There’s a First Time For Everything

So…I got kicked out of my guild last week.

Yeah, I know, not what you would expect from this guy. And I hadn’t intended to say anything about it, but, after reading Rowan’s piece on Guild Drama, and the original posts behind it, most poignantly, A Resolution, I decided I would throw my voice in as well, because it resonated with my own story. (If you want the TL;DR, you can skip to the last three paragraphs, if you want the whole story: read on.)

In my case, I got thrown out for something I have gotten in trouble with before in real life. People who know me IRL know that, personality-wise, I am that little kid in the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. I’m the one that says something when nobody else will, and the one who is not fooled by hand-waving, and is genuinely perplexed at people’s ability to lie to themselves.

A friend of mine in the Clan (as we call them in Tanks) was set to be an FC – a field commander, the one who directs the strategy of a match in Clan Wars – the World of Tanks equivalent of raiding I suppose – an end game activity with high stakes. And, in a surprising twist, the commander (“guild leader”) went ape-shit on Teamspeak when he found out – with my friend in the same room. He told him to his face that there was no way in hell he would let him lead such a crucial battle (…it was just another battle), and that he was bad at tanks and didn’t need to be involved in Clan Wars at all. A surprising statement given that my friends stats are light years beyond where the commander’s stats are. It was unexpected, painful (for all of us), and more than a little embarrassing. My friend, a bit blindsided and more than pissed, sent a PM the next day asking for an apology.

And was kicked out of the clan.

Now…it happened so fast, and so much out of the public eye, that for most of the guild, they went to bed wondering why my buddy was getting yelled at and woke up to him having been booted out. Questions were asked, in private. But rather than answer them in private, the commander, perhaps feeling the pressure, started a public forum post. Several of us commented that this wasn’t a good idea, and at least one person who so commented had their post erased by him. And three of us were threatened with boots for questioning him. And then, the entire thread went missing.

Which only kicked up more dust.

So, the next day, another thread, again public, only this time…with a garnish of lies. My buddy had been a problem for weeks, FC’s didn’t want him on their team, and although the boot process happened fast, all guild protocols had been included and both deputy commanders had signed off on the decision to boot him.

So..remember, I’m the little boy, right? So I told my commander that since he was desperate to have this conversation in public, so be it. And then I went on to call him a liar and call for him to step down. And he basically said “prove it.” So I did.

See, I had a copy of the PM’s that had been sent. And I posted them. And then…poof, posts started disappearing again. Funny how that happens. Eventually he posted again that either we needed to get in line or else. I got a PM from one of the two deputy commanders with the same message.

So I explained to the deputy commander (again) that our commander had lied and booted someone for the sole reason that he didn’t like him, and that this was unacceptable by guild standards. I presented, again, the proof. The deputy commander admitted that while he had known nothing of it, an FC and the other deputy commander did. At which point I told him that I’d already spoken with the FC in question and that he admitted that he had never spoken with my buddy about being a problem and never asked for him to be kicked. And then I told him that if it really was that big a deal to support the commander – no matter what – then fine, I would shut up and play. After all, we’d switched commanders twice in six months, I’m sure eventually things would change. The other deputy commander remained (strangely) silent throughout this entire venture.

And when I went to log in that night (I sent the last PM earlier in the day), I was no longer in the clan. Actually, more than that, I was permabanned from the clan forums and website. That they keep open for everyone – including and most especially former members. Nobody has ever been banned from there, even people who regularly come in to the public portion of the forums and do nothing but make trouble and insult the clan.

But me? I get banned and kicked. For telling the truth I guess. On top of that, as an unrelated issue – I had been removed from my guild diplomat position a week earlier – and nobody told me. And right up until the day I got booted, nobody could tell me why or who had done it!


Anyway, I tell you this story to recommend to you Sheep’s five priniciples for handling guilds better. Because all four of them come directly into play in my own situation. The (1) overuse of middlemanagement (the clan has nearly a dozen different commanders and less than one hundred members) meant that the commander could play “he said, she said” and be indignant behind a smoke screen long enough to get away with causing drama and making a power play. I can only assume that there was a (2) clique at play, because I can’t fathom why things unfolded the way they did unless some people held their friends above the good of the group. Secrecy (3) was clearly a problem here since apparently my buddy was on thin ice and never knew it. At least, according to them. In reality secrecy is still a problem because decisions were made behind closed doors and without the proper checks and balances being followed, and when the fail was discovered, the decided course of action was to cover it up rather than fix it.

