I really hate drama and people who try to screw with my guild. Usually it's really easy to pick out the recruits or potential recruits that may bring harm to your guild in one way or another. Sometimes it's not as easy.
I am sure there are many Guild Masters that will agree with me when they say there is nothing more disappointing when someone who started out amazing - great personality, great play style, and good contributor - does a 180 and becomes a guild management nightmare.
What do you do when this happens?
When someone "goes bad" how long do you let it go on? What course of action do you take in the situation? Here is my take on a good way to handle the less than stellar jerks.
1. How long has the guildie been with your guild?
All of a sudden your longest standing top dps attitude goes from respectful and focused to spiteful and wishy washy. Your immediate reaction might be "what the hell is going on here?" Has this been happening for a long time or did this new personality just rear its ugly head today?
In my guild we know that players are not going to be smiling examples of bubbly perfectness at all times. We're all real people, with real emotions and lives - for all we know the player with the bad case of the Mondays might have just lost their job. We ask that players recognize when they are in too foul of a mood to play but sometimes that doesn't happen.
What to do? If this is the first day this has occurred for your guildie send them a tell, ask what's up and point out that they are not usually like this and you're concerned. When I have used this approach 9 times out of 10 I'm usually told X or Y reason and it usually stems from something from outside the game. A suggested night off to go gank hordies in PvP usually cures it.
If this is coming from a player who just joined the guild not long ago (let's say still on applicant status) or that long time member's attitude has been steadily declining for some time now without valid reason, it might be best to reevaluate (with the player) if this is (still) the right guild for them.
2. What happened exactly?
As in life, there are certain deal breakers in game that can potentially seriously harm your guild and should be met with swift action. In Ascendence this means Breaking Blizz's ToS, harassment, threats or anything in game that can be considered criminal in real life. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 - just GTFO of my guild.
What to do? If the issue was a small one (small as in breaking simple guild/raid conduct rules such as attendance, attitude, loot rules,) confronting the guildie, explaining to them what they did wrong and making the guildie accountable to correct their mistake is the right course of action. Otherwise, major infractions as mentioned above need to be met with a guild kick.
3. How often is this happening?
We once had a guildie who notified us that they were having personal issues and would need to take 2 weeks off from the game. We're understanding and agree real life should always supersede this game. The week before ICC was released however the player in question would be online every night during the entire duration of our raids and when they found out that new content was being released the next Tuesday notified that his availability was suddenly freed up. It seemed very fishy to us but we knew that this person said they were having issues so we let it go.
Soon after, this player would start to hard disconnect after we would wipe a few times always coming back the next day saying they were sorry - that personal issue came up and they had to go. On top of that, this player would afk out when the guild planned on working on old content such as Ulduar for a change always coming back with the same excuse. Being understanding but starting to feel rather duped we asked that the player mention to an officer or the raid lead that they needed to go quickly should the need arise. After that request was ignored, we called the player out on it and they admitted that they didn't want to do old content and when they got angry because of wipes they would intentionally dc.
What to do? As this player had been a long standing in our guild we told him that we had noticed his behavior and gave him the chance to correct it. They promised they would do better. If the actions of the player would have been inexcusable or completely unacceptable and unapologetic I would have performed an exit interview right away.
4. Are their actions causing dissension?
The same player I mentioned above did get better for about a week. However, a new more disturbing attitude started emerging – rebellion.
We have class channels and encourage players of the same class to interact and work with each other to better themselves. We do however notice as an officer team that usually one player from each class is usually looked upon as a leader or someone to go to for knowledge. This player was such a person that everyone looked up to for advice.
I started hearing rumors that comments were being made against decisions made for the guild within the class channel in question (such as returning to older content, players sitting out, etc.) I don’t monitor channels but some players came to me to complain about certain disturbing discussions that were taking place. The culmination of the comments came when we were toying with the idea of recruiting another player of the same class who was slightly under geared but promised much talent and a great fit. The player leading this underground rebellion got the rest of the players of his class very much up in arms and wound up as to believe that we were recruiting to replace them all.
What to do? I decided to end it all and remove the player causing the dissension when I heard that at their coaxing that others of the class were planning on quitting the guild if we recruited the new player. It took all the officers and one other player who didn’t buy into the words being said to convince them that they were not being replaced and bringing in this player will just mean good things for them and the guild.
Once your players do not trust you, don’t believe that what you are doing is for the better of the guild as a whole anymore and dissension sets in, it’s pretty much downhill from there. Be transparent with everything you do and consult the guild when making any decision that will affects the masses. Remove players who are working against all that your guild has built and is striving for ASAP. Leaving bad feelings linger too long is a recipe for disaster in any guild.