Thursday, March 18, 2010

At What Price, Victory?

It's been a hectic month. But as things calmed down, I had a chance to chill out with my shaman officer. We spent a while talking about the old Legacy. It was an interesting and enlightening conversation, that dragged on entirely too late at a night, but all the same, was worth every second.

Last night, Legacy lost a long time member. One of our arcane mages left the server. Wound up in a guild on Firetree horde-side that just got their first kill of Deathbringer Saurfang last week. I kind of feel like the QB who got dumped for the fat guy... This departure kinda stung, because she was one of the few remaining members of the guild who remember the simpler times. Back when I wasn't the GM, I was just another member of a guild struggling to down Thaddius. There was a dynamic to the relationship that simply can't be found with the newer members, as they've only experienced me as their guild and raid leader. There are really very few members of the guild still running with us who remember those times.
  • Members of Legacy who predate my GMship: 7
  • Members of Legacy who predate my membership: 4
  • Members of Legacy who were there for the first raid: 2
  • Members of Legacy who were there on the first day: 1

Spinks had a recent post asking what you were willing to sacrifice on the altar of progression. This got me thinking about the Mage leaving, and tied back to the conversation with the Shaman. Legacy has made progress. I've built a guild that went from being ranked in the mid 60s on the server to the top 10. What have I sacrificed? We don't raid any more hours than we did back then, fewer actually. So I didn't give up time. Of my real life friends who play, they're all in the guild, so I didn't give them up. I didn't have to give up tanking. I didn't have to compromise my schedule. What have I sacrificed?

Then it hit me. Between the Shaman and I, we remembered most of the member of the guild, past and present. We remember why they left, and what they did afterwords. What guilds they came from, and what guilds they went to. I started checking back. Legacy made a lot of changes to get where we are. I took over as GM, we built a website, we switched to a dkp system, we changed the raid attendance criteria, and changed the raid schedule. Each step of the way, people left. Some people continued playing, some did not. But in every case, someone who was at the time completely happy with their guild, found it so far changed that they couldn't stay in it. For the 8 of us who are happy with all the changes made, there are at least 54 people that we know of who either quit raiding, or quit wow altogether due to those choices. There's another 70 or so who still raid with other guilds.

That's what I've sacrificed to get the progression I desired, other people's happiness. It's a sobering thought, and one that kind of eats at me from time to time. Every time that one of those people who thought they found a place that suits them leaves, it bleeds a little bit of the color out of the game for me. Every time one of them leaves, it isolates me a little bit more from the time when I was just another player. At times, I hate it, but in retrospect, if I could, I think I'd make every one of those choices the same way again.