Friends and Raiders: Saying goodbye to guildies

How to properly leave a guild has been a topic often talked about, and even more so as of late with the imminent expansion. It’s that time of year when some folks try to find a better fit than the guild there in, others are taking the opportunity to step away from the game and focus on real life more and some are just out-right quitting the game. No matter the reason, it’s never an easy choice to make. You’re effectively stepping back from one thing you love to focus on something else that you likely care about equally.

Let’s be honest here for a minute. It is incredibly rare for someone to play a game contractually, and in the case of an MMO until the servers go dark. I said incredibly rare because even though you hear of players (or you may very well be one) that still play EQ, for the most part that is a small cross-section of the modern gamer totals. Entering into an MMO you have to have an expectation that people have the potential to leave. Yes, making friends in an MMO can be an extremely rewarding experience, but if you aren’t prepared for the possibility that the person may walk away from the game, you can be left quite devastated.

Minimizing impact

People leaving the game  can be tough on a guild as well, especially if it is a person in a leadership position or someone who has become a person that others depend on in a raid. It’s even harder when it’s someone you consider a close friend.

Let us say that an officer is leaving the game in any serious capacity for what may very well be forever to pursue activities in the real world. Let us also say that said officer is an integral part in the running of the guild, like recruitment, raid leadership or any of the various other administration tasks. That leaves a gap in leadership that has to be filled, and in most cases, pretty quickly. The same holds true for a raider, let’s say the top DPS in the raid decides it’s time to leave. Depending on the rest of the guild and group composition it can leave you with a hell of a damage gap to fill. That affects the rest of the guild’s progression through content later on. This becomes compounded when the departures are unannounced or rather sudden. If people think others are leaving out of the blue, it can sometimes cause a panic attack and cause enough of a stir to leave lasting ripples with other members.

If you are considering leaving a guild or quitting the game, the most important thing to keep in mind is communication. This is especially true if you are in any position of power, or importance, within the structure of a guild. You should never feel you have no choice but to play the game. While some of us have chosen to make a profession out of gaming, for most people it is a source of relaxation and venting. A safe haven if you will. That said, if a game becomes no longer fun, or if you need to find a better place in order to have that fun you should be allowed to do so. The same goes for real life. Anything that happens out of the game should take precedence over any obligations in game. One of the key things when even considering breaking off from a guild or the game in general is communication. Letting key people know ahead of time can help lessen the impact of your departure, and it can afford you some much needed piece of mind in making your decision. Talk to your GM about it, if there is a morale officer in the guild talk to them about it as well, maybe even your class lead if your guild has implemented those ranks.

The point is talking about it, even if you’re just considering it, will not only give people a heads up, but give you an outlet to talk things out. It may help to make you feel a lot better about your choice if you decide to move on. If your guild has forums set up, it is advisable to make a going away or stepping down/back post just to let people know where you’re going. You may be surprised how your leaving affects people around you in game on a personal level, and how much just knowing ahead of time that you’re leaving can help them cope.

Story time

I’ve made a lot of friends in game over the years. On several of those occasions it has turned into a real life friendship. In my previous installments of Friends and Raiders I’ve discussed making lasting friendships, walking the balance between friends and leadership and I’ve even introduced you to my healing team. One of my best friends, Eromon, I met through the game, and found out we lived in the same city. He has since left the game mostly but we still remain in touch. Before he left, we talked about his departure in great detail before anything was said to the guild. It helped him know he was making the right decision, and helped with being able to answer guildie question.

So about a month ago, Unpossible decided it was time to take a break from raiding. We’ve been hitting ICC pretty hard since it was released with little to now time off. Officers gathered and decided that a break before Cataclysm was a good idea and would give people a chance to unwind, relax and have fun doing random things like achievements or *gasp* play other games and maybe leave the house! ( I kid, I kid.) Before this break, one of our top DPS and an officer expressed that he felt it was time to leave the game behind, or at least step back from it. He felt that it was time to focus on other things in his life. We showed him how much we loved him at BlizzCon this year by playing one hell of a prank on him. For the last two weeks, he has been true to his word and hasn’t logged in. Not only is he a big chunk of our DPS and an officer, he is a really good friend of mine. He was one of the first people I met in Unpossible 6 years ago, and was always someone I had great respect for and someone I’ve grown to call a friend. Him leaving marks a hole in our DPS, our leadership structure, and our guild. We’ll still keep in touch over media like facebook and email, so at least on a personal level I’ll still have contact with him.

A few days ago, another two members of our guild announced that they too would be stepping back. One, a rogue who was consistently in our top 3 slots for DPS for as long as I can remember. The second is his wife, and a core member of my healing team. She is also an officer in our guild. Losing him is another big hit on our DPS, and honestly he’s one heck of a guildie and a great guy. His wife, for me, puts a very large hole in my healing team that I will need to fill as well as marking the falling of another tree from my “Forest of Win™”. On a personal level, I will miss them both in game dearly but will try to keep in touch with them via other media.

