Source: A friendly neighbourhood FC member, Iolet.
I still remember sitting in front of my PC at home one evening, wondering what went wrong. Had I not been active enough? Had I not organised enough events? Was I taking things too personally? I didn’t really know the answer at that time, but as I read the hatemail in my character’s inbox, I felt kind of dismayed. I like to think of myself as a pretty nice, open, friendly person. To think that someone felt the need to send me hatemail over guild drama appalled me.
I was a leader of a legion in Aion. I had just decided one day that I’d led some casual guilds in the past with friends and it had worked out, so why not try creating one in this new game, and meeting new people? I planned to run gathering parties where we’d all band together to pick flowers, fun PvP raids, and dungeon runs. I wanted to help newer players and welcome them to our group of friends. I was truly excited. I created it with my fiancé and our mutual friend, Andy, and we ran it together. It went well! Until we got a request from one guy asking if he and his 10 friends could join. I thought this was fantastic. He seemed friendly and eager to help a small guild grow, so we welcomed them with open arms. For the first few weeks, everything went really well. Until it didn’t any more.
A really close family member was ill, and they were in and out of the hospital every now and then. I didn’t really feel like playing. I made the announcement that I’d be gone for a little while but I’d be in and out when I could. While I was gone, the cruddiness started. The group of 10 friends started making sexist comments and offending other guild members. When I asked them to stop, they called me a dictator. While I was gone for a more extended few days, the first guy I spoke to from their group tried to convince Andy to get leadership off me and kick me from the guild, under the guise of “helping” me while I was on hiatus. We laughed about it, but the officer panel decided that the best course of action was to ask the guy to leave as he’d caused a lot of issues. We told the rest of their group they were welcome to stay or leave as they chose, and explained our stance. The guy we eventually kicked continued talking to me privately and was really understanding. Unfortunately, his friends weren’t.
They all left, and his brother started sending me vicious private messages. I asked him to leave me alone, politely, and he started sending extremely abusive messages until my fiancé stepped in and sent him a message telling him to back off. The guy then accused me of pretending to be my own boyfriend, that I was really just one person, and that the only reason Andy was friends with me was because I manipulated him and he just wanted in my pants etc. I blocked him, and he just created new characters to send me extremely detailed and horrid messages. Even reporting him didn’t help. Eventually, I believe he was banned for harassing someone else.
What went wrong? I wondered if I could’ve done something better to make their experience enjoyable. I wondered if I really had been too absent for a guild leader, and if I should’ve just swallowed my pride and given up leadership to someone more active. That situation made me lose my confidence in my ability to lead, and I have shied away ever since.
I’ve been lucky enough to avoid the infamous “guild drama” before that, and even after that. But honestly, I’ve shied away from guilds because of what happened. My real life got in my way of the game, and apparently that was a crime. I was upset. Since then, I genuinely haven’t found a home in a game. Until recently, when I found Knights of Shadow on Odin in FFXIV. Unfortunately, it seems that not everything was sunshine and butterflies like I thought, and a few nights ago I received the bad news that our leader had left without so much as a word on the forums, and taken a chunk of people with him. I don’t really know the history there so I won’t comment on that, but I, like many other members, were somewhat offended that people we had come to know and respect, and even like a lot, had just abandoned us without an explanation, and moved on to another guild.
Honestly, my sadness was brief, because the people I had grown closest to, the people I had messed around on TeamSpeak (albeit briefly) with and felt perfectly comfortable joking around with, had decided to stay. They wanted to stick with me no matter where we ended up. And that made me really happy. It may mean we end up in another Free Company, but we’ll end up there together. Over the last few days I’ve learned that a guild is only worth as much as the people in it, and if you can learn to trust those people, you’ll be really well rewarded. I look forward to logging in and hanging out with these guys, and that’s more than I’ve had in many years of MMO gaming.
What’s in a guild for you?
Let me know in the comments!