(This is a rant. Getting it off my chest.)
Not too long ago I had to experience the unfourtunate; a MMO guild falling apart due to drama. Drama I was involved with. It’s always ugly, and leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. No one is clean or innocent of it, and it was sadly avoidable in one easy step.
The group had come together in order to down the most difficult content. We formed up from two separate groups that had lost people to breaks and quitting. Things were fine in the beginning. We all got along and were excited to hit up new content. At least that’s what us, from what I shall call Group #3, thought. But, the other group, #1, had been at the fight for awhile now. They were already frustrated, and they took point as the veterans. We were jumping in needing to learn the basics of the fight. Tensions started to mount right from the beginning.
#1 was more aggressive (not all of them just a couple), they gave the impression we should already know what they had learned in three months of attempts. “Ughs.” and passive insults were rarely heard in the first couple weeks. As time went they became more common. #3 was collectively getting frustrated, but we didn’t know that yet. We were each trying to suck it up for the whole. Brushing it off.
It only got worse. The person who had stepped up as lead; they called out commands during battle, made decisions etc. Was obviously getting shorter of temper as time passed. This is where I made my mistake in this whole mess. I could see it plain as day. I even talked to him once about voicing concerns if he had any, don’t bottle and make it worse. But, I never outright asked him, “Are you okay?” It’s debatable if anything would have changed if I had said so at this juncture, but I should have tried to ask, to broach the subject.
Instead time passed. Justin, talking to another member of #3 about the raid, learned he was frustrated, and passed the information to me. I then talked to my sister, who said “Yeah, he’s mentioned that to me as well.” A couple conversations later and we find out we’ve all got the same feelings. We voice concerns, complaints, but decide to see things out.
We down the boss, cheers are had. But, on that eve a member of #1; the one who always had an insult handy when someone else fell, and an excuse for when he did, had something to say.
“If it wasn’t for Blue (me) and Xen (my sister) dying so much we would have had it down sooner.”
I was flabbergasted. It was so direct, so nasty, and so not true. I truly hope it wasn’t because we were the only women in the raid. But, that is the only thing different about us I could fathom. We didn’t die the most (he did, #3 kept a tally for kicks and to make ourselves feel better, and vindicated), and at that time we had been pretty quiet when people argued. I was instantly furious. The other members of #3 had all logged off, I think this particular individual didn’t realize I was still around. The leader defended us. He was a good guy, just frustrated at this point. I logged off, told my sister. We both agreed we know longer wanted to tolerate the rude one and his ways.
We hit it up again the following week for loot. We wipe, for hours. As time passes it gets uglier, #1s are scolding, chastising like we’re six year olds from the very first wipe. This puts everyone in a bad mood from go number one. By the two hour mark we’ve all transitioned beyond frustrated. None of us want to be here. This is where the “leadership” continued along with a cardinal mistake. Vinegar.
Back in WoW, when Gill (my sister) and I were hitting up the Frozen Throne our raid got stuck on the three princes. We call this “A Wall” a fight that seems insurmountable, weeks go by with no progress. We hit a wall and the co-leader of the raid, Geo, was pissed off. She was also making sure everyone knew it, by shrieking at us over Vent. Hawking blame wherever she saw fit, whether real or not. This was normal behaviour for her, we had people quit already because of it. Now we hit this wall. I told the leader of the raid, “If she stays; if you don’t kick her or tell her to stop, we’re going to lose this long list of people instead.”
He kicked her after one giant screaming fest the following week.
You know what happened? We instantly downed that boss fight. And all the others right up to the final brawl, The Lich King himself.
My point, screaming, yelling, berating, insulting, gets you “Walls”. Being supportive, helpful, understanding, working on and talking about problems (calmly) (and yes knowing when to remove someone from the raid) gets you downed bosses and fully heartfelt high-fives.
This is not the environment #1 was creating. Half of #3 wanted to outright quit at this point. We talked it out decided against it, I promised to have an overall talk about attitudes if it’s still nasty when the new content drops.
