I fear, however, that at this point our growth is going to stagnate. Most of our new members in the last few weeks have been alts of existing players, and that trend doesn't seem likely to change any time soon.
This isn't a bad thing, on the whole. We've got a good set up as it is.
The problem, as it were, shows up when you realize that the likelihood of us getting into the grand daddy of all endgame instances, Molten Core, is slim at best in our current state. I personally don't really have a problem with that. I'm not in the guild for raiding, and I didn't create it to be a raiding guild. I would LIKE to get there, but it's not the be all end all for me. I'm not the only player in our guild, though, and I cannot fault others for wanting to see what else the game has to offer.
To put it bluntly, if we don't find a way to help these players see what they want to see we will lose them. We already have bigger guilds sniffing around several of our players and making offers of membership to them. It's only a matter of time before the boredom with doing the same thing over and over again and the temptation of those offers gets to those players, and they will leave.
While I can't really fault them if that happens, I didn't create this guild as a boot camp to prepare other players to play with the "big boys."
So what can we do about this?
Well, the first thing we can do is nothing. Let things go as they currently are, and let people decide what they want to do when they hit end game. I don't like the idea of changing the rules on you people mid stream at all. When I invited you in the rules were pretty much "don't be an asshat," and that's worked out well. You aren't required to log into a forum, or attend certain events in game, or anything like that and well all generally seem to like that arrangement. As I said above, though, that situation - while enjoyable - does not seem conducive to our continued growth. I think we've hit the glass ceiling for now.
We can make a formal alliance with another guild, preferably Tainted Legion. This would solve some of our problems, but TL isn't in a spot where they can currently go to Molten Core either. And the truth of the matter is that if we went along on one of their raids, alliance or no, we would have low priority in the loot food chain. Their characters would come first, and I can't really blame them for that. This is the way of things.
The third solution is one that I do not suggest lightly, but it needs to be put on the table. Dissolving Mitternacht and merging with Tainted Legion. Tainted Legion is currently in a similar situation to ours. They are bigger than we are, but they are not a viable MC guild. They are being courted by the bigger guilds, and some of the members are very tempted to take those offers. With the addition of our accounts and some more time they WOULD be viable. It wouldn't be instant, but it would be a lot sooner than either of our guilds individually could accomplish on our own. Tainted Legion is very relaxed and friendly guild, like ours. They are also very protective of the environment that they have and want to see it preserved. I have yet to meet a player in their guild that I would qualify as an "asshat" and I think they would say the same about us. I believe the merger would be relatively painless and would be a tremendous benefit to both of our guilds.
Is it something I WANT to do? Yes and no. I like the setup we have, but it would be irresponsible of me to let things continue as they are and ignore the concerns of our higher end players without at least trying to accomodate them. In the words of the logical Mr. Spock, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one." I want what is best for all of you, and there is a part of me that thinks a merger is exactly that.
What would this mean for you as an individual?
Not much, really. You'd get to meet a lot of new players, which would help those of you who are lower level and having a hard time finding groups. There are no dues or anything like that. The biggest change you would find is that you would be required to have a guild portal account and to log into the forums on a regular basis. It might be once a week, but I'm not sure.
And I wouldn't be your fearless leader anymore. For all I know, I wouldn't even be an officer. I'd still be your advocate, though. I may not have rank, but I will speak up for my friends if they need me.
PLEASE share your thoughts about this with me. I want to do what is right for all of us, and I can't do that if I don't know what you are looking for. At this point, I'm not even sure that the merger option is on the table. I have talked to a few of the officers, and they seem willing, but I don't have a consensus from them yet - nor do I know what they would require of us if one is met. I will be firm on one thing - If we don't come as a whole we don't come at all (with the exception of the two minors in the guild - I cannot force anyone to play with children, nor will I hold you guys back if they don't want to. If that occurs I'll simply transfer leadership of Mitternacht to one of my other characters and Mitternacht will become a guild of four).
I look forward to hearing the fullness of your thoughts on this.