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Drama Mamas: Too young to be taken seriously

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.

If Maru were in a class, he'd be the class clown -- just like this week's letter writer.
Hello, Drama Mommas.

I'm currently sixteen and I've been raiding hardcore since patch 3.3, so about four years now, and I didn't typo there. I've been raiding since I was twelve.

Normally I wouldn't include this information, but its important to the subject.

Well, about a year and a half ago I joined a brand new top ten on realm raiding guild, and loved it. I've had so much fun and I've been included into the guild 'family' Unfortunately, my spot in that family is of the Little Brother, and its not awesome.
When I joined and once the shyness wore off, I settled into my normal self, that of the 'plays dumb for laughs' guy, kind of a class clown. Well, when you're the youngest in a group of people, it makes you an immature child.

I hate being in the spot I'm in, nothing I say gets taken seriously, all ideas I have for a boss are thrown aside, everything. Nothing I say gets taken seriously, even though I'm normally one of the best players in raid and I follow all guild rules. Everything I do gets yelled at more than possible, if my Mumble key gets stuck and people hear a bit of typing, I get yelled at. If I stand in fire or make a mistake, I get 'thats little brother for ya'. If I ask a question about the fight, I get told to study it better, even though its a question I couldn't find in the fight video/guide.

Even though I've been quiet the last few months and trying to get better about it, I still get it. I want to eventually progress in the ranks beyond Member, but that's not going to happen if I'm still seen as a child.

How can I fix this without leaving guild or having to forcefully talking to officers to let them know? Help, please. :(

Signed, Little Brother.

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: It's very difficult overcoming a reputation like that. You must have noticed that in school as well. First impressions are hard to get over.

The good news is that your guildies enjoy you, otherwise they would have kicked you out by this point. The bad news is that it's going to be hard work to get your guildies to respect you.

First of all, I wouldn't forcefully talk to anyone. That's not the mature way to handle it, nor is it the diplomatic one. I recommend three steps to better your reputation:
  1. Move your Mumble keybind or replace your keyboard, if you can. If you are having any other technical difficulties on your own, fix them. The rest of the group shouldn't have to suffer for something that you can fix on your end.
  2. Practice, practice, practice. Run the Raid and Dungeon Finder as often as you have time for (school and family permitting). The new Proving Grounds will be helpful as well, when they are released -- in the meantime, you could even get on the PTR and try them out now.
  3. Get a mentor. Approach the officers and ask if one of them would be willing to be your mentor. Tell them you want to become an officer some day and would like guidance in order to do so. Your mentor is the person you quietly ask questions when you need to know something about the fight. Your mentor is the person you ask to whisper advice to you when you make a mistake. Your mentor should also run Raid Finder or heroics or other runs outside of regular raiding to help you improve.
Unfortunately, mentoring you is extra work and you may not be able to get someone to help you. If that's the case, ask your GM what he or she would recommend to do instead in order to better your reputation.

When your guildies see all the hard work you are doing to become a better and more considerate player, they will treat you with respect. In the meantime, try to have a sense of humor about the whole Little Brother thing. They seem to mean it endearingly and you do admit you earned the title at one point.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Little Brother, I made a reality check for your situation with Big Brother, my 19-year-old son who's just a few years ahead of you in this very position. Completely unprompted, his first reaction falls in line with mine: 16 years old is a long way from 12, sure, but it's still a kid to grownups.

I know, I know, not what you wanted to hear, right? But the first part of cracking this nut is to come to grips with the way your guildmates are perceiving you, and there's no doubt that 16 years old is still very much a "kid" to most people. The only thing that will change that is a heaping dose of tincture of time.

In the meantime, your actions must lead the way. Address all the little bobbles like stuck Mumble keys and unanswered questions (try prefacing questions with with "Here's a point that wasn't covered in the X video guide ..."). And Robin's right: No "forceful" discussions. That's not the way successful adults handle things like this, and if you try, all you'll achieve is a reputation for childish whining and fussing. In waters like these, diplomacy is the name of the game -- but I don't really think you need to have a chat with anybody as much as you need to elevate your actions in game.
I think you'll find that if you know your stuff, your image will soon change from the "Little Brother" whose gaffes must be guided and indulged to the "Whiz Kid" whose knowledge and reflexes outperform the older players.

The game-changer for my son was leading groups and eventually raids. He started taking charge of pickup groups on his own time, then started putting together his own groups and raids with non-guildmates who had no idea (and didn't care) how old the warrior leader was. When the guildies saw his gear and found out he'd already successfully run certain content X number of times, they began asking his advice and eventually discovered that he was a reliable, responsible resource. That's the moment when he shed the kid skin in their eyes. Now, it wasn't as smooth a process as that -- learning to lead a group and offer criticism and direction takes skill and practice and mistakes, too -- but that's how the process unfolded for him.

Respect is earned through deeds, not by asking for it or even demanding it. Show you're the man, and the man's rep will come to you.
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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