Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
These days, even smaller guilds want to -- and can! -- run 25-player raids through guild alliances and PUGs. ToC was easily puggable, particularly since it was a short, simple run that could be completed in about 90 minutes or less for most groups.
ICC is proving to be more difficult. And, of course, it's far longer and more intricate than ToC. Even so, the early bosses can all be mastered by a competent PUG. This week's e-mail deals with an extremely successful and long-standing PUG whose leader suddenly wants to change the way it works.
Some real life friends and I are a part of what I think of as a "Super PUG." We're in a group of about 30 people spread among six guilds who raid together every week. Raiding only once a week for four hours maximum, our PUG downs bosses that real guilds sometimes never see. If we were a guild, we would be one of the top 5 horde guilds on our server.
Most of our success can be attributed to our main tank and raid leader. He's extremely patient and very effective at getting the group organized and rolling. He's the one who collected the names of the best players he pugged with and got us all together. We all have a lot of respect and gratitude for him and for the opportunities that he's given the group as a whole.
He's also the leader of the biggest guild in the raid at about half the members. Lately he has been making noise about wanting all of the raiders to join his guild. The reasons why aren't really clear to us, but for some reason he feels it's important. Cataclysm maybe? He's always tried to recruit us, but lately he's started getting... aggressive.
He's declared that for our next raid later this week, members of his guild will get priority for spots. So if we have 30 people show up, his guild is immune from sitting, and us non-guildies have to roll for the remaining spots. If we join his guild, we don't have to roll.
The non-guildies are pretty up in arms about this. Some of us have been in the raid for a year or more while most of the people in his guild have been recent recruits. On top of that, most of us that aren't in his guild are among the top players in the raid. He would effectively be sitting the best players in favor of his own guild.
People in my guild are affected by this pretty harshly. Our guild is the oldest on the server, founded during launch week 5 years ago with most of the members having never left for the entire duration. We're a friends and family guild, so leaving would be effectively abandoning real-life friends.
Any thoughts or advice?
Of all the e-mails I've gotten over the three years I've been writing this column, the most common question I am asked is this: Should I stay in a social guild with my friends or join a raiding guild to see the content? It's a dilemma that a large portion of WoW's players eventually face.
There's no right answer to this issue. I never really know what to tell people. It all comes down to a person's priorities, and either choice presents a significant downside. If they leave, they may face the guilt of leaving friends behind. If they stay, they may face the frustration of missing out on content and the fun of raiding.
You, my anonymous reader, have been very lucky. Not many people get to stay in a casual guild with their friends while doing some serious -- and successful -- raiding with a different group! You've been able to have your cake and eat it, too, as they say.
Since you've been part of this PUG for a long time, I can understand how disconcerting it must be for the leader to change the rules on you like this. However, try to look at the issue from his perspective.
He has put in the time and effort to organize this run, and he leads it every week. It's a heck of a lot harder to coordinate a raid across multiple guilds. It sounds to me like he's trying to simplify things for himself by consolidating the players into a single guild. I can certainly understand that.
At the same time, it sounds like he wants a greater commitment from people if he's going to go through all the trouble of leading this group. People who have joined his guild have made that commitment, and he needs a way to reward them for that. Priority for slots is the reward he's chosen.
Again, I can't blame him for that choice. He sounds like a highly effective leader and he wants to use that effectiveness to benefit his own guild first and foremost.
Of course, we all know that guild membership is fleeting. Those guild members are just as likely as anyone in your PUG to bail on the raid or to vanish completely. However, from a guild leader's point of view, how can he justify denying his own members slots in favor of people in other guilds?
It doesn't matter to him that some of you in the other guilds might be better players. By bringing his own people, he can help them to improve their gameplay and their gear. He's making an investment in his own members. It just so happens to be at your expense. Perhaps it's time for you to make the choice that so many other players have already had to make.
Or, you could continue along with this situation and see how things go. You may not always get a slot now, it's true. But you may get to go some of the time. Isn't that better than never going again, especially since you can stay in a guild that's important to you? This way, you can have your cake all the time, and you can eat it some of the time. That's better than staring at a cake you can never taste!
Alternatively, if you think that so many talented players will be left behind, why not organize them into a separate group? With some effort on your part, you could potentially lead a "Super PUG" of your own!
Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!