The Silent

(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.

Communication.

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. We all got along and were excited to hit up new content. The veterans of the new group were already frustrated, having been slamming against the first for a few months. A bunch of us were jumping in needing to learn the basics of the fight. Tensions started to mount right from the beginning.

The veterans got frustrated easily when the newbies didn’t have the fight’s mechanics as well practiced as them a couple tries in. There was a lot of passive aggresive comments and not so subtle ughs. Time passed and the tension mounted. Lines in the sand were quietly drawn. The newbies felt like they were being picked on and that the veterans never took responsibility for their own mistakes. The veterans felt like the newbies were slacking and not putting in as much effort.

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, the mounting frustation. 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 asked, but I should have tried to broach the subject.

Instead more weeks go by. Frustrations mount, some of the newbies want to call it quits but we down the boss (being in the top 5% of guilds on our server to do so), cheers are had. But, on that eve a member of the veterans, 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. We didn’t die the most, he did not so surprisingly, the newbies kept a tally as our bad feelings mounted and to also make ourselves feel better and vindicated. Not the most grown-up move but bad feelings unfourtanetly fester. I was instantly furious. The other newbies 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 ignore it. Probably a second poor move.
We hit it up again the following week for loot. We wipe, for hours. As time passes it gets uglier, the veterans 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. In that moment none of us want to be here.

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, real or not. This was normal behaviour for her, we had people quit already because of it. 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 first night back. 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 either for attitude problems or they’re a blatant carry) gets you downed bosses and fully heartfelt high-fives.
This is not the environment that was being created back in XIV. Half of the newbies 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 set of raid bosses come. We hit up the new single boss fight, Leviathan. After some frustration we down it. Moving onto the first boss of the new big raid we collectively work on the fight. None of us have any idea what to expect. The newbies are talking the fight out, trying to figure things out along with the veterans. But, that underlying nastiness is still there. The veterans suddenly start expecting the world from the newbies, but not themselves. Yelling at us, and just us, for mistakes. 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 the newbies, but the veterans ignore 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.

The newbies were 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. 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?”

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. 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. He wanted us joining PUGs every week if we didn’t down a fight continuing to work on the fight. 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 had convinced himself we were in league with one another and purposefully pushing the veterans away. In someways we were. We preferred to run with one another, but we would still do things with the others, and we would always 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 first, 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 broke on bad terms one big blow-up later with a few words that are hard to take back.
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 or be a part of one you need to use it. Raiding is a team sport.

Talk.

Don’t touch me

I had a random thought the other day as I meandered around on my warlock, Usiri, doing the questline for my Felhunter. I was on the airship from Undercity to Orgrimmar when a random undead priest started healing me, not exactly unusual behaviour on the random scale. But, as I sat there thinking about it, and then thinking about it in a roleplaying context something struck me. If I was Usiri riding the airship and some random person I didn’t know cast spells on me, no matter the kind, wouldn’t that be a violation of my personal space? How must it feel to have some stranger’s magic arcing along your skin, suffusing you?

I imagined Usiri’s skin crawling from the foreign power, a sickness filling his gut as a spiritual violation was enacted upon him. He would of course be upset, and would probably lash out as is his personality to do so. Think of it as akin to riding the train and some stranger grabs your posterior, it’s not an experience anyone wishes to have (well most anyone). This in turn also opens up whole new avenues of harassment for characters of the less then savoury sort.

So, now when I’m IC I keep this in mind, prepared to yell at any who dare violate one of my characters.

(Posted way back in 2009)