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Drama Mamas: Raid leader woes

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.

WoW is a great place to practice one's social skills. Too bad that Busybody and Negative Nancy haven't figured that out yet.
Hello Drama Mamas,

I am GM of a smaller guild with only one progressive raid group on a server ranked near the bottom of the charts so there isn't a huge player base of good raiders to choose from which makes it so guilds tend to put up with certain personalities if they are good players because there really aren't any others to replace them. Since the release of cataclysm I have encountered problem after problem with our main 10 man group and have had to find several new people which has been no easy feat so I'm just ready for some stability. The issue now is that I have two personalities that are clashing with the overall flow of the group, the busybody and the negative nancy. Both have been with the group for over a year but as time goes on the issues only seem to get worse.
The busybody is a teenager who tends to get into everyones business. He likes to tell other people how to play their class and nitpick everything that they are doing wrong. Sometimes it's helpful, but more often than not it's just unnecessary. He does this about my raid leading as well, which gets quite annoying when I'm trying to organize for boss encounters and he just wants to argue about everything. I've even tried letting him raid lead formally and he wont take command but just wants to complain from the sidelines. I've tried talking to him about how much it annoys us all but he has that kid "whatever" attitude and just blows me off. I don't want to remove him from the core, and he knows that so I think he just likes to push me for the sake of doing it. It really makes me understand why people don't raid with teenagers, and even tho he is a great player the constant remarks just get old and I feel it may be an issue with his immaturity more than anything. My question is how can I rein him in so he isn't driving us all insane? Also how can I get him to respect me more as the raid leader because at this point it feels like he doesn't take me seriously. I don't want to have to go to the extreme of kicking him off but I don't know what else I can do to show him I'm serious.

Now onto negative nancy, this guy is a great dpser who knows his class and always preforms above and beyond on any fight. BUT he is just so negative about everything. On new content that we have to learn he is constantly saying in chat and vent how we wont get this, this way is fail it wont work, and on and on. He even whispers me if he doesn't get the gear he wants or if we are doing a different boss or method and he doesn't like it. Others in the group have expressed to me how they can't stand the way he is just so upset about everything when we raid. He even has little bouts of rage and blows up if things aren't going right. I've talked to him numerous times about his behavior and sometimes he apologizes and says he is just having a bad day but other times he just tells me he isn't being negative and just completely disregards what I am trying to say. At this point I don't know what to do, we like raiding with him on his good days but when he is having hissy fits and sucking all the fun out raids with his negativity none of us want him around. Lately it seems there are more bad days than good which makes it hard to even want to raid. How can I express to him that something needs to change? He is a friend of mine and I'd really like him to stick around but maybe this just got to a point where I've tried talking to him to no avail and it may be time to move along.

Hopefully you can give me some good insight on what I can do with both of these situations. I'd prefer to resolve them rather than just remove and replace because even tho they drive me crazy sometimes, they are good players. I just want to be able to be respected as the raid leader and have a fun time while raiding so we can progress through new content.

Sincerely,

Exhausted

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Exhausted, the reason why Busybody and Negative Nancy don't respect you is that you don't respect your own authority. You want them to change, but you're not enforcing your own decisions and rules. You have to show that there are negative consequences for their actions or else there is no reason for them to take you seriously -- and this particularly applies to teenagers. Otherwise, these two will continue to hold your guild hostage. But kicking them out of the guild is not the only way to punish them. There are much smaller, incremental punishments that could help you keep both of them in line. Here is one method you can try:

  • Make a probation rank. You can create a rank specifically for people who are unable to follow your rules. (Your rules are explicitly stated on your forums or somewhere else easily accessible, right?) You could just call it Probation or you could have fun with it and call it Purgatory or Naughty or Corner or ... gosh, I could go on forever. Give this rank more restricted bank access than a regular member, though it doesn't have to be no bank access.
  • Determine a length of time for each infraction. The length of time could be a week or two raid nights or whatever seems appropriate to you. It should be in relatively short increments so that you can add on as necessary, but long enough so that it is not just a mild inconvenience.
  • Take a stand. Tell Busybody and Nancy that they must shape up or get put in the Penalty Box. (See? The options for what to call this rank are endless.)
  • Adjust as you go. The access and length of punishment won't necessarily work the first time. Be flexible and try different combinations until you come up with something that seems to be enough of a deterrent.
If you don't want to try the Dunce Cap approach, there are other options you can look at to do something similar:
  • Adjust your loot system. 50 DKP minus! (Link is not safe for work. But you all know what it goes to, right?) If you aren't using DKP (and it doesn't sound like you are), you can still restrict loot from rule-breakers. The important thing is to make sure it is clear from the outset what will happen. Don't surprise Nancy with "Yeah, you can't get that drop because you've been complaining the entire time." State the consequences before the run and give warnings in private as necessary.
  • Assign homework. This isn't actually a punishment, and you might want to do this concurrently with other methods. Assign forum post topics to each offender to research and write up. For example, if Busybody criticizes a mage, have him put together a mage raid guide to post up on the forums. If Nancy whines about loot, have him write up a gear guide for each boss drop. If every time they push your limits, you push theirs with extra work -- well, they may be deterred from incurring the extra burden. Or they may turn out to be excellent sources of information for your guild. Win-win!
Of course, there is no guarantee that any of the above will work with these two. If that happens, you really need to threaten the big /gkick and actually follow through. In the meantime, it certainly wouldn't hurt to recruit some extras and institute a rotation.

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Exhausted, the answer to your problem is to recruit -- and recruit now, not later. On a realm like yours, you can't rest on your laurels whenever you feel you've scraped together a tolerably manageable team. Keep seeking players who are interested in playing at or just below the level of your raiding group. These are the folks who'll be enthusiastic and willing to step in whenever circumstances (or personalities) prevent your full team from being online.

With such a small pool of players on your realm to pull from, keeping a roster of active, available backups (or having enough players to maintain at least a small rotation) must be an ongoing effort. I recommend putting one or more officers specifically on this assignment.

What I'd really like you to do, Exhausted, is to turn right back around and put your nose in your own letter. Your answer is literally right there in black and white. Tell me what you see:
  • I'm just ready for some stability.
  • The issues only seem to get worse.
  • ... how much it annoys us all ...
  • The constant remarks just get old.
  • How can I rein him in so he isn't driving us all insane?
  • Others in the group have expressed to me how they can't stand the way he is just so upset about everything when we raid.
  • When he is having hissy fits and sucking all the fun out raids with his negativity none of us want him around.
  • Lately it seems there are more bad days than good which makes it hard to even want to raid.
This GM and these players do not sound like happy campers. Poor raiders -- they're being held hostage by two wet blankets. Now, I'm all for patching things up if you can -- Robin has some solid suggestions that are worth a try -- but what I really want is for you to hear what you're actually saying. These two players have made things so that they're not fun anymore. Raiding's not fun for you anymore, and it's not fun for the other guild members. And unless you're running the type of grim, businesslike raiding group that sets all interpersonal issues aside and presses forward for progression at all costs (which I don't think you are), this is no way to play World of Warcraft.

Give it one more shot with some of Robin's ideas, if you like. Especially when problem players are also friends, it's worth impressing upon them just how serious you really are. Just remember: At a certain point, you have to let go of trying to salvage problem players. Don't be afraid of how hard it might be to recruit replacements; what's important is how ugly these players are making things for the whole group right now.

Drama Queen SpawnDodge 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, Guilds, Drama Mamas

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