals of progression and other aspects of the game that makes it worth playing?

And there is no right or wrong answer, no universal truth that will fit everyone. We all have to find our own balance and take the responsibility our choices, with the pros and cons that come with them. There’s no way around it.

The Goblin way
The last few days I’ve seen two blogs touching on this issue, from different points of view.

First Gevlon of Greedy Goblin wrote an honest post about “how I missed the whole BC endgame raiding by not knowing the goblin philosophy”.

He has spend loads of time and effort learning others how to play their characters, only to see them guild quit and join a more progressed guild. The result is that even though he considers himself a serious and skilled player, he’s never gone any further than to the second boss in Mount Hyjal. Gevlon blames nobody but himself. He thinks he hang on too long to guilds that didn’t have the ability to progress. In the expansion he will follow the goblin way, cutting the endgame progress into smaller objectives.
“There are guilds working on the same objective. Join them, reach your objective! For example if your current objective is getting Kara gear, a Kara-guild is your place. When objective completed, move on! Don't blame them for not being able to kill anything behind Gruul, it's not your place to lecture them. Just /qguit, go to the next phase. Things won't get any better in your current guild! They will never-ever reach higher level content as a guild. Of course some of the current members will, but under a different name. The guild: never!”
The betrayed guildie
The day after, there was a post written from the other perspective, the guild that lost it’s goblin minded member. Mae of Electronic Escape wrote a post about anger, bitterness and friendship, sharing her pain and disappointment seeing a guildie leave for another guild at another server, in order to raid more frequently.
“When we join a guild, we put in the hands of our fellow guildies our raiding future. We put faith in others that they’ll pull through for us. Tonight, it’s never been more obvious to me that that faith is too easily given and too easily thrown away. We can’t make friends with people in game because tomorrow they could decide that purple is more important to them than your friendship. It’s bittersweet for me, especially because of the amount of time and effort I put into this game. It’s more than a game, the people I’ve met are more than pixels, but it may not go both ways.”
She thinks that the guildie that left, knowing that he’s putting the guild in a worse situation, missing their off-tank, should have stayed out of loyalty.

A little bit of both
So where does Larísa stand in this? Well, I can feel strongly with both writers.

I agree with the goblin. I think there are too many players who have stayed too long in their guilds, growing bitter and bored, and it’s a mystery to me why they don’t leave. Perhaps they’re too lazy or comfortable, since switching guilds or even servers takes an amount of courage.

Several bloggers have written about this in the past – one of them myself. It isn’t long since I took the chance to find new challenges and raiding of higher quality by switching guilds, rather than trying to change the one I was in. At that point I thought a lot about what Lassirra earlier wrote – that you shouldn’t hang around, waiting for your guild to change, since it won’t. The goblin philosophy.

Since I started playing I’ve been in five different guilds. The first one was small and didn’t raid at all; it barely made one five man instance a week. The second one was huge and did instances but couldn’t organize a Karazhan run. The third guild I cleared Kara with. The fourth guild I cleared Gruul, Mag and parts of SSC and TK with. And now in my fifth guild I’m raiding MH and BT. So I guess I’ve done exactly the kind of career Gevlon is talking about. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a guild hopper. But yes, I’ve been a bit goblinish.

On the other hand, in opposition to Gevlon, I still believe progressing within a guild is doable, though it’s difficult and heavily depending on a huge effort from the officers. And I think there are advantages about it. By switching guilds every 4 or 5 months I’ve never got to know people the same way as you do in a guild that’s been raiding together since vanilla WoW and will keep raiding in WotLK. I’ll never get access to a huge chunk of the bank vault of shared memories and fun stories. I’m missing an aspect of the game that is about something else than collecting trophies.

My honest intention is to stay in my current guild as long as it lives and keeps raiding. I’m pretty sure we’ll all about to be shaken up a bit now, with the expansion upcoming. Heck, you even don’t know who’ll play the game at all and who’ll jump for Warhammer. Perhaps someone wishes to see a PvP server, others will want to switch mains. It will sure be a trial for everyone and a bit chaotic. But I sincerely hope that I’ll be one of those who stick around, even when things get a bit tough.

