Guild Chat: How to tactfully leave a guild


Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, my little corner of Massively Overpowered in which I tackle readers’ guild-related problems with the help of the commenters. I know you were probably expecting a new edition of MMO Mechanics instead since it rotates with this column, but I hate leaving a reader’s submission for too long so promised that I’d do two in a row to clear the backlog, especially since this particular reader is waiting on our help before taking any action to fix her guild problem.

In this edition, we’re going to help out a reader who wishes to be known as Bryonylia in her quest to tactfully leave her current guild so as not to burn her bridges should she not find a nice home elsewhere. Her current guild was originally a good fit for Bryonylia but has recently become rather quiet and stale, so she wants to leave for greener pastures; however, she equally wants to keep her good reputation in her chosen MMO intact since she’ll still be playing and also to keep her good relations with her current guildmates alive. Read Bryonylia’s full submission below and don’t forget to offer your advice in the comments.

Hey Tina, I wanted to know if you could tell me how to leave a guild without upsetting them in case I need to go back to them; they are my friends, and I will still play with them from time to time, but the guild is too quiet now. The guild is a World of Warcraft guild and there were about 100 characters in it but now it is more like 20 or something. It’s very boring even though I like the people there. I don’t want anyone saying that I just left them for no good reason; I keep thinking they’ll complain to any new guild I find and then I’ll get kicked out. I feel bad because I organise many things for my guild and am worried they’ll take it very badly if I do go. Should I leave or stay, and how do I leave nicely?


First things first, Bryonylia: Leaving and joining guilds is a natural part of playing MMOs and if you feel as though you need to leave you most definitely should, so don’t be too nervous to keep your play experience positive by always seeking out the best home for your characters. My advice differs depending on how involved you are currently in your guild and how long you’ve been with them, so you might not get as straightforward an answer as you’d like here. Stick with me and I’ll take you through several pointers for keeping your current guildmates on-side while you relocate.

breakup 04If you’re a casual guild member, keep the goodbyes brief and positive

If you’ve not been a member for very long or you aren’t very involved in your current guild, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a short, friendly goodbye to the relevant parties via whispers or in-game mail and be off on your merry way. If you’re not heavily invested, I’d avoid long, drawn out public messages in guild chat: You don’t want to start any drama or make the rest of the members feel as though the guild is dying around them.

You’ve mentioned that you do have friends in your current guild, so I’d suggest adding all of their Real IDs to your friends list if you haven’t naturally done so. This is by far the easiest way to keep in touch since you’ll see when your friends are online and can pop them a message to invite them along on whatever adventure you wish to plan. You don’t have to be guildmates to run content together, of course, so think of them whenever you’re in need of company and don’t forget that they haven’t disappeared just because their names aren’t on your guild roster.

Sometimes people will notice that you’re still playing and will contact you to ask about why you left the guild: It is far better to focus on what you are looking for than why you weren’t happy in the old guild, so keep your replies to these questions short and positive. If you aren’t careful, your words can be distorted through the usual chain of Chinese whispers and you could find yourself in hot water with your old guildmates. This also counts for talking to non-guildies about your move as well: It’s amazing how quickly word can spread in WoW, especially on quieter servers.

breakup 00

More responsibility means a more difficult departure

You mentioned that you are presently responsible for organising fun group activities within your current guild, so I’m wondering if you are perhaps an officer in your guild? Without knowing that and also how hardcore your guild is, it’s difficult to be precise, but the general rule of thumb is that the higher your guild rank, the more difficult it is to leave tactfully. In the case of officers or above, I recommend discussing a transition period if you have the time to spare, and you should recommend someone to replace you in your role if you can to minimise the you-shaped gap in the ranks.

If you do have a high level of responsibility in a rather regimented guild, the first thing to do is to state your intention to leave to the guild leader and any other officers, preferably at the same time to eliminate any gossiping or rumours. Be clear about your reasoning, but ensure that your words aren’t unnecessarily harsh or accusatory: Rather than, “You never run any content anymore and the guild is too boring”, you could try, “I really need a new challenge and I feel as though that lies elsewhere”. As I say, games are only that when all is said and done, so no-one will be terribly upset with you moving on provided that you remain factual and friendly in your departure.

breakup 03

Transition out smoothly and leave everything intact as far as possible

Whenever I have had to leave a position of command within a guild, I have found it helpful to do a fair amount of forward planning so that my absence isn’t felt too strongly for a while after I leave. For example, if you usually schedule the guild events, set up a plan for the month after your departure to ease in whoever replaces you. I also like to stay available in some sort of advisory capacity wherever I can, whether just casually through messaging or VOIPs or more formally by attending guild meetings to help sort out issues where the guild can’t themselves. This is particularly nice because not wanting to be in the same guild doesn’t mean you’ve stopped caring, especially in cases where real-world commitments simply eat up too much of your time to allow you to be as committed as you’d like.

With responsibility comes some degree power: Be sure to leave any power plays behind when leaving! Take nothing from the guild bank without agreement,  don’t kick, promote or demote anyone unless it relates to your transitionary period, and meet all of your usual obligations until you leave. The only guild-quit dramas I’ve seen have beeen those in which someone violated those rules, so don’t risk those friendships for the sake of loot, gold, or oneupmanship. Start scaling down the power you hold over time so that people stop asking you to solve common permissions and administration issues since they’ll soon need to cope without you.

You might well leave behind a skill gap in your old guild that is difficult for the current roster to fill: You might have been one of the chief crafters, for example, and now keeping the raid stocks filled could present a challenge. Work with your old guild on this for extra brownie points: Offer to fill the role for the guild while someone grinds up the relevant skills. This will most definitely keep you in their good graces and is a lovely gesture to keep some sort of tie to the old ranks without spending too much of your gaming time with them. If you were a prominent member of the guild you’re leaving, let people know that they can still come to you for advice or recommendations too.

breakup 02

Finding a new home without rocking the boat

As soon as you find out your likely schedule in your new guild, pencil in time to spend with your old guildmates, even if it’s just some fun runs of old content or good old fashioned achievement hunting. This will immediately let your old friends know that you still care, while still leaving free times that are important to spend with your new crew. On this subject, don’t forget to make an effort to get to know your new guildmates: Time is the real dealmaker here, but making a solid first impression never hurts.

Some guilds might check with your old guild leader about your conduct in your last guild and the circumstances of your leaving: This usually only happens in the most hardcore guilds that expect to run the highest tiers of content, and you can usually tell by whether or not you had to formally apply for the guild before joining. Many guilds with formal sign-ups want to know how likely new members are to gel with their current roster, so talking this through with your old guild leader if you suspect a reference of sorts to be needed is wise. If you are asked about your old guild, remember to focus on your positive experiences and never slate the guild or its members to try and gain favour.

Ultimately, leaving a guild is as pain-free as you wish to make it: Even in the most hardcore scenarios, sensitive planning and remaining courteous will usually guarantee a smooth transition to a new haunt. MMOs are quite unique in how strong the bonds between guildmates can be, so tread softly lest you ruin something wonderful in your path to in-game fulfilment. I wish you all the best in your new guild!

Over to you!

What advice would you give to Bryonylia? If you have left a guild for another, how did you keep it friendly? Be sure to let our submitter know in the comments below.

Many thanks to Bryonylia for this submission!

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
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