Back to Basics

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the world’s best guild leader.  In fact, I was never sure I really wanted to be one other than my friends and I needed a place to play and wanted a /guild channel to hang out on to make chatting with each other easier.

The guild Crits and Giggles formed with the usual suspects, mostly just our alts and some people we snagged and paid 10 gold to sign our charter.  But we picked up some of the greatest people I’ve ever met in the game.  Lagalot and Repgrind for starters.  The guild was founded on the idea that we wanted a casual, family friendly guild where people could play their toons the way they wanted, without criticism; they could do achievements until their eyes popped; or otherwise just roll a million alts, like yours truly.  The guild did some light raiding starting with Naxx last September.  It was very fun and casual.  The guild started to grow and the emphasis on raiding increased, while still trying to maintain all that “fun and casualness” of before. 

But like all good things, they don’t last.  I am fully aware that while you can take some people in for Crits and Giggles on raids, you can’t do all raids without some level of gear, skill, and committment.  The guild started to fracture along the lines of raiding as those that were hitting it more hardcore started in on latest content, while others who never raided before were struggling trying to figure out what to do to get there.  It at times was very successful, but also at times was very stressful and I’d log in after a few days out-of-town, or having company, only to find that so and so left because of this raid thing or that raid thing.

I’m not a raider myself.  I don’t do much beyond the classic raid night that I host to get people the achievements that they want form the old level 60 and 70 raids.  It’s amazing actually.  So being removed from the raid scene myself didn’t help the situation.

I went through a terrible break-up in October and work dropped a huge bomb on me in November, and before I knew it I was away too much as a GM and the guild kinda started to fall apart.  We lost some of our best players, and I was basically logging in to drama all the time.  In an attempt to regain the structure of the guild, I held a meeting with the guilds key players and worked on ways we can improve on the situation, specifically raiding.  It was clear that there were many different ideas on raiding and we were going to have to take a little time to figure this all out.  But while I was away for the weekend, everything kinda blew up and we lost a handful of players and our raid leader.

I had been told just a few days prior, from someone who I used to do dungeons with and who I raided with on Elgar long before Crits raided, that Crits was not as Crits had been before.  Even as an outsider, he could observe the changes and see that people who were calling the shots even before our current raid leader, were not people we really wanted to call the shots.  He said he’d seen this many other times in guilds and said that he really liked what Crits and Giggles represented on the server back when it was the fun guild for everyone to be a part of.  It was kinda mind-blowing to hear that from someone outside the guild completely.  His advice to me on how to get that back?  Cut the raiders.  Not cut all the raiders completely, but cut the group of hardcore progression raiders from the guild and let them have their own guild or go elsewhere to raid.  I pondered this.  I would dwell over it.  And the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea, though I didn’t really want to do that as there were great people who enjoyed those raids.  But the truth was, we had already lost some of the best raiders to other guilds and our raid scene was…well, lets’ say it left lots to be desired.  I started to worry that if I didn’t do something I might stand to lose some of those excellent people who were here from the very beginning.

There had been moments too where I thought, maybe I should just surrender over the guild and go on my own way.  But I couldn’t do that, because of the name, because of the name Crits and Giggles, I couldn’t surrender it, because every time I’d see it from then on out, it would break my heart.  That and I respected so many members of my guild that I couldn’t imagine just tossing them into the breeze like that.

As it was the latest raid situation cause an explosion and as a result we lost a half-dozen of our raiders, essentially the core group.  It seemed that the situation I was trying to figure out worked itself out.  I was very sad to see some of them leave, but it seemed that this might have been the best solution for everyone.

Crits and Giggles remains strong and will continue on with its happy go lucky musings and other shenanigans.  We probably will never be hardcore raiders, but our guild is called Crits and Giggles, not ICC Boss Downers. 

I’ve made a promise to myself to work on being a little more active in organizing things in my own guild.  Something that I should have done awhile back.  I won’t let guild leading become a full-time job.  But I do want to get back to the place where if I take a day or week off from the game for vacation or whatever, the guild will still be there, steady as it goes without a huge /gquit during my absence.

12 Responses to “Back to Basics”

  1. repgrind Says:

    Geez Trout, you’ve got me crying at work now. I feel bad for leaving, but … the atmosphere there before they all left was just … not fun anymore.

