Are games worth breaking friendships for?
To begin, I want to warn you that this is both a personal post as well as an opinion article. An overview of this article is going over an example of a situation where a very long and very strong friendship was broken to pieces by a well known video game. We’ll then get down to the nitty gritty and also the deeper questions about morals, loyalty, and other questions of intentions. If you have any stories of your own where your friendship was broken over a video game, table top RPG, etc,I’d love to hear them over in the comments!
It is October of 2014, my friends and I are all preparing for the next expansion of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. We have all been die hard World of Warcraft fans since high school and despite the lack of quality the previous expansions had, we were head over heels excited for this one. Ever since it had been announced and the bit confusing storyline was explained it seemed sharp, slick, and down right savage. The perfect storm for an awesome experience.
Naturally, we all got together and said “Hey! We should start a guild!”. At the time it seemed like a grand idea, uniting under a single banner to help fight back the evils this new game had in store for us. However, by the way it was handled initially rose the first red flag of many. After a simple conversation agreeing that we should start a guild, a couple and their friend went off and started the guild, picked out the server and the guild banner with out consulting anyone else who wanted to be apart of the guild. There was no vote, no asking for the thoughts of others, simply a ‘this is what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.’
In the beginning I went along with this course of action due to the chosen guild leader’s past experiences. Diane(the pseudo name we’re giving her to protect her identity) had been a guild master in Cataclysm(a previous expansion), and from the stories told of her she was rough with her raiders but got results. As time went on we got the guild together and was tasked with getting more people to join so that when the expansion arrived, we would have enough players to conquer any and all events this new expansion threw our way. I did so with all of my might, reaching out to all of my old friends who I’ve explored the vast world of Azeroth with and convinced them that this guild was going to be great, they were to be treated fairly, we would have fun and this is the time for us to rise up.
They followed. About 15 people joined the guild with a few others from the server that I got into the guild. Everyone was stoked to be apart of this guild. Unfortunately, as time rolled on, Diane signed online less and less. A few officers lingered but none with the power to run the guild effectively. This gave those new guildies a bad taste in their mouth. Many who were not personally friends of mine left the guild due to inactivity and no sight of our leader.
As the expansion closed in, the topic of raiding arose. Raiding is one of the major events in World of Warcraft that players spend various hours every week preparing for. In short, a team consisting of 10 to 25 gather together and take on the hardest content in the game for gear and titles. Many of those I recruited were excited to raid with their fellow guildies. Unfortunately when I and the other officers spoke about the raid team itself, many of those new recruits were not going to be given even a chance to audition for the team. Diane and her best friend discussed it by themselves and decided it would be best for the team to be only raiders they trusted and have worked with before. I myself barely made it onto the time despite working overtime to help this guild succeed. Many players were livid.
All the while, I looked to Nerdist and their World of Warcraft guild called ‘Massive’. Each and every week Michele Morrow would sign onto twitch and play WoW with guildies. She herself was the leader of her own hardcore raiding guild. She was with two guilds and made it work. I was inspired by this and decided that The Geek Lyfe would follow in her footsteps and create our own guild for followers and fans to play together. I got together with a fellow geeky blog and talked over these plans. Another added bonus was that friends of mine who were at odds with Diane and her boyfriend wanted to play WoW with my friends and I but could not and would not ever join Diane’s guild in fear of drama. So this seemed the perfect idea: Create a part time guild for The Geek Lyfe for friends and followers to join in and have fun. I would raid seriously in Diane’s guild while managing the other guild.
To get all of my ducks in a row, I approached Diane with this and informed her. At the time she may not have thought much of it or did not simply care and responded that it was totally fine. Excited, I got everything in motion and informed friends about this new guild. Knowing that people would want to join at times that I could not be online, I asked friends to help out by being officers in the guild. They agreed and hopped over to join. That is when it happened.
