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Drama Mamas: The case of the raid leader and his future wife

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.

I'm not usually a fan of Coldplay, but my new favorite show, Newsroom, made me like this song. It's also appropriate for this week's letter. Note: You can't fix people.
Hey Drama Mamas,

I'm writing you guys to talk about a situation that is on the brink of breaking open. Just to say ahead of time, this is a situation of a couple who are in the upper ranks. She is an officer, one of two and he is the raid leader.

As the GM, I leave the raid leading to my raid leader. I participate in the raids as well, but I prefer not to be the one giving all the directions in the middle of fights. The issue is his fiance. We'll call her A. Out of the two, she wears the pants. More often than not, she is either talking over the raid leader ( we'll call him B) or running the show through him where the rest of us cannot hear (their computers are right next to each other). This wouldn't be much of an issue, but it undermines the person I put in charge so when he actually tries to lead, our others don't give him the respect and attention he needs. Often times, I will step in and start calling the shots when things get too out of hand.
Her butting-in on his job undermines him and bothers the rest of us. Her communication at times is snarky, sniping, and downright passive aggressive. She will play the aggressor and then the victim in discussions about this issue, which is quite unfair to the rest of us. We would openly confront her about our frustrations, but she would take it as a personal attack, get very upset, and our worst fear, quit the guild and drag B with her. I don't want either of them to leave and I don't want to put B in the situation of having to choose between his future wife and his friends. That just wouldn't be fair to him.

Now, I do not want to give the wrong impression. She isn't a bad person. She just doesn't see what she is doing and again, bringing the issue up only gets her upset and angry. We wish to keep these two raiding with us as they are good friends, but the 8 of us want to have a little change where she doesn't run raids through B or just run raids period. Others have confronted me about their frustrations with the issue and I have ideas on what to do. I am just reaching out to you guys for any other thoughts since you both are the professionals. You see these kinds of things everyday, I am sure.

Things are not terrible now, but with a new expansion a few months away with all new raids and experiences, we want to get things fixed before they get any worse. Any help and suggestions would be wonderful. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely, Humble Guild Leader

Drama Mamas Gah! Late!Drama Mama Robin: Ugh. What a tough issue. Their relationship style is interfering with their in-game jobs. I use the word "style" because the way they interact may not be a problem in private. I know someone who loves his significant other to take charge -- to each his own. But since this is a result of their relationship, you may have a good solution: Have the raid leader take care of it.

B has taken on the responsibility of leading your raids. Part of his role is to make sure the raiders are following directions and not interfering with how he runs the raid. This is standard procedure. If one raider is talking over him and assuming his job whenever she wants, he is the one who should deal with her. That's how it would work if another player were the problem, wouldn't it?

I recommend speaking to him privately and non-pejoratively. I know this is difficult if A's computer is right next to his, but perhaps he'd be willing to arrange a truly private chat. No matter what, however, you have to assume that whatever you say will be seen by her and choose your words accordingly.

Talking points:
  • Both A and B are valuable raiders and guildies.
  • He is your chosen raid leader.
  • He is well-liked and respected by you as well as the other raiders.
  • He does a really great job when he is the one leading.
  • It is the raid leader's responsibility to make sure that no one talks over him or interferes with his leadership.
  • The only issue is that he is not always performing this one (and only this one) part of his duties as raid leader.
I wouldn't request that he perform his duties from now on or anything like that. He should be able to assume what you expect him to do after your conversation ends. Do not under any circumstances mention that it is A that is the problem -- speak in generalities. Of course, there will probably be a transition period, but he needs to take responsibility for his relationship affecting the rest of the raid.

Warning: Avoid using the word "but" during this entire conversation. Many people perceive that everything before "but" is negated by what comes after it. "We like A, but you are the raid leader." "You are a great leader, but you have one issue." Don't do it. Whispers or a private chat room may be your best bet here, so that you can compose what you say and have a chance to adjust it before sending it.

This solution may not work because it depends on A as much as it does B. I'm sure Lisa has other things to try, and I bet your ideas are good too. Good luck!

Drama Mamas Gah! Late!Drama Mama Lisa: I'm with Robin in spirit here, but I disagree with the direction she's heading. This couple is already set in the dynamic of having her co-manage his raid leading, and I feel absolutely certain that they will either shrug off or simply not be able to perceive a need to include her in any mandate to let the raid leader do the leading. Furthermore, turning this into an interpersonal issue for them (he now has the responsibility of shushing his fiancée) keeps your nose clean but pushes what should be a guild issue into the waters of their personal relationship.

First of all, yes, I think you do need to speak directly with her about the cross-talk. Stay objective, and frame these points as problems that raiders are having rather than things people dislike about her or her behavior. Explain to her how those on the other end of the voice comms have a difficult time hearing and processing directions when there's cross-talk between the two of them. Ask her if she wouldn't mind going push-to-talk during raids to cut down on feedback, echoing and cross-talk issues. (Notice how I lumped cross-talk in with technical issues? Take every advantage you can to play it objectively ...)

And now give her a job. This is a player who's itching to contribute at the side of someone who clearly is used to having her assistance, so use this to your advantage. It's best if you can come up with a few jobs outside of raids for other folks, too, so nobody appears to be singled out. And do check with the RL beforehand to make sure he's OK with sharing out whatever tasks you plan to ask her to take on; again, keep it in context of getting more members involved in sharing the workload in several areas of the guild, not only raids.

Then give her raid tasks with discrete boundaries, such as running ready checks or reading strat summaries before the RL makes specific encounter assignments. You want to settle her squarely in the co-pilot's seat, where both of them seem happy enough to have her, with a flight plan that clearly outlines when she should and should not have her hands on the controls. Best of both worlds, Humble Guild Leader -- that's your ticket right there.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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