Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hostile Takeover

In patch 4.3 Blizzard introduced an automated system that allowed guild members of guilds whose leadership no longer played to take over their guilds.  The way it works is that if your guild leader has not logged in within the last month anyone of the highest guild rank that has anyone who has logged in within the last month can take over the guild.  There are plenty of folks complaining about this of course because they spend years building up their guilds, recruiting, raiding, etc. and after taking a long absence they have discovered that some random.dood has taken over their guild.  I don't have much sympathy for them to be honest.  The system isn't set up badly at all - if you have trustworthy friends still playing you can simply promote them to the second rank and nobody but them can take over the guild if you take some time off.  The only way the guild falls into the wrong hands is if you stop playing and have absolutely nobody in the guild that you trust that you can trust to log in that you can put into the second spot.  Even then you can always guarantee your guild by booting everyone out if you really want!

This happened to 'my' guild OGT.  Pretty near all of the officers stopped playing completely earlier this year and one of our longtime WOW friends logged in and was handed the guild.  He had no intention of staying on playing for very long though and so in another couple of months the guild will be up for grabs once again.  This doesn't much bother me really as I don't intend on going back but also because if I don't use a thing I don't see why it should be kept for my use alone.  I put as much work into running OGT as anyone and for years it was my home away from home but I don't feel like there is any reason that I should own it forever.  OGT was a community space that we worked hard to make a great place to hang out but that great place was a combination of people and ideas, not a name.  If all of my friends decided to start playing all over again we could create a new guild and get everything back in no time, excepting of course the guild perks that we would have to earn once again.

I think guild leaders have a sense that they own a guild in the same way they own a shirt.  That just isn't an accurate representation of the situation though because so much of what the guild is is a function of all of the members.  The leader is very important of course because they have a lot of power and can set the tone of the place but in the end a guild is a place with many members all of whom contribute.  A guild can become completely nonfunctional if there is no one in charge to set permissions, organize ranks, invite/boot people etc. so it is important that such abilities are available to someone who can use them.

If a former guild leader comes back and wants their old position back the simplest thing to do is to earn it.  *Be* the guild leader.  Do everything that a guild leader does aside from have the title and have the power and either you will get back into a position of power once again or you shouldn't be a in a position of power once again.  That might be because the new members don't want you there or because the new leadership doesn't trust you but either way if you can't become the leader by being the leader then either accept the new position or move on.

This is a simple case of wanting to have your cake and eat it too.  You can just remove people from the guild and remove inviting privileges to prevent people from taking over - no one is going to take over my alt's banking guild!  What you can't do is maintain a thriving community that you can come back to as the emperor any time you want.  Either give up the guild or be part of the guild, one or the other.


  1. I think the idea that you can somehow actually trust people in an online game that you've never met is whimsical. For example, Tiris seemed like a pretty good guy, right? And then one day he up and sold his account without warning. If seemingly reasonable people are going to do that while a guild is actively raiding then why wouldn't someone who suddenly gained access to a slumping or defunct guild jump at the opportunity?

    You say we could get everything back in no time but we really couldn't. It took months and months to level the guild as high as it is. It took a lot of money to buy all the bank slots. It took a _lot_ of effort to make the flasks, fish the fish, and so on that went into getting some of the achievements that brought real rewards with them. Not to mention the stuff and gold actually in the bank as it stands.

    Here's the thing... A guild can become non-functional when the leader disappears, sure. There was already a mechanism in place to switch a guild away from an absent leader for guilds that were actually playing. They had to petition a GM and jump through some hoops but it could be done. This 'fix' doesn't change that except to make it more streamlined in the good case. But in the bad case, like us, it's terrible. Do you really think one of our defunct raiders from years past would log on and petition a GM for the guild? I doubt they'd even think of it and I'm unsure it would have been granted. But right now it's a pop-up in their face! Do you want to steal a guild? Have at it! Push one button and it's yours!

    And sure, we could have kicked everyone out. (Well, we didn't know this functionality change was even coming in when we quit so we couldn't have...) But then we're eliminating the chance that if we come back to play, and someone else comes back to play, that we can notice.

    It reminds me a little about FFXI and how they used to purge your character from their system if you canceled your account for more than a month. It probably encouraged some people to keep paying during probably small breaks, but it also meant that someone who quit once was very unlikely to go back.

