Friday, July 22, 2011

Field Report - Summer Hiatus

I kind of like how the summer vacation forces me to take a break from WoW, and especially raiding. It allows me to look at it from another perspective, instead of being the one caught right up in it, I'm watching it from outside and think "why do I do this?". I can only imagine that this is part of the explanation to why so many guilds have trouble coping with the summer and pre-new-expansion/patch hiatus. I'm probably not the only one who takes a good look at myself and think about it. But I don't think at it in some sort of existential way, I'm not trying to answer why I raid at all. The answer to that question is simple - I like it. Rather I ask - why do I raid the way I do? A lot of things have happened in my guild that have influenced my gaming and myself overall. So much drama that I hardly thought it was possible. What's the deal really, and what should I do about it?

If you've followed my blog you'll know that I've had my fair share of weird arguments in my guild. In short, I had a major clash with our GM regarding the seriousness of raiding and what that entails. Later on I was demoted because one person, new to the guild and with really low attendance (and who just recently left the guild with her boyfriend, after being with us for some 3 months), had complained about - well I don't know what really. I never got to know. As I understood it, something I said regarding how priest healing works, which go figure, I as an officer and raid leader probably was supposed to talk about. And when my boyfriend and some of my best friends decided to leave this guild, some of the reasons being exactly that the leadership is illogical at times, I still decided to stay behind. Did my loyalty become rewarded? No, instead I get to hear later on that much of the trouble I've gotten in to has partially been because some never really trusted that I'd stick around. Or even worse, that I only stuck around to be some sort of a spy to my boyfriends new guild. An undercover agent! (I wish I was that cool). Well, I'm not. I stayed because I like the people in this guild, I like the raiding. But how can I ever convince the management of that? Right now the mere fact that I have connections to people in the new guild (and there aint much I can do about that) seems to be reason enough not to like me. If they've decided that I'm not worth investing time and effort into, they'll only fulfil their own expectations by chasing me away. If I don't feel appreciated and like what I do matters anyway, I will inevitably leave, right? But through all the issues so far, I still haven't. I won't lie and say I've never pondered it, but so far the choice has always been easy to me. Why?

Because I know that I'm not an easy person to work with. I can be obstinate, for sure. But I'm not arrogant enough to say "this is who I am, deal with it". When my GM approached me, basically telling me that I was going to be demoted because this one person had a problem with how I did the job assigned to me, I didn't tell him to fuck off. I thought it, but I didn't say it. Instead I said "so what can I do to make this work?". Apparently nothing, demotion was the only solution. And I wasn't angry about it, I wasn't angry about the demotion. I was confused that they thought that was a good solution, but not angry. I'm still part of the guild, or so I thought.

I also know that a lot of the problems that have arisen have been in part because of simple misunderstandings. Believe it or not, I will give people the benefit of the doubt. I will always think that there is a possibility that people don't actually mean to be malevolent and/or stupid, that we've just simply understood the situation in different ways. I could ask for more transparency regarding the decision making process but on the other hand I could probably handle the questioning in a more delicate manner too. Clearing out misunderstandings has so far been how this has been handled (except regarding the demotion). My GM, whom I respect despite our differences in points of view, usually takes me aside, explains why something is a problem and tells me what I have to do in order to fix it. Which usually entails "just don't do it".

I understand that I can be more argumentative than other people, but I've also been around in the guild for longer than 95% of our current raiding group, who only joined the last three months approximately. I've been around for a year, since before Cataclysm, since before the "split" and I know how the management deals with things. And I don't always like it. Sometimes I just have to ask why something is done the way it is. Is that really so wrong? And if I don't get an answer, I won't let it go. I will keep on asking. I think I have the right to know why people do stuff the way they do when they affect me.

Like when I asked whether I could get my position back as an officer since the whole problem with the person who had complained had been solved (and she had left the guild). Assuming I was promoted for a reason in the first place.
No, they say. Your officer position isn't needed any longer. Apparently I had held one of the arbitrary officer positions that they had wanted to get rid off for some time. They only want class leaders, nothing else. Nothing personal.
I can understand that, but why is X an officer, I ask - he isn't class leader.
No, but he holds a veteran status in the guild, they say. He gets to be an officer just because, they say. Ok, I think. But how come Y is the melee class leader when he's not even a melee? I ask.
We're working on that, they say. He's only temporary, they say.
And will you demote him once you've replaced him? I ask. Because then he holds an arbitrary officer position.
No answer.

This is standard procedure in my guild.

Believe it or not, I am not the only one asking questions. I am far from the only one noticing when something odd is afoot. When we had trouble with people failing on Cho'gall some asked "why don't you just replace the ones who keep on failing?". This is exactly what I asked in early Cata, which is what started the first big argument I got into. Or when the officers announced a new, awesome system that would punish the healers for not having enough attendance, although that never was a problem. Each healer didn't have high attendance, but since we are many enough, there were always enough people to fill the raid with good healers. First I asked - why? Why change it when it's working? Then other people chimed in, why? Why change it? (Apparently some healers had been complaining, but since a majority of the healers were the problem to begin with, only a minority (1-2) could've been complaining. Why cater the few I asked?). And they finally decided to scrap the idea.

