What’s in a Name

Wes Clark

Cold Comfort: very limited consolation or empathy

The idea for the name Cold Comfort came about the last time I had a falling out with a guild master, so it only seemed appropriate to resurrect it here.  It still exists on another realm, but only as a vanity domain for my unplayed alts.  Like now, the plan was to form a new guild, but this time I was going to do it right.  In retrospect, I a) wasn’t ready to venture into guild leadership at the time, and b) it all would have ended badly when I moved across the pond, so perhaps it was a good thing that it never progressed past the fanciful idea stage.

Cold Comfort.  All Guilds Suck.  We Suck Less.

Catchy, innit?  And some say that I’m a pessimist.  Pshaw.

That was going to be the guild motto (and likely the title of my forum recruitment post).  At the time, I was very down on the idea of big guilds with complicated organizational structures.  As much drama as there may be in /g in any guild, in my experience it’s treble that in /o easily.  My solution?  Get rid of the officers.  Honestly, in a 10 man I’m not sold on the idea that you need them.  I know that there are people who will warn against trying to take everything on yourself, but honestly, when you’re a type-A-double-plus personality who will never find people who can live up to your expectations, isn’t it better to be insular?

How much management can there honestly be in a group of 10-14 people?  Shouldn’t I be able to manage a team that size if I have similar aspirations professionally?

The trick of course is to avoid internalizing the failures of the guild, leading to feelings of depression and the tendency to crawl into a shell from which you emit only the occasionally muffled grunt.  I know all too well that I’m the type to do that, so the challenge will be to head off the things that would make me head for the hills before they grow to the point where I would head for the hills.

So, I look back into my history.  Why do I shell up?  Usually it’s because I let someone wind me up (intentionally or not).  Though I may talk a tough game, I have been rather passive-aggressive when it comes to dealing with people.  Probably some deep-seated desire to have people like me.  Well, screw that.  Fuck people.  Or more to the point, fuck what people think of me.  I know that I’m too heavily invested in this game, but for better or for worse, it’s what I do, and probably what I will continue to do for some time.  I derive small nuggets of true enjoyment from it, and on the whole it’s treated me better than some people in the last three years.  But I can’t continue to allow faceless people online open access to my emotional state.

If something is bothering me, I need to come right out and say it.  No, wait.  I need to count to 10 and then come right out and say it.  But more importantly, I need to make sure that people know to expect this from me (and that I expect it from them).

Well, this has certainly deviated from the main topic, hasn’t it?

Right, back to the guild name.  I’ve heard all these stories about guilds where everyone gets along and there is no infighting or loot drama.  I don’t believe it.  Ultimately, guilds are a way for people to obtain things they could not otherwise gain.  For most people that’s loot.  While there may be secondary interests and benefits from guild membership, there’s relatively little that you couldn’t achieve with a large friends list and a private chat channel.  I am skeptical that a truly altruistic environment can be born from what are ultimately selfish interests.

And I’m OK with that.

I think if you approach guild management from the perspective that ultimately, everyone is there for themselves, differing only in the level of help they need to give others to get there, then things get easier.  You don’t expect as much from people.  You simply lay down the rules required for people to be civil to each other and achieve the kills the raid is going for, and you don’t ask people to get more emotionally invested in the community than they want to be.

Is that a radical approach?  I don’t know.  But after five failures trying it the traditional way, I’m willing to try.

So, take cold comfort in the fact that while all guilds suck, Cold Comfort will suck less.