WoW: Drama! (Rapscallion dissolution)

On the Dark Iron server, guilds on the Alliance side affiliated with Penny Arcade (Fancy Lads, Keepers of the Wang) wage war with Horde guilds associated with a number of (comparatively) lesser-known webcomics such as Scott Kurtz’s Player vs. Player (Djörk, Panda Attack) and Scott Ramsoomair’s VG Cats (Cult of Kruglor). Many of these guilds are wildly popular and max out the 500-member cap.

The author of one of the webcomics involved, Tim Buckley (aka Absath) of Ctrl+Alt+Del, is alleged to have recently kicked as many people as he could from his guild, the Rapscallions, possibly on the night of December 16th. (He had abdicated leadership to a more involved member of the community roughly a week prior and was serving as an officer. Some people say that this was due to his abandonment of WoW for EVE.) He is also said to have taken down all related forums.

There’s a newspost about it at PvP, where Scott Kurtz, whose call to arms has created much of Penny Arcade’s Horde opposition on Dark Iron, has created a forum for “refugees” of the disbanding. As of the midnight commencing December 19th, there is no information about any disbandment on Buckley’s site. Posters on the new PvP ex-Rapscallion board claim Buckley is engaging in a campaign of information suppression, and that he and his moderators are deleting any related posts on his remaining forums.

A comprehensive, adequately sourced, and reliable account of the events leading up to the current situation has yet to surface, but some preliminary summaries can be seen on the refugee forum. If what’s posted there is to be believed – and people are bitter, but seem to be saving the highest degree of, shall we say, wildness for suggestions that Buckley may be indulging in crystal meth – someone who was quitting the guild discussed the reasons why in guildchat, which included his dissatisfaction with a particular raid leader. The raid leader’s boyfriend objected to this and there was a heated argument. A guild official told them to take it off the chat and onto the boards, where it developed into a flame war and then died down. Subsequently, Buckley appeared on the server claiming to have received an email objecting to “the drama.” According to Rapscallion witnesses, Buckley angrily complained that this was bad publicity for him and his site, which is involved in the sale of branded merchandise and is soon to launch a commercial pay-to-access element revolving around original animated shorts which feature the characters from his comic, and kicked members en masse before quitting the guild himself.

The posts I have culled most of this account from, particularly the details of the alleged mass kicking itself, are here and here (much less detailed but seems to corroborate the other, longer post – and was posted first, which suggests that it’s not merely a me-too repetition of prior accusations). There are also some screen shots. Additionally, I have relied on Kurtz’s short summary in his newspost on the matter, which was presumably written after he had received multiple emails describing the incident. He does not appear to have permalinks to individual posts, but it’s currently the second from the top on his home page.

The extent to which the Rapscallions’ sister guild, the Bloody Carrots, has been affected by any of this is unclear to me. The Rapscallions’ site appears to be down, lending weight to accusations that Buckley has pulled the plug on it. A newspost by Buckley on his site appears to confirm to at least some degree that he is now playing EVE. Rumor has it that he is starting an EVE guild, which has led some incensed ex-Rapscallions to predict that the alleged events that led to the demise of their guild will be repeated there.

The “survivors” are currently agonizing over the possibilities of a guild name change, absorption into pre-existing guilds, or even continued existence as the Rapscallions. None of them seem to want to spoil the mood of perserverance, but it’s almost inevitable that at least some will abandon their characters on Dark Iron.

This incident, while perhaps interesting in and of itself to many, also raises a larger issue in a manner closer to home than usual: to what extent should community involvement in a unifying project give the community control over that project?

While that question may never have a definitive answer, one thing is certain: Tim Buckley’s continued silence about this is against the traditions of Festivus, which include the airing of grievances.

Edit: Buckley apparently made this post immediately after the incident on the WoW Boards’ Dark Iron Realm Forum:

Just relax people. I disbanded the Rapscallions because a clear statement needed to be made that I was no longer in charge of the guild. A statement that, evidenced by the number of complaints I continued to receive about how the guild was being run after my departure, hadn’t gotten across when I transferred leadership. The guild had slowly descended into constant bickering and disagreement, which I was being pulled into despite the fact that I don’t even play the game anymore.

Disbanding seems harsh, but words weren’t solving much of anything, so I made a judgement call.

