By special request, here is a post about guilds and the relationships within them. Thank you, Majik, for the prompt!
A guild is a weird thing. It’s a tag, a chat channel, a list of ranks, a collection of junk (and money) in a bank.
It’s also a collection of people.
There are all kinds of people in a guild. You have your GM (or GMs), your officer(s), your raiders, your friends, your alts and pretty much everything in between.
Even weirder, guilds are different things to different people.
To some, it’s a tight-knit group of people who’ve known each other for half a decade who are single-mindedly going about their declared purpose and vision. To some, it’s a loose collection of people, filled with strangers you’ll never really get to know or talk to before they just stop logging on or decide to leave. To still others, a guild is an online place for real life friends to meet up and chat. To others, it’s a home for bank alts and a repository for all the junk this game requires us to use.
As if those descriptions didn’t make guilds sound weird to begin with, there are hundreds of variations between those types (and other types I didn’t even dare to mention!) that make guilds unique. There’s the business-like guild, where you all log on almost in unison, do your raid/PVP/RP, then log off again, only showing up again some 20ish hours later to repeat the process. There’s the social guild, where everyone knows everyone else and people call out toon names in guild chat akin to people shouting “NORM!” on Cheers.
Today, I thought I’d talk a little bit about some of the relationships within a relatively typical raiding guild. We’re talking about one that isn’t 100% business but isn’t 100% social, has a mix of people who know each other from RL or for many years and new people as well.
So here are some relationships that I’ll examine.
1) The Romantic Relationship
Just about every typical raiding guild has a couple in it. You might not know about it, you might not be privy to that information, but there’s almost always a couple. The couple may pre-date the game or may have been formed once the two participants met in-game, in that very guild.
In general, this is cool. Who am I to judge if someone finds their soulmate through this game? There are stranger ways to meet someone.
It becomes uncool as soon as it starts affecting the guild. This usually happens when one of the participants is a guild leader (officer or GM) and the other is, shall we say, not a very talented player. (For some reason, this is typically a male guild leader and a female player, giving women everywhere in WoW a bad name. :P)
In the hopes of impressing his or her newfound love, the guild leader campaigns extensively to allow the player into raids, using a subpar spec and gear, or might just award them loot or such in a less fair and transparent guild.
Actual example of this:
Guild Master L fell for a new priest we’d recruited, O. O was, back in those days, a shadow priest. You know, back when ALL the priest tier gear was +healing and there was absolutely no second kind of tier? (As an aside, I did some Naxx 60 when I was 70 with my RL friend the resto druid and a friend of hers, who was a shadow priest. The friend rolled on some Tier 3 token and then was like “Uh. Where’s the shadow set?” when he got to the tier vendor. Not joking!)
Considering our old guild had a severe shortage of these elusive things called “healers”, we tried to get O to swap to healing. She refused for a while and then, when she finally caved, she INSISTED to Guild Leader L that she be his healer. Period.
Never you mind that THE BEST PRIEST of that era was in our guild (we miss you, BW!) and the healing lead at the time. Never you mind that this awesome priest had Benediction and some Tier 1. Never you mind that O had mostly the Devout set and was still trying to figure out what the hell Greater Heal did. She wanted to heal L.
When she was not only not allowed to heal L and only L (she was given a group to heal, if I recall correctly) and, worse, was not in his GROUP and, even worse, the resident (female!) warlock WAS in L’s group (hi, imp buff? How are you?), she threw a fit.
She eventually gquit.
L talked her into coming back. Whereupon she promptly threw another fit. And gquit. Again.
The officers as a whole decided we were better off without her.
Which led to L making me the GM and gquitting himself and starting up a new guild with O where they could be their lovey-dovey kissyface selves.
Of course, if you have a couple that doesn’t expect special favours or extra loot or anything of the sort, that’s a lot more workable for the raid and may actually not cause any drama whatsoever. The L/O scenario isn’t even a worst-case situation. L could have easily gkicked everyone, retained control over the guild and reinvited her.
