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Officers' Quarters: A RIFT in leadership

Scott Andrews

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

Ah, RIFT -- if you keep up with MMO news outside this blog (or even if you don't), you've likely heard of this new title from Trion Worlds that has recently launched with much fanfare and success. Whenever a new triple-A MMO title releases, a portion of WoW subscribers are always curious enough about the new game to give it a try. Some decide that WoW is better and return. Some fall in love with the new game and never come back.

For guild leaders, the issue of other games is particularly tricky. This week, one leader asks for advice on making a graceful exit from his guild so he can try his luck in Telara.

I'm in my second stint as guild leader for what was a huge 40 man raiding guild in Vanilla and is now a small friends and family 10 man guild. [. . .]Wrath was great for us with the accessibility of the content and we all had fun doing most of the 10 man content available. That lasted until this summer when many of us got busy with kids, gardens, vacations, etc and we ended up taking a de facto break while waiting for Cata.

With the release of Cata, most players returned to the game and we set out on getting into the new content and trying to fill the gaps that had been left by players who didn't return or moved to other guilds. However, with a raiding model more similar to TBC or Vanilla and the seemingly larger time commitments to get into what is, frankly, not-very-interesting content, things have kind of stalled before even beginning raiding; it's gotten to the point where about half the active membership (myself included) just isn't interested in playing WoW anymore.

Unfortunately, one of the other officers (a good friend I've played with since Vanilla) recently invited half a dozen of his RL friends to transfer to our server and join the guild with the idea of filling out the group for 10 mans. While he had the best of intentions, his friends are not a good fit for our online group and that, combined with the collective disinterest in WoW we've been feeling, has led to all of the other officers and myself choosing other games to play together.

For the past month the five of us have been entertaining ourselves with Minecraft, Magicka and Starcraft II but kind of decided on a whim to try RIFT this weekend and we love it! Two of the other officers (a couple) have already cancelled their WoW accounts and have no intention of returning and a third doesn't care what game we play so long as we play it together. My wife and I are pretty much at the point where we want to make the switch to RIFT as well but I'm uncertain what my responsibility is to the WoW guild as I go on hiatus, possibly forever.

The obvious solution would be to promote the only remaining officer to guild leader and wish he and his friends the best of luck as we go our separate ways. The problem with that is that we'd like to continue playing with him and a few of the other guildies as we build a new guild in RIFT -- but without his friends. I'm also apprehensive that the novelty of RIFT might wear off quickly and that I'll want to return to WoW only to see that the guild I've put so much time into fell apart while in someone else's hands. I don't have time or money to keep my hands in both pots and it would be clearly disingenuous to the WoW guild so it's time to make a choice. What's the best the way to make my exit without destroying the guild for those who choose to stay in WoW while still keeping the core group together as we move to a new game?



Anonymous, it's never easy to leave a guild behind -- believe me. You will have a sleepless night or two over it. You can console yourself, however, with the thought that a guild with a disinterested leader isn't exactly poised for success. For that reason, it's probably for the best for both yourself and the remaining guild members that you step down if you really want to move on.

The recommended approach

For now, you should keep your intentions to quit private among the officers. Call for an officers' meeting and discuss the situation. Then ask your lone remaining officer what he intends to do now that he knows your plan.

Unfortunately, all of this is coming at a bad time for him. His friends all just paid for transfers on the promise of raiding under you. He's probably going to be upset at first, and you need to allow him that. If necessary, end the discussion and continue it later after he's had a chance to calm down.

If he'd like to stay and take over leadership, I think you owe him that opportunity. Starting a new guild isn't as consequence-free as it used to be. There are now levels, achievements, and reputation to consider. Yes, your officer may run the guild into the ground. He and his friends may completely change the attitude of the organization and the policies you've refined. You'll have to accept that.

In this scenario, you must not make any demands of him. Offer your advice, but don't force it on him. You'll have to let go of your former role, and let him choose his own path for the guild. If you decide that RIFT is not for you, you'll have to live with the consequences of your departure when you return. Honestly, it's expecting far too much to make such a major decision and then resume exactly where you left off if you find that you regret it.

On the other hand, if he doesn't want to take over, then you will be free to put the guild on hiatus. His friends won't like that one bit, I'm sure, but these things happen and they'll get over it eventually. It's a cold thing to consider, but that's probably the best-case scenario for you, since you and the core group could pick up where you left off if you decide to return to WoW. The rest of the guild may be gone, but you could rebuild. Also, the friends will be much less likely to join your RIFT guild when you've left them hanging so blatantly in WoW.

The transition

In either scenario, if he and his friends do want to join you in RIFT, keep in mind that there's always a bit of culture shock when a group of players with a similar mindset all join a new guild together. I'm sure, given time, you can overcome the differences.

If you'd really like to distance yourself from these imported players, then you'll have to talk to your officer about them. I really wouldn't recommend it at this point, however. He's going to be angry enough about the situation already without layering that on top of it. Otherwise, you risk alienating your officer completely. Just set up clear policies for expected behavior and discouraged behavior for your new RIFT guild. Then you can deal with individual situations as they arise.

Once all the decisions have been made about what to do with the WoW guild, then communicate them to the guild members. Explain why you've made these choices and offer whatever support you can provide without an account. Do this a week or two before you formally quit the game to help with the leadership transition or preparations for a prolonged hiatus. Be aware that if you do make the guild inactive, you'll have to gkick anyone you don't completely trust, since a member can petition a GM to reassign guild control if the guild leader hasn't logged in for a month.

As a courtesy, you could offer to invite any member of your WoW guild into your RIFT guild if they're willing to give it a try. It's not required, of course, but it may make everyone feel a bit better about the situation -- including you.

No matter what happens, this decision could mean the end of your WoW guild. Unless you choose to keep your leadership role in WoW and play both games, there's simply no way to guarantee that the WoW guild will survive. The question is whether or not you can live with that.


Join us to learn how to survive the leveling process, deal with guild perk freeloaders, and discuss the guild talent controversy or the guild reputation system. Send Scott your guild-related questions and suggestions at; you may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!

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