Guild Chat: Dealing with MMORPG guild inactivity

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered community gets together to help crack guild problems presented by readers in need of assistance. In this edition, we’re going to take a slightly different spin on things and deal with two thematically linked reader submissions in one article since both readers have requested help with inactive guilds. My first submission from an anonymous reader asks a very simple question of us: What can be done to save a guild that is dying from inactivity? Our second submission comes from reader Razornus and looks at the matter from the perspective of a guild member rather than a leader, so we can discuss both sides of the coin and determine the best course of action for both types of player.

See below for each reader’s full submission and leave your specific advice for both parties in the comments.

My guild is dying because of inactivity; what should I do?

Simple, straightforward, and to-the-point, anonymous submitter! While you can sum up your issue so efficiently, I suspect that we’ll need to address a lack of groundwork in founding your guild and developing a cohesive roster as we tackle your inactivity issue. To start, we’ll need to determine any trends or patterns in the player migration away from your guild, and then we’ll reorganise and repurpose the skeleton roster you have left to see if we can get your guild up and running again. Asking ex-members who you can still communicate with for their reasons for leaving in a non-judgemental, respectful manner will help you learn where your pitfalls are so you can cover them up in future. I’ll refer back to previous articles throughout since I suspect that your guild is perhaps missing some of the cornerstones of a solid in-game collective, but this will hopefully steer you in the right direction with a little bit of hard work on your part.

We have to always remember that, no matter how involved and complex our dealings with our MMO families are, how seriously we take our involvement with our chosen title, or how many hours we sink into our guild each week, we’re still dealing with a game when all is said and done. Gaming time should be enjoyable, and if your guild members are experiencing any guild-related barriers to that entertainment factor then they’ll certainly look elsewhere. That being said, it could be the case that your particular MMO of choice is seeing a downturn right now, or it could perhaps be the case that your guild’s particular content emphasis doesn’t match the current content consumption trends of that MMO. Think about how well what you offer actually matches what players expect from a guild.

If you’re still lost on what’s going wrong, going right back to basics is probably the best course of action. I deeply suspect that you run a catch-all, general content or levelling guild in your chosen MMO and don’t have a set guild mission aside from “join and have fun”. Pro-tip: The having fun part should go without saying and isn’t enough of a purpose to hold a guild together, so you need to come up with some common little kernel that will help you form a cohesive roster since strong bonds make for a stronger roster. Call on your existing playerbase to help determine the sort of content your current flock wish to play and go from there, recruiting those who share similar ideals and want to tackle the same content. Once you find your guild’s purpose and kit it out with a clear guild mission and

Once you find your guild’s purpose and kit it out with a clear guild mission and re-engage your existing roster, you need to become proactive about organising the content your players want to see. While it is very true that a guild leader is not responsible for all guild activities and that effort should come from more that one person, you’ll need to lead by example at first by organising runs for your members. If the content your roster wishes to run is challenging or exclusive, pave the way for success and reduce the capacity for unfairness to seep into your team selection process by clearly outlining what a player must bring to the content in terms of gear or other equipment, time commitment, or out-of-game tools, and make tactical overviews available to your members for consultation before a run happens where needed. Whatever direction you go in, good luck and have fun!

I loved my PvP guild and we used to rip up our server but recently our numbers just aren’t there anymore and I don’t know whether or not I should join a new PvP guild. I don’t like it being such a chore to get results and I carry my guild so hard right now that is frustrating. Any advice?

–Razornus

The thing with guilds is that the content type that each collective mainly focuses on has an effect on the nature of player that each guild attracts: Just as PvP is often a volatile, rapid-fire type of content, PvP guilds see a certain degree of volatility in their ranks as new and exciting powerhouses emerge and power dynamics on servers shift. PvP guilds make for some of the most interesting rosters, and I find that leaders of such groups must continually and demonstrably stay at the very peak of their game to hold the trust and respect of the wider roster. What you’re probably experiencing right now is the emergence of another successful PvP guild on your server that is perhaps performing better that your current guild is (or at least is promising in terms of known names making up its roster), and you might find that people will go with the flow of the strongest forces in your realm and numbers will stack with where the power players reside.

What you decide to do about this is ultimately down to how you feel about your guild currently, whether or not you feel capable of picking up the power mantle and continue carrying your guild’s roster, and what you expect out of your gaming hours. If you’re the main strength of your PvP force, you could be in an excellent position to climb the ranks of your roster and lead your own PvP wings to battle, or perhaps you’d be able to use that fact alongside your relationships with ex-guildies to jump ship into whatever guild has attracted away your roster. Check in with your old running mates and see where they have ended up, though do also consider why you weren’t invited to jump alongside them in the first place.

Although MMO players tend to feel a degree of loyalty to their guilds, we always have o remember that our gaming time is precious leisure time that we want to maximise as far as possible. If you are finding your current guild and its dynamics irksome, it is probably time to part ways if you are not in a position to start damage control measures in the form of recruitment drives, open days, and team building activities. Far too many players lag behind the curve and don’t complete their MMO goals because they feel tied to a group of players that don’t share their same dreams, so be careful that you don’t wait so long for someone else to place a solution before you that you lose your love for your MMO of choice. I wish you good luck and fabulous success on the battlefield whatever you do!

Over to you!

How have you dealt with inactive, nearly-dead guilds that you’ve been a part of? Do you attempt to salvage the situation or do you simply see it as time to find a new home for your toons? Let our readers in need hear your side of things in the comments.

