It’s bound to happen eventually. Drama. Usually I hold myself back a little bit from most in game conflicts and disagreements. Put it in the light of day, say it out loud and suddenly it seems pretty ridiculous.
You see I’m part of this crazy, out of control will-powered machine called a raid. It has 25 people in it. Some of those people I hope never to meet in real life. Some of those people make me roll my eyes. Some of those people I have had to, well, learn how to love them.
We’re all grouped up at our computers to participate in something bigger than ourselves. And it’s actually a pretty selfish, mercenary desire that brings us back – loot, glory or character achievement. You can see it on your Armory. Sometimes the other people we need to get there just get in the way. Really when you look at your character everyone else just seems to fade away in the background. Or perhaps you think of them as some meaningless, faceless group of 24 strangers who were unwelcome, but necessary.
No matter how good a player you are, paired with 24 poor players you’re not going to achieve anything. Of course the vice versa is always true and I can think of several people who should have just renamed their character to “Carried” and come out of the closet.
The Myer Briggs type indicator models why people make decisions they do – it’s abbreviated to T or F and it stands for the two extremes: Thinking or Feeling. I’m not going to talk about the two extremes and how they differ, the most important thing to remember is that people make decisions for different reasons. And even more importantly, in a group of leaders you want people to approach decision making from different places – combined you get a much more thoughtful solution to the problem.
I’ve played with some trouble makers in my time. I think the guild I was part of during the last expansion could have been renamed Home for Wayward Souls Not Tolerated Elsewhere. You know when you read the Blizzard forums and think to yourself “where do all these arrogant, angry and mean people come from?” well the answer is: from guilds like ours. Yes, I’ve played with people like that. And liked them. People who made me cringe when they scolded a new member for making a mistake. People you’d never want to PuG with.
After a while, well I learned to love those difficult people. And here’s why: None of them, no matter how offensive their words, had any real hatred or malevolence towards the other guild members.
Let me tell you a story. Meet Skady. He’s well liked by pretty much everyone. Never says a word on vent, but he’s always keen to join in on the fun. He’s an excellent player. He could be in a more progressed guild.
Meet Naxex. He’s obnoxious. He’s rude. He’s harsh when players make mistakes. He joined to complete his Tier set and (unspoken) will then quit. Everyone does their best to ignore him. He’s an excellent player. He could be in a more progressed guild. He’s amazed that we keep inviting his friend to our raids when his friend’s DPS is just plain terrible.
One day Skady quits the guild. Everyone is surprised and upset, he’s a rock, a core member of the guild. I whisper him to find out why he left. He tells me that Naxex had said something racist in guild chat that offended him. Nobody else in the guild seems to know exactly what was said. Neither Naxex or Skady can remember exactly, or are unwilling to say. Some people say that Naxex was in the wrong, some say that Skady overreacted.
I hate to remember it but the other officers and I convinced Lathere (our GM at the time) to kick Naxex. If Skady was offended, then Naxex had cost us one good member too many. Naxex was the poison. He was the person who we all put up with but he’d probably offended lots of other people too.
Lath didn’t agree, but there didn’t seem to be any other option. She spoke to him over vent to break the news before removing him from the guild. And she told to me afterward that he was upset and had decided to quit the game if he wasn’t wanted in our guild any longer. That’s right, the tough guy who yelled at people when they made mistakes almost cried when he was removed from the guild. He sold his account about a week later.
Then I remembered how we, as a guild, had just adapted to Naxex. Even at his most offensive, we’d scold him and move on. We learned not to take him too seriously. And when he yelled at a Hunter for “failing to kite properly” what he really was trying to say was “ask me and I will tell you what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it”.
And I remembered that yes, even though he implied he would quit for a better guild once he got his gear, he never did. He raided with us, tanked what we told him to, for over a year. Even when he argued that we were too lenient towards our raiders he showed up on time. If we were short a healer, he brought his healer.
But it wasn’t until I convinced Lath to kick him that I realised that he actually liked us. He’d jumped from guild to guild, an excellent player with a terrible attitude, and stumbled into ours. And perhaps that was the very first time that he was accepted.
The moral to this story, if there is one, is that people are just people. Both of these guild members were fantastic players. One was very likable, and one was not. But both genuinely wanted the guild to succeed and liked the people in it. Sure you can run a successful raiding guild with 25 likable people. But I believe there’s room for a few troublesome members too.
I spoke to a Warlock in Dalaran the other day and asked him if he’d consider joining Vitare (I think I mentioned that we were pretty low on Mages and Warlocks, right?). He surprised me when he said that he had actually applied and been accepted in the past but didn’t like one of our Shaman. I hesitantly asked “which one?”
It turns out that the Warlock had gotten into an argument with one of our members, a Shaman, who rigorously interrogates new applicants even though he’s not an officer, or a raider, he’s just a casual member. Sometimes he goes too far and one of the officers has to pull him back in line. After all, he doesn’t have any real decision making power in the guild and he isn’t part of the raiding team. But I think if we gave him the position of “Guild Cheerleader” he would spend the night boasting of our guild achievements in Trade chat. For someone non-central to the guild, he sure is proud. I think he gets more excited over our raid achievements than we do!
So I explained to this Warlock that this particular guild member wasn’t part of the raid team but threw in “nice guy, though” which must have baffled the Warlock based on his previous experience. But I wasn’t lying – you can be a nice person and still be pushy, demanding and tough on new recruits. If it comes from the right place. I’m sure this particular Shaman thought that he was doing his very best to ensure that the quality of raiding candidates remained high. He wasn’t going to let any undesirables slip through.
Think of that person in your raid that you dislike. Are they really all that bad? Do they genuinely want the guild to fail? Are they intentionally offending guild members in an effort to force them to gquit? Do they intentionally waste other guild members’ time? I doubt it.
What would they do for the guild, for the success of the raid? Do they give up their time for the whole when there’s no individual achievement in it for them?
You don’t have to like every person you raid with. You just need 25 people who all are rocketing towards the same goal. Consider that they devote their time playing this game so that you can achieve something. It’s a joint effort.
Perhaps you make decisions for different reasons. No one is right. It just is. Take a deep breath.
If they break the rules, take it up with the boss: the GM. And if you have a personality clash, try not to let it affect the entire group and your own enjoyment of the game.
But whatever you do, don’t try and persuade me to dislike someone based on hearsay. I can form my own opinions, flawed as they may be, all on my own.
Note: I apologise for not coming right out and explaining exactly what has caused the drama in my guild, Vitare. To any guildies reading this, I know the story above isn’t really a direct parallel. Neither are the players involved. But somewhere there must be a parallel because this is the event that springs to my mind when I think about what’s happening right now. Perhaps the point I’m trying to make is please don’t make any rash decisions or statements and turn a misunderstanding and/or personality clash into something much more problematic.