Guild Chat: Enacting change in an MMORPG guild

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the online spot for all things guild-related where we band together to tackle a submission sent in by a needy Massively Overpowered reader. This time, reader Will has asked for my ideas on making his current guild change its content emphasis to match the newest trends in his MMO of choice. Will explained that the content that his guild currently focuses on has suffered from a sustained lack of support on the development front and would far rather devote the bulk of his gaming time to engaging with the content that is well supported, but he is meeting resistance from his guild. Firstly, his guildmates seem to still enjoy the old content, and secondly, they believe abandoning the aspects of the game they enjoy but are currently being neglected developmentally will only back up the developer’s argument for placing it on the back burner in the first place.

Read Will’s full submission and my advice to him below, and of course don’t forget to add your thoughts on the matter in the comments section.

I’m getting quite frustrated with my guild (though it is kid of the MMO’s fault but I’ll get to that) and I need advice. Without naming my MMO or the guild I’m a member of and giving the game away all I can say is the aspects of the game my guild focuses on are sort of dead now but they won’t move on. The game devs don’t seem to be working on anything new for us so we are stuck with what we already have and it’s getting old. The stuff we do is only repeatable to an extent before it becomes a cake walk like it is now for my guild.

I keep telling them that we need to drop this and do something else instead because it’s not as though the devs are doing nothing but they just don’t care about what my guild does if that makes sense. There are plenty of other routes we could take and I’d like to do RP stuff or even some form of PvP but noone wants to move on because what we normally do used to be so fun. It’s weird how they’re tricking themselves into thinking we can still have fun doing the same old stuff over again just because it was fun last year or we have good memories from it or something. They say if no one keeps playing it then the devs definitely won’t give us anything new so they won’t give up.

Wishing to change the focus of a guild is a common issue that crops up in many guilds, though I have to say it’s usually an easy one to fix. The general gist of my advice to you as a member of a guild whose ethos you no longer agree with is to use that /gquit functionality and find more like-minded playmates to share your gaming time with, but I’ll break down why I have that opinion and will also throw in some pointers in case you think you can convince your guild to move along to new pastures with you. Whatever you choose to do, I hope that the tedium ends soon and you can get back to enjoying your gaming time very soon, Will!

Your opinions aren’t representative of the entire guild’s

When you’re tackling the same content in exactly the same manner with the same group of people over and over again, it’s easy to become bored of the daily grind. What’s interesting, however, is that the rate at which that happens for MMO gamers varies greatly from player to player: While I might be happy to tackle largely the same world bosses most nights with little in the way meaningful variance for a prolonged span of time, for instance, a guildmate of mine might have enough after only a month. Regularity is comforting to some and hellishly boring to others, so you must remember that just because you’re no longer having the fun you were last year doesn’t mean that’s true for your entire guild. Give people the choice between the lacklustre but safe thing they know and something untried that they may or may not like and many will settle for the known element, even if it is a little boring.

If you’re meeting widespread resistance to your suggestion, that’s perhaps a big clue that your in-game mission no longer aligns with your guild’s, which is why I think it might be time to look for fun elsewhere. I know you’ll have developed some great friendships during your time with your current guild, but it’s not like that needs to end if you jump ship. You can always keep in touch through whispers or voice chat, and there’s nothing stopping you from occasionally joining them on runs of the old content whenever you might fancy it. Perhaps your chosen MMO even allows you to be a part of multiple guilds at once, so you could perhaps have the best of both worlds.

What’s in a name anyway?

If you’re adamant that you want to keep trying to sway your current guild, you’ll need to take a softer, much more casual approach if you’re going to have any success. Why does this have to be an either-or sort of deal? The answer should be “You’re right… it doesn’t, Tina!” if your guild is a collaborative collective rather than a dictatorship and if you’re willing to compromise. Ease your guild into the content by popping an event in the guild calendar that doesn’t clash with the rest of the schedule. Maximise uptake by placing no unnecessary restrictions on the event: Leave it open to as many people as possible and place the emphasis on the fun experience and not on success.

For example, if you wanted to plan a roleplaying event, you could perhaps think of a theme that ties into an in-game event that your guildmates enjoy so the setting is festive and the theme is easily grasped by non-roleplayers, or if you were to begin PvP you could all bring the same character class or reskin your characters to match one another to bring a bit of fun to the fight. Facilitating this doesn’t have to be taxing if you have just a few more interested guildies who can help you out, and exposing a sample group to your chosen content type could open the floodgates for more of your guild to try it out too.

