Guilds and Relationships

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”)

8 Replies to “Guilds and Relationships”

  1. Good read. Got me thinking about my last few guilds, and the people in them. I realized that I don’t have too many really good in-game friends, but the ones I DO have are fantastic people. In fact, I think I subconsciously started leveling alts of the same class so I could leave some behind!

    Vaguely related, when I scan a blog post, I tend to keep an eye out for my name (generally, I’m looking for “this warlock fails hard” or the like) and I realized just how hard it is to look for (and recognize) close to a dozen names.

  2. Awesome post. I really didn’t see where it was going until later (which you’ve pointed out yourself) but there, it really hits the spot. I, too, find people the most important factor in playing WoW. Raiding is a good second. Raiding with the right people is actually even better.

    My wife and I don’t raid together anymore regularly, but if we do, it’s generally really relaxed. No drama whatsoever. Last night in ToGC we threw a fit together because of a failing Holy paladin.. I can’t even describe the fail I’ve seen. It didn’t even feel like we had a 3rd healer. You try keeping both tanks up at Anub’Arak P3 by yourself. *shivers*
    Or even worse, try to keep the tanks AND the entire raid alive during P3. Druids can die you know. F**k me sideways..

    It was fun though. My wife and I play really well together and we’re able to anticipate each others’ moves. After the raid, the raid leader even asked me if I was applying to their guild. Made me smile :-)

  3. I think I’ve been lucky so far in regards to couples. I tried very hard not to be “that girl” when my boyfriend was RL (I’d even offer to sit out so he could give the spot to others), and my current guild is co-GMed by me, a friend and her boyfriend, drama-free. That being said, my bf got the hardcore bug and I didn’t, so nowadays raiding with him is pretty much your combination of /raid, Vent and IRL bitching at each other. We’ve been in separate guilds for more than a year, but he sometimes helps ours out on his alt, and it’s NOT fun. I enjoy our raids better when he’s away… and it helps keep the relationship happier :P

    The people are absolutely the reason I play the game. I was thinking about this recently, because my co-GMs might move out of the country (and the continent!) for work. While it would be a great opportunity for them, it would mean the end of our WoW – they’d leave all their EU characters and have to start over on US, timezones would mean no more chatting with her on Gtalk at work, the guild would fall apart since I can’t manage people… I’m secretly hoping he doesn’t get the job :( If they leave, I am sure I’d spend way less time in the game than I do now… they’re on holiday this week and it’s distinctly less fun.

    On a happier note, our baby guild is absolutely amazing, and we somehow managed to get together most our game friends. I sometimes think it’s too good to last, but at least I’m enjoying all dirty jokes on Vent as much as I can :)

    I haven’t always kept in touch with the people I met in WoW, but some of my fondest memories feature guys I’ve never seen IRL. Dancing naked in front of SSC, farming BM for the Elixir Mastery quest for a guildie, while the other sang M.A.G.E on Vent, the endless “That’s what she said” jokes in ICC, leveling alts with my co-GM (IRL too, when I went to visit her!)… aah.

  4. I’m in a couple interesting situations regarding guilds, and raiding.

    The first is the guild that my main runs with (all of my characters are in one guild, I just happen to basically be a core raider for another one…). Everyone in the guild are either RL friends, or have known each other for a long time via WoW. There is apparently a decent bit of drama that goes on, however I’m not privy to any of it, as I don’t know the people that well, and I’m not in guild or their forums. Makes it all a bit odd for me.

    The 2nd is that our guild (which is tiny, 5ish active members atm), is starting to try and raid. Obviously this means we are pugging just about everything, though we generally can fill at least some combination of the tanks/heals. This also means that if my GF is free she is gettign her first real taste of raiding now. She doesn’t know her class. I have learned at least a good portion of it, and am trying to teach it to her. I am a horrible person and forgot to install DBM on her computer (I SWEAR I did it at some point, however she had no clue what we were talking about with /range on saurfang). In general, she is the player that doesn’t really know what is going on. She is willing to learn, but she still has a lot to learn (seriously, I have NO idea of how to properly gem/enchant a FFB mage, at least she is hit capped).

    Because of all of that, I always feel a bit iffy about taking her into a raid. Her DPS tends to be low (acceptable, but low), she has very little raid awareness, etc etc. She got 2 pieces of loot when we cleared up to saurfang this week (first time she had been in ICC). I feel kinda iffy about giving it to her as she really was under performing, but then, she was under performing due to a lack of gear and having never been there before. It isn’t like she wiped the raid doing stupid stuff, however I don’t want to be the RL who has his GF tagging along. I want to be the RL who brings a solid core of raiders to the table, and it just happens to be that they are all his friends.

    Admittedly, when writing this I just realized that I DO want to continue to organize pug raids. It’s surprisingly fun for me, and I am good (I think) and keeping every one on task, once I’m willing to step up and do it.

  5. @thansal: I know you didn’t ask for advice, but… :P I think that if she’s willing to learn, you’ll be ok. I was that girl back in TBC. I didn’t even know enchants and gems existed and were useful until a guildie took me by the hand (virtually, but literally, if that makes sense), sat me in front of the Shattrath bank, spammed trade and got me crafters until my gear was all shiny and nice. A year later, I’m working on ICC heroic… The learning process took a while (a couple of months if not more), but now I’m confident that even if I don’t know the answer to a question, then I know where to look for it.

    P.S. I’ve seen this blog recommended for mage advice: Never used it myself, but it might be a good start. Their raiding guide seems very comprehensive.

  6. I’m ALWAYS down for advice. My current one for mage was “well, go read EJ”. I mean, that’s how I learned about FFB and Arcane (my lvl 78 mage is arcane atm, and loving it).

    Ye gods! I just started a quick poke through there, and it’s GLORIOUS! It’s simple to read, it doesn’t have the insane theory crafting that makes EJ hard to read often, and it’s, it’s, it’s just information presented in a usable format!

    The GF will be given this for her mage (I gave her for her tank DK, which I will be using once I actually level that damn DK), and I will be using it is for my self as well!


    /me does the happy tree dance

  7. Oh God not EJ. People sent me there too, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand wtf they were talking about. The second someone made a statement, 2 other people said he was wrong and threw math at him :| I still don’t set foot in there… I found myself a couple of nice tree blogs to digest the info in a form I can understand.

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