Guildmaster Retirement


In Greek mythology, he was a Titan who was doomed to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Actually, maybe it was the heavens (or sky) to be more precise. After all, he was with team Titans and they lost against team Olympia.

My knowledge of Greek is a little rusty.

The weight of the world

When you’re the guild leader, every  action is examined.

Every decision is second guessed.

Every intent, thought, and comment is placed under a microscope. I still maintain that anyone who wants to be a guild leader is insane. It’s even worse when you’re a blogger. I can’t even explain that one. I take pride in my team. Everyone that’s ever played under the Conquest banner, I’ve wanted nothing less than the best for them (even if it wasn’t the guild).

My responsibilities have steadily lessened as I’ve delegated what I could delegate. I’ve always thought that the key to effective management is to give your officers generalized goals and empower them with the necessary authority to do it.

In other words, tell them what they need to do and get out of their way.

You are your own greatest critic. Any guild leader is going to have that inner voice inside of them that doubts their skills and abilities. Despite the fact that I banish those thoughts during raids, the idle mind continues to wander. I can’t help but wonder if good is good enough. And what do you do if it isn’t? I’d like to think that guild leaders mean well and have good intentions. But here’s the thing about intentions:

Intentions aren’t going to get me good grades.

Intentions won’t help me meet deadlines.

Intentions won’t help me pick up chicks at a bar (LFM Wingman).

But all that stress? It does get to people. I’ve watched slowly as guilds ahead of and below Conquest gradually crumbled and fell one by one. Reasons include things from attendance to epic drama to simple lost interest. And those GMs? I guess they just couldn’t hold it together any longer and just said to themselves forget it.

There have been moments in my WoW career where I’ve considered retiring. Maybe move to the interior. Perhaps by a river. Build a log cabin. But what the heck would I do though?

Go fishing in the river? Maybe grow a garden? Sit on a patio drinking wine? I haven’t even acquired the taste of wine. 

So here’s a question for the retired GMs out there

What did it for you? At what point did you call it quits? what happened to your guild?

I have no plans to retire right now. Conquest has something like over 200 members. Those poor saps are still stuck with me.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Speaking from someone who was intimately involved in the guild prior to GM being handed to me, it came down to what they were able to both contribute and get out of being GM.

    The 2 GM’s I had seen come and go, got pretty burned out, part of that was their goals for the guild did not match the reality of the people and levels of skillz the raiders had. There was a feeling of dragging the guild through the content. There was also a lot less inclination to delegate than I have as GM.

    It’s interesting thinking about it, we all have our days when we’d gladly hand over the reigns to someone else, if the right person was around.


  2. I stepped down as guild leader because I felt like I had lead our group as far I personally could. I enjoy the clerical aspect of being in leadership. My favorite aspect of being a leader was the things that most people abhor – doing loot lists, putting rosters together, etc.

    What I wasn’t good at was telling a player, “I’m sorry, you’re just not good enough and we’re going to remove you from our guild/raid team.” If you let too many people slide by (read: any) then you end up hitting a wall a lot sooner than you should and once you hit that wall, it’s really hard for non-hardcore guilds to regroup and scale it.

    For me personally, I think that inability came from not being very confident in my own abilities as a player. I am a pretty good moonkin, but never being tested in a serious guild I felt unqualified to tell others they shouldn’t be raiding. Of course – that’s more Dr. Phil than you were looking for.

    So…I handed my guild over to an officer and one of my closest friends in the guild because he has the mentality to be a bit more of a hardass and make people pull their weight.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t equate how difficult it would be for me to be “just another guildie” and I ended up strongly disagreeing with some of the decisions that were made that I felt didn’t do the guild justice so I ended up retiring from WoW in general. I haven’t logged on in nearly 2 weeks! Cold turkey is hard. 😉 RIFT is my nicotine patch.

  3. While i’m not retired yet, I will be someday. You’re right in that anyone who wants this is insane 😛 I became GM when my guild fell apart a long time ago, and i’ve been GM since. We rebuilt, have done stuff etc.

    I’m a GM right now because of the people I play with. I am unfortunate that all of my officers are too smart to accept a promotion. Hah. When my guild finally falls apart, I will gladly shed the position i hold.

    Some days I miss being a raider. Show up, do my job, get loot, done. Never did appreciate how easy that was until I became GM.

