Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of feedback about my blog, both good and bad. One of the comments I keep hearing repeated is that people think I’ve got this mighty stick up my ass (druid porn?), I can’t enjoy this game, and I take it all too seriously. First of all, I tend to stay on topic, so if I’m talking about recruiting, I’m going to stick with recruiting and not talk about how to wipe your raid as a joke (hmm, that’s a good idea for a future entry?). And secondly, guild relations is generally a topic that comes across as serious because of the nature of the subject.
“It’s Just A Game.”
Congratulations, Mister Internet User, for stating the obvious. You’re right, this is a game, and most people play to have fun and alleviate real life stress. In my humble opinion, this statement bothers me, and here’s why.
The word fun is defined differently by some people. Some people have fun in an environment that focuses heavily on raiding, and adversely, quit having fun when people aren’t playing well. They play for the content and the challenge of doing it well. Other people define fun solely by slaying internet dragons with fun people, and don’t care how well they and the others play. Either type of motivation for raiding doesn’t mean fun and raiding are mutually exclusive.
I always like to compare raiding to sports or a band/orchestra. Both can be considered hobbies (and careers, for some, but that’s not my point) that require teamwork and good structure. When I played in band/orchestra, I took it very seriously even though it was a hobby for me. If somebody didn’t show up for marching band rehearsal because his/her dedication wasn’t on par with mine, my performance suffered. When someone didn’t practice a particularly difficult run and lagged behind, my performance suffered. And if people weren’t trying, I expected the leadership to fix it. Without structure, without rules, and without someone to enforce all the rules, we never would have gotten far. People like myself would have gotten fed up and quit. Regardless of it being a hobby, my biggest enjoyment could be contributed to the challenge of it and the success of teamwork.
Raiding can be thrown into a similar category and for similar reasons. Maybe people who play for the challenge and aspect of teamwork come across as too serious. But for people to get shit done, if you don’t mind my French, there are times when you have to take it seriously. Taking something you enjoy seriously shouldn’t make it feel like a job. If it feels like a job for you, that doesn’t mean end-game isn’t for you, but it’s a completely different environment. We all play for different reasons, and my blog happens to be one that focuses on taking end-game and guilds relatively seriously.
People think good guilds just happen on their own. Hint: they don’t. Serious or not, you need structure and you need rules. If you don’t have those two key things, then your guild will be chaotic. Drama and people with bad attitudes will happen. You’ll have massive recruitment turn-over. My dad always told me there’s a reason for every rule, and even in a video game, you need rules. If you complain about a guild with rules feeling too much like a job, with all due respect, you lose the right to complain when your guild massively explodes.
Know Where That Line Is
Wanting a structured guild who takes raiding seriously doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It means you know how to focus when you need to, but can also have a good time when you’re not focusing. I’d like to think my guild is one of the most fun I’ve been in, and all our members have commented that our guild environment and personality is the funniest and liveliest they’ve experienced (proof?). We joke, we laugh, we make fun of each other. We sing on vent, purposely let people die for laughs, and have a multitude of inside jokes. If anybody knows how to have fun, we certainly do. But when we raid, we take it seriously. Does that mean we stop singing, laughing, and joking? Absolutely not. But then, people don’t need to be told to shut up (okay, I lie.. sometimes a few individuals think they’re funnier than they really are!) when it’s crunch time. We focus when it requires focusing and make use of our raiding time.
We have a lot of structure, a lot of rules, and a ridiculously thorough application process that a few outsiders have complained were “too much like a job.” But that’s what works for us. It keeps the guild going strong, it keeps our core loyal, happy, and close-knit, and most importantly, ensures we minimize issues and drama. We’re stable, and that’s not something a lot of guilds can brag about, and the reason being- you guessed it: good structure.
In the end, play for whichever reasons make you happy. I just felt compelled to express my opinions on why I write on the subjects I do, and help people understand that taking certain aspects of the game seriously doesn’t make it a job.