Battered Guildie Syndrome is a Serious Problem


You might not have heard of this name. Although I’m certain you’ll have seen it in other players. Maybe you have even experienced it yourself.

Throughout this post, I will refer to Battered Guildie Syndrome with full caps in front as it deserves that sort of attention.

Let me tell you a story.

There once was a Mage named Miranda. She was one of the top spellcasters on her server. The guild she was in was formed like how most guilds are: A foundation of friendships. Over time, it expanded until the Argonauts had enough to launch 25 man expeditions.

This is the story of most typical guild startups.

Unfortunately, like most fairy tale guilds, there was a problem.

And that problem’s name was Larry the Stable Guy.

Note: The nickname was coined for his dogged insistence at watching Stables all the time so he could surf the net while everyone else did all the work. Sometimes he’d get so involved that he’d miss out on Horde players gaining possession of the flag from under him.

His tongue was so sharp and so smooth, he eventually worked his way to the top of the guild as an Officer.

Raids became more difficult. The atmosphere was loosening up. People weren’t hitting their tears. They were dying for stupid reasons and simply not doing what was expected of them.

But not for Miranda and her cohorts. She bought the best consumables and augments money could buy. If elite players had a spokesperson, she would be it.

Not everyone around her shared her attitude about trying hard. Why bother doing your best when bosses were dying anyway?

Slowly but surely, Miranda’s spirit and those of her friends were worn down bit by bit. Her friends couldn’t handle the atmosphere anymore. One by one, they said their goodbyes and left until Miranda was the only one left. By now, she was an Officer. The Argos had a large number of talentless players and bozos. Week after week they’d enter Naxx and continue to be stoned by Patchwerk. She was growing tired and increasingly frustrated.

One day, Miranda’s friend Faith contacted her to touch base and see how she was doing. Faith’s guild had cleared out nearly all the content Wrath had to offer. They had a starting position for a DPS caster and Faith happened to remember Miranda.

Faith practically begged and pleaded for Miranda to transfer over. These guys knew their stuff, he said. Their policy of progression is in line with yours, he argued.

But Miranda adamantly refused. She felt that she could still change the guild. Not only that, they depended on her too much. She felt she would have betrayed them had she just packed up and moved. Because Miranda didn’t budge, Faith eventually gave up and never talked to her again.

Miranda continues to feel weary and disappointment. She was in a casual raiding guild after all. But she wanted to do much more. Every time she felt like leaving, she just couldn’t do it. She felt an obligation to stay. She was afraid of the guilt that would’ve washed over her.

This is just a dramatic and fictional account of what a typical player with Battered Guildie Syndrome goes through.


How do you recognize a player with Battered Guildie Syndrome?

  • Inability to make a decision
  • Difficulty saying no
  • Obsessively sacrificing their needs “for the good of the guild”
  • Playing down guild infractions as nothing serious
  • Continues to go back to their guild despite wanting to leave
  • Frequently talks about leaving
  • A strong sense of loyalty
  • Personal goals do not appear to coincide with guild goals

Battered Guildie Syndrome is a very serious problem. It continues to ruin the lives and experiences of thousands if not more players to this day.


Players at advanced stages of Battered Guildie Syndrome considered irrecoverable and untreatable. Treatment is a complete longshot at best.

For those in the early stages, a healthy dose of reality and a good wake up call have a 50/50 chance of working. Some studies show that applying a large amount of peer pressure is enough to cause players to realize that their guild isn’t working for them.

At this time, there is no known 100% effective treatment available to combat Battered Guildie Syndrome. The ability to logic and reason with the patient may have mixed results especially if their sense of reasoning is already damaged.

In the end, Battered Guildie Syndrome patients may end up continuing to be a part of their organization. Until treatment can be found, we have to face the fact that they may suffer from Battered Guildie Syndrome forever.

Image courtesy of hamma

36 thoughts on “Battered Guildie Syndrome is a Serious Problem”

  1. Hah,

    that’s fantastic. I believe I was suffering from this until very recently and there is a cure: its called massive guild drama that dissolves the guild in two days.

    Off-topic: Any chance of seeing the rest of the naxx healing guide any time soon. I know there are plenty of sources for boss strategies, but I really liked the litttle priest perspectives that your descriptions had.

  2. Damn, I see myself in this for a 100%. I hate leaving guilds, eventhou my reasons are correct, I feel like I’m not loyal. To give my own situation:
    1 year in a guild, that stopped raiding 25men, because we made 0 progress in TBC and I stayed. During that time I got asked by a fast growing, succesfull guild. I kept declining them saying I want to be loyal (eventhou only 3-4 members cared about me and the rest didnt…). After 6 months of declining the invitations I gave in and left my old guild. Where from the 15ppl online, only 3 people actually said goodbye to me. So now I’m in this new guild for only 1 month, but they’re great!

