I don’t know about a perfect storm, but it sure as heck was a dark and thunderous weekend at the Bear household.

As you can imagine, the tumult we caused by deciding to leave as Guild Leaders of Sidhe Devils brought a lot of uncertainty to the guild.

You would think, having made our decisions with the best of intentions, that we’d be hovering all weekend, immersed in the game, hoping to talk with folks, answer questions, and be there for people during the transition.

Yeah, you’d think that, wouldn’t you?

Sadly, that turned out to not be the case, and it became a stellar example of how “proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” Because we DIDN’T plan properly prior to our announcement.

And so, we had piss poor performance. Wow, go figure.

We made our announcement about stepping down as guild leaders without considering what we already knew; that this last weekend, and indeed this upcoming week as well, are scheduled to be the very busiest for me at work of the last year.

Normally, as the Maintenance Manager I work a reliable Monday – Friday work week. I might work late, 10 or 12 hours days at times, but the weekends are almost always free.

This last weekend, however, I had a team of engineers flying in from Japan to perform a 3 day overhaul and intensive maintenance cycle on one of the most critical pieces of production equipment in the plant. Over $40,000 was invested in this 3 day maintenance cycle alone, and I was the coodinator at the heart of it. From Thursday afternoon until Sunday night, I would have a team here at the plant performing maintenance and calibrations, and they would be gone by early Monday morning. Everything I wanted addressed had to be done by Sunday night, or it wouldn’t get done.

I ended up being at work until after 8 PM on Friday working with the team and making sure day one went well, ordering parts, fixing bearing blocks, yadda yadda.

No problems, right?

Yeah, well, Alex had been sick for the last week, and he wasn’t getting better. By Thursday, we were getting worried about his fever and upset stomach and chronic cough. On Friday, Cassie took him to the doctor… and, of course, yes he is sick and is now on penicillin, the kind that he’s NOT allergic to. Not a happy little trouper (although he likes the flavor of the medicine. Apparently, medicine flavors have come a long way.)

So, Saturday became a lot more important about spending time with him and taking him to Home Depot and having fun and letting him relax. Instead of going in to work, I let it slide, let my crew take care of it, figured I’d spend more time in on Sunday.

And of course, that let me log in to see what was up. And… silence. Okay. Nothing being said at all on forums, except for a few very nice folks volunteering for administrating the forums, or providing a vent server, other things related to running a guild, but no discussion at all about actual guild leadership. Cassie and I were getting worried, because we expected that there would be some kind of discussion going on. I mean, there are over 70 members of Sidhe Devils, only 7 to 10 are usually online at a given time, and they play across three time zones. Where else is there going to be a discussion of it?

Of course, if we don’t want to do it anymore, why would we think others would be crazy enough to do it? What if nobody steps forward? We can NOT just dump guild leadership on some poor person and run screaming, after all. Hell no.

Then, late at night on Saturday, we had two groups post almost on top of each other with their proposals of assuming leadership, neither of whom were aware of the other’s plans.

We logged into vent to chat about it with folks, and started comparing notes of conversations we’d had with various people… and along the way, we realized that we’d made a pretty big mistake. The most frequently heard statement was that people specifically joined Sidhe Devils, not necessarily because we were in there, but because of what we’d long said we were about as a guild, and it was that attitude in the guild that was the attractive thing, and that if we leave then it might or might not stay the same. But, oh, by the way, here are some new issues that we’ve noticed when you aren’t around that are worrying us. 

Oh, and do you really have to go? This is your guild, it seems wrong for you to be the ones to leave. So many people think of Sidhe Devils as “Wind and Cassie’s guild”. But if you really HAVE to…

Sigh.

By 3 AM on Sunday morning, we’d waffled back around to deciding to stay in the guild as guild leaders, because let’s be honest, we love the people in the guild, we really, really do, but to really, and this time we mean it, lean on other officers to take some of the burden of dealing with issues off of us. Right away, the biggest issue would be to have someone administer the forums, and to work directly with someone else on applications, and cut us out of that loop.

Cassie drafted a very nice write up on our changing our minds about leaving on Sunday morning over cereal, while I taught Alex how to paint the neat wood wagon he’d made at Home Depot. He picked this incredible fire engine red color. Maybe Cassie can post some pictures, I think he did a great job. A very proud little boy.

And then, as I raced out the door to get to work, I asked Cassie to go ahead and post it so people would know what we were thinking.

