Guild member attrition and apathy

90 Worgen Druid
Ahoy all in the Raid and Guild Leadership forums – long time reader/first time poster. I’m hoping that someone can give me some advice regarding “dealing with” guild attrition and a great deal of apathy from my guild members.

I class myself, and my guild as casual raiders/social. We are adults with jobs and families along with outside interests. We try and have the best gear we can, and perform as best our gear & ability allows, but only raid 2 days per week and we usually only clear content after nerfs - and that’s OK with me. However MoP has just gutted us. I was the only officer, and I’ve been handed GM by a burnt out GM/RL who I haven’t seen since he promoted me. People aren’t responding to calendar invites (or sign up as attending, but don’t show with no notice) or in-game mail and I’m at a loss as to how to handle this, and boost attendance and morale.

A brief back-story:
-Faction changed a few years ago after a group of my friends stopped playing for Rift, joined my mother’s guild on the same realm, and made some great friends, promoted to officer.

-We hit Firelands, fail for weeks, dealing with attendance issues, performance issues until we finally get a good cohesive group together. This is my raiding bread and butter – I don’t mind the wipes because I love the feeling we get when you finally succeed with your team. Never attempt any HM’s.

-My mother offers me the guild; I tell her that I don’t feel I have the respect that our RL does, so she hands the guild to the RL and quits WoW. Dragon Soul goes pretty much the same way, but we move through the content with fewer issues than FL, start trying heroic without much success, only get H Morchok. People start attending less, we try an alts run which boost morale/attendance for about 3 weeks and then before MoP, we decide to stop raiding to rest a burnt out, DS saturated guild.

-MoP hits. I personally have some pretty major issues with game connection. I live in a rural area that has no cable/ADSL available and I use 3G mobile broadband. My connection HATES MoP and I spent 2-3 weeks DC’ing every few minutes whilst trying to level. It is mostly stable now, but as a result, I was one of that last of the team to hit 90 and feel like I’ve been swimming against the tide ever since. Most of the guild levels a few toons to 90, then it seems like everyone just vanished.

- We attempt raiding and fail pretty hard. This is not new for us, we keep trying. Some members, including the GM/RL, are ‘forced’ to play roles they would rather not simply because we can’t get a viable replacement. Tempers start to flare. We have issues with a particular guild member who is prone to raid rage quitting after imagining people are saying mean things about them (medical issues involved, and I admit, that we mishandled the issue with this raid rage quitting guildie simply because we couldn’t find a replacement for them and their SO who is also in the guild. We let their behaviour influence us for too long. We have spoken to them and set some rules, but we should have dealt with it sooner.)This caused some friction amongst our members, however I don’t feel this is the cause of our woes.

-People stop signing up for raids, and stop coming online. We try to PUG, unsuccessfully. The guild has essentially fallen apart. The GM/RL tries to get another member who was a RL pre Firelands to take over as the RL. The GM tells me he is burnt out and asks if I will take over the guild. I tell him I don’t feel that I have the respect he did, but yes, I will.

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90 Worgen Druid

So here I am. Our RL commanded respect. He knows his classes, the fight strats and is great at raid leading without being cruel or rude. He often told me that he couldn’t run the guild without me, but I’m flailing now that he’s gone. We’ve tried to meet up since for a chat about things, but I haven’t seen him and he’s not responded to my texts which concerns me.

Since MoP my members are basically ignoring everything. We put up calendar invites, and a MOTD asking them to respond yes/no/tentative so we can get a feel for what’s happening. Maybe 4-5 respond, when we can see that the others have been on. We repeat the attendance mantra in vent before/after raids. Some of the members who didn’t indicate on the calendar still turned up around raid time and thus came along for the brief period we were limping along in a raid.

In the week since I’ve been GM, I’ve personally mailed or spoken to the members I’ve seen and asked them if they still wanted to raid with us – no pressure, just trying to suss thing out. I’ve not had a single response from mail, and I can see that they have been online on those characters. I’ve put up a raid each week, and last week we got some PUG’s. I was upfront about our lack of progression, and they were fine with that. I planned to do the same this week, but of the 4 who signed up, only myself and one other were online. This is not new since this ex-pac, but it feels amplified now that I’m ‘in-charge’.

