HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Everyone Take a Deep Breath

I've played with people like this. And liked them.

I've played with people like this. And liked them.

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.

10 Responses to “Everyone Take a Deep Breath”

  1. VokNo Gravatar says

    That’s an extremely interesting take on it Cass, one that I’m certainly going to come down on the other side of =D

    I don’t think peoples motivations excuse their behavior. I think if 24 people are adapting, then the one is an issue. I believe very strongly in patience and acceptance, but there are limits and racism and intolerance are my bug bears.

    You suggest that motivations can, to some extent, make it not so bad that someone is rude, forceful, or essentially a bully. To use an extreme example, Hitler had the best intentions for Germany in mind and there is an excellent argument to be made that Germany, today, would be worse off if not for him.

    That doesn’t make him any less of a monster.

    I guess it’s a question of what we are willing to sacrifice or adapt to in order to succeed. As you said, raiding to a large extent is self motivated (although you forgot to mention that sometime it can be just because we like to raid), and spending two, three, four nights a week with people that we dislike is a sacrifice we make to succeed. It’s something as a raid member I did and I kept people in Obsolete as guild leader that were, to be blunt, scum. But I wanted us to succeed.

    If I had my time again, I would have sent them packing. That is my biggest regret in my time as GL in Obs. I’d rather fail with friends than succeed with scum. (That has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? I think I’ll use that again sometime!)
    .-= Vok’s last blog … Bit of a filler =-.

  2. It seems like everyone’s having a rough time drama wise recently.
    I wonder (speculatively of course) if a lot of the upset that is happening around all of us (my own guild included) is a mixture of ToC boredom/burnout, anticipation of ICC and the general lull in activity.
    Idle hands make idle minds and all that.
    Who knows.
    I hope it all gets better soon anyway.
    .-= Sophie (Elsen-Terenas-EU)’s last blog … Just A Quick Update… =-.

  3. TamNo Gravatar says

    Obviously I don’t know the exact circumstances which led to this post but it’s *fascinating* – this probably makes me sound like an idiot but I’d never actually considered the delicate balance of guild harmony from quite this perspective before. It’s given me lots to think about, especially since I’ve been having a little bit of angst related to individuals in my own guild, so thank you.
    .-= Tam’s last blog … lore! what is good for? =-.

  4. Wow… Vok, That’s gotta be a record for the breaching of Goodwin’s Barrier.

    Anyways, this was a really well written post. One of the struggles of leadership is to balance both sides of a clash like that. And one of the biggest struggles of the people involved in the clash is to look past their own bias. The key as a leader is to try and help each side see what’s going on. Odds are, the leadership has the big picture, and it’s up to those leaders to show it to the people with a more limited perspective on the situation.

    In terms of the “Hypothetical Situation” you cited, I would say that Naxex was probably a prick, honestly. But if Skady just bailed without explanation, then that’s a more egregious breach of trust in my opinion. Just jumping ship like that, and making the GM chase him down for an explanation just shows how little he actually trusted the guild. Someone who’s truly invested in the guild would at least bring his concerns to the GM before burning his bridges like that. I wouldn’t want someone who didn’t trust me to do my job as GM in my guild.
    .-= The Renaissance Man’s last blog … the Ghost of Patches Past =-.

  5. EristhanNo Gravatar says

    Wow… Over the last 36 hours, this exact situation is all I could think about. We have 3 troublesome members.

    1st one is an asshole. He purposely baits people into arguments and claims women need to be beaten and makes sexist jokes all the time in an attempt to get people riled. He trolls trade and is genuinely just a terrible person with malicious intent to break up a few people.

    2nd one is an asshole. He calls people out, is harsh, is a general jerkwad in raids, and absolutely loves us. Newbies ask why we keep him, convinced we do so because he’s good dps. He is, but he actually likes us. And we like him.

    3rd is myself. I’m a bleeding heart. I’m the type to do everything in my power to make everyone happy. I tell people to concentrate in raids and to get tab back in because afk’s over, and then I’m an asshole who wants to ruin raider morale.

    Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

    I’m terrible at forming coherent thoughts.
    .-= Eristhan’s last blog … dontbotherreadingthislol =-.

  6. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    I guess what I was trying to say when I relived that racist remark => gquit experience (which happened all the way back in Tier 5, so not in my current guild) I was trying to say that there IS a difference between people who can’t express themselves politely and actually like the people in the guild (which I think Naxex was) and real assholes. I’ve kicked my share of assholes while I was an officer and one time it was because I felt that this person had done their best to bully someone else. Naxex wasn’t like that – he was rude and abrasive and didn’t know how to dish out any other type of love cept the “my mum could tank better than you!” type jokes.

    In hindsight I am more betrayed by Skady for leaving the guild because of 1 member. He could have put Naxex on ignore. He could have screencaptured what was said and showed it to our GM and we would have probably reacted differently.

    Regardless, I guess I wanted to say that how people speak isn’t always the true indication of how they feel/who they are. Action speak louder than words and Naxex did everything he could, and more, to help the guild succeed.

    And the more I talk about this the more I think this isn’t related to Vitare’s current problems!

    But the conclusion is the same: more peace and understanding please!

  7. JokeyRhymeNo Gravatar says

    I’m bookmarking this story just in case. Really great post and I am sure all of us can relate.
    .-= JokeyRhyme’s last blog … Well Read? =-.

  8. MichaelNo Gravatar says

    Very good write up about a topic few guild leaders, officers, or members think about. There is always going to be THAT guy who just can’t say anything nice or supportive to other people. Maybe he’s a socially-stunted person or just a right git, but he’s as pervasive as the guild leader’s wife stirring up drama.

  9. DusknoirNo Gravatar says

    I hope you don’t see my comments on the forums…
    .-= Dusknoir’s last blog … Connecting to #shadowpriest IRC =-.

  10. LathereNo Gravatar says

    Perhaps I’m just a naive or more patient then most, but I truly think every social misfit is a diamond in the rough. Once you get how to deal with them, you get past their abrasive nature and can actually meet some really interesting and fascinating people. In the case Cass mentioned above, I definitely respected Naxex and I was very sad to remove him from the guild and lose that “friendship” if you could call it that.

    I guess I’m lucky, it takes a lot for me to dislike someone… like a real lot! I do occasionally get annoyed by fellow guildies, but let me sleep on it and I’m generally over it the next day, who can be bothered to harbor all that negative shit?

    I’m not saying social immaturity is acceptable, in fact I generally pity those that just can’t seem to fit into a group situation. I think however, that if you do see yourself as someone that can easily fit it or as socially mature, you have a responsibility to rise past the annoying comments and see what the true message is.


  1. [...] (Cass) While many find even these offensive, I’ve personally decided that I’m nwilling to tolerate a certain amount of the locker room humor endemic to raiding guilds these days. There certainly is a wide range of maliciousness vs simple camraderie that some of these comments can imply. [...]

  2. [...] I blogged about a little bit of drama that somehow split the guild right down the middle, one 10 man group vs the other I was extremely [...]

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