On Guild Leadership

Yesterday was a double post day… and quite honestly I just don’t have much ammo for this morning.  I’ve been relatively busy at work and in the evenings I’ve had an odd schedule.  Last night was the second night of going for a 15 minute or so walk before going to bed… and as suggested earlier in the week by Tententacles it seems to have mostly halted the panic attacks.  Additionally it seems to unjammed my weight loss and is getting me off this plateau I have been on for several weeks.

Awesome Forum Sigs

Our very own Audrae is working on something spiffy for the Stalwarts.  Essentially I’ve seen over the years nice clean guild signatures on various forums and always thought it would be cool to have something like that for the Stalwarts.  I mentioned this yesterday in passing, and last night after work she knocked this out post haste.  She has grand designs of building a php based signature generator but the first step looks amazing for a static one.  This way we can have those really cool drool worthy signatures where ever we end up in the future.

Right now we are starting to develop a critical mass in Rift, but I am really torn as to the direction we should take.  Currently we are living under the roof of the Outcast Misfits, and they have been gracious hosts.  But the problem is… we still have an internal identity and our folks tend to mingle mostly with other Stalwarts.  So in essence we have become a guild within a guild.  There are times I really wish we were a guild of our own, so that I could get completely behind the concept of recruiting new people.

Additionally I have been playing a low level alt with long time Stalwart friends over in Silent Strike on Faeblight.  I feel like that might be a halfway step between actually forming an official House Stalwart guild again in Rift.  The only problem is… the relationship of Stalwart and Silent Strike dates from the pre-raiding era of our guild.  Whereas the active members playing Rift are all from the raiding and post-raiding era.  I still feel like as a whole it would be a better fit personality wise… but there isn’t the immediate name recognition there as there is for me.

It has been awesome logging into Silent Strike though in the evenings and seeing a bunch of “Hey Bel!” messages spamming across green chat.  That was what Stalwart really was more than anything, a wonderful social place where everyone knew your name.  Still I don’t want to move at all without talking to the assorted crew of folks… but this is likely going to have to be an email conversation since getting everyone online at the same time has proved to be troublesome.  Hopefully I can reach some consensus as to what we want to do… and then move on it.  I will admit… the part that has always bothered me about Deepwood is that it is not officially an RP server…  not that it really means anything anymore.

On Guild Leadership

2013-07-17 07_03_34-Twitter _ belghast_ @Zellviren @Kadomi @Linedan ...

There was an interesting thread back and forth yesterday on Twitter about the death of guilds in WoW between myself, Linedan and Zellviren.  In that conversation I made the above statement.  It is honestly the truth… there was a massive amount of difference between leading a guild.. and trying to lead a raid.  Guild Leadership is just a default instinct for me.  My goal was always to create an environment that enables people to be awesome and do awesome things together.  My philosophy was to try and make the officers and leader as hidden as possible… so that you felt the effects of having them… but they were never making any grand sweeping proclamations.

Additionally I tried to engage the quiet guild members, just to make sure they were getting what they needed.  But when Stalwart changed from being a social guild that had a non-guild based raid attached to it… to raiding as a guild… something fundamentally shifted for me.  Granted during some of the Wrath years, I was struggling with the mantle of raid leadership… but I had a team of others to hold me up when I was burnt out beyond going.  Always in the past… I had the comfortable guild life to retreat to… and could say that there was a separation of church and state between House Stalwart and Duranub Raiding Company.

When Cataclysm robbed us of that buffer, it was the beginning of the end for me.  No one really wanted to do the 25 man raids anymore after the expansion released… so as a result we organized into 5 different 10 mans.  The problem is… not all 10s were created equal.  It quickly devolved into a mix of the haves and have not’s…  with the haves lording the kills over those who had not yet.  Rather than cross pollination within the groups, so the more experienced helped out the less experienced… galvanized cliques were formed.

It was completely cool that people wanted to play with their friends all the time… but where I ran afoul with the system is that the people I wanted to play with… were not necessarily the team that the rest of my raid group did.  I always struggle when a game puts up walls between me playing with ALL my friends.  I hate having to choose if I play with this group or that… and the cataclysm lockout system just exacerbated this.  Always in the past I could raid with the 25 man, and then break out into a smaller friends and family style 10 man to get the type of interaction I actually craved.

Being a raid leader essentially broke me.  Now I am extremely gun-shy about committing to ANY organized activity… and I wish I could find a way past that.  I miss all the more casual grouping activities, but each time I join a group with friends… I have this fight or flight instinct kick in telling me to run.  I miss the days when I was just a guild leader… was the chaperone and cruise director for a group of friends.  That is a role I am good at… a role that makes me happy.

As I look forward to games on the horizon… I am going to try my best to make a return to guild leadership in a proper fashion with Elder Scrolls Online.  By the Stalwarts… I am looked at as a leader regardless if I am wearing the hat or not.  So in every one of these non-wow games we have joined… where I have tried my best NOT to be the guild leader…  I have ended up the leader of a guild within a guild anyways.  Normally this works out fine for the most part… but in SWTOR this ended in pretty catastrophic fashion as we ended up splintering off from the guild we were hosted in.  I really never want a debacle like that to happen again.

All of this… is why I think long and hard about moving our people into or out of a guild.  Stalwart is more than a guild to me… it always has been.  These people are my extended family, the family I chose.  They have always been there for me when I needed them, and I will continue to try and be there for them.  I’ve helped out Stalwarts fill out job applications, with interview questions… and even hired one as a co-worker.  Additionally when I was out of work… this same group of people kept digging up job offers from other parts of the country.  So all of this is something I feel passionate about protecting.

Wrapping Up

Well I managed to take a nothing day… and spin off in a direction that created a big ole post.  Still have no clue if it is one actually worth reading or not… but here it is nonetheless.  I am sure I have a busy day ahead of me.. and it is pretty late right now so I need to be getting on the road.  I hope you all have great days ahead of you, and that you do something awesome during its course.  Here is hoping that tomorrow I can say it is night three without a panic attack!

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