Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
I get a lot of e-mails, many more than I could ever cover in this column. I hear about a lot of drama, drama of all different kinds, for all different reasons. So it always piques my interest when I read an e-mail like the one below, with an entirely new kind of guild drama. This one sounds more suited to a middle school class than a guild, but here it is: secret party drama. Read on for the details!
I am a member of a fairly progressed raiding guild. I am a member of the main raid. I am not an officer, but almost all the regular raiders are officers. In many ways the guild is good. Raiding rules and loot are fair.
However, it has become clear that the guild is dominated by a clique and that promotions to officer and most raid invites are largely based upon becoming part of the in group. Recently it was announced during raid that we would be taking a week off as many would be out of town. After the week off, during Vent chat, it became clear that the many out of town were all out of town together. That is, the guild officers were invited to an in person party (some traveled to go to it, others didn't but all were invited). I also learned that the officers intentionally tried to keep the party a secret beforehand.
The feedback I've received from some other long term people in the guild is that the guild plays favorites in selecting officers. The feedback I get is that basically the officers could care less if non-officers leave the guild and feel they can easily replace any non-officer raider. Recently some nice people, good players were promoted who were related to other officers. The problem is that they were promoted with no greater qualifications than many other non-officers except for the being related part.
Other examples of favoritism exist. For example, some officers have been allowed to bring alts to main raids but non-officers are told that this isn't allowed. Also, if part of the "in group" gets an an achievement or an alt dings, they get grats and comments in guild chat. If others do, they usually get silence.
Given all this I don't think this problem is solvable. My feedback is that this is long term and many non-officers and some officers don't like it but want the chance to raid so put up with it. I want to leave the guild. I do want to leave on good terms. What do I say when I leave (and who should I say it to)? And, if I apply to another guild what reason do I give for leaving? I don't think it would sound all that good to give the truth.
Whew. These three things will eventually drive members out of your guild:
- An officers-only clique
- Promoting only friends and family to officer status
- Different rules for officers
It's tough to feel like you're part of a guild when there's such a clear line between the ins and the outs. You want to feel like the people in charge care about you on some level. You want to feel like they have your back in some way. Otherwise, what's the point? You might as well be some random person they invited to a PUG.
I don't think the officers were out of line by wanting to throw a party. I also don't think they were out of line by keeping the attendance limited. If people had to travel to get there, they'd probably have to crash, and it's very possible that there was only room for a certain amount of people.
However, I do think they were out of line by being sneaky and deceptive about the event. It would have been much better to be honest about the situation, even if not everyone was invited.
Beyond that, they could have invited everyone just to be nice about it. The fewer people who aren't invited to an event like this, the worse it looks for you. If you have 40 guild members and you only invite 10, then you could pass it off as being practical. But if you have 40 guild members and you invite all but 10 people, then it looks like willful exclusion. What's the worst thing that could have happened if you invited those extra 10?
The worst thing that could happen by not inviting people, and being underhanded about it, has now happened: Everyone else found out about the party and they're feeling even more isolated from the officers and their friends.
As for the second item, I already covered it way back in 2007 in one of my first columns, called "How to Destroy Your Guild." (See point 4.)
Finally, there's no issue with giving your officers a few perks, but if you have a policy that only applies to nonofficers, you are wrong -- especially in a circumstance where raiding opportunities and loot are involved. Step one toward making your members resent you is to have different rules for officers and nonofficers.
So all in all, I'm not surprised that the person who sent me this e-mail is fed up and looking to gquit. It's an entrenched leadership that's apparently been operating this way for a long time. The officers don't seem to care that they're driving people away, since the people they really want in the guild are already in their clique.
You can either leave quietly and not mention any of this to them. Or you can tell them in no uncertain terms how they made you feel and why you made this decision. To choose between these options, you have to ask yourself two questions:
- Do you think it will make any bit of difference if you tell them why you're quitting?
- Do you care what happens to the other members of the guild that you're leaving behind?
As for the guilds you apply to, any whiff of drama in your reasons for leaving can raise a red flag. So you should either be completely upfront about your reasons with full disclosure and hope that your honesty will win them over. Or you should give a generic answer, like "My previous guild wasn't a good fit for me," and hope they don't ask too many questions.
It all depends on your comfort level. Just remember that you have a better chance of winding up in the same exact situation in your new guild if you choose to give a generic answer.
Whatever you do, don't be generic about your previous guild's leadership. "I had problems with my former officers" or "I didn't like my officers" can unfairly label you as a drama queen if you don't give further details.
Regardless, I hope you find yourself in a guild that treats its nonofficers with more respect!