And finally, (4) and (5) go hand in hand. My former clan’s tagline is now a tremendous joke: “Securing victory is our goal: doing so with respectful fun is the method.” It prides itself on allowing “no asshats” and actively screening applicants to keep out people who are dirty, underhanded, trollish, or…well, asshats. And yet, I discovered in short ordere that those traits are not only allowed in the guild – they are in control of it. The culture of the clan does not match the recruiting line, and some people are more valuable than others based on their “longevity.”

I have written on this same topic before, when I left my first EVE corporation – and it boils down to this: do what you say you are going to do. And if you make a mistake and fail in that, do whatever it takes to make it right. Because fixing it will always take less time, less energy, and cause less drama and problems then trying to cover it up. Whether you think so or not. Otherwise you will end up like my former clan – a revolving door with a 15% average monthly dropout rate – a stat I wish I had uncovered before I had joined.

Five Things Your Guild Should Be Doing.

Guild = Corp = Guild = Alliance.  These apply across the board to any game and any grouping:



This assumes you have a website.  If you don’t, stop what you are doing now and go set one up.  There’s enough free forum and web hosting sites that there is no excuse not to be able to close the loop on in game matters outside of the game, and give people a chance to bond even when not playing.

Now for the love of all that is holy, keep it updated.  If you’re guild’s website still lists it guild House/Corp HQ/Primary Meeting Place as it was months ago and not what it is now, you can’t really blame people for not being more active in guild activities.  It’s also infuriating to new recruits (noob and vet) to be researching a guild and have it make promises it can’t keep on its website.  If you are offering an incentive for joining, when someone joins, you had better damn well have it wrapped on a silver platter and hand delivered within 24 hours of their joining.  Don’t make them ask for it.


Follow these simple elementary school rules: who, what, when, where, why, and how.  If you’re directive/missive/vision/orders do not include these basic things, you are wasting your breath because people are not on board with you.   This includes planning raids, farming quests, moving corps, and yes, even identifying sections of your guild facilities/webpages/treasure troves. 

Sub-rule: if you are not giving the guild any objectives, like on a weekly/monthly(with weekly updates) basis, why the hell are you leading a guild?


Getting noobs going is like teaching a kid to ride a bike.  You put training wheels on, not so you can be hands off, but because you can’t be hands on enough.  Give them guidelines, daily advice, solicit feedback, schedule time to help them and train them.  The first time my daughter went to her bike, I even had to tell her which leg to pick up first to get on the bike!  So don’t assume anything.  Its better to have an over-eager noob learn the hard way that he wasn’t listening well than to have a noob blaming you for their heinous death at the hands of that-which-you-can’t-be-bothered-with-anymore.

As they get better, you can take the wheels off, and be more hands off, until they get to the point where they are running around the neighborhood with confidence and clarity.


If a guild member says someone is a wanker, don’t let them in.  If someone sneaks in, kick them out.  If they threaten to take x percentage of people or cash or mojo or whatever, let them, because those are people who are no longer loyal to you and things that are worth the price to get rid of that person.   Guilds demand loyalty to function smoothly and if someone will not give you that loyalty, they do not need to be in that guild, no matter how talented they are or how badly they want to learn the game from a vet like you.


Sure you can hand out items to that noob who you ran across at whatever station/quest hub/coach you happened to be passing through at.  Nothing wrong with that.  But if you are going to reward people for an op or a raid or a questing run or a guild event, make sure people know ahead of time, and that the reward is scaled to be equally incentive across all skill/character levels.  Dropping a pile of cash on a noob is just as bad as not handing out enough at the top.

And not just loot.  There should be forum titles, guild positions, ranks, goodies, awards, and whatever other shiny you can creatively come up with.  It helps people feel like they belong to the vision you are building and have a place in the system.  This is especially true if your guild is larger or wants to be larger, because it counteracts the lost feeling that those outside the social epicenter of the guild *will* be feeling.

Fun example – One guild I was in had a guy playing six time zones away.  He overlapped a little, but most of the time was alone.  They gave him recruiting privilages and some loot to spread around and a shiny badge/title/whatever and encouraged him to be a leader.  He went from being the guy on the edge of leaving the guild to a big player who brought in a number of good people that helped cover the rest of the time cycle and improved the guilds presence and notoriety.  That was pure win.

