So last time we gave a quick overview of the different guilds we're going to talk about. This time, we're going to talk about the "family guild." While some people may be tempted to call them "friend guilds," there's some key differences. I'd normally link a guild site for this, but family guilds will rarely have a guild site. They tend to lack explicit written documents, but are probably the most commonly occurring guild. Some have been together for years, others will probably last as short as a week. More often than not, family guilds will be made up of the same people for multiple games or on multiple realms but always with different names.
Basing a guild on it's actions is one way to classify guilds, but the thing is... that always changes. I've seen RP guild turn into hardcore pvp guilds, hardcore pvp guilds go PvE, and top end raiding guilds die almost as soon as they "beat the game" ;P. Structure, however, doesn't usually change much. If a guild starts without any structure, you probably will never see much. If it has a ton of rules, it's rare for it to remain the same guild and drop it's procedures.
Keeping this in mind, family guilds are not "friend guilds" since most people use the term "friend guild" to talk about a guild that doesn't do progression in a common fashion. RP guilds, hardcore raid guilds between content, world pvp guilds, and others at some points would be considered friend guilds, so I don't feel as if this label is very meaningful. Some guilds call themselves "family" and I think this definition will help give people an idea of what this usually means.
Joining a "family guild" can be, in some ways, very easy. Simply put, the guild likes you and invites you, or may just want to get to know you and invites you. Joining's the easy part, but staying may not be, and not because they may be "casual." Family guilds can be raiding guilds, RP guilds, hardcore PvP guilds, but the general idea is that you're essentially with them or against them. The rules will come up only when they're broken. The leader and officers are most likely good friends/family (either IRL or in game).
I've spoken with "family guilds" as old as 10 years who never really had forums, a website, or anything else that'd give them an obvious structure. They simply play together, and if you aren't on the same page as them, you just aren't going to go far with them. Progress doesn't matter a ton, just playing together, though they often will allow puggers to come along. They can be very tempting, with their lax structure and seemingly easy going way of life, especially when the family is doing well.
Unfortunately, when things are not going well, you'll find out who's part of the family and who isn't. People who leave the family may be ignored if they were there just as a warm body, but if a leader tries to leave, it's personal. Like an Amish man that shaves his beard and starts wearing Hawaiian shirts, key members that leave the family guild will be shunned, disowned, on their own. This may seem like no big deal, but remember that the family guild is made of relationships, often long term ones. Leaving a business or military guild will probably only effect you in one game, if any. Leaving a family guild sometimes means real life arguments and sadly, in some cases, losing friends.
Next time we'll be talking about the business guilds, who are on a very polar opposite of the family: striving for goals, with little focus on relationships aside from using them as part of the means to and end.