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Drama Mamas: Don't let others control your fun


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 great thing about playing massively multiplayer games is all of the wonderful people you get to meet and hang out with, no matter your respective locations. And the bad thing is all of the inconsiderate people who forget that you're a real person with other things to do than be his/her playmate on his/her schedule. This week, we talk about taking control of your fun.


Should a small group boot?

Dear Drama Mamas: You probably don't often hear about situations like mine. I'm a member in a very small casual guild. To give you some indication of just how small, we JUST cleared Blackwing Lair (only a couple years behind the curve.) We can't even run any 10-mans because we don't have 10 men!

Our guild started almost as a non-guild. We all went to college together, and started playing together, using the guild essentially as a dedicated group chat channel. After a few months, one of us veterans invited a co-worker of his to join and play with us. This new guy (we'll call him Charlie) showed up with a Death Knight and things were fine. Only one of us knows him at all, but we didn't really mind.

However, over the past few months, Charlie has grown more and more obnoxious and less and less useful in our 5-man dungeon crawls. If there are more than 3 of us online (including Charlie) he pesters us to run instances with him non-stop, demanding we call other guild members to log on and help, or if they can't be reached, insisting that "we can do it without them." (Because an unholy death knight, a frost mage, and a BM hunter make SO well-balanced a team, after all.) He often breaks crowd control and puts himself in dangerous situations and his contribution is almost negligible.

On occasion, after Charlie does something particularly stupid, we'll try to gently make a comment about it, and he usually retorts that we're being unnecessarily mean to him because we're jerks. Charlie isn't destroying our guild, but he's annoying the pants off of all but one of us (our Guild Master is a very friendly and outgoing, "let's all be nice to each other" type of guy.) Beyond being bluntly honest and saying "We all have other stuff we want to do than babysit you on dungeon runs where you do more harm than good.", how can we try to re-establish a smooth social flow in a guild whose roster totals 8?

I'm not demanding that we kick him out entirely by any means, but I am finding myself enjoying the game a lot less when Charlie's online bugging us to run Trial of the Champions every 4 minutes. Especially as the rest of us are starting to want to move into harder content, including finding a few more people and trying out the 10-man raids, I'm wondering if you've got any ideas how to restore the interpersonal feng shui (and make our token death knight stop SUCKING.) Thanks a lot, Outside the Corpse Explosions

Drama Mama Robin: Dear Outside, he has called you all jerks and pestered you constantly -- how can your Guild Leader be OK with that? The whole point of an intimate guild like yours is to not have to deal with guys like Charlie.

I have been in a similar situation. When WoW first launched, a bunch of friends/coworkers created a guild. It was great fun except there were two guys who ended up being total online butts (who we all really liked in person before this). One actually speedhacked for fun (boggle) and the other was clueless as to how to play in a group in even the most simple of instances -- and was very defensive about it. They both also spewed homophobic and racist "jokes" constantly in guild chat. We didn't have a real guildleader, so we didn't have an actual authority figure to issue warnings, probations, etc. We all openly complained to them and were insulted for our troubles. They refused to go anywhere, so we ended up being very sneaky: we formed a new guild and then most of us moved to the new one without telling them. Totally cowardly. And it didn't work. The new guild evaporated soon after. Consider this a cautionary tale and not one to emulate.

The moral of the story: even small, friendly guilds need a guildleader who is willing to actually lead. He has to be firm and state what behavior is acceptable and what skill/effort level is appropriate for guild outings. And if he won't, then the drama is going to continue or the guild will fall apart. I recommend going to him as a group and ask him to give Charlie a friendly "shape up or ship out" warning.

At the same time, it sounds like you all might be happier if you could grow your guild a little. Warning: you're going to get more Charlies as apps. But you're also going to a wider variety of classes (if you do it right) so that you all can do more of the instances you would like to try. Here are some dos and don'ts:
  • Don't: Have open enrollment. Set up an app and an approval process.
  • Do: Have a probationary period
  • Do: Recruit people with similar schedules
  • Don't: Spam trade channel. Please.
Good luck with Charlie and I hope you can go back to having fun again.

Drama Mama Lisa: "No." That's the magic word. Just ... "No."

Oh sure, you can couch it a little: "Nahhh, he asked not to be called if he wasn't online," or "I'm not really up for that instance again tonight" – but ultimately, you must learn to tell this player "no." Don't allow Charlie to hold your attention and energy hostage all night. A firm, direct "no, thanks" to unwanted invitations and the sound of crickets if he continues to press too far will set a much more effective pattern than caving in to his pestering and demands. It could backfire, of course, and offend him so much that he leaves. (And really now -- would you miss him?)

In the meantime, though, I have to ask: Where is Charlie's point of original contact within your group? Shouldn't he be the one untangling the interpersonal issues between his co-worker and his guildmates? Friends don't let friends make nuisances of themselves ...

Better late than never... NOT!
Dear Drama Mamas: I'm burning, reading the comments from people (last week) who are bothered by latecomers who ruin raids for everyone else. Oh, how I can relate! I whip it to get home through mind-numbing traffic on raid nights, and it really sends me over the edge when we have to sit and wait on twits who drift online 15 minutes after start time. W. T. F.?!??!?!! Signed, Caged Beast

Drama Mama Lisa: The best we can do for you, Caged, is to make a public service announcement to guild leaders and players everywhere.

Guild Leaders, you simply must cut players who repeatedly show up late to raids. You're in dire danger of allowing them to drive the other, more responsible players out of your guild.
  1. Set time limits on how late you'll allow players arrive at the raid location ready to go before you replace them with a standby. (My guild used to call standbys for anyone who wasn't online 10 minutes before start/pull time – you have agreed that "start time" means "inside the instance and ready to buff and pull," haven't you?)
  2. Use your standby list to fill open slots the moment you pass your "late" threshold. Make no exceptions; if a player misses the cut-off by two minutes and gets replaced, he'll have to figure out how to be ready two minutes sooner next time.
  3. Also set limits on how many times you're willing to permit lateness and no-shows. Make reaching the limit an offense worthy of revoking raiding or guild membership privileges.
  4. Finally, if a large number of your members are having a hard time getting to the church on time, consider changing the time of the ceremony.
Players, would you pull into the parking lot 10 minutes past game time for your softball league? That's "just a game," too. Get real. Get responsible. Get there on time. If you can't make that happen consistently, it's time to re-evaluate your ability to raid with this particular schedule.

(Oh, and Caged – talk to your guild officers about your feelings and these suggestions. If they can't or don't want to change the guild's approach to latecomers, you'd be better served looking for a group whose straggling schedule doesn't send your blood pressure skyrocketing. Good luck!)

Drama Mama Robin: I'd like to add to Lisa's Open Letter to Guild/Raid Leaders:
  • Have a backup plan for your raids – don't postpone the start time when you don't have enough people for your original event. If you plan for a 25-man raid and only 20 people show up, run two 10-mans. If you end up with the wrong class combination to make a smaller raid go, run a battleground or hit up an old world raid achievement. Reward the people who show up on time and ready with an activity right at start time.
Caged, while you wait for change to happen (whether the change is your leaving or the guild leader actually fixing your problem), you can take matters into your own hands. Arrange with your fellow on-timers to run the Daily Heroic, the Daily Call to Arms Quest Battleground or some other activity while you wait for the stragglers to get their act together. If the late-niks end up having to wait for you and your punctual teammates, maybe they'll learn to prevent the whole issue by being ready on time from now on. And if not, at least you're not letting inconsiderates control your playtime.

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, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

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