Guild drama & conflicts – Can’t we just get along?

So, why do guilds break up? Certainly many reasons can contribute collectively to a guild’s break up and eventual demise, but none is more deadly than – personality conflicts. I have a number of social/WoW friends in a progression guild. They have recently been hit with a “guild destroying” type event. Do I think they will collapse, NO! They are good people and will more than likely find the right replacements, but it does bring to light the primary issue we all face within the game – each other!

Their GM has a simple philosophy and a correct one: You don’t have to be friends, just play nice together and work towards the common goal of progression (I’m paraphrasing here). Admirable though this is, let’s examine it in more detail.

The notion of “I don’t have to like you, to work with you” is not new. The military has had this perspective forever! Liking someone’s ideals, values, religion, race, creed, or how they put on their pants means nothing when you are both in that trench with bullets firing at you and your lives in one another’s hands. I spent 8 years in the US Army, my wife the same. We saw racism and politics yes…but when the stakes got high – read: lives on the line – none of it mattered. We hear stories and read books like those by Stephen Ambrose about groups like Easy Company 506th Regiment: Band of Brothers. Men who despite any differences, formed a lifetime bond due to the extraordinary circumstances they went through together. In the end, the differences shed away and only the commonalities remain. Athletes on teams share similar experiences through the “Head long into battle” bonding that can happen. Same can be said for the private sector where I may not see eye-to-eye with a colleague, but we can in fact find a way to get the job done.

Many feel this applies to those playing MMOs like WoW…here’s the kicker, there are no lives on the line. We are not dependent on one another for a paycheck, benefits, or livelihood. There is no real ultimate goal like a championship or true glory (i.e. Sports championships are not always about substantive reward but are nonetheless tangible). In the end, gaming success supplies one with really only one thing: bragging rights. Some think this is enough? We work together, we kill some Dragons, we all get to brag…but not so fast! We all PAY to do this, and this has a curious affect on one’s mindset. We are all customers paying no more or less than anyone else. So why do it “their way”? Why not YOUR way!!!

We face this all the time. Sometimes it boils to a fight and parting of ways. Other times it leads to a tense situation, but eventual understanding and hopefully stronger bond between opposing viewpoints.

I certainly wish the latter for my friends in the aforementioned guild; a stronger bond between those remaining, and hopefully stable foundation for them going forward. To the GM: if I can help in any way, you need only ask.

For those going through such conflicts, please try to understand the differing viewpoints and focus on the commonalities. I know…sappy sappy sappy. But sappy as this all seems, these are the foundations for real life, not just for in a game. If you can master working together toward a common goal no matter your differences within WoW, you are on solid ground to do so in Real Life as you move through your education and career. Its important folks…REALLY important! People may watch and laugh at movies like Horrible Bosses and Office Space; but many of us will tell you – IT’S REAL! There really are situations like those that you may face and it’s better to be prepared for them, then not.

Find the common ground. Look for ways to move forward and not backward. Easier said than done? – certainly, but worth far more than any loot or gold that is dropped by any boss.



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