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[JUGs] Who We Are and How We Got This Way

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...

What Went Wrong

"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: DRAMA IS THE #1 KILLER OF GUILDS. 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 Lesson Learned

... 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.



Tally Ho!
Very well said! I can definitely relate to the issues you faced as guild leader. And you're right, drama is a huge reason many guilds fail. But there is also boredom, separatists, and even jealousy. There are a LOT of reasons guilds fail. But members of a guild must be willing to play the game and enjoy playing it with others. Without that, you have nothing. MAGE survived so long because we stuck with the original plan. When drama struck, we struck it down. We did this until we were left with a tight, smart, and happy group of players. What ultimately killed MAGE was boredom with GW1. After leveling to 20 and having done everything, we were left with.... "Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more? What do I do now?"
That's when most of them decided to try WoW. I myself tried it for a while. I found the daily grind of trying to level and catch up with everyone else extremely stressful and tiring, boring... People would play that game for 8 to even 16 hours at a time and level up like mad. $15 bucks a month for this? Screw that. Anyway, I hope that I can be a big contributor to this guild and hope that you know you can count on me to help out. Razzie ain't goin' no where. In fact, if JUGs starts to reach that point again, you might find me being one of the ones helping hold it together again. I refuse to lose the only GREAT guild I have been able to find in more than 6 years. Those of you who have been here a long time, don't take it for granted... because what you have here is very hard to find! We need to cultivate it. Those of you thinking of joining... if the headline in the recruitment thread is what grabbed your attention, chances are you'll want to be part of this. Take it from someone who spent years looking for it again.
I completely agree, Neksis. We've all learned quite a few lessons and I'm glad we continue to grow stronger. When we had our big meeting regarding the future of JUGs, it became clear to me that in order for the guild to succeed, we all have the part of making the guild "friendly" and "active." Once we all started making more effort to branch out, the guild came around. Such is a huge responsibility for leadership alone, and frankly, would be pretty boring.

I'm glad we've gotten some chatty members that help balance out the quiet members. I really look forward to continuing to see our membership grow with folks that are happy to be here. :)
As a guild newbie of two weeks, I have to say I'm very glad that the guild has returned to your original vision. Having come into the guild and been made warmly welcome in TS and in game, included in dungeon runs and other events and made to feel like I am playing among friends is exactly what I was looking for. This is what was missing for me from the first two years of playing this game and now that I've found it I'm looking forward to enjoying it for a long time to come with all of you.

Thanks for taking the chance on sticking around for us newbies to come "home" to. :D
We just had to get rid of the bad apples. Now we have such a lovely orchard! Ok, that is my deep thought for the day. :)
Very well stated, Neksis. There is a new energy and excitement in the guild that's really refreshing. Guild leadership isn't always easy, and I think you've done well, Neksis. My hats off to the recent additions to the Senior Members who have really stepped up and added some new insights and hard work to the mix.
Please, please don't ever give up on this guild any of you! Just joined today and I can feel and see that the camaraderie and support is so good here. My fiancé and I have been looking for a home just like this one.

Happy to be here!
After some thought, I do want to say thank you Neksis for not being a dictator type guild leader and giving us the freedom to grab the ball and run with it, so to speak. I'm not sure if I ever told you that. Also, thank you Ritter for stepping up when things looked bleak and making an executive decision on adding myself and others as Senior Members, despite our reluctance, and telling us it is our guild and if we wanted to save it, go for it! Wolfie and I felt that JUGs could recover from the drama and we are both kind of hard headed. LOL I've learned more in the time since I have joined JUGs over a year ago than I had the entire time I'd played GW2 and I want to continue to grow as a player. I feel like things have really taken off and things that I thought would never be possible are happening. As long as we all work together to keep a welcoming environment, I think we'll be around for years to come and even on into GW3. Hopefully I'll be retired by then. :D
I'm glad all of you guys were willing to step up! You and everyone I dragooned into helping out have completely revitalized JUGs. It's great seeing guild-chat rolling by with all sorts of names, new and old.

(Yes, I do believe my executive decision to forcibly promote all of you is what saved us and I'll gladly keep taking credit for that extremely wise decision for as long as you guys let me. bwahahahahaha)
As a "regular member" or "commoner" or "non-officer", as as my first website forum post after having been in JUGs for about a year, these comments below may have dubious weight ... I am not privy to all the behind-the-scenes activities that has happened in the last few months.

I have recently seen a HUGE improvement in the guild management overall. The addition of more regularly scheduled events to the Guild calendar really helped make GW2 more accessible to the "commoners" overall. From what I gathered, it seems like there are more officers now to lead or host various activities, which enables more events to be scheduled. Additional logistical improvements must have taken place to support them. These are the effects, but what about the cause? In my professional life, I have been involved in similar organizational overhauls and have an understanding of the amount of delegation, trust, and training amongst the officers that is required to pull this off. Big kudos to everyone ... and even bigger THANK YOU.
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