Saturday, February 26, 2011

Conflict of Interest?

As anybody who has the ability to read the banner on this blog knows, my Horde side characters are members of the largest "guild" in the game: AIE.  We have nine co-guilds with countless raid teams and countless officers and countless great people.  But who is the man behind this community, the man who is the guild leader of every one of these co-guilds?  That would be Randy Jordan a.k.a. RandyDeluxe on the Instance a.k.a. Maui.  And because the hot tub Instance picture is too good to pass up, here he is in all his real life glory:

So our fearless guild leader has left the Instance as of two episodes ago because he is taking a dream job in the video game industry, and this creates a conflict of interest with his commentary on World of Warcraft on that podcast.  This is what his family needs him to do and I applaud him for both finding a way into his dream job industry and putting family first.  Also, as an attorney in my free time away from azeroth, I know all about conflict of interest.  You just have to avoid them for the betterment of all involved.

But there was a major question looming in the air, and that was whether his role as a guild leader would also be a conflict of interest.  Randy avoided dropping the name of his new employer, but the AIE community meeting last weekend dropped more than enough hints to indicate that Irvine might be where Randy was headed.  And that would make the most sense, since he is already friends or acquaintances with many Blizzard employees and has worked with Blizzard on many issues that unexpectedly come up when you run a guild as large as AIE.  Today it appears that the news is confirmed: Randy is a Blizzard employee.

So now the interesting conundrum all AIE guild members wondered about has come to pass.  Will Randy still be able to lead the guild if it is publicly known he works for Blizzard?  His characters in game will be badgered even more than they already are with whispers, and I don't know that this is a healthy situation for Blizzard.  Thus, I can only speculate that one of our fine longterm officers will be appointed to take over in Randy's stead if this is indeed as big a conflict as it appears on paper.  This is unfortunate as Randy is always fun to be around whether in green wall chat or in instances.  And those roles might be taken away.

However, the guild will be fine, as it always is.  We will just have a different voice of reason at the top to calm all the chicken littles down when something doesn't go our way like the guild cap.  But that doesn't change the fact that this would be a transfer of leadership, something that is tough for every guild to undertake.  I can't imagine what would happen to The Illuminati if Jeff (guild leader) left the game, but thankfully we are not dealing with that issue on Alliance side.  However, with many AIE guild members fleeing to Rift, Eve, and other games and the change in the air with The Instance and the guild leadership, it's hard to avoid wondering if the golden era of AIE has passed us by.

At the end of the day, change is always hard.  My law firm is considering moving from a building that was built 75 years ago and of which we are original tenants.  Despite the long history and the sweetheart lease deal, there are so many problems with the water and the HVAC and being spread out over six floors that we have been considering other spaces to settle.  It's kind of scary moving an office the size of ours, but if we do, I'm sure it will work out for the better.  And who knows, maybe these changes to the best podcast in the community and one of the best guilds in the game will end up for the better as well.  Dare to dream!

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