Monday, March 16, 2015

Why Our Merger Didn't Work

As I posted about previously, our guild attempted to merge with another guild awhile back which totally failed. It's been awhile since the implosion and I think I've realized why it didn't work out. If you missed it, I wrote about it three times - before it happened, after the initial merge, and the aftermath, including a follow-up of our guild's state after the calamity - or you can read my expositional summary below!

once upon a time...

The merger was on the table for several reasons - the other guild raided at the same times as us (we would be competing for recruits and recruiting is hard enough already when you don't have mythic kills), they needed the classes and roles we had and vice versa, and we both needed the bolstered roster to hit 20 people for mythic content.

We spoke several times about some of the possible issues we would have as a single merged entity, the biggest issues being that we used different loot systems, we both had warrior tanks, and the other guild wanted to add a third raid day. We compromised to let both warriors stay as tanks, to only add a third day if it were completely optional, and to use their loot system - which our guild unanimously disliked.

sorta like this

We did a test raid together which went well, killing H Imp and M Kargath in the same night, both new bosses for us - though they had killed H Imp the week prior. Because of the success and how impressed they were with our DPS, they pushed for the merger to happen immediately. We renamed our guild to make it symbolic of an entirely new guild, rather than have either guild 'join the other'.

The first few weeks were going well and I was very involved in fixing up the website and establishing the new guild name on other sites and recruitment posts. We changed everything about our website including our policies and regulations, as we did everything we could to fully integrate them and create one cohesive unit, an entirely new guild.

There were some problems that were highly noticeable early on, though could have been worked out. I'll spare you the intricacies, but the problem that ultimately caused our merger to fail revolved mostly around the inability of the other guild to accept the merger as the creation of a new guild - and their immaturity to accept the issues that needed to be addressed and fixed, including both ours and theirs.

pish posh

Now, I know - you have no true basis for believing that other than me saying it. "Maybe it was you guys who were immature," you say accusingly at your computer screen. I get it. However, it was never actually clear to me that it was ultimately the other guild's fault until several weeks after the split occurred. The actual, in-depth reasons why the other guild was so upset may vary or be debatable, but after raiding in our re-established guild without the other guild present, I know it was because of the hyper-sensitivity and dramatic reactions of the other guild.

To summarize, the other guild failed to recognize the merger as being a whole new guild and felt like their problems and issues were more easily solved by un-merging than by working them out. They felt that the failures of the whole were in fact 'our' fault instead of accepting that some fault fell on them as well as us. They viewed un-merging as easy, quick, and simple of a solution as we had originally viewed the merge in the first place.

The actual split occurred very quickly and perhaps unexpectedly to a few of us. Instead of pinpointing issues and fixing them, we hit our heads against a wall on a boss we had killed before - Gruul, nonetheless - until one of the officers from the merger blew up. Whether his interpretation of the issues were accurate or not wasn't important because it was clear his intention was to break off. Him quitting brought the whole house of cards down, and everyone who had joined in the split left.

the CATalyst if you will

Now, the biggest reason why I can confidently say I truly believe it was a majority their fault is 1. because they initiated the split and 2. the entire time, our members were trying to tell everyone to relax, focus, and concentrate, while their members were basically throwing fits. While everyone was clearly frustrated, each failure led to more outbursts and insults from their members, while ours were more or less reassuring. During the inbetween before the split happened, two of our members remarked that wiping for a few hours on a boss is part of progression and the only people who can fix it is us, which was while the officer from the other guild was letting his emotions loose in officer chat.

The thing is, the easiest solution maybe isn't always the best. Clearly, we viewed merging as the easy way out - won't have to recruit, instant mythic roster - and that turned out to not be for the best. Now that the merger had failed, I realized that while I liked several of the members from the merger, their personality and methods were simply not cohesive with ours.

They subsequently viewed ending the merger as the easiest solution to whatever they believed their problems were. Immediately after they split off, they went back into H BRF and went after Gruul, which they wiped on several times before giving up and going into normal. Interpret that as you will, but it looks to me like we may not have been the issue. We pugged our way into our H BRF while looking for a full time tank, keeping our 6 hours a week raid schedule, and both of us were keeping similar progression paces until we eventually passed them. As I previously mentioned, a large chunk of them ended up leaving their guild and being absorbed by a bigger guild, abandoning many of their other members, while some people quit entirely. While some of them may view that as a success, I certainly wouldn't. Considering both of us in the initial merger discussion agreed that being absorbed was something we absolutely did not want, I can only imagine the frustrations and desperation they felt in making that decision.

This was the first merger I was a part of - both in the actual situation and responsible for orchestrating - and I can give you a little bit of wisdom that I have taken from this situation.

The only thing that will make a merger work is cohesion. Both guilds need to be similar in far more than just their raiding goals. They need to have the same level of maturity and similar personalities. If you disagree on any big talking point and come to a reluctant 'compromise' - loot rules, raiding days - it's like entering into a friendship where you both agree to let one person stab the other in the side with a spike and leave it there while pretending it never happened.

Even if you agree on the surface about practices and methods, if you are too dissimilar, you'd better hope that you are unreasonably successful, because problems will likely be viewed by one as the other's fault, which will lead to a split. Basically,

We were not really worse for wear after the split - though it did end up costing two of our members 25 real dollars each (for both guild name changes) and a large amount of items from our guild bank. We may not have ever achieved that M Kargath kill without the initial merger, but all that work we did went to waste. Luckily, we were strong enough to stay together after all of our trials and tribulations, but I definitely don't see any more attempted mergers in our future.

-Kirin Update-

This past Caturday was about my new kitten Kirin. Summarized: adorable gorgeous baby kitten, might have incurable cancer of the lymph nodes.

you wouldn't know by looking at him though

He went that same Saturday for a tissue sample collection to see what's going on in his little baby face. I still haven't heard from the vet as the test takes several days, but his lymph nodes appear to be slightly reducing in size (though this may be my own hysterical delusions) and he has been continuing to eat voraciously. He's active and plays with my other two cats regularly, usually on the offensive. He has a warrior's spirit.

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