The Types of Guildies You Lead

From a conversation with Belghast and some others, where it came up that as longstanding guild leaders, we’ve developed a running list of the kinds of people we’ve met and led.

Behind any organized group is someone doing emotional labor to keep the whole thing together. It’s often invisible, so much so that many people can’t imagine that it even exists. It’s not always the leader of the group, either, though it can be. It led to talking about the kinds of people who you run into. Here’s my list, with some syncing with Bel. Some folks are more than one of these at once, most people shift between them over time. Mostly I view these from the “how do I approach this person with my energy reserves?” standpoint, since that’s often my most limited resource as a guild leader.


*The Socialite* – Outgoing and outspoken, this person accounts for their share of guildchat as well as the share of every quieter person. This person is the life of the party, and may or may not also be the heart and soul. If they are, they’re probably doing huge amounts of emotional labor that you’re not seeing. If they aren’t, they’re probably creating said emotional labor in one way or another. Quieter people may end up disliking this person intensely if they feel pushed down by them rather than uplifted.

*The Drill Sergeant* — Let’s get it done, folks. At this time _sharp_, and in this way specifically, and any deviation is going to make us slower or less efficient or _just frustrate them_. Can lend a sense of organization to a disorganized group because they want everything to be orderly, tidy, and efficient. Can also drive everyone else insane. Often an emotional labor sink, especially if they themselves are not cognizant of the need to care about people’s feelings or are bad at reading people/the mood of the crowd. May be necessary, will almost always cause resentment among anyone who isn’t on the same page.

*Chill AF* — Absolutely nothing fazes this person. Even the things that should, sometimes. This person is usually pretty quiet and sometimes sees way more than they realize. They’re mostly happy as long as things are ticking along nicely and generally don’t need special attention, but when things _aren’t_ ticking along nicely they will quietly and definitively check out. Inertia is a thing, and while they’re around they’ll be a great addition but if you screw up and lose them, they won’t be back. This person is usually generally liked but can be resented by others if they don’t appear to be “pulling their weight”.

*Things Explainer* — They know things, and they will tell you things. This person falls into two distinct categories: the person who knows things when asked and the person who will explain everything at all times regardless of context. The big difference is being able to tell when people need or want things explained, and when they don’t. You almost certainly want one of these folks around, or it will be your job to be the things explainer. Can have a chilling effect on community chat if they have a tendency to take up all the oxygen in the room by being more of a know-it-all information gatekeeper (well, actually…) than a helpful encyclopedia (did you know that…).

*The Ninja* — Competent, around precisely when you need them, and unfindable otherwise. Doesn’t spend a lot of time frivolously hanging out in-game but makes every moment count when they’re there. Sometimes very quiet. Usually real quietly on the cutting edge of content, probably knows the fight before you even explain it. Super low stress, super low-maintenance if they’re sociable when they’re around, can quickly become “I’m Here, Now What?” otherwise, especially if they aren’t competent. Can be polarizing, especially for similarly achievement-minded folks who are also on often.

*Side Projects* — Whatever this person is doing, it’s _probably_ orthogonal to what most people are doing. Almost certainly an omnicrafter, regardless of how many alts this takes. Might spend hours a day playing the auction house. Might be meticulously mapping resource nodes. Might be tooling around with their UI mod. Might be a devoted roleplayer. Might be levelling 30 alts. Might be all of these things at once. Your raid core might be the heart of the guild, these folks are often the soul. These are the people who have a bankful of consumables just because, or can help people get caught up with their pet collecting, or are just happy to hang around and chat. Don’t put too much pressure on them to join up for group events—they’ll join if they feel inspired to and otherwise dragging them along isn’t going to help anyone. Often loves being a second-stringer in a raid, hopping in when needed but not committed.

