Chimerus, my tauren druid, is into his sixties now, and barely a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask if I want to be in their guild. I understand their reasoning; an unguilded, high-level druid who’s almost ready for end-game content is a rare commodity indeed. Almost universally, I politely decline their invitation and leave it at that.
What bugs me is the mentality that getting into a guild is a goal that I’m expected to have. It never even occurs to other players that I don’t, in fact, want to be in a guild. Yes, you heard me right. I don’t want to be in a guild. In case you find that difficult to understand, here are five reasons why I think guilds are overrated.
- Scheduling pressure. I’m a casual player, so my free time is not wholly dominated by Warcraft. There’s also time with my family, side jobs, hobbies, and chores to consider. I can’t always be available to do instances and raids. Unfortunately, I haven’t been in a guild yet that didn’t expect me to treat group activities like a second job. End-game raiding guilds are particularly bad for this.
- Social obligation. In the time I do play Warcraft, I want to have fun, which usually involves advancing my own characters. In a guild, however, high-level characters are often expected to assist low-level characters with tough quests and instance runs. I’m not necessarily against lending a hand, but it can become a pain when you’re asked too often. It’s even more annoying when the tables are turned and other guild members refuse to follow suit.
- Chatter. I usually only keep one chat channel open, and that’s a private channel for family and friends. Occasionally, I’ll keep General chat open when it isn’t too noisy (i.e., not in the Barrens). In a guild, however, it’s expected that you’ll keep guild chat open and not only listen to all the inane chatter, but contribute to it as well. Sorry, but I have better things to focus on than random conversation.
- Internal politics. More than a few guilds I’ve been a part of dissolved or suffered mass attrition as a result of internal politics. One member says or does something that rubs another the wrong way, lines get drawn in the sand, and, before you know it, there are hurt feelings and bad morale. I play Warcraft to have fun, thanks, and situations like that are anything but.
- Inactivity. In contrast to the frustrations already mentioned, which are typical of more active guilds, inactive guilds strain logic. Why, exactly, would I be in a guild that doesn’t actually do anything as a group? That’s pretty much the same as being guildless to begin with. Then again, it might stop people from constantly asking me to join their guild…
I think that sums it up pretty well. To clarify, I’m not an asocial person. I just find that being in a guild more often diminishes than increases my enjoyment of the game. And why am I playing at all if not to have fun?