Guildleader chores - Flown the nest and moving on

It's been a busy week. Lots of things on my mind and I had to wait a few days to write about it so I could make a well thought out post. My best posts are often written in times of great emotion, and I should have actually written it all out to let out some of the thoughts whirling in my head as it made me sleep even LESS than usual.

Four Frostwolves left to join another guild this week, as the raiding times and personalities of the other guild suited them a lot better. I am sad to see them go, they were all great raiders and great contributers to the raid and the guild (and have been here for a LONG TIME), but people grow up and move on and that is the way of things. Much like old toys - you loved it when you were younger but eventually you will outgrow them.

Though I thought that leaving the guild for them would have been an easy choice - and it was for 1 or 2 of them - it was an amicable parting and the guild wished them well. People asked if I was upset or angry - but how can you be angry at someone for following the path that best suits them? I have never wished to stop anyone from leaving or guilt tripping them into staying - as someone who fully believes in following your dreams and ambitions, how could I be otherwise?

However, even though I wish them well, you can't help but feel sad that they can't stay as they were forever. Could I have done more to encourage them to stay, could I have handled the situation better, was it the right time or did I force them out? I think the truth was staring at me for a while - restless behaviour, attendance in guild and raid, and less engagement with newer members in our own guild - and in terms of timing, I think it was a good time. I've noticed that as people get increasing restless they become more irritating and then the being irritating becomes the only memorable feature. That point had not yet been reached so everyone still had positive feelings between guildies still, and so it's not a painful separation.

There are two ways the guild can look at a significant group departure - one negative and one positive. The negative things can include:

- "The guild is falling apart"
- "There is something seriously wrong here and that's why people are leaving"
- "I'm really disheartened by this all and I don't want to play either"

I cannot stress enough how a these negativities can be negated by things that long standing members or officers. From an officer point of view it's important to examine the reasons behind the departure and listen to the feedback from the departed about why they left. Are there things we can address or need to fix? Are these isolated feelings or do many others feel this way? One comment was about me making an offhand observation that was untrue but had been true at other times (but not in that particular time, and it sounded like I was calling them out when in fact I was merely reminding them not to do tunnel). From that feedback, I will make a conscious effort to do those observations more quietly and in whispers with evidence. Which I should have done anyway!

The second significant feedback was that they didn't want to feel like they were letting the guild down by doing things we don't do and if they left the guild they wouldn't be misrepresenting us any further. I admit that I thought that was well expressed and mature.

From the positive perspective, officers can also help alleviate guild concerns by being open and nonjudgemental about the whole process. We don't want people to feel like officers are a secret club where secrets are kept from the guild and we make decisions without thought or consultation.

We explained it all clearly to all guildies who were asking about what happened, emphasised that we encourage people to leave if the guild is not the right fit for them, and the most important thing is not to be emotional about it, like saying "I"m really upset they left, and they gave stupid reasons". All explanations to guildies MUST be made in a non-judgemental way, because despite what we may think about the circumstances of the leaving, it is our job to deliver the facts, not our opinions. People make up their own minds about what they think occurred, and knowing that we support free choice and encourage people to find what makes them happy is a fundamental principle of our guild, will make sure that everyone will adopt this mentality as well.

For those who are non officers, the positive input you can put in is to show support for the guild and not encourage feelings of ill-will. We certainly don't want any of that! We strongly maintain that people should not be afraid of leaving as long as they are open discussions and we can receive feedback. Sneaking off without saying anything doesn't help anyone improve nor does it endear you to anyone. We had many guildies supporting our guild positions, as well as telling us that they have no intention of leaving. There is nothing more reassuring than knowing that as an officer or GM, we're not alone, and we'll stick together.

Now, to move forward. I had a look at the deficit from those guys leaving - that would bring our raid numbers down to 13-14. Which is still plenty to raid with, and that doesn't include others who are now casual but wanting to move to heroic raiding.

There is a move to try to teach our casual players to be better raiders, so they can move from casual to heroic as they get more confident and better used to teamwork and raid mechanics. Kyxyn and Neuro had made suggestions about it and we will be adopting those in Legion, but in the meantime perhaps I should use some of my downtime to start a teaching raid or something so I can practice teaching non raiders how to raid in an non-threatening environment. Malkarii does something like that (and streams it) and I thought if I could find someone on Twitter who does runs like that for oceanic players perhaps I could join in. Or maybe I could start my own one! A big ask though and I'd probably have to free up weekends for it, but it's a nice positive project that would take my mind of it all and feel like something good has come out of things.


