Machiavellis Cat was formed in 2005. I was level 35 at the time. I had been looking for guilds to join but none of the available options really appealed to me. My goals were to find a group of people that would: a) not use slurs; b) encourage intelligent interaction; c) run Mauradon with me. My recruiting mantra was “only people that I would have a beer with in real life”. I remained the guild leader from May 2005 until.. yesterday.
I’d been thinking about it for a while, of course. Most of my guildies don’t know that I came right up to the brink, planning succession with the officers, shortly before Cataclysm. I backed off because it didn’t seem right to leave in the middle of pre-expansion doldrums when my recruitment experience was needed the most.
Almost ironically the instigator this time was this post by the lovely Larissa of the Pink Pig Tail Inn. I am the Anonymous who posted here, yesterday. Almost as soon as I left my comment, I started to ponder it. I’ve talked about stepping down quite a bit in the last six months. I had felt for a while that raiding was more of a chore than fun, and real life was starting to close in on our Eastie-friendly raid times. Maybe… maybe I should take my own advice.
So here I am. Liore, citizen.
Six years ago I was not in the best place in my life. I was in a very strange and negative job environment. I had recently lost my closest friend to a drug addiction, and since I had moved for said job I didn’t really know anyone in the city. I was in the middle of a pretty powerful fugue of depression and anxiety. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t like to leave the house. I hadn’t even had a haircut in a 18 months. I was a mess.
Guild leading was not the only thing that helped me get better, but it certainly was a large part of that. When I first started recruiting I would actually hide in a dark corner of a building in Ironforge before advertising MCats in trade chat (yes, I started as a trade chat spammer) because it was too scarily close to public speaking. But I did it because I wanted a nice guild, and if you wanted a nice guild you had to get out and advertise so I was just going to have to suck it up and get it done.
Over the years I learned how to have difficult conversations and how to deal with the burden of making difficult but correct decisions. I learned about group dynamics and communities. I developed a knack for advertising through recruitment posts that serves me well in my current job. A few years ago I had an ex-guildie go off the deep end and publish horrible, hateful things about me, and I learned that I can survive that. I have met over 35 guildies (with more to come this summer), arranged three real-life meets, designed swag, wrote loot policies, interviewed strangers on Vent who applied to us. And some of those people even became my honest, real life friends.
Everything isn’t perfect now of course, but for years having the title of guild leader somehow gave me the extra fortitude I needed to move things in the right direction. And now.. I don’t need it anymore. I could possibly contort my life to accomodate raiding and guild leading again, and in the past I would have, but that would have been a bad decision. I almost feel that guild leading was like a brace that did the essential job of keeping me upright for the longest time, and then the bone mended. It feels.. really good.
I was a pretty damn fine guild leader and community builder, if I do say so myself. Now it’s time to see what Liore, casual WoW player, proud Cat, and hopeful human being, is capable of.