One unfortunate hobby of mine lately is watching the slow demise of my old Warhammer Online guild. While I’ve already cancelled my WAR account it’s always painful for me to watch a gaming guild or clan that I was in, especially one I was real involved in, die. You might remember me describing the demise of my Age of Conan guild last year.
Anyway, the guild I had selected for myself before the launch of WAR had a nice website and seemed like a great bunch of characters. I’d describe them as “casual hardcore” – that is, they’ve got a casual attitude when it comes to rules, raiding, and the like but for the most part they put in the same amount of time and dedication as a lot of hardcore groups. I joined them because of that, their PVP focus, the fact that they were relatively small, they’re only dedicated to WAR (rather than being some massive, multi-gaming mess) and the type of people they seemed like judging from their forum posts. They were friendly, mature, yet they liked to joke around. Indeed I clicked with them fairly well – certainly better than with my old Age of Conan guild.
Through the course of the game we of course got to know each other better after many fun and at times crazy conversations on our Ventrilo server and on our forums, we PVPed together all of the time, and we even set up a little leveling pact group later on that was fairly successful at keeping us playing together. Shortly before I started to lose interest in the game we had finally gotten to guild rank 20 which got us our awesome cape emblems at long last and joined a cool alliance.
I have mentioned some of these issues before but I suppose things really started to untangle towards the beginning of the guild’s life when a relatively large group of our players who were all friends decided to part ways with our guild and form their own on Destruction side. This wasn’t really a politics thing and was relatively drama free but it was a huge blow to our player base and everyone knew it. We had also instated a recruitment freeze for fears of growing too big which turned out to bite us in the ass because of incidents like this one, along with other casual quitters and the people flooding back to World of Warcraft when Wraith of The Lich King was released.
Since before I joined I was aware that the guild had at least some intention of playing both Order and Destruction sides however it was always assumed and even sometimes stated that we wouldn’t explore the other side for quite sometime. When a few impatient people made the push over to Destruction, however, it took off with some surprising success. This resulted in a month or longer phase in which the few of us who remained dedicated to the Order side of things found ourselves playing alone and having to listen to anti-Order comments galore on the Vent server. This created an odd, unnecessary gap between some of the players and did nothing to help the few new recruits who trickled in around this time to stick around.
Eventually all of these issues were noted and Order once again became everyone’s primary focus as we, as a whole, proactively tried to do more to promote playing together and growing the guild. By this time, however, the dwindling populations in the game made recruiting quite difficult and new blood seemed almost impossible to find.
More and more people started to tire of the game and quit. Some talked about going to other games which was met but a rather unrealistic response of “Oh, well, if you’re going to play X then we’ll make an X channel on the Vent server and an X board on the forums!” as if it were that easy to effectively become a multi-game guild. I shuddered.
Finally, to seal the deal, the two main officers who run the guild (also two of the people I got along with the most sadly) hadn’t visited their own site in over a month. Of course people start noticing which caused even more people to hang up their hats or move elsewhere. At the moment that’s still where the guild stands – headless and slowly bleeding to death. It is to the point now where hitting our forums to check for new posts with hope to see the guild leader actually log on and reply to a thread or two is not only a waste of time but also rather depressing…