Officers’ Quarters: Dealing with a hostile guild takeover
In this week’s Officers’ Quarters, a demoted former officer takes over a guild. One member wants to know what she and her guildmates can do to take back control of their community. Unfortunately, the answer is “not much,” but there are a few things worth trying — plus we have some tips on how to preserve your guild’s legacy and prevent a situation like this from happening to your guild.
So, our guild goes back a long way, 2006, and near the end of Cata it hit a lull where quite a few people went on hiatus for an extended period of time. In the interim, our GL decided he was done with WoW due to RL, which we were fine with, but by the time most of the officers returned to the game to take over, a previous officer who was known for causing trouble (and had been demoted accordingly) had snatched up leadership. We first asked for him to turn it over to the previous GL’s #2, which he said he would contact her and do, but continued to pointedly ignore any attempts at getting in touch with him about it from then on. The main problem is he never logs onto any characters in the guild anymore EXCEPT for the GL toon every 2 or 3 weeks, for about 5 minutes at a time and never talks to anyone when he does. It’s a small guild now, and mostly just for close friends, but with him essentially holding the guild hostage we have no access to the gold or certain tabs in the bank, no freedom to /gkick if we had to, and don’t feel comfortable recruiting. I know the obvious solution is to leave with the friends I still have playing and make a new guild, but we’ve put years into all the guild achievements and rewards there, it’s a hard idea to swallow. Is there anything we can possibly do other than just wait to hope he forgets to login some month?
Thank you for your column, and any advice you have! (Even if it’s “nope”)
This is very unfortunate for the guild. I have to wonder if the guild leader is doing this out of petty revenge for his demotion. Otherwise, if he doesn’t play the character, why bother logging in to retain leadership? Once upon a time, a perk called Cash Flow created an endless supply of gold for corrupt guild leaders. In fact, some players created guilds for that very reason. They would invite random low-level players and just make bank. It’s one of the reasons Blizzard nixed that perk.
Today, there aren’t any tangible long-term benefits to taking over a guild outside of having a few extra storage tabs all to yourself. Once you’ve looted the bank, that’s about it. So if your new guild leader continues to hang on to the guild, odds are it’s personal.
You have a few potential options here, but they are fairly limited. Unfortunately for you, Blizzard has stated that they will not intervene in these situations. On their Guild Master Dethrone page, they say, “Blizzard support will not intervene or interfere with guild dethronement, as it is a player-owned and player-executed process.” I highly doubt that a GM would be able to help you. You can give it a shot and open a ticket. You have nothing to lose by trying: worst case, they say no. Blizzard’s policies are pretty clear on this issue, but maybe this is the one exception. You never know.
If you have any way to contact the original guild leader, perhaps he could try to talk to the current guild leader and ask him to transfer the leadership role. This is the longest of long shots, though. After being demoted, this former officer probably doesn’t feel obligated to do the old guild leader any favors. But your old guild leader may have some pull with this guy still, or he may know someone who knows the guy in real life where you can contact him directly and ask him to hand over the reins. (I’m 100% not advocating harassment — ask nicely!)
Hoping for him to forget or let his account lapse isn’t really a solution. I recommend abandoning the guild and moving your members over to a new one. You can start fresh, begin recruiting again, and rebuild. In the end, I think you’ll all feel better after putting this ugliness behind you.
If you take this road, you should also do two things. First, leave a message however you can for future returning players so they can seek out the new guild. You don’t want them to come back and think that the community is completely gone.
Second, as you migrate, your current members should leave one of their high ranking characters on the roster. There’s a chance that your lovely guild leader will stop bothering to log in when he sees that just about everyone is gone. He may consider his revenge fulfilled. Then, maybe you’ll have an opportunity to take the guild back sometime in the future. You’ll only be able to do that if you still have an eligible character in the guild. Then you can move everyone back if you want. I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s not impossible. Good luck!
Protect your legacy
It’s a good reminder for guild leaders out there: if you want or need to stop playing, make sure to promote someone you trust in your place. Don’t leave you legacy to chance. Don’t let your last act as guild leader destroy the guild you worked so hard to build up. So much can go wrong when you don’t choose a successor. At the end, you may not care about the guild anymore, but there are probably some left who do. Even if the person you promote isn’t an officer, it’s better to promote someone who cares than risk letting someone take over who wants to do harm to the guild.
This is an extreme case, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard of something like this, either. Leave the guild in good hands, and maybe, if you change your mind down the road and want to come back to WoW, you’ll still have a community to return to.
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