The Guild Life: What are you looking for?

So several podcasts ago I briefed upon an issue with my guild life. The basic rundown is that I was the leader of a small raid-focused guild in the popular game, World of Warcraft, and that I no longer had the time to invest into maintaining the guild – this would include keeping up with the latest raid information, strategies, recruiting and checking into current members to see how their gear was progressing. While I enjoyed it, I simply did not have the time for it anymore. It was a tough call, but I felt that it was time to end my run as guild leader and in effect dissolve the guild. I am not entirely sure where most of the members went to, but I hope they found themselves a great guild. The regulars were good and I always appreciated their punctuality and consistency in attendance.

"Okay team, listen up.. Don will tank the adds..."

So I left, and as a matter of fact, I left the entire realm that I was on and moved to a neighbouring Oceanic realm. Apparently this was meant to be the eldest of the Oceanic realms, and if the population that I walked into was anything to go by, it most probably was. Figuring I wouldn’t have a problem finding a guild that suited my play-time and style I set about leveling a character in my new home. As I began to approach the level cap for my character I started to seek out potential guilds for end-game play. While there were many that appeared to be nice and dandy on the surface – there were raid times scheduled and people online to do them – I just found myself feeling quite empty as a character in this guild. While I noticed that my output in their raids was quite good, in terms of fulfilling my part in the team, I still felt like an outsider and unable to connect with people in the team. I moved on and joined another guild within the next couple days only to feel the exact same way I did in the previous guild. Now, I can honestly say I did try to fit in, but the mindless and incessant chatter in the guild channel had the better of me and it was time to leave once again.

"LOL O hai guyz LOL did U no dat I gt sum moar LOL epix?!?!?! LOL ROFLMAO ROFLCOPT3RR"

This continued as I went through guild after guild seeking the ‘needle in a haystack’. I was at that point where I felt that the only way I was going to enjoy myself would be to recreate the guild from scratch, or straight up quit. I chose neither and instead went on a Google searching frenzy to find a guild out there that I could fit in with. The question then presented itself to me. What exactly am I looking for and why couldn’t I find it in any of the dozen guilds I briefed upon previously. Previously, being guild master, I guess I had a form of power and authority but I never wanted it to begin with. Going back two years ago or more I simply created the guild so that a bunch of friends could play in the same team, nothing more. By fault or coincidence we formed into a small raiding team and had scheduled times to which we would all tackle some of the fun dungeons provided to us by the game. So was it the raiding aspect? Was it the gameplay? Yes to a high degree we play the game for the game, be silly if we didn’t. But then, I enjoy playing a game that isn’t online as well. So why an online game? Simply put, the people. It was the people that made the game for me all those years and I am sure this isn’t anything new to you or to anyone else in a online game. That component is prevalent, perhaps some people are more focussed on the competitive side, and in the realm I had frequented for all those years this was not uncommon. But personally this is something that I’ve not held paramount (competitiveness) to a good gaming experience, and definitely not in an online arena. So that is what I looked for in a guild. The social aspect on a high point and the gameplay following close behind, but always behind.

Strangely enough, it took me less time to find potential guilds out there that were catering to my need for fun, then to think about what I wanted. Fun on a social and gaming level and full of others that were in the game for the same reason. Within a week I had a spot in a guild and found my game play rejuvenated without feeling overly committed in terms of time.

Squishy guild love. Yes, that is my wand.

While the experience ended positively, it did make me wonder why others play these massively multi-player online games. The social gamers seem, at least on my journey, to be the minority in what feels like an ocean of overly competitive behaviour. Now I can’t sit there and say competitiveness is bad, because heck it drives a lot of us to be better, but it just seems that it can consume some to a point where social skills completely dissipate. While some of the guilds focused on building fun social events coupled with end-game raiding, there were others that simply needed you to fulfill a role and to do it well and that was that.

In the end it’s a game and we choose our game, however you want to play it. So in saying this I would love to read your feedback. What do you look for in a guild/clan and an online experience as a whole? Are the other people playing amongst you simply a means of competition? Do you prefer the social aspect? Do you enjoy both in equal levels? Is there another side of the guild/clan life that you enjoy? Or perhaps there is a reason why you avoid guilds/clans altogether. Feel free to leave your comments below.

About the Author

Dan co-hosts the Gameolio Podcast and handles the administration of the website. Occasional poster and frequent deleter with a strange love of the colour green.