Zombie Guilds

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a zombie guild?

When I started playing GW2, I joined the 5-6 remaining members of my ex-WoW guild. Saying “5-6” is a bit charitable consider only three of us were still playing by the time I turned off the sub last year. In any case, we started a GW2 guild and… one month later it is back to 3-4 “active” members. “Active” in quotation marks because we have different schedules most of the time, different levels¹, and different goals.

We have not recruited any more people because… why would we? It is a guild of friends! Just like with relationships, it also seems rather irresponsible getting other people involved if we don’t have a clear idea what we want. After being a guild leader for 3+ years, I just don’t have the stomach for recruitment or the trappings of obligation anymore. And as is the usual case, if I don’t do it myself, it doesn’t get done.

We have been discussing joining a zerg guild or at least an active one. But how? How would I know what guilds exist on my server, what the social environment consists of, what kind of people they are looking for? Should we just keep joining one randomly? I got into Invictus 4+ years ago by pure happenstance: I tanked a Scarlet Monastery run back in TBC. It was a leveling guild that beat the odds and turned into a raiding guild under my benevolent dictatorship. I never handled recruitment, leaving that to the members with the proven ability to somehow be at the right place at the right time picking up the right people.

So… I feel trapped in a zombie guild. If I didn’t know my friends, chances are I would have let myself get absorbed into whatever guild blob I ran into first. But since I do know them, I care about getting absorbed into a hypothetical guild I’m fine with but they dislike. Or vice versa. There is also a residual social guilt knowing that we would be joining as a premade clique, something I hated with a passion when I was a guildmaster.

Maybe in the zerg, none of it will matter. Maybe once I take the initial plunge back into the “social pool,” so to speak, the water will feel fine. I just know the status quo is unsustainable, but it can be worse.

Ugh. I’m going to play some Steam games.

¹ I will talk more about this in the 1-month GW2 post, but suffice it to say, running low-level content with my main character actually feels worse than the traditional system of you just one-shotting everything for them. I had been under the impression that XP/Karma/rewards would be scaled up to your own level, but obviously that is not the case. So you exist in a pseudo-OP mode where you are powerful enough to make mobs trivial until they suddenly aren’t, all the while earning less than you could be. Nevermind if you have already completed those same zones.

Posted on September 26, 2012, in Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m in pretty much the same situation as you, although we’re a few more than that. GW2 is the first time where I start an MMO while already having a guild from before and while it’s great to play with the same folks again (I’ve been looking forward to this gathering a long time), we’re also not recruiting strangers for the exact reasons you mentioned. besides that it feels oddly out of place to bring somebody new into a group with that many memories and pre-experiences connecting them. like it would be unfair to that new person to lack all the background. maybe thats a wrong conclusion but it can be off-putting to join a group constantly talking about “them old times” you weren’t part of.

    naturally, in any MMO where there’s bigger group content be it raids or PvP, you gotta ask yourself where to go from here. usually joining guilds happened naturally for me while leveling up or running dungeons, but now that I already have a guild I obviously don’t appear as ‘available’ and I’m frankly also not looking around the same way I would have otherwise. you could say GW2 has the answer: multi-guild system, but the represent-feature is a huge flaw imo and the playerbase has not truly adjusted mindset in terms of realizing that you can still invite players who “already have a guild tag”. I think this concept is just weird to many.

    that said, I have more than one guild on my roster for chitchat with fellow bloggers and tweeters right now. some of them are bigger, so maybe for future WvW undertakings that will be my answer. otherwise you probably need to fall back on oldschool methods of guilding; forums and random zone chat or party encounters. in the end it’s the same in all MMOs, it just feels weirder to me now that I didn’t start this adventure unguilded.


  2. I used to join guilds that were based around a single game. These never lasted. If players lost interest or the game became less popular we always lost people and the guild inevitably folded. I solved that problem by joining a multi-game game guild/clan. It is very stable and people play whatever games they want. I’ve found that because there is less focus on the game and more on the people it has lead to a very stable online group of friends.


    • Yeah, but how do you even start doing that? Did you start browsing random clan webpages? Try them on like pairs of shoes?

      It feels like a place/time thing that I cannot get back – the sort of difference between the friends you make in school/college and the friends you make at work.


      • I can only speak from my personal experience but I was lucky enough to be introduced to my current guild via a WoW friend who joined for their World of Tanks chapter. It ended up being an excellent guild as they had a wide variety of players, gaming interests, and it wasn’t an all male guild (which I avoid like the plague these days). Been with them for about two years now.


  3. I think I know exactly how you feel. For the last 15 years or so that Im playing one MMO or another, I usually did lead a guild and usually we started as a group of friends.
    ..and yes, if you dont do it yourself, it rarely grows..or if you happen to be offline a while things die out.
    Over time this really frustrated me to the point of just about giving up on leading..and then GW2 came along.
    I think there is a point where a given guild reaches critical mass and things work themselves out without 24/7 leader involvement and I think we are getting close to it. (80 members, up to 25 online at times etc…cool, nice people – loving it)
    I would happily offer you and your active friends a home be it just to have a look how things go but I think you are on US servers(?) while we are EU.
    Anyways…feeling with you on that one :)


  4. Flawed as it is, the multi-guild feature of GW2 might help here. Let your personal guild know you’re going “shopping” for a new guild and may not represent from time to time, then go looking for one that matches your timezone and preferred focus. Join ’em, sample ’em a bit, if the atmosphere is good, then see if your friends and you want to move over entirely or switch in and out. Nothing stopping you from keeping a smaller guild alive as a backup too, in case something implodes or drama happens on the big guild’s part.

    As for the specifics of looking, I’d start with the GW2 Guilds org website (http://www.gw2guilds.org/) and forum posts on Guild Wars 2 Guru and the official forums to see which guilds are active on your server. Why a server-specific guild even if you can join cross-server ones? Because of how influence works, currently. Cross-server guild is more for a friends meetup and chat kind of thing.

    Then decide on the size of the guild you want to join – multi-game guilds tend to be big and zerg-like if they are casual, big zerg guilds that aren’t multi-game tend to accept anyone and everyone with a pulse, or something smaller and more focused, etc.

    Also, if WvW is a priority, I’d zone in at the hours you usually play and check which guilds are active in there, and see how they run their guild groups. Some are zerg-y, some run uber professional small teams (it’ll take more effort to get into that type of guild) and some are in between.

    That said, finding a guild that works for you has always been a matter of luck to me. More often than not, the fit isn’t there and I just keep trying and moving on.


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