  4. I think you nailed it with “I guess they just couldn’t hold it together any longer and just said to themselves forget it.”

    A guild master is no different than a guild member: they have to be getting what they want out of the game. A guild provides the function necessary to get what people want out of the game. People typically change guilds, quit, take breaks, etc because they aren’t getting what they want out of the game as facilitated by their guild (or real life pulls them away). Whatever the reason may be, just a guild member, if a GM isn’t getting what they want…forget it.

  5. Phew…

    I look forward to more rated BG’s against Conquest. Don’t scare me like that again. 🙂

  6. I completely agree with the importance of delegation. The tasks have to be given to the correct officers but trying to do it all yourself will crush you eventually as your guild grows. You simply cannot handle the website, applications, guild drama, raid scheduling, constant PMs, raid leading, loot distribution and many other things by yourself.

    Give the tasks to the officer with the skills that most suit the role. Let the most vocal and respected officer raid lead. Let the guy who web designs for a real job take care of the site. Let the individual class leaders handle applications etc.

    As you say, “the stress does get to people,” and I reckon it is this that causes most guild leaders to quit.

  7. I suppose I wouldn’t be a true blogger if I didn’t take your question, ignore it, and answer it in my own way.

    I was never a GM. Never had the opportunity to be one. I was, however, the Head Raid Leader (whatever that means) for one of the oldest and largest guilds on one of the oldest and largest servers (Crusaders of the Realm on Earthen Ring). I feel like every comment you made is true for raid leaders as much as GMs, particularly the stress part, and when you’re in a guild like CotR, with so many different avenues of gameplay, being the raid leader is like being a Co-GM.

    Eventually I got hit in the face by too much pressure. To many people weren’t making the jump from Thaddeus’s goons to Thaddeus’s platform. It was that kind of guild. It’s sad to say that that’s what did it, because, of course, it was far, far more than that, but the last raid I led three people missed the platform – including a mage – who then proceeded to miss it A SECOND TIME.

    I left the guild and the server about a week later.

  8. Been there done that, had a decent crew in early TBC, who kept leaving for greener pastures, which myself and the officer crew eventually did as well before it was too late.

    Tough situation.

    Now the hard part is recruiting GOOD players. My current is killing heroic mode bosses, but some people just dissapear and quit showing, and then there are the baddies and wrath babies who just don’t get it. be it coming prepared or leanring what it is to work a new heroic for a few days on end. and playing well continuously.

    Been the hardest part this xpack, there are about ten slots at any give time filled with recruits. a third which are good, a third which are terrible, and the last part being people who will be ok but then go awol.

    Right now i’m pleased at my GM’s persistance to keep going on and he’s been putting in a ton of work doing the recruitment ect as well to keep us raiding quality 25s.
    My biggest fear is he’ll throw in the towel.

  9. I inherited my guild when the GM actually died while preparing for a 25 man raid. One of his toons had been accepted in one of the most successful raiding guilds on the server. He went AFK and never came back. The family found him when he did not come to dinner.

    I have years of experience in management of real organizations. I know the value of finding good officers and empowering them.

    I also know the power of public praise and the extreme need for private confrontation. My main raid leader is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable. He also can be abrasive and often says thing best not said. Sometimes he “makes” guild policy without talking to any other officer. After a few “consultations” these things have become less often.

    Whenever there has to be a confrontation with members I take the responsibility. I will not undermine my officers. I have replaced a few. I usually apologize to them for imposing the office on them. It is much easier for ME to be at fault than it is them.

  10. as a co-gm of a guild that is been going for 4 years and a player of 6 years i have seen the guild through highs and lows. i tell you now that i feel retirement coming upon me more and more. I have done my best to elevate good solid people up and teach them what i know. I have always considered myself a student of this game. I study hard and disect our attempts and pour over countless data to get any edge i can. My biggest worry is that i for many years took the hardest job upon myself.

    I have slowly groomed people to take over certain aspects of my job. Some know that i plan to quit others don’t. I almost look at it as final arrangements. I was the single GM but i have elevated a few to co-gm for when i do step out of it. I hope that it goes well. I played with these people for years. seen some of their kids get married and have kids of their own. I hope that i leave a legacy of good will and kindness. Though i have been the hard ass or the dictator it was for the best and i made it a point to let people know why i was coming from that angle I hope that this makes some sense to you and you get some answer from this.

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