Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Guild Mergers: Good for Whom?

A couple of weeks ago, some of our guild members began talking to another guild about a potential guild merger. We aren’t equipped for 25man raids and have enough difficulties organizing Kara raids. Whatever conversations happened between the other guild and members of my guild is beyond me, but I was eventually contacted by the GM of the other guild. We spent two hours in voice chat discussing the idea.

Are Guild Mergers Good Things?

The reasons for guild mergers are probably as plentiful as sand on the beach, but our reason is simple; we want to raid. We have tried recruiting and when we still weren’t able to get people to commit to the times, we saw those people leave. So our members are understandably frustrated and looking for alternatives.

Is a guild merger a good thing? I suppose that depends on who you ask. I want to raid. I’m already geared beyond Kara. There are not enough members to advance to 25man raids. There are not enough geared well enough to enter ZA. If merging with another guild gets me into either of those, it’s a good thing, right? Based on those criteria alone, yes.

But are guild mergers good things? Would this guild merger be a good thing? What makes a guild merger a good thing? How do you make it a good thing? So many questions plague my mind.

Our First Potential Guild Merger

I spent two hours in voice chat the other night discussing the issues that would arise with a potential guild merger. I asked all the questions about philosophy, goals, attitudes, etc. to get as much information as possible to avoid potential problems.

It became readily apparent that this wasn’t a guild merger, although the GM kept referring to it as that. I finally pointed out although we have more members, it was us joining his guild and therefore not a merger. He admittedly agreed because ultimately we were going to do things his way. I had little issue with this other than making sure that our leadership had some voice in his guild, which was agreed to.

Through all the questions I asked, the gist of it came to this:

  • Raiding was top priority. If you don’t want to raid or can’t, you don’t belong.
  • If you aren’t about the team and are out for your own personal advancement, you don’t belong.
This guy is going to go far. He seems to know his stuff and he apparently knows how to treat his players. As we were talking, he was running low-geared members through heroic Ramparts for badges and gear. He had spent most of the day doing this, paying for all repairs, pots, food buffs, etc. to get his members through this. His dedication to helping his players advance is going to instill a lot of loyalty and dedication from his members. At first glance, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us. I was all for this deal initially until the answer to this question came out:

Where do our non-70s stand, whether they are mains or alts?

  • If they are level 65 or above and working hard to get to 70 and show desire to raid, then they are welcome.
  • Non-level 70 alts will be invited to an Alt guild.
  • And the comment that killed the deal, “for this guild merger only” those less than 65 would be allowed to join.
That final comment reinforced where this GM’s priorities and philosophy pertaining to this guild lie. This was a raiding guild and it was going to be about that only. He even stated that he likes to shoot the bull as much as the next guy, but if that’s what someone wanted to be there for; they needed to find another guild.

I’m all for a raiding guild. That’s what we started Crazy Club for, but I’m also not going to abandon my friends just because they can’t or don’t want to raid.

Know Your Philosophy

My philosophy is “If you want to raid, great! If you don’t, fine. I won’t kick you out of the guild. You’re welcome to stay. Who knows? Maybe someday you will change your mind and want in. I’m not burning that bridge with you, because I may find that I’ll need you then.”

Everyone plays this game for fun. It annoys me when people recruit with comments about being a fun-loving guild or that they are about having fun. Of course they are!

“Hey, honey! [sigh] I’ve got to go play WoW for a couple of hours.”

Yeah, how many times does that happen? Of course we play for fun. Who pays someone to do something boring or to be miserable for hours on end?

To me fun is having a group of people you like to hang out, raid, and experience new content with, etc. It’s not fun when some of those people are asshats that complain, whine, gripe, moan, carry on, and yet won’t lift a finger to do something about it. Let me restate that, “WON’T LIFT A FINGER TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!” If you don’t like something, do something about it! Make yourself useful, quit pouting!

Unfortunately, my philosophy wasn’t marrying up with the other GM’s philosophy and the merger didn’t go through.

Wait a minute! Ky, you said “First Potential Guild Merger.” There’s another?!

Second Potential Guild Merger

Funny you should ask. Yes, there is a potential guild merger in the works right now. Based on several factors, I am very wary as to how this one might roll out; in large part, because it wasn’t initiated by anyone within our guild.

