Anymore these days I just don’t have a great amount of time to really devote to any one game. I’m always hopping around playing this and that for work, and on top of it I have another full-time job and a wife to keep happy. In the early days of my MMO career I would be online for three hours or more a day, and I could really invest in a guild. Heck, I even co-founded one of the first blogging guild experiments “The Casualties of War” (which is still going strong today in WoW and other games). But as for real heavy guild investment, I just don’t have the time or ability to dig in deep anymore. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking for people of a like mind when I’m playing. Sometimes I play games the CoWs don’t, and in those games I’d still like a guild to call my own. I’m just past the point of running these organizations myself. But it seems like most gatherings of players are either poorly run, filled with undesirables, or just not a good fit for my play-style (time-limited hardcore is what I call myself). And so in honor of all those players out there looking for a home in their game of choice, I thought I’d put together a list of five reasons not to join a specific guild. It could be based on the name, the recruitment strategy, or anything at all really. Finding the guild that’s right for you is hard, but these five types of groups are the five I’d avoid any day of the week. These reasons might not match your own, but they’re enough for me to bust out the /ignore feature often enough.
The Non-Selective Guild
They’re in every game, shouting out spam in every channel, and annoying just about everyone. There may have been a time early in my MMO life where I’d join one of these guilds in a heartbeat, so desperate was I to belong to something. But now I’m wiser, I’m older, and I’m a bit more crotchety. I don’t want to be a part of something that doesn’t at least interview new members via chat, and preferably I’d like a guild that has a website and an application process to mete out the riffraff.
The All About Raids Guild
I can appreciate the desire for achievement in these games. That’s a large part of the MMO appeal for most people: the feeling of accomplishing something. But more than anything I play these games to enjoy them with other folks, whether I’m adventuring solo or in a group. I’ve made some of my best friendships via online gaming. I may never meet these people in real life, but they’re my friends all the same. Guilds that only care about advancement of characters and gear and not about people are the sort I now avoid like the blood-plague that rocked Ironforge way back when.
The Too Hardcore Role-play Guild
A little RP-ing is fun, but when I say I’m logging off, and the guild acts like they know of no such thing because they call it “going to sleep” or “venturing into the darkness” I know I’ve joined an RP guild that’s a little too hardcore for me. You know the sort, when you say “AFK” they respond “Gods bless you, brother.” I like RP guilds. I’ve been in a few in my time. But the best are the ones who keep it to group play and allow OOC chat in general guild chat. Because while it’s fun to “be the hero” during a dungeon romp, sometimes I just want to be normal and ask my guild about what they’re up to in-game and in the world.
The No Rules Guild
There’s a fine line between being too structured that it seems like work, and being so laid back that your guild becomes a roadhouse for the rude and the abusive. I’ve been a part of both sorts, and I can firmly attest to the need for some structure without requiring the guild to feel like a second job. I don’t want my GM to say “it’s cool” when one member verbally assaults another because “Hey, we’re just relaxed and open here, man.” I don’t want racist, sexist, and otherwise harmful talk to flow like wine in guild chat just because the guild motto is “play and let play.” There must be some order in any social group, even one that prides itself on being casual and easy going. On the other end of the spectrum however is the worst of the bunch…
The “This is Your Life Now” Guild
Mandatory nightly logins. Minimum raid requirements. No talking in Guild Chat unless it pertains to the game. A schedule for just about everything and ad-hoc grouping is discouraged. I’m all for organization. In fact, I’ve found that in most guilds if you don’t plan something nothing happens. But I have enough responsibilities in my real life that I prefer to avoid too much rigidity in my gaming. I don’t want to be punished if I can’t make a Thursday night at 10pm instance run, and I don’t want to have a notary sign my leave of absence form when I go on vacation for a week and can’t log into the game. All I want is a group of like-minded people to have fun with… the key part of which is fun.