I used to be really into World of Warcraft and played it from its earliest version until just after the Cataclysm expansion. I was mostly a raider on two different servers based on what friends happened to be online, but I was also into the RP scene where I kept two characters.
One of these was an orc shaman, which was my first character and who I played for about a year. Now, the RP crowd for the horde was pretty neat, with several good guilds that had their own theme and people, that did events unique to them and had tensions between each other. Eventually my orc died in an RP event and I decided to do some dungeons and battlegrounds with him, but not give him any sort of comeback. Thus I moved to my second character, a human warrior that I wrote to be the ex-bodyguard of my now deceased orc, and who had just returned to his homeland following the death of his employer.
Now the Alliance RP scene was either somewhere I wasn’t looking or just plain dead with few notable guilds and most of the useful areas overrun by trolls, since Blizzard had zero interest in enforcing anything on its RP servers. The biggest guild I could find, and which was actually recommended to me by a friend, was The Stormwind City Guard. Now this sounded interesting, because the Horde guilds I was used to were all focused on military and a law enforcement organization seemed like a fun change of pace. It’s just a shame nobody in that guild seemed to care.
After like two weeks of trying to get in contact with their officers I finally got invited to do an interview. During this, it seemed like the player opposite of me really didn’t care as nothing I was saying raised any questions. I was the bodyguard of somebody that died; why I failed to keep them alive or who this person was didn’t interest them. They also didn’t question anything when I mentioned working in The Barrens, despite that being Horde territory. In short, I got a position as the protector of the capital of humanity after having worked for the enemy for several years.
So what did The Stormwind City Guard do? Nothing. What you were supposed to do was help the people that came to the building we were in and interact with criminals and the like. This was really hard however because people either came in with reports that weren’t based on anything, so it’d be a story they had involving a criminal that wasn’t actually played by anybody, so you couldn’t act on their story. At other times, criminal players just hopped in and jumped around trying to provoke us, which wasn’t really satisfying roleplaying either. Most of the time, though, you were just “in the office” doing nothing because nobody ever showed up to play.
There were few scheduled events, like drills and patrols, that were often canceled or just didn’t happen because no officer players actually logged in. Even then I could count on one hand the number of times the event actually led to anything because as far as I knew contact with other guilds was rare, so there weren’t any criminal organizations we could play against. Afterward, you’d just return to the office and sit down again, taking reports from the people that came in and posting them to the forums, where nobody ever interacted with it again. In short: there was 0 motivation to actually make this oddball idea for an RP guild work.
In retrospect, I think criminal guilds might have existed, but just didn’t want to play with the Guard. As I will get to in a bit, I eventually found myself on the other side of the law and was still frequently found in the city of Stormwind. Our calls to interact with the Guard were often ignored and if we ended up running into them during a patrol they generally just ignored us. Then came this strange message one day: “We found your secret hide-out and are raiding it. What do we find?” This wasn’t scheduled or debated with us, they just decided on a whim that they found our place. Our answer was simple by the way: “nothing.” We didn’t have a hide-out in Stormwind, as we were based in Duskwood.
Nevertheless, I threw myself at it, posted all the reports, did all the patrols, everything. And one officer absolutely couldn’t stand me and I don’t know why. Out of Character she just wouldn’t speak with me, not a word. Didn’t matter if I whispered, mailed, send her a PM on the forum, or talked in the guild chat, she’d never answer, always ignoring me to the point she’d respond to other banter in the chat, but not to me. And there is a general rule in RP that you don’t mess with people’s character unless you have their permission. Like, you wouldn’t just go up to somebody and murder their character. They will ignore and block you, because that is terrible play.
But in character this player always got upset with my character and eventually just said I was demoted and had no more authority in the guild, much to the surprise of most other players because I was active 3 hours a day, whereas this officer logged in once a week and most other players were maybe around for 2 hours a week. If anything, most assumed I was up for promotion, but regardless of whether or not it would be justified to demote the character, you can’t just do that in a roleplaying setting unless you specifically ask permission. It’s like if a player wants to be a knight in Dungeons & Dragons and another player with a knight demands they be a squire instead. Never does any player have the authority to tell you how to play your character differently, you discuss everything.
But, once again, I dedicated myself to this. I picked up the cooking profession and made drinks and food for all the other players, eventually getting to the point where I was allowed to join patrols again. Then came the moment I left, which is when a warlock came in while everybody was out and whispered me if I was up for an interaction that could kill my character, guaranteeing me she was a serious player. I accepted and she put a curse on me, demanding I send somebody in command to meet her to get it undone. We had this separate channel that we used that acted as a radio, so I send a call for help saying the office was attacked and I was wounded.
What did I get back? “Just ignore it.” After weeks of taking reports from people that disappeared into a forum nobody read, after tons of patrols that lead nowhere, here was an actual event somebody had thought through and fit our role as a police force. There was a warlock on the loose that assaulted a guard and held him hostage, and I was told to just tell her off because we weren’t interested. This was easily the most boring guild I ever joined, 100% devoted to meaningless paperwork, sitting around an empty room for hours a day, and refusing any sort of complex interaction. When somebody with actual passion for roleplay showed up and I was told to ignore it, I said some harsh words and joined the warlock instead, who was setting up a cult with many interesting events in mind and could really use a bodyguard.