Immigration, Democracy, and Your Guild

Let us assume for the moment that you have a better than average guild, and your guild is this good because of how you work together, not just due to a few workhorse players. Even though you and your friends may not be the best players in the game, the way you go about playing, raiding, etc. gets you to your goals much better than those idiots you meet in pickup groups.

This might be because you engage in cooperative alt creation and leveling, have a high degree of trust in awarding loot, maintain a consistent schedule, enforce strict requirements upon guild members, or what have you. You have found What Works, or at least what works for you. What happens when you let more people into the guild?

Every guild needs a certain amount of new blood, or else it starts dying. Anne gets a new job that changes her schedule, Bob is out for a month with a family medical issue, Carl’s cat keeps eating his mouse cord, and Donna just got bored and started playing a new game. You recruit new people into the guild.

More importantly for this case, people want to join your guild. After all, you guys do well. That random healer you invited to group was amazed at how quickly you guys chewed through things. He wants to join the guild and bring two friends with him. People notice that guys in your guild colors have high-level raid gear, or you get through task forces that some people do not bother to try. You rock.

So now you have these new people in the guild. Do they get a say in how things go on? It can be hard to keep people under the plan of “shut up and do what you are told.” Most of us do not want to play that way anyway — we recruit these people because we believe they are fairly competent. Of course, we only know so much about the applicant in question when we send the invitation…

I have never asked a new (potential) guildmate for his/her theory of collective governance or beliefs about the distribution of rewards from cooperative activity. I generally continue merrily on my way, doing whatever it was that I did before. New people change things, though, and how often for the better?

New people bring new ideas or support for existing ideas that were minority opinions. Hey, now that we have someone else on a late schedule, how about doing more stuff on Pacific time rather than Eastern? Maybe the new person is enthusiastic about running quests and so takes the lead on doing so from more burned-out members.

Things are different. Now that we are on Pacific time half of the time, not as many people show up. Emily cannot stay up that late and Fred forgets every other week. George cannot play as often, or maybe his best friend in-guild is not at the guild events as often, so he just stops logging on quite as much. Now Henry notices fewer people are on as often so he logs on a little less often, and so on for Irene, Jennifer, and Karen. Adding new blood has accidentally flushed out a bit of the old blood.

Or take loot distribution. Most of you came over together from your last game, and you are like family. You don’t think twice about giving Larry that nice DPS drop or saving potion components for Matilda. Giving Ned’s healer that orb will benefit everyone, and you know that Ned will be there to help you.

Now you have this new guy, who might have come with a small group of friends. They want in on the booty. Can we still have unrestricted looting? We kind of know these guys, but do we trust them that much? Do you start loose and tighten up or vice versa?

The new guys are used to different rules about how loot gets distributed. Do alts count as “need”? Do we give all the mageweave to one person until he has all he needs and then move on to the next, or do we spread it around and all get done around the same time? Do we save fewer treats for you if you don’t log on as much as some? Do guild leaders get bonus credit towards drops, or event organizers, or relatively un-equipped people? We do have new people…

By assumption, we know that your old system was working pretty well. After all, the new people wanted to join you. But maybe we could try something different, and who wants to be a jerk about it, and how much could it hurt, and… You had a good, efficient system, but it could be degraded by adding more people who want to partake of its benefits.

And why shouldn’t they push for their interests? In the short-term, their interests definitely differ from yours. They don’t have the whole guild’s trust, so they should push for assignment on the basis of something other than “Orson could use better armor,” something structured. Maybe it is just the opposite and they are pushing for a loosening of structure because they do not have as good of equipment as you guys; why not eliminate even round-robin and let the new guys catch up a bit? Maybe they are eBaying everything and just want to squeeze as much out of the productive guild as they can.

Now Pat is no longer seeing as much return on her time, and Quincy is seeing a share of loot go to this new guy who he is not sure about instead of his friends. Maybe they hook up with Emily, who plays a few hours earlier anyway, and they run their own little events earlier in the day.