  3. Holy crap, ok you just sealed my decision for me. I think I’ve been suffering from this as well. Time to /gquit and join some friends who are getting things done.

  4. I think i am infected. But I CANT leave my guild, because it would really ruin the guild. And a 6 year old WoW Guild is something, which is worth to keep it alive, i think.

    But thanks for that posting, it’s a little bit like a wakeup-call. But i just wake up the wrong direction, because now i would try to do more for my guild instead of leaving.

  5. Great description and analysis Matt of what is, I think, a fairly common phenomenon. I’ve definitely seen this before and the players who fall victim are usually the awesome players, the Mirandas in your article who are kind, caring, and go above and beyond the call of duty. As Krinan put it in her recent guest post, leaving a guild is hard to do. Over time, guilds can become like dysfunctional relationships, or even families. As humans, sometimes familiar suffering seems better than the anxiety provoked by the new and the unknown. The thing to remember is that WoW is a game, a hobby, something we do for fun, no matter how serious we sometimes take it. As someone who has left a guild recently, it was one of the most painful decisions I’ve had to make, and yet the new crew I’m with is awesome. The thing I’ve learned is this. When leaving a guild, if you expect to find the “same thing” as what you had minus the drama, you just set yourself up for disappointment. Every guild is unique with its own positive and negative aspects, just like every lover is unique, different, and demands to be appreciated for him/herself. You have to go in with an open mind in order to appreciate what a guild new to you has to offer. Yes, you’ll miss people and things from your old one, but if you do your homework and pick a good guild that matches what you want out of the game, as Krinan suggested, and if you can be patient with yourself through the “new kid in school” anxiety, you’ll do just fine.

  6. I think you have just described Noobiewan’s entire guild… no, seriously. I used to be there and it was bad then – that was a year ago. The GM has been MIA for months due to work commitments etc, but refused to let go of his position, so Noobie and his fellow officers have been doing their best, but still with the same results. Such a shame!

    Softis last blog post..Monday Musings… already!

  7. 1) This happened to me with a three-year guild. I was an officer for a while, came back after an absence and felt like I owed soemthing to the guild. The only reason I got out was because of a free server transfer. That and a person I thought was my friend, who would complain about leaving the guild all the time until she got promoted to officer, told me to stfu or /gquit when I said I might be unhappy with the guild.

    2) I’m sure I’ll be ridiculed for this, but I found the tongue-and-cheek analogy to battered wife syndrome to be a bit much. I like the analogy in theory, but felt the over the top nature of the post carried it just a little too far.

    But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  8. @Karyss: I’m a Criminology major. I’m well aware of battered wife syndrome. I know a few people in questionable relationships but it pains because I can’t do a thing about it.

    But you know, weighing the costs between writing and not writing this post, I realized that if I can convince even one person to change their online experience from misery to something for the better and make them realize that what they’re doing isn’t deserved, then it’s worth it. I can’t exactly change the world. But if I can help an individual come to the conclusion that the guild they’re in is poisonous and they realize that and they take action, then I can live with it.

    Even now, I know people in guilds who just aren’t happy being where they are. Yet they refuse to do anything about it and just put up with it. And it makes me sad.

  9. @ Karyss I will have to respectfully disagree. I believe there are definate parrallels of the psychology involved in both BWS and BGS. This by no means downplays the serious nature of BWS. Having found myself in both situations in my life I can say the mentality is very much the same. You stay out of a sense of duty, obligation, feeling trapped (regardless of proof/oppertunity to leave) etc No it is a very apt play on BWS.

    Perhaps its just a matter of looking at it from a different prespective. Staying in any situation like the one Matt describes isn’t good for your mental well being, it certaining isn’t good for your enjoyment of a hobby. MMOs are this pressure cooker of human interaction and psychology. Is it all that surprising to find rl behaviors mirrored in the game?

    All that said and aside. I found myself in a guild like that all through BC. The officers raided with another raiding guild and told us we were on our own. Officers were picked for the people they liked the most and everyone was told that the title meant nothing, but officers would only group with other officers…ever. When as a member I feel like I’ve been made a second class citizen in your guild its time to get out of Dodge. I’m much much happier where I am now! <3 Eastwind

    Pookies last blog post..Holy Priest Healing Mantras and Musings…

  10. Kimbo that’s harrassment!

    He’s going to link ME his enchanting.

    But as I’ve said before–you have to follow your bliss in this game. Sometimes a g-quit is the only way to do that.