Ten hours later, it’s past nine o’clock, and I haven’t been back home of course, and Cassie’s computer died. She can get into forums, but not the game, and people are “quitting Sidhe Devils all over the place”.

Well, with my head in the middle of a gearbox upside down, that’s the impression I got from the cellphone conversation, anyway. Oh, and did I mention her work computer, with which she makes a living, is dead?

Yes, we’ve got a backup USB external hard drive with automated daily backups, but it’s late on Sunday night, and if it’s a hardware issue, I don’t have spares on hand when I get home. Sigh.

Let me tell you something.

Being at work at 9 PM on a Sunday night with a crew of Japanese engineers who speak no english (thank God for the translator I hired), a sick son and a wife with a dead work computer that needs fixing at home, and a guild imploding because you’re clearly not adept at thinking things through, and absolutely no way to do a damn thing about any of it, except the work part?

That right there is what I call a fine feeling. Spiffy.

Once I bid farewell to the engineers and the translator at their hotel late Sunday night, I drove home, deciding I was done blogging and playing the game. Just over. This kind of stress, worrying about people quitting without even the possibility of being able to be there to talk to them because all this real life stuff happened during the virtual stuff, worrying about the guild when I’ve got real life stuff that just has to come first? This is crazyness.

And then I get home, and I ask Cassie how many more people quit the guild, and how bad it was getting, and she asked me what I was talking about.  Sure, a couple people did quit, but more just said they were worried about what we meant or what we were intending to do, but were glad we’d be staying. Everyone was nice. She’d had a nice talk with several people through email, and even on the phone. Where did I get the idea the guild was imploding?

…..

I finally got to log into the game and look at the forums at, what, 10:30, and there were about 10 people on, the ‘night crew’. Just having fun, doing stuff. Poor Azriaga told us what happened to his car, and I plotted with Stop to, um, ‘cheer him up’.

Then Cassie and I did Argent Tournament dailies, and off to bed, to prepare for the rest of hell week. And make no mistake, the rest of this week will continue to be hell. Alex is still sick, I’ve still got tons of events at work I’m coordinating, and critical machines that need emergency repairs.

But I did fix Cassie’s computer. And Alex IS getting better. And his wagon IS cute.

And the guild is still there. Maybe a little battered, a little bruised from rough handling. But still the folks that make up the guild are what counts, and for the most part, we’re still here. 

At least, they were when I went to bed last night. Who knows, things might’ve changed. 

Another day in the trenches, another opportunity to take a swing at things, another dance among the broken glass, finding enough time to do everything that needs getting done, and knowing that if I miss something, I’ll find out when it starts to smell.

Hopefully, another chance to find a way through to fun without stress.

I think we can do it.

After all, we’re getting more than a little help from our friends. :)

13 Responses to “When real life and WoW collide”
  1. Kayeri says:

    It’s funny how that happens, things always seem to hit from multiple directions at once. Work and family had to come first, of course, and I sure hope Alex is feeling better! I know I hurt as a Mommy when our daughter is sick and I can’t do anything to make her feel better. I have also witnessed the ‘quitting right and left” phenom. It’s usually just a couple of people and their alts… but those alts do make it look like a flood if someone doesnt know all the alts. I hope it all works out best for you and Cassie and the Sidhe Devils. I admit that I DO think of them as your guild because you did found it and I loved your original “nelfie babes with a pet” concept of them… and whatever guild stuff happened to trigger all of this, at least people realize your side of things now and that’s not a bad thing at all. No, I’m not being nosy, I’ve just been through enough as an officer in DIA to know how things can happen.

    So take a deep breath, relax, deal with work, watch Alex get better and enjoy WoW! :) If you ever want to sneak over to Alliance side Doomhammer for a breather, you know we’d welcome the chance to say hi! :)

  2. Tesh says:

    Real life wins. No shame in that.

    Good thing the ‘Devils are an understanding lot, from the sound of it.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..Acronymicon: MGORPG =-.

  3. Pete says:

    Bear you break my heart. I”m a guild leader also and after reading your post I really considered how much I wanted to paint my warhammer and warmachine mini’s instead of leading raids for the next couple of months. Problem is I know I like the people in my guild and I wouldn’t want to scatter them to the winds. That and I do enjoy the game still lol. I’m glad you’re staying on as guild leaders and if I could stand playing alliance I would love to participate in your guild.