    I changed through all of it, too. I’m no longer the virgin raider I was back in October, full of excitement because of a Naxx clear. I have to wonder what would have happened if B would have taken your suggestion to leave and form his own raiding guild. Perhaps I would be ‘Loremaster’ rather than ‘of the Ashen Verdict’.

    My alts aren’t going anywhere, and despite what certain people may think, I’m no less a part of Crits than I was before. That doesn’t change just because my raiding toons have moved on. Finding time to level them between all the raiding might be an exercise in futility, but I’m having fun. I guess in the end, that’s what matters.

    Now, about that pally you have in Outlands … let’s hook up and run some dungeons before you pass me by, mmkay? /hugs

    • Troutwort Says:

      Ha ha ha, don’t cry, that’s just silly, also, only Elgar cries, but he’s a big girl, despite his manly ‘stache.

      You know that my position has always been that people will want to move on to more than Crits can provide and I have no problem with that and of course no hard feelings. Perhaps the idea that we could somehow manage the two was my mistake.

      And yes, I do wonder what would have happened if the advice I had given way back when would have been followed, I know we’d certainly be in a different place, yes.

  2. Lajos Says:

    Hey Trout, don’t let it get you down. Human beings evolve, and accordingly, groups of human beings evolve. Priorities change. It’s inevitable, and desirable, otherwise, we’d be stagnant.

    That said, a fair number of new “hard core raiders” will burn out on it. Right now, it’s fresh, and exciting. It will become a grind in it’s own right. And when that happens, those people will need a place to come home to. Crits will be what many of them remember as home. And from what I’ve seen, and see, from the outside, that’s really what you’ve tried to strive for. Having a lot of people want to be in your guild is one definition of success. But having people want to come back and play, even if they don’t actually come into the guild, is a far more lasting definition.

  3. CreepTheProphet Says:

    The “fun” mentality and the “raiding” mentality seem to always be at odds in WoW.
    Thing is that raiding is complex and it takes up a lot of mental bandwidth. Folks who are set on raiding will get frustrated when their guild doesn’t get their act together and raid.
    Folks that just want to log in to de-stress, do a little solo time and maybe enjoy the old raiding content, don’t really care about putting in the time and effort required for raiding. If it’s not they’re thing, they shouldn’t have to, it’s their $15 right?
    I’ve seen lots of posts of guilds going through the same thing. Really it just comes down to saying what you want your guild to be. As time goes on you’ve got to hold to the core focus of your guild (fun!). As folks come in some may get more serious and may want to get into serious raiding. There isn’t however any reason to change the core focus of your guild to suit the needs of those players. Sometimes you just have to let them leave the nest. Never know they may get burned out and come right back!

  4. Lore Says:

    I saw your blog on RG’s links, and gave it a reading. I know exactly what you are talking about. Our guild “Apathy” started off as a place where alot of friends could hang out with each other, roll as many alts as they felt they could handle, rack up achieve’s, and do a casual raid here and there. Unfortunately, as time went on, it became more of a gear race, and feeding peoples E-PEEN. This all involved seeing how much better gear you could get, how much healing/dps’ing could be done… And suddenly we had to take a step back and look at the situation.

    We had people begging to raid, but too afraid to PUG groups, people that had no interest in raiding, people who just wanted to have the social aspect to talk with people/friends. In the end we started leaning more towards the raiding aspect, but still trying to do the casual hangout thing. I think every GM struggles with this.

    Luckily, i CO-GM Apathy with another person, so when it comes to decisions, we both have to be in agreement. We started with about a dozen friends, and somehow blossomed into over 60 unique accounts. We still try and have the best of both worlds, the raiding, and the casual aspect… But sometimes it just cant workout.

    As a fellow GM, i understand the drama that happens, and dreading to log on to the latest “he said-she said” thing.. But ultimately as a GM.. i’ve learned to accept it.. As a GM, i’m expected to be a leader, and a best friend to everyone… Some days are better than others. But in the end, things usually work themselves out. The good thing i’ve noticed alot about the Winterhoof guild community is that most guilds are pretty good about helping each other out. Between “Archons”, “Crits”, and a few others, most people seem to get along, and respect one another for the most part. Granted yes.. there are a few bad apples here and there.. But in the addiction of “WoW”.. we cant have everything.

  5. Lore Says:

    One other tidbit of advice i have to offer… Even if people left the guild, and they truly enjoyed it there… Sometimes they do end up coming back… Usually realizing that the grass isnt greener on the other side.

  6. lagalot Says:

    You handled it well.

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