You were … disloyal: How do old guildies see returning ones?

I personally think that loyalty is a vastly over rated virtue. Being loyal to family or to a partner is great. Being loyal to your employer is sweet but badly thought out (they’re unlikely to return the sentiment). Being loyal to your country is vague, mostly because unless you have dual citizenship it’s the only place you have permission to live longterm anyway.

So for me, the concept of loyalty only makes sense when it’s mutual. There is also a sense in the word loyalty that it implies “through thick and thin”, meaning there might be times it hasn’t been easy.

I only mention this because I wonder if the “we stayed loyal” faction in WoW (for example) might not be too thrilled to have players like me back for Pandaria. After all, we didn’t stay loyal through the last expansion, we probably won’t stay loyal through the next one. Being a decent player isn’t the issue, being a reliable one in the long term possibly is.

I suppose I am wondering whether my WoW guild would really want me back. They’re nice people, so they’ll be polite and we can be friendly, but from a gaming point of view, I haven’t been there when they really needed people to be loyal.  I also wonder if it was a good idea to offer them free trials to SWTOR, but that was because they were friends and I think it’s a really fun game that they’d like. I now wonder whether it was taken as an indication of intent to poach but … I just thought my MMO friends would like to try a game I’ve enjoyed.

If you are in a game where you feel you’ve stayed loyal, how do you feel about less loyal players coming and going?

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23 thoughts on “You were … disloyal: How do old guildies see returning ones?

  1. It’s a concern I always have, but I think offering free trials isn’t poaching, and that some guild friendships can get over the fact that people don’t always enjoy the game as much as one another at all times. Plus, omg, WoW has been going SO long.. it is only sensible that people need a break sometimes.

  2. My loyalty to my guild was mutual – I suspended my account after six months of Cataclysm, and so did everyone else. :-)

  3. I think people differentiate between types of disloyalty. Leaving for another guild within the same game is different (and generally considered worse) than leaving the game altogether.

    There’s some recognition of a natural cycle, that people go on to other things, and may come back to the game later.

  4. Funny thing about new expansions: be willing to play a healer or a tank and one of the earliest in your guild to the new level cap and it’s water under the bridge to the DPS.

  5. I’m more annoyed with people who say they will turn up and then don’t, than people that tell me they are leaving and don’t know when they’ll be back. At least you can count on the latter not being there. Goes for personal life as well as guildies :P

  6. From a social point of view, we were always happy to see familiar faces return. It’s just annoying from the logistical angle, when you suddenly have the returning people potentially taking group spots from those who’ve loyally and reliably filled those spots for months already. Not to mention that there’s always a niggling doubt about how much time you want to “invest” into helping returning people get their characters back up to scratch if they are likely to just leave again soon.

  7. I think Rohan made a good point; guilds tend to be less forgiving when it comes to fickle members (who might also not be reliable in attendance for long) jumping ship for a ‘better guild’. leaving the game for extended breaks however isn’t usually the same issue. most guilds have some respect for real life and also a fellow member choosing to quit over burnout, boreout, whatever.
    I guess the frequency of leaving and returning would influence the acceptance too.

    As for loyalty I agree fully it needs to go both ways. I’ve made a few bad experiences with being too loyal and therefore being taken for granted (and for a fool). so guild loyalty is something I am very careful about and don’t expect too much in others, either.

  8. I always saw it as a ‘take each situation as it’s own’ sorta thing.

    A member who has known RL things that comes up that comes and goes from the game and is expected to have said RL stuff? No problems. A member who just has bad luck with RL now and then and has to come and go? No problems there.

    When a player gets easily bored, drops, comes back some months later wanting to raid, gets easily bored again, drops, comes back some months later and wants to raid, gets easily…you get the idea-I tend to be twitchier.

    Now, keep in mind I never mind bringing people back as social, non raiding members, but in a guild that’s trying to progress, fickle members don’t work very well on a raiding team. It causes friction with loot(and not even from a lootwhoring, ooh purple shiny way-in an actual logistics way, where, say, a member comes back, gets a bunch of gear and leaves, thus affecting the rest of the raid’s outfitting for progression.) It also causes some friction with performance(some classes have been known to change quite a bit from tier to tier depending on Blizzard’s whim, so the raid is stuck waiting for the returning player to get up to speed.)

    In short, fickle players are fine, but I wouldn’t give them a spot on the raiding team, unless the guild were very very casual raiders who don’t particularly look at progression. Shintar I think nailed it-there is also that possible feelings from others of ”we’ve been here burning the midnight oil in an expac which we may not have liked too much, why should the people who leave get treated the same?”

