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Drama Mamas: When love makes raiders unreliable

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.

Remember those times at school/work/league/everywhere when a couple got together and then became extremely inattentive to all of their old friends/colleagues/teammates/everyone while they spent more time with each other? Yeah, that happens in WoW too.
Dear Drama Mamas,

I'm a member of a casualcore raiding guild that's ranked pretty highly on our backwater server. We raid a couple hours 3 times a week, have fun and get stuffs dead. Part of the reason our group is so successful is a feeling of similar purpose ... but it also helps that most of the group is in the same physical location, around 5-7 people of the raiding corps.

One of our main tanks is in that group, let's call him P. P has had an ongoing online relationship with another DPS H for some time. H lives on the opposite side of the country. While at the beginning of the expansion everyone in the group meshed well and hung out socially, more and more we see P and H going off on their own and not spending time with the guild outside of raids.
Fast forward to last month. P had an issue that caused him to lose internet for a month. He told us the problem would have a fixed end date, and he'd be back to raid after that, apologized for the inconvenience, all that jazz. We scrambled for a replacement and progression stumbled but these things happen, everyone understood.

And then H stopped showing up for raids. In the few weeks since P's absence, H has missed 4-5 raids, with no notice or forwarning whatsoever. This is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way, but no one is sure exactly what to do about it. Our guild is ruled a lot by general consensus--everyone is friends with everyone. Aside from docking DKP (which is a ineffective threat since H is the only one of her spec/armor type), what can we do? If we reprimand or (at worst) boot H from the guild, P will likely be irritated and may even leave as well when he returns to the game, leaving us with a loss of two players.

More than anything , I'm concerned about the schism in our group ruining our cohesion. How can this be resolved? Your adivice would be much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Trouble in Raiderland
Drama Mama Robin: Okay, Trouble, I'm going to list the facts.
  1. P and H are a couple.
  2. P is taking a break (perhaps to visit H cross country?) and is handling it professionally.
  3. H is taking a break and is handling it unprofessionally.
  4. You are having to replace both of them anyway in order to continue raiding.
I understand that most of you are physical world friends too, but do you also have guild rules posted clearly? While posted guild rules are imperative when you are dealing with mostly strangers, they are actually even more helpful when your guild is made up of friends. There can be no hard feelings if someone breaks the rules and is punished according to previously posted and agreed-upon guidelines. If you have a show up for raids or else X, Y and Z will happen rule, then P can't get angry if you treat H the way you have clearly stated you will treat anyone who breaks the rules.

If you don't have rules posted regarding raid attendance, do it now. You're right that docking DKP isn't going to work in this situation, so come up with consequences that work in most circumstances. Benching is good. You can't rely on H, anyway, and it also rewards those who are there while the couple are gone.

Whatever you decide, have H agree to follow the rules and also agree to accept the consequences. Since they weren't posted, offer an amnesty to H for past issues and allow her the chance to follow your newly posted rules. This may result in her taking a leave of absence, but that is better than your current situation.

Regardless of how H handles your enforcing your new or established rules, you need to plan for the worst outcome. You actually may have already lost this couple and need to adjust accordingly. Recruit to fill spots and establish a rotation. Also, try to let go of your negative feelings on this one. These two are in the heady beginnings of a romantic relationship, and their priorities are changing accordingly. They aren't trying to hurt the guild and snub their friends; it's just a common result of new relationships. Yes, take care of your guild, and yes, follow your rules -- but no, don't get angry. Anger leads to hate, etc. May the force be with you.

Drama Mama Lisa: "More than anything , I'm concerned about the schism in our group ruining our cohesion." Well, when it comes to cohesion, there's nothing like communication. (Communication, hugs, and fruits and vegetables -- I'm convinced most of the solutions the world needs are right there.) At the risk of invoking our much-loved friend Captain Obvious, I have to ask: Have you actually talked to H to see what's up?

"Hey, we missed you last night! We had to replace you with this really eccentric boomkin/ended up scuttling the entire evening ... " See where something like that takes you. If assurances of future dependability don't seem forthcoming, go ahead and pin things down in a friendly way: "I notice you've been out a couple of nights lately. We're so used to your always being right there -- would it help if we planned someone to fill your spot for a while, or do you think you'll be back in the mix this Thursday?"

Sure, I agree with Robin and Scott over at Officer's Quarters that written guild rules are the one sure way to keep all this raiding stuff from clattering off the rails. However, I don't think that slapping up rules posthaste and then serving members with official-sounding solutions is always the best way to go.

You're a small, friendly little group -- so keep things on a familiar, friendly level, and don't jump right to reprimands and recriminations. If cohesion is what you're after, then do your part to help keep everyone on the same page. Talk it over. Give H a chance to explain what's up and let you know when to expect her to be back around. If she says she'll be there yet misses anyway, then of course, move along with the rules and recruitment that will cover your raid's proverbial behind. But your first response should always be to talk directly to folks who have issues, not whip out the rolled-up newspaper for a quick bop on the nose.

Keep it real, and you'll be back to smooth sailing soon!

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 robin@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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