Anyone who never saw the movie “Batman” with Jack Nicholson just went “Ewwwww.”
I wrote the last post just before bed, moments after announcing in the guild forums of Sidhe Devils, the guild that Cassie and I led for the last several years, that Cassie and I are closing the doors on Sidhe Devils permanently.
Sidhe Devils is done. Rather than turn over leadership to someone else, we’re going to close the doors and ask folks to move on to more active, vibrant, forward looking guilds. We’re going to liquidate the bank, mail out the gold to the players that are left, and bid everyone a very fond farewell.
I’ve always tried to be open and honest here on the blog about the issues of the day and what’s been on my mind. But when things are really down, and involves the feelings of friends, I tend to avoid the subject. It’s fine to talk about how I feel, it’s not okay in my book to hurt the feelings of other people.
So, I don’t talk about some things.
Here on the blog, the elephant in the room that I’ve been stepping around was where Sidhe Devils was at as a guild.
A lot of stuff happened months back. While it may seem to have come out of nowhere, from our point of view it had been building up for a long, long time.
I’m still not going to point fingers, or place blame, or try and defend anything that happened by anyone. Other people can put spin control on whatever they want; what happened, happened. Where it went from there was the personal decision made by each individual person, and everyone had their own reasons for wanting to make a change.
There, did that vague things up enough for you?
For us, everything started when Cassie and I left a guild that was very big, very successful, had some really good people in it that we loved, a guild that had just made the move to go from casual on the way to becoming a progressive raiding guild.
We did that because we wanted more time for ourselves; more time to be able to step away from the game on our own terms, more time to spend with our son and enjoy the summer, more time to be flexible and make the game revolve around our lives, instead of having our lives revolve around the schedule of the game.
We stepped away from Legatum Ignavis, with no hard feelings on my part, and whenever we’ve talked about them here on the blog since, it’s been with respect because they were a great group of folks. But they weren’t right for us.
When we left, we simply moved our characters into the handiest place that we had available; our alt guild. Sidhe Devils.
Never more than a place for the alts of 5 or 6 people to hang out on those most rare of occasions when people weren’t on their mains, we just moved on in and set up shop and decided, “Why go somewhere else?”
The whole point was to make the game move around our real life. If we wanted to do something, we’d just pug it, or only do things that we could do with our friends. And if we weren’t on, even for weeks at a time, nobody else would ever miss us.
Well, you know where things went from there. Over time, I talked about hanging out in the guild on the blog, looked at inviting a few folks here and there that said it sounded like just the place for them, and in time we set our goals down on a charter and invited any other souls of like mind and intent to come join us and chill out.
Chill out in a place that, and you’re SURE you understand this, we’re not going to raid. That’s not the point of the guild. You SURE you’re good with that? You’re not going to get bored? Okay.
Where we went wrong was in becoming guild leaders.
We never intended to raid. We never wanted to organize anything more strenuous than a 5 person Heroic with anyone that happened to be on.
We wanted, right from the beginning, to always put real life first, and that included being able to do our own thing on our own schedule and work playtime in WoW in around the rest of our life. To be gone for three weeks with no worries, because it’s no big deal. Just like every other player takes for granted.
What is significant about this is that in order to be a guild leader, at least one that takes the responsibility seriously, it does become a full time job.
The most critical part of being guild leaders we hadn’t anticipated was how a guild leader is expected to be online in the game as much as possible.
Notice I don’t say it’s demanded. But it IS expected.
And if a guild leader or officer doesn’t show up for a day or two, the person WILL hear about it from someone. Who will really hear about it, if there are multiple officers, is the guild leader.
“Oh, I was looking for an officer to invite my alt, and nobody was on for two days.”
Oh, was that two WHOLE days that I wasn’t on all night? Oh my!
It’s very easy to lose yourself in running a guild.
As the guild grows, as numbers increase, the amount of time spent trying to do the things you think should be done to keep things running smoothly grows with it.
Spending time actually in game to be available for whispers, questions, etc is the largest part of it, but replying to requests to organize events and activities also gets up there.
