Alas, former GM

As I may have mentioned one or two million times before, I’m no longer the GM of Eff the Ineffable. Last Friday was the first time I spent any real amount of time in the game when other people in the guild were online and I had a few concerns going into it.

I haven’t been just a member in an MMO since about 4.5 years ago, so in many ways, I have no idea how to go about it. I recall being a wide-eyed noob in my first guild, feeling as though I had been spoken to by a minor deity when an officer chatted with me and offered At and me a run-through of ZF. Since then, I’ve learned that being in leadership can be just a title or it can be indicative of a person genuinely wanting to do something to make their guild a better place.

I also learned what I thought were really good traits to have in guild members and which annoyed me. So when I log in now, I log in wanting to be a valuable member, but also knowing that I’ve made a shift to not giving anywhere near the time my most valuable members gave me when I was a GM.

With that in mind, I fished up a storm a few days prior to the raids I had signed up for. I wanted to have two full stacks of feasts. I also ran a heroic, intending to wake up my muscle memory. I gave my gear a good, long look and fiddled with a few things to see if there was any room for improvement. And I studied up on the boss fights, even giving a cursory overview to the two I’d already killed before.

When raid time came around, I got my own damn self out to the instance and logged into Vent, where I sat quietly, waiting for the group to form. I sent a tell to the RL, offering to drop the fish feasts and cauldrons for the night.

A few minutes later, I was introduced to the new people in the raid. Some of them weren’t in the guild at all, but were a small group of people that the Effers have an alliance with, and it was about then that it sunk in just how bizarre the whole experience was to me. It may have also been when I started drinking. You can’t prove anything.

I more than willingly passed on leadership of the guild to someone that I believe will do a great job with it. She has been nothing but proactive and has given really clear communication. I then made a decision not to log in and not to raid and not to be a part of things for a month. Not in so many words, but no one forced me to take such a big step away. I wanted to. I don’t regret it.

But that doesn’t change that it was really fucking weird to be introduced to all these new people as “Alas, the former GM.”

I am the former GM, that’s indisputable. But dammit, it feels like my whole identity in WoW is summed up and dismissed in those few words. For the record, I don’t believe for a second that it was intended as a dismissive thing. It’s an accurate explanation. But it was also unnecessary. Why can’t I just be Alas? Or, if I require more description, Alas, arcane mage, slightly behind the curve on gearing?

But it was Alas, former GM.

And I’m not sure I can stay in a guild where I’m Alas, former GM.

It’s not an ego thing. I’m actually more shocked than anything that I had any sort of visceral reaction to those words.

The bigger piece of it is the more difficult one to to try to write about, because I think it will sound critical of people I don’t actually intend to criticize. The best way I can think to put it is that I am trying to be a model peon to people who aren’t anything like me and who very likely don’t have the same view of what a model peon even is. There’s just too much of a disconnect there for me to feel comfortable trying to be something that won’t be appreciated or understood.

Again, I’m not trying to pick on anyone here. It’s just a personality and preferences sort of difference, and I don’t know if I could be happy trying to be a valuable member to people who value different things than those which are the most important ones to me.

Obviously, I am working off of limited data here and I have no plans to just make a hasty decision to up and quit. It’s just that even though I went into Friday with some slight reservations, I didn’t expect a lot of the strain that was there to be there. And in true Alas fashion, I’ve thought about it all weekend and am now attempting a mind dump to see if it makes any more sense to me when I’ve written it all out.

So that leaves me with two questions for you guys:

1. Have you stepped down as a GM/Officer and been able to stay happily in your former guild?

2. Should I invest in a notebook so all my self-discovery sort of rambling isn’t inflicted on you?


Alas, former GM — 31 Comments

  1. To answer your questions:

    1. No, sorry, I have no experience with this.

    2. You should invest in a notebook if you want one, but if it is going to prevent you from sharing your self-discovery and rambling, then stay away from the stationery store.