2) The Relative/Pre-Existing Real-Life Friendship
Similar perils exist in this relationship as in the romantic relationship. Relatives and RL friends obviously prefer to play together, most of the time and may make demands upon guild leader friends/relatives.
Actual example of this:
Picture it. Early summer of 2007. When Apotheosis was clearing Karazhan regularly with one group, we started looking at rosters for two groups. Being the kind and benevolent raid leader at the time (God, I miss having Toga be GM) I did what I could to balance the groups to respect pre-existing friendships or relative relations.
My brother and I were at our parents’ cottage one weekend when I’d finally set the rosters.
“What the fuck?!” he exclaimed, “Why the fuck am I stuck in YOUR group and I’m not in Majik’s group with Pal?!”
I sighed. “Because, dear brother, you and Palantir are the only two in the guild who can currently summon Nightbane.”
“So you can’t lock yourselves to the same instance.”
“Look,” I said, “each group needs 1 MT, 1 OT who can DPS, 3 healers and five DPS. There’s the list of 24ish people. Do what you can to make sure people raid with their relatives or BF/GF or their friends.”
“FINE,” he said, grabbing the papers from me.
Over an hour later he came back to me, threw the papers at me and said “I give up, you win.” The groups he’d come up with were exactly the same ones I’d come up with.
Of course, our preference wasn’t necessarily to raid together. But we put the good of the guild and the happiness of our guildies ahead of our own desires.
In fact, my brother and I don’t always get along when we play together.
Actual example of this:
One night, back in 2006, my brother came over for pizza and WoW together, since we were raiding Molten Core that night. At one point, we were yelling at each other in officer chat, in /raid, over vent AND IRL, all while sitting in the same room. I can only assume it had something to do with people not looting their Ancient Core Hounds, or not stacking up for Lava Surgers, but I could be mistaken.
3) The In-Game Friends
This category of relationships consists of those people who have played with each other in-game enough during some of the formative moments in their WoW lives. I’m talking about those people you met in Zul’Farrak, after you spent forty-five minutes looking for a group and you had two people to replace in that time. Those people who stood at your side at the temple steps or helped you summon Gahz’rilla, chances are, those people became your WoW friends for quite some time. (My ZF buddy, who remained on my friends list for years, was Mikezanze, a great paladin who eventually healed in Apotheosis during BC.) Generally, they’re people you might not be guilded with or see all that often, but you try to run with them if you can.
4) Those Friends With Whom You Run
These are the people in your raid group, generally (or PVP group, arena team, what-have-you) whom you see often in-game and have developed a genuine friendship. You may know their real names, they may know yours, and you feel relatively secure in the knowledge that they’re not going to show up at your front door with an actual axe with which they would smash your face in.
These are the people you chat with on Vent or in-game well after the raid or whatever has ended. These are the people you do stupid things with at 2am. These are the people who make you laugh so hard you feel like you’ve done fifty situps.
Ideally, these are the people for whom we’re all searching, if indeed someone is searching for people as a reason to be in a guild and to play this game.
In my case, these are the people like Majik, Tia, Crypt and Tan and many others from Apotheosis, with a sprinkling from my Bronzebeard guild and maybe even some from my Skywall guild will join these ranks.
These are the people with whom I want to play the game. I don’t want to play in Cataclysm without Majik and Daey, Toga and Shadow, Euphie and Osephala, Fadorable and Kaleri, just to name a few. (NO, Sham, I did not forget you. ;))
There are other relationships to explore; the relationship between a guild master and his or her officers; the relationship between guild officers and their raiders; the relationship between a guild master and his or her raiders.
But those examinations will have to wait until another time. I started writing before I’d really found a point to my post and I found it when I hit point 4. I love this game, yes, but it’s the people who make it worth my time and make the experience something memorable and special.
Feel free to regale me with your tales about the relationships in your guild.
(Oh, and because I was lacking a conclusion for a while, here’s Majik’s suggestion for a conclusion: “conclude that majik is just the greatest thing since sliced bread.”)
(ETA: “Wait. Can you make it conjured sliced bread? Pleeeeeeeease”)