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What's in a guild?

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Joined: 03 May 2007
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Location: Aarhus, Denmark

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:17 pm Post subject: What's in a guild? Reply with quote

Writer's note: This is likely to be a very long wall of text, so make sure you have the time to read it, and that you're sure you even want to.

Guilds in World of Warcraft serve a number of purposes, and on Roleplaying servers in particular, they can seem very varied when judged superficially - After all, a PvP guild does look anything like a PvE guild, and an RP guild does not look anything like a casual social guild. But ultimately I think every guild in the game can be measured on a very simple scale. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, we'll start by examining politics. Yes, this is me comparing politics to guilds in WoW. Stay with me now. Political parties are measured on a scale, and are usually either left-wing, right-wing or anywhere in between. This is the way I see the guild-measurement-scale working as well. But rather than being based on liberalism vs socialism, I'm basing it on what we can call "professionalism" vs. "social contract".

Still with me? Good. Now, a high-end PvE or PvP guild, such as Paragon or Ensidia will most likely sacrifice a great deal of social values in order to reach and maintain their high level of play - Not necessarily because they're socially inept, but because their priorities are being the best in the world/on their realm. On the other hand, a guild based on social values will likely sacrifice "game progress" - Not necessarily because they can't play the game, but because they don't care about progress.

By now you're probably wondering where I'm going with this, and I doubt you'll be surprised to discover that I intend to put EF on the scale. What might surprise you is that I would place us, not somewhere in the middle, but about halfway between the middle and the "social contract" guilds. Ebon Flame presents itself as both a raiding guild and a roleplaying guild, and that's what the social contract revolves around. As we've seen time and again, people leave and return to the guild - Not because of our progress in terms of game content, or our roleplaying plotlines, but because of that very same social contract. I think Sofiana phrases it the best when she talks about her Ebon Flame family, because I think that's what it is to many of us.

Being a family comes with both advantages and disadvantages, and what I'd like to focus on in this thread is the disadvantages. After all, there's not much to be learned in a topic that praises our good sides! Families represent an immense emotional investment, which manifests itself in many ways. The most obvious way that this is a disadvantage is that it means that when opinions do clash, or when we're on edge, our confrontations are likely to be much more explosive. This simply reflects the fact that we care about eachother, or at least the family as a whole.

Secondly, it means that it can be very hard for a new person to join EF. After all, you don't just let people into your family like that. The recruitment process reflects this, but even more so do the comments that we see in goodbye posts and similar. It isn't unusual to see that people say they simply don't fit in, and this is likely because a) they haven't been here long enough, or b) they haven't been "accepted into the family".

When all of this is applied to a raiding guild in WoW, it creates a new set of problems. Obviously fiery debates are going to be detrimental to the atmosphere of a given raid on a given night, and we see this time and again. But the real danger, for me at least, lies with the "getting accepted into the family" part. I was fortunate enough to join EF during the early stages of the Burning Crusade, where the raiding was centred on two 10m Karazhan teams, and heroic dungeons were still a big deal. It is very intimidating to join a large guild, and this process was made a lot easier because I was able to cut the guild up into smaller pieces. I got to know people through a variety of ways, such as the Hunter channel, running heroics and being in a Karazhan team. What this meant is that by the time we transitioned to 25m raiding, I knew most of the people in the guild very well, and that made it much easier for me to put up with the inevitable wipe nights, and made it easier to tolerate those people I simply didn't get along with - And there's nearly always one or two of those, for everyone.

Now that doesn't sound like much of a problem, and it isn't - The problem is when you don't get to go through that process. It is much, much harder to join or rejoin the guild during the late stages of the content progression - People have mostly stopped running the heroics, and the net result is that there's very little activity outside of the raids. We're seeing this now. It's all completely natural, but the consequenses aren't always obvious. And once you add in the direction the game's heading, with easier levelling and more accessible raiding content, you're also presented with the issue that guild membership becomes less stationary - And with faction and server change services, it gets even worse. People are much more likely to head off in search of something they feel they're missing, and the result is that a guild like ours needs to bring new people in on a more regular basis than we used to.

The reason I'm bringing this up now is that there's a new expansion on the horizon now, and a lot of people are taking their position in the guild up for reconsideration. What I'd like to say to everyone in the guild is that if you do feel like there's a bunch of people you don't know as well as you'd like, or if you feel like you don't fit in quite as well as thought you would - Then stick around, and join us when we start the path to level 85 together. This also goes for people that are considering applying, or re-applying - The best time to get in is during the coming months, so you're ready to take part in the new stuff. I guarantee you that the social bonds that are formed during the early stages of the new expansion are going to be the ones that last the longest
Healers notice everything, and they're like the gossipy blondes of high school.
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War Commander

Joined: 15 Dec 2005
Posts: 9190
Location: Partially fused with infinity

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:48 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

well said, Ener. this sense of family is echoed by a great many of us.
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Baron Rivendare

Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 192

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:45 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Like this post, well written.

People have mostly stopped running the heroics....

I still run my daily one, but i do really miss those times before dungeon finder.
Hopefully leveling to 85 will give us something to do together.
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Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 620

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:46 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, Enerdhil.
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Joined: 29 Dec 2006
Posts: 1967

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:57 am Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said indeed. The sense of the Flame being a family is one of the things I love most about being here.
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