    There's a pretty good chance I'll be back playing WoW come the next expansion since a lot of the stuff sounds interesting. Assuming a few other people came back too we'd likely play on Vek because we have a guild. I know you've said you wouldn't transfer somewhere else because of alts/community/etc... But if we didn't have a guild anymore and would have to level one from scratch anyway? I wouldn't be playing on Vek! I'd go to a server Tmiv would want to play on where he'd get a lower ping. Where if we wanted to raid there might be some semblance of competent people to join.

  2. I don't know that you can really trust people who you meet on the internet. However, I also don't know that you can really trust people you meet in real life either! There are people I know IRL who have quit in the middle of raiding in the same way Tiris did, so I suspect the moral is that you can't really trust anyone.

    If all we wanted was the perks we could buy a level 25 guild, suck it up and level again or join a guild. It isn't ideal but it isn't a disaster. While I would like to have the option to just return any time then I need to take steps to make that happen. That can either be finding people I can (hopefully?) trust or by emptying the guild. Letting people play on in the guild without the guild controls or the GM functionality is no longer on the table and I am fine with that.

    1. There's a big difference between Tmiv or I deciding to not raid (either with the guild or at all) anymore and Tiris selling his account without telling anyone and the new guy trying to sneak along on raids. I think you know that too and are just trying to make a snarky point but I could be wrong.

      As far as the snarky point itself, no, you can't really trust anyone. You can be more confident about who you might be able to trust with people you do know IRL though. If I stole the guild and wouldn't give it back you could call me on the phone to talk it over. You could come over and kick me in the shins. If Spots was going to be malicious he could have been and there's nothing we could have done about it. It turned out he was someone you could trust and that's great! But there was a DK at the same rank who raided with us for a couple months and that's it. Could you trust him?

      As far as buying a level 25 guild goes... I would imagine they cost a fair amount and as a group we aren't exactly known for being loose with the cash.

      I guess I don't see why letting people continue to play alts in OGT for these few months is bad. They can use the perks we had, they can have a guild tag they like, and they can find out if/when people come back. If they really wanted all the perks couldn't they buy a level 25 guild, suck it up and level again or join a different guild? A system that forces you to put the boots to them all or risk losing everything seems really bad.

  3. Tiris' method of quitting was definitely worse than just not logging in again. My point was not that the Tiris incident was exactly the same as various times when people I know IRL have quit or done other annoying things but rather that the assumption that you know someone IRL therefore you can trust them is just not valid.

    I doubt very much that a level 25 guild costs more than we could afford. If it did, who the hell is the buyer exactly? If we needed a guild we could just buy one and I am sure the price wouldn't be a significant hurdle. If we want the guild we should log in once a month or find somebody else to pass it off to.

    Remember that this is just an automation of a system that was already in place. If a raider called up a GM and asked for the guild and the GM looked at our officer roster where no one has been online for six months they would get the guild. The potential for 'abuse' was always there, this is just an automation of the process with clear rules and procedures.

  4. Yeah, but the old way the raider would have had to know they could do it, and then bothered to contact a GM, and go through the hassle of convincing them to make the switch. Obviously if OGT was still a raiding guild and you dropped off the face of the earth someone would bother to look up how to do it and bother jumping through the hoops. But as we are now? I doubt it would have happened. People are lazy and apathetic. Especially people who didn't bother joining a different guild after we stopped raiding!

    But now? When all you have to do is hit a button that pops up in your face if you log in? That's a level of effort even someone like me is willing in invest.

    As for trusting people... It's not a black and white situation where you can trust everyone you've ever met and can't trust anyone you only know online. There are shades of grey, and the people you have met in general are a lot lighter grey than the people you haven't met. And in this case it just takes one of those shades of grey to be on the black side to lose the guild.

    A very quick search shows a level 25 guild is probably in the 100-400k gold range depending on achievements/bank slots/server population. I for one don't want to just throw away 100k gold!

    (As an aside, I don't know what you changed but I can no longer see or write comments from work.)

  5. I changed nothing, blogger seems to have made some changes on its own to comments though.

  6. Well, I also changed nothing with my blog settings and the comments are the same as they've always been. All I can do is post a comment on my blog, I can't reply to individual comments like I did earlier in this post.

  7. Well, I think I figured out the issue. Somehow this blog got changed to forcing a login while my main blog did not. I *know* I didn't do that, but maybe Elli clicked around randomly when I wasn't looking? She does that from time to time.