It's a rough time. It was slow before Wrath, it was slow before Burning Crusade. It should get even slower than it is now in the two or three months before Cataclysm.
Raiding guilds with spots to fill will start trying to poach; players who can't get their raid fix in more casual raid guilds will leave to try the major leagues; and guild leaders will be thrown into a tailspin.
Everything will be okay.
To help your guild survive, break out your towels and hold them tight. Then consider the following list:
- PUG the raid spots you can't fill. If your raiders are raiding with you, they aren't raiding with strangers.
- Encourage Real Lifers to return. Whether leaving for school or another game, let them know they have a spot when they come back.
- Schedule runs and events for any old world achievements people haven't completed yet. This will help entertain the bored.
- Schedule social events and contests, like hide and seek or screenshot competitions. Make sure the prizes are tempting.
- Help people. Unstable times are the times you need to go out of your way to make sure everyone feels welcome. Don't kill yourself trying to do everything, but do take the time to help with Chillmaw when no one else will, or dps an instance when they're begging to fill one final slot, or just chat with someone while you do your separate things.
- Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Letting yourself get poached is a bad idea. Not only does it tick off your old guild, your new guild may well put you aside when their real members get active again. Think about it. You are their second-string, their desperate move. Why would they want to keep you happy once they aren't in trouble? Loyalty breeds loyalty. You stay when times are rough, your guild trusts and values you that much more.
- It will get better. A slump is just that -- a slump. It's not a sign that your guild is dying. Everyone slumps.
- Share your ideas and needs. If you really desperately want X or Y (and it's possible), talk to other people and try to generate enthusiasm. The people you especially want to convince are the ones who always end up leading group events -- these people know how to plan, organize, and get things done. Events led by them always inspire interest and confidence.
- Encourage the ideas and needs of others. Particularly those that coincide in some way with your needs, but sometimes you can work out a compromise where you help someone and they'll help you back. It's win-win.