Many thanks to our submitters for sharing. If you have a guild related issue that you’d like to see tackled in a future edition of Guild Chat, ensure it hits my mail bag for consideration.

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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17 Comments on "Guild Chat: Dealing with MMORPG guild inactivity"

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Zen Dadaist

I’ve found myself attempting to revive a Guild I wasn’t even running on more than one occasion as the officers stopped playing and it fell to the shoulders of the more junionr members. I hate seeing Guilds die and have only ever walked away from one that wasn’t a planned closure, merger or similar, because of drama. I’d rather end up as a caretaker and be in a position where I can sustain myself and the Guild.

In the case of a guild which wasn’t mine at the time, I tried to get recruiting with the remaining actives, keeping to the themes and the original character of the guild but there comes a point when you fall below a minimum viable population density and it’s time to rethink it all. My solutoin was to band together with other guilds – not direct mergers but as an alliance. A shared communication avenue to make grouping and working together easy, but each guild still retaining its own rules, population, home spaces and character. This has proven to work very well indeed, and people and guilds in the alliance come and go.

For guilds which are more or less an extended friends circle, well it doens’t matter so much. We come and go, we keep in touch outside of the game, we can coordinate our returns and pick up where we left off. The hibernation periods for the guild are arranged and maintained.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

If you’re not recruiting, you’re dying.

Reader
Tithian

Guilds die mostly because the games they are in have evolved so that you don’t need to be in a guild to not be excluded in content. When you can PUG literally everything except the latest raiding tier in the top difficulty, then why join a guild? On the other hand, if guilds are tied mechanically to certain activities (i.e. node wars in Black Desert) then they will always exist.

Sadly, most MMOs have resorted to the former rather than the latter, so guilds will never be anything more than glorified chat rooms in most cases.

Steely Bob
Reader
Steely Bob

if the game dies (or at least is surpassed by another by the core of your group) it’s virtually impossible. one mechanic i’ve always loved is events, a steady stream of different kind of events that happen regularly. things like trainings in games like planetside or eve for example.

Reader
donvweel

You can pug to fill up your roster it’s a quick and dirty way to check out people. You can look for a sister guild to form an alliance that is mutually beneficial, it does not matter if it is coded into the game you can work it out on your own. You can sit tight and weather it out, people take breaks from gaming, I have had players return after a year of absence it’s ok by me.

Reader
Robert Mann

Guilds are a work made of many people. If a leader tries to do everything by themself, they will get burnt out. Similarly, the players will play at their own interest and availability, or they too will burn out.

The three things which can help are:
-Being social, or doing events together. It doesn’t matter who, when, or why… it matters that you spend time together (otherwise what is the point of having those people you are in a guild with!)
-Planned breaks. As much as it may seem odd, sometimes walking away from a game for a few days before returning as a group can be helpful. This one carries a risk, though, that some people may realize they don’t miss the game. Of course, they would have realized the same soon enough anyway, and they probably weren’t offering the best mood to the guild.
-Reach out. Don’t just run around with your guild. Occasionally reach out to others. There’s no better recruiting tactic than going out and helping new players with some simple things, even if just having an AMA style event aimed at them. Just be ready for the trolls, who feast on anything even remotely like this, and know that the best weapon against them is a lack of feeding.

Reader
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Veldan

“This one carries a risk, though”

Yep. I’ve seen this plenty of times, though mainly in personal breaks and not breaks as a group or guild. The worst was when I was raiding in RIFT. We had these 2 girls in the guild who were always present to heal in raids (I know, kinda cliche for the girls to be the healers, but they were). One day they moved into a new appartment and had to do without internet for a week. They never logged in again. Likely, it was for the best, they probably went to do something with their lives. It sucked for the rest of us though… breaks, forced or not, can indeed make you lose core members of your guild.

quark1020
Reader
quark1020

That is the nature of the beast. Better to take a break and, possibly, not come back than to burn out and be both miserable and, inadvertently, make others miserable.

Kudos for having a positive outlook about it.

Reader
enamel

I will second reaching out. If I am in a new game and an experienced player helps me out with something, then asks “hey want to join our guild?” I will almost always join without question.

Reader
Craig Sharp

First, the only way to keep an active guild active is to have a solid core of members (or officers) who go out of their way to make an effort being social. Lead by example is really the best course here.

Second, it’s vital that existing members actively welcome and engage with new members. Nothing worse than being the new guy and being completely forgotten as the old clique carry on!

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

The whole multi-guilding thing that mmos do nowadays doesn’t help.

GW2 does it, ESO does it.

Logon,

See thirty people online in guild.

Say hi.

Dead silence.

Oh they are all on other guild tabs.

:/

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

you can see all guild chats at the same time in GW2, even when you are not represent or rep another guild.

Reader
Robert Mann

Aye. Thankfully not every game is going there. I’d rather see alliances and other guild interactions rather than just multi-guild. ESO kinda made it necessary for those who like AH gameplay (personally I still hate AHs due to the inevitable bump in gold sink prices) so I doubt they will ever have any chance of changing that.

Reader
Craig Sharp

Completely agree. Multi-guild is very functional, but not at all conducive to a close, active guild.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Honestly? I’ve never seen a dying or dead guild that could really be saved. The only way is to invite so many new people that you may as well start an entirely new guild, and invite the handful of remaining active players of the old guild.

kofteburger
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kofteburger

You don’t need to deal with guild inactivity
if you never join any guilds.

Reader
Schlag Sweetleaf

wpDiscuz