    That is all. :)


    • I guess I’ll avoid stationery stores then. Should it worry me that people apparently get some satisfaction out of reading my lengthy derp fests?

  2. I stay, but my happiness has been tainted. Not my the lovely lady I handed the guild to, but by one of the very players who has been a thorn in my side so long.

    Don’t be kind to assholes, ladies and gentlemen. They never appreciate it, and turn on you in the end.

    But…I remain, and try to focus on enjoying the company of people who DON’T suck.

    • That sucks. Can’t you just put the asshole on ignore? I’m all about ignoring people that make me stabby.

  3. I have been in a guild where the GM had to step down for personal reasons outside of the game. When things calmed down and he returned, as a non-officer since his time was still limited, he was introduced as the previous GM – for a reason.

    We wanted the new people to understand that even though he was a new name to them, he had been a founding member of the guild and his words carried just as much weight as any titled officer. It was done to avoid any “who the hell does this guy think he is” commentary and to let people know that we would be paying attention to his opinions and they should too.

    • That makes sense, but when I left EtI, it was officer-free and policy was decided by everyone. So EtI might be changing in that regard, but it’s still there in my head that I should be equal in value to the new guy and vice versa. So this viewpoint honestly didn’t occur to me. But it’s certainly a better way to look at it than my freakish knee jerk reaction. Shocking.

  4. I was in a guild where the guild leader announced their plan to step down, and ended up changing their mind at the last second when they didn’t like the new direction the future leadership was taking the guild. It was a disaster – full of drama and hurt feelings, and the guild ended up collapsing shortly thereafter. You’ve already done admirably in my opinion. Whatever you choose to do next isn’t a negative reflection on yourself or the new guild leadership, and shame on anyone who might choose to think so. If it’s simply not comfortable to watch something that you created change around you, then so be it.

    • I often wonder if I’m rational or sane for feeling so possessive of a guild, simply because I was the GM. Sometimes I can rationalize it by thinking about all the work I put into it, but then I start to wonder whether other people in the guild also feel that they are giving a lot to it simply by being a part of it and working towards whatever goals the guild has on a daily or weekly basis. And then I start to think of all the things I do and all the things I have to put up with as a GM and I usually end up telling myself I am sane and rational to feel that sense of ownership.

      Which is a really long way of saying that your comment helps me feel not only that those feelings are normal, but that they’re understandable too. Thanks!

      • Of course is sane and rational fer ta feel a sense of ownership, even now. I can’t imagine anybodies not feelin’ that way under the circumstancifications. Havin’ gone through the same guild break-up as Kae, and havin’ watched our former GM drag us through what I would describe as a “bloody reign of confusion and terror”, I’d say it sounds like you deserve a pat on the back fer doin’ a damn fine job of handlin’ the steppin’ down. Now, is you okay stickin’ around? Some folks would be, some not so much and would decide fer ta make a clean break, but neither of these is wrong. Is just thems bein’ thems, and is now fer you ta be you. Whatevers that may entail.

        • The pat on the back might be a little premature as I’m still trying to figure out if I am handling the stepping down with any sort of grace or dignity! And then whether I am okay sticking around. But hopefully I will at least avoid the bloody reign of confusion of terror. Assuming I do, I’ll call it a win.

  5. You know, I never realized how “Alas, former GM” might come across. You’re right, that should not stand on its own.

    I propose:

    “This is Alas, our former GM until she was discovered selling the Guild Bank on another server in Brazil. She’s on probation now, but avoid speaking Portuguese for now. Just in case.”

    Seriously, here’s something you can do to help settle in as a peon. Try muting someone in the raid. You could never do this as GM! But as a peon, who cares! Bonus points if you mute the RL.

    So happy to see you back, and here’s to many more – sober or not! :)

    • What I’d actually intended was closer to what Arioch said, but I’ll keep this in mind in case I need to do it again… :-)

      • Elennar, I hope this post didn’t offend you at all. I hope it’s clear that I have nothing but respect for you and your abilities. I hope you know that I am aware I overreact and am a psychotic freak. I hope you know it’s okay if you want to tell me I am being a psychotic freak.