  1. "There is a move to try to teach our casual players to be better raiders, so they can move from casual to heroic as they get more confident and better used to teamwork and raid mechanics."

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart. We will take *anyone* in our guild who passes the minimal requirements - for WoD it's finished with this last tier on: the 1st ring in the legendary chain, and an i690 ilvl. The only time we've benched people this expac, has been our recent attempts on H-Archi - and then it was based on experience with the fight, not gear. ie. It's unfair on those with 30+ wipes and hard earned learning, to have a brand new to that fight guildie join in who needs to learn.

    My 2c on raid-leading a mixed group of high end heroic raiders down to ultra casual "what's this raiding thing all about" is:
    * treat everyone with the same respect you want others to treat you with
    * accept that mistakes WILL be made, help people to learn from them, not berate them
    * lead the rest of the raid to accept and understand that everyone learns at different speeds
    * tl;dr the above, be patient, and calm.
    * people who volunteer for specific tasks in a given fight are worth their weight in gold. If that means multiple wipes while the raids focus is for that one person to learn the task, then so be it.
    * *Stress* that newer players learn the mechanics of a given fight. If that means you do 1k dps or hps while you sort out what to do, then do it. The dps will eventually come.
    * Ensure you position the boss when a wipe is inevitable, such that Miggles can get some decent "OMG I'M ABOUT TO DIE" pics to post on twitter.

    We don't separate casual raiders from our hardcore ones. Do have a Raider rank, but is based on attendance for the most part. We don't run teaching raids, cause those are our real ones.

    There's more to it than that, ofc, :-) But that's the gist.
    It works for us, ymmv!

    Zubo@Khaz'Goroth, RL for Horizon
    PS Was tickled pink to see the Navispam vs Kitcatt & Miggles. salute!

  2. I think the main thing you have to do when something like that happens, is try not to take it personally. I know it's difficult - your guild is your baby and all your guildees feel like your children in a way. When they leave - especially when they've been a big part of the guild for some time - it is a big blow not just to the guild, but to you personally.

    What I try to do (although not always successfully) is take a step back and view it pragmatically - and try to minimise any fallout from it.

    We're similar to you - I try to do everything possible "out in the open" ... I've encountered guilds before where the only chat is officer chat and everyone feels they're being whispered about. The more you can be open and up front with people, the more people will believe in you and the guild.

    Hopefully those who do leave will leave amicably and, ideally, speak to you privately first, explaining their move. I've had a mix of different "leavers" over the years - most will have a quick chat but occasionally I have chased people up after they've left, to find out the reason for it - call it a "leavers survey".

    Sometimes the reason people leave is bonkers - one guy left fairly recently without saying a word - he was signed up to raid that night, had been enthusiastic about the future with the guild, and then *poof* suddenly he was gone. I sent him a message asking him why (I have a fairly standard format that starts something like "in order to try to improve our guild experience for those to come ...") and I got one back that was fairly non-committal and basically telling me never to contact him again. Which really freaked me out for a bit - trying to work out what I'd done wrong.

    He then contacted me again a few weeks later - it turned out he left because another long-term guild member had annoyed him that much that he just left - he didn't report it, didn't complain to the officers or myself, he just bottled it all up and left and didn't feel it was his place to say anything until that other person had left the guild.

    Which was a pity, because that other person was already on his last warning and was about to be removed from the guild himself, if he hadn't jumped first.

    And that second person is a good example of what happens when people stick around longer than they should ... :p

    On the positive side of things from your point of view - now is a "good" time for people to leave, if they're going to. Inevitably you'll have an influx of players leading up to Legion (perhaps even once the movie is out), you still, even in the quiet times, have enough to raid, and everyone is currently a lot more relaxed so it's easier to take on people new to raiding to get them started with it.

    We tend to recruit all sorts of people with all sorts of raid experience, but I do like those who've never raided before. Sometimes yes, you get those who just don't understand fire is bad *sigh* - but most of the time you'll find that they try really hard and do really well. And I always feel that, if you're the *only* experience people have had with raiding, they're more likely to stick around :p (that could just be us tho, as we're a bit TOO casual for some!)


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