Sitting in the seat of a Guild Leader for the past 6 years, I've been watching the death real guilds accelerating. From a guild leaders perspective, its becoming very concerning to see the close tight knit guild communities come to an end. No, I'm not saying there are none of us still out there. However with each triple A release, game makers seem to be pushing us further towards a mandatory zerg guild status. I've touched on this a few times with my own guild, but haven't really got into the meat and potatoes of the subject.
First of all lets discuss what exactly a zerg guild is. As I see it, its a guild that recruits as many members as possible pre-release/ post-release in order to complete a final objective. These guilds often are the players that randomly spam you for guild invites in games and on forums "Drives me crazy don't know about you". Much of the time there is no application process other then just being logged into the game. In essence, be a non NPC and your in. Often you will see these guild reaching into 100 - 300 members in pre-release/post-release. The majority of these guilds currently reside within the WoW/AoC environment.
Touching on the pre-release zerg guilds first, most of these guilds never last much further then a couple months post release "If not weeks". They spend a vast amount of time gobbling up any player they can possibly find on forums ect. This action in itself takes many valuable players and drops them into a drama filled often stagnant guild with very little organization. A few months later many of these players are almost forced leave the game because the game isn't what they expected. I often think it has allot to do with the environment they have put themselves into rather then the game itself. Players often enjoy the game more when they have created friends in game and have allot of access to team play "IE mmorpg". The post-release zerg crowd really isn't much different then the pre-release. Constant guild invite attempts and spamming in/out of game guild information. Over the course of my years as a GL, I have often found these same guilds create much of the drama on the server "spamming/ganking/harassment". If either pre/post guilds make it beyond the 6 month period of existence their turnover rate is so high it defeats the purpose of a guild. In order to keep a guild at those numbers with the environment they provide its a constant effort to recruit more and more. Again it doesn't matter what the quality of any of these players are, just the quantity.
A guild used to be a tight knit group of members, who through thick and thin could accomplish goals set forth by the guild. Guilds used to end up being a family of friends in which you would actually have fun in game. Ya I did say the F word there. I think most people have lost sight on what these games are all about....Fun.... I believe a large part of the loss of fun and drama free environments, have come from the community of guilds going down hill. Unless mmorpgs start actually encouraging these guilds to exist, I fear many more will be lost.