  4. Elegantdeath says:

    Love the guild… no plans to leave. As I have said before, I wanted to join because I read the guild charter and said, “yep, perfect fit”. There is always going to be that periodic wave of folks leaving (and like you said… accentuated by them moving their alts out — lol, look at me just joined a month ago and have four toons there!). Anyhow, keep on trucking and live by the charter.

  5. Kaethir says:

    I don’t have the experience running a WoW guild, but I did run a clan in Counterstrike for quite some time, and I know how you feel.

    Good luck with everything, and I hope your son gets to feeling better soon!
    .-= Kaethir´s last blog ..Cue the Final Fantasy "Win!" Music =-.

  6. Sharon says:

    I’m glad to hear things all seem to be working out. I was too late to comment on your original “stepping down” post, but my first thought was that you probably need to delegate more. :) Hope your son feels better soon!!

  7. Kaitus says:

    Don’t you hate it when Murphy’s Law kicks in like that?

    It seems though, it seems it’s lucky that Sidhe Devils are an understanding bunch, or this could have resulted in an iminent head explosion. And those suck to clean up.
    .-= Kaitus´s last blog ..Happy Halloween! =-.

  8. Kattrinsaa says:

    I’m there with you bear, I need to get back to playing my new katt on your server one of these days, after the implosion of balance some friends of mine built up a small guild and it’s growing quickly. I hope my friend doesn’t end up in over his head. I hope to never again take up the mantle of leadership in game.. it’s way too much work when you have a family to take care of.

    My baby born monday, had to go back into the hospital over the weekend to be put under those wierd lights. She came home today. I can totally relate to your post. i’m glad you decided to stay there with your friends, perhaps you can find someone to take over and let you slide back into a less demanding role.
    .-= Kattrinsaa´s last blog ..A Baby Boomkin is Born =-.

  9. Morphster of Aggramar says:

    @ Kattrinsaa: Sorry to hear about your newborn needing the lights. My twins were in the hospital under the lights for 3 weeks and my daughter came home with a fancy blanket that had lights built into it. Thankfully with modern medicine it’s more an annoyance than a life-threatening condition.

  10. Iron says:

    @BBB & Cassie: well there you have it. “Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in…!” Jolly good.

    NOW… come on, move on to MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THINGS: let’s see some pics of this red truck Alex put together!!

    Onwards!!

    -Iron
    .-= Iron´s last blog ..Looks like Blizzard is bringing back some significant challenges to raiding! =-.

  11. Rob says:

    bear, maybe just take a vacation. If the guild implodes then so be it. It seems like you’ve built a strong foundation, but you really need to step away from it and not nursemaid it. As a GL i’d be kinda thrilled if half of my guild up and left, we have too many people IMO. From being on both sides of the fence, the membership get really freaked out when people make major changes. So the only thing I’d do differently is plan it better, which you already acknowledged, and have a successor in mind. It’s a dictatorship after all, NEVER forget that. Even if you try to make it democractic, it still the guild of the founder, which happens to be you.

    Do the best you can and dont sweat it. Its just a game.

  12. logtar says:

    I am actually allergic to penicillin, I had no clue that it was actually something that is not too rare. I am sorry to hear that your little one has to deal with it, but its cool they have alternatives.

    As far as a guild imploding… well, its easy to assume that. I am not sure if it is because the implosion of the last guild I was in, or because we have such a fun time in the guild I co-gm, but I don’t have any problem with people wanting to leave.

    Sharing the burden of leading between 3 people has helped lots… also not having forums to run or police, but actually just a group on facebook has made it easier as well. People seem a little less likely to cause drama when it is attached to an actual person rather than just a simple screen name.
    .-= logtar´s last blog ..Gank Fest =-.

  13. bigbearbutt says:

    Hey, I’ve been told by Kaelynn and Jardal, “Just walk away from the forums, take a week off.” I think I need to do that. Less blah blah blah, more pew pew pew IMO.

    I keep feeling the need to try and make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings in our intent so I write, write, write. I thnk it’s time that I go have fun, and if people are still unsure of what is going round in our heads… well, they can do what Falromord or Piepet did yesterday, and ask me. Amazingly, that tends to clear things up without requiring a 1500 word post.

    Oh, and such incredible awesomeness is going on right now that it makes me physically hurt to be at work and NOT be able to talk about all the freaking cool stuff.

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