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.