You're as loud as you are Ignorant!

Yesterday I did something I didn't think i'd ever do after a long day of training merchants over the phone at work: spend 2.5 hours in a Teamspeak guild meeting discussing our future. While enjoyable (to interact with everyone), it was also intense with many strong opinionated people.

With the time coming to a close for free server transfers, the officers and GM was contemplating whether our server was a good fit for us. This caught me off guard slightly, for while I did know about this, it was coincidently at a time in which other guilds were playing politics and (essentially) backstabbing our GM. I don't know how he does it, but with inhuman strength, my GM has pulled the server community together and facilitated cooperation with the rest of the guilded and non-guilded alike, with both high professionalism and grace. And while nearly everyone (both our guild, other guilds, and non-guilded people) was happy and thankful of his massive contributions, there were some not being honest and instead growing with resentment. They suddenly felt that this facilitation was bullying, disorganized and that instead of including the whole community in organizing our WvW, that only a few guilded representatives should make the decisions for the larger group.

It kind of hurt me to see our guild in such turmoil; there were ones that wanted to stay and others that wanted to leave, both for very valid reasons. For the longest time while I listened, I couldnt make up my mind what I wanted. Some were hurt that after putting so much effort in bringing the community together, the vocal minority was looking to tear it all down. While this could be seen as the community sharing the load of responsibility, it (wasn't said, but implied) didn't seem like this minority would spend the time to grow AND maintain the community. These people seemed like the ones that seek instant gratification and couldn't bother with the day-to-day constant issues my GM had to deal with. There were two sides of the coin for this issue (to stay or leave) as 'we' (everyone: the GM for all his facilitation, free TS, monthly meetings, coordination, the commanders for leading and having a presence, and the other guildies friendliness and professionalism which is the culture of the guild) had put in alot of time and effort into this server. To leave, we would say good riddance to these ungrateful people, in the hopes they see how hard it is to lead a community and revel in their own misery when it all came apart. The risk would be that while other servers may APPEAR to be filled with fantastic like-minded people, it is all a facade; people WANT you to come to their server, so of course they will appear that everything is ok. But there are internet trolls wherever you go, and we run the risk of being in the same situation again, only this time, if we want to move, it will cost us money to transfer.

If we stay, maybe these people will fall into line, stay the same, or even get worse. No one really knows, but in this case, atleast the guild is fully intact and there is no painful process of trying to enter very full servers and having them coordinate blackout periods.

I see it that there are two communities in MMO games: inner and outer. The inner community is you, your friends and your guildies. The outer is the other guilds and nonguilded (pugs, is derogatory). I wrote a very opinionated entry on #savecoh a while back and I stick with it as it now affects me. I care about both my inner and outer community, but it is also a fluid entity: just because we move servers, doesn't mean we lose the community. Even if ArenaNet closed GW2 tomorrow, we wouldn't lose our community as we could always talk on TS, have our forums and knowing the kind of people we were, we'd find a new game we could all play together and continue. We'd lose much of the outer community, but what imho matters is the inner community. The inner community is much more flexible as the lines of communication is stronger, allowing us to exist and not be required to stay rooted to one spot, whether it be one server or one game.

"I'll follow you (the guild and GM)through the gates of hell" ~Billy

So while a toxic community was one of the main factors to choosing whether to stay or leave our server, there was another major part to consider: WvW competition and coordination. Our GM described us as a PvX guild, where the X stand for "everything." So we weren't necessarily (altho many people sound to want it) a WvW-centric guild, but one that did a little of everything, both Pve, Dungeons and WvW. People seemed unhappy that due to the toxic community and other factors (including low oceanic presence) that their World vs World experience wasn't as fulfilling. This was a tricky subject because while everyone felt the aforementioned toxic community part, not everyone was deeply vested in WvW. Now this is an important part b/c if you're not affected by WvW, then a toxic community MAY have a lesser effect. Imho these PvX people would feel less impacted by a server change as most of their normal routines wouldn't be affected. 

This is what I understood from the more hardcore WvW-centric concerned guildies: our server lacked (enough to be more effective)coordination, technical expertise and dedication (numbers-wise). Coordination is affected by the community; if it is toxic, that creates a barrier, but no community is perfect and there will always be those that seek instant gratification in WvW/whatever they do. The closest thing to this is a zerg that constantly flips control (camps, towers, keeps, etc)points. The other half of the coin of WvW is defending, which is the polar opposite of instant gratification. It is that feeling deep down that you are contributing in a different way, looking towards the long term. It IS a balance tho, a server cannot always be attacking or always defending and be successful as you'll always have multiple variables, the two big ones being the two other servers.

Technical expertise can be taught but only learned by those that want to. Once again, it goes back to instant gratification, if a player just wants to go in, grab camps, be mobile, get loot, badges and experience, they will follow the zerg and do what they feel like. They won't spend the time to learn  how to play their class more effectively unless it somehow will lead to even greater rewards. Even if they possess the skill, they may not possess the patience that it takes to defend positions. We (as players) can never escape this; while we may go to another server with a higher pool of players with skill, they might be disorganized and 'selfish' and it would be even worse than being in the original server with less skilled players.

So our choice was clear, either stay:
- deal with our growing toxic community and let the vocal minority get their way, or split the community into two factions; those that like the way we lead which is inclusive although a bit hard to control, or let it become a more exclusive club which can alienate the ones exluded
- stay with the guilds we've built relationships and influence with, as they don't intend on leaving the server
- continue to build upon everything we worked so hard on
- deal with the issues of WvW

Or leave for greener pastures:
- hoping that everyone can make it through the blackout
- that we can afford to rebuilt/rebuy influence for the guild
- that it isn't a facade and that people are genuine and cooperative
- that it won't just eventually deteriorate due to the fact that (vocal)trolls exist on every server
- the possibility that it is even worse (community and WvW-wise)than the current server and what we intend on doing if that is the case
- with the possibility that WvW will be more gratifying  (typically anything new, always is INITIALLY)

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