*The Collector* — This person wants _things_. Kind of like Side Projects, but more focused and more driven in specific directions. This person doesn’t just level alts, they max them out. They don’t just collect their favorite pets, they collect _all_ of them. Achievements are the best thing to happen in MMOs, because SO MUCH MORE TO COLLECT. Will absolutely do whatever it takes to drive your group to victory as long as you’re willing to do the fights in some weird way to get the achievement at some point. Random loot drops intersect really, really badly with this person if they’re chasing drops, and they will absolutely demand that you go back to long-obsolete content for the chance at an ultra-rare minipet drop—or they’ll make their own raid to do that thing.

*The Griefer* — This person knows how people tick, and revels in it. They love to understand people, push their buttons, surprise them, find the exact limits of what’s possible and how people react. If they have a conscience, they’re able to reliably do some of the most complex emotional labor of the group, and can morph into the glue that keeps people together. If they don’t, then games are their playground, and everything in them, including the people, are their playthings. Pay close attention to this person, and cut them out mercilessly if you have to. They’re the kind you’ll need to cut and then block, and will continually try to wheedle their way back in.

*The Devotee* — Whatever they’re playing is the One True Game, and everything else is a side thing. The idea of spending game time playing something else either isn’t compelling or never occurs to them. They’re always reliably around, doing their thing. HUGE emotional labor sink, because they often will judge others for being less devoted than they, this goes double if they’re also Downers. These folks will often become bitter that they’re the “only ones around”, but are also your most reliable people, because they’re always around. If you have a group that hops games, these are the folks who will offer to “stick around and keep the lights on” and will (secretly) hate you for it. On the other hand, if this person is also Side Projects or sometimes a Collector, i.e. likes the social part of the group but isn’t reliant on the group to do what they’re interested in, they’ll often happily putter away as long as they don’t feel forgotten. Either way, don’t neglect this person.

*What’s Going On Lately* — Something new is in, this person comes out of the woodwork to see what’s new and cool and interesting. Tends to be really interested in whatever’s _new_, can get bored with doing the same things over and over, at which point they check out. _LOTS_ of players fall into this category, plan accordingly. Your Devotees will resent that these folks come in and leave, but this is a sort of elemental force. Let these folks come in and out because if you don’t, they’ll burn out and never come back.

*I Got Mine* — Cool, thanks for the loot, I’m out. This person will max out their character and check out, whether that’s simply not being motivated to log back in because they “won” or hopping to a more advanced group to climb the next mountain. Can and will do this when they’re still an integral member of a group, heedless of whether they’re leaving the group out to dry. Fuck this person, they aren’t worth your time. If you must, use them the way they’ll use you.

*You Need Yours* — The opposite of I Got Mine, this person is unsatisfied until everyone else has everything they want forever, sometimes at the expense of their own interests. Get ready to force this person to take loot while they insist (despite being multiple tiers behind) that someone else needs it more. This person probably has “Take them, I’ll drop” on a macro. Everyone else loves this person and you’ll need to spend a lot of energy convincing them to take some things for themselves constantly. Do this by convincing them that in order to support the group, they need gear upgrades too. They’ll still only take the bare minimum and this will drive you nuts because if they actually had good gear, they’d be your star players, but this is what you get.

*My Dude* — This person has your back, more or less always. Even when they shouldn’t. There are a million possible reasons for this, and it’s worth spending the energy to figure out which it is, just to better understand this person. At best, this is someone who thinks you’re cool and is interested in openly supporting you and your goals. At worst, this is a McCarthyist witch hunter who will use you as an icon to drive out people they don’t like, or seed mistrust. It’s nice to have someone who vocally supports you, but unless you know why it’s worth being somewhat suspicious. This goes double if this is someone who’s relatively new to the group and is suddenly very vocally supportive. Be careful, though: if you’re too obviously suspicious of them, and they’re the first kind, they’ll be _really_ hurt.

*The Hiker and Backpack* — More than one person. One of these people is amazing, and is active, helpful, and constantly moving onward and upward. The other person is… not, but they’re connected to that first person, and you’ll never see them apart. The Hiker will cheerfully and blithely carry the weight of the Backpack, but it’s the latter one that will annoy people, because they seem to be content just being carried. Sometimes the Backpack is full of rocks, dragging your group down and contributing nothing. Sometimes the Backpack is full of unexpectedly useful things, and even though you’re carrying them you’re happy to have them along. Either way, they’re a package deal, and there’s no avoiding it.

