It’s so hard to find a good guild these days. And when you do find one, it’s hard to let go.
That’s been my experience, at least, in most new MMOs I’ve tried over the past few years.
Plenty of games have come out of the gates roaring, only to simmer down a few months after release and, in some cases, be relegated to oblivion. Bad design can be blamed for some of this lack of staying power, but just as big a factor might be the problems people face in making new friends in unfamiliar territory.
It’s not altogether dissimilar from joining a new guild in a game you’re already familiar with. You leave most, if not all, of your old friends behind and have to forge new relationships in your new guild. In your old guild, everyone accepted you as “the raid leader” or “that crafting girl” or “the funny guy,” and now you have to re-establish that same identity from scratch.
In a brand-new MMO, you’re faced with not only those difficulties but also with learning the game itself. To further complicate things, your friends might be dispersed among several different servers, making it even harder to communicate or work together.
That’s assuming they’re playing the new game at all. Many players don’t make that jump, either being content with their old game or just not willing to devote the time or money to a new venture.
Sooner or later, everyone feels a tug from their old game to go back, and it might not be the new game’s fault at all; it might be that the bonds of friendship from the old game aren’t so easily forgotten and that the new ones have yet to be forged.
You can follow them back, if you want. But if you love the new game and want to make it work, here are a few simple tips you can follow to make your assimilation a little less painful and awkward.
Keep quiet at first. Apart from saying “hi” and introducing myself, I tend to stay pretty quiet my first couple days in a new guild. Every group of players has a different social dynamic, and it’s a good idea to quietly observe for a while before interjecting yourself.
But don’t be afraid to talk. When the time does come to make your voice heard, don’t be shy. Maybe you shouldn’t hit them with the full force of your gleaming personality, but offer some advice when you think you have something relevant to say, or crack a joke or two. (The raunchiness of the joke should be highly dependent upon what you observed in step one.)
Be a team player. Sure, you like soloing, but when someone’s looking for a dungeon group – or even just for help with a quest – consider honoring that request, even if it interrupts what you’re doing. The best way to make new friends is to play alongside them.
This is especially true if some of your friends were imported from your old game. While it’s tempting to just stick with them, try to branch out some, too.
Accept that you don’t know everything. This is a tough one. In your old guild, you might have been well-known and respected, and maybe your guild had a certain way of doing things that you got used to.
The new guild might do things differently, whether it’s how it plans a raid, how it divvies up loot, or even what kind of chat software it uses. And if you’re playing a completely new game, chances are that you aren’t an expert – not yet, at least.
If you’re asked to do something different than how you’re used to, accept that new dynamic and be willing to try something different. If it doesn’t work, then you can bring up how you used to do it differently in your old guild and see if your mates are willing to try your “new” approach.
Keep up with the old crowd. Try to keep in touch with your friends from Game A who maybe didn’t move on to Game B – or who tried it and quit. Don’t go overboard with telling them about the new game – if they don’t want to play, nothing you do will convince them – but do let them know occasionally how much fun it is.
But sometimes everything works out just fine. Enough of your friends from the old game try out the new one, or you’re lucky enough to get yourself into a new guild that meets your needs the same as the old one did.
When that happens, you should count yourself truly blessed. Moving to a new game is like moving to a new city. In today’s interconnected Internet world, that’s less painful than it has been in the past, but it can still be a dramatically difficult experience, as you uproot most, if not all, of your personal connections in one place in the hopes of finding new ones somewhere else.
So what do you think? Do you need your guildmates from another game to face the great unknown of a new MMO?
Or do you welcome the challenge of finding new friends to fight alongside as you experience the unfamiliar adventures and landscapes of a new game?