How Burn Out affects the guild…
This really is one of the most frustrating and heartbreaking sights that a guild leader could ever see. It comes down to a matter of facing the burn-out for a lot of players. When most of your guild is absent, those that are left behind tend to leave. There are a lot of factors in why this has occurred but it boils down to the same thing.
I lead Age of the Phoenix through the end of the Burning Crusade, but it wasn’t difficult. We had approximately 3 level 70’s which meant that for the majority of my guild, there was something else to other than the over-run, under-powered end game content. So it wasn’t the same setting as it is now. I doubt it will be the same setting two years from now when it comes to the end of Cataclysm. It took me 3 characters in 3 years and I still haven’t experienced all the quests, so for a while, there will be something new to do. But for now, I have this staring me in the face.
The Burn Out & You
Being the guild leader makes it really complicated to think about having the burn out. You have the end of the expansion blues and boredom, yet responsibility. There is a certain level of obligation that you begin to feel alongside an apathetic feeling. These can quickly be overcome by remembering why it is you play this game to begin with. Don’t think of logging on as an obligation, it is still your time to do what you want to in game. Leaving the game as a guild leader does have its consequences. Did you know that as a GM, if you are absent for an extended period of time, a guild member (I’m unsure if they must be of officer standing) can file a ticket with a GM requesting ownership? I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen it rip asunder a strongly found guild. A guild of friends, disintegrated to ashes by GM absence.
1. One-by-one your officers fade away
I currently have one active officer out of a “staff” of 7. On top of that I have 1 out of 3 representatives active, and they play another character! The icing on the cake of the disasterous burn-out was my second in command, my boyfriend, canceling his account. It was the saddest day in my WoW history. We started playing together, started this guild together, etc. and now he is gone…from the game.
2. Drop in Activity
This is an apparent factor in this particular situation but is a major factor. This takes into consideration all members of the guild, GM included. When everything you wanted to accomplish is done, it becomes okay to prioritize not logging on. Day after day, one more person decides not to log on and a waterfall effect begins to take place until the loneliness the people left begin to feel is overwhelming. This is not to say that the game should ever be more important than your real life, but sometimes we may or may not put logging on and playing above watching the latest episodes on television or that really tiny load of laundry. Sooner or later, people haven’t been on in months and your guild log and info looks like an abandoned mining town, leaving only 3 or 4 people visiting every now and then.
3. Lack of Unity
Unity is something that I have always striven for with Age of the Phoenix. I want people to believe that they are part of a family when they join this guild. We are warm and helpful and really enjoy doing things together. We discussed raiding as a guild, we run heroics as a guild, we did a few old world raids as a guild, we partake in the joys of sharing our professions, etc. We love to work together, as a solid unit, but at some point this begins to falter and it is a negative sign. It isn’t a matter of not wanting to do things together, it is more of an issue of the lack of numbers to do said thing as well as varying interest*.
I don’t mean varying interest like raiding, questing, etc. Rather I mean interest in the game and depth of what you’re experiencing.
What can you do?
Facing this situation is a true problem. But…to every problem…there is a solution.
And you do have a couple of options, it isn’t like this road is set in stone.
1. Build Up
When you are down to the nitty gritty, you simply have no where to go but up. Every guild starts with just a few people. Maybe you started it with only you, maybe there were 3 of you, but regardless, you started somewhere…and now it is time to start again. No one can tear your guild down.
The difficulties you face with this option are similar to the same ones you experiences when you got the guild started in the first place. How do you keep the people you have interested while you recruit more members? What do you have to offer in your current state (i.e raiding with 4 people)? What about rules and policies? When you are banking that people will come back, what can you say about attendance? How will you handle the situation when they do return?
If you feel you can face all of those questions head on, starting from the bottom is a great way to work your guild up!
2. “Leave of Absence”
That is the best term I can use to describe it. If you know your people will be back, and the ones you have now will stick around, accept that it is okay to do your own thing for a while and still be there for each other. Make it known that you don’t expect to raid, recruit, etc. until the expansion is up and ready. Always hold your doors open for those interested but put your best foot forward and admit where your guild is going and where you are to the people you have.
What I Chose
It isn’t a matter that I can’t answer the questions necessary to build my guild up from scratch, but I know my friends will be back. I know that my 2nd in command will be back. And some days, I see my other officer’s, they’re coming back. So I did choose to put my guild in a form of stasis, waiting and biding time until they all return. I give a BIG BIG thanks to Barreb, my strong-holding officer for sticking it out with me!
Someday, when we are all worgens, we plan to have a congregational guild on the opposite faction so we can still do it all together, someday we will raid and when we’re 85 maybe we will be Kingslayers, but for now, we’re just holding down the fort.