Guild Chat: Solving officer conflicts

Welcome along to another advice-packed edition of Guild Chat, the column in which I offer up my opinions on how best to solve a reader’s particular guild issue while asking for alternate opinions from our commenters. This time, I have some brief yet intense drama bubbling in reader stranded-admin’s mobile MMO guild: our friend has had an argument with a fellow admin while the leader was absent and tales have been told to both the returned leader and perhaps other guild members, meaning that stranded-admin has gone from being actively involved in the management of the guild to now being shut out of major decision-making that changes the nature of the guild our submitter has worked so hard on.

Stranded-admin is strongly considering leaving the guild to start afresh elsewhere with a guild that better suits, but wanted to get our advice before making such a huge leap to ensure that the original guild is not somehow salvageable. See stranded-admin’s full submission and my advice below, and don’t forget to leave your suggestions in the comments below.

I play a mobile MMO with a party system which includes raiding elements but not anything PvP; however, parties are ranked every week. I have been an active admin with my party with a significant role in running things while our leader took an extended absence. This included member management and helping to formulate raiding strategy that actually took us to being a top 10 party for a week, which was a surprise to me.

I had a fight with the admin I ran things with during our leader’s absence. Short story: I was saying things that annoyed him on our group chat (but from what I can tell bothered no one else), and he didn’t have the guts to call me out via a private message, so he did something on our group chat to deliberately anger me and which arguably caused more harm to the party than anything I said. I cut off the conversation because his apologies were hollow; he continued to say things that angered me and continuing it would’ve just stressed me out further.

Our leader returned the next day and was made aware of the fight by the other admin. I have no idea what details he offered. I have been quiet about the fight and revealed details only to another admin, who has also kept it quiet. I don’t know if the admin I argued with has dropped details to other people in the party via PM since that admin has avoided our group chat for about two weeks even though he was still clearly reading it and was communicating with party members with other methods.

Since that fight I’ve been completely cut out of the decision-making process, including a major decision I disagree with that resulted in kicking out some of the members I made friends with and who were good players. The admin I argued with is also saying it’s the decision of all of the admins, implicating me and the other admin I’m friendly with who has also been cut out of decision-making. It takes us in the direction of being a very hardcore party aiming for very high rankings, which is something I never wanted and is something we did not start out as. I’ve committed so much time and effort to this party that being cut out of the process by the leader hurt.

I keep debating leaving because I don’t have the time to dedicate to a hardcore guild (I’m starting my last semester of school for a Masters degree). So, should I leave and find another guild that fits my desired playstyle better and where I can start out fresh? I’m leaning toward doing this next week, but I’m not sure if there’s something I can salvage in my current guild. I still have friends I love dearly there and leaving them would hurt a lot but the whole thing is stressing me out and making a game I enjoy significantly less fun.

— stranded-admin

guild-chat-00I’m so sorry to read about your row with another guild member that has made everything turn so sour for you, stranded-admin, especially since it has left you considering whether or not you fit in with your guild at all now. I agree that leaving will more than likely be your best option, taking into account that the new direction is incompatible with your lifestyle and will put unnecessary stress on you during a challenging, important academic year. Your gaming time should be a welcome break from the stress of your Masters and shouldn’t be more stressful than dissertation writing and soul-crushing supervisor meetings!

Having said that, I can see how much your current guild means to you and also how upset you are at being left out by the leader and the problematic admin. I want to give you some advice for attempting to salvage the situation, just in case you can’t bring yourself to leave this guild or feel that leaving would ruin the game for you. I’m hopeful that taking the steps below would at least clear the air between you, the leader, and the wider admin team at your current guild while also helping to solidify the group’s decision to elevate its standard of play to a more hardcore format.

guild-chat-01Address the massive elephant in the room

I want you to learn one important thing from this fallout, stranded-admin, and that’s how staying silent in the face of hostile opposition is never a clever move. I know a whole host of people who choose to stay quiet and take what they perceive as the more noble action of not airing the dirty laundry for all to see, but what such silence actually serves to do is give your opposition, who in this case was also in a position of considerable power within your guild, an unchecked monopoly on the “truth” of what happened as everyone else understands it. You never had an opportunity to correct those who heard about the row second-hand, meaning that the inherent bias of the opposing admin’s take on the argument has become the only take that matters as far as your guild and leader can see.

