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Officers' Quarters: Coup d'etat

Scott Andrews

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Guild leaders aren't always the most popular people in a guild. Sometimes they have to make the tough choices for the good of the organization, and that can lead to hard feelings. But then there is the guild leader that members hate for just about every reason you can hate someone. One reader wants to know how to get rid of this guy once and for all.

Hey, Scott,

I joined a great casual raiding guild about 2 months ago at the point where we were putting Kara on farm and moving on to Mags, Gruul and places beyond. Now we're 2/6 SSC and 2/4 TK, I'm class lead for my class, have full T4 and one piece of T5, and we're progressing steadily.


The GM is a [penis].

All the officers are great, most of the members are great, the guild is good, the community is good . . . it's just the one guy who behaves as though the guild is his own private fiefdom that's the problem. Worse, although he's got 4 or 5 toons at 70, he's
bad at all of them. He's just not a good player. Oh, and his sense of humor is made of FAIL.

There's history to the guild that I'm not privy to -- and don't really care about -- I'm interested in coping strategies to mitigate the harm he does, and wonder if there's any good ways to get someone like him to step aside. Not that anyone sane would take the job.


Oh, The Drama!

Wow, OTD, I can practically feel the burning fury of your hatred through my monitor. Before we get all crazy here and talk about how to bring down your mighty leader, let's try to put things into perspective.

You say you don't know the history and you don't care, but for some guilds the history can mean a lot. You don't know what your guild leader has been through or what he's had to do to position the guild to succeed. It may be unlikely if all that you say is true about him, but he could have been instrumental in putting together a great team of players to tackle all the content that you are enjoying.

There's a vast difference between being good as a player and being good as a leader. The two talents often intersect, because a good leader wants to set the example of how to play well, but someone can be a naturally gifted leader and still suck at raiding.

You say he acts like a medieval lord. I wish I had some examples to go by here (in fact I requested some from OTD, but he wasn't able to get back to me in time). Is it a matter of playing favorites, or ruling by fear, or constantly changing the rules to suit his moods? Those are all great examples of bad leadership.

But if you mean that in his guild his word is law, it isn't necessarily bad as long as he's got a strict set of rules that he uses to govern. Considering the time and effort most GLs devote to their guild, they deserve to be able to put the smack down on some fools when it's required.

As for his sense of humor, well, that's obviously a personal preference.

I guess overall I'm just baffled how a GL like the one you describe could have managed to put together such a great officer core and create a successful guild. Again, that's the unknown history coming into play. So before you go a step farther, I highly recommend asking some questions about how this all happened.

Now if it turns out this guy just bought the charter and then sat back while all the officers did the real work, henceforth using the position purely to intimidate and annoy, then you've got a genuine problem on your hands. Then it may be time for the coup d'etat.

Overthrowing your GL isn't something you can undertake by yourself. To do this, you'll need the support of the membership and at least a majority of the officers. While you can rally people against your GL, it's better to rally them for someone else.

So find out which officer is the one doing most of the real work. Now use that information to start your campaign. Be subtle at first. Make comments like "Thanks for putting this together, [officer]!" at the end of a raid, or "You know, I can't believe how much [officer] does for the guild" in a private conversation. Your job here is to make sure everyone knows who's really putting in all the effort, who's indispensable.

You've made the soil fertile; now plant some seeds of doubt about the GL himself. Ask some "innocent" questions like, "Why do you think [guild leader] made that decision?" and "Do you agree with what [guild leader] did there?"

Now, like Lady Macbeth, approach in private this officer who's really making the magic happen. Tell him that he deserves to be the guild leader. If this officer is already doing the work, he's actually suffering the burden already without reaping the privileges. Make it clear that it's not just a matter of flattering his or her ego -- you're genuinely concerned about the long-term welfare of the guild.

This officer probably won't go for it right away, but this is where your seeds will ripen into fruit. Tell him or her to ask around the guild and see if other people share your concerns. If you've done your job well, they do. And it sounds like even if you haven't, they might have become concerned all on their own.

If the current guild leader engages in a particularly acute episode of jackassery during this time, use it to your advantage. Hold it up as a shining example of the dark vortex the guild will fall into with this guy at the helm. Let it add a sense of urgency to the proceedings.

From here, events are mostly out of your control. You've given your officer the nudge. You can give him or her more nudges, and perhaps speak with other sympathetic officers about it. You can continue to rally the membership and ask them to speak with the officers, too. But ultimately the coup has to come from the officers.

If they drag their feet, your last resort would be to quit the guild. You're a class leader, so you're obviously a talented player and valued part of the raiding team. When you do so, let no one doubt that the reason you're leaving is the guild leader. If that doesn't get people's attention, nothing will.

I don't normally condone this type of drama, but you're asking me how to make this happen for the good of what seems to be a solid guild, so I'm giving you my best advice. Hopefully the fallout will be that the officers finally decide to act and everything can settle down after that.

Of course, if things are as bad as you say, you may not have to engage in such elaborate Machiavellian politics. It could just come down to common sense. All it might take is one person being the first to speak up.

Has anyone out there successfully done something like this? How did you go about it?


Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters! For more WoW Insider gameplay columns, click here.

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