Wow, what a week! Being a guild leader can be an extremely rewarding and enjoyable position. Just about every night I chime in on guild chat, offering up my services and/or nigh-encyclopedic knowledge of (most of) Norrath to any members willing to take me up on it. I love it when folks take me up on my offers and I can lead a quest or crawl group to greater glory and riches. Good times.
BUT, the burden of leadership means handling the problems that come up. I think, for the most part, that the casual environment we've fostered has kept us below-average on drama, but welcoming in players of all types also raises the risk that you'll get the occasional bad egg.
It was that time again! A recent influx of new recruits wound up revealing one of the worst eggs I've yet had the displeasure of dealing with! Naturally, in this place, I shall change his name. Let's call him...Lightballoon. (bonus points if you know where I'm stealing that name from!)
Lightballoon had only been in my guild for a scant couple weeks, and was on the verge of moving up from trial member to full member. Then I login one night and find one of my officers needs to talk to me about him.
Turns out we got a complaint about Lightballoon from someone who was in a pickup group with him. Apparently, this group had gotten together (with my member in charge) to kill a named mob or low-level epic. Upon succeeding and obtaining a nice chest full of items, the group noticed that Lightballoon had the loot set to Leader Only, as he promptly assigned all the loot to himself.
Lightballoon's explanation to the group was that he never promised them any loot, and since SOE made the Leader Only loot function, they surely intended it to be used in the way he used it. Therefore, the rest of the group had neither right nor reason to complain.
Bad? Yes....but it gets worse! The group demanded the name of an officer of my guild. Lightballoon's response? He told them that HE was the GUILD LEADER.
So my officer takes all this in and was, needless to say, a bit appalled. Still, as bad as the complaints were, you always have to hear the other side, put on your B.S. Detector (tinkering skill 321), and try to figure out what really happened. It's important to trust your guildmates, but you also have to make sure someone isn't giving your guild a bad reputation.
Often, this can be a lengthy ordeal. Much to my surprise, despite the really loathsome behavior being reported, this was not one of those times. Regarding the item hoarding, his response was that he shouldn't be punished for using a perfectly legal grouping option, and chided the other guy for being a crybaby that was just mad because he didn't win the loot. How do you win loot when the group leader assigns it all to himself, you may ask? Our friend didn't seem to have a real answer for that.
As for pretending to by my guild's leader? He not only clearly admitted to doing it, but justified it with....hell, here's a direct quote from my officer's log of the conversation. I don't usually post such things, but Lightballoon said it better than I could ever do justice to: "does nortah [sic] not have a 1st amendment[?]"
As a matter of fact, Norrath does NOT have a First Amendment. As a big fan of the First Amendment and a former student of its applications, I may become compelled to write more about this some other day ;)
In my brief talk with Lightballoon, he was similarly unrepentant about his behavior. I know MY guild doesn't need a person like on our roster, and through I wouldn't dare to speak for all guilds, I'm willing to bet very few would disagree with me.
Lightballoon logged off while we were debating his future. Before long, the officer who originally confronted him sent him a polite mail wishing him luck in his future endeavors, and booted him from the guild. "Good riddance," we all said, but alas, the story isn't over yet!
Later that night, Lightballoon logged back on, got his mail, and sent me a tell. His message to me was essentially that I'd be sorry I booted him out, and that he'd be back. Not exactly the scariest threat ever...
Sometime within 48 hours, Lightballoon had not, in fact, re-joined my guild, but rather made his own instead! My guild's name is "Circle of Shadows." His guild's name was "Circles of Shadows." Amazingly-creative, no?
It's bad enough when a current member goes out of his way to make my guild look bad; you can bet that I'm sure as hell not going to let another guild pull shenanigans and wind up with the complaints coming to me! As I think would be expected, I wrote a petition as soon as I found out about this.
My petition took a couple days to get a response, and in the middle of my waiting, the situation got stupider yet! I'm waiting for a group to assemble to go try out the new Shard of Fear for the first time, and suddenly I start getting tells from Lightballoon!
This time he's decided to inform me that he's going to harass me personally and members of my guild. He's going to convince my members to leave us and join him, and he won't stop until we cease to exist...
...I take 50 platinum out of the guild bank and give it to him. If I concede to him and pay him off, he'll leave us alone and we'll never hear from him again. He had moles already planted in our guild, waiting for the opportunity to sow the seeds of our demise, and he promised that I "would be shocked at how high up [his] friends go."
Well, what else can you do when confronted with such overwhelming adversity? I did what any good guild leader would do: I immediately ported home, gouged-out the contributions of my wonderful, hard-working guild members, met Lightballoon outside the gates of Qeynos, knelt before him, and gave him his well-deserved bounty.
Wait, was THAT what I did? My memory is fuzzy now...I either gave him his money... or /reported large blocks of his text, added to my previous petition, and smiled widely as the GMs nuked his crappy guild and suspended his account for a few days. Lightballoon is back in the game now, and even started another new guild, but I haven't heard a peep from him.
I have little doubt that people who work with Lightballoon in the future will continue to have issues with his "BUT SOE PUT IT THERE" looting habits, but I can't save the whole world, can I? The best thing anyone can do when joining a pick-up group is to check the loot rules before you help out too much, and ESPECIALLY before engaging named and epic mobs. In time, he'll no doubt have one of the worst personal reputations on the server, and all I can say is: I'm glad he ain't mine to deal with anymore!