If you have any hope of turning this around without starting anew, you need to start addressing the elephant in the room, at least with your leader and preferably at an open meeting you ask for to discuss how out of the loop you’ve been feeling and your concerns with the decision that has been made without your agreement as an admin. The plural use of the word “admins” by the hostile admin should not be enough to include you and your friend; you’re entitled to point out that you do not agree with the decision that was made apparently in your name and you’re also entitled to call for repeal. This may not happen if the rest of the guild wishes to become more hardcore, of course, but this shouldn’t be a decision made by a handful of people who use the silence of others as passive consent.

guild-chat-03Be the bigger human and apologise

Should you be successful in talking this through with your guild leader, fellow admins, and preferably the wider guild at a meeting, it’s important for you to apologise for your behaviour even though the opposing officer deliberately pushed your buttons to get a reaction out of you. We never have control over what other people say, think, or do, but we always get to determine how we respond, and this is the one area in which you were in the wrong in the scenario you’ve painted for me. You were honest in admitting to blowing up at him, and I appreciate that because it helps me give you the most honest advice I can. I’m not having a go or blaming you on the fallout by telling you that you’ve come off really badly to a casual observer of the event since he never, as you put it, had the guts to talk to you about his issues with your conduct leading up to the row.

By apologising for your reaction, you’re also opening the door for you to provided some much-needed context to the blow-out that will be lacking from the hostile admin’s recount of the day. I’m sure he didn’t mention that he had left his issues with you unaddressed to the point at which he immaturely lured you into an argument rather than directly addressing his beef with you. From what any witnesses would have been able to tell, they didn’t see any manifestation of that motive and saw only your poor reaction to his goading. Opening the eyes of your guild members to your version of events should hopefully even out the playing field and start some sort of remedial discourse between you and the opposing officer and the guild leader.

guild-chat-02Reform the guild charter and make a plan together

The argument you had with another admin is almost a side issue for me in your submission since it also includes the bombshell that the other guild managers have decided to become much more hardcore without asking how you felt about that. I feel as though the hostile admin has used the situation to reform the guild into something he favours more so than what suits the wider roster, effectively bypassing the opposing admins by pointing out how you’re bound to disagree with any changes he suggests due to the hostility. He could have also used the fantastic rankings gained with your strategies in the leader’s absence to plant the seed that you could become a viable hardcore group because of the talent pool you have within your ranks. Don’t let your silence once again paint a picture that isn’t accurate for this apparently controlling and manipulative officer: Let the members know, in matter-of-fact, non-accusatory words, that this isn’t in fact a unanimous and joint decision by all admins and the leader.

If you are to fit in with the purpose of your guild going forward, you must firstly establish how the leader plans to move forward and urge him or her to consider the practicalities of making the leap to hardcore. I’m absolutely positive that such a change will have a tangible impact on the roster, which will in turn limit how far your guild will at least initially be able to climb in the rankings should it become hardcore. Ensure that your leader follows my recipe for a great guild by making him create a guild mission statement of sorts with the help of his or her roster. Involving as many people as possible in the decision-making process will only ever be positive for the guild because the leader will then be able to see the genuine interest in becoming something different and not what is being presented by the hostile admin. I can’t guarantee that moving to hardcore play isn’t what the roster actually desires, but being open about the guild’s intentions is the only way to find out.

guild-chat-04Make a break if the plan doesn’t suit you

I deeply suspect that even with all the work above, you might well be looking for a new guild, stranded-admin. It could well be the case that your efforts come too late and the hostile admin has already won over both the leader and the guild ranks. Don’t lose heart if this is the case: You mentioned in your submission that many of your friends were recently kicked from the guild and that one of your fellow admins is your friend. Could these people form the basis of a new guild that has you and your friend at the helm? Sure, starting from scratch is never easy, but I always recommend finding like-minded people to game with to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. This could be the perfect opportunity to create a guild that is much easier for you to enjoy while dedicating the bulk of your time to your education by forging an environment that is focused on cohesion and challenging fun rather than status and rankings.

Whatever you decide, I wish you well in the Masters and in your MMO life, stranded-admin! Do let me know if anything I’ve mentioned triggers more questions or if you’d like more specific advice about starting your own guild.

guild-chat-05Over to you!

What do you make of this particular guild drama? I’ve had similar officer arguments happen in a casual guild I’m a member of over the last week or two, and in that scenario, the offended party actually made her own competing guild and took the most active members of the original roster with her. This is working out for the best on the whole because both officers are still deeply hostile toward one another and I can’t see this improving anytime soon since one keeps goading the other by taking her usual spots and occupying groups she used to man to spite her and ensure she can’t still fill her old roles by pugging with the original guild.

Sometimes a break is the best way forward for the sake of both the fighting parties and the members that must observe such heated interactions during their fun time. Do you agree? Would you have recommended staying in this guild? Let stranded-admin know your thoughts in the comments.

Many thanks to stranded-admin for this submission. If you have a guild query or issue that needs solving, email me with your submission and you could have some solid advice in the next edition of Guild Chat.

MOP’s Tina Lauro is on-hand to deal with all of your guild-related questions, queries, and drama in Guild Chat. Whatever your guild issue, she’s sure to have a witty yet sympathetic response. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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