Many players simply stick to what they know, but once you manage to cause a ripple the guild leadership could well take notice. Even if they don’t, it’s not as though a raiding guild can only ever run raids, for example, or a PvP guild must only PvP: The common banner that unites your guild doesn’t need to be sacrificed for its members to enjoy a fresh challenge from time to time. It could be the case that the guild management isn’t comfortable enough with the content you’re proposing to feel confident in running it themselves: Your help could prove to be the deciding factor in whether you give the new content a whirl or not. If you can settle for running the occasional event that doesn’t cause extra work or threaten existing plans, perhaps your guildmates will be happier to tag along.

Be the catalyst for the change you want to see

Now that I’ve convinced you to be active in bringing about change if you want to see it in your guild, I want you to consider another alternative step you could take. If you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to where the game’s future development is headed and feel an affinity for that content, why not take a step up and either help manage your current guild so it can adapt to these shifts more rapidly or start your own guild that collects players with a common interest in your chosen content type? All to often, guild members expect guild leaders to facilitate the bulk of their in-game entertainment for them, but when all is said and done if you aren’t happy running with what is offered then the onus really is on you to change things.

Whatever route you take next, the ball lies in your court and you must make the next move: If you’re hoping to sit back and wait for complaining to facilitate change, you’ll be waiting for a long time indeed. If you’re clueless as to how to run the content you want to tackle, get to grips with some newbie runs and talk to the leaders of the guilds that specialise in that content. Find out what it takes in terms of time, prerequisites, group size, and background learning: Once you’re equipped with that knowledge, share it with those you’re hoping to engage and do everything you can to bypass any barriers to entry that stand in your way.

Over to you!

Whatever you choose to do next, Will, I wish you the best of luck as you find your feet in your new content, and don’t be afraid to cut your losses and slot in with a crowd that is already active in the content you want to run if it restores the fun factor!

Have you ever had to convince your guild to try something new? How do you deal with boredom with the same old play pattern? Give Will your advice in the comments.

Many thanks to Will for this submission. If you want to have your guild-related issue featured in an upcoming edition of Guild Chat, email me details 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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4 Comments on "Guild Chat: Enacting change in an MMORPG guild"

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Unless you are the GM, my advice is to never invest your time or effort in trying to change anything you don’t like about a guild. Either enjoy it for what it is, or, as Tina suggested, find another guild (or start your own).

The reason is that the way the mechanics of guilds work in every game that I have played, and I assume the same in your game, is that they are an absolute hierarchy, with one person at the top. The guild is always going to be and do what that one person (or they and a small group of friends) wants it to be and do.

Other people in the guild may come and go, but if the person who has the sole right to /gkick everyone else wants things to be a certain way, it will be that way (if they want it bad enough, it might be that way when they’re the only one left; but it will, eventually, be that way).

In my experience, 9 times in 10, if you try to change the way things are in a guild, you may seem to succeed for a bit, but if the person at the top is not happy with that way, you’re likely to put a huge amount of effort into changing or building on your ideas, only to log in one day and find you’re no longer a member of the guild. After all, if the person at the top wanted the guild to be that way, it would be already. And if it’s not that way, it’s probably because they don’t want it to be that way, and won’t have it that way if you try to make it so.

I’m not saying that you should start a guild; it’s a thankless, tiresome job, no end of chore and annoyance, and enough to make you want to quit the game all on its own. But if you are going to put a lot of your time and effort into trying to make a guild run the way you think it should be run, make sure it’s your guild from the start, so you won’t risk waking up one day only to have all that effort wiped away by someone who decided it wasn’t for them.

Duane_Does_not_check_email
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Duane_Does_not_check_email

You summed it up good. Be the voice of change but if you don’t have the levers of control or the group is receptive to change by the Holy Few…. move along.

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mistressbrazen

Will should definitely check around with other players in the guild before leaving. Ultimately it may be necessary to leave, but there may be kindred souls within the guild who simply haven’t made their views known. After I left my first cabal in TSW, I bumped into several members who also eventually left. We basically all had the same complaint over running content. If I had known that at the time, I would have stayed and tried to get alternative events going within the guild. I eventually ended up trying three different cabals. But, to this day, my strongest relationships (outside the person I run missions with) were from that first cabal.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

what he might try doing is on anight they usualyl aren’y doing the obviously much enjoyed content he no longer finds fun, ask people who are online to join him in the other activities he wants to give a shot.

sometimes gaming groups settle on the same old content simply because they enjoy it even if it’s tired. and that works for some people and shouldn’t be denigrated.

overall you’ll have little luck getting them to stop doing that content, but you can take it on to invite them to try other stuff if you step up and take on the lead yourself to put that activity as something to do right now on a night you aren’t doing the older stuff.