We first met the Undead Fish guild when Sarah teamed up with their leader in the battlegrounds for a bit. Sarah kept teaming up with them, and eventually established the "FishSeekers" channel for coordination. Knowing them has been good; knowing them has been a big part of the reason that Marendyn has been able to do so many instances. They are nice, competent, and speak in complete sentences--I feel reasonably confident that if I had joined up with them when I first started Warcraft, I would not want to leave.
In early December, Sarah mentioned to me that she was considering switching to the Undead Fish. The friends for whom she originally joined Allseekers no longer play, and she felt that the larger active contingent of Undead Fish would better achieve things she wanted (particularly instancing and raiding).
I think I was the first one to mention the idea of joining guilds in that conversation, but she was enthusiastic about the idea. I said that it would take me a few weeks to come around to being comfortable if I did at all, and she did back off--points to her for that.
My hesitations about making this change were these, in no particular order:
1. The primary one was my basic hesitancy about change, particularly big change. No help for that but to realize that was in play and manage it.
2. I sort of liked the minimal prestige of being guild master, even though I hardly did much as guild master. I knew I could get over that.
3. I also liked the feeling of being a "big fish"--even though logic indicated that I could be a bigger fish by moving to a bigger pond, I did like the feeling of being the biggest fish in various ways. (I take no pride in acknowldeging that, but it's so.) This turned out not to be as much of an issue as I'd thought; Undead Fish had only one hunter and no druids, so I could still be at the top of the heap there.
4. I feared feeling like an outsider joining an established community of friends. Mitigators would be the fact that we'd already been spending time gaming and chatting together, and the fact that I'd be moving in as part of a group.
5. I feared leaving people behind. In particular, I know that Lyndon's tastes in Warcraft don't run to repeating level-60 instances so often. But he's a good friend, and I'd hate to abandon him.
6. I prefer the name 'Allseekers' to 'Undead Fish'.
My hesitations about not making this change:
1. I feared that the rest of the guild might shift over, returning Allseekers to being too small to do much together.
I did talk to Lyndon within a week or two.
He said that he wouldn't be switching guilds, because he preferred the name Allseekers, but that he felt we had sufficient points of contact to remain friends. What he feared most was logging in to the unpleasant surprise of a disbanded guild and a grey tabard. Well, that was something that we could certainly avoid.
He also said something that really touched me. I don't recall the exact words, but it was along these lines: "This guild has lasted a lot longer than other guilds I've seen. A big part of that is that you are pleasant to group with." I felt really honored by that.
I talked with most of the other major active players in the guild, too. Most were for the idea. I particularly valued the support of Steve, who'd been leader of the Bloodmoon Clan guild before they had merged with us.
A couple of weeks after our initial conversation, I noticed that Sarah had switched guilds. This increased my worries about being left behind with a too-small guild.
It's taken me a very long time to write this journal entry. Last week, things came to a head; Samadhi, the leader of the Undead Fish, paged me to talk directly about a join. He opened the conversation in a great way, starting out with "I'd like to invite the Allseekers to join the Undead Fish, and offer you an officer position." Offering me officer-ness from the beginning did a lot to help me avoid worrying about being marginalized.
There were about eight Allseekers on, so it was a good time to talk about "so, shall we go ahead and do this?" But it was still a very stressful conversation for me. Not unpleasant, particularly--but stressful enough that my hands were trembling.
We ended up proposing that Allseekers is the "roleplaying auxiliary" of the Undead Fish/Allseekers group, and this pleases me. I've ended up keeping some of my characters in Allseekers for the roleplaying.
There was one person who wasn't satisfied with the plans for the great rearrangement: Vohros, a new member of the guild. He preferred a smaller guild, and didn't want either to join Undead Fish or to stay behind in a smaller Allseekers. I didn't know how to satisfy him... and after he logged off and didn't come back for 15 minutes, I went ahead anyway.
I felt that as guild leader, I should be leading, so I was the first person to leave the guild that night. It was hard.