        So many hopes. So few not-awkward ways to try to express them. :D

    • Oh Grimm. <3

      I hope you tell everyone I was trying to sell the Guild Bank to someone in Brazil. Mostly because the dead silence that would immediately follow such an announcement would be so amusing.

      Confession time: I have muted people in the raid before, despite being GM and RL. Because I didn't give a shit what they had to say and they were probably trying to talk over me anyway. These shenanigans will continue now that I am a paltry little peon. The real perk is being able to ignore people in guild. You just can't do that as a GM because anyone might have legitimate business with you at any time. But now the things that make me roll my eyes violently have been silenced. It's sort of blissful.

      /sits back and waits for people to send me tells to see if it's them I put on ignore

  6. I’ve seen this issue from both sides.

    I’ve been in a guild where the GM and “main” officer both stepped down pretty close together and handed the guild over to a new trio of officers, but they continued to try and direct things despite not logging in and not raiding. Including overriding unanimous decisions made by the new officers and the raid leader. That was painful for all concerned, and they ended up forming a new guild and taking some old members with them.

    But I can also see where they’re coming from. I’ve also stepped down from being an officer and it was a struggle to see the guild changing, albeit only slightly, and to not be able to say anything or do anything about it. Even though those changes were probably for the best in the long-run, they just weren’t what I might have done. I didn’t last long there, but I tend to lean towards the control freak side of the spectrum anyway.

    • I am a control freak, so I get that. I haven’t really felt the need to try to take anything back over… so far. But it’s something I know about myself and will leave if I ever catch myself trying to be a backseat Guild Leader. No one needs that guy to be hanging around, so I already have a deal in place with myself to make sure it doesn’t happen.

      The changes that have come so far… I wouldn’t have made those changes, but I can understand why they have been made and I can see how they are good for the guild. Still, if it gets to a tipping point where I can’t agree or understand them, then that’s another tipping point.

      I think that’s part of my frustration with myself in this situation. I can imagine all sorts of scenarios where it would be best for me to leave. I have trouble believing all of them will be avoided so I can feel like I can stay.

  7. I wasn’t able to stick around after stepping down from my GM position a few years ago. Some of my reasons to leave had nothing to do with feeling awkward staying behind – I was making the transition from a beginner raiding / RP guild to a “real” raiding guild. But I could have left lots of non-raiding toons in the RP guild if I’d wanted to, and my former guildmates encouraged me to do so. I hung around for a while, but in the end I was too much of a control freak to be able to handle it. It’s a stupid Catch 22 – I didn’t want to lead, but I also didn’t like the idea of handing the reigns over to anyone else – and I agonized over it at the time. Now, 2 years later, I’m happy I made the choice I did and I also know that I will *never* take on a GM position again.

    Good luck in making this decision – I know it’s a tough one. To your other question: You’re welcome to buy yourself a notebook, but I know that I’ve been enjoying your honesty throughout this process. Thanks for the post!

    • As noted to Malevica, I am also a control freak so I get leaving because it’s too much to handle. I think it’s a good choice, to be honest.

      One thing that I do wonder about (about myself) is whether I could be a peon in another guild if it had never been mine to begin with. I think I could, but since I’ve never really tried it, I have no way of knowing. And if I couldn’t? Then I might as well quit the game or disable my ability to talk to anyone (you can do that with parental controls, right?) and stay where I have people I love.

  8. I’ve been on the taking over side of the equation, and we actually had the former GM reactivate his account after three years.

    From my experience, the best thing you can do to ensure a smooth transition is to avoid undermining the new GM. Feel free to give advice, but try to do so through /w and /o if you have access to it, rather than challenging openly in /g, /ra, or in vent.

    Another thing you can do for yourself is to make sure that you accept the fact that it’s no longer “your guild,” it’s “the guild you’re in.” It’s bound to be awkward for the first few weeks, but the quicker you can make that mental shift, the easier it will be to begin acting like a member of the guild.

