The Time Bomb Every Guild Leader Holds

The original Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clockface that first originated in 1947 by some really smart people (directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists). The closer the clock is to midnight, the closer the entire world gets to a global catastrophe. Right now, the clock is at 5 minutes to midnight. As nations attempt to find ways to secure nuclear weapons, time gets added. If they’re unable to agree or if additional nations become nuclear capable, time gets removed.

Have you heard of the guild doomsday clock?

It’s this internal timer that GMs have. When it hits zero, the guild collapses in spectacular bits. The progression clock is naturally about raiding. If you recruit new players or get progression kills, time is added. If you lose players for any reason or wipe continually to bosses, time is subtracted.

This is not going to be apparent to most people. But every guild leader has that internal pressure on them whether they realize it or not. They have a mandate to uphold and goals to achieve. Every failure adds more pressure until they can’t take it anymore and disband. I’ve seen it to happen to guilds that I never would have expected to shut down. I run this organization everyday wondering if it’ll be the last and it’s been like that for the better part of a year. Fear is an exceptionally powerful motivator.

How does time get added and removed from the doomsday clock?

Subtracting time

  • Losing players
  • Losing officers
  • Excessive wiping on normal mode
  • Suspending progression
  • Missed raids
  • Drama issues resulting in splintering

Adding time

  • Gaining players
  • Officers who are stable and not burning out
  • Farming bosses in one shot
  • Meaningful, visible progression
  • Positive attendance
  • Overall satisfaction and happiness

Over the past year, I’ve seen the clock hands gradually tick forward to midnight. Officers have become burned out. Players schedules and their lives have changed. I’m not able to adjust fast enough. I still have no viable raid leader I can pass some of this load to. That alone is my biggest need and there’s no job board or recruiting forum I can go to for something like this. It’s hard to grow a raid leader if no one has the time, desire, or skillsets to do it. Stable raid leaders are a premium.

Thankfully, wee were able to raid with the bare minimum with 25. The fact is that there are still people here who wish to raid and see more of the game. I’ve almost all but written off this tier and am in the process of retooling for Siege of Orgrimmar. This is the time of year where it’s so hard to recruit because players are firmly entrenched in their raiding guilds or they’re taking a break to enjoy the sun. Thankfully, we’ve picked up a few more players in the past week and added some time to it but we’re still extremely close to midnight.

Senior man cutting grass with shears

It’s like cutting grass with garden shears, isn’t it?

Our current roster is just not quite there for hard modes. Some of the players don’t have the experience. Others don’t have the gear. I’ve had to make the unpopular decision to temporarily suspend hard mode progression until the bottom end can catch up appropriately. Everyone who has been here has been farming normal modes for months. We’ve been able to 22 man our way through most bosses past even Dark Animus. We took a player’s alt Ret Paladin which started off with a 460 ilevel and ended the night at 502. They didn’t really do much DPS, but they were a body and and an Aura Mastery. The fear? That people at the top grow impatient and have no desire to stick around waiting for the bottom end to catch up and repeating the cycle.

It’s pretty damn sad.

I’ve been in similar situations before in the past. But there was always a clear, well lit path forward. I had a large and familiar group of officers more experienced than I was at the time who helped steer me the right way (like Syd). But man, it’s super lonely right now. But like any true leader, you can’t show weakness. It’s easy to repeat that everything’s going to be okay. In the back of mind, I don’t like that because I like having actionable steps and plans to move up.

The best I can really do is recruit and pray.

A stable and sizable raid roster needs to be the first fix. But it’s going to be for naught if I can’t get a raid leader somewhere. Throne of Thunder may very well be the most disastrous showing for this organization since Ulduar. We’re an above average normal mode guild. But this roster has much to learn about heroic raiding. It’s the difference between the regular season and playoffs. Have to find that ON switch.

Tick tock.

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15 thoughts on “The Time Bomb Every Guild Leader Holds”

  1. I’ve seen it happen as well back in the day. In BC I was heads and shoulders above the rest of the DPS on my rogue including our other rogues. It cam to the point where we were clearing the first half of raids and struggling to make more progression while I showed up and ended up collecting DKP for bosses that had nothing for me. I started getting burnt out and it was showing as I got shorter and shorter with the rest of the DPS until finally I had to stop raiding for awhile to try and center myself so that I could continue to work on the content with them.
    Leading is always lonely and it’s worse when the people you are leading don’t seem to have the same motivation that you do to continue pushing yourself to the very best that you can be.

