I had read some posts a while back by Larísa which talked about the soul of a guild. I was going to post back because I found the article very interesting. Also, as a guild leader, I think that I can shed some light on this as well. Does a guild take on a soul? I believe absolutely it does. When does this occur? I would say at inception. I know some may disagree, but for our humble little guild, it did occur at the foundation of the guild.
We all worked together for a well known financial company a few years ago (hard to believe that it has been a few years already). We were members of a larger more well known guild at the time, but we wanted to create a more laid back guild and make a joke about where we worked. So, Mass Affluent Slayers was born. When it first was founded it was a fun loving guild. Much the same as a child. We simply slipped away from our mains and had fun. We spent time running around doing silly little things. Making jokes about other members or things that we encountered at work. Little did we know that our little fun loving guild would need to grow up.
A couple months after the founding of MAS, our main guild went through several mergers and eventually collapsed upon itself. With a guild established we moved our main characters into MAS and solidified it as a stable guild. Over time, we added more members whom we worked with to our ranks, and we also began to add members that we had leveled with. During this time we were really going through the tough years of growing up. We learned the pains of being small and worried about the fears of growing up.
At the end of 2007, my wife decided she wanted to play, so she got an account and so began our growing pains. She brought a lot of members into the guild. At one point I started to refer to her as Miss Good Horde 2008 for her always helping every stray character in need. It was during this time though that we gained several members who would help us grow beyond just an average guild, but gave us the tools to become a more serious raiding guild. It seemed our childhood was over.
Our guild has been through allot over the past year, but the soul of the guild is the people who make up the guild. It is not a desire to form a core group of raiders (yes this is a goal), but rather the commodity that we share with each other. When my father passed away, the guild rallied around offering words of encouragement. When members have felt sick, there is general concern for them. When there is heartache and hurt, the guild reaches out. When my wife's account was hacked, the guild extended their sympathy and then offered encouragement and assistance. While we are still waiting on the account to be returned, the guild has poured out assistance helping her work on leveling new characters for a new account.
In closing, the soul (or perhaps the heart) of the guild is the people. Is the guild alive? Is the guild a sentient being? Of course it is not. Could we say that it is a body? Yes, we could say that it is. Can we see it? No, we cannot; however, we cannot see the wind, but we can feel the cool refreshing breeze or see the wondrous power of a tornado. We cannot physically see, touch, or hear the guild, but that does not change the fact that the guild is alive and has a soul. I would dare say that if something were to happen to me, that the guild would go on. Sure there would be sadness of loss, but there would also be offerings of support and concern for my wife and friends. That is what the guild is and perhaps the reason why some cannot see it in this manner is because we want to have it as a quantitative number or solid object; however, if that is what you seek, you may never find a true guild, rather you may find a group of people with a common goal but have no true connection other than achieving the goal. When the goal is reached those people part ways and move on to the next venture. (Sounds more like a business to me.)
So, I guess it is the way that we, as individuals, approach the guild and view it. If we are looking for something where people are connected and care, then we have a guild with a soul. If we are looking for a common goal that when all is said and done, we can walk away from, then we are looking for an organized group of people, sure it says guild, but there is no soul there, and I dare say that this does not make a guild then.