It doesn’t all happen at once, but running a guild, which may seem like no big deal at first, does get to be an incredibly time consuming process.
After a while, and Cassie being the clearer-minded of the two of us noticed it first, we realised that we’d gotten ourselves into a big commitment to the game. The guild was running, and was full of people we considered friends, and we had assumed the responsibility of keeping on as we were. But in doing it, we had lost a lot of ground in making real life our priority.
We weren’t just on as much as we had been in Legatum… we were on far more often and had much more of our lives wrapped around WoW instead of the reverse.
The answer, to us, seemed pretty obvious. We had to break up the non-critical tasks of being guild leaders, the parts that did not have anything to do with inviting, removing or censoring other players in the guild, and find people who were within the guild that were willing to take some of them on. Every task that was taken off our shoulders and spread around would help.
It wouldn’t address the fact that we felt an obligation to be online and available, but it would help us have fewer line items to worry about.
Sounds like a plan, right?
Time after time, we asked for help.
The responses we got were what you might expect. Some people volunteered fast for the items that would take the least time and effort, others volunteered to organise and run raiding because that’s what they loved, still others volunteered to do lots of stuff to help, and finally we had people volunteer to take over things we didn’t ask help with in the first place, demanding to be made officers because they knew so much more than we did on how to do it right.
Yeah, I know.
Well, we did what we could. We ignored the people that wanted to help by taking over what we didn’t ask help with in the first place, and we gratefully thanked everyone else and got things underway.
Frequently, some of the people that said they’d help we never heard from again. Others, especially the ones that took over raiding, really ran with that ball. A lot.
So, some things just didn’t get done at all when people said they’d take care of it, leaving us with extra work trying to figure out what was going on and get it back going again, long after things should have been handled. And on the raiding side, suddenly raiding became a big go go go deal, and since it was the only activity that WAS getting serious attention, it became the focus of the guild.
And of course there was our annoyance with people in the guild that kept pushing about wanting to take over, or gave unasked for and unwanted advice on how we were doing things wrong, people who wouldn’t step in to help on things we actually ASKED for help with.
The net result of our effort was that we had more work to do than ever before, and people that were running raiding didn’t see why the ever increasing frequency of scheduled raids or the hours committed to it was a problem. But these are friends, and it’s best to just let it go, rather than say something, right?
It all came to a head with us during the Raid for the Cure.
When I suggested it on the guild forums, there was a definite dividing line over the event. There was a small group of people that ran with the idea and took it to heart, and worked to make it happen. These were the people that normally took part in lots of various social guild events.
And then there were the people that couldn’t even be bothered to respond to the thread, let alone take any part in the event, or even show up for it. Sorry guys, have to miss it. Just like every other social event. Oooh, but schedule a raid, and they were all over that.
That right there spelled the end of our pretending that the guild was what we thought it was. We clearly had people that wanted to raid and couldn’t care less about the rest of it. And they were welcome to be that way… but somewhere else, because that’s not what the guild we wanted to run was all about.
From there, it all pretty much fell apart by the numbers. Cassie and I wanted nothing to do with running a raiding guild with people like that in it, but when we tried to leave, said we were leaving, and made it public, we were reminded that there were a lot of people that said that it was the social part of the guild they liked and wanted us specifically to stay.
We had two guilds in one, two different approaches to playing the game, and something had to break.
Well, we broke it.
We changed everything, announcing we were staying in the guild after all, went back on our plans, yanking the band aid right off the wound, and among a host of other things aimed at returning to the roots of the guild that everyone was told when they joined, announced the immediate shutting down of raiding until we got things sorted out.
Yep. That did it. We’d succeeded in one thing; we had a lot less people in the guild to worry about.
People took off in droves. In floods. They started a new guild, got it set up the way they liked, and founded a new home for the members of Sidhe Devils to go to when they were fed up with our messing around.
We know that the vast majority of the problems are our fault. It is what it is because of how we handled it, and the way we handled things was at all times being driven by our desire to find a way back to having fun, and being free to devote much less of our lives to the game.
