Thursday, December 4, 2008

Becoming a Functional Crackhead

Forgive me, Karana, for I have strayed; it has been 9 months since my last EQ2-post.

Fact is, I went a long time without playing it at all. I even cancelled my subscription, which is something that I hadn't ever done since EQ2 went live. Cancelling was a strange feeling, but it had to be done - new baby, new house, slightly longer commute, lots of unpacking and housework to do.

I spent some time playing LotRO, too, I must admit. Some of my rl friends were playing and invited me to come along. Since I was unable to get many of them to check EQ2 out, I tried to be a good friend and joined them on their turf for a while.

There was a distinct advantage to being in a tiny guild of nothing but 6 people who know each other: No pressure to do X task by Y date, nor to be on for hours and hours every night! That helped a lot in terms of playing a little while my real life revved up, but LotRO - while very well done - doesn't have as good of a game system as EQ2, and my attention started to wane.

Now, I've written about my guild many times here, and even one lengthy article in the last issue of EQuinox Magazine. "No pressure" was supposed to be my EQ2 guild's mantra, and yet I felt the need to get away. What went wrong??

What I found was a large disconnect between what people acknowledge reading, and what they decide on their own. My guild very clearly communicated the notion - both from recruiters and from our [now defunct] website - that the only thing we were hardcore about was being casual, and had no intentions of changing that.

I was all for occasional coordinated events, don't get me wrong, but whether it was natural for the size we had grown to, or just a handful of discontented individuals in the crowd, pressure started to mount to do more more more bigger better faster RAWR. It didn't work. If I do my research, I can lead a successful raid with the best of them, but my heart won't be in it and I think that shows.

It wasn't the mounting pressure that made me cancel, exactly, it really was the real-life flurry of activity, but with that flurry on the visible horizon, I had to decide what I was going to do with this guild during a time when I would be heavily inactive at best. At the same as my life heated up, the same happened for nearly my entire officer corps. We were running rudderless.

I decided to turn leadership over to someone else, someone to pick a new leadership circle and carry on the vision of our wonderful online family. I was a little surprised at how hard it was to find someone who would take the job. In an attempt to summarize, here's how it went down:

1) I gave leadership to a guy I know and trust and - for someone I've never met in person - I consider a great friend. For various reasons that I considered to be generally unfair to him, quite a few guild members disagreed with my decision. Some left the guild, some made his life difficult. He stepped down (and out, actually) for what he saw as the good of the guild.

2) I then gave leadership to a motivated up-and-comer who I didn't know as well, but had been in the guild for a long time and was very supportive of the atmosphere I'd always tried to nourish. It was shortly after this transition that my cancellation took effect. I don't know if I'll ever know the full story of what happened, but there was a shocking amount of drama and the guild fragmented 8 ways from Sunday. That leader has since retired.

Near the end of SOE's Living Legacy promotion, I decided to poke my head in and see how the guild was doing. When I logged in, I was greeted by virtual tumbleweeds and a whole lot of dust. There were maybe 1 or 2 people on during peak hours, but for as much as I love their dedication to the guild, I don't know why they stayed.

At first, this made me very sad...a guild that once boasted over 200 accounts with 80+ being regularly active (being a casual guild, we had a fair number of members who only logged in once in a long whole) was now down to 75 accounts with 2 or 3 active. That sucked!

I feel differently now, though. Coming back to a tiny guild turned out to be exactly what I needed! I'm hooked again, but able to be the extremely-casual player I used to be. I must be some sort of magnet, too, because a few inactive faces have popped back out of the woodwork since I returned.

Now my guild feels like it should; like it once did - a smaller group of people who just like to relax and have fun! We've already gotten a few new recruits, but I plan to be careful not to grow too fast or too large.

It was a huge step backward in some ways, but a tremendous relief in others. I'm now able to help administrate a guild again without feeling like it's a 2nd job that I just don't have time for. I can login for just an hour or two, and not even have to be there EVERY night, and people are OK with that. I can have my crack and smoke it, too - gaming life is right where I need it to be.


End said...

I love you buddy. Now that the dust has settled, I've also come home to the guild that we envisioned.

It just needed a reboot. /wink

Oi said...

Oh while I'm thinking of it. Need website? I have a copy of the old one floating around.

(aka: End)