Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
In my first rant last year, I called out all the officers who, in the dark times before Wrath went live, resorted to rampant poaching -- rather than alliances -- to keep their raiding guilds afloat. Today I am going to rant about nonofficers. And specifically, against my better judgment as a contributor who would like to continue writing this column for WoW Insider, I'm going to rant about some of the people who obviously read this column and have written me to ask for advice.
I appreciate the fact that you think of me as someone to turn to for help. It's certainly flattering and I have tried to give you the best advice that I can.
However, I have been trying to answer a lot of e-mails over the past week and I see the same type of complaint over and over again. I won't use a real e-mail as an example, because I don't want to embarrass anyone, but the gist of these e-mails goes like this:
I am not an officer in my guild. I am a member who attends raids and earns loot. But I don't like a decision the officers have made, or I disagree with the way they run the guild. How can I change the guild to be the way I want it to be?
Before anyone else writes me an e-mail like that, I'd like you to take a step back and reflect on your situation for a moment. You are able to attend raids. Your raids are successful and you have geared up your character. You seem to be having fun. The guild seems to be doing OK. Who is largely responsible for that?
If the answer is you, then by all means tell me about your guild. Tell me about how the officers have hindered your every move. Write about how, despite their short-sighted incompetence and contempt for your ideas, you've managed to take the guild on your shoulders and carry it toward a bright future. There are some really terrible officers out there, so I'm sure this has happened on several occasions. It would be a great example for members frustrated with bumbling leadership about how to turn a guild around, and I'd love to share it with my readers.
However, if the answer is not you, but rather the officers who are largely responsible for the guild's success, please think about that before you write to me. Think about the time and the energy they've devoted to making the guild what it is. Think about the real-life money they might be spending every month so the guild can have a Vent server and/or website. Think about the drama they have to deal with and the many players they struggle to keep happy day after day.
I'm sure these players are in the minority and most people are thankful for the officers they have. But I just needed to write about this topic, because I've started to get the feeling that too many officers aren't getting the credit they deserve. Yes, raiding in Wrath is easier than ever, but that doesn't mean it takes no effort to organize and lead raids. It doesn't mean it isn't a thorny and delicate situation every time you put a raid together, choosing who should go on which toon, trying to work in members who are new to the zone or someone's alt they've been wanting to gear up, while still having enough gear and experienced people to get through it. It doesn't mean there aren't arguments over loot that your officers have to resolve.
If they have stopped doing these things, then you certainly have a right to complain. If they haven't, then please be grateful for their efforts. It doesn't mean you have to approve of every decision they make. It's your guild, too, and you should be able to voice your opinions. The advice that I've given to these readers is always the same: Talk to the officers about it if you really have a problem with what they're doing. Either they will agree with you or they won't. If they don't agree with you, you can either live with it or quit the guild.
What I can't tell you is how to change your officers' minds or force them to see things your way. If your guild is having fun and meeting its goals, it's entirely possible that most of their opinions have been valid. It's entirely possible that most of their decisions have been sound. You are lucky. Many guilds have not had such officers, and most of those guilds have collapsed or disappeared.
So, hats off to all the good officers out there. And hats off to the members who appreciate them. Boo, everyone else.