Our underlying goal had become centered on one thing; to be able to have the exact same rights in playing that every other player enjoyed and expected. To be able to take a few weeks or months off if we felt like it or had better things to do for a while.
Every other player takes for granted that they can leave if they want, to go on break, to relax for a while. When you’re responsible only for yourself, it’s fine. When everyone else counts on you, and has expectations OF you, it’s a far different matter.
Cassie and I have talked about it a lot. And what we decided was that we needed to learn a serious lesson from this. We needed to take this experience to heart.
We never wanted to be guild leaders in the first place. We never wanted to be in charge of anything other than ourselves. We never wanted to forge a raiding guild, or a social guild, or any other kind of place.
But once we set ourselves up as the people who invited others in, we assumed the responsibility and the duty of making the place in reality what we said it was, the best we could.
In the end, our struggles, our mistakes brought everything crashing down.
Cassie and I have returned to our center. The game moves around our real life, our family, and especially with the start of summer, we’re not going to be on nearly as much. It isn’t our focus. It never should have been, and once we figured out that’s what it was, we fought against it every step of the way.
With that in mind, last night we made the final decision. It’s not fair to people to be part of a guild where they think that it may someday grow, it may turn around, it may get lively and vibrant and full of life once again, when the leaders have no intention of putting in the time and effort necessary to make that happen.
It takes more than two people, however well intentioned, to build a community. It takes everyone wanting to chip in and help make it happen.
So, that’s why we announced the guild will be closing up.
It’s not how we wanted things to work out, but it’s real life. Things happen, and you deal with it. We did a lot of things, made a lot of decisions, and every time we did the one goal we had to base them on was, “Will this help make the guild a friendlier, happier place for the majority of people who lay in it?”
Sometimes when we asked that question of ourselves, the answer was to ask someone to leave the guild. Sometimes, when we asked that question, the answer was to try and cut back on raiding, or on more advanced progression, or on the frequency of events. Sometimes, our answer was to try and ADD events.
The one question we never asked was, “If we left the guild, will it make the guild a friendlier, happier place for those that are left?”
I think maybe we should have. Things might have turned out much differently.
We could still turn the guild over to someone else, but at this point, it has been such a central part of our lives, we’ve spent so much time worrying about it, and blogging about it, that we’d much rather let it go quiet. To slip once more into the peaceful slumber from which it once came.
Hopefully, Sidhe Devils will remain something that Cassie and I can both look back on and remember with fondness as a place filled with fun, with good people, and good cheer. We’d like to remember it as we thought it was, and for the wonderful things some of it’s members pulled together to do.
As with any big change, it’s been hard. And there are a ton of hard feelings over it all, I’m sure.
But we really do think that, no matter how rough it was to get to this point, it’s for the best.
Comments closed. I’m just not interested in having every person I ever removed from the guild come back here now to choose this as their venue for talking about it. You never bothered to say shit to me in person or via email, or if you did I told you exactly what my reasons were, and you had ample opportunity to say something then, or in the many months since. Deciding to do it now when the whole point on my post was to get closure and move on just says “ooh, I still want more drama”, and that ain’t happening in this way, in this place. Email me like an adult, or talk about it on your blog with your own spin on it, whatever.
Geez, grow up. Look, if you have all sorts of things you really just HAVE to tell me about what a horrible person you are just SURE I am… email me like an adult. Open a dialogue. Act like you are both serious about wanting to discuss my behavior with me, and like you actually care. Posting it here in a public venue as your first and only choice just says that you don’t want to talk to ME, you want to talk to visiters of my blog about me, in some passive aggressive immature little way. Give it a rest, or grow up and email me. Or what the hell, go the rest of teh way and make it a diatribe on your blog, so you get your spin in and get all your fanboys and fangirls behind you. That’ll teach that mean old Bear a lesson! PS… since I’m not talking about any names here, I ain’t making this drama. I’m making it clear; if you have an honest problem that you want resolution for, email me. I am always available at the exact same place I have been for years and years and years.