/gchat: The Good, The Bad And The Guildy

/gchat is our new and ongoing column on guilds and the fun, conflicts, laughs and rage-quits they contain. If you have a topic you’d like covered, drop Jemima a line!

By far the two most common causes of grief surrounding your whole guild experience are absent leadership and being in the wrong guild.

Absent leadership is pretty easy to spot, unless you live in Poland and rolled on Gav Daragon because you thought it sounded like a tasty sausage, but that is an article for another day.

Being in the wrong guild is often much more difficult to recognise.

Like most made-for-TV-movie relationships, you don’t want to see the problems. You’ve already invested a lot into the guild: made great friends, had great times, gone for long walks through the rakghoul-infested swamps of Taris at sunset and stopped for a romantic dinner at Karagga’s Palace.

Problems start as minor annoyances, but like a frog being slow-boiled, they can quickly escalate into train wrecks without you even being conscious of it. Bargains that should be made out loud and with other people are made silently and with yourself. “I’ll give them one more week to pick me for the team and if they don’t…  I’m leaving!! I swear to god!”

Next thing you know you’re throwing chairs and saucepans at walls and the police are asking you to sit in separate rooms – well, replace chairs and saucepans with mice and keyboards at monitors… and there’s no police – but you get my drift.

Assuming your leadership is present and does care about the guild, unhappiness with your current guild is more likely a symptom of the fact that they don’t care about you.

So how do you recognise the warning signs that you’re in the wrong guild?

If you’re in a social guild, but constantly frustrated that they can’t organise their way out of a paper bag – you’re in the wrong guild.

Social guilds are great for new players still trying to figure out the game, their class and what they want to do at end-game. They’re also fantastic for the lone-wolf or the family guy who logs in on Tuesday evenings, when the wife is at book-club, and are happy to PUG on the rare occasions when they feel like participating in structured activities.

But raids and ranked warzones are not like all-night movie cinemas – you can’t just buy a ticket for the next showing. You need rules, level and gear requirements. You need a fixed number and mix of classes to commit and then actually show to even give it a try, let alone succeed.

But the lack of these rules, requirements and obligations is the very thing that fundamentally defines a social guild. If you’re frustrated at your guild’s inability to provide enough structured content for you, it sounds like it’s time for you to specialise and move on.

If you’re in a raiding guild but find yourself too often benched, you’re in the wrong guild.

Casual, hardcore, semi-hardcore, decaf-halfcore with a twist of lemon – there’s a million different kinds of raiding guilds out there from absolute beginner to sponsored professional. But the devil is in the detail and when you start adding in rules and requirements, you have to make sure they work for you. You can generally liken the officers of raiding guilds to a hot chip on a beach of seagulls – trying to keep everyone happy with not quite enough to go around. So the key here is to make sure that you don’t want special treatment.

If you want the flexibility to raid as and when you choose on a moment’s notice, make sure you’re in a casual raiding guild and be prepared to sit out when you don’t necessarily want to. If you want a known schedule: min/max your gear; don’t stand in stuff; find a guild that guarantees positions to core raiders or works on a fixed rotating schedule; and show up when you say you will even when you don’t want to. Find out how they distribute loot and be honest with yourself – will you still be happy with that system once your ‘probation’ period is over?

Above all, make sure the raid team you’re on matches your experience level. Gear is easy to acquire – developing skills take time. If you’re constantly frustrated by the clown-show around you, it’s time to move on. If you’re too frequently the one wiping the team, you’re likely to find yourself having long conversations with Mr Bench.

If you’re in a PvP guild and you’re not getting matches, you probably suck at PvP.

Unlike PvE, in PvP there are no do-overs, there’s no we’ll get ‘em next week, and every win and loss gets recorded in the indelible ‘inspect player’ scorecard. Your performance is measured by the numbers and published to all those present at the end of the match. By necessity, PvPers live on the ruthless side of life and PvP team leaders have to be cut-throat to win. There’s still a requirement for some class balance but not to the same extent as raiding so if you’re getting benched, chances are you’re just not as good as the other people wanting to go.

Practice more and get better. Stop clicking or find out what that means. Roll a class or respec to one that’s more suited to PvP. Find a lower ranked team so you look good by comparison or turn that toon into the most formidable crafter on the Fleet.

Whatever your problems are there is a guild out there for you!