    • Yeah, I whisper the new GM any time I think I have something I need to say. She probably dreads tells from me now. Hah.

      I don’t really know how to accept it’s not my guild any more, to be perfectly honest. Because, uh, it is. You know? I built it. And I’ve never been great at letting go of pretty much anything.

      That being said, I do see the wisdom in what you’re saying. Going about it is the hard part.

      • I don’t mean that it’s not your guild in the sense that it’s a different guild. I mean it in the sense that you no longer have the power of ownership in the guild. Guild Masters have ridiculous powers of ownership within their guilds. They can choose the membership, the activities, and if they so desire, they can destroy the guild. You don’t have that power anymore.

        It’s like you sold your car to your friend. It’s still the same car you put all your work into, because lord knows he couldn’t chisel off that “eff the horde” bumper sticker. And you can ride in it on trips, he might even take your advice on the radio station. But it’s his car, and if he drives it somewhere you don’t like, there’s not much you can do about it.

        However, as long as you picked the right person to take over, the guild should remain a fun place to be in.

  9. Years ago, our old GM stepped down, mostly because he wasn’t playing as much anymore and taking a break but he came back for a while and at present he’s gone again. He is still an officer. He is still in the guild. He sometimes likes to try to run things and often calls it his guild still… but he hasn’t been at the reins for 3 years at least now. Could be 4.

    He stayed around and probably will not leave because we are all his friends and he likes to talk to us. I am not sure if that’s how things are for you Alas.

    He doesn’t say he’s the former GM. We don’t say it unless someone asks. He is just one of the other officers.

    And about that notebook… buy it if you want to write about stuff you are not sure you want to post on the interwebz. Otherwise, I hope it doesn’t stop you from posting on your blog.

    • I hope I don’t come off sounding like a jerk although I am pretty sure I will come off sounding a bit hypocritical… but it doesn’t sound as though the former GM in your situation has really let go at all. Why does the current GM even keep an officer who is only around infrequently? I admit I have strong feelings on the issue. I’d demote that guy.

      Ahem, I’ll just step away from the soapbox.

      I do still have good friends in the Effer group, though I admit it feels a bit empty without so many of the old faces there. And I have so many concerns about the stress and strain of trying to really, truly and fully pass off guild leadership to the new standard bearer that I would be gone if it wasn’t for those friends.

      But talking about everything here is bringing me some clarity as to what I should do. As long as the strain is only on me, I think it’s okay to stay. If I am making the guild a worse place by staying, then I should go. That seems simple enough.

      • Oh dear, I didn’t realise how transparent it came through! Yes, my own personal feelings on that matter is that he didn’t let go (in fact a lot of us think that) and still likes to think of it as his guild even though he clearly is no longer in charge, but for sentimental reasons he is still an officer. I guess because our guild is a social raiding guild is why there is a lot of sentimental officers… and yes, I like the last part of yoru reply, it’s ok to stay if you’re not straining the guild.

        Nah you didn’t come off sounding like a jerk. This is the first time I’ve come out of lurking to post here, so I don’t know what you normally sound like…

        • I’m pretty sure I normally sound like a jerk. That’s the rumor, anyhow.

          And I wouldn’t say what you said seemed very transparent to me. I was just reacting from my own fairly hardcore stance about not having useless officers. And an officer that isn’t playing is about as useless as an officer can get. I was in a social raiding guild with similar issues and that’s where I learned to just demote anyone not in the game because it would actually be less drama than it is to have them keep coming back and asserting themselves when they’re not even really relevant anymore.

          Maybe I need to persuade myself that since I am a very part time raider now, I’m not terribly relevant to the Effers? Hrm..

          • Ermmm… No. You’re terribly relevant because of the relationships you’ve made and help to make. Titles, ranks, positions all have an inherent amount of authority. But, the Earned Authority from time spent with people “in the trenches” far outlasts any title. (imo) ;)