And before you ask – Yes, I have had leadership positions in guild before.  Everything from being the Head Honcho to diplomat to recruiter and back again.  So, no, I am not talking out of my ass.  Go forth and get doing, or get to a guild/corp that is.

EVE: Turning Points

Well last night was a watershed night for me in EVE.  A couple of things happened that really solidified my playing experience and my time with my corp.

As you might remember, I was pondering switching corps to a subsidary of my current one that was smaller and geared more towards new players.  I had held off on that until my – “handler” I’ll call him, the corp leader overwatching me could gives some feedback on that decision.  But last night Origin Systems showed their true colors and strength for one of their newest members. 

It all started with yet another courier mission.  I’ve been doing a few missions each night, which, when added to salvage, has been netting me about 1 million ISK a night.  I got yet another mission requiring a low sec jaunt, but by now I’m pretty used to those.  The Tristan, tough as it is, is still a frigate, and thus hard to target, agile, fast, and quick to warp.  Unfortunately, this mission took me to the wrong system.  As I warped in to the one station in the system, I found a pair of blinking reds on my screen.  Fortunately I had warped to dock.  In the split second there, I managed to sneak a “Look At” and so that one of them was a Thorax or one of its variants.  It appeared to be fighting the other vessel, which I did not look at, so I figured I was safe to dart back out again a few minutes later, esp. since one of them was engaged in casual local chit-chat.  Unfortunately, that Thorax was apparently a Vigilant, and he somehow managed to lock me and pin me even as I was warping away.   Anyway, then he began to light me up with missle and blaster shots.  I think he thought he could wax me before I could get the timer down to redock, but in the famous words of Ron White, he was wwrronngg.  Back in the station, he tells me in local chat “2m and you can leave.”  Being the noob I am, I thought that meant 2 minutes, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on that required an egg timer of that variety.  Once it clicked though, I laughed at him.  That was just south of half my wallet, and nobody can stay on forever…

Meanwhile in Alliance chat, people are complaining about the lack of pew pew (see, I’m not a total noob, I know what that means!) so I mention, hey, if you’re bored…and they were.  Within ten minutes, I had a pretty belligerent gang a half dozen strong inbound from the warp gate.  No questions, no hesitation about my noobish status in the corp.  Just hard burning cavalry to the rescue action.  I felt like I was playing the old PnP Shadowrun RPG and I had just utilized the badass “summong gang” contact ability.  But unfortunately, there was no happy ending here.

I had noticed in local chat that one other guy there also had piss poor security status, and sure enough, he was an alliance mate.  I warned my inbounds,  that I didn’t know where he was or what he was flying.  Cue noob moment two, when my alliance mate calls out:  two reds on station, second is in a Chimaera, and I respond, well, you have him pretty well outnumbered.  The next line was laughter followed by a hotlink text informing me that this was a carrier, and showing me how much pew pew capital ships can dish out, especially against the T1 cruisers in my rescue party.  Some strategy was discussed, including brining in our own capital ships, but it ended up being a moot point.  My captor warped off station without warning, in the middle of taunting me in local no less.  I made a break for it under the carriers nose, my alliance saying it should be fine, unless he had smart bombs (the last scrolled onto my screen as I’m exiting the station, soliciting a naughty word from me).  But it was fine, and we all cleared the system safely.  Color me impressed with their response and help.

But the evening was young and later in corp chat, chewing the cud, it apparently sinks in just how new I am when it comes out that I’m saving for Learning Skill Books.  And my corpmate 2lost immediately puts 9 million ISK in my wallet.  Just like that!  In the process of thanking him, he indicates he’s suprised at how little I have.  And the final curtain on my noobishness rises.  Hes astounded that I’ve been mining in a frigate and mission running, and spends the next half hour giving me great advice.

Long story short, use the money to buy a cruiser and the skill for it, fit it with mining lasers, use my mad drones skills for defense, and cut down considerably on the amount of time needed to raise the money for skill books.

Boy do I feel lame.  But he is as gracious as can be, asking only that I pass it on to other noobs in due time.  No problems there!  To cap it all off, he tells me he’ll haul a couple of T2 mining lasers from the corp hanger to me (my only remaining urk-point – I still have no access even to the rookie hanger).

So my skills are training, and tonight, it looks like I’ll have my very first shiny new cruiser.  The only question is….which one?

Thanks 2lost, Origin Systems, and my to my alliance mates.  You saved my bacon in more ways than one, and helped me to have more fun in the game than I was having.  Could a gamer ask for anything more?