Raiding 101: Groups and Guild Mergers

In this Raiding 101 series, we discuss tips and tricks for various aspects of running a guild, which can range from guild leadership duties, to raid leading, to growing as a player. Today, we’ll discuss something that most guild leaders will face at some point during their careers: Guild mergers or absorbing a large group of people into our community.

If you’ve been playing in guilds long enough, you’ve almost certainly encountered a discussion about a group of friends joining your guild, or about a guild merger – whether this is something you’ve witnessed firsthand or it was an idea that leadership shot down immediately. Large groups or full-scale mergers are a relatively common occurrence in WoW as raid teams grow and change, guilds fight and splinter, leadership teams disagree, or everyone simply goes their own separate ways.

Mergers can seem like a very appealing option if the attendance boss is hitting your team hard, or if a friend’s guild has split and some people need a new home. However, proceed with caution! Mergers have a tricky reputation for a reason – they are very easy to mismanage, with disastrous results. If a merger truly feels like the right choice for your community, ensure you are moving forward with careful and precise intent, and setting appropriate goals and expectations both with your own officers and community, and those from the merging team.

Read on to learn more about guild mergers and acquisitions!

Table of Contents

Why Are Mergers So Difficult?

Generally, GMs are often completely opposed to, or at least extremely wary of, merging communities. Many of us have seen guild mergers, (or the introduction of a large group of new people), fail in a spectacular fashion; people may splinter off into their own groups, the merged guild may leave, or the entire guild may fall apart as a result. But what exactly is it about guild mergers that makes it so difficult for them to succeed?


Oftentimes, guilds choose to merge because of roster concerns; however, in their haste to alleviate attendance issues, many leadership teams rush into combining their communities without much detailed discussion about the new guild’s goals, rules, and values. While a guild can realistically support two (or many more) raid teams with very different progression goals, like a Cutting Edge Mythic team and an AotC Heroic team, any leadership involved in a merger should be taking the extra time to be certain that everyone arrives with the same community-based goals and values in mind. Two guilds possessing very different sets of community morals will likely never merge successfully, no matter how hard leadership may try. For example, a guild for whom inclusivity is key will always struggle when attempting to integrate with a guild for whom inclusivity is a non-issue.

If the combined leadership team is unable to iron out all the expected guild values and rules before a merger officially happens, no amount of work after the fact will truly bring everyone back to the same page, and this is frequently the true downfall of a merged community. Hashing out these details is a boring task, especially after both guilds have already done the work independently, but it must be re-done with an eye on the future merged community. In almost all cases, mashing both sets of guild rules together is not a truly suitable solution, and will result in frequent rule violations and confusion from one or both subsets of the merged community.


One of the most difficult parts of orchestrating a guild merger is deciding what the new leadership structure looks like. Will the resulting guild have two guild masters? How many officers will remain? Who will the raid leader be? It can feel impossibly personal to ask either side to cut officers, or to ask either GM to step down from their post completely, but will the resulting leadership team then be oversaturated and messy? Many guild mergers get hung up on this issue, and it’s not an easy one to resolve without hurt feelings.

This leadership integration issue can be further compounded by a lack of early discussion between teams, and especially by a failure to codify new merged guild rules. If both teams simply arrive at the merger date with their own set of expectations and leadership members, the resulting merger is almost always doomed. Organization is imperative in complicated interpersonal situations like a guild merger, and this starts with the members of leadership themselves. If each officer feels entitled to retain their role after the merger, removing any of them against their will certainly results in leadership friction, which is just amplified as the dissonance moves down the chain to the community level; disgruntled ex-officers who have stepped down (or been removed) unwillingly just add to the awkward tension that frequently accompanies the forcible smashing together of two distinct and independent guilds.


A big influx of new raiders into a team understandably makes for some pretty frustrating raid nights. This is why most serious CE raiding guilds will only bring a couple bench players or new trials along to early farm nights – they’re hoping to get the new people their kills without adding too many people for whom the content is unfamiliar. Adding even half of another raid team into a previously-independent group all but guarantees a few nights of regression and discomfort as the new people adjust to the other team’s way of doing things. At least one of the two teams will have a new raid leader and maybe even brand new strats. Maybe the healer or tank teams will need to adjust to new members. Loot rules may have changed. For a team that was progressing well before a merger, this initial few weeks of adjustment might feel incredibly frustrating and discouraging, and almost always results in some resentment and anger towards the new people.