We have a few members who are great raiders and could have left us ages ago for some more intense progression (to be honest I’m not sure why they haven’t). One of the major issues that our guild has always had is that because we are always well behind the progression curve, we find it hard to recruit new members. After all – who wants to join a guild that is only 3/6N MV…and only got Gara’jal down once? Because of this, we struggle each week to find 10 raiders, and then if someone is underperforming (or clashing with the raid team), we take them because PUGs don’t want to join a group where we may or may not get to the 3rd boss, and we felt not raiding was worse than “fail-raiding”. We don’t have a bench. This has made it so there is no “punishment” for not acting the way these people know they should.

I’m now the head of what feels like a sinking ship, and I’m terrified about it. I adore these people. They are great fun, but not at the moment…if that makes sense.

How can I recruit people to my guild? Nobody wants to join us because we are so behind. I periodically pop a recruitment post in trade, I’ve put a post on the Guild Recruitment forums and our realm forum and have had a few bites, but we’re not what those people were looking for.

How can I help people to actually RESPOND to mail and calendar invites? The guild website sits stagnant. It just feels a lot like my guild members CBF…

I’ve put up an event on the in-game calendar for a “meeting” just to try and TALK to my members to get an idea of who wants what, but I have a sinking feeling that the same few people will come, and the rest won’t, and so the cycle begins again.

I apologise for the long, tedious and possibly confusing story, but I feel like I’ve hit a massive wall. I don’t just want to throw my hands in the air and say “Screw it, I’m gone!”.
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90 Draenei Death Knight
This is why I gave up, and started raiding with another guild outside of my own. Progression was important to me, and it wasn't happening in the guild itself.

Weigh up your options, clearly progressing in the game is important to you, as others have said time and time again, you don't have to share a btag to be friends right? If they don't care, they don't care, you can't force anyone to do anything. Just be open with them and honest about your feelings, and if they are your true friends, they will understand you on this, that if they don't get their act together on this soon, you may have to consider handing the guild to someone else and look elsewhere?
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90 Blood Elf Priest
02/20/2013 07:26 PMPosted by Gauzepaws
How can I help people to actually RESPOND to mail and calendar invites? The guild website sits stagnant. It just feels a lot like my guild members CBF…

Honestly, you can't force them to respond. And once they get in the habit of ignoring the invites, it's easier for them to do so on following weeks.

The only things that spring to mind are:

1) you can't do it all. You NEED at least 1-2 competent officers, in whichever roles you feel are your weak points, to help you. Otherwise you'll follow your RL/GL into the burnout zone, fast. Look at those who are your members who have stuck by and ARE responsive, and maybe feel out who of them might be able to assist.

2) Go to your realm forums. See what's missing, see what other guilds are floundering, maybe see about communicating with other GLs who don't have enough to field a complete team and see if you can help each other. See if alts from other guilds can fill in temporarily. Right now, your progression is stalled by not having a group that's used to working together - so whether or not they're all in your guild, see if you can get some other small guilds to work with you to solve that part of the problem.

3) And when I say see what's missing - see if anyone else is routinely running 25m icc for the achieves and mount, for example. Ulduar. Sarth 3D runs with mounts on reserve on rotation. Sure, some of it can be done with 2 or a few people - but it's more fun in a real group. One of the guilds on my realm does it weekly, and it's a great recruiting tool for them. It introduces people to the core guildies, it's giving a benefit to strangers, and it lets their leader show she knows what she's doing.
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90 Tauren Druid
I would add that as the new leader of the guild, you have inherited some good and some bad. People who are apathetic cannot be changed. They will continue to ignore anything going on. The people to pay attention to are the ones who do listen and who do respond. This is the beginning of your new core.

People play this game for many different reasons, not just progression. Yes, we all want to progress, but there are people who value relationship and just doing something together with other people. I have been astonished when I feel we have had the worst possible night of raiding with everything going wrong, and then the response is, "That was fun." I spent some time figuring that one out, and I realized we had joked and laughed through so many things that went wrong that it was fun for pretty much everyone except me because I felt the pressure of making this a success. I don't do that anymore.

I do agree that an honest talk with your dedicated people would help. I have asked my raiders questions and found that they are disappointed by not doing something together more than doing a raid that leads to progression. So, I asked them to post on our guild forums what pre-Mists raids they would like to do for rep and achievements. If we don't have a full raid team, then we go do something for achievements and rep.

As the guild leader, you set the tone for the guild's atmosphere. Greet people, and stay in touch with what's going on in rl. Pay attention to their suggestions, and if they aren't aware of why some things are done the way they are, explain why. If they have a better idea, then take it into serious consideration and do something about it.

