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Drama Mamas: The case of the badgered scapegoat

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.

We're still looking for responses from people who have received our advice. If we've answered your letter, please tell us how things worked out. Send it in to robin@wowinsider.com so we can add it to our annual results column.

This week's letter comes from a returning player.
Hi.

After a year long hiatus, I'm coming back to wow on my own, my friends have either stopped, migrated, or are doing Heroic Mode which I can't. So I just joined a random guild as a slightly-undergeared Priest, we're at 11/14 Normal.

I'm having issues though.

- One is I'm not very good in the meters (usually 20-ish % below the similarly-geared RCham my GM plays), and the RL/GM is constantly on my case about it. No matter that I'm usually not the first healer to die, causing the wipe, or that my tasks are done (don't let Thok's kiter die, solo-heal one side of the Spoils...), the Truth is in the meters. Also, on the rare occasion I die first, I've got to justify myself over vent, on top of my spontaneaous apology. On the numerous occasions the GM does die first (usually twice, she's a shamy), she's quite mum about it.
- They asked me to respec from Disc to Holy when I joined, I don't mind either way. Then last week they wanted me to go Disc, mostly because the first random vid of Thok to pop up on a Youtube search shows a disc priest, and the priest in her friend's guild is Disc. So: "sure, I can, but I'm not sure it's actually a better spec for that fight, and it means I've got to re-learn all the fights as a Disc, get back in my Disc groove, and above all you've got to stop changing your mind every week, it doesn't help me get better".

- They asked me to clean up some Flex IDs to complete my gear, which I agree with. I log on to do that, get grabbed by the GM for an Achievement run, really insist that I should be focusing on downing lotsa bosses, not getting Achievements, but I'm told that she needs a healer to get her mount, so that's that.

- The GM is even giving me advice, only the random/unusable kind: her: "you should be using uu, vv, ww, xx, yy and zz spell", me: "yep, you've listed almost all my healing spells, you only forgot aa and bb, which are actually the quite useful on that fight"

- I'm the newest member, I think there's a mild case of "blame the healer" and "blame the new guy" going on. We did down 3 bosses for the first time on my first week with them though.

I'm getting tired of that shit. I'm 45; I've been playing wow since day 1, half the time in one of the top-3 guilds on my server (admittedly, not a leading one). I agree I'm not at the top of my game, and probably never will be again, but being in-my-faced by a know-it-all busybody focused on the wrong things grates on my nerves. A lot.

I'm not sure how to handle it. Gquit, though finding another raiding spot with 542 ilvl probably won't land me anywhere better than this guild ? Go on with the private snarky comments in the hope she'll lay off ? Go public with those ?

I need someone to talk it out with, girlz ^^

Signed: Get off my lawn.
Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Your situation is a toughie. The fact that your tormentor is both the guild master and the raid leader means you have no one higher you can take your problems to. I understand your reticence to start again as the newbie in a different guild. But if you can't stop the badgering here, I don't see that you have much of a choice. There is a chance you can stop the way you are being treated, however. Try having a one on one conversation with your GM/RL.

First of all, the conversation should be private. I know that others are bothering you too, but they are all following the GM's lead. So, in order to avoid excess drama, the conversation should be in whispers. You could also use voice chat in a private, passworded room, but things might get emotional and typing out words helps you to think before speaking. You don't want to come off as either belligerent or excessively whiny.

Here are suggested talking points:
  • Explain that this game is your leisure time activity and having fun is essential to your ability to use it to relax instead of causing you more stress. You will still take raids seriously, but they should be fun too.
  • Say you're not having fun anymore because of how you are treated. Don't make it about her; keep it general. Use "how I'm being treated" and not "how you are treating me." The constant badgering about heal output, what spells to use, and the reactions to your dying is a serious fun drain.
  • Say that you've been doing research on your role as a discipline priest. (If you haven't been, you should before you have this conversation. Sites like Icy Veins are extremely helpful.) Explain that while you've listened to all of the advice you've received from guildies (again, don't make it about her), you would prefer being trusted to learning the appropriate skills for your role moving forward.
  • Healing meters are not the same as DPS meters and should be used accordingly. Read and refer to Dawn Moore's section called "Warning: Healing meters should not be used for evil" in this post on increasing HPS as a discipline priest. Olivia Grace's discussion on healing meters is another good reference. Feel free to refer to these posts in your discussion to show that you've been reading up on your role.
  • Thank her for all of her help and the chance to participate in her guild and you hope that maybe you could not be badgered so much in the future while you try to get better gear and more proficient at your class.
If this doesn't work -- if she carries on unabated -- then it's time for you to leave. Yes, you'll be starting as a newb elsewhere, but hopefully they'll be a little more nurturing or at least less in-your-face.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: So where Robin hops right in with strategies, I'm still hung up in the very first paragraph of your letter: "So I just joined a random guild ..."

Ouch.

A "random guild"?! No, no, nonono. Choosing the right guild isn't only about progression -- after all, what fun is spending a couple of nights a week with a bunch of jerks merely to kill the same bosses they need to kill? Mind you, I'm not saying your guildies are necessarily a bunch of jerks. (In fact, I think there's a lot less jerkitude there than you fear, and you can fix a lot of the issues you raise if you approach each item separately, rather than lumping them all together and then feeling like a panicky little buzzy-bug trapped in the drama spider's web.)

What I'm saying is that a guild's progression should be only the first filter you apply during any guild membership search. In our Guide to Choosing the Right Guild, Robin and I have included an entire section devoted to the various flavors of raiding guilds. Study that carefully, then loop back to read the whole article with an eye toward whether finishing out your raiding experience is necessarily the playstyle you'd be happiest with now that your other WoW friends have moved on.

Whether or not you decide to look for a better guild fit, you can take a few additional steps to better your situation here and now.
  • When others start pointing and fussing at the healing meters, speak up about what really matters: your contribution to keeping teammates alive. Arm yourself with points from the articles Robin linked; keep them close at hand in case you need help remembering a few pithy points.
  • Re-read the paragraph you wrote about changing specs; you claim you don't care either way, but then you spend an entire paragraph telling us why it bothers you. Listen to yourself: You do care. It does matter. The next time someone asks you to switch yet again, decline with grace, explaining that you feel more confident that the job will get done right using the spec you're most comfortable with.
  • Assert yourself about getting sucked into those achievement runs. Say it clearly, simply and publicly where everyone can hear: "Sorry, but I promised I'd pull up my gear level by running some flex raids, and I need to get cracking. Have fun on the achievement run, though!"
  • Ignore the worthless advice. The best reply: "Thank you." That's all. Not "I will," or "sure," or even "OK." Just: "Thank you."
In the end, your letter comes back to more misconceptions about finding a guild: "... finding another raiding spot with 542 ilvl probably won't land me anywhere better than this guild." You're right about that -- unless you put more focus and higher expectations onto your next search. If moving on seems like the solution you're finally most comfortable with, follow that link I gave you and then hone what you're looking for.

Most importantly, keep your eye on what type of play will be the most enjoyable to you. If that's finishing out this raid tier come hell or high water, use these tips to make it happen. If something else might be more fun, though, give yourself permission to go try that instead. The fun's out there -- go get it!
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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