Guilds are like a living body. A little blood loss now and then is alright, as long as you can replace it. But if you bleed members for too long, the wounds don't heal, the bleeding never stops, and eventually the body goes on life support. So it is with the unfortunate guild in this week's email:
Firstly I'd like to thank you for your advise in Officers Quarters and your book. The Guild Leaders Handbook was invaluable when I was made GM.
A bit of background of me and our guild. I joined this guild a few years ago as it suited my play style. We were only Raiding once or twice a week and getting through content nicely for a guild who's aim was just to see content. Over the years I made friendships with people in the guild and it's a great atmosphere to be in.
I was made an officer and at this stage we had just enough active members to do 10mans once or twice a week. Some weeks we would have to pug 1 or 2 people. This is when we started to lose people. With a guild that has been around for 5 years this month is was to be expected that people would leave the game for various reasons. So I recruited more members to fill the gaps and a few more left the game. At this stage raids again were pug'd to fill the gaps. Newer members were leaving to other guild's due to not having a full raid team every week and more long term members left the game including the guild leader who passed the leadership to me.
In short: now. Now is the right time to give up.
So I tried rebuilding the guild and came across the the problem of getting new members, but unable to keep them because we never had enough to raid, so off to other guilds they go. I must admit every one that left loved being in the guild but wanted to raid and wanted to be in a guild that raided every week. Now only 3 of us log on and that's not regularly. So when I recruit new members, as now I only recruit as a social guild, they leave because it's quiet and lately is been hard to recruit anyone.
Well my basic question is when do you give up on a guild. I've tried everything a could to keep the guild going and I am just about to run out of energy trying to rebuild. I feel like I just want take some toons to another guild and just leave an alt to be there for the few people that log on every now and again.
Juhamer @ Saurfang US
You did everything you could. You recruited over and over to replace members but you couldn't keep up with turnover. This isn't just a setback. This is, I'm sorry to say, the end.
Once you fall below a certain critical mass, it's very difficult to maintain a functional raid team. Then it's a downward spiral, and you've basically hit the bottom of it. Flex raiding can't help you, because it doesn't scale below ten players. The patch hitting tomorrow can't help you, because players will want to jump into the Siege or Orgrimmar as soon as they can. Very few people will be patient enough to wait for your roster to reach raiding size again.
With so few active members, it sounds like all of you would be better off joining a different, but likeminded guild. Try to find one similar to your own in its glory days. If you can find a guild that will take everyone that's left, that would be the ideal situation. I think you'll have way more fun once you're all in a lively community again.
You don't have to feel bad about this or blame yourself. You kept the community going for a while, but ultimately it wasn't meant to be. It's not an uncommon outcome when the original guild leader quits the game. It also doesn't sound like you had much help from other officers.
Now it is possible that people will want to come back at some point, so I would not disband the guild. Instead, change your guild's message of the day to let returning players know how to find you. That way, no matter when they log in, they'll see that you're still around if they want to get back in touch.
Hope alone is no reason to stay
Maybe someday enough former players will come back to the game to start up a raid team again. But you can't linger on in a ghost town guild waiting for that to happen. If the possibility arises to revive your former guild for the next expansion, or the one after that, you can explore that option then.
In the meantime, you can make new friends and add to the circle of awesome people that you know in the game. This ending is a new beginning for you. You should let go of any guilt you feel and enjoy yourself.
You guys had a great run. Five years is a long, long lifetime for a guild these days. Celebrate those times and all the successes that you had. Keep in touch with former members. But by no means should you punish yourself by staying. Let this guild go -- at least for now -- and get back to enjoying the game.
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.