Hello, and welcome to Friday! Belonging to a community of like minded gamers is a great thing, but even the tightest of groups can still drift apart. Arguments begin, content becomes old, or people just decide to quit playing altogether. This is what I have had to deal with for the past few weeks. The core group in my World of Warcraft raiding guild has split up. Half the group decided to cancel their subscription to the game, the rest are looking to move servers. Today we are going to look at what to do when one finds oneself in this position.
Do not panic!
When the news arrives that a group is going to part ways, the worst thing to do is to start worrying. Every group has a leader (or at least that one guy who wants to take charge of every situation), and any leader worth their salt will have a plan in place. In Warcraft this could mean finding some replacements to cover the raid for the week, or looking for a new guild that can accept the remnants of the raid team. In other circles this could be as simple as phoning around a few friends to make up numbers, or finding a new game to fit the number of people available.
If the leader is one of the group that has left now would be a great time to find someone else to run things. Guilds often have officers who can step up when anyone more senior is missing. Local groups can find a new location to play. This could even be the time when oneself steps forward to take control of running gaming sessions. Either way, this leads us on to the second step:
What can I do to help?
Whether or not one chooses to lead their group, it does not hurt to be their for the other lost souls who have found themselves in the same position. Not everyone needs guidance, some may just want a friendly ear to listen while they rant about the state of the group. It may be that a few selfish people are the cause of the group falling apart, in which case a conversation with these people may ease tension within the group enough so that it can continue on as it did before.
Be careful of escalating any drama when dealing with others. Many people have a short fuse if an argument has just happened, and even the best intentions will not help if they are intent on causing damage to the team. People like this are best excised from the group before they have a chance to to cause permanent damage. If the situation blows up, or rifts can not be mended, we move on to the final step:
Have a backup plan
Anyone who has played in a game for a significant amount of time becomes acquainted with at least a few people who populate the servers. There may even be a local rival group that get together for gaming. These are the people that one may need to turn to if there is no hope left for the existing group. Looking further afield, there are other servers or even groups in other towns if one has the ability to travel the distance required. A quick internet search may be all is required to find some like-minded people to fit in with. Even if the existing group looks like it may hang together, it does not hurt to keep other options in mind.
Many games have a way of pairing players up with other people. This is not always a sufficient replacement for playing with friends, but it can help when transitioning from one group to the next. If there are no other groups to join, there is always starting a new one. Advertise on message boards, spread the word through the community, or introduce some new people to the game. Not everyone is up to the challenge of running a group themselves, but those who do will find it a rewarding experience when gamers come together under them to tackle difficult content or other players.
There comes a day when even the most enthusiastic player has to admit that their game has run its course. As sad as it may be, it may be time to move on and find something else to play. Keep in touch with the friendly players, because they may just turn up in another place years down the road.
Has your guild or group fallen apart? Have you ever had to manage nine or twenty-four squabbling imbeciles? Let me know in the comments!