As of today, I am no longer a Guild Mistress.
I'd been the GM of Renamed since... well, I'm not entirely sure. I bet someone could work it out exactly but I *believe* it was sometime in TBC. It's been at least eight years, possibly more. My tenure has covered TBC, and Wrath, Cataclysm and finally Pandaria, and I decided now was the right time to step down after a sequence of events that made me realise that the game itself as a part of my Guild not only had stopped being enjoyable for me, but that I've moved away from many of the people that were expecting me to encourage and support them as they entered Draenor. That timeline began with something I thought would bring the Guild closer together, but demonstrated to me that actually, my leadership skills were no longer capable of inspiring support.
When I made the decision after consultation with officers to change our name back in April, I wasn't prepared for the depth of anger that accompanied it from some quarters. I'll be honest and admit I still don't understand why the people who got upset did so quite so vehemently: it's just a name. What mattered more, at least to me, was the meaning that was attached to the people INSIDE the name. I thought there was a depth of understanding and connection that it appears, at least for some, simply no longer existed. There were a number of reactions that I will admit reduced me to tears: how could people be so passionate about the Guild's title but seem to have little or no interest in anything else that went on within it? Were they angry that I should have asked them first and not gone ahead with the process? Quite possibly, but the fact remains that for vast proportions of time those with an objection were not as involved as others, who both encouraged and welcomed the change and my efforts to push the Guild forward.
It was becoming clear that what people expected of me and what I was capable of offering were beginning to diverge, and that the change I'd suggested might not be the real cause of the problem.
The Guild has been lucky enough to pick up a number of new recruits via my activities here and on Twitter, and I am very grateful for those people who have arrived and have made a positive change to the environment. However, it was beginning to become clear that there were some recruits who wished to join us without necessarily signing up to the standards and aspirations that existed after nine years as a 'core group.' In fact, there were those who clearly want to be just a 'social' part of the setup and nothing else. Of course this is absolutely fine, but getting people to give back and improve on what already exists matters a great deal to me. I get very frustrated at those who simply sign up to 'hang out' when I'd hope everyone has arrived to become an active and contributory part of our Guild.
My problem currently is pretty simple: I'm finding it really hard to live up to the standards I set for everyone else. When you can't do that when in charge, it is probably time to give another person the chance to set new benchmarks. There is also an issue that has been bothering me, and I feel I need to make a point about this as a result.
I don't think people should be basing their choice for picking a new Guild on the fact I do a Podcast or write a Blog. A Good Guild (IMO) doesn't need people joining to cash in on celebrity, it requires raiders and casual members willing to positively contribute, making it a better place for EVERYBODY to 'live' and 'play' in. It ought to be about how people add to the 'community' by joining, not what they turn up to consume. This was bought home to me when I watched a conversation with another Guildie unfold on Twitter, a person then subsequently follow me, and our conversation then not opening with pleasantries but with a blunt request to join the Guild. I could have simply directed this person to our website and let them fill in an Application Form, but I stopped and found myself thinking this wasn't the way I thought things should be. I would want people to join our Guild because of everything it is about, and not simply because of the notoriety of Guildies.
If I didn't know it already, then the post I wrote on the 16th of this month pretty much bought it home to me that the game has simply stopped being as enjoyable as it once was. Writing about what makes something 'fun' in game has always been particularly difficult as I realise, over the years, many things ceased to be enjoyable, mostly because I was the one who had to sort out the crappy stuff when it stopped being just that. Flex has at least made the issue of numbers for content an academic one, but encouraging players to regularly attend or give 110% is not easy when you're doing neither yourself. For me, in that respect, Alpha came around just in the nick of time because without it I'd have found it impossible to keep myself engaged in current content. Anyone who looks at the Blog should see this, and when we made progress in Flex a few weeks back I knew that if I wanted to to keep taking part, it was simply as a raider and not even as an Officer.
I have to be honest: I'm tired and I need to find a way to get my groove back in normal content, in ANY content. I'm not stepping down because I just want to play Garrisons either: I know this is the right moment for someone else to wear the title. I have pretty much given everything I have.
It is also high time I stopped obsessing about game choices and started making my own personal ones as a priority, especially when it comes to writing. I want to try and publish my own fiction this year and with Warlords coming I don't want to get grief if I choose not to log because I decide to write instead. I need to become a REAL dirty casual and give the responsibility to someone else for a change. If I can raid I will, but I'd like the opportunity to pass if that's okay, and to not feel guilty at doing so. I'm happy to give help and advice, but in the end I am going to admit that I need some 'me' time, to be selfish away from Renamed, and work on what matters most.
I am also more than willing to accept if the new GM decides to change the name back.
I've paid for three months worth of Guild Website 'time', in the hope it will encourage the new GM and the rest of the Guild to re-engage with each other. I am aware of players doing progression in Guilds on other Servers and players who may well be remaining from a false sense of obligation. I think this would be a great time for everyone to take a step back and re-assess their priorities, and decide where their future lies, whether it be in game or not. What is most important, at least for me, is that people can no longer claim this is 'my' Guild and 'my' rules, even though it has never been that way from the word go. It made me sad that when the name change went through it was easier to use me as a scapegoat and decide it was my individual decision and my judgement that was at fault than looking at the bigger issues I was attempting to remedy.
However, what's done is done, and it is high time everyone moved on, including me.
I'd like to thank Magnus for taking over the position of GM: like the rest of the Officer team (which still includes my husband) the new GM is utterly amazing and I am very grateful for all his help and encouragement over the years. I hope that my honesty with my decisions doesn't cause any issues: I still want to be a part of Renamed because the people who make it up remain very much my friends, and I hope that will not change as a result of my decision. Most importantly of all, I just want to thank everyone who's been part of what I have done in game since I began this journey, and I will remember every single moment with a sense of wonder, that we could achieve all that we did together for as long as we have.
To everyone else, here starts another chapter in my love affair with Warcraft.