“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Edmund Burke
Yet another raiding guild on the server has folded. The problems started out months ago but the guild was simply unwilling to do what it took to ensure it’s survival and as such the guild was disbanded and the guild bank liquidated and distributed.
Toboldd (at least I think it was him) noted several years ago that there are stages to a guilds life cycle and that ultimately most raiding guilds are doomed to failure due to their own policies. Essentially all guilds will reach a point in their progression in which they have to choose between faster progression and the admittance and subsequent equipping of social and non-raiding members.
Short-sited guilds will have few social members, not allow alts into the guild and attempt to limit the guild roster to just enough players to keep the guild going. This path is a twisting winding roller coaster ride in which the guild gambles on its ability to attract and recruit players as needed.
The guild becomes a parasite feeding on lesser-progressed guilds on the server. A carrion bird circling the guild recruitment forums looking for well geared and experienced players whose guilds have recently folded to gobble up. A poacher looking to entice players over from other guilds with promises of faster loot and more progression. These transfers become a life support system keeping the guild operating much longer than it would have been had its leadership been more responsible and more realistic. Gradually the transfers dry up. The guild begins to loose its identify and culture. Long-term members quit due to natural attrition. Guild leadership will throw up their hands and state that they did what they could. In reality they were unwilling to do what had to be done.
A good guild will constantly be training up its next batch of raiders. Running alts and socials through farm content to help stave off raider burnout amongst the guild faithful. Recruiting from within the fill raid spots and being open and honest about raiding requirements to give newer players goals to work towards.
Investing in your own members fosters a sense of community and guild pride that you will never find in some over geared cross server transferee. Somewhere deep down in even the most hardcore of the hardcore there is at it’s very core a group of players who enjoy playing together. The iLVL of the loot doesn’t matter to these players so long as they are all enjoying themselves together within the game. Players that will leave over having to run “farm” content a few times a months to help out newer guild members are not the kind of players that you want in your guild anyway. Odds are they are the same folks that will jump ship at the first progression speed bump so why cater to them?
Let me tell you a story of a guild. It started out as just some friends playing together. Gradually they got further along and more became more exclusive on who they admitted. Eventually they essentially had closed recruitment. They continued to progress and were able to get very far in PVE. Then a few key players quit or transfer off the server and the entire guild falls apart. Sound familiar? It is a story that can be found on every server forum for every online game ever created. Yet so few will learn from history and make adjustments accordingly.