We all know the sting of a rough raid week, which can wreak havoc on guild morale even in a long-settled community. When adding the stress and uncertainty of a brand new guild merger into the mix, a rough raid week can spell disaster for the mixed team. If the raiders (and the community as a whole) have not been adequately prepared for the expected awkwardness that comes along with a guild merger, this adjustment period can feel extra frustrating, discouraging, and even unfair. Many leadership teams do not give their communities enough time to digest and understand a merger before it happens, leading to raid nights that feel like a huge step backwards in progression and even in fun.


Raid is not the only setting in which a big group of new people will make a noticeable difference. Even social settings feel a little bit strange. The newcomers are always more comfortable with each other, and may be hesitant to reach out and interact with the already-established community. Everyone needs to adjust to new voices in Discord, new inside jokes, and every individual’s new quirks. There’s typically a real unwillingness for either group of community members to reach across the aisle and welcome the other into the fold. If you’ve been content with your guild’s social setting for quite some time, a group of new people throwing off the social environment can feel pretty unsettling and even downright frustrating, resulting in yet another opportunity for the established guild members to develop some resentment for the incoming guild.

Meanwhile, the new people, having been promised a certain progression setting and guild environment, may also feel that the initial adjustment period is unsettling and frustrating. They may feel unwelcome or alienated, and can easily pick up on any resentment or anger aimed at them. This results in frustration and disappointment on both sides of the aisle, and prevents either group of players from truly reaching out to get along and bond with the other. Beginning a relationship with resentment and frustration can only lead to more of the same, which puts community cohesion in shambles early on in a newly-merged community’s lifespan.

How Can I Make a Merger Successful?

If you’re feeling like a guild merger might be in your future, ensure you are proceeding very carefully! This is not a process to be rushed through in the interest of timelines or progression goals; instead, you should work through integrating your teams slowly and with a great deal of tact and compassion. Both leadership teams must be all in, and share their enthusiasm with their respective communities.


Have as many meetings with the other leadership team as possible, beginning as soon as you start to float the idea of a merger! You should keep the following goals in mind as you hash out merger details with the other leadership team:

Leadership Goals

  • Establish shared guild rules - This should always be your first step; can you all agree upon some shared values and rules of conduct? If the answer is no, then the merger should not proceed any further.

  • Set common goals - This will look similar to the initial goal-setting process I detailed in my first article in this Raiding 101 series. It may feel like you’re headed back to step one, but that’s absolutely the correct mindset to have! You ARE headed back to step one, as an entirely new team with new leadership. Whether your guild is the recipient of the influx of members, or you’re bringing your members to a new team, your identity as an independent guild ends when the merger takes place. This can be a sad and difficult realization, but it can also feel freeing and reassuring to know you are actively creating a new (and hopefully improved) community in the process.

  • Both sides should prepare to make concessions - Yes, your guild rules are important, and the wording may feel truly personal to you. But the other team’s guild rules may feel equally important to their leadership staff, as well. Don’t look at this process as “giving up” anything so you have less and the other team has more. This is a collaborative process to make the resulting blended community that much stronger, and not a competition to decide which leadership team comes out ahead. Remember also that both sides may need to be prepared to cull their officer rosters; this is hopefully an organic process and not a forceful one, as forcing anyone to step down will only encourage resentment. Recall the qualities of a great officer as you work through the merged team’s expected leadership roster. If the incoming group has an officer who does not meet your needs, or is actively resistant to the goals and values you’re hoping to instill into the new community, do not brush this detail aside in order to proceed!

  • Check in with yourself and your own officers - Mergers can be a stressful time for everyone, but you should also feel a little bit of excitement at the idea of building something new. If you or any other member of your leadership team feels overly apprehensive or uncomfortable at any point during the early discussion process, allow some time to talk amongst yourselves and evaluate what is giving you pause. If the merger does not feel like the right choice for your team after meeting with the other group’s leadership, it’s okay to pause and reconsider. Don’t jump into something as important as a merger without feeling very confident that it’s truly the best possible option for your guild!


