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Drama Mamas: That Guy

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.

We all come across That Guy both in-game and in person. That Guy is a bit overzealous while watching sports, picks fights at parties and/or verbally abuses people when things go wrong in a raid. That Guy is the one who thinks emulating Tokyo Rose during Alterac Valley games is a good thing. In general, That Guy can be avoided or ignored, but what if your Significant Other turns into That Guy whenever he ventures into Azeroth? Feels Single In Game writes in about this very phenomenon.

Dear Drama Mamas, my conundrum comes from the other side of being a mama, which I am as well. My problem comes from playing with my husband. Let me first say, outside of the game we are a normal, happy couple and have been for years. We have both been playing WoW since vanilla. We started playing with friends IRL, but a couple of years ago, I wanted to see more end game content and left our guild we had with our friends to join a serious raiding guild.

Now let's skip a couple of years and a server transfer later. A core group of us mature players have transferred to a different server and my husband has come with us. He started raiding with us at the end of BC and ever since Wrath came out. Now for the last few months, he has become That Guy when we're playing together. We are both officers in our guild and run 10 man raids not only for our guild but also some 25 man pugs as well.

The last straw came last week when, we as a raid were having communication issues in an Ony 25 pug I was running. After one wipe, he literally told them to get the heck (not what he really said but you can guess) out of our vent and that everyone in the run was fail. Now I don't run my raids like that at all -- I try to find the issue and deal with it in a calm and supportive matter. I've been in too may raids where people think you have to belittle the raiders to get them to do what you need and it never works. He's been turning into That Guy in the raids as well as taking them over, shouting his frustrations in vent and spreading it to not only our guildies but everybody else in the raid. I don't want to call him out in vent so I tell him out of vent, and he'll bring that into vent. I have no idea how to handle this anymore. He's become That Guy... and I just want my husband back. Thanks for any advice. Signed, Feels Single In Game.


Drama Mama Robin: Single, first of all, be thankful (and I think you are) that in-game is the only time you see this behavior from your husband. Dealing with it in non-virtual situations is, of course, much worse. The Jekyll/Hyde phenomenon is not uncommon, however, and it's always interesting (and annoying) to witness the transformation. Here are some tips to deal with Hyde aka That Guy:
  • Don't talk to him about it during the raid. He obviously can't handle it in Hyde mode. Discuss your concerns rationally when he is Jekyll, preferably before your next event.
  • Don't accuse. This is big (and also difficult). You don't want to put him on the defensive, no matter how correct you are.
  • Offer solutions. Hold regular raid-leadership meetings with him. Discuss each issue that popped up in the last raid with him and offer a different (better) way to handle it. If he is armed with a tactic other than verbal abuse going in, he is much more likely to use it.
  • Be open to criticism. He may have legitimate concerns about how you handle some things during your raids. Try to keep an open mind -- if he's being constructive and not just retaliating.
  • Put your foot down... gently. He needs to know that it undermines your ability to lead if he is butting in with his own form of discipline while you are running the raid. You lead, you discipline, and he advises. As with your children, a united front is a much more effective way to guide your group. All dissent should be handled behind closed doors, with the non-leader supporting the leader until the discussion can be had. As a parent, he will probably relate to that analogy.
  • Try a little humor. Make up a nickname for him when he goes into Hyde-mode, to use for a little good-humored nudge. Preface his name with Anti- (like matter and antimatter) or come up with some other affectionate moniker to call him when he begins to throw a tantrum. Sometimes, we don't realize we're being bratty and just need a kind reminder when we stray into bad behavior. Be careful, however. Not everyone can take even kindly meant mockery. You know your husband best.
Depending on the receptiveness of your spouse and the sensitivity of your approach, this may be a long process. I am confident with the health of your relationship that you can get through this. Surely, you've tackled worse problems and perhaps that is part of the problem. He may have an "it's just a game" attitude. If you and your guildies lived geographically close, I would suggest a non-virtual get-together. But perhaps some kind of online webcam party would accomplish the same thing. If he thinks of your online playmates as real people, he may start to treat them better.

Good luck and please let us know what happens.

Drama Mama Lisa: I'm not so sure I'd advise wading into the middle of this mess. This is going to go down a lot smoother if it's handled by another officer. Take it from me – I've seen my husband's nerves blow plenty of times in game. There's nothing I can say or do that has a more calming effect, though, than commiserating in a sympathetic chat on TeamSpeak or over lunch with another officer. And nobody needs to know that it was me who set those visits into motion.

That's not to say there aren't a few things you can do to help.
  • Who else is noticing your husband's level of aggression? Discreet inquiries to the other officers and especially other raid leaders can help you pin down if and how much the situation is actually affecting your guildmates. It may look worse from your point of view than it actually is.
  • Where is all this heightened stress coming from? Is this a case of outside stressors putting the squeeze on your husband's nerves? Or has ramping up his raiding sucked him into a spiral of needing to prove himself and the guild to be constantly bigger, better and badder at every possible (and impossible) turn? Helping keep work, other obligations and WoW in perspective on the home front will help him regain his balance.
The key is to not turn this raiding issue into a personal issue. Handle contributing factors completely separately from the guild and the game. If your husband is overrunning the raid leader, let the raid leader or guild leader handle that. If that raid leader is you – well, maybe now's a good time to take yourself out of that particular hot seat until he gets his emotions back under control. If guild officers tackle their parts of the problem, and you tackle yours, your husband will get help sorting things out without feeling as if everyone in his life is conspiring against him. May you rediscover the joy again soon!

Drama Buster of the Week

So. The Mohawk Grenades. I know Mr. T is cool and turning a bunch of people into Night Elf Mohawks is a novelty, but some of you are turning into Funsuckers with it. If you see people quietly clicking off their Mohawk buff, please don't take that as an invitation to throw another one. Just go find another group of victims and quit with the Mohawk spam.

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, Drama Mamas

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