The compromise
So are the perspectives of the goblin and of Mae possible to unite? Yes I think they are. Krizzlybear did it in a comment:

It's possible to progress pretty far, but it's an inevitability that people will come and go in a guild, depending on the needs and wants of its members. But the guild that actually does progress does so because of a very strong core. That core is the sole factor in a guild's progression, not the goblins who stay for only a little while, but are a great help when they were there.
He’s right on the spot. We need the core players who ensure that the guild will live on. If it will progress or not depends entirely on the actions of those players. And their cause isn’t hopeless. There are guilds that manage to progress beyond Kara, under the same guild tag.

On the other hand we shouldn’t think about the goblin players as evil. We need them and they’re a valuable addition to any guild! They provide flesh blood, energy and ideas from other guilds. They prevent stagnation and a slow guild death.

Should you feel betrayed when the goblin leaves? If he steals the guildbank you should, but else – no. Let him go without any hard feelings. Be happy about what he gave you. Respect the choice he's made - probably it wasn't easy. And start looking for another goblin. Who knows, perhaps this one will eventually settle down and join your core. But don’t count on it.


Dragon's Den said...

I think the key factor that is often missed is assessing what the guild's vision is.

Not every guild is a raiding guild. We've had people pleave ours to do 'different' not 'better' things and though we miss them we wish them well as they chase other objectives in the game.

There still seems to be an attitude that a raiding guild is the pinnacle of guilds, but I would argue fiercely against that.

As long as a guild is run well and properly, its objectives are clear and its members having fun then the guild's job is done - whatever type of guild it is.

Anonymous said...

I somewhat touched on this last week myself.

I think that with the upcoming changes to raiding (10 man and 25 man progression paths) that we will see a lot more guilds able to be sucessful while staying together.

I completely agree that a guild will only go as far as its core will allow it, however I think that a smaller core will be able to do greater things very soon.

I for one am excited to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Once you leave a place you considerd home , and all the crap that happens after, makes it so much easier to do it again. when you see people u spent more times with then your best friend try and rip each other apart on public forums, then it really makes you reasses how really important they ever were. I hold that real friendships in game transcend guilds and content, and it shouldnt matter what tag you have over ur head, its the person that matters not the game. So do what is most fun for you. But keep the friendships you value, and they should understand if you are not in the same guild doing the same content, because worse case is, if they dislike what they are doing and are AFRAID to leave the guild - how is having a friend afraid to leave the right thing. They just stop logging in and you will have lost a raider and a friend ..

Gevlon said...

Great post, made me change mine on a few points, and demanded to write the sequel that I promised in the original, but slacked to write. I blame it on LW :-)

As I wrote in the updated post, I also hope to find home in a progression guild. But first I have to reach it, and it can only be done by moving on.

I don't think that 10/25 change seriously change the scene. The only difference that more casual (mean play less time not lower skills) players could organize raids more easily. It's not just the 10 man option, it's also the spellpower thing, that way a healer can change DPS if the other one is needed.

runycat said...

Having left a few guilds in my time, I think there are a ton of different things to consider when doing so, and I wrote about it a little while ago here: Feline Grace: Leavling and landing feet first.

Unless you're a total jerk who ninja'd a ton of loot and stole from the guildbank, no one has any right to feel betrayed and/or treat you like shit because you left a guild in a game. If they're your friends, they'll understand your change in situation.

I, for example, thought that my polite step back from Singularity would go well, and instead, I had incredibly rude flames from embittered people. You never know.

Swordchucks said...

I'm part of a casual raiding guild. We usually run two kara groups and manage 25-mans on most Friday nights. We've had our share of "goblins" come into the guild, get what they want, and go. Frankly, I'm not cool with it. The one that pops into my mind was a hunter that raided with us for a few weeks and /gquit a few minutes after snagging a Dragonspine Trophy off of Gruul (the only one we've seen and a big upgrade for a bunch of our DPS).

Raiders are an investment in a guild. If you go in the guild saying "I want to raid with you guys to get geared up and then go progress" then that's one thing, but no one that's pulled that with us has been honest about it.