  2. You can feel this clock ticking as a raid leader too, though I have been a GM before and felt the weight of it there.
    Leading can be a very lonely experience as stated.  Not too bad for us, as the hubby and I complement each other there but it always has it’s frustrations.

  3. Yup. I know I can feel that clock ticking on my current raid. It is palpable. With summer, recruitment it’s near impossible, and we’re losing people every 2 – 3 weeks (from a 10 man raid). Trying to keep a roster deep enough so we can actually field a team. And of course not all replacements are equally competent or geared.
    I’m incredibly lucky to have a co-leader who I can depend on, and a core of dedicated, smart raiders. It’s kept the doomsday clock from hitting midnight too quickly, but it’s also quite evident that we may not last until 5.4. Perhaps Flex raiding can save us. Who knows?
    That being said, 3 expansions raid leading, and every expansion the middle tier goes though the summer slump, it may be that we just need to adjust our raids to that reality, whatever that may be.

  4. Mine ran out recently after three good years. Odd situation. I needed to leave due to work commitments and my officers wouldn’t not think about running the guild without me in charge and quit BEFORE me …
    The guild members are a bit peeved with me as I bowed out BEFORE the clock stopped ticking. In some ways thats worse/

    • PeterAnargirou It’s hard to not be  in my guild and not know about this blog. But I’ve had frank discussions with them about where we are and the reality of the current situation. All I can ask is more time. It’s up to them to give it to me.

  5. Wow, that is a seriously great analogy.  Getting leadership help is huge in terms of adding minutes to the clock.  Though I’m not sure if the clock even can be pushed to 11:00 or earlier…that may just be my own exhaustion speaking.  Like many normal mode (but pushing heroics at the end of the expansion) raiding guild, MoP has been an immense challenge.

    • @Kauket Yeah, indeed. It’s getting progressively worse, I think. It’s so cyclical. Thankfully, I’ve managed to add some time to the clock with some recent pickups. The one shot of Lei Shen did wonders as well.

  6. I’m definitely of the opinion that staggering officer promotions & ensuring that there’s always fresh blood in an officer council is underrated. A tight group too easily turns into a group that burns out together & lacks flexibility.
    To me, I’m hearing the death of a 25 man guild moreso than the death of a guild. After 6 years my own guild went through a similar process at the end of Dragonsoul. The need for warm bodies was costing us the continued motivation+participation of our best players, and in the long run you can’t succeed if all the sacrifices are coming from your best players.
    We shifted to a 2x 10 man format and, while it’s a battle to ensure that things don’t degenerate into cliques, the increased levels of personal responsibility & more obviously direct behaviour->success/failure of that format has totally reinvigorated our playerbase. At the same time the multiple raidgroups approach has ensured the guild maintains critical mass rather than being lost in the herd of tiny-groups-of-friends guilds.

  7. How do you know when it’s time to give up on a guild? At what point do you stop fighting and just let the hands tick down? As a former officer of my guild its really hard to watch it rapidly deteriorate but any attempts to fight for the guild are met with harsh opposition by the GL as well as 3/4 of the officer core. I don’t know what to do any more. I don’t want all the hard work that we have put into our guild be washed away but at the same time I can’t stand watching people I care about trying to rally the troops and hold out hope but no one else that can actually do anything cares.

    • If the guild leader and the majority of the officers are against the change you desire, then the time has probably come to walk. The guild master’s vision is what they want. They surround themselves with the people that make it happen. Anything right or wrong is going to be on their shoulder and it’s up to them to shape it how they wish. The moment their vision no longer conforms to your ideal is the day that the guild your in is no longer the guild you want to be in. Especially if you’ve exhausted your diplomatic options.

      The next alternative step is to do what I did and just start my own guild. If you feel that strongly about it, maybe its time to depart and take on the GM chair yourself! 🙂 Good luck

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