As for recruiting, you need to advertise for people who share the same values that you do. You cannot advertise for progression when you don't have it, but you can advertise for the easy-going fun that you like. I have seen more than one (ones that I was involved with) guild honestly advertise that they had an explosion of rl or ingame problems, and hey are rebuilding with xyz goals in mind. There are people who want to help someone rebuild and succeed.

Most of all, believe in yourself. You have more going for you than you may realize.
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90 Tauren Warrior
If people aren't responding, don't worry about trying to get them to. If they wanted to respond, they would.

The way you fix it is real simple: find people who will. You can't manipulate people into wanting to put as much into the game as you do, they're here for their own reasons, you have to find people who will.

The rest doesn't matter. If the ones who aren't responding find they do care when there's a danger of them not coming, all the better.
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90 Gnome Warrior
I had been an officer for about a year and a half when I inherited my guild (which shared many of the same issues you are facing). I took stock of the situation. As a social guild who raided on a limited time schedule (and never without nerfs), our mission was solid, it just had not always been followed. I adjusted a few things and got to work. This is what I did to revitalize an apathetic guild. It may work for you, but each situation is different :)

1. Officers. We had a couple really good, involved officers and a couple of less active officers. I cleaned house. The active good officers continued. The others were kindly let go (most seemed happy to step down). Duties were assigned - guild bank, membership, raids and events. New officers were recruited from the pool of active members. Everyone has an assigned/chosen duty. We plugged along.

2. Membership. There were a lot of bodies and not a lot of activity. We had a very large roster of guild members (around 700) of which less than 20 were consistently online and about half of those were willing to do anything. We started booting and demoting members based on time. If they were away a month, they were demoted to recruit rank, at 3 months they were booted. Promotions became solely based on time in guild (reduced tons of drama).

3. Activity. We polled members on what they wanted to do. One of our goals has (since Cata, at least) been to be welcoming to all and to be an engaging guild. We allowed the full members of our guild to schedule activities. Sometimes these are successes, sometimes not. We plugged along. Our calendar is full of stuff that people show up for because it interests them.

4. Recruitment. I recruited like a mad gnome. I am somewhat of an introvert, so this was difficult at first. I became a regular on the realm forums, I stayed pleasant and posted the facts about our guild -we were an affable bunch of goofballs, we liked to run heroics together, go on mount runs, work on achievements and raid one night a week. We were not a progression guild, but had fun when we raided. I stayed true to what our guild was and it worked. Slowly our ranks have been filling with people of a like mind. There are generally more people online in the evening than any other time in my 2 years in this guild. Guild chat is lively, our calendar is active and fun. Recruit, recruit, recruit!

All this has taken time and effort, but it pays off. I set out with a goal to find active players and either engage the disinfranchized/inactive players or remove them from the guild. I did it gently and with very little drama by being firm in where I wanted the guild to go and using our guild mission as a guiding factor.

Good luck. A guild can be revitalized, it just takes evaluation of goals, time, patience and lots of elbow grease.
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90 Human Warrior
Your guild, under the old leader is dead. It does not exist anymore. Its a brand new guild with some established members now under your leadership. Build it up if you want to raid. Start to schedule raid times, lay out guidelines for them, fill out with puggers for any spot that doesn't show up and start raiding.

If you don't think you are ready to do that, then drop guild raids right now and just find a group you can pug in with while you build up some experience and a reputation for yourself.
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90 Orc Warrior
What is your goal?

If your goal is to create a below-average raid guild with the same people who are frequently apathetic, unreliable, "fun" (probably not), and have no expectations for anyone for anything... then you might as well just sell the guild and join another.

If your goal is to create a competitive raid guild (it's a matter of mentality rather than achievement) with people who care about having a good time (i.e. not be a waste of time by being late/showing up unprepared/not gemming and enchanting/bad attitude/going to bathroom every 5 minutes), shows up when they say they will, and expect to have a raid group that sits down for x hours a week and focus on downing bosses... then heed some of the advice already given.

Long story short: cut the people who aren't cutting it, find people who will cut it, and set goals and expectations right away and then enforce said goals and expectations.
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90 Night Elf Druid
02/20/2013 07:24 PMPosted by Gauzepaws
We attempt raiding and fail pretty hard.