If you’ve been following along with these articles, you’ll know by now that I am an avid supporter of community bonding time, and yes, I’m advocating for it here, too! Before you throw two halves of a guild together, plan some fun, casual meetups first. This can be a quick and silly alt run through the current raid, a movie or game night, a Mythic+ night, or whatever else might strike you as fun and interesting. Whatever you choose, ensure that it is an activity that doesn’t favor any one team over the other; you want to be encouraging integration, not pitting both sides against each other. This also shouldn’t be too serious or competitive either, as, again, the intention is to help both sides bond and learn about each other in a low-stress, low-pressure environment.

Even after the merger has taken place, leadership should continue to emphasize community cohesion by continuing game nights or other fun, casual activities outside of raid time. Your guild members becoming comfortable with one another is one thing, but it takes much longer to develop the kinds of close friendships that make successful guilds an enjoyable place to be. Don’t be afraid to solicit community ideas for game nights - find out what your guildies want to be doing with their free time! You may find that many people in the new merged community share a common interest, which makes bonding that much easier.


Your community should be made aware of any influx of new members well ahead of time whether a merger or integration of a smaller group, and they should be prepared for what this means – not only for the raiders, but also for the broader community members. Remember to model good communication by being open and honest with your team, such as explaining to them that things may feel awkward for a while or that you won’t stress raid progression for a few weeks while everyone adjusts, etc. Whatever you do, don’t catch your community by surprise, as this approach is just begging for frustration and failure.

Allow your guild members the space to ask questions and express their concerns freely, without feeling guilty or singled out for doing so. Be especially careful not to take any apprehension personally; remember your guildies are not trying to thwart your hard work, but are simply adjusting to an idea that you yourself have had a lot more time to work on! You may have some community members who are just not interested in a merger of any kind. This is okay. Do not treat them badly or hold this against them, but do give uninterested parties an early warning and be gracious by providing them an out so they are not feeling guilted into remaining in a process that doesn’t seem interesting or workable for them.

Remember, the goal is for everyone to be on the same team, which necessitates them all being on the same page! Both groups should be prepared for that little bit of awkwardness during that difficult adjustment period, and both sides should be ready to approach that awkwardness with compassion and a sense of humor. Leadership can do a lot in the early days of a merger by modeling and encouraging integration and community cohesion - invite players to run keys together, continue to plan community game nights, and especially spend time with new people in Discord…where you go, your team will follow!

Patience and a sense of humor will truly pay off! While we typically aren’t bringing in a whole group full of new trials at once, having new people join the team is usually a pretty exciting experience. Revel in those little bits of joy as your two communities embark upon this new chapter in your guild’s lifetime!

Key Takeaways

Full-scale guild mergers, or even integrating a smaller group of people into a pre-existing community, have a bad reputation for a reason, as they can be disastrous if not handled with tact and care. However, they are not impossible! If a guild merger is appealing to you, be absolutely certain you are handling the integration properly by emphasizing open communication and community cohesion throughout the process. Remember that if a merger does not feel exactly right for you, it’s better to pause the integration, or skip the merger altogether, rather than smashing two communities together that truly will not fit. A merged community may take some getting used to, but the idea of building something new should make you feel excited and hopeful for the future, not completely hopeless or frustrated. A properly-handled merger is a chance to iterate on both original guilds to build something that transcends each of them, and should be an exciting new chapter in your leadership career.


About the Author

Gogogadgetkat has been playing WoW since late BC, and has been the GM of her guild Propaganda since its creation in 2014. As a career healer, Kat has a number of CEs and old-school heroic kills under her belt, all on a variety of healing classes and specs—she’s a serial altoholic! In addition to Mythic raiding and a little Mythic+, creating safe, inclusive spaces in gaming is her longtime passion; Kat has been an admin for the Perky Pugs community since late BfA, and is also a founding council member and the community manager for the DEIBAJ initiative Liquid Women in Warcraft. She is excited to bring her wealth of experience and love of writing to the Raider.IO team.