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Drama Mamas: Making a fresh start after an honest mistake


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 Drama Mamas roundup post with followup from letters we've featured in previous Drama Mamas columns will run in just a few more weeks. So there's still time to send us an email at DramaMamas@wow.com if you would to share what's happened with your situation since we last heard from you.
Dear Drama Mamas,

I started playing the game about a month after The Burning Crusade was released. I was still a kid, and gave my toon a foolish name. I know my name gets some weird responses, and when I race change to a worgen in Cataclysm, I am going to change my name.

Anyway, I play on a RP server ... which only happened because my brother (who now does not play) randomly picked it when he started. I started playing after him and thus chose the same server. My server is fairly weak when it comes to progression guilds, with only one having defeated heroic Lich King-25 (and it was after 4.0.1). For the duration of my Wrath WoW career, I was in a mid-level progression guild for my server, which got to 11/12 in ICC Regular. I was fairly disappointed, because I really want to get an achievement mount. The guild leader gave up trying to lead, and this week he joined the #2 guild on the server. He said he still plans to lead the guild I am in on his alt, but I know that is not going to work out. You can't lead a progression guild on an alt, while competing for server firsts on your main.

Because of his leaving, I want to find a new raiding guild, and I want one that will be more "hardcore." Thus, I applied to the same guild my old GM did, as I usually beat him in DPS meters, and he got in -- so I thought I would too. The new guild agreed to give me a trial run. I thought it went well, as we had zero issues, and I held my DPS against the regulars who far out-geared me. The regular raiders actually complimented me on my adaptability for learning hard modes for the first time and that my DPS was great for the gear I was in.

The group was fun, and with all the hard modes they did, a lot of the gear was an upgrade for me. The recruitment officer said I was free to roll but that I would only get items if nobody else wanted them, and I agreed. Because of this, I ended up rolling on a lot of loot and was declined almost all of it. I thought this was perfectly understandable and only rolled in case nobody else wanted it. I do admit though, it was excessive. The GM told me to stop rolling on loot, so I did. In the end though, I was declined. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but I guess the GM was really annoyed. I was sad, but not angry, as there are other guilds.

I then applied to another guild (on the same day as my other rejection), but was immediately rejected. They told me this: "We received some internal feedback regarding your behavior in previous raid groups. We were told that you have a tendency to be pompous and self-serving in your pursuits, that you weren't a team player."

I was shocked. I had never been declined like this. I first was worried that I gave off this impression regularly and started asking people I knew to give me an honest critique. My old GM said this: "You're a good player, and you know how the game works. However, you're not very good at presenting yourself to strangers." I realized then that my absentmindedness with loot had completely killed my chance of joining a competitive raiding group. Also, I later learned that the guilds talk to each other about who is applying.

What can I do now? A friend recommended server transferring, which I am considering. I have a bunch of alts though, and I do not want to leave them behind. I can wait until after my race/name change and pretend I server transferred and apply to a third guild. I also was wondering what you would recommend in terms of how to act to improve my image, and what is the best thing to do in first impressions.

Thanks!

Sad & and Wanting to Improve
Drama Mama Lisa: I think your friend's got the right idea, Sad. The fair thing to do here is to give everyone -- including you -- a nice, fresh start. Here's why:
  • Don't pretend to be someone you're not. A new name won't change the past. Determined guilds and officers use tools such as WoWProgress to check out applicants for shiestiness, so you're fairly likely to get caught at your game. It's also fairly likely you'll eventually say or do something to connect you with your past identity and other characters. Most importantly, though, pretending to be someone else is just wrong -- and you deserve better.
  • The grass really is greener. That's a pretty little metaphor -- much prettier, in fact, than the one my own guild tosses around in situations like this: "You've peed in your own pool." Get outta the water and go find another swimming hole. A realm full of people with reservations about your character is far from the place you want to hang your hat to enjoy your game time. This is your chance to find the right guild, the right realm, the right mix of people ... Your vistas are wide open before you.
  • There's never been a better time to start fresh. You can change realms, factions, races, looks, names ... Or start fresh and see WoW from the start through the eyes of a race or faction or class you haven't tried before. There'll be plenty of raiding groups beginning Cataclysm content later on, once players have finished bringing up new characters and alts. The opportunities for finding a new raiding guild should stay open for quite some time.
  • Don't worry about your alts. It's the beginning of a new expansion. XP flows like wine, and bringing up a new crew should be easy and more enjoyable than ever in the newly revised world. If you're starting out alone on a new realm, take a couple of gathering professions at first. You'll find yourself rolling in cash and resources sooner than you think.
I'm sure Robin will have more to say about how to present yourself to others. Most important to me is that you do so with honesty, both to others and to yourself. Address your past indiscretions as the mistakes they are, change those behaviors or patterns, and don't paint yourself with too broad a brush. Oh, and Sad? Change that silly character name to something that represents the new you in a positive light. Here's to fresh starts!

Drama Mama Robin: Sad, I would like to point out a few things from your letter:
  • You chose your current server because of your brother who no longer plays.
  • It's an RP server and you don't RP.
  • Your server is "fairly weak when it comes to progression guilds."
This is not a server you want to remain on, regardless of how the community feels about you. So take your friend's and Lisa's advice and move to a new realm with good selection of progression guilds that have similar schedules to yours.

While honesty is always the best policy, that doesn't mean you have to go to your new server carrying your bad reputation with you, like prisoner 24601 showing his parole papers to all prospective employers. Everyone deserves a clean slate, particularly if you want to pull a Jean Valjean and use it to be better. You don't put that temp, part-time job you got fired from as a kid on your resumé, because you learned your lesson and don't need that black mark following you around. You also don't need to put your previous server's guild experience on your new apps. Since you are working hard to not be that same guildie, it's just not indicative of your current behavior.

Now I'm going to paraphrase some tips I gave to Raiding While Female to help you make a good first impression:
  • Let your actions do the talking. Keep quiet in Vent and guild/app chat unless absolutely necessary, until you are accepted and out of your initial probation period. Show that you are the player they want you to be; no need to tell them.
  • Be uber. Work on your skills and your teamwork. Be the best of your class, and they will want to keep you around.
  • Be humble. There's always something new to learn. Listen to advice, even if you already know what they are telling you. Keep your mind open to new ideas.
  • Be patient about loot. If you're not sure if it's appropriate to roll on a piece of loot, ask permission in whispers before rolling. The loot will come. It's more important to get in good with a group of people you enjoy playing with than to have the best gear first.
It's hard to be rejected, but it really is a valuable experience for growing as a person. And you don't have to be quiet in your new guild forever: once you are comfortable, you can let your personality shine. I think that you will end up having more fun in your new home, while being a player others want to be around. Good luck!
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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