A guild is many things. A tag over your head you can be proud of. A collection of excellent players you love to play the game with. A guild bank a bunch of hardcore raiders congregate about. A vent server filled with discussion, abuse, commands shouted at a finely tuned war team, friendly discussion.
A guild can be as varied as the people that make it up, because ultimately, a guild is people. A guild is not a collection of data in pixels in a virtual world, it is something far more than that.
A song is more than just a series of noises at differing wavelengths. A book is more than a collection of really thin tree slices with ink scattered upon it.
The structure of guild, its virtual framework, is just that. A frame. What it is framing is entirely up to the people involved.
Without a picture, a frame is pointless junk. An empty husk, void of meaning.
This is why I have never understood guild loyalty. A guild is nothing without people, it isn’t real in any sense of the word. Why would somebody be loyal to something that can be destroyed instantly by single person typing /gdisband? Would you be loyal to a table? At least it would take effort to destroy a table!
Now, people… I can understand being loyal to people. I hold not one ounce of loyalty to the guild “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. I am, however, deeply loyal to the people who make up that guild. Not because we’re in the same guild, not because by some random coincidence we happen to have the same series of random text above our in-game names, but because the “virtual” relationship we have is real.
A guild might not be real. But the friendships you have with the people in that guild certainly are.
Most of For Whom has been raiding together for many, many years. I’ve only been raiding with them since our first baby steps on Hydross in SSC, I almost classify as a “new guy” to this group.
I can remember our raid leader playing a priest, dying to Void Reaver on his birthday, drinking heavily and cheering us on in vent. I can remember Uncas (that’s Warlord Uncas to you) refusing to spec BM because he hated it, staying with his marksman tree when every other raiding hunter on the server was beast master. I can remember Abigael the warlock spamming “IN THE WATER LIKE AN OTTER” as a raid warning whenever Lurker used Spout. I can remember raiding with the Merciless Glad staff, and the raid leader saying “ranged go stand next to Rip, he’s the huge pink dildo”.
This is ancient history to me. To many of For Whom, who’ve been raiding together since Blizzard was super duper excited about announcing the BRAND NEW 40-MAN RAID ONYXIA’S LAIR, stuff like Karazhan is still recent memory, and I’m still the new guy.
All of that, the memories we have, the friendships we form, the grudges we hold, all of that is real. We don’t say “remember how fun Anathema was”, we say “remember how much fun we had in Anathema”.
Wherever these guys go, I’m bound to follow at this point, simply because I quite enjoy their company.
I have stated before that I like raiding due to the complete puzzle aspect of it. Then why don’t I do the harder, more tightly tuned 25man content with more challenging fight mechanics? The puzzle aspect is definitely important, yes, but if all I wanted to do was puzzles I’d buy a sudoku book.
I like raiding, yes. But, I like raiding with people I like. Raiding is fun, but raiding with friends is exponentially more fun. Avoiding 25man guilds helps me stay away from cliques and all the other drama that comes from actually having a real difference between “core raiders” and “everyone else”.
I mean, a 10man guild isn’t drama free. There is simply significantly less of it, due to nothing else than the fact that there are less people who actually know each other quite well.
And before you ask, yes, everyone else in the guild is perfectly aware that I have a rather long standing blog. There’s even an RSS feed to it on the site, and some of them (hi ghostkid, did you get that thing I sent you?) have been readers here since I started the blog!
As a group, then, we are a collection of friends with a common guild tag. Well, most of us anyway.
When Rhii asks a question about loyalty to a fellow guildie, the question doesn’t make any sense to me. Harboring loyalty to someone else in the same guild is equivalent to harboring loyalty to someone else who happens to be sitting at the same table as I am. I don’t know them, I’m not their friend, I have absolutely no obligation to help them at all, certainly not for reasons of loyalty.
(Quick recap of Rhii’s post: a guildie joins a raid as a tank. This guy can tank and only tank, and stated that explicitly. Somehow the raid filled up with too many tanks, so this guildie was punted for being incapable of DPS. This guildie was then hurt when his fellow guild members didn’t drop out of the run.)
Group solidarity is important for some reason I can’t even pretend to understand. In the above situation, how I would have reacted as a “fellow guildie” depends entirely on my relation with the tank that was booted. If he was just some random member of the same guild I was? I wouldn’t even have batted an eye. Had he been a good friend, someone I had played with for many months?
Well, I would have spoken up in raid chat immediately. Something along the lines of “Thank you, %t, for showing me what a shit fucker you are. Thank you for sparing me the need to ever have to deal with your cock mongering again”, and then left the raid.
This is all hypothetical of course. I rarely PuG raids of any sort, as you can probably tell just by looking at my achievements and statistics. Such hypothetical situations are precisely why I rarely PuG and very rarely do 25man content, simply because I have near zero tolerance of douchebaggery.