There’s a funny thing happening in my guild.
I logged on late the other night to hopefully luck into a quick instance run (didn’t happen), and there were four people from my guild on. I didn’t recognize any of them. I vaguely remembered reading someone’s app from a little while ago, but that’s all. I mean, I’ve seen them around, but this is the first time I had ever logged in and not known anyone who was online.
“Well, new guildies are good for the guild,” I thought.
However, these people were chatting with each other over /g, and they all seemed to know each other pretty well. Even though I didn’t know them, it was obvious that each of them was a good fit for the guild. We have a strange and fun guild culture, and it was obvious that they were steeped in it.
It felt like walking into my living room and finding four very friendly strangers there.
I immediately went to the guild application section of our forums… and was shocked to learn that I hadn’t checked up on it in quite some time. Turns out that these “new guildies” had been in the guild for four months, not just a couple weeks. None of them were new at all, I simply had yet to spend good time with them in my random, new-parent-constrained playtime.
Time changes when you become a parent. I’m grinding rep at work harder than ever (supporting family = playing for keeps), spending as much good time with my wife and daughter as I can, keeping in touch with my friends… I’m trying to wring every last second from each day. Activities of relaxation, like playing MMOs, used to take up a lot of time for me. Now those opportunities to relax aren’t as common. Days are so busy that they blend together.
The weird thing is that my view of the guild and my friends in it had been like a photograph. Static. Unchanging. I’ve been playing and having fun and then logging out with the following message, “See you soon!” because it’s what I’ve always done.
Soon used to mean tomorrow, or even later today. Now, soon can become a week or two without even realizing it. (Wasn’t it just Monday yesterday?)
Now I log back on, and while time hasn’t moved for me (I feel like I was just on), to my friend who’s been on every day, I’ve been gone.
“Wow, it’s great to see you! How have you been?” says my casual friend.
I try to come up with what I’ve been doing in a way that’s not too personal, or uncomfortable. I think, “Well, my daughter has been chewing on the coffee table hard enough to leave marks” and then “Her digestive system doesn’t really seem to dig green beans” and then “I got a really painful and yet beautiful pang of joy when she screamed and cried as I left to go to work yesterday morning”.
But instead, I say, “I’m good! How are you?”
“Well, I didn’t get the drop I was hoping for and I still can’t find the minor doodad I want (do you make them?) and…”
And I smile. The reality is that:
- Guilds are dynamic
- The people in these guilds are dynamic
- The game itself is dynamic
Everything continues to move, even when you’re not watching it.
I guess that the funny thing isn’t happening to the guild… it’s happening to me.