The new content comes. We hit up the new single boss fight. After some frustration we down it. There is some ugliness but nothing epic. Just passive aggressiveness. Moving onto the first boss of the new big set we collectively work on the fight. None of us have any idea what to expect. #3 is giving suggestions trying to figure things out along with #1. But, that underlying nastiness is still there. #1 suddenly starts expecting the world from #3, but not themselves. Yelling at us, and just us, for mistakes. But, only lightly chastising themselves when whoopsy doodles are made. I end up having that talk. Well, “talk” is generous. I discuss attitudes, negativity, how we’re worse as a group when it’s happening. We should be positive, let things roll off. If you feel angry don’t hit the push-to-talk button. I’m met with silence. Nobody says a thing, a couple “I agree!” sentiments from #3, but #1 ignores it. They keep on talking about random stuff, like I had never opened my mouth.
Communication. It is so important in every aspect of our lives. Even the fun MMO ones. Do you want to have fun and progress in a raiding environment with other people? Well, GUESS WHAT you need to talk to other people then. About issues or concerns, have discussions if things are obviously sour. ANYTHING. Nothingness is the worst thing you can do. It will end raids, or get you kicked from one.
This may be a major sore spot for me. Things went from bad to worse. The leader and I clashed over the stupidest things. I knew what he wanted, certain skills obtained. I knew he was angry about it. Hard to miss. I purposely didn’t unlock the skills. I instead said I wanted to talk about it. You know what he did? Directly insulted me with sentence number three. I was even about to agree to get the skill at my own pace. I shut down. Fast. Told him the negativity, the condescending nature of how everything was approached, was unnecessary, rude, completely out of line.
He switched characters and never talked directly to me again.
#3 was pissed. Tired of being ignored. I can recall giving suggestions for the new fight and not even being acknowledged. Three weeks later suddenly this is part of the new strategy.
We were always told why we died, what we did wrong, and how to fix it in the most rude manner possible. If you’re leading a raid, do not do this.
A: It’s spoon feeding, you will not get raid aware members capable of dealing with mechanics and issues without needing a call out by doing this.
B: It’s condescending as all get out. We are not children, we are equipped with eyes. We know what killed us (we even point it out ourselves sometimes), we know the mechanics, we know what should be actually done. If we don’t, we’re adults, capable of communication. Something I know they had forgotten how to do. We can ask, “Hey, not sure what went wrong, any ideas?”
C: It makes the person feel bad. Even if they know you’re wrong about it being all their fault, you are still calling them out in front of everyone else as the person of authority. Nobody enjoys that.
Gaaaaah, ok. Still angry. It’s the lack of trying to meet us halfway that really gets to me. To this day they see themselves as completely in the right. We don’t see ourselves that way. We are capable of looking back and seeing where we could’ve improved how we dealt with the situation. There were times we fed into it, circle jerking if you will, our anger. That never helps. But, we did try to address our problems, and got ignored.
The leader? He never wanted lead. But, he did have an idea of how he wanted the raid to be handled. People research the fights beforehand, and try them out in PUGs every week if we don’t down it. He never, not once, told us that. Not until the big blow-out at the end. Even when we tried to talk about it. Even when I outright said, “If you have a problem, tell us, we’re big people, we can take it and we can work something out.”
He was convinced we were in league with one another. In someways we were. We preferred to run with one another, but we would do things with the others, and we would invite them along with us. We didn’t want to ostracize him, we still thought of him as a decent person. Yes, we had our own private chat channel, to air grievances get a good ole’ “Gaaaaaaaaar!!” But, we still tried to strike up conversations in guild chat, or join in on them. He had the GALL to be pissed at us for his problems he never voiced, NOT ONCE. If you have an issue with someone, even if it is just, if you do not talk to them about it. If you let it boil, YOU are also in the wrong. If it is a misunderstanding, you are the ONLY one in the wrong for not talking about it.
We left on bad terms with the leader and the rude one. The other members of #1 we never had huge problems with. They either got involved but not nearly as much, or didn’t even notice there was a problem.
Sometimes I emote at leader, consider whispering him. He was a good person, he is a good person. Fun, nice. But, he took up a responsibility he didn’t want, let it get to him, stayed silent, ignored or escaped attempts to talk. Became mean. I’d like to go back to before all this. Where we could talk and run around doing random things together. But, for now, it doesn’t look like that will happen.
Communication. Use it, love it. Please, don’t let this happen. It doesn’t have to, it’s daunting, anxiety ridden territory. But, if you want to organize a group, you need to have a lot of it. If you want to participate in one, you need a little of it at least.