Neksis / Mar 09, 2015
First of all, as this guild's leader, I have to say that I couldn't be happier with the way this guild is running. Those of us that have been here a while know what a turnaround for the better this guild has had. This is the healthiest and strongest this guild has ever been and it's because of everyone's involvement--even the folks who have just joined--that makes this guild so much fun to be a part of.
While everyone makes this guild what it is, I have to give credit where credit is due. I have to thank those members who, despite all signs that the guild was taking on water and might be lost, remained steadfast and kept it from sinking. These folks, many of whom now act as officers (Senior Members) maintained that this guild was worth fighting for, despite the fact that much of the leadership--myself included--had given up. It was they who helped pick the guild up, me along with it (I was pretty crestfallen at the time), and get us both back on our feet. They all signed up to share the burden when I stated that I no longer had the time or energy to shoulder it myself. More importantly they inspired me to see that my original vision for the guild was the best one. Thank you for that. I can't say it enough.
So, with the hope that knowing our backstory might bring you more connection with our guild, here's what brought us where we are now...
"Looking to be in an uber-elite hardcore guild? Neither are we.
Just Us Grown Ups [JUGs] is a brand-new, casual, community-minded, PvE-oriented guild (possible PvP if enough interest) that is looking for mature players (30+ is ideal) who just want to enjoy the game in a fun, stress-free social environment. We encourage a good sense of humor as well as respect."
That's the opening of the very first recruitment post I ever made for this guild. I wrote it over two years ago because I felt that, if you held to that standard, the guild would pretty much run itself. I was new to running a guild (JUGs is my first as leader) and was full of optimism but didn't have that much wisdom to support it.
As people joined the guild, slowly and surely, they brought with them their idea of how guilds should be run. Being new to the guild leader business, I heeded their advice. It was all very good advice but I see now that it may not always have been the best advice when compared to what I originally had envisioned for my guild. I got so enamoured with seeing my guild grow that I didn't really pay much attention to what it was growing into. I just cared about the guild being 'great.'
I got caught up in micromanaging the guild and lost sight of it's original concept (just a bunch of people having fun playing a game together). Officers, sometimes reluctantly, were assigned 'roles' in the guild (e.g. Lead Dungeoneer, WvW Battlemaster, etc.). Activities were tirelessly planned and implemented--often with a lacklustre reception from the rest of the guild. We recruited, stating that we did it all: WvW, Dungeons, Fractals...anything you could want in a guild. Many people joined the guild and many people, not finding the participation level they were hoping for, left.
I grew disillusioned with and sometimes resentful of the people in the guild. I had built a website with all the bells and whistles; I paid for a voice server; I even tried implementing a Mentor system with an automated way of responding to help requests, none of which were used to any great degree--"what more, for chrissakes" I asked myself," do these people want??"
Eventually there was division among the ranks. Some of the officers, many of whom were advanced players, stopped interacting with the rest of the guild and ended up playing the game amongst themselves. They still did their part for the guild but had definitely set themselves apart from the main population. They grew disillusioned with the activity level of the guild as well as my strength as a leader (during that time I was usually just the comedy relief). Resentment grew among both sides and drama started to rear its ugly head.
Ask anyone who's ever run a guild: . Guilds can be strong enough to weather flagging game content but if drama occurs and you're not quick with a fire extinguisher, it's usually game over. It almost was for us.
When I asked myself, "What more do these people want?" The answer was (and is) that adults, enjoying the recreation of a video game during their spare time, just want to enjoy the game amongst their peers and not be made to feel like a stranger in their own guild. These were people who took a chance on my guild and joined to be an active part of it it; not anonymous cattle to be herded into random activities and then ignored the rest of the time. I had lost sight of this because I was focussing on the guild but not the people.
I wanted a website that was bustling with activity; I wanted WvW zergs made up of Jug-Heads; I wanted an event calendar brimming with people signing up for events and I wanted to see new guild applications pouring in; I wanted a 'great' guild and this is what I had thought that it took.
What I ended up with, however, was disillusionment with the guild along with deep sense of failure and guilt regarding my lack of effectiveness as a leader.
This, paired with internal drama and the sudden death of one of our most beloved members, was more than the guild could take.
The guild went through the ringer and, as a testament to those members who hung in there and rallied to save it, came out the other side, battle-scarred and weary...but alive.
... a casual, community-minded, PvE-oriented guild...who just want to enjoy the game in a fun, stress-free social environment."
That's all we ever needed to be. If I had never moved my sights beyond that, there's a good chance none if this would have ever happened.
There's really no point, however, in wallowing in regret. The guild, strengthened by its scars and a new foundation, forges on. I have emerged for the better as well; I'm now a wiser and more seasoned guild leader who, because of what I almost lost, offers nothing less than my full devotion to this guild.
If we adhere to that simple of standard of fun, community and respect, all of the other activity that had placed so much value on it, will occur naturally. With a collection of like-minded individuals, such as what we have now, any participation and interactivity within the guild will happen because people will actually want to, not because they were told to. This theory has been proven and tested by all of you who are here now.
I have always maintained that the quality of a guild should never be based on its size or skill level but by how much people enjoy being a member. It's by this tenet alone that our guild will ultimately be driven. That's a promise.
So, after all of the trials and tribulations, here we are now: all members of a great guild.