It is not uncommon for a guild to start on a downward slope when an expansion draws to an end. With new content looming people start to be less keen on repeating the old encounters over and over again. Many might wonder what the point is when in a few months something new will come along and brush the old aside. Guild’s get a little something that I call the “End of Expansion Blues.” Iniquity is going through it right now and we’re certainly not the only guild.
The sky is falling
One of the first things you’ll see as a guild leader is a reduction in raid attendance. In smaller guilds like Iniquity force reduction can be pretty devastating. Each body that isn’t there means a huge loss for us. In larger guilds it means using your second string players. In either event your success rate will decline and people will question whether you can continue on. Each failure seems to snow ball and before you know it everyone is calling gloom and doom. This is where the guild’s management needs to step in and right the house. This is not something new. In fact it happens all the time.
The first step is to be honest and upfront with your players. Acknowledge the problem and accept that it exists. People get tired of doing the same old encounters over and over again. There is no shame in that. We play MMORPGs to enjoy ourselves and support our friends. If we’re really hating the game we can’t support our friends as well. Explain to your members what the issue is and try to meet them half way. Perhaps cut raid days back or only focus on what they want to do. It is better to do that than nothing at all.
Once you’ve acknowledged the problem you need to accept that it isn’t personal. When guild members take breaks it is not a reflection on you or the guild. It is a reflection on the game itself. Everyone assumes that a “loyal member” will never break ranks and that is just rubbish. We wear out. We need a battery replacement. Be kind to everyone that goes on break. When they say “quit” you say “break.” Tell them you’ll see them later. Trust me, chances are you will. New expansions bring people out of the woodwork unless they feel there is no bridge home. Give them that bridge.
Soothe the others
Ensure that the guild members that remain during the slump period know it is temporary. Instill them with the confidence that when the new content is released the guild will pick up again. Players will return and they need to believe that. Let them know that everything isn’t as dark as it seems and that they’ll be fine. You can even address certain temporary situations. For instance, I’m in Germany and unable to play. That means that Iniquity is a healer and officer short. That isn’t permanent. I’ll be back. Use that knowledge to give confidence! People just want to be in the loop.
Always remember that a guild full of friends is strong. People come and go temporarily but they always know the way home. Don’t give up on them, keep a positive attitude, and adjust your play style to meet the slump. After all, it is better to go into a new expansion hungry than worn out and ready for a break.