If you're going to do this, then the right thing to talk it over with the guild leader and offer to stick it out a couple of weeks, taking no loot and helping the guild gear up your replacement. Don't be a douche and grab up purples like a sponge and immediately move on. It's not guild bank robbery, but it can get perilously close.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GoW said...

Nice post as always Larisa.

I think that goblin is a poor analogy for this philosophy. Goblins in WoW have their own functioning cities; they have something of a working culture of their own. The behavior that Greedy Goblin describes here is individual. Goblins have cities. Booty Bay has a functioning auction house, guards, trainers, vendors, which are analogous to a guild's raid leaders, organizers, teachers and so on.

On the other hand, people who advance through the endgame by hopping guilds need functioning, healthy guilds to exist, each rooted with people who are not hopping. This is the core that people mention when they talk about guilds. Hoppers need healthy cores in order for their endgame ascent to be possible. Likewise, there are goblins who are core to their cities.

I'm one of the people who watches the hoppers come and go. I've also written about this topic, although I haven't even fully defined the problem. I should probably write a followup.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I really enjoyed your post!! I wanted to say, what I wrote, I wrote from my feelings about this particular case, this particular time. I understand that people leave guilds, otherwise, no one would ever join guilds, including mine.

In this particular case, with this person who left, I felt like he could have been honest about why he was leaving, especially because he's been in our guild for a long time. He was persuaded to leave by people who are trouble makers, not, it seems, to raid more. The guild he's currently in has 11 members and half of them are alts. I suppose my problem was being lied to by someone I considered a real friend.

I wanted to add that I would never flame him or be rude to him, it was his choice, but to write about it on my blog is another matter. Those are my feelings about what happened.

Thanks again for the honest assessment, Larísa. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post.

I don't think that I agree with the comment that people who are after progression and leave a guild to join a higher progression guild are all about the purples. I hear this used A LOT as an excuse of why a guild shouldn't like someone who leaves. I don't think that wanting more progression means someone is a loot hog who just wants more and more gear.

I left a guild perpetually stuck in the beginning of Hyjal/BT. We'd been in there for two months and were are 3/5 Hyjal and 3/9 BT. We had 4 official raid nights and probably averaged 3 because of people not showing up. Our raid leader and GM took almost a month off of raiding for some real life concerns and left his AGM in charge who had no leadership skills whatsoever. I took two weeks off of raiding when I left to figure out what MY goals were in the game, and I wanted to see the end-game - I wanted to see new fights and new strategies and become a better player myself.

I didn't care about the loot at all. I'd heard all about later fights in Black Temple - Bloodboil, Council, and Illidan. I'd heard about Sunwell fights and Brutallus. I'd seen videos and read strategies and how people were tackling them. I wanted that and I wanted to be a part of it.
I didn't care about the gear. If possible, I would love to see all of the raid instances without needing better gear or getting a single new piece of gear, but Blizzard doesn't design it that way lol.

Also, when talking about people leaving a guild, I think that there's a BIG discrepancy between losing an important tank (one of the top 2 in the guild), an important dps (consistently top dps, aware of surroundings, etc), or important healer (the ones you trust with your life), compared to just a random member of the guild. It's HARD to replace a main tank in a guild.

Gevlon said...

Gow: No doubt that hopping needs functioning living guilds with core.

But it's indeed this core's fault that the guild is stuck where it is. Assuming, that the hopper is not a ninja, he get's 1/25-th part of the loot. So the others also gear up, and they could "hop" together, not between guilds but between tiers. However the core fails to make this progress, usually because they refuse to kick skilless but nice players.

Swordchucks: hoppers don't "sponge up" gear but earn them via DKP or whatever loot system the guild has. And they are not investments at all. Objects can be investments, not people. If they earned their loot, they are free to take it with them, just like you can take your stuff when you hop between cities or jobs.

Anonymous said...

@All: Thank you for awesome comments. This is what makes blogging worth it!

@Dragon's den: I definitly agree.

The reason why I left the guild that I did Kara with was that we had more or less stopped raiding while I realized that I was a raider at heart, I couldn't bare the thought of not raiding two times a week.

So I honestly don't think I had geared up on anyones expense in order to leave. I just wanted another kind of guild. You have to share the vision.