When I heard that these three were leaving, to be honest I was a bit devastated. It took a little bit for me to work it all out. With Zabos I at least had time to let it sink in and get used to the idea. Because we talked about it before hand. With our rogue and his wife, I had zero warning. These are people that I had come to rely on in raids, in guild structure and honestly were people that I had grown so accustomed to talking to during raids I couldn’t imagine not having them around. When I saw their post declaring that they were essentially stepping back that day,  it hit me all at once and in between personal feelings about their departure, I had to start planning to replace at least my lost healer to make my raiding heal team whole again. It’s something I’m still a little at odds with, just because it blindsided me. Thankfully their posts were very comprehensive, so there are no questions as to why they are stepping down. I know a lot of people in the guild are sad at their leaving, and many have already started asking how we are going to fill those gaps in our raid team.

The difference between the two really is simply that Zabos talked to me about it well before coming to a decision. It didn’t hit nearly as hard, and I was better prepared to deal with it. The other two really hit hard especially on a personal level. I had no idea they were even considering stepping back from the game. Both however communicated why they were leaving so that when guildies found out, there was not mass panic, and no jumping off the proverbial cliff.

Endings are just new beginnings

The world still turns and the server hamsters are still, hopefully, running. Cataclysm is less than a week away, and everyone is getting excited to have new quests, new dungeons and to have that fresh new game smell. Unpossible will still be there. We’ve survived since the game was brand-spanking-new, and we’ll likely be around until the server go dark. Sure, we’ll lose members along the way, but we’ll gain more friends as well. We’ll promote new people to officer as it’s needed and continue to thrive. People are already beginning to step up to try to take the place of those that left, and we’ll be able to fill the raid rolls and keep the ball rolling. That’s the nature of the game after all. We’re going to go ahead and punch Deathwing in the face, and chew through whatever the game throws at us. We’ll miss those that have left, and we’ll tell new guildies all the awesome stories about those that came before them. It’s like keeping an oral tradition alive, their stories will live on. For me though,  I know this newly minted Dwarf Shaman is a lifer. I’m in until the world goes dark.

So how about you? Have you lost any important members to your guild? Did they let you know they were leaving before hand? Have you left a guild and let them know?

Well that’s it for this week. Until next time, Happy Healing!

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

Comments

  1. Our officer corps and raid team have both evolved over the years; one thing I’ve learned about the guild is that no matter who goes from the raid team (raid leader, tank, healer, DPS), someone steps up to fill the hole.

    Officers seem to be harder to replace. We have a lot of great members, but not everyone wants or can handle a promotion. So far only one of the four promotions we made following the departure of an officer about 10 months ago has stayed in the game and/or guild. I’m debating if 4 officers + GM is actually just the right number for us.

  2. It was always easy for me to pile hate upon quitters and deserters in my guild. But the roughest patches were when a really valued team member quit due to real life circumstances.

    I wish you good luck man, knowing you, you shouldn’t have too many issues.

  3. Not to sound silly by quoting a rather ridiculous (if wonderful) BBC show, the end is where we start from. All endings can be new beginnings. You’re sad to lose your DPS and your heals, but just think about the amazing beginnings those loses can bring – the new members of your team will never be those who left, but they’ll be amazing and memorable in their own ways.

    I’ve never yet had to deal with friends leaving the game, and for that I am extremely grateful. I had a dear friend get kicked from an old guild very abruptly once, thanks to some drama, but most of our interaction took place over tells and out-of-game IMs anyway, so that wasn’t much of a change for me.

    I am crossing my crossables for your departing guildies and you, that you all find what you need. 🙂

  4. I joined my guild in the tail end of Vanilla. I had met the GM through RP and we hit it off as friends fairly quickly. Our characters hooked up, which lead to my becoming a member of the Harbingers of War. In BC, I switched mains to a hunter and my GM – a BM hunter, like I was – taught me the art of trapping and paved the way for the rest of my BC career.

    When she announced that she was leaving WoW to move on to college, we were all sad. Most of us understood, though, and though it left a hole in the guild, we recovered well and she left a legacy for all big, drunken Trolls everywhere – and helped make the whole “women playing male characters” thing into a major non-issue on TB.

    So yeah, I’ve had people leave my guild in the past, and we’ve managed to keep up with some of them over IMs and the like. It’s tough. Surprisingly enough, though, those common guild tags can be a really, really strong bond, which is… pretty awesome.

    /salute

  5. I’ve been on both sides of these scenarios and it isn’t easy. You’ve really hit upon the key factor – communication. I hate finding out that someone is just up and leaving one day – I don’t blame them for their reasons or their need, but I always wish we’d had advance warning. If it’s an in-game issue spurring the move, it’s always better to try and work it out if at all possible. As GL, I can’t do anything if I don’t know about an issue.

    I’m sorry to hear about your friends and raiders leaving the game. I hope you’re able to find folks to have new friendships with who you’ll come to know just as well!

  6. When I had to take a break from raiding, I went so far as to give 3 months notice, helped gear out and make sure my replacement was going to be ok to go in my place and after all said and done, it turns out real life can really mess up the best laid plans.

    She was unable to continue playing due to a literal catastrophe and I was unable to play as I had to really hit the books for my final semester in college as well as increased work load at the office.

    I would like to think there were no hard feelings when I left, but more importantly I wanted to let everyone know that I respected them and the guild enough to not leave them hanging in my absence.

    It’s just being a decent person. It might “just be a game” but people are still depending on you. Respect is important in everything we do if we wish to succeed, especially in teamwork situations.

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