Wait?! Someone outside our guild and not part of the other guild started talks about merging our two guilds?! Yup. LMAO!

Last week we were unable to get a guild run for Kara together and found ourselves unsaved on Monday evening. We were invited by a friend of ours to run Kara with some of his friends and were asked to fill in certain slots. Guild drama ensued as people logged on and saw we were in Kara without them.

After the run, which was painful in places and we still haven’t figured out why, I was later informed that evidently a couple of the players we were with had asked for this to evaluate us for a potential guild merger. The conclusion; even with the dumb mistakes and constant wiping on Maiden, it was very positive.

The information I’ve received is incomplete and skewed at best. This guild is a top ranking guild on our server raiding SSC, TK, BT, and Hyjal. They’ve recently dropped in rank, but are still one of the top guilds. Is this an indication of guild drama within? They have been courting my friend to join them for some time now and he is keen on joining with them. Two minutes later, the story is that they are even willing to leave their guild to start a new guild with us.

Wait a minute! Call me skeptical, but what top ranking guild is willing to disband their guild to join up with a few unknown players, only a few of which are geared enough to do content they are?

I did some research. I looked up their guild on the armory and they are large. Sorting through the level 70 toons, they have 4.5 pages listed there, whatever total that is. The toons we ran with were rank 6 and 7 in their guild indicating that they probably aren’t officers.

The promises are these guys are geared and experienced and that there are 5-10 of them wanting to start this guild, so obviously it’s not the guild itself that wants us. But later on it was also stated that a few aren’t geared. So I’m thinking its people of a similar mix as our own guild. Also on the plus side, if we start this guild our friend, who we’ve admittedly tried to get to join us in the past, will be joining this one.

There are a lot of advantages to starting a new guild with these guys, but all the same questions from before apply.

Merging: Questions to Ask

  • How many of them are there?
  • How many of us?
  • Would they be interested in just joining our guild to avoid having to pay for a bunch of bank tabs, etc. with the understanding that we will reorganize ranks, guild leadership, etc. as we all agree to?
  • Guild leadership?
    • Who will comprise the leadership?
    • What is the expected guild leadership?
  • What are their overall philosophy, goals, and expectations?
    • I want to ask the question “What’s the most important thing you want from a raiding guild? And the answer cannot be to ‘have fun’ as no one would play the game if it wasn’t to have fun. And only one item per answer, not multiple ‘To see new content and to gear up’ type answers.” A single answer really shows what they’re after. Then have everyone whisper me. It’d give me the general idea of what kind of people we’re dealing with.
    • Are they casual?
    • Are they hardcore? What is their definition of hardcore?
    • How do they handle wipes and mistakes?
  • Raid expectations?
  • Raiding times?
  • Set groups? Signups? Alternates?
    • Raider priority?
    • Less active raiders, where do they fall?
  • Specific gear requirements before attending?
    • Gearing up? How will the non-geared be assisted?
  • Loot distribution? Spec, off-spec, disenchant? DKP? Or some other system?
All of this aside, my absolute two primary concerns are:
  • Will everyone from our guild have a place and a home to go to, including the lowly level 15 main and how will they be treated?
  • That when people talk about “having fun” that they mean to hang out with people they like and play the game to play the game; not for loot, not for badges, not for gold or any other goal they have that may be affected positively or negatively by the gear, skill, class/spec, or even personality of the people in the guild.
Where Do You Go From Here?

Given that everything goes over smoothly and everyone agrees that the merger will be beneficial to all in all aspects, there’s a good chance for a merger here. But what’s next?

We are currently working on setting up some form of chat to discuss a potential merger. The question is whether to start initial chats to get a feel or just jump right in and have everyone there that wants to be a part of the chat?

Although I suppose I’m as excited as the next guy to things getting decidedly better with raiding, I’m probably more wary than any other right now that’s aware of the merger. Why do they want us? Are we a means to an end? Will they genuinely been interested in our members' welfare and advancement?

We stand to lose people without the merger and we stand to lose people with a merger. Finding the right balance that benefits the majority in the guild is the tricky part. Guild mergers have the great potential of good, but good for whom?

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