Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love the one you're with

I like the peruse the wow forums when I have spare time, and my favorite section is always the "raid and guild leadership" forum.

People air their woes, either from a raid/guild member standpoint or from a raid/guild leader standpoint. If you can get past the fact that this is all over a video game, the discussions people have are always interesting. As a guild member, I always find the guild officers' opinions insightful. They deal with issues that I'm happily unconcerned with and do a surprisingly amount of work to get a group of different people to get along and work together.

I have never raid led or been an officer, nor do I want to. Sometimes I get snippets from the officers or GM about the drama they have to deal with, and my reaction is always "what drama???". I guess a lot of drama unfolds itself through private vent channels and whispers, and that's something I'm glad to not be a part of. As far as I'm concerned, I show up on time, do my best, and get some loot. Don't we all do that? Isn't everybody happy?

The most frequent complaint I see on the forums is this: "my guild isn't a 100% match with what I want out of this game. Should I leave my guild?"

It's a silly question, really. It's a video game, you should do whatever you want. If you're not happy, leave and explore greener pastures.

But speaking from experience, I have to say that guild loyalty pays off. What does guild hopping really get you in the end? If you have the mentality that your guild must change to suit your needs, than you're really looking at it backwards. Guilds change and evolve (and sometimes devolve) with time and it's not "them" that needs to adapt to your wants, it's you who has to adapt.

Believe me, I learned my lesson when I left a beloved guild because we switched from structured, progression-driven 25man raiding to casual 10man raids. It seemed perfectly justified at the time, but I ended up coming back in a few months because I missed my old crew. That was when it hit me that it wasn't the format or the content that made raiding enjoyable - it was the people. The PEOPLE!

I mean it when I say that I'd rather be clearing dragon soul farm content with my current group every single week than pushing heroic progression with some die-hard group of elitists. It's the friendships and connections you make with like-minded people that really adds the "fun" component of a raid. If the thrill of killing bosses was enough for me, why wouldn't I be playing Zelda?

Yeah, I know it's a game and I know there are people out there who will say, "LOL go find some real people to hang out with". And if others want to be close-minded and continue to believe that the only "real" interaction in this digital age is face-to-face interaction, then that's fine. Eventually they will need to get their heads out of the sand. I speak to these people a few hours each week. I recognize their voices when they speak. I know what they look like, where they live, what they like and what they're into. I know that when I make some stupid obscure reference about Skyrim or Star Wars or Family Guy, that someone will chime in and laugh. To me that's as real as any "real life" friendships can get.

Oh dear, this post has become inadvertently sentimental. It's the weather, I swear. My point is, when you find a guild with great people that you have fun with, stick with it. The shiny epic loot is tempting, but just remember that in a few months it all gets replaced by even shinier, epic-er loot anyways. Because when you find 9 other people who know what you mean when you say "I demand a Shrubbery!" and continue to quote Monty Python for 15 minutes, that's a beautiful thing. Love your nerdy friends and love the guild you're with.

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