The last few days have been tough going.
Guild life is hard right now. Another week has passed without a 10 man raid and I've realised that despite my assertions that I don't need to raid I miss it when I don't. While sections of my online community appear to be ambivalent towards the game and the enjoyment it gives me, I find myself getting frustrated at those who think that if they're not having fun any more, that's it for everyone. I should say at this point I do understand what it feels like to be made to do something when you don't want to, and how depressing it is to feel obliged to someone or something when you'd really rather be anywhere else. After all, this is a game, not a job.
The thing is, after almost six years of our Guild, I think what we stand for is worth preserving.
I am beginning to think that because I've been here so long and I remember a lot more of the history of the Guild than other people, that maybe I'm being biased. Then I look at those people who have complained that 'it's no fun' or 'I'm bored' and realise that actually these people still haven't grasped what we were doing in the first place. They never really bought into the social side of it, geography aside. It isn't about coming to a Real Life meeting, after all, it's about enjoying the game as something more than a collection of pixels, as a place to meet and talk and then play as a bonus. Those people can do that elsewhere, I think, and therefore we're going to become surplus to requirement in their lives at some point anyway.
I also find myself wondering that if I were one of those people, I'd probably have stopped playing long ago as well. The fact is, I'm not. This is what I enjoy. I'm a gamer, and I've been so for a very long time, and if I weren't here I'd probably be in another MMO. While other women my age love their soaps or their gardens or whatever else may float their particular boats I love this. I do often feel embarrassed that this is the case especially in situations with 'non-gamers' but the fact remains that when I try to pretend I'm something else I get depressed. I may not be awesome or l33t or whatever adjective you care to throw (noob works more often than not, let's be honest) but I do love the special camaraderie this game has produced. What I now need to see is if it is possible to make everyone else feel the same way.
We've had our traumas in the past but we continue to outlive many, many Guilds on our server. We may not reach the Guild Cap first but we'll get there, and when we do I hope it's with renewed enthusiasm for the content and the same desire to simply enjoy what we do and who we do it with. The wheels are in motion to get what remains of the Guild who are active both motivated and willing to tell myself and the officers which way forward we need to go. I hope that the people who have drifted away, for whatever reason, can find the time to at least return and say goodbye if they're really leaving or perhaps book a space in case they just want to log in once in a while and just say 'hi'.
The best way to make this happen, it seems to me, is to give everyone a chance to have their say. If they choose to stay silent, at least they were given a chance.