Shop till you drop (or get dropped)
Perhaps the guild you're in just isn't a good fit for you. Fair enough, but it's not a smart move to start shopping around for another guild while you're still tagged in your current one. A good way to irritate your guildmates is to go that extra yard and post up an application to a prospective guild while you're still guilded. Trying to hedge and play the market almost always ends up badly, with your current guildmates losing all respect for you. In addition, prospective guilds tend to shy away from applicants who are still tagged because, after all, what's to stop them from doing it again in the future? It comes down to trust, and it's hard to trust someone who has his eye on the exit.
Doing a guild removal in a flourish
If you're going to go, just go. Skip the long rants in guild chat, the dramatic posts on the forums, and the insistence on getting in the last word. The only thing you accomplish is giving people ammunition to use against you later, and once you're gone, you'll probably end up being the source of a shared laugh from your ex-guildies. However, if you're going to do the proverbial door-slam departure, please make sure to accidentally type out "remove" in chat before you leave. It's like the cherry on top of an epic sundae.
Being a jerk to create a reason to get booted
One type of guildie that really gets under my skin is the type too cowardly to leave on his own and so creates a situation that puts the onus on the guild leader to boot him. In some cases, it's not just one incident but a slow-drip progression of little things that inch closer and closer to crossing the line. The thinking (I assume) is that if you do just enough to get booted but not enough to clearly be seen as in the wrong, you can cry victim to ex-guildmates and potential guild that you're trying to join. These players get really tiresome, though, and eventually, it's not worth the effort or time to engage in back-and-forths about who's been wronged. Again, if you're going to go, just go.
Betrayal of confidential information
This is one that just should never happen, but sadly, it does. Players who are angry about something in a guild decide to go nuclear and divulge sensitive information that another member told them. It could be a personal issue or something that one guildie said about another in private. And of course, there's always the player who abuses account information that someone might have passed along at some point. I don't understand how players can be so spiteful; the ends never justify the means. The betrayal of trust is usually much more severe than the perceived injustice that triggered it in the first place. If you really want to leave on an extremely sour note, this is a good way to do it.
Ah, the guild-hopper! This is probably the most common way to leave on bad terms because it's so temptingly easy to do. You swore up and down that you loved your guild and would be so happy to have a chance to join, but the whole time, you planned to join up with that uber-hardcore bleeding-edge guild once you had the levels and gear to qualify. If you're a guildleader who accidentally tagged someone like this, you can usually sniff her out because she's the one who tends to get whiny when you're not progressing fast enough or you awarded loot to someone else. After all, time is money, and guild-hoppers are in it for the best bang for the buck. They aren't there to make friends, and if they feel you're not helping them quickly enough, they sometimes will even hop multiple times as they climb toward that goal of joining their dream guild.
Unfortunately, some of those bleeding-edge guilds will end up taking the guild-hopper because if she's good enough, she'll help the guild's progress, and if the guild is at the top, there's nowhere else for the guild-hopper to go. It's a marriage of convenience between two opportunistic parties, basically. Guild-hoppers leave a bad impression with former guildies and leave the guild hashing out whether the leapfrogger contributed enough to balance out the lost gear and time that was put into helping her out.
This one ranks right up there with betraying trust, and it's a good way to go Chernobyl if you want to completely destroy the ties you had to your guild. It really makes no sense because you will get caught, and even if there isn't GM intervention to retrieve the stolen goods, you've pretty much killed any chance of joining a guild down the road -- or even being welcomed in groups and pick-up raids, for that matter. I suppose a guild thief could just go with playing the game solo, but then why play an MMO in the first place?
The bottom line is that leaving in dramatic or jerk-like fashion really isn't worth it. It might be momentarily satisfying, but in the long run, you might regret burning those bridges, and you also risk your chances of joining another guild down the road. If you're done with your guild, that's fine, but try to skip the attention-getting antics and just go quietly.
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.