I logged into the game as usual, with the intent of clearing the holiday boss and then doing our usual Sunday raid. Instead, I was greeted by a whisper from my cohort in crime, the other rogue in my guild, who told me to join a random channel. Bewildered, I did so, only to find the rest of my guild in said channel. "Why did we make a channel?" I asked. "Because we don't have a guild anymore," she replied -- which was when I realized I was, in fact, completely guildless for the first time since somewhere in the middle of Burning Crusade. Our guild leader systematically kicked everyone out of the guild, shut the doors and called it a day.
Needless to say, it's been a hell of a weekend. My first thought was nonexistent, my second thought, oddly enough, was whether or not we'd ever had a guide on this particular situation on WoW Insider. I couldn't find one after peering through the archives, so I decided, after all the madness of yesterday had settled down, that I ought to write one.
So, from first-hand experience -- what do you do when your guild falls to pieces?
Douglas Adams really said it best. The worst possible thing you can do in a situation like this is panic, quickly followed by angrily blaming people. Here's the thing -- our guild was gone. We knew our guild was gone, this was an undeniable fact. So in the end, our problem boiled down to the fact that we no longer had a guild. Blaming the person that took the guild wouldn't really do anything to address the problem -- in fact, all it would do is get everyone ridiculously angry, and the angrier you are, the less likely you are to rationally think.
But panicking, in a way, is worse than anger -- instead of focusing on the problem at hand and trying to find a solution to it, you're simply focusing on the fact that the problem exists. Staring at the problem, exclaiming over the problem, pointing out the problem to anyone that happens to be listening isn't really going to do anything to address it. Sure, it might make you feel slightly better, but it's not going to get you another guild.
So yes, the guild fell apart and it was ridiculously unfortunate that it had done so. Acknowledging that was fine, but moving on was better. In the case of my guild, we scheduled a meeting at our regular raid time to talk about how to best move forward from there. Were people still panicked? Somewhat -- but they were slightly less so when they realized something was being done about the issue.
Find a solution
In the case of this particular guild blowout, it was simply a matter of talking to everyone and seeing if they wanted to stick together, or go their separate ways. Nobody really wanted to split up, so we created a new guild. Coming up with a name for the new guild was enough to keep people entertained, and once we'd gotten a suitable name, it was a matter of getting the guild charter signed and getting everyone invited.
Problem solved ... sort of. We had no guild, we made one, and now the issue of not having a guild was addressed. And with that, everything shuffled back into not-quite normalcy. We didn't have an official guild leader, we started at level one, and we still don't have the officer situation hammered out entirely. But for one evening, it was enough to get everyone by and large settled again. We still have a few guild members who have not logged on and discovered that they are guildless just yet, but we're keeping an eye out and making sure those people get invites as soon as possible.
And once that problem had been addressed, it was okay to be sad. The guild that fell apart was one that had been on the server since 2007. It wasn't so much the fact that we'd lost the gold, supplies, patterns, and other materials in the guild bank that was bothersome, it was the memories, really. We had a ton of server firsts under our belt, a ton of achievement points, and a lot of love for the guild, built up over years of pouring our hearts into it -- and now all that was gone.
This isn't the first time I've been through a guild blowout -- the first was in vanilla, and it was a slow, drawn out murder. In vanilla, guild management along with most of the officer core decided they'd had enough of raiding and enough of WoW and left the game, promoting other people to officer positions and appointing a new guild leader. None of the new officers, myself included, really knew what we were doing or how to handle a guild situation. And none of us were really prepared for the effort it took to keep a guild running.
That vanilla guild petered out and died a gradual death, as member after member left for greener pastures and a guild that knew what the heck it was doing. I was one of the last holdouts, and I'm not sure why I held on for so long -- I guess I had built so many memories in such a short time that I really didn't want to let go. Since then, I've had years of experience and years of time in various guilds. Some lasted, some blew up in spectacularly dramatic fashion, some limped along until they eventually fell apart.
The point is, things like this happen. They happen all the time. So if you find yourself in a situation where your guild falls apart, don't blame yourself or take it too hard. Find your fellow guildmates and see if anyone wants to stick together, or find a new guild to join, but don't beat yourself up over the loss, because these things happen. It's OK.
In the end, the loss of a guild is kind of a hidden opportunity, in a way. Meeting new people in a new guild environment means new friends, and new memories to build. Re-building a guild that's disappeared is an opportunity to start fresh and fix whatever problems led to the blowout in the first place. And in the case of guilds that blow up in spectacular displays of drama ... it's probably best that you're out of that guild and leaving behind that source of drama, anyway.
I think the thing I was most happy with yesterday was that we all came to a solution in a ridiculously quick amount of time, without losing our heads. Yes, our old guild is gone. No, we cannot get those server first achievements back, nor can we wear that old guild name over our heads. But we're all together still, and we have the opportunity to start over and move on as a united front, with a slightly different name.
It's harder to move on when you're just one person against the world, but keep in mind that this game is full of guilds that are constantly recruiting. Think of this as an opportunity to find a guild that really works for you, one where you can fit right in. Check the different realm forums for guilds that are recruiting. There's even a set of Guild Recruitment forums on the official website that features a ton of guilds all looking for new members. Don't rush your choice -- take your time, look through the guilds carefully, and pick the one that suits you best.
In the end, yes, one person can tear a guild apart. But it's not one person that makes a guild. It's everyone that has, in whatever small way over time, contributed. It's that guy that showed up and tanked without fail, it's the healer that stubbornly refused to let anyone die. It's that person that never raided, but stuffed the guild bank full of mats for feasts and potions anyway. It's that huge, motley group of people that, for whatever personal reasons they had, chose to stick together and murder a bunch of dragons on the internet with some modicum of success.
Yesterday, my guild fell apart -- but it wasn't the end of the world. We're still here, under a slightly different name, and wiser for the experience.