As much as I don’t want this to be a MEGA POST WALL OF TEXT, I want this to be one of the last days the BoondockSaints name actually gets used, at least in this blog. Its not because I want to kill it, or bitter about the experience there in anyway. I just think that the important thing was not the name, but the idea I wanted to sell. Time will be the judge of it being a success or a failure for others. I know for me, even though it ended, it was a great success and a good run the 3 years it lasted.
At the beginning of Cata I made a post called Loyalty and Respect, not sure how many people read it back then, but the quotes are still very relevant to this post.
“The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals.”
– Rensis Likert
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
– Lao Tzu
Before we begin, if you are looking for dirty laundry to be aired here, don’t waste your time. Seriously get a life and go live it. I am not going to call anyone out by name, and I doubt you will be able to tie anything posted here to specifics.
If guilds were to come with mission statements, ours would have been simple. “To have a group of friends that play together, get to see end game content but above all treat guildies and the WoW community as a whole with respect.”
It is easy to point the finger solely at me being burned out as a GM or RL as the only cause for the closing of the guild. The reality is a lot more complex than that. Me getting burned out with those roles was the product of something that we tried to stamp out from day one. Drama.
If I am in a situation where nobody is taking control, I step up, its in my nature. From life and death situations, like when I had to hide my little sister in a closet from some gunmen, to the ending up running a guild because others did not like the place they were at. I will do what has to be done.
I put my WoW personal wants aside, I wanted to become a more serious raider (that never really happened) and decided to play with friends with the goal of simply seeing content.
Bea was part of the Saints from day one even though she did not play. You all have to thank her, because before I even gave into the idea of leading a guild, I sat down and asked her if it was ok. I knew that doing it will require a lot more time from me. She was never too bad with the wife aggro, but now, leading a guild would change things quite a bit. She was cool with it, and I started to build what we have now with less than 12 people.
We quickly became very successful. Despite the fact that others always wanted to compare us with “raiding” guilds and saw the success in the game in just one of the things we could do a group, we did not set out to have that be the focus. All we wanted to do was help people out, and we did that in many ways.
We had guild meetings, I sang off key to various members, we made fun of each other, we had inside jokes…
“Bring her closer to the door, I think I am still getting exp!”
“Anything more than a mouthful.”
“Moonya’s Safe Zone.”
“You just raid locked 24 people”
“Did we just clear trash on 25 with 10 people?” (Naxx – OS – ICC – BoT)
“_______ needs Might!”
“Sorry, my cat just unplugged my router”
“Don’t worry, its _______ there is no way he will win the roll.”
We ended Wrath in a big way. Not only were we able to Kill the LK, but we probably had more Kingslayers before the end of Wrath than most guild in the Alliance side in our server. Just a bunch of casuals got it done.
Cata promised to be tailor made for our guild. And in the beginning it was. Being the first alliance guild to 25 and getting guild achievement points, which I believe we were always number 1 on was fun. We could all do our little part to make things happen.
That is where the happy story ends, and the sad one begins.
Why even bother going into it?
It is simple, I blog because it might be useful for someone else in the future. Maybe, just maybe a future guild master can use it to prevent what happened to us from happening to them.
When you take on responsibility in any situation, complaints will come your way. Your skills to lead are constantly questioned, but seldom do you get solutions or alternatives. “You are doing it wrong, but I don’t know or would want to do it right” was very, very common.
We had always had the issue of cliques. My big mistake was to not take swift action, but I never wanted to seem power hungry. Our officers did not have a lot of responsibilities, and that was the result of drama from the beginning that was dealt with. We tried to make people address all the officers with issues by opening officer chat for everyone to post, but only officers to see. It was hardly ever used.
I tried to correct issues by taking on the problems myself under the delusion of being able to help people with the root causes. That never helped. The issues would stay dormant until they would once again rear their ugly heads.
Cata has been content low. Until we got the molten front, unless you were a raider or could do heroic dungeons… you were still dealing with the same content over and over. You grinded rep quickly and were done. Tabards made it that you only had to quest in that area until you got the tabbard, then go grind the dungeons some more.
