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Drama Mamas: Venting

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

The big event is over and it's time to go back to drama prevention. This week, we attempt to circumvent the need for a Raid Leader's intervention. We also tackle the topic of ventiquette -- which is the etiquette of speaking in Ventrilo and not the manners involved in venting about things. Although I'm sure we'll eventually get to venting etiquette as well. Now that I'm done inventing ways to use the syllable "vent", it's time for the drama.

Venting about a Raid Leader
Dear Drama Mamas: I'm a member of a raiding guild that is perfect in every way except one. Our raid leader, who also happens to be the GM, is the worst raid leader I have ever encountered in the history of WoW. He is not the original GM; he was given the position when the founder of the guild had to leave the game due to real life issues.No one has any complaints about him in his role as GM. He is always fair and impartial. He keeps his cool when the occasional drama occurs; he is heavily invested in the success of the guild. However, the qualities that make him an excellent GM are not necessarily the qualities that make a great raid leader.

He never stops talking during a raid; it is nonstop from start until finish. He gives us a running commentary of his moves for the entire fight. After a wipe it takes a good 10-15 minutes to regroup because he has to go over every step of the fight, even if we've done the fight successfully 50 times. Heck, we ran Naxx the other day for badges and he still had to give a run-down of each fight. Most raid leaders know how to motivate their raiders to perform better after a bad attempt at a boss. Not ours. I'm sure he thinks he is motivating us but he just comes across as frustrated and discouraged. Needless to say, this brings us down, which makes it difficult to improve our performance.

This is a serious problem. We have had a few raiders leave because they cannot bear to raid with him. But no one who leaves will tell him because they like him as a person so they don't want to hurt his feelings. I believe he is holding our guild back from fulfilling our potential, but I don't know what to do at this point. Signed, Raid Leader Woes

Drama Mama Robin: Dear Woes, this is a really tough problem, but I have a solution you can try. Get together with guildies who feel the same way you do and make a request to your GM for a Raid Leader rotation. Here are some selling points:
  • It's good to have redundancy for when real life disrupts things.
  • Added responsibility helps keep valuable guildies loyal.
  • It will keep the encounters more fresh.
  • Everyone will learn from the differing methods used by each RL on the rotation.
He may argue for consistency, but pointing out the fact that you are losing raiders and this is a way to keep them will hopefully sway him. Also, to feed his need for analysis and to help everyone improve, you can recommend weekly meetings analyzing the success of each raid and everyone making suggestions for improvement.

The best possible result from this is that he will learn to be a better raid leader from the rotation. It will also be a bit of a wake-up call if the other leaders' raids turn out to be more popular than his. But even if he never improves, you will at least have the relief of not having him lead every raid.

If he refuses to rotate or ends up taking over during other people's turns, I think you're going to have to sit him down with the other raiders and give it to him straight. Good luck and good raiding.

Drama Mama Lisa: The only way to avoid drama here is to come to the table with a solution – and Drama Mama Robin's solution is solid. Be sure to line up your raid leader prospects first. Not all of them have to be willing to keep at it, just to give it a try or three. You do need at least one volunteer who's willing to fill the gap on a regular basis.

The goal shouldn't be to replace your GM but rather to give him the opportunity to see other methods in action. What works? What doesn't work? How do guild members respond to different ways of doing things? If he's as savvy a guy as he sounds, he'll incorporate those observations into his own raids – a win/win for everyone.

Venting about ventiquette
Dear Drama Mamas: I just joined a guild that uses Vent, and they want me in there every night. I've got it loaded, but I'm terrified to say anything. What if I talk at the wrong time? What channels am I allowed in? I asked an officer, and he just laughed and said "Come on in, we won't bite." I'm not so sure ... Signed, No Bark and Scared of the Bite

Drama Mama Lisa: No need to jump in before you know how deep the water is, Bite. I'd suggest falling back on the old rule of netiquette (which so few netizens seem to heed these days): listen in on your new community and get a feel for things before you attempt to contribute. You'll quickly figure out when it's ok to chat, when it's time to keep the channel clear and what the guild culture is for verbal roughhousing.

Beyond that, simply conduct yourself like a civilized human being. We asked the WoW.com team what would drive them crazy on Vent – and they responded with vehemence.

Michael Gray: Stop eating in the @$#@ mic! Spit or something; I don't want to hear you slappin' your lips together like a cow chewing cud! LOVE OF [insert deity here] STOP IT.

Eddie Carrington: I hate it when people decide to raid in the lounge and then get ticked because people are just talking. Use the proper channels. Oh, and Vent is not the place for "eRP." Really makes the guild awkward when you walk into that one.

Michael Sacco: TURN YOUR OUTBOUND DOWN, [insert deity here]!

Mike Schramm: Yes, it really is your mic that is still open. Even if you think it's not, it is.

Matthew Rossi: Stop talking once we pull. Seriously, no story is that good. Also, turn your music down. I don't need, or want, to hear it.

Allison Robert:
  1. Don't talk over your tanks and healers trying to coordinate who's tanking what and where, and who's healing what and where. If we're doing hard modes and especially if I have to rely on someone else's cooldowns in order to survive one of those giant hits that Blizzard has become so fond of programming into encounters, the heal team needs to be able to hear me.
  2. Most of the time, the raid doesn't need to know you died. Unless you're doing a job in the raid that can be covered by someone else (or if you're doing a job that was 100% necessary and we'd save time by deliberately wiping), don't bother announcing you died. We're running raid frames. We know you died.
  3. Please, oh please, don't program a stupid-$#%@ one-minute long intro whenever you join or leave a channel. For the people who have that option enabled to hear "Wotzit has joined the channel," it's really not funny to have a 27-second-long intro play when your glorious self enters and leaves.
A few additional Ventiquette tips to keep you on track:
  • Set up Vent or TeamSpeak correctly. (If you PuG, it's a good idea to have both ready to go.)
  • Normalize your settings.
  • Watch your language. Never assume that because nobody has said anything (yet) that they're cool with the blue streak you just cursed up. You're in a social setting; conduct yourself accordingly.
  • At least until others get to know your voice, include your name with coordination requests or announcements ("Kade picking up adds on the right").
  • No chatter before or during boss fights.
  • Don't play music into the mic.
  • Use push-to-talk if there's background noise in the room where you're playing.
  • Move to a private channel for individual groups or private conversations.
  • Don't barge into individual channels, where other players may be concentrating on their own event.
Drama Mama Robin: For the love of yarn, that is a whole lot of deity invoking above. My advice is to follow what they said. TLDR: Listen before you leap.
Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Raiding, Drama Mamas

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