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Officers' Quarters: From girlfriend to guild leader

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 from No Starch Press.

Oh, boy. Let me sit here for a moment facepalming while I take in what I've just read. It's been a while since I've received an email with this much fail, so forgive me if I ease into it.

I'll warn you that the email is long. I've chopped it down as much as I dare. You really need to get the full story to appreciate what happened here. Without further ado, let's jump in:

Hey Scott-

I've been an officer in this particular guild for a long time and a member for several years and recently things have become very taxing for myself and several officers.

A little background on the guild. We are a large PVE/PVP guild on a PVE server. We have around 500 members... It's a crazy collection of hardcore players and newer players... We have several raids going 4 nights a week in addition to pugs and rated battle grounds going almost non stop when raids were not in session.

Now the problems in the guild started last fall right before the launch of SWTOR... Our guild leader and his wife had done a great job leading the guild. She was the CO-GL in name only as she really was the leader. Our guild leaders and several other officers and guild members decided they were going to quit...

This is where problems started creeping in...

Our new guild leader brought his girl friend into the guild and the guild started having problems with organization. She started promoting members of the guild to officer rank as almost a reward for playing a bunch. Not because of any leadership or responsibilities.

The guild still had not made a new raid team and so many of us would raid with friends in other guilds to get our raid fix... The guild had started to separate itself into cliques of PVP and PVE players and these new officers encouraged it. The guild leader broke up with his girl friend and transferred from the server and she became guild leader.

When this happened many of our long time players who preferred PVE didn't feel welcome soon found themselves without the option to use the guild bank or use guild repairs. This faction of our guild slowly began to dwindle... RBG's were happening less and less.

We had an officers meeting where I made a bunch of suggestions... I restarted an official guild raid which downed Deathwing our first week in guild and attempted to start more raids and a guild LFR night. After a couple weeks the pvers in the guild still don't feel welcome and have been seeing flasks, cauldrons and other raid items coming up missing. She even restricted the raiders guild repairs even though they are the only ones killing mobs and doing dungeon and raid challenges to put the gold in the guild bank in the first place...

I've been a proud member of this guild for several years. I don't guild hop. Is it worth it to try to put this guild back together? I often feel like a stranger in a place where I had made my online home and there doesn't seem to be support from our new guild leader. Things just do not seem be getting better and I've seen too many good friends leave because of the current issues the guild has.

Thanks for the help.

Veteran of the Alliance

Hi, VotA. I would like to say up front that the state of the guild is not your fault. You've done what you can to keep the community operating amid upheaval that makes Deathwing's cataclysm look like a spilled coffee. For that, I /salute you and I wish I had more encouraging advice to impart.

First, let's start at where it all went wrong.

Where it all went wrong

I had to read your email twice to make sure I was understanding the situation, because the crux of the catastrophe was an event that isn't actually spelled out. It's merely implied.

How on Azeroth did your guild leader's girlfriend become an officer? You make it clear that she had just joined. Yet she was apparently promoted immediately, based solely on her relationship with the current GL. Just because your former GL's were dating doesn't mean the guild always has to have a couple running the show!

Then, to make matters so much worse, she became the guild leader of a 500-member guild when her boyfriend dumped her and gquit.

This is not the recipe for a stable guild. Why was she chosen over all the other officers?

Examining the fail

Before she ever took over, she started handing out promotions like they were quest greens. As I've tried to emphasize through the years, officers need to have specific roles and duties. "Plays a bunch" is a good quality for an officer, but it's perhaps the least important criterion for a leadership position -- right before "is dating the guild leader."

Then, she actively encouraged cliques. Was she trying to freeze out the PvE players because she prefers PvP? Either way, it's not healthy. Officers should advocate the opposite: players working together despite their differences to achieve common goals.

Finally, she allowed activity to grind to a halt without taking action. One could argue that the most important job for a guild leader is to make sure the guild actually, well, does stuff.

Now, she may have had the best intentions. She may have wanted to do a good job for the guild and see it succeed despite all the turmoil. We don't know. However, the cold fact is that the guild has suffered tremendously under her leadership.

Two ways out

I don't blame you for feeling lost, and I only see two ways out of it for you.

One solution is that you can offer to replace her as the guild leader. How she will react to that, I have no idea whatsoever. She may kick you on the spot; she may be relieved to hand over the reins. It depends on whether she wants the responsibility, and whether she takes the position seriously or sees it as a mere ego boost. If she somehow agrees to that, you can then do your best to turn the guild around. You can try to heal the rifts that she's caused and to bring back some of the players who have left.

The only other path that makes any sense at this point is to leave the guild. Then, either start your own community or join another one.

My advice, if you choose the latter, is to ask whether the guild leader is single.


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

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