Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
If you've played WoW long enough, and if you've raided enough, odds are you've wanted to quit your guild right in the middle of a run at some point. Some people actually go through with it. I'll never forget the night many years ago when our raid's main tank quit the guild and zoned out of Onyxia's Lair while he was tanking the boss. Yeah, that guy had some anger issues . . .
But what happens when a guild leader ragequits in the middle of a raid? Read on to find out!
A friend and I started a guild about 5 months back. I assumed the Co-Gm role, led the raids and recruited quite a bit. After a slow start we ended up making an impact on the server as a stand up crew and were moving into the top rankings for 10 and cracking the 25 man progression as well. The other Co-Gm was very good at handling issues and I admit that was not my strong point. Things worked really well until unfortunately I had an "EMO" moment.
Real life stress crept into my enjoyment of WoW. Coincidentally issues started arising as to the direction the guild should head. We had 2 10 man raids into Ulduar and 2 nights of 25 man raiding (ToC and Ulduar). What I had been doing is moving one of the 10 Man Ulduar groups into ToC and pushing 10 Ulduar clear with the other group. This led to some jealousy and complaining and my co-gm who is great at handling these issues conspicuously became absent after bringing up the discussion. So ensues the drama.
The main issue is that the group that was focusing Ulduar contained 4 members from our sister guild that we had been working with from the beginning when we did not have as many members. In vent some of the disgruntled were bashing this group. The sister guild is a 4 member guild and they are a family. This setup was preferred by the father so their younger daughter wasn't exposed to some of the crude maturer aspects of the game. However the "father" of our sister guild heard his daughter being bashed out of jealousy in vent and I became very upset that this discussion was not being held privately with me or the other officers of the guild. 2 of the guildies also did not want to run ToC as it was too difficult and did not want us picking up pugs to fill out our 25 man raids that were starting to feel some effects from the back to school blues. They wanted to solely run 10 Ulduar. They also said they had discussed this with the other GM over the last 3 hours and she agreed.
The night this all occured was our 10 man ulduar run with the sister guild. Acquiescing to the complaints I decided I would take guildies only on a ten man Ulduar run. I was however boiling at the disrespect shown to some very reliable players and friends. Combine this with the fact that one of the main complaintants regularly signs up and does not show up for raids and the other frequently needs to leave the raid early only to remain online. I was mad, I should've controlled myself better but on top of the stress from real life and now stress from the guild I exploded during the run.
I messaged my co-gm that i didn't appreciate the maelstrom I stepped into that I felt she was a party to. I told her that if we weren't going to focus on progression, which in my opinion was ToC and 25 man content, that I would be leaving the guild. Her response naturally was very curt as I was and I proceeded to gquit after we downed the next boss. Half of the members agreed with me about the guildies being out of line but no one including myself thinks my gquit was justified.
I committed the ultimate sin in quitting during a raid, although it was a pause. Thinking rationally and not being emo, I realize I threw away a very good thing and deeply regret it. The guild subsequently disbanded with the co-gm and the complaintants starting a new guild. I had come to the conclusion that I should retire from wow as I was perceiving wow as being stressful as opposed to the RL issues I was tackling. Combined with everything just being a huge misunderstanding and my eventual overreaction.
Subsequently I have decided to come back (it really was just a weekend off). In your opinion should the guild forgive me and reunite? How could I go about rebuilding their trust that was completely shattered by my 1 emo moment that ultimately led to the dissolving of the guild. I have gotten half of the members back but the other half appears to be holding a grudge, although they are not outwardly hostile to me there clearly are some very hard feelings (not wanting me to have the new vent password or refusing to pick me up if they are spamming for more to fill out their raids, and yes they are using pug's...). The co-gm and her new guild (she is not running raids just enjoying logging and killing things) seem to be enjoying themselves but I know everyone would be happy if we reformed. I would even volunteer to not be in charge as punishment for my one moment of weakness.
Emo Raid Leader
PS I do know what I did is the ultimate wrong and I have apologized profusely and have requested forgiveness from every member. Unfortunately the one lapse in judgement supersedes 99% of the great job I did and fun everyone had as the guild progressed.
Hi, ERL. You definitely did not do anyone a favor by the way you acted. However, I think you are being a bit hard on yourself. You had a reason to be angry. Your co-guild leader made a huge decision without consulting you. I don't know what sort of arrangement you had with her. As the raid leader, it seems to me that you should have been an important part of any discussion about the direction of the guild's raiding. Combined with the Vent drama, I don't blame you for being upset.
Still, as you admit, you handled the situation poorly. It's never a good idea to make a major decision when you're in a state of heightened emotion, whether you're a guild leader or a new recruit. I understand that you wanted to get away from the guild for a while, but simply logging off would have been far less damaging to the guild than quitting. I doubt that it would have endeared you to your members, but coming back the next day and apologizing could have kept the guild together. Then you could have had a reasonable discussion with your co-leader about your raiding situation, handled the Vent drama in a constructive way, and moved on as a guild.
Instead, your guild fell apart. You want to do you best to make it right, and I respect that. You will have to eat some crow here. You need to approach the situation both humbly and delicately. You can't push too hard. If someone doesn't want to come back, respect their decision.
Whether or not your former members forgive you is up to them. I honestly don't see a point in holding a grudge, although I can understand if they just don't want to associate with you anymore.
The faith of your former members in you has been greatly diminished, so your best option would be to organize the guild under another leader. Speak to the players you trust and find someone who would make a good candidate that's willing to give it another try. That person should be the one to go about recruiting the old crew. You should stay out of the spotlight, as a member but not an officer.
Realize, however, that the person you ask to lead the guild may institute policies that you don't agree with 100%. You can make suggestions, but ultimately you will have to live with his or her decisions. It's possible, in the future, after you've proven that you can stay calm and rational, that you'll be able to carry out more of a leadership role. For now, however, you need to let others run the show.
It sounds like, with the exception of some bad apples, the guild worked well together. With any luck, most former members will be eager to return. You probably won't get everyone back, and you may have to add some new players.
On your end, the most important part of this whole mess is that you forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, particularly when we're feeling stressed and wronged. You can't beat yourself up over this one terrible moment forever. Apologize and then move on. Hopefully, everyone else will, too.