In this week's Guild Counsel, I'll share a few of mine, and I welcome you to add yours below. So gather round the campfire, pass the marshmallows, and bundle up in that sleeping bag because it's time to share our guild horror stories.
The day-long failed raid
It was a dark and stormy night... OK, it was more like an average Sunday in the middle of summer. Our guild was prepping to raid, but this day would be different. In EverQuest, our raids usually just lasted an evening, but our target for this day was Tunare, in the Plane of Growth. There were two problems with the zone, though. First, there was an endless amount of trash that had to be cleared because if you left mobs up, Tunare would call them to her aid when you pulled her. Second, there was a hefty faction hit for killing anything in Growth, so our Tunare-friendly raiders couldn't participate and were basically relegated to being cheerleaders.
We began our clear of the zone sometime around mid-morning and trudged along through the zone through the day, with people coming and going for breaks and real-life obligations. As the dinner hour approached, we were on the last few mobs before Tunare, but by the time we were ready to pull her, we were too short-handed to take her down. Twelve hours of trash-clearing and nothing to show for it! We ended up leaving the zone and getting the news soon after that another guild had finished her off. It was a tough call to decide whom I was more upset with: Tunare and her stupid day-long zone clearing or the raid leader who insisted that we go in there in the first place.
Often, you'll hear stories of EVE players spying on and double-crossing each other, but my guild had its very own incident of double-crossing several years ago in EQ. We were competing for raid content with a few other guilds, and for some reason, one guild in particular always seemed to get to our planned targets before we did. At first, we suspected that one of our own was tipping off the other guild, but eventually we got to the bottom of things: One of our members was dating a fellow in the rival guild, and he was logging into her account to spy on us and sneak off with our raid target schedule! We caught him soon after by putting out false information and watching his guild scurry over to the tip only to learn that we were raiding somewhere else that evening. I don't recall what precipitated it, but not long after that, the girlfriend ended up leaving the guild, and I think the game.
About a year ago in EverQuest II, a few of our members had been victims of hackings. Now, it's bad enough when you log in and find that all of your toons are stripped, some of them even deleted, but it's even worse when it happens to an officer. That's exactly what happened to us, and not only did the hacker steal everything on the officer's characters, but he also cleaned out our guild bank of plat and valuables. We had four banks total, and the one with the important items is locked so that only the leader and officers have access, but this hacker ended up getting lucky and breaking into the right toon at the right time. Fortunately, EQII's CS team was quick to respond, and we had everything restored quickly, but for a short time, we felt like Terry Benedict at the end of Ocean's Eleven.
In Vanguard, our guild jumped at the news that guild halls were being put in game. But as we read up on what was required, we had our doubts about whether it was something we should even pursue. We had the coin covered, but there was an almost insurmountable list of crafting materials and diplomacy pages that we'd need. In the end, we rolled up our sleeves, did some wheeling and dealing, and worked with other guilds to help each other out and pool our resources. It took several weeks, but it was actually one of the best times I've had in game because it allowed us to get to know other players and other guilds, and it nice change from the usual guild goals of "gear, raid, farm."
Even though the guild moved on from the game, many of us still kept our accounts active in Vanguard, and we put enough coin in escrow to keep our guild hall safe and secure for years. But then came news of server mergers, and with it, the destruction of the guild hall. In order to combine servers, the team had to wipe all guild halls. Our materials were sent back to us, but the coin that was in escrow was gone, and so too was our meticulously decorated home. If ever there was a chance of returning full time to the game, it disappeared along with the guild hall.
The rogue raider
I'm pretty easy-going when it comes to getting along with different personalities and playstyles, but there's one player type that makes me go absolutely insane: the rogue raider. This player knows it all, does it all, and never entertains the thought of actually listening to someone else because, after all, he's always right.
In EverQuest, our server had a rotation for certain raid mobs from the Kunark era. We had succeeded in getting on one rotation for Venril Sathir, but our next attempt was for Trakanon, a very difficult dragon that only a handful of guilds had succeeded in killing. It involved crawling to the bottom of Sebilis and then navigating a series of tight, winding tunnels to Trakanon's room. It was a challenge enough to try to fit about 60 raiders into these tunnels, but we had to stay wedged for a bit as we gauged pull spots, sized up places to hide from damaging AoEs, and settled on where to move the raid for the fight.
All of a sudden, a Necromancer in the guild darted past us and disappeared around the corner. We learned later that he had a plan in his head to go off and send his pet in for the pull. Where on earth he planned to pull to, I have no idea, but a few seconds later, he aggroed Trak and my screen was filled with fire and dragon scales. Over 60 players, weeks of preparation, three hours of clearing, and just like that, our raid shifted from killing Trakanon to figuring out how we were going to recover our corpses that were deep down in Seb. Our attempt at getting on the rotation was done, and it would be months before we'd have another shot, minus the rogue raider.
Fortunately, I survived to tell these nightmare tales. As fun and as enjoyable as guild life can be, there are times when it can make you want to scream. And while some of these involve painful game changes and design, most of them would never have happened had it not been for bad players. The lesson in almost all of these stories is to always screen carefully and do your best to keep the creeps out of your guild because if not, they'll most certainly come back to haunt you.
Do you have any guild horror stories? Share them below!
Do you have a guild problem that you just can't seem to resolve? Have a guild issue that you'd like to discuss? Every week, Karen Bryan takes on reader questions about guild management right here in The Guild Counsel column. She'll offer advice, give practical tips, and even provide a shoulder to lean on for those who are taking up the challenging task of running a guild.