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The List: Four Signs Your Guild Isn't For You

Columns By William Murphy on March 03, 2010

Four Signs Your Guild Isn't For You

Finding the right guild in any MMO, unless you happen to be in one that carries over from game to game, can be a long and arduous process. The right mix of people and priorities among each player is a careful balance that more often than not leads to implosion and guild dissolution rather than success. Before co-founding "The Casualties of War" just in time for Warhammer Online's launch, I'd personally bounced around a metric ton of guilds trying to find the right one for me. And in each one, I found at least one reason to move on to greener pastures.

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Sometimes that reason was appallingly obvious, and sometimes it was bittersweet because I found myself leaving a quality guild because of some irreconcilable difference... yes, I just used a divorce term when writing about guild relations. But that's really what finding a guild is like. It's a marriage between you, your gaming ideals, and the people that share them. With that in mind, here's a list of signs that your current guild may not be right for you. And yes, these have all happened to me, in some form or another.

#4 Divergent Play-schedules

This one is debatable (what opinion isn't?), but I once belonged to a guild that was absolutely filled to the brim with intelligent, helpful, dedicated players. In World of Warcraft, where such things seem like rarities, you must understand the profound depth of my sadness when I realized shortly after joining that the majority of their players were in Australia. I can't for the life of me remember their name now, but at the time WoW had just launched, I was playing on Dragonblight, and quickly finding my quest log filled to the brim with dungeons and other group content.

I was so happy to see this bunch recruiting in Ironforge, and I'm sure they were so enthused to be getting new players, that the topic of where each of us was located didn't come up. A few days in I started to notice a lot of talk about where different folks were located. After the initial marathon weekend sessions were over, I noticed that a lot of my comrades were logging in at opposite times from me. Maybe I should have paid more careful attention to the chat-log, but sure enough I soon found that they were an Australian bunch and I'd snuck through during recruitment as we sneaky Americans tend to do. I was pretty sad to cut ties with them, but we both quickly realized that neither me nor the guild was going to benefit very much from my being there, other than from my extremely witty and humorous doody-themed humor... which also brings me to the next item.

#3 No One Gets You

We've all been in social situations that are just more than awkward. These times are especially tough on people like me who, rather than keep quiet and to myself, find it necessary to espouse a great many details about whatever it is that happens to be on my mind. Often this results in yours truly attempting in any number of different ways to be funny. At first I try to keep things relatively highbrow but if no "LOLs" are shared, I'm not above degrading down to defecation and urination themed gags. I mean if it works for Seth Macfarlane, why can't it work for me?

Still no laughter. Not even a makeshift smiley face. Eventually I stop trying to break the ice, and finally it comes out in a /tell from one of my new (soon to be ex) guildmates: "Hey, this is a family guild. There's no swearing, or inappropriate conversation allowed. Could you keep it quiet? We took away your ability to use guild chat until you can." Now of course I felt like a total jerk. But nowhere in their application process was this stated, and I'd completely gotten myself off on the wrong foot because of it. I have nothing at all against PG-Rated guilds. But this was one case where it was plain to see that I wasn't going to change their perception of me anytime soon.

Use my idiocy as a reminder to be cautious and gauge your audience before letting your inner Farrelly Brother out. When finding the perfect guild to call home, it's best if you find one that you can mesh with while goofing off.

#2 When You Feel Like A Peon, You Probably Are

I don't think any of us go into a guild expecting to be purely a cog in the machine. I suspect we are all looking for a virtual family or community that not only will help us achieve our goals (whatever they may be) but foster in us a sense of belonging. Still I'm betting there are plenty of people reading this who know what it feels like to be treated like MMORPG cattle by the types of groups who preach about being a helpful and active community, with aspirations of becoming one of the top guilds in the game. They make the notion of joining sound downright empowering. And once you're in, you slowly come to realize there's no real community to be a part of, but rather a giant machine working with only one purpose: to achieve. Achieve what? It doesn't matter. These guilds' driving force is attaining whatever carrot lies at beyond the reach of the stick.

Now perhaps this is what you're looking for out of a guild. Perhaps you share similar ideals. In which case, I'm dreadfully sorry if I've offended you. Like the PG-Rated guild mentioned above, there is certainly a place for such achievement-oriented groups. I am simply of the mind that the bond of a guild should be stronger than the combined gearscore of its members. These kinds of guilds, while not for me, serve a distinct purpose for their members, and are far more understandable than the next list item.

#1 Hitler Has Teamspeak

There was a time when I was as much into raiding as the next person. It was years ago now, but when Zul-Gurub was first launched in Blizzard's behemoth, I was a small part of a moderately successful raiding guild. We split into two groups in order to take on the new instance, with a relatively new but accomplished officer taking the role of raid leader for my group. We did things organized enough. Lots of strategic planning, lots of research, and everyone had to be on Teamspeak, even if they didn't talk.

If you recall, ZG was pretty rough at first for most of us. I still remember dying over and over when our guild got to the ridiculous bat-themed boss. One Saturday afternoon we spent over three hours trying to take down said baddy, and this frustration was enough to turn our poor newly minted officer into a raving lunatic over Teamspeak. I have never heard so much swearing and yelling, and I am part of an Irish and Italian family that likes to drink. Needless to say, he was removed as raid leader. I didn't leave the guild at that time, but I wanted to use this as an example of what no player should have to endure while enjoying their game-time.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.