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Drama Mamas: Family or fun?

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

The family that plays together, stays together ... or do they? Family playstyles are not always compatible, as The Groom discovers.
Dear Drama Mamas,

I have been engaged to my fiancée for more than a year now. Since last June or July, we have been playing WoW together. I have been an experienced Warcraft player since Warcraft 3 -- knowing the ins and outs of lore, the game, etc. Her only experience was being powerleveled previously by friends who just needed an extra person -- so not much experience sitting down and learning the game. We decided to level up fresh characters together, and it was wonderful teaming up together, with her being a female draenei warrior and I a human paladin. It seemed like a good teamwork-building exercise for us as a couple.

Going on in the background, my two brothers took over and began maintaining a serious raiding guild. They've been doing serious raiding with their level 80s and gearing up for ICC and Ruby Sanctum. Obviously, my fiancée and I were not high enough level to participate but we were invited to the guild as their loving brother and his soon-to-be wife -- who is cool enough to play WoW with (many guys cannot seem to find a girl who will willingly participate in their leisure activities, fantasy sports or what-not).
Once we hit level 80, everything changed between my fiancée, me, my brothers and their guild. My brothers and other guildies were constantly telling us what we have been doing wrong with our characters, including not gemming correctly. They even accused us for not knowing our rotations at all, which is a slap in the face for anyone who has been learning their character through the 79 levels of struggle.

Receiving this kind of criticism every time we sat down with the guild to do a raid or dungeon because we were not high enough on their DPS charts for their liking began to take a negative toll on us. My fiancée's confidence in herself as a player seriously dropped and she worried if she was even good enough to do ICC or will she be chewed out again? I tried to reassure her, saying that my brothers are just too into the game or they just are not as good socially with a game like this. Sometimes you play with jerks in the game. I even pointed out that they think I needed armor penetration for my paladin, which is proof that they did not know our characters as much as they thought. But to no avail, she took a step back and now focuses on things other than playing with me in game.

I decided to take some sort of action with this. I petitioned my eldest brother, who is also the GM, and brought this to his attention. He dealt with it as a GM instead of talking to me as a brother, saying they are looking out for common mistakes that they made and do not want us repeating. They want our skills to be good enough to warrant us being able to participate with them. He completely ignored the fact that they were killing the game for me and my future bride.
Thus, my fiancée barely plays now. It will probably change with Cataclysm coming out soon. But as for me, I have become the highest melee DPS in the guild from practice and studying on my own, not from guild help. I am usually on top of the DPS charts with my retribution paladin in ICC heroics. Heck, I was surprised I pulled aggro away from my brothers (both of them being 6k GearScore main tanks) mid-fight on heroic Sindragosa just by sheer damage. But I still get the cold attitude from my brothers during game time and I am seriously contemplating leaving the guild entirely for the lack of enjoyment. But should I abandon my brothers? I could use some help, Drama Mamas.

Sincerely,

The Groom

Drama Mama Lisa:
How do you want to play this game, The Groom? And what about your fiancée? One of the first discoveries you'll soon be making as a married couple is that no matter how inextricably entwined your lives and interests may be, there will always remain things that are (and should be) individual and separate in both marriages and families.

It sounds to me as if you recognize where your playstyles and in-game goals differ. Some of that may be based on your fiancée's limited experience of the game, true, but the fact that you see these differences and seem interested in accommodating them is a good thing.

So here are our facts:
  • Your fiancée didn't enjoy the style of the guild your brothers are running.
  • You yourself don't seem to appreciate this guild style, either.
  • You do seem to be quite interested in raiding as a whole.
  • Your relationship with your brothers isn't in and of itself proving to be the basis of an enjoyable gaming experience.
Frankly, The Groom, this sounds like a bad guild match. There's nothing necessarily "wrong" with this guild or your brothers' approach -- it's just that it's not a good fit for either you or your fiancée. Since the opportunity to play with your brothers isn't turning out to be a compelling factor on its own, either, it's obviously time to consider other options.

I know you feel that leaving would mean "abandoning" your brothers. Still, it doesn't sound as if the guild will implode without you, and your brothers' cold-shoulder attitudes in game don't make it sound as if the personal interaction is such a big draw.

Here's where you have to suck it up and play this like a man, not a brother: Thank them for all their help and advice and let them know that you and your fiancée have decided to play more casually than the guild does. Don't make apologies; none are needed. Just as you and your new wife don't need to move in next door to your brothers to show them you still care, neither do you have to play in the same guild (or realm; maybe a little virtual distance might also make things feel more comfortable?) in World of Warcraft.

Talk with your fiancée and see if she's interested in hooking up with a less critical raiding group. If she is, start running what pickup raids you can while you search for a more compatible guild home. If not, you may want to create another character to play with her as a team; with Cataclysm right around the corner, you've got a fabulous opportunity to make a fresh start, either singly or as a duo. In fact, a fresh start might provide a relatively friction-free exit from your current situation in your brothers' guild. Good luck in whatever you choose!

Drama Mama Robin: The Groom, when reading your letter, there were a few things that made me cheer and a few things that didn't.
  • Yay for the duo! You and your bride-to-be, leveling together, having fun, enjoying the game and each other -- that's how it is done, sir.
  • Yay for appreciating your fiancée! Just as many gamers have a hard time finding significant others who want to share their activities, many significant others are not appreciated for their efforts.
  • Yay for trying to make it work with your entire family! You tried to play with your fiancée and it worked. You tried to play all together and it didn't. Still, the attempt is worth it.
  • Boo for thinking you couldn't learn anything from your experienced guildies. Sure, they may not have worded it diplomatically, but the game changes at 80. What you did from 1 to 79 with The Bride is not the same thing as working with 9 to 24 other people in a raid. The humility I recommended for Raider Girl works for both genders.
  • Boo for thinking that your brothers should make exceptions to rules and policies for family. They seem to have the same standards and advice for the rest of their guild.
  • Yay for The Bride taking control of her fun! Leisure time is too precious to spend being miserable.
As Lisa said, if you leave the guild, you are not abandoning your brothers. But I think you've had the wrong attitude about that guild from the beginning. Just as your brothers have done, set aside the fact that they are family and take a look at the guild. Do you want to progress with them? If so, then I recommend keeping your main in that guild and start acting like a guildie, rather than a nepotistic requirement. If not, then quit in a calm, drama-free manner.

Regardless of your raiding decision, when Cataclysm launches, create another duo with The Bride and enjoy your time leveling through the shattered world together. It was the right thing to do then, and it's the right thing to do now and forever. Also, consider me envious, because The Spousal Unit has still refused to duo with me in WoW. /sadface Maybe Deathwing will change that for us, too.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. 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@wow.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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