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Officers' Quarters: Dressed down

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Sometimes a little stripping can be useful in a raid. I used to do it myself when I tanked with my paladin. Trash just never hit me hard enough to allow me to keep up my mana. I'd remove some gear so I'd actually take some damage and let Spiritual Attunement do its thing. But as a DPS class, you'd not doing anyone a favor by taking gear off. And then you're really not helping your case if you get angry about being "dressed down" over voice chat.

In this story lies an important lesson for all of us raid leaders -- but first, the naked truth:

Dear Scott,

Here's a long one that maybe you or the readers on WoW Insider can help me with. [. . .] We are a relatively casual raiding guild, only doing 25-man raids once or twice a week, and 10-mans whenever we have the people wanting to go. [. . .] We never force people to go to raids or to spec a certain way. Our guild rules are fairly simple, and basically amount to "don't be a jerk." This has worked out for us pretty well. [. . .]

With all of this, we were completely surprised at what happened last night while we were doing our weekly 25-man Naxx run. Throughout the night, one of our best members (highest non-officer rank, part of our hardcore 10-man groups, had been around forever) was goofing off a little bit and constantly taking off his gear and wanting to fight naked. This was mostly on trash, and as the raid leader and one of the officers, I would tell him to put his (very good) equipment back on so we could continue. He grumbled a little bit and put it back on, and I figured everything would be fine. And indeed, everything seemed fine through Loatheb, until when we downed him, our member gloated loudly on vent that he had done the fight completely naked. He had used Noggenfogger to become a skeleton so we wouldn't notice what he was doing. I was completely shocked.

The officers had a quick 10-second meeting in the Officer Channel, trying to figure out what to do. First off, we decided right away that he wasn't allowed to roll for any of the loot that dropped from that boss, since apparently he thought he didn't need gear anyway. So we told him in Vent never to do it again, and that he wasn't going to get any loot, and (language ahead!) I told him not to be a d*ck, basically like our guild rules state.

Anyway, we figured everything had worked out, until after the run I got a whisper. The member said that we were wrong to get on to him on Vent in front of everyone and that we were treating him like crap and that he was just trying to have fun. I tried to explain that we weren't trying to be unfair to him, and that it was important that everyone know that we weren't going to accept that kind of behavior from anyone, as if everyone does whatever they want to "have fun," we can't get anything done anymore as it will be complete chaos. He said that since we still killed the boss in one try, it shouldn't matter. Even so, if you know the Loatheb fight, you know that it is a pure DPS race, and that every bit matters. Five people in our raid died because we were a little slower on DPS than usual. Were the deaths his fault? Maybe, maybe not. But it's important that everyone give everything they can so that we can do things as smoothly as possible.

The member ended up leaving the guild (along with his family members in the guild) shortly after, because the officers refused to apologize for calling him out. My guild leader said that most guilds, especially more hardcore ones, would have kicked him from the guild as soon as he pulled his little stunt, and that we were being more than fair by just giving him a warning and then talking to him about it.

So that leaves my question: Were the officers right or wrong in calling the member our in front of the guild? Should we have whispered him and made it a private matter, or was it more important for everyone to know that there are rules and they need to be followed?

Thanks,

Xonate, Silver Hand

What I really don't get is what point he was trying to make. That Wrath raids are easy? Yeah, it's been said (and proven) over and over again. That you can beat a 25-man boss with only 24 people? Even the toughest bosses in the game can be beaten with one less contributing person as long as everyone steps up and works harder.

I agree that it was a silly thing to do. He's wasting people's time and gold for no good reason at all. If I were using expensive potions or food buffs on that fight and I died at the end, I'd be pretty annoyed at that guy.

You are your officers had every right to call him out on it and express your displeasure in no uncertain terms. The "don't be a jerk" rule is a tried and true one that applies to many different situations.

However, where you went wrong, Xonate, is that you failed to follow it yourself. By resorting to name-calling over Vent, you crossed the line. It can be easy to let fly like that in a heated exchange. Some people on the receiving end can handle it and some can't.

Regardless, that sort of thing is much worse when it comes out of the mouth of an officer. It sets a poor example for your members, who then think it is OK to start flinging expletives at people when they are unhappy with someone.

If you're doing it to lighten the situation with an over-the-top reaction or for humorous effect, that's one thing. But it sounds like you were genuinely angry and just lit into the guy. It might be a different story if you had taken the worst of your comments to whispers, but to make them in front of the guild was detrimental -- and potentially humiliating.

So your naked raider did have a point, and I think it would have been appropriate to apologize for the name-calling, even if you stuck to your guns about everything else. If you had, it may have smoothed everything over.

Did he overreact to it? It's hard to say. It certainly doesn't seem like the type of situation to gquit over. But I also don't think it's the type of situation to gkick over, either.

Did he deserve it? Probably. Even so, a limited apology from you, and a promise not to repeat the incident from him, and you both could have put the situation behind you. Now you've lost one of your best players and a number of other members as well. Was it worth it? Probably not.

We as officers often have to be the ones to rise above for the good of the guild, even if it sometimes means swallowing our pride a little bit -- or "exposing" our own weaknesses. (Sorry, couldn't resist one more pun.)

/salute

Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at scott.andrews@weblogsinc.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters! For more WoW Insider gameplay columns, click here.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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