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Over the past few years, the top World of Warcraft raiding guild has been the Europe-based team Method. However, this week the guild went through a major split.
Sco, who founded Method back in 2005 and still leads it today, confirmed that many "core" members have left to form a new guild called Serenity (via Manaflask):
Unfortunately key people such as Kuznam (raid leader), Pottm (organised a lot for T18), and a few others have decided they would rather start afresh in a new guild alongside those they closely associate with. The remaining members are left with a choice and to cut straight to the point, many members will obviously follow the raid leader which is understandable.
He attributed the split to several factors. He said that hardcore raiding in WoW is in decline, due to many other hardcore guilds either merging or shutting down in recent years. Many players no longer enjoy the full-time push to complete raids before anyone else in the world - a process he describes as being "locked away for 2-3 weeks." Even within Method, the most hardcore guild of all, players had different opinions on exactly how much energy and time they should devote to raiding in the future.
Sco also admits that members have been taking over many responsibilities from officers over time because the leadership's "motivation and drive wasn’t at its strongest." Kuznam and Pottm, two of the founders of Serenity, also confirmed that a "lack of leadership" from Method's officers was to blame for their departure:
After a lot of talking on both matters, we weren't able to to get to common ground and couldn't find solutions that worked for both sides. This is why a majority of the PvE guild decided to start something fresh, completely cut off from the Method network and management.
Sco says that he has zero intention of letting Method die. The guild plans to rebuild and aim for the "highest rank achievable," though he admits that getting another world-first may be hard due to the recent departures.
This kind of drama isn't uncommon in World of Warcraft guilds, whether they raid or not. Maintaining harmony among dozens of players with different temperaments and priorities is a constant challenge. It's sad, though, to see this kind of upheaval in a guild that's been at the top of their game for the past few years and in existence since shortly after WoW launched.
The age of WoW (11 years this fall) makes it even easier for this kind of upheaval to happen. Millions of subscribers have left the game just this year, making it harder for guilds to fill their raid groups with competent players. Guilds are forced to merge, cannibalize rivals, or shut down as the talent pool shrinks. This has a snowball effect, with many players then quitting because of the stress that these shakeups cause.
The top guilds have an even harder time of things, because the pool of players with enough skill and free time to raid with them has always been tiny. This pool is just getting smaller over time, as players who once raided 20+ hours get jobs, have kids, or simply just get bored with an aging game. As these players leave, there aren't a lot of replacements because the new generation of hardcore gamers are flocking to newer releases.
Many WoW players will come back when Legion and future expansions launch, but I'm not sure how much it's going to help the guilds racing for world-firsts. They need players willing to spend dozens of hours a week over the course of months and years - the type of people willing to keep attempting a boss after 471 deaths. At this point in WoW, that's a very rare breed.