The moment three guildies took one of their five characters they had in Diane’s guild and came over to mine, her and her officers flipped out. They felt betrayed, cursed my name, vowed that this was an unforgivable act and chat blew up about it. One thing they did not realize is that my significant other was online during all of this and saw chat herself. The moment they realized this, they took their chat elsewhere to vent. I was shocked by their reaction due to discussing this with Diane weeks before hand. Had she not believed that I would actually follow through? Was she surprised by three leaving at one time? Had she forgotten to tell her officers and went with the flow of everyone else’s emotions? I do not know. But their words hurt. I had been friend’s with Diane’s boyfriend since the 7th grade and to see their words of slander was rough. Immediately rushed to message all of the officers to explain myself and inform them that I already discussed this with Diane. None of them but one responded to my hails. The one that did told me “She way to resolve this issue is to get them back into the guild.” as though my friends who I asked to help were but simple cattle that could be told to do something.
When friends found out about this incident, everything fell apart. They stood by my side and told me that they do not want to be apart of a guild who would turn ugly so fast on an officer who has done so much for the guild and wanted to do something that would have little impact on the guild. they rallied behind my banner and wanted to leave but I would not budge, I wanted to stay and work this whole situation out. However, when I reached out to all of them, I receive nothing but dead silence. They did not wish to discuss anything.
When I posted about what happened and let everyone know I am fully committed to Diane’s guild but would still do The Geek Lyfe guild on the side, an officer came forward and said “Join us 100% otherwise you will not be allowed to do anything with our guild.” and with that simple message, everyone had been against Diane and her guild. It became clear to me that this was the moment I had to do what I thought was best for both my friends and I. So I responded and said that we’re going to do our own thing but we still want to be close friends after this blows over and we could even help one another out. In a mass exodus, my friends followed, 80% of Diane’s guild left. The next day I find that Diane’s boyfriend had unfriended and blocked me and others who joined my guild on various social medias. The other officers would not respond to my messages.
It has been several months since and still they have no desire whatsoever to talk with me, see me or acknowledge my messages of peace.
I’m a Buddhist, I strive for peace in all things and reflect often on events of my life. Upon my reactions I think about these times a lot. Years of friendship shattered over this imaginary world. If I could go back in time, would I even play the game? Surely by not playing, this could have been avoided and we could still be friends today.
No. If I could go back in time and choose whether to stay in Diane’s guild or not play at all, I would choose neither. I would do what I did all over again because I made a choice that I wanted to make. It was wrong in my heart to have brought so many friends into this guild who hopes of everyone getting a fair shot and then being told that almost none of us would even see a raid. the fact that they did not support my decision to create a part time guild for my blog and did not trust my word meant that this friendship must have been incredibly thin. Had our roles been reversed, I would have wished them good tidings and given them my support.
I still wonder why did they act out so much? Were they so power hungry that they wanted everyone under their command even though they never even spoke to my friends? Did they realize that everyone would follow me if I chose to leave and they felt threatened? But still, they should have confidence in their abilities since they had managed a guild in days past, they didn’t need me or my friends. Was it the shock that I followed through with my plans where they thought I would fail and return? I know not. Could this have been resolved had they chose to discuss everything with me to find a solution? I know not.
Although in present times relationships with Diane is one of thin ice. We both act friendly and talk a bit online but offline, I am dead to her. This goes triple for her boyfriend and friends. I lost, what I thought were my dear friends over a video game. I am sad. Not because I lost them but because I was so confident that our bond was so much stronger than this. But you live, learn and must do what feels right in your heart. I know who my real friends are and that knowledge comforts me.
If by any chance those friends of mine who were involved read this, know that I will always be a friend to you. Whether you need money, a ride to work or even someone to talk to. I would drop everything to help you out. Not because I am so desperate to get in your good graces but for the sole fact that you’ve made such an impact on my life and taught me so much that I could never forget any of you nor ever stop being your friend. If you don’t feel the same and you still curse my name, it’s quite alright. I take solace in the fact that you are all doing well in life and hope you remain that way. 🙂
Thanks for listening to my experience! I want to hear about yours and your thoughts on it! Or if you have comments on my stuff, let me know! Was I right? Wrong? Was all of this silly? Post in the comments below!