One of my recent posts inspired a few replies from around the blogosphere, and I promised that I would put together a reply when I got my thoughts and feelings sorted out. My feelings on the situation still evade me, like some sort of greased pig on speed, but the logical part of my mind has sorted out some things that correspond directly with one of the replies.
Tengen posted a reply that was built around the the concept of the etiquette of leaving a guild. In my time as GM of Legacy, I've had a lot of people come and go. People of varying skill, personality, and tenure have left, and they've left via different means. We've had people leave after ninjaing anything they could get there hands on. We've had people leave spewing hate across gchat and forums. We've had people slip off in the middle of the night. We've had our fair share of people who joined up just to use our tag as an resume builder for the further progressed guild that they left for in less than a week. People have left for a variety of reasons, and I remember the majority of them. However, the people that left with the most goodwill from me had two things in common, communication and honesty.
The one player who probably made the best exit from Legacy, despite depriving us of his leadership, 6k DPS, and all of the tailoring patterns the guild had drop, was a warlock who had been an officer in the guild for about 4 months. He was part of my ten man squad. However, he had some friends in Awaken, the top PvE guild on the server, and decided to apply to them. He explained to me that he had put in an application, explained to me his motivations for his choice, and offered to leave the guild immediately if that was what I wanted. I let him stay in the guild, and raid with us until the disposition of his application became clear. He let me know when his application was approved, and left the guild graciously. He went on to earn a Death's Demise title when Awaken dropped Yogg+0, and still came back to hang out with us from time to time.
What can someone learn from that example is how to graciously make an exit. Be discreet, but not hidden. The fact that you're applying to other guilds isn't something that you want to broadcast to the guild at large until you're sure you've got somewhere to land. But at the same time, if you don't tell the guild leader, and they find out, then it just makes you look like a shady bastard trying to hedge your bets. So the key to this situation is communication with your leadership through the proper discreet channels. This might be through whispers, in game mail, e-mail, vent, the website, or any one of a number of ways to get in contact with your GM. Explain what you're doing, and why you're following this particular course of action. Then give the GM's response a fair listen, and work with him to decide what your future with these people will be.
You also need to be prepared for the consequences. Depending on your GM and your guild's current needs, you might find your raid spot given to someone else, or find yourself removed from the guild. But you're gonna lose those things anyways if your application goes through, and if it doesn't, but wind of it gets back to your current guild, you might find yourself out on the street without anywhere to go. But most GMs I've talked with tend to look more favorably upon honesty than negatively about desire to leave.
Now, all of this is still dependent upon the situation being you leaving one guild because you think the other guild would be a better situation. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to leave a guild because your situation has become untenable, then most of the rules still apply. Honesty and communication are still of paramount importance, but in this situation, where reaching the limbo between guilds would be an improvement over your current situation, then leaving is more important than where you're going. You still owe it to your leadership to inform them of why you're leaving. You can do this through an in game mail if they aren't online, or some other discreet method of communication. Once you've done that, then you can leave with your obligations discharged.
Through honest communication, you can avoid a lot of the bad blood that comes with leaving a guild, and possibly be the cause for major improvement within the guild that you left. Burning your bridges through either spite or negligence helps no one.