Game of Dethrones

Rohan’s recent post The Guild as a Nexus of Contracts is an excellent read on the subject of Blizzard’s automatic “GM Dethrone” ability that was added in patch 4.3, and the concept of guild ownership overall. And it reminded me of the hidden depths of my rage towards this policy.

I joined the guild Invictus back when Azuriel was a level 30 draenei paladin tanking Scarlet Monastery for the first time, around a month before the release of Patch 2.2. The original GMs were a husband-wife couple who, a few months after I joined, inexplicably left total ownership of Invictus to the suave, smarmy smartass that was is myself. There was a period of time in that initial confusion when I contemplated, quite literally, /gkicking everyone and running away with the entire contents of the guild bank.

Listening to the better angels of my nature, as The Abe would say, I relinquished my power to the rightful heir to the throne, Soleste, whom shepherded us through most of the remaining bits of Burning Crusade content. In the months leading up to Wrath though, when the leveling guild-turned-10m progression guild was grinding down due to cliquish drama and apathy, I found myself once again bearing the weight of the crown.

And I am here to say: Invictus is mine.

Or at least was, until Blizzard felt good money should be thrown after bad in terms of Guild Leveling, which has probably killed more guilds than it saved in the aggregate.

I get it. Guild perks and reputation and auto-sustaining levels of guild-funded repairs gives the average member more of a stake in the guild as a whole. But it’s also bullshit. The guild will “belong to everyone” when people can vote for GM, vote for guild bank permissions, vote for bans from g-chat, veto /gkicks, decide on how loot distribution will work, spend three hours on Vent trying to prevent a drama-fueled implosions, purchase guild bank tabs, decide on guild names, tabards, and transfers.

Blizzard is not rolling out the goddamn Magna Carta here – you still can and will be /gkicked by a GM for no reason, with no appeal, at his or her complete mercy. Ownership is, to me, the ability to destroy something. And while guilds can no longer be disbanded, the membership can still be destroyed via kicking, prohibiting g-chat, removing privileges, and so on.

So what the hell is this half-measure? For every guild that is “saved” by First-Come, First-Serve succession, how many random alts of alts suddenly come into possession of a guild bank full of goods? How much residual goodwill is lost from the knowledge that everything you have worked so hard towards for years is not there waiting for you, should you return? Invictus was the sum of its members, yes. But it was also my blood, my tears, my gold, my time that formed the mortar of that structure. If I am to lose it, I want to be the one to watch it burn.

It makes no logical sense, of course. Bear the burden of leadership long enough though, bear the responsibility, and tell me it doesn’t make emotional sense.

Posted on January 4, 2012, in Commentary, WoW and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. But you’ve quit, you’re no longer paying. Why should Blizzard care about what you want? It’s more important to care about the paying playerbase.


    • Blizzard’s biggest area of growth is ex-subscribers. And just as you are less inclined to return to the game knowing you had been hacked and will have to deal with the hassle of sorting that out, I would be less inclined to return if Invictus was essentially “hacked.”


      • > Blizzard’s biggest area of growth is ex-subscribers.

        That’s what they said. But it’s still more important to keep the current player base then to lose them at the slight chance to get someone back.

        And how many of those ex-subscribers are probably guild leader who didn’t choose a successor when he left the game? Yeah, I doubt THAT’s their biggest area of growth. :)


  2. Fear not dear leader. Invictus is safe. G kicking only can occur by the highest rank to have logged on if the GM has gone inactive. I.e., Bor has logged on and been given that option, but no one of a rank lower than him even sees the pop up. He couldn’t even use another alt to take over leadership, because no one is a higher rank than the paladin, and the paladin can’t promote anyone higher – only your toon could do it. So, safe it sits, unless he goes awol for 30 days or more. Plus, it’s Bor – he’d never betray you like that. ere it me, however, your ass would be out in the cold.


    I see the utility of it, and this level of protection is interesting to me. In my mind, if you set up your ranks correctly in the first place, this situation should never become abusive.


    • See, that’s the rub though, right? If Bor had stayed unsubscribed instead of coming back (saving Invictus from random Recruit-level alts hijacks being a major factor), then it is entirely possible even your toon would have been passed over since it skips everyone who has been inactive for a week once the ball starts rolling. All the other officers are long gone. I don’t believe this level of automation should be in place for that exact reason – at least the sending of a ticket represented the barest of hoops to jump through, keeping away the anonymous alts randomly logging into a windfall of 100k+ gold proportions.