Or is that backwards? We have had new people form a sort of sub-guild within our guild. Names pop up in the supergroup chat channel from people who are not on Teamspeak, and none of us seem to know who they are. Oh, the guy Robert invited invited them, and they are teaming with a few friends from another supergroup. Things are getting a bit fractured in here, and Sarah is not talking so much now that she does not know everyone.

Your guild is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Your structure is what keeps that goose alive, healthy, and pumping out eggs. Why do people join your guild then try to change the system that made it a place they wanted to join?

It’s like people on vacation complaining about how things are not like they are back home. Do folks who immigrate into your system looking for prosperity understand what makes your system work? I have more trust for new arrivals that explicitly endorse our philosophy and don’t seem to be set on cashing in first thing. How quickly does your guild assimilate newcomers? Is there a best way to structure things so that the system the new people came for will survive their coming for it?

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Immigration, Democracy, and Your Guild”

  1. That’s a good take. I was an lt., and then later a co-leader of a supergroup in CoH. We started out as a few friends, and I was comfortable with that. We made the mistake of attempting to grow the group, and ended up ultimately getting pretty much thrown out of it by the new blood that didn’t like the restrictive rules that the SG had started with. You know, restrictive rules like, “Don’t gank or grief.”

    If I ever try to run an SG again, I’m going to avoid growing it just to grow it, and I’m definitely going to make sure that people know that the rules are staying the same. If they like the people, but don’t like the rules, well, there’s nothing stopping them from teaming. They’re just not welcome in the SG.

  2. I had an experience as an Everquest II guild leader. We had a strong group of about forty people; we were leveling the guild very quickly; just about everyone helped everyone else with heritage quests, writs, raids, etc; but we decided to expand for greater versatility. So many people within the guild wanted a “casual raiding” guild, which was thoughtless on so many levels, and they had the votes to do it, too (I had organized a very basic democratic system and gave myself veto power from the outset).

    So I thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

    And it ended up almost exactly like Joe’s guild. The new people didn’t like the rules we had had since forever, but with so many dedicated old guard members supporting them, I didn’t have the heart to kick them. Big mistake.

    I had to take a medical leave of absence due to severe daily migraines that the doctors said could be a symptom of something very, very serious (could have been a clogged blood vessel, cranial cyst, sinus infection, tumor in the frontal lobes, you name it; obviously it wasn’t, I’m better now.) I left two trustedofficers in charge during my absence, so their was something of a triumvirate in the leadership postions, with one trimvir gone.

    After about a month, I came back and found myself demoted to a mid-rank officer. The guild had expanded to over three hundred members, and hardly any of the formerly subordinate officers were still in the guild. I was curtly informed by a leader who had used to be an entry-level recruit under me that the new leadership was taking the guild in “a new direction.” It was like a bad dream.

    I /told the leader in question as politely as I could to go fuck himself. I was kicked.

    Shortly thereafter I moved to the new Venekor PvP-RP server and joined the excellent guild, Shadow Guard — I know it’s a cliche emo name, but it really is a great established guild that has been around since EQ1 beta — that I am a mid-rank officer in today.

    As for my old guild, it is currently doing quite well as a megagiant 700-member phenomenon (that I would never join) on Antonia Bayle server.

  3. well, FWIW and pardon the plug, you can use Playerep ( to keep track of the good people, which is particularly important when RL has to interrupt a person for awhile. Just an other tool, but good because it’s cross game (i.e. when a guild wants to migrate to a new shard or Beta etc. or an officer wants to check a new applicants background).

  4. Wizzel is correct. Though, Shadow Guard has been around before this odd ‘Emo’ craze. We have existed in many games over the last 8 years and have been successful in all of them because we have a fundamental ruleset we follow since our first incarnation. Sometimes to be a solid, dependable guild you can not bend that which has always worked.
    Yes, all of our members are assimilated regardless of where they come from. If they are found worthy to bear our guild name, they will follow our rules or be booted. It may be severe to some, but it has always worked and will always be the way we are as it has been proven a successful way to operate for us.

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