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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ten Ways Players Leave Guilds

I’ve stated before that when I play MMOs, I typically will end up joining a guild. Normally I will do this through the normal course of the game, researching guilds and perhaps getting referred by people I happen to group with. So I join a guild. Now let me say that my guild experiences thus far have been good (except for one bone-headed mistake I have only myself to blame for!). But no matter the guild, no matter what my personal experience has been, I always tend to move on when I leave an MMO and I ultimately migrate to join another guild in my next MMO.

Throw in all the guild related posts that Wife Aggro has had up lately, and it got me to thinking about the various ways I’ve left guilds, but also what I’ve seen happen in guilds over the years. So without further ado, here is my list of ten reasons why and how players leave guilds:

1. Going AWOL: These are the folks who just drop off the face of the planet and are never seen again. They likely never said anything to anyone but they’re going just the same. They might have even deleted their character and canceled their account. It’s quitting cold-turkey without a word to anyone. It’s mystifying most of the time as no one seems to know anything.

2. Taking a break/Leave of Absence: This is the person who just needs a break because they are burnt out, or maybe school, work or family deserve some much needed attention. However, the chances of this person coming back are iffy. Half the time the person never does come back and the break or leave becomes permanent. However, it’s at least a bit better than the AWOL scenario because the person told you they’d be gone for awhile. It’s when you realize they’ve been going two months longer than what they said they were going to be that you start to wonder what happened. Hopefully at least someone in your guild knows them in RL and can stay in touch and perhaps keep the guild updated.

3. RL Emergency: These you just can’t anticipate. Health issues, job issues, family issues, you name it. This person may have to completely drop out on the spur of the moment depending on what’s happened. There is usually just a very brief explanation at the time. Sometimes the person may be able to duck in and out of the game/forums for updates as they can, but they can’t really play. Sometimes this person is able to come back, but sometimes they don’t and you’ve lost a guildmate.

4. The Graceful Exit: This is the by-the-book way to leave a guild. The person gives notice a few days/weeks ahead of time and leave gracefully on good terms. Most of the time the person will take time to chat with people in the guild to say good-byes in game and on the boards. A lot of the time the person may even give their stuff away to the guild or to close friends. Often this person will stay in touch at least semi-regularly and may even rejoin the guild in future games.

5. Drama: This is either the player who is the cause of drama, or maybe it’s a player who is just sick of it swirling around them. In the first case, the player will likely be booted (see 6). In the latter case, the player will likely just leave just to get away from it (see 1, 2 or 4). Regardless, people who leave due to drama (voluntarily or involuntarily) rarely come back. Either the guild doesn’t want them back due to the drama they caused, or the player doesn’t want to come back due to the guild being full of drama.

6. Getting kicked out: Getting booted. The person has done something that is bad enough for the guild leader or officers to opt to just boot you. Sometimes this is accompanied by aforementioned drama, but other times it’s somewhat abrupt. In the latter case, only a few will ever know the real reason for the boot, and speculation can swirl (which can start a new round of drama). Other times the guild leader will make a post to inform the guild about what’s happened and why, and field any questions or concerns that may arise.

7. Identity Crisis: This is the (usually drama filled) story of how a long time guild member is suddenly discovered to not really be who they say they are. They may reveal that they are in fact someone completely different than who they’ve portrayed themselves to be (i.e. a girl when everyone thought a guy, or a forty year old when they thought a teenager, etc.). Or this could go even deeper and you find out that the RL person who had the account left long ago, and some ‘usurper’ has taken over, masquerading as the guildmate everyone knew. Often times this person will /guit or get booted as a result of the whole episode.

8. The Angry /gquit: This is the scenario when someone gets insanely frustrated or mad about something and just /gquits abruptly, sometimes after having made angry outbursts in guild chat before leaving. There is no warning, no chance to talk or ask questions, no chance to let cooler heads prevail. Every time I’ve seen this happen it’s left a lot of “wtf?” and “??” in /gchat, with the expected flurry of private tells to officers trying to find out what happened. Often this person will later actually want back into the guild, but is too prideful to ask due to how they left.

9. The Grass is Greener: This player simply leaves the guild for greener pastures, whatever they think that might be. They may leave in a good way (i.e. this was a really hard decision, you guys are great, etc.), in a bad way (the officers suck, this guild is heading downhill, you guys will never go anywhere, etc.), or sometimes without a word at all. Seems like a 50/50 chance for one of these players to come back, and if they do, it’s with their tail between their legs (ask me, I know firsthand on this one!). Sometimes guilds will let these folks come back if they left in a good way, but other times there’s more of a “you betrayed us and left” and they won’t let you back in.

10. “Me” Time: This person quits the guild because they just don’t want to be a part of a guild anymore and all it entails. They will keep a pretty healthy friends list, but they just don’t want to deal with /gchat, officers, message boards, raiding schedules, and guild drama. They just want time to play the game, keep in touch with a few friends, and not have a lot of overhead.

So those are my ten reasons of why and how people leave guilds, based on my experience and what I’ve seen over the years. I’ve actually left guilds for reasons 1, 2, 4, 5, and 9 over the years, so I’ve experienced quite a few firsthand. Would you add any others to this list? Do any especially ring true for you from what you’ve seen?