A guild is a group of people who work together towards a common goal because of a shared set of priorities, whether it be leveling, casual raiding, hardcore raiding achievements, or just having a social experience and sharing the game with others. People join guilds to be with like-minded people who can help them accomplish their goals. What happens when the guild you are with no longer meets your needs? I suppose it depends on how long you’ve been in the guild, what you’ve invested into it, and how close you feel to the people in it. So if you’ve decided that what you’ve invested into the guild is not enough to keep you there, the people you used to be fond of now no longer seem to matter, and the time you spent in the guild now feels like “too long,” you’re left with, as the saying goes, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
Most people don’t seem to have a problem with people leaving a guild as long as it is done with a certain etiquette and consideration for other people in the guild. Obviously, things like stealing from the guild bank prior to departure, or harassing or libeling the guild post-quit, particularly in public are low things to do. The Renaissance Man over at his blog Children of Wrath recently had an unpleasant experience where a few of his closest guildmates left without any warning and took some “severance pay” with them. He mentions feeling an acute betrayal of trust because of the immediacy of the departure, the lack of warning, and of the evacuees taking things with them. It got me thinking about the etiquette of GQuitting and just how much leeway people should be given. Of course, it has to be measured on a case-by-case basis, the guy who has been in the guild a week, gets geared in a raid, takes some things out of the guild bank and then quits is obviously viewed in a different light from a long-time member who has helped build and grow the guild, contributes to its success, and leaves.
What caught my eye the most was his point about the rogue “burning through his DKP” and people taking loot in guild runs before leaving. When you know well in advance that you are leaving, from a moral standpoint, I suppose, you can argue that it’s a somewhat unscrupulous thing to do to take gear from a guild you know in your head you’ve already left except for some residual paperwork. But what about from a rational standpoint. If you are in a guild that uses a loot system like DKP which basically awards currency for contribution, don’t you have a right to spend the currency that you earned before leaving? You earned it and contribute just like everyone else did. Why should you have to leave a guild sitting on hundreds or thousands of DKP which will become worthless once you leave instead of spending it. You earned it after all. If you were staying in the guild no one would have complained. If you’ve already left the guild in your head, does it feel like being in a PuG where loot is free-for-all? Do you feel guilty being a loot-whore? Is it ok to feel like the guild owes you something even though you’ve already left them in your head and now you’re just collecting back-pay for services rendered?
The last time I left a guild, I passed on all loot that dropped that I wanted because I knew that I was leaving well in advance. We used a loot-council system at the time so I felt fine in doing that. It’s not like I’m some great moral and upstanding person, but it just felt like “the right thing to do.” But what if my guild had used DKP? At the time, I think I still would have behaved the same way. But if I was bitter at the guild for not meeting my needs for a significant amount of time, would I not feel justified in feeling “owed” something, in the form of a DKP-purchased piece of gear before I left? I’m not suggesting people wait to burn through their DKP before quitting or waiting to ninja one specific piece of gear, but just something that you would have wanted normally if you were staying and it was just another raid?
Another thing Renaissance Man mentioned was the lack of advance notice. Now, in his case, people told him that they would be remaining, then quit less than a day later. But do you need to give advance notice? I realize in the business world people are asked to give the courtesy of two weeks notice before they leave a job so that their employer can begin the search for a replacement to minimize the absence at a particular position. For high end raiding guilds, World of Warcraft is alot like a job. I suppose they could make a case for being given the courtesy of advanced notice. At the same time though, many guilds have a bench of players dying for their chance at a raid spot, so if an active raider leaves, there is usually already someone geared and ready to fill in the gap so it isn’t such an issue. I don’t personally feel the need for any kind of large advanced notice, like 2 weeks, but I wouldn’t ever just quit out of the blue. If a guild I was in was not meeting my needs in a social, economical, or raiding sense, I’m quite sure I would lodge complaints well in advance of any gquit so I don’t think anyone would be surprised if I quit after awhile if the issues weren’t addressed.