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Drama Mamas: Proper AH etiquette when a guildie helps craft

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.

So. Dreamy. I perhaps should have warned you that if you are going to send letters that contain even the slightest hint of a Jane Austen reference, this kind of thing would happen. Well, now you know.
Hi,

I recently had an issue with a guildie that I would like to ask about. At the beginning of the expansion, it was a goal of mine to get one of the Darkmoon Card trinkets crafted. As we all know, it is no small task. A fellow guildie (and fellow officer) offered to help me with the task. So I immediately flicked the farm herb switch, and set out to make it happen.

After a couple of weeks, more research into available trinkets, and nearly 60 stacks of herbs, I was one card away from the deck. I was able to purchase the last card for a good sum of gold and finally had my deck ready for the Darkmoon Faire. With all of the gear research I had done, I concluded that the trinket I had worked so hard for was going to be replaced very quickly. So I decided that I'd try to sell it, reasoning that there were other personal goals I had in the game that could benefit from a chunk of gold.

After posting it on the AH and being away for a day, my guildie that crafted it for me shot me a fairly aggressive tell saying how he thought selling it was a low thing to do. He explained that he even used some of his own herbs to craft the cards and that the only reason he offered to begin with was to help a guildie get raid-ready. I took it off the AH so as not to cause problems and explained that I wasn't aware he had to use his own mats to help make it all. I found out later that he had been ripping me to others about selling it before he spoke with me. I posted an explanation in our forums of why I was going to sell it at all. apologized if I offended anyone, and stated that I would be using it after all.
My question then comes to this. Is this a situation where I was wrong for trying to sell it? After putting so much time farming and literally thousands of gold worth of mats into the project not knowing that all of those somehow weren't enough and the crafter had to add some of his own, should I have considered that it was an improper thing to do? Are there things that I'm really missing here?

Thanks for helping a guy understand the WoW morality.

Sincerely,
Sense and Sell-ability
Drama Mama Robin: Sense, I am of the persuasion that lack of communication is what caused the drama here. The helpful guildie -- let's call him Emma -- is not upset at you from pride and prejudice, but from having put in a lot of work for you and then not being consulted about your change of heart. Emma was sensible of your situation, Sense, and came to your aid when you wanted the trinket. Even if he hadn't contributed his own mats, he spent the time and effort to help you when he could have been doing other things.

Here are a few of the gaps in communication that could have been avoided to make this situation go more smoothly (and perhaps even sell the trinket):

  • When Emma first offered to help, he probably assumed you were getting the trinket for raiding -- regardless of whether either of you were explicit about your intentions. If you thought there was any chance that you might end up wanting to sell it at the end, you should have expressed that to Emma then. You may not have thought of selling it at the time, which is okay. But if you did, you should have let Emma buy into that before he helped you.
  • When any kind of agreement is reached between friends, whether for lending money or using one's skills for a favor, it's always best to be clear about the terms and what is expected. This applies to both the physical world and Azeroth, as usual. Otherwise, you could end up with extreme results. So you should have made it clear that you would provide all the mats and if any extra were needed, to please ask or send a bill. Emma should also have informed you that he did contribute, rather than being silently generous.
  • Your decision to sell this trinket rather than use it is probably a good one, considering its value -- if you had used only your time, labor and mats. But since Emma helped you, you should have consulted with him before you put it on the AH. If you had made an offer to share the profits in return for his time and effort, this would have had a completely different outcome. Even if he had still wanted you not to sell it, the whispering behind your back and public drama would have been greatly lessened.
Emma may see you as someone who abuses guildies for profit, so you're going to have to work hard to overcome this. To answer your last question, the things you were missing were respect for a guildie's time (worth more than his donated mats) and proper communication. If you demonstrate that you have those things in all guildie interactions in the future, you should heal the relationship you have with Emma and the rest of the guild.

Drama Mama Lisa: As an editor here at WoW Insider, I get the (dubious?) privilege of dusting off all the posts before they go live -- not merely schoolmarmishly tweaking grammar and spelling, but making sure that writers are saying what they mean, not merely meaning what they say. With an audience that stretches from the newest of the newbies to old hands who've been clicking away at MMOs for a decade or more, we can't ever assume that readers will know what we mean. That makes me the zen master of The Obvious Question -- just ask Mat McCurley, who as the author of such twitchy features such as The Lawbringer and Addon Spotlight frequently feels the brunt of my not-so-innocent queries: "Mat, I agree that this sounds like a technical problem of epic proportions -- but do you really mean that the whole raid group gets disconnected if this fails, or just the player?" (I can kid Mat about this stuff; his exclamation points are legendary around here. Is there nothing this guy isn't enthusiastic about?)

Communication follows the same principle between players in WoW. You have to say what you actually mean, not simply mean what you believe you're saying. "Reading is hard," as the snarky little saying goes -- but writing is hard, too. You know what you mean, but others don't. In this case, you know your intentions were pure and that it made sense to sell the trinket given the circumstances, but your guildie obviously feels chapped at having expected things to go differently.

I might let you off the hook completely and point the finger at a simple lack of communication here if it weren't for two things. Frankly, it was naive of you to assume that your guildie wouldn't feel taken aback by your decision to sell this trinket. These sorts of items take notorious amounts of time, resources and cooldowns to create. As Robin says, it's not just about the mats. Also, you should have stayed on top of the material requirements and therefore realized that he'd been pitching in his own stuff. While yes, he volunteered to help, he did it because he felt it would see use by someone within the guild. When you decided to sell, you changed the basis of his participation in a way that completely negated his desire to help.

But wait -- before I go, I have one more thing to say. Mr. Guildie Friend, you listening? You made plenty of assumptions here, too, when you started pouring your personal resources into this project. The next time you offer help to a guildmate, don't attach any strings -- or if you must, then lay them all out up front. That way there are no misunderstandings about who's going to get what out of this collaborative effort.

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@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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