Dealing with people who drop out of your raiding guild is tough. In the past I have seen all kinds of reactions to people quitting: Sadness, rage, despair, relief, hope and thankfulness just off the top of my head. It is a strange situation; one day you expect to play games with someone for 10 hours a week and know about their moods and their challenges and you are a part of their life. The next day you see a post on your forums saying their aren't in the mood to play anymore and suddenly they are gone, usually forever.
Sometimes a person who is generally well liked and relied upon by the guild leaves and everyone panics, wondering how things will ever be the same. They lament for the loss of a friend and feel existential angst at the thought of a close relationship being severed. Sometimes a guy who is a complete buffoon and who is not well liked leaves and everyone cheers because now the guild can simply move on and find someone new without the pain and conflict of booting him. (*cough* Arthimus *cough*) Sometimes the person fades away, making less and less raids, being happy to sit by the sidelines and eventually just stops altogether with nary a whisper, and sometimes they go out with a flaming Bang! making a big, angry forum post lambasting those they disagreed with and mocking those who stay.
Spots and Flirtini announced today that they are leaving. It is sad from a lot of perspectives since they were both good players and friends. I enjoyed talking to them about my blog posts, about our kids and about WOW itself. I enjoyed playing with people who are enthusiastic, skilled and hardworking. Now I have the unenviable task of sorting through the stacks of fools and incompetents that populate the world trying to find someone or several someones to replace them. It has always been my philosophy to wish people well and then furiously recruit. Sometimes people try to shame, guilt or bully players into coming back but if you want someone who is enjoyable to play with and good at what they do you simply have to accept their decision and move on. So I wish them well and rush out trying to find good people who could take their place in our little army.
I find that after these 4 years of leadership of online groups I have developed an incredible sense of those who will leave. It is something hard to quantify or measure, just a little spark in my mind that tells me that they are gone. Much like when I was in sales this information came to me as a certainty and yet I could not pin down exactly where it came from. Some large combination of social cues from voices, text and behavioural patterns has given me some kind of almost supernatural power to determine when someone is quitting and when they are just taking time off. Unfortunately I can't use this power because people will be offended if I act like they have already quit when they themselves have not made made that final leap so I must simply stand back and watch the inevitable unfold.
If I could choose from the list of superhero powers I think I have chosen badly. Flying? Nah. Invulnerability? Bah. Super Strength? Meh. I choose Know When People Are Quitting Your Online Raiding Guild in Advance. I will call myself Recruitment Man!