02/20/2013 07:24 PMPosted by Gauzepaws
Tempers start to flare. We have issues with a particular guild member who is prone to raid rage quitting

02/20/2013 07:26 PMPosted by Gauzepaws
This has made it so there is no “punishment” for not acting the way these people know they should.

So what you're saying is that your guild tries to raid but manages to "fail pretty hard", people get angry, at least one person routinely rage quits, and this behavior is treated as no problem by the guild. This is a toxic gaming environment, where not only are you failing at gaming but doing so in one of the least enjoyable ways possible. If you want people interested in your raids, you need to make them non-toxic. That's a pretty tall order, because it sounds to me like you will have to ditch a lot of current raiders, and then convince other members and a good chunk of the PUG pool that you've changed.

02/20/2013 07:26 PMPosted by Gauzepaws
They are great fun, but not at the moment…if that makes sense.

No, that makes zero sense. People who fail hard at raiding, have flaring tempers, and act in ways that they know they shouldn't are pretty much the direct opposite of "fun" in my book. People you're trying to recruit don't give a flying fajita that your guild was fun sometime in the past, they want to know about now. People in the guild aren't reacting to fun that the guild used to have, they're reacting to the anti-fun that your raids have become. Forget about good times that happened more than a month in the past, they're only good for 'that one time...' stories, and look at what you have to work with now.

At this point, your real question is 'why do I want to GM this?'. You don't seem to have a functional guild at this point, and your starting position seems to be worse than starting from scratch. You don't seem to like the people who are active in the guild (and they don't seem to like you), you're just coasting on 'old times' memories. While it's possible to turn the guild around, it's probably going to be more work than starting one from scratch, and definitely less than finding another guild that fits your playstyle. Unless you get a sudden burst of interest from people who aren't anti-fun, I really don't see any reason to stay with the current guild.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
02/20/2013 07:24 PMPosted by Gauzepaws
We have issues with a particular guild member who is prone to raid rage quitting after imagining people are saying mean things about them (medical issues involved, and I admit, that we mishandled the issue with this raid rage quitting guildie simply because we couldn’t find a replacement for them and their SO who is also in the guild

remove this person now... Do not let any one hold you hostage like that... Pug the spot

Same if the raiders do not show.. Pug their spots.. and stop inviting them

If you do not raid.. your not a raiding guild. Do not fall into the trap of we will raid when.....

---- When we get enough raiders, ---- When so and so levels to 90 ------ When we find a healer/tank

If you fall into we will raid when trap.. you will never raid and you will lose those who were motivated and you will not be able to recruit others..

Pug Pug .. the very last thing you need to do is Cancel

Find another guild who is in the same state as you are and see if you can help each other out.

If you do not want to raid , you do not like the guildies, they do not like you and you are just sick of it all.. Kick everyone out and keep the guild as an alt guild for a while, let it go dormant.. Maybe wait t il the next expanision is on the horizon and then maybe look to bring it back

Good luck
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4 Undead Mage
You should just let it be and let it go. Dont rely on others to complete your experience. Hold yourself accountable for that and then just let it fly in the company of others.
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90 Draenei Death Knight
Someone who rage-quits during a raid, is very frustrating, and sadly, it's a common problem with PUGS on a lot of servers, where if things get too hard they simply leave, I guess because of how passionate I am to try and get the damn bosses down, in a raid situation, I can put up with a lot of abuse and flak, and would take a LOT of abuse to make me leave something I signed up for (short of an obvious connection issue).

In order to raid in this game, you have to have a pretty thick skin, be open to constructive criticism and be willing to accept that your class just might not be ready to raid just yet. The way I see it a rage-quitter, regardless of reason, just doesn't have their heart in raiding, and the majority of rage-quitters in my experience will say things like 'I only rage-quit because that group was bad', well to that say, the people need to be patient for wipes, you're not always going to down the boss the first time, raiding is dependent on everyone pulling their weight, sometimes all it takes is one tank to slip up and make a mistake, and the whole party is dead. It happens. To me, I remain committed to a boss, regardless of whether we succeed or not. Rage quitters are a HUGE problem, there's nothing worse then being forced back to trade chat to recruit a pug after not downing a first boss, because someone quit on the first wipe, and then people start to make fun of your raid group for wiping over and over as if it's your fault, not the rage quitters...
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90 Worgen Druid
Cheers everyone for your thoughtfull replies - all good advice which gives me plenty to ruminate about.

Thanks again!
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