      The irony is, of course, that I really wouldn’t want to jump back into GMing if/when I return to the fold. But in this particular instance, the principal of the thing matters to me.


  3. P.S. i find it infuriating that i can’t edit that last post to correct the typo. Whose set up is this?!


  4. It makes no logical sense, of course. Bear the burden of leadership long enough though, bear the responsibility, and tell me it doesn’t make emotional sense.
    Does it? I can understand it logically, especially after Rohan explained but at the emotional level I don’t get it at all, I even struggle with words when trying to describe how wrong I find the thing the blood elf guy with the RP guild on the community forums did. (He kicked everyone from the guild just to make sure he keeps being GM after taking one-month break.) Maybe it’s not a coincidence that blood elves have green eyes?

    Maybe I don’t know the burden and responsibility, maybe I did not put enough effort to the guild but I do not want for my effort to be in vain, no matter how microscopic it was.


    • As for understanding it on an emotional level, the closest analogy I have is imagining that Blizzard renames your alts if you don’t log onto them for more than a month – taking away a name like Silver and replacing it with Silverxyz.

      They actually do that, by the way, although it’s typically only after 6+ months and for low-level toons.


      • If someone told me I could avoid Blizzard renaming my alt and letting someone take its name from me by deleting it, I would think they are acting like a “robot with a sense of schadenfreude” and not serious.

        I understand there’s a chance that the guild takeover fails, that all of the officers might suddenly go missing after I do or that the officer who becomes a new GM will turn out to be a bad one but there’s chance the takeover might be successful – i. e. the guild keeps doing what they do (raiding etc.) and allow me to re-join. (I believe this is how most people view success but correct me if I’m wrong.)

        Letting the guild wither or burning it outright does not remove the chance to fail, it removes the chance to be successful.


  5. IMO, if you leave the game, your guild is not just your guild any more. End of story.

    Things change, history happens. I grant that this depends on what sort of governance your guild runs under. If you run a dictatorship, you’d better hope they’re on the same page as you. So if you leave, even indefinitely, you decide who runs it and on what terms. But as soon as you step away, you still take the risk that folks are gonna do what they do. You aren’t present to guide that direction so how invested can you be, really? If you haven’t got the right guild members to run with your vision, whose fault is that?

    And if you haven’t set up a succession or even a direction for them, then you’ve created confusion and it sounds like Blizzard is stepping in to solve that. Sorry, I don’t understand this mechanic enough to know if there is a loophole. If it can be abused, there could be dark days for even the best of guilds… But at worst it sounds like Blizzard is babysitting again, picking up the slack from leaders who don’t know how to be leaders.


  6. One month is too short a time. There are many reasons why a GM can’t log in for a month, without it meaning they are “leaving the game” (a concept that is not well-defined, by the way).


    • @Da Cheng, I would say a shorter time (3 weeks) would be OK – or maybe even better. Guilds do not survive with a leadership that suddenly leaves for a month as the people who care for more than just perks will leave – in other words, if you don’t log in for a month and don’t appoint a temporary or permanent leader, you will lose your guild and you don’t need to be dethroned for that.


      • The question then is: why have private guilds be the de facto system?

        Clearly there is no private ownership over the guild; it is apparently a public good to be utilized only in the public interest. So why give the guild leader so much power if we are so concerned about guilds surviving the “absence” of the GM? Why can a GM kick people out for no reason, why can they strip membership of privileges by fiat, etc, but can’t decide to stop playing for a month?

        I left Invictus open as a level 17 guild so that what was left of the membership could have a refuge for their alts, with most of the nice perks and access to repairs. And yet I’m apparently not allowed to do so, with a guild that quite literally would not have existed these past 2+ years without me (and didn’t, when I got hacked).

        Blizzard took a feature that should only be utilized in extenuating circumstances, and automated it. We lost something in the process, even if you don’t feel what it was.


      • Why do you think you need 10 signature to create a guild and not just 100 gold if private guilds are the de facto system?

        The guild leader has so much power because that was the easiest to implement. And they will only fix it if it annoys enough people.


  7. Why do you think you need 10 signature to create a guild and not just 100 gold if private guilds are the de facto system?

    Only need 4 people and 10 silver these days. :P


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