Sometimes I get an e-mail describing to me a guild leader who fails for so many reasons that I am simply at a loss for words. However, words are all I have to work with here, along with my trusty Picard ASCII (courtesy of Blizzard poster Datth), so I will do my best. I warn you that this e-mail is a very long read. But those of you who want some insight into exactly what not to do as a guild leader, read on!
Around May the more progression-ready members of my casual guild started filling in spots for an established raiding guild doing 10man content with promises of moving to 25man content fairly quickly in order to see the BC raid instances pre-WotLK. One thing led to the other and I ended up gutting my guild of those more dedicated members and all of us joining up with the raiding guild which seems to be usually how these things go.
What I ended up discovering is the guild I joined into had been much bigger and more organized at one time but was in its last throes and the person who brought the two guilds together was given the GM role in order to facilitate his, and others, dreams of 25man content. Long story short the raid guild had long since mastered Kara, but always struggled on ZA, and had only barely glimpsed the insides of the 25man instances.
Along with the problem with the Alts, the favoritism started becoming very apparent, and half the people I had moved over into this guild quickly became jaded as the GM was changing the rules weekly on how guild repairs were handled, whether or not we were going with a dkp system to increase retention, and would always support the officers in grievances over regular members which became constant.
When the guild started bleeding members my first action was to try to work with the people who were being left out of everything, to the chagrin of the GM, who felt that constant recruiting would replace those who weren't happy in the guild which ultimately lead to a revolving door of players joining and leaving the guild. The GM's feeling was that weaker members weren't worth the trouble of working with to make them better and that getting good members was as easy as offering guild invites after a seriously informal application process.
All this led to me enduring so much stress in the game, that when a RL emergency came up, I more than jumped at the chance to take a month off of playing, which I did with no warning, well in my defense I tried to approach him about what was going on and he was less than concerned which cemented my decision to take a well deserved break. This left the guild in a hard spot since I bailed out on the friends I brought over, who pretty much stopped playing their mains in the guild, as well leaving the guild with one tank, who was the GM himself, since the rest had either quit the guild or been run off. So pretty much from that point the guild really fell to pieces, even filling Kara spots internally became a struggle so I have found out.
I just got back into the game this past week, and the GM isn't even on speaking terms with me, even cordially. He's changed the rankings where nearly half the guild are now officers with their alts promoted as officers, he shut the guild bank down to the rest of the membership unless your an officer, and implemented the dkp system with no way for anyone to currently earn points. I've picked back up playing with my friends I brought over from the casual guild but several already plan on quitting soon no matter what, others want to quit the guild if things don't improve while several worry about not being able to get into another actual raid guild at level 80. Compounding the problem I've gotten tells from a few of the remaining non-officers stating if I were to break ties with this guild they would likely come along with if I were to form a separate, obviously more casual, guild for leveling into the WotLK content.
So, what do I do from here?
I, and some others, are on the fence whether we should try to stick with it through the hard spot and get into the WotLK content while trying to work with the GM on loosening back up. He really wasn't such a bad guy before we were absorbed into his guild and he was made GM. Or should I take this point in time as a good one for severing ties and beginning WotLK anew with a core group of around 10 people or so? The only caveat is that when you leave this guild you are out for good as there's no chance for redemption or return.
Frustrated and Confused
Well, F&C, I think you're probably regretting your decision to move most of your old guild into this one. It sounds like you didn't really do your homework about what this guild was all about, who was running it, and what their policies were. Or maybe they misled you. Either way, what's done is done.
I would strongly recommend you cut your losses at this point and move on. Try to salvage whomever you can from your old guild, because this one is a sinking ship. I'm actually surprised you're even considering sticking around when the guild leader won't even speak to you!
This guild will never succeed while its leaders run it in such an arbitrary and corrupt fashion. Let's go through the failure point by point:
1. There are different rules for officers.
Special treatment can be OK sometimes. If someone has sacrificed a lot of time and energy for the good of the guild, then maybe they've earned getting that ultrarare enchanting recipe when it drops, because you know they'll stick with the guild through thick and thin.
But when the only way to bring an alt to a raid is to be an officer, and you just promote all your friends to leadership ranks, that's beyond special treatment. That's just enforced unfairness.
And why are they bringing alts anyway when you're struggling to learn encounters? That's not only selfish and an abuse of power, it's just plain stupid. No wonder they can't even beat Zul'Aman.
2. The officers don't value their members.
Good luck filling your roster with quality raiders when you never take the time to help anyone get better. You can't treat your members as disposable if they don't measure up to your standards. You'll end up with a revolving door when people figure out they're one bad run away from a /gkick. Who wants to be part of a guild like that? Elitist jerks?
3. Policies change all the time.
The officers clearly don't know what they're doing, and so they're just making up rules as they go along, probably to suit whatever benefits them the most in any given week. It sounds like they've now set up a crooked DKP system so that only their friends get loot.
4. The guild leader is emo.
Refusing to speak with a member because he took a break for a real-life emergency? Is this guy 10 years old? Grow up! Get over yourself!
And the fact that he actually got upset when you tried to resolve some of the drama tells me he's not mature enough to handle anyone else taking initiative. He probably considers it a threat to his position.
5. The guild leader has let power go to his head.
You say he wasn't a bad guy before he took over. Clearly, the power he now wields has revealed his true colors. He has total control over the guild bank and the DKP system and he isn't letting anyone who's not an officer have even a sniff of either one. He's basically running the guild like a corrupt dictator, showering favors on his friends to the exclusion of everyone else.
Pretty soon these favored officers are going to be the only ones left. What will happen when the officers are the only members left? I imagine the entire thing will implode under the weight of its bloated, top-heavy ranking system. The officers might even turn on each other, currying favor with their guild leader by backstabbing and spreading rumors.
A long time ago I wrote a column called How to Destroy Your Guild. It's almost comical to me how many of those destructive choices this guild leader and his officers have made.
Leave now, F&C, and don't look back. I wish you luck in WotLK!