I know we are currently experiencing a gaming “slump” in WoW – it is generally accepted that, during the run up to a new expansion pack coming out, combined with the summer holidays, this time of year is rather quiet in-game. But it just kinda depresses me.
I think because I feel that a lot of the people in the guild, especially the ones who have been in for a long time, are fairly close to friends to me. I enjoy logging in to have a chat with them, to go out and do stuff in-game with them, whatever. And then they stop logging in for long periods of time, or do log in but don’t join in the chat anymore, usually for no apparent reason. Sure, they probably have one (holidays, trying out a new game, etc), but they don’t tell me or anyone else, they just apparently disappear off the face of the earth. So each time this happens, I feel a little wrench inside, as I realise that actually, those other people don’t feel the same way as I do – they don’t regard me as a friend but just a bunch of pixels on the screen – they have no hesitation in just not logging in or contacting us for days, weeks, months …
I realise that makes me out to be a right saddo – I realise that playing online is not the be all and end all – I suspect it is partially because, running the guild, I feel OBLIGED to be there for at least a few hours every day. And if I can’t be there for any particular reason, I make sure people know. And because of that, I assume others are the same. I’m guessing that, perhaps, if I didn’t run the guild, I’d be less likely to log on to the same characters every day, and there is a little bit of me that kinda yearns for that. But then I’m also a bit of a control freak and how else will I experience a guild run the way I like it to be run?! Besides, watching the other guilds out there, it seems to be a fairly fluid business – it is a very rare thing to have a casual raiding guild last for years on end, successfully – if I was to just jump ship and join another guild, how long would it last?
Anyway … one of the consequences of the gaming “depression” is that less people log on, which means that more guilds are looking for members who still wish to log in and raid, and there are less potential raiding members out there.
Tonight, we lost a long standing member of the guild. Other than the fact that he had spoken to us less than normal, and had declined to involve himself in our raids recently, we had no inkling that he was not happy with us. Yet suddenly he announced that he was going to join another guild, a “raiding guild” no less – one who had plenty of members to raid 10 and 25 man instances – and that he had already been on several raids with them.
I understand in a way why this happens – we have had several members do exactly the same. They want to experience 25 man raiding, which we can’t currently provide; they want the better gear that comes from that; they want the progression to bosses we have not yet encountered.
But for us, it is just a vicious circle. We raid, albeit on a casual basis – we would LIKE to get to those later bosses (but those who could help usually either leave the guild rather than help us get there, or decide the’d prefer to take a different character, meaning we have to start at the beginning again); we would LIKE to have enough members to get a 25 man raid up (but again, people leave rather than help us achieve it).
So every time someone leaves like this, I feel like crap. I feel like someone just shot a puppy in front of me. I feel depressed because those leaving have left because they didn’t enjoy the “friendship” of the guild – that the pull of pixels was greater than the pull of the friendships they had built up during the months/years and because them leaving reduces the chance the rest of us have of doing those later encounters and larger fights. And every person who leaves creates more of a potential for the guild to die a little more. And me with it.