*I’m Here, Now What?* — This person has overcome the hurdle of sitting down and logging in and now wants to _play_. Right now. Let’s go. What’s going on, what are we doing, let’s go! Gaming, and the groups that go with it, take a backseat to their life schedule and whatever they want to be doing. When they’ve logged in, they want to play, and they don’t want to wait, because their time is precious. It might be. They might have legitimate reasons for wanting to cram as much enjoyment out of their playtime as possible. Trampling over the rest of the group isn’t worth it, especially because they often are unable or unwilling to commit to any kind of schedule. On the other hand, if these folks are cognizant that the world doesn’t revolve around them, they’ll instead log in and join into whatever happens to be going on, even if that’s just folks chatting. At that point, they’re as much the soul of your group as Side Projects, and it’s worth doing a bit of extra effort to ensure they can be included in anything that’s going on. After all, they’re doing the same for you.

*Ready To Go* — This person wants to go go go go always gotta go fast never slow down chainqueue for dungeons never stop let’s go. If they’re not actively doing a thing, actively fighting a thing, actively preparing for a thing, or actively queued up for a thing, they’re instantly bored. This may, in worse cases, cause them to declare that “nothing is going on” and log out/leave. Let them. Trying to keep up with this person will exhaust you, unless you are also this person, in which case pay attention to who in the group is exhausted by this person. This person doesn’t need specific attention but may cause you to need to spend energy on _other_ people, who feel frustrated/guilty about not being able to keep up.

*The Downer* — Everything is about to fall apart, always. Your raid is backsliding, the content is getting less interesting, the game isn’t what it used to be, _games just aren’t as good anymore_. It’s not just that this person is unhappy with the state of things, it’s that they think everyone else should be just as unhappy and will spread their unhappiness vocally. Sometimes these folks need help, but it shouldn’t be your job to be that help. They can be a heavy drain on your group, and your own energy. Especially be careful if these people are highly competent, because your more competent people tend to get some level of authority, and having someone like this with people listening to them will devastate your group’s morale.

*The Positivity Cannon* — The opposite of the Downer, everything is great and fantastic and wonderful and this person will hear nothing to the contrary. Great for making people feel happy, everyone likes some positivity, but can and will be frustrating for people with legitimate complaints. Nothing is perfect, and pretending like it is can be just as harmful as obsessing over small flaws. This person can (intentionally or not) shut out or drive away people who have issues, don’t feel comfortable expressing them in the presence of this person, and let their frustrations fester. If this person is your guild leader, be wary of the guild detonating dramatically at some point, because below-the-surface issues are probably going unaddressed until they go critical.

*Silent But Competent* — This person is like a stone pillar. Probably never says anything, but is reliable, consistent, and carries their own weight (and probably several other people’s as well). Inexperienced guild leaders will say they love to have this kind of person around, but if you don’t break through that silence and get to know the person behind the competence, you’ll have a hard time knowing what they need or what might be bothering them. Without this, these people may just ghost you and you’ll never know why, and losing them will be a huge blow to your group, if your group relies on competent people doing a good job. Sometimes these folks are simply very shy, sometimes they don’t speak your language very well, sometimes it’s something else, but either way they are worth your energy. If they open up, they will often become the best kind of Things Explainer.

*Respect My ______* — This person is in it for recognition. Whatever it is they do and think they’re great at, they want everyone to recognize that they’re awesome at that thing, and awesome in general. If they’re not showing off in game or are outclassed by other people, they’ll start bringing in their real life accomplishments into the picture. If they’re outclassed by another person like them, you’ll see some very vocal competitions. Constant competition will annoy other people, and constantly wanting praise will annoy other people even more. Sometimes you can turn the competitive thing into an inward-focused drive for self-improvement, where instead of praise they desire feedback, but this is kind of rare and is kind of precarious.


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