WoW: Memories – The Best Raider Leader

WoW: Memories features wacky, entertaining and enduring stories from the world’s most popular subscription-based MMOG.

In 2009 I ended my hardcore raiding ways in World of Warcraft. My gaming career during that can easily be summed up in two words, guild hopping.  Since the Year of the Ox began I had been through a raiding member of four guilds, and another while everyone was still leveling.  To me, the act of switching that often is sacrilege, but fleeting guild experiences have become the norm.  With Wrath of the Lich King’s introduction of 10- and 25-man raids, an easier badge system, and then the Dungeon Finder, guilds had become neigh replaceable by PUGs.  The changes lead me to experience the gauntlet of raid leader types since the Alliance and the Horde decided to take the Lich King’s threat head on.  From the best-friend to the belittling asshole, I dealt with them all in 2009.  The main concern is that the best, and who is the most fun to play with tend to be two different answers.

Without question the most productive guild I had been a part during 2009 was the last of them.  We cleared ICC 25-man the second day, the guild dropped ToGC like it was Naxxramas and TotT was defeated with alts. Everyone was geared out the wazoo – I recall only being invited because two members vouched for me – with the best enchants, full epic gems and Rawr checking all required.  By required I don’t mean you would be sat, but kicked.  The GM and officers are nowhere near lenient, opting to outright kick players who fall behind in the slightest.  The guild demands perfection, something I actually prefer, but the raid leader I’ve largely dealt with wore on me. Quickly. I hadn’t screwed up, but the constant stream of swears, belittling of other members and his power complex wore on me. I knew it was burning me out.  My only enjoyment became the competitive nature among the rogues and the progression itself. Not from the guild atmosphere.

It remains amazing to me that so many people will deal with these attitudes for the sake of progression and loot.  Although I’ve been hypocritical, I know I will always look for another guild when the raid leader turns antagonistic in the future. I always longed for guilds past. Perhaps it’s rose-colored glasses making them so enticing.

The two guilds I am thinking of brought everyone together for the singular purpose of downing 10-man content.  In the end, the limited progression was their downfall – players kept leaving because 25-man runs couldn’t be fielded every week – but that’s a story for another day.  The officers and GMs made a concentrated effort to help everyone, to make everyone feel welcome and to teach each other about the game.  They had no qualms with accepting an undergeared friend of a member and spending hours gearing them up for the next raid. Or going over how to use Rawr with everyone, or even encounters that everyone should have known.  Because of the supportive, rather than deconstructive nature, of the guild, member retention was 100% for a core group of raiders. It was the few people constantly leaving for greener pastures, read gear, that lead to its dissolution.  Rather than member burnout, the guild’s leadership was burned out from helping so many people, only to see them leave.  The rest of us weren’t members, but friends.  Friends that stay in touch even though our toons are spread across the server now.

Obviously, the perfect scenario would be a blending of the two.  A raid leader who can lay down the law and get everyone to perform at their peak, while still managing to forge a friendly and helpful community.  The attributes aren’t mutually exclusive, and yet they remain almost impossible to find. Has anyone had better luck than I? How many guilds have you gone through this year? I’ve never stuck around one MMOG in 2013 to have it ultimately matter…


  1. The problem is that (with many smaller guilds) the raid leader is also the guild leader. Two totally opposite personality types. A good guild leaders is laid back and relaxed, wielding the power within the position lightly. A good raid leader is strict and focused. Progression raiding requires a lot of coordination and requires strict attendance by all raid members. Tough to be both a pleasant fellow and an absolute tyrannical asshole.

  2. At least in a sub game you have stickiness. I play a lot of f2p and whole guilds disappear overnight. Frustrating to no end,

    That is a good point Mark. I wonder what KooPA has been playing if nothing is really holding his attention these days.

  3. Hmmm. I wonder if f2p guilds are more volatile due to the individualized $’s for gameplay model. With sub mmo’s you don’t have the “is this individual purchase worth it or not?” factor… that question is asked at a meta-level per is the mmo worth playing anymore or not. Subs also tend to draw an older crowd vs. the f2p games; gotta have a credit card to do the former, nothing for the latter, so levels of maturity are a factor. And guilds work when (at least at some level) the members are “adult” in their actions. And f2p mmo’s that require microtransactions in order to start or expand a guild suffer from potential disagreements between the free players and the payers. Best model is to have guild gold sinks only require in-game currency, imho.

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