People started to get separated by those that could do the tougher content and those that chose not to (not always because they could not, some simply chose not to.) That started to create separation.
My other big mistake, specially with raiding, was that I tried to make people be something they were not. You can take a slow group with a medium group and find a happy middle. You can do the same with a fast group and medium. I am a mediocre player at best, but I can hang with some of the better players. However, more advanced players will not want to kill the same thing over and over… and slow players are easily discouraged by deaths.
When you spend all you week in game feeling like you are grinding, things start to get stale fast. This expansion felt a lot like grinding for many… so bored people means more drama. Couple that with our server being just horrible when it came to population and the perfect storm started brewing 2-3 months back.
The Z dungeons were released at the end of April and people started to divide. From the “I can’t do Z dungeons crowd” to the “I don’t want to die 50 times” the guild started to fragment. Those dungeons really hurt the guild. To some (including me), the rehashed content seemed very gimmick driven… as I have experienced all over. Instead of running things together, we all started doing what we could do, and also most started to do whatever they wanted to do.
There is nothing wrong with playing your own game, you do pay for your own account. It did start to kill the essence of the guild. Instead of taking people for the 300th time to Halls of Reflection to get that drop, people would get on grind groups to finish whatever it is that they were doing. If you were not lucky enough for that, you would then wait on que… silent guild chat… gratz addons being the only chatter we all saw.
The raiding woes were only part of the problem and not really the center of the disintegration of our quilt. The seams were our relationships, the help we used to lend, the fun we used to have. I was also guilty of not wanting to get in vent… our daily chats became less often… we would talk to each other when one of us was being ganked. Ask anyone that took a break and came back recently and they will tell you that just our guild chat was night and day from days past.
Then little by little the anger from people started to creep up, it was not just from raiding either. People would ask for a hello and we were all too busy running something, person would take it personal and “rage disconnect.” Person would ask to group up, but everyone was already busy or qued. We did not wait for each other anymore. The new goody bag made it so tanks were rewarded to que by themselves. The sense of community being lost all over wow had finally made it into our guild as well.
In the mean time drama started to grow even larger. The trolls in our server were also getting bored and starting more drama than usual. The whole server being a ghost town started to affect the economy of even the Saints. We had been shielded from it by having everything available to us. Even the usual farmers that would keep us supplied just flat out quit farming. It was bad when bots would outnumber players in a zone like uldum (5 bots to 1 or 2 players,) but you know you are in trouble when not even bots are farming in your server anymore.
I decided to pull the plug before the infighting began. Before the finger pointed tainted what we had all built. Before you could end up angry at anyone else and lose a group of friends. This was the better way. You can see the lines that were already forming in the guild as soon as you see where everyone ends up. Think about that for a second and you will see that even though we all had the same tag, in many ways most people had already moved on.
Are there true bystanders in our guild free of fault in all of this?
I could tell you dozens of little stories on how I failed to be a better leader. How with a swift kick I could have avoided X amount of drama. But I was not about that, the guild was not about that. The guild was to be a place where you felt included as long as you wanted to be and did not trow tantrums. All that does not matter now.
Before I could finish this post Theydrin actually posted something that is very true… the server, the toons, the tag under your name matters NOT. What matters is the friends that you made. Quit thinking of what the guild was, enjoy the game for what it is, and cheerish the relationships that you made. Move forward. All I ask of you now as your former guild leader is keep the Saints spirit alive. Treat others with respect, it really matters in the game and also in life.
After about 3 weeks of stomach pains over this decision becoming final and trying to see if there was other options I feel a sense of closure. I know that many mistake my decision to not discuss some details out in the open, or with even the whole guild as not being transparent. Trust me when I tell you that it is tempting to just let everyone know exactly who leaving the guild hurt me the most, or how someone’s words affected my decision or didn’t but it really accomplishes nothing. I want to leave all of that stuff behind and I ask that you do the same. What is done is done.
All I want to remember now is the good times, and how a group of very diverse and different people were able to play an online game together for 3 years! Here is to all the good times, all the laughs, all the jokes, all the friends we have all made. The tag might be gone, but all the relationships, which is what is really important, should still be there for all you. Thanks to every single one of you! Thanks to all the Saints past and present.