  11. This sounds just like me a year ago. I was the lead healer and an officer in my raiding guild of a year and a half. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave, even though we couldn’t even down Moroes because the aoe was retarded and couldn’t stop breaking shackles.
    Eventually, I just got fed up with it and was all like, ‘Screw you guys, I’m leaving.’ Now, I’m in a much better raiding guild. 🙂

    Bacclors last blog post..I Know I Haven’t Been Posting Lately, But . . .

  12. I am recovering from this now. My guild and I basically had 2 conflicting ideas of how the game should be played, but I couldn’t bear the thought of abandoning the guild that I helped raise from the ashes.
    My remedy is a mandatory (minimum) of being guildless for 7 days, and then looking for a new guild to join in with for some heroics and runs that seem to flow on the same vibe you do.
    Several guilds may get used in the process.

  13. “I think i am infected. But I CANT leave my guild, because it would really ruin the guild. And a 6 year old WoW Guild is something, which is worth to keep it alive, i think.” ~ comment from jedimax

    I’m sorry, how were you in a guild before the game was even released? Didn’t WoW just celebrate it’s 4th anniversary? Being able to time-travel must really help you to keep ahead of things.

    Anyway, I don’t know how serious this post was but I agree with it fully. I *was* suffering a WoW addiction. In the past week, I haven’t logged on until the raid leader lets my partner know the raids are about to start. The guild leader is an insufferable, know it all, rude, arrogant and downright obnoxious person. She whines constantly when something she wants doesn’t drop, bitches about her bad luck, and yells, screams, swears and abuses everyone on vent. Funnily enough, our raids go alot smoother when she’s not in them, despite her extremely high dps. She’s ruining the game for me. Instead I’ve found myself doing other things and doing everything I can to avoid playing the game. I love the game, don’t get me wrong.

    Perhaps she’s doing me a favour….

  14. It is soooo true this post!! I was on an alliance guild too that was floundering in mediocrity, and I worked my way up to officer and class leader. My friends had long since headed over to horde side where they were having much more success in raids and pvp. My loyalty to the guild would not let me leave.

    What finally did it for me was when I was left out of our standard arena group for 2 weeks in a row (even though they made sure thier friends got their games in). First, I quit the arena team but not the guild. Then, out of protest, this sounds so funny now, I just stopped playing my alliance toon and played my horde toons for a couple of weeks. I came back and found my officer status stripped.

    After that it was horde toons only for the most part. I am in the top horde guild on the server now and we crush all content.

    Funny thing is I never did leave the alliance guild…just started playing my horde toons and left my absence to show my decision.

  15. i don’t know what’s worse, someone who won’t leave a caustic guild like that or the guild who makes people into that, trying to keep them out of guilt and acting like their members owe them.

    it’s totally co dependent and wrong on both sides, i don’t know why people would treat each other that way.

    i’ve been in guilds like that and i’m in one i love now, one i’ve been in for well over a year, and now I know what it’s like to have a respectful relationship with a professional guild who doesn’t pull that codependent crap. we even screen applicants very carefully to make sure their personal goals are in line with the guild’s, otherwise it just ends in drama.

  16. In my last guild, the officers would say one thing to draw recruits in and do something completely different and less hardcore, would never actually enforce the rules they claimed to have. Then they would pull guilt trip type ‘you owe us’ crap. This guild is nothing like that, the GM lives and breathes the rules, what i see is what i get, and he doesn’t pull the guilt trip stuff on everyone who goes their own way – i absolutely love it.

  17. Oh my gosh…been there.

    Except, we were a casual guild whose top 5 players took their max-level characters out of our guild for a raiding guild. But they expected those of us who remained to help level their alts. So they, too, could leave our guild for the raiding guild.

    After a warrior left for the raiding guild after I spent nights and nights helping him tweak his prot build, I kicked all their alts out. Which pissed them off, royally.

    But then we were left with a bunch of incredibly unmotivated players, disheartened that all of the max level “necessary” players left. We went from being able to run 10-player content to not being able to put together a decent 5-player group. We had had no tanks and I was the only healer. (insert healer-guilt here) Another guildie and I wanted to “SAVE THE GUILD!” So we tried to get them to where they said they wanted to be by running low level instances to help them level, but to be honest, I think they all started to *believe* they would never be good players.

    The other guildie and I /gquit when the initial group of now-raiders started contacting our guildmates trying to get them to leave our guild for a new “casual” arm of their new raiding guild.

    We rolled Horde on another server some time later. Happily ever after…for now.

    Kimberlys last blog post..Whoa! Fan mail!

  18. ive been a battered guildy since 2007. i love my guild, i use to be all alone before until i met their warrior gm who’s also a tank. i had a rogue back then, but i made a healer..for what reason i dont know. it’s just that i loved the fact i could get into groups easily whereas my rogue couldnt.

    anyway im still very grateful for being a part of my guild except, i have to always join their i cant watch a movie sometimes coz theyres gonna be a raid..


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