  9. I’d like to know how they feel about people who server transfer their main because they valued a couple other friends more than them, quit for a year, and then come back and start playing an alt that somehow wasn’t gkicked. Because to me, that person sounds like a bit of a jerk, but they seemed happy to see him and just sorry that he’d left.

  10. I don’t own the peoples I play with. Me guild lost a buncha folks ta SWTOR, and a few ta various RL stuffs, and hadda suspend raiding at 4/8. Was disappointifyin’. But folks has the right fer ta find they’s fun, or renovate they’s house, or go back ta school. If’n they comes back in MoP, I will welcome thems with open arms.

    • “But folks has the right fer ta find they’s fun, or renovate they’s house, or go back ta school.”

      Yep. Pretty much this, all the time.

      I am in the opposite situation from this post – I stuck around while my guild went on hiatus. I moved a toon or two, but now that the guild is reforming I’ve got … feelings.

      But I can’t really blame them for wanting to try other things, especially when they weren’t feeling engaged in Cataclysm content. Lord knows they weren’t the only ones.

      • You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have feelings.

        Maybe I feel a bit bad because I’m now tending to leave games when I start to feel burnout, and I know it’s only because other people stayed that I might have a guild to go back to later. One likes to hope they stayed because they were having fun and not because they felt obliged though. I just sometimes wonder if it would be easier if people said, “You’re just a fair weather player, why don’t you go join another guild because you’re not really one of us any more. Unless you’re willing to tank raids in which case we’ll allow you to come along.”

  11. Personally I’ve just been happy to see old friends return (not guild-jumpers though… There is a difference, though I don’t count em traitors or something along those lines)
    …Im hoping my old wow-guild will feel the same about me, when I return from finishing the single-player part of swotor

  12. For me, it’s more about the personal relationship. If I actually like a person, I’m always happy to see them return regardless of whether they stopped playing, transferred servers or left for a different guild. On the other hand, if it’s just some guy who used to raid with us and then disappeared, he’ll need to start over and definitely isn’t going to step right back into the same spot he left. The guild has moved on since he’s been there.

    The only way to know how your guildies will feel about your return is to ask them… publicly on a blog.

  13. As the GM of a (mostly) abandoned guild, I would not be happy if an old-timer returned. We have worked hard to put our guild back together, and have succeeded, but it is a different guild now. In the past, returners have been drama-bringers, and have caused guild-wide dissension when they were not allowed to do things in “the way it used to be.” It isn’t like that anymore, we do things the “new” way and returners are never happy. And neither is anyone else. When people come back, I think they should look for a new guild and start over. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but it did seem that you were looking for an honest answer.

  14. I’ve no problem with people who’ve taken a break for whatever reason – be it personal issues or service abroad or just getting burned out on a game. There does have to be an understanding on the part of the returning player, though, that thinghs have moved on in their absence – for example, they can’t expect to be instantly reinstated as a core raider if there’s some other guy who has held down what used to be ‘their’ raid spot for the last six months.

    My wrath is reserved for those who join a guid, take advantage of that guild’s help in levelling up and gearing up, and then leave for a more ‘progressive’ guild just when the time comes for them to pay all that help forward. There’s no way to paint that behaviour as anything other than ‘self-centered asshat’ and players who pull that stunt go straight on my shit list.

  15. I think it depends on what the situation was when you left WoW. Did you leave on good terms or bad terms? Was there a lot of churn and poaching from other guilds, and you just up and left because it sure didn’t seem like the guild was going to survive? Did your friends all leave first, on less than stellar terms?

    Those are all complex questions that go into such a loaded inquiry, Spinks.

  16. I’m always pleased to see old kin members return. In a way it vindicates the decision I made to stay! I also like it when ex-members drop by to say ‘hello’ and let everyone know how they are getting on. It’s simply nice to be remembered and keep contacts going.

  17. Yes. All things being equal and guild needs/drama/personal chaff aside, my observation corroborates what Berath said: many people treat returnees like prodigal sheep, with a certain unspoken air of superiority. “You’ve wasted all this time straying elsewhere, but I was wise enough to stay with what you ultimately deemed best” kind of thing.

  18. Unfortunately there is some people that treat returning members as though they have been disloyal to them personally.

    I love seeing old guildies log back in. It’s about the person, not where they spend their gaming time.

  19. The only person I’m 100% guaranteed to live with my whole life is me so I do things and make decisions based on what I can handle.

    If people are bitter about me coming and going, that’s their problem, not mine. I don’t want to find myself in a position where I’m paying to play a game I don’t want to play just because of other people.

    Yeah, I miss some of the people, but there are plenty other methods of staying in touch.

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