It’s better than they form the guild under their own volition and their own steam so that a definitive clarification is made concerning my administrative role in the guild (or lackthereof, as of the last month).

In all honesty, I think everyone, myself and the players will be happier for this in the long run. They can form a guild that is not attached to any existing fanbase, its creator or comic, and I can not feel responsible for handling administrative matters in a game I no longer play.

[ post edited by Exanimus ]

Allow me to summarize:

People are stupid.

Also:

Tim Buckley is batshit insane. Known long before any of this happened.

Guild drama? In an MMORPG? Involving web personalities? I call shenanigans!

Yeah. It’s weird to me that people take a game like WoW so seriously that (a) there is all this conflict; (b) the people involved think it’s so important and earth-shattering that they turn it into this drama production complete with websites, screenshots, etc.; and © they think it’s so important that the gaming population at large will be interested in whatever is going on with their WoW guilds. I mean, I’m sure this is true with all sorts of intense hobbyists, but it always sort of creeps me out. (This isn’t a knock against Unicorn – we’re all special snowflakes, and if I’m not interested I can stop reading the post after the first few lines. To each their own. I just can’t help getting the weirdies sometimes.)

But really: “survivors”? This was not a plane crash or the Holocaust, people.

Yeah. It’s weird to me that people take a game like WoW so seriously that (a) there is all this conflict; (b) the people involved think it’s so important and earth-shattering that they turn it into this drama production complete with websites, screenshots, etc.; and © they think it’s so important that the gaming population at large will be interested in whatever is going on with their WoW guilds.[/quote]

It’s the time committment thing. If you invest 40+ hours a week of your life into a “game,” it’s not a game any longer–it’s your defining characteristic. That’s when the over-the-top drama starts making sense to you. Sad to say, I’ve been there once myself (not with WoW), so I can speak from personal experience on this topic. Oh, the shame… :cry:

You don’t even need to be a web personality. I’ve had a couple guild leaders pull this routine.

Ditto - not casting blame on the OPer, but somehow it took me about 2 minutes into reading this to realize it was not about the Republican National Committee or something involving something somewhat important.

It’s is somehow written in a breathless tone as if the President had been shot, and it’s about some WoW guild on one server somewhere?

I just found it bizarre that people join guilds based solely around the worship and adoration of webcomic artists.

Especially when the comic in question is crap, as in this case.

As opposed to the worship and adoration of a gaming forum.

Especially when the forum in question is crap, as in this case. :wink:

Yes, it’s also because when people start grouping together because of a shared interest, politics with a small ‘p’ starts to intrude. If you investigate the history of your local gardening club, for example, you’ll probably find similar ‘storm in a teacup’ type instances that seem baffling or out of proportion to outsiders.

Especially when the forum in question is crap, as in this case. :wink:[/quote]

I like CAD. But I’d never join a guild because if ut,.

Are you joking? Every long-running online game I’ve ever played has had drama flareups of this sort, and they’re huge fun. It’s an excuse to get, well, dramatic! People love that! They’ll talk about how terrible it all is and who’s to blame and so on but they’re really having a great time. It gets people involved, it gets people following the “story”, it gets people talking, it creates color and life where before there was “just a game”.

Of course it does tend to annoy those who want to “just play the game” - but this is all part and parcel of getting involved with things like guilds in the first place.

I was just talking to someone about how much I missed the drama in my old EQ1 guild.

seems like a lot of angst over an ugly, shitty little game.

That’s part of the fun – I deliberately adopted the style of a real pretend journalist. I even fucking tied in a smarmy holiday message at the end! Although I’m not really sure how taking the latest bullshit important people are saying seriously is more important than talking about people fighting on the internet.

No shit, which is why I have it in quotes. And “refugees.”

It works on two levels – it’s fun because it’s detailed and passionate, and it’s funny because we’re not directly involved and think the whole thing is stupid.

The link between the guild’s disbandment and his career really is interesting to me though. At the very least it has to be tremendously misguided – “I will destroy my fan club!” We bitch briefly but ultimately shrug when Sony and Microsoft and EA do this kind of thing. But here’s some guy who was a random geek a few years ago, started a mildly successful webcomic, and is now bringing the traditional concerns of soulless-suit executives to a down-home folksy nerd culture thing like MMO guild drama.

?

Not everyone thinks WoW is the second coming of Christ :P