It is possible there is a perfectly viable reason to why some people in the guild can hold arbitrary officer positions, but not everyone. Or why some people should get special treatment regarding whether they have to use certain raid tools or not. Or why the voice of some people weigh more than others of the same position. All I am asking for is the reason. And I usually have to ask a thousand times before I get an explanation. Or why H suddenly doesn't get to come to raids, because the officers thinks he's performing bad, when he's in fact far from performing the least good out of his class? Why I ask. Because, they say.

Without the real answers I have to make up my own. I've even ventured into the megalomaniac area of my brain where I imagine that the GM only took the complaint as a well timed excuse to remove me from officer position. I am quite sure it hadn't happened it if had been anyone else who had been the issue. I wasn't asked to become an officer, they just suddenly promoted me. Somewhere along the way they probably thought it wasn't a good idea, for reasons I'll never know. This kind of arbitrary treatment is exactly what annoys me.

Why don't I just give up? Throw in the towel and say - you clearly don't want me here, I'm off. It's not only because I enjoy being a pimple in the ass of the officers, although that always will be a small part of it. But I'm just not a quitter. It took me at least 1 year of struggling in my previous guild before I switched. By then I had seriously tried everything to get it to some decent raiding, but it was impossible. I won't leave this guild until I feel like I've really tried everything. Everything I can to have myself understand the ways of the people around me, and have them understand me.

I'm not trying to fight people just for the heck of it. It just really annoys me when things aren't done for logical reasons (as I see them). Or when people use arbitrary rules. When something applies to one person but not to everyone else. I have to say and do something, or it will poke me in the brain forever. I can't just let it slip. I have to understand it. When the wrong person got loot I say "but C had a lot more dkp" and the mistake is solved. An honest mistake. But no one else said anything! Giving the loot the wrong guy isn't the end of the world, but why don't people question the things that matter more? Don't they care?

Why did he suddenly get uninvited, why did he get a promotion? Why did he get that loot when I'm ahead, or why is he allowed not to use a flask? I ask these questions. But people are too content, and I really wish I could think that way. Just not care. Unfortunately I can't. But I like my guild, I like the people. I wish I could shut up but I just really think some things needs explaining. Not every little step, but every decision that is made that people don't understand must be explained, using the guild rules as guide lines. People should be able to think "ok, I see why they did that" or "I don't agree, but it IS according to rules that I signed up for". We didn't vote for our officers, so we can't always trust to leave the good of the guild in their hands without some transparency. At least I don't when I see how some people act. So don't do everything behind locked doors. Our current GM only took over because our previous (and awesome I might add) GM was burned out. He was the only one with enough time, both on his hands and in the guild, to take the job. He didn't ask for it and we didn't ask for it so he'd definitely benefit from some transparency in his decision making.

Nothing hurt me more than when H was removed from raiding and no one in the raid said anything (openly). Did no one in the raid care whether he was there or not? Did everyone, but me, agree that he wasn't good enough? Maybe everyone got an explanation and I just missed it, but that can hardly be the case with every decision that is made. Will the guild allow me to be treated this way too? Singled out until I give up. Ignored and quelled for reasons I don't even know. Maybe I deserve it.

Or maybe I am using my own shortcomings as an excuse to let other peoples shortcomings not bother me enough to take action. How long should I accept bad behavior just because I'm not perfect myself?

On a less rambling note;
I've finally decided to bind my scroll to some casts - Prayer of Healing on scroll down and Binding Heal on scroll up. I noticed that even my solution to put PoH on R wasn't good enough, since it still meant I had to target first to use it. Considering how much it is used, both as disc and holy, I felt it was too slow. Binding Heal got scroll up since it didn't have any good binding yet and I actually use it a lot. I also should practice using Flash Heal more since right now I barely use it a handful of times (if ever) during a whole raiding night. But it's worked so far, so I'm being lazy with that one.

I also thought to use Glyph of Power Word: Shield instead of Glyph of Power Word: Barrier. I am unsure on which will turn out to be more healing in the end, because evaluating the extra healing during the Barrier duration is rather tricky. But the shields have been rather buffed since I last tried the Shield glyph, and it worth giving a new go.

This was written in June.


  1. I've wanted to comment but also felt like I would be stating the obvious if I did, but I thought I'd do it anyways.

    I understand how guild management can give grey hairs and wanting your guild to be run properly and fairly is a reasonable requirement to make, however, a lot of guilds are simply just run by everyday people.
    By that I mean people who are not trained in leadership, organization and H.R. Some people have flair for it and can handle a guild master role really well, but a lot handle it like your guild: "well... it made sense.. just because".

    I think we in general in our offline lives and in WoW believe strongly that qualifications come first, that the person best suited for the job, gets the position.
    I believe that just as often it's an act of friendship and trust: "We just like this person, so... she can get this special position 'cause she's awesome" and not because she would actually be the best at it.
    And I think that's why you can't get any clear answers - I'm guessing the honest answer from them would be "because we like him" and admitting that would prove them to act on favortism, which is probably way more prominent than we like to think, in guilds and elsewhere.

  2. @Ironyca
    I am amazed you managed to get through that post ^^

    I agree with you, and it's not so much what they do as how they do it that I have a problem with. I even told my GM that if we want to be completely "casual" about raiding, that would be ok with me. But don't give me bull about us only aiming for "progress" and only taking the most skilled for each raid, when it's not true, randomly inventing clauses to fit the situation at hand (or so it feels sometimes anyway).

    It's the lying, or maybe perhaps rather denying, of those underlying causes that annoy me. Why say that they have this and that reason when it