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Azeroth Interrupted: Save the drama for yo mama

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

In my second column, I described the different personalities you can get stuck with when you invite friends and family to WoW. Of course, you can get stuck with these personalities even if you don't know them in real life. You see them in general chat, in groups and, unfortunately, in your guild. Today, I would like to discuss three possible severities of the Drama Queen. I know this has been done before, but sometimes the drama can affect real life and I would like to present some solutions for dealing with it.

Attention Addict: Not all Attention Addicts are Drama Queens, but all Drama Queens are Attention Addicts. (In logical terms, Drama Queens are a subset of Attention Addicts.) We all want some attention when playing WoW, which is why we are playing an MMO instead of a single player RPG. But the Attention Addict must have as much attention as possible at all times. Following are some of tactics the Attention Addict uses:

Attention Grabber: If Attention Addicts say what they want to say all at once, they can be ignored. So they want to make sure they have your attention before they tell their story/problem/world-ending-tragedy. They will say one or two phrases, waiting for responses before they finally give a hint about what they want to say. For example:

AA: OMIGOD!
<long pause waiting for someone to respond>
SuckerGuildie: What?
AA: I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!!!
ConcernedGuildie: What's wrong?
AA: Stupid @#@$#%$ Horde!!!!

The best way to handle the Attention Grabber tactic is to ignore the Attention Addict until he gets to the point.


20+ Questions: The Attention Addict will give the shortest and most evasive answers possible, so that you have to keep asking questions to get the whole story. Continuing the above example:

SuckerGuildie: What happened?
AA: It's a long story
ConcernedGuildie: Did they steal your mine or herb?
AA: No
SuckerGuildie: Were you ganked?
AA: Well...
AA: I was in STV...
AggravatedGuildie: GRAWR! Get to the point!

If you find yourself stuck playing this game, here are three suggestions to get out of it:

1) Just stop asking questions. Someone else will keep playing or the addict will get to the point eventually.
2) Say something like: "Sorry, I keep interrupting. I'll stop asking questions until you tell your whole story. :)"
3) My personal favorite: "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"

SPAM: Caps Lock, one word per line, repetition -- you shouldn't have to put up with this in guildchat. I find the best thing to do when the Attention Addict resorts to spam is to start off with a friendly jibe. If it continues, ask nicely in guildchat to stop spamming. If the Attention Addict won't stop, it's time to complain in whispers to an officer.

Drama Queen: The full-blown Drama Queen is an Attention Addict who thinks any attention is good attention. Though the nickname is gender specific, Drama Queens can be either male or female. Sure, we usually think of them as females because in real life we see the phenomenon mostly in teenage girls and divas, but guys can be just as dramatic. Drama Queens are rarely happy with anything and are not looking for solutions. Solutions will just end the drama. (This is how they differ from plain Attention Addicts, who are happy to listen to solutions and are really just looking for positive attention and camaraderie.) They are perfectly happy to argue with you about anything (just don't expect logic) and will try to push all the buttons they can. They also have pretty big buttons to be pushed and will try to lure you into their dramatic trap. The more you feed into their drama, the more they will seek you out, but at the same time, they will act persecuted.

For example, Drama Queens love shock value. From deviant sexual behavior to horrific physical threats, they will bombard the guild with topics until finding the most offensive. But if you ask them to stop, no matter how kindly, they shout censorship.

While Drama Queens can be guild poison, getting rid of them is not that easy. Drama Queens are usually the same in real life and often have a limited circle of friends -- having alienated too many people with their drama tactics. But they can't get the same concentration and regularity of drama in real life that they can in-game. If they walk into a grocery store and shout "OMIGOD!" and stand there waiting for someone to respond, people will avoid them. If they tell a coworker to "die in a bedfire", they will get reprimanded -- in the very least. The best way to get the amount of drama they require is online and a guild is a semi-captive audience. So they play as much as possible. They have multiple high levels, are there for every raid, and will usually be more than happy to help you with that heroic you've been trying to collect people for. If it weren't for the drama, they would be perfect guildies -- and that's why your guildleader hasn't gkicked them yet. The Drama Queen is also your MT with the best gear and/or the enchanter with that recipe that costs 200g plus mats for a non-guildie to do and/or the priestess with the mostest. Gkicking him or her leaves a huge hole in the guild that is difficult to fill. On the other hand, other valuable guildies may leave to avoid Drama Queens, so it is a difficult decision.

The best way to handle a Drama Queen who is otherwise valuable to the guild is to not feed into the drama, avoid all non-game contact (if not a real life friend or family member) and put him or her on ignore as necessary.

Real Life Tragedy: Some Drama Queens take their drama to a tragic level and suck you in using your concern and desire to help against you. It's one thing to throw a temper tantrum because no one will help him with the instance he needs to complete. It's another to accuse you or someone else of betrayal and threaten to hurt himself. Unfortunately, this has happened to me more than once and it has probably happened to some of you. So it is very important that you understand if someone is threatening to take his or her own life: this person needs professional help.

A suicidal person (if not faking just for the drama) is suffering from either temporary or permanent mental illness and needs to seek a professional. You are most likely not qualified to counsel this person and even if you are, you shouldn't be doing it in-game or long distance. He or she needs to get in touch with his mental health professional or seek one as soon as possible. And that should be your only advice before you make yourself scarce.

The troubled person making these threats has probably made some choices that you have no control over. He may be self-medicating with alcohol or illegal drugs. She may be resisting therapy or has stopped taking medication. Trying to talk them through it is usually very frustrating, feeds into their unhealthy need for drama and often only prolongs the suicidal episode. Suggesting the person stop playing and call a mentor, therapist, doctor, hotline or other professional source of his or her choice as soon as possible is the best help you are going to be able to give this person. The National Institute of Mental Health is a great resource if you want to learn more about mental illness.

Most of us play WoW to escape real life drama and have enough real life problems without stressing about someone else's. Helping a fellow player in need is a worthy endeavor and should be encouraged, but you can't actually help a truly suicidal person and you should not enable the person faking suicidal tendencies. Your family and friends probably have real issues that you can really assist them with. If you feel guilty about suggesting professional help to a suicidal player and logging off, go do a good deed for someone close to you. You'll have benefited your friend, yourself and even the Drama Queen.

Robin Torres juggles one level 70 Tauren Druid, multiple alts across multiple servers, two cats, one toddler, one loot-addicted husband and a yarn dependency. After years of attempting to balance MMOs with real life, Robin lightheartedly shares the wisdom gleaned from her experiences. If you would like to ask Robin's advice, please email Robin.Torres@weblogsinc.com for a possible future column.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Azeroth Interrupted

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