@Dechion: yeah, I hope that change will help guilds who've been doing Kara over and over again just to lose players to 25 man guild. Now they can get new challenges in smaller scale.

@Pugnaciouspriest: yeah, friendship goes beyound being guildies. I still keep in touch with friends on my native server by e-mail. We look for a bit different things in the game but there's no hard feeling about that.

@Gevlon: thanks! I'm looking forward to more posts by you on this subject. You may be a little provocative sometimes, but it sure makes us think. It's very refreshing.

@Runycat: your post is awesome, the best how-to-leave-a-guild-in-a-decent-way-post I ever saw. If anyone of the PPI readers haven't checked it out yet, go ad do so!

@Swordchucks: Nothing is black or white in this and there may be situations where goblins only are using guilds for their own benefit. That's not a behaviour I approve of. However, if the guild quitter sincerely want another kind of guild, perhaps stricter rules, more raids or whatever, he/she should be able to move on without feeling bad about it. I think most people who move on do it for other things than mere the prospect of loot to be honest. And if you have a fair dkp system hopefully he hopefully hasn’t got anything more than he deserved, as Gevlon pointed out.

@GoW: I must admit I’m pretty noobish when it comes to lore. I evidently need to learn more about goblins. I went and checked out your post, which I hadn’t read before, and it was very, very good indeed, especially considering the upcoming expansion. I can’t help feeling that you and Gevlon have experienced pretty much the same, with the difference that Gevlon has sort of given up staying in the core, starting to play the game according to the principles that rule it, instead of trying to fight them. I really admire core people and I hope to become one of those. But there are limits. I want to be in a raiding guild and if the guildies of mine have another vision it’s better to leave than to grow old and bitter.

Anonymous said...

How about when the guild doesn't want you?

oh your heals are too small yet (and the only upgrades are from the place you are not going)

oh we dont want melee dps even when you rank#1 on the dps charts.

your HP are not enough.

I think that's the time when you need to go to a guild that will have you.

Anonymous said...

@Mae: A sad story. Especially all those lies. Everyone lose.

@I play it all: I definitly agree on that. I think more players are interested in seeing new content than to get new gear. Gear is only means to get access to content.

@Anonymous: if the guild doesn't want you it's definitly time to move on. If I was in that situation I'd probably get pretty emo and feel betrayed. But then I'd try to calme myself and look at it a bit more in a goblin way. They probably didn't deserve me anyway.
I think you only get unhappy if you look upon yourself as a victim - either you're a leaver or a stayer.

Anonymous said...

As part of a 'casual' raiding guild, we've had our fair share of the goblins as well.

There are people (officers or otherwise) that will always take offense to people leaving the guild regardless of the reason.

I dislike those that leave without doing it politely, without explanation, and for what I consider to be 'non-real' reasons. Yes, that last one is somewhat subjective, but someone who leaves after being in guild for two weeks and has only been invited to two raids needs to have a bit more patience.

Bottom line, if someone leaves politely, letting the officers know why, etc. then there shouldn't be any hard feelings. Ironically, you always seem to find yourselves running into these people again. Why burn bridges?

And in response to those who may want to use guilds to progress, I feel that everyone should join a guild with the initial intention of sticking around and being part of a team. That isn't to say after giving them a fair shot and seeing that they indeed will not progress further that you should feel obligated to stay until the guild crumbles around you. It's your dollar and your game.

Gevlon said...

Part 2 of my post is ready!

Anonymous said...

I left a guild silently about a week ago. No posts, no drama, no discussion - just the /gquit on both 70s. They were going nowhere, and the filthy discussion in guild-chat was so vile I had to turn it off at least every 2nd day. An I'm no prude.

Guilds are great collections of people, as long as they are like minded and have similar goals. I got in because they seemed to be active and good people; what I got was akin to a meth-lab run by childish perverts.

Unknown said...

steYes of course you will feel betrayed when a goblin leaves your guild especially if they have been there for a long time and you knew them personally. But I won't hold it against them as long as they do it in a nice manner.

Biggest thing for me is the guild's focus and the members. I've been around the raiding scene for awhile ever since they released Molten core and I've only left a guild twice =).