I’ve known a number of people who gave hardcore raiding a try and left in favor of a more laid back casual guild environment: a group of people who were friends as well as teammates, where people logged in to do more than just hit the scheduled raid time. The huge hulking raiding guilds are usually comprised of people who are more serious about the game than they really are about being social with one another (yes, I realize there are a number of exceptions to this), so some players are confronted with the choice: raid and progress, or make friends and play together. Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of room in between these two, but most people will come down harder on one side or the other. This isn’t really an RP, PvE, PvP issue – there are plenty of people who come down on either side regardless of the game style they prefer. But let’s talk about the casual, friendly side for a bit.
I’ve been in a number of guilds since I started playing the game, some of them incredibly personal, some of them ridiculously impersonal and hostile to new people, some of them so insular that you could never penetrate the wall of clique that was already there, some of them warm and inviting. All of them however have been largely social guilds with light, casual raiding – never more than once or twice a week, usually weekends when everyone had some time off work or school. But one thing that’s happened to nearly all of them is that the casual simply grows too casual – people start drifting off, leveling alts that aren’t in the guild, the raids go from stuffed so full people have to get benched to so empty they’re cancelled for months at a time, and eventually to the point where you can sign on during peak hours and there’s no one there.
This happened in a guild that I ran for a while, and again in a guild that I’m happily a member of because I have many many friends in it. So this brings me to the question: how many of you has this happened to? Lots of people love casual guilds, but how casual is so casual that you’re willing to leave it for another guild-even if you have friends in it? Is there such a thing as a “too casual” guild, or is that the very definition of casual, and “casual raiding” is an oxymoron?
I’ll admit that partially this is me dealing with my own thoughts, but partially I’m curious how universal this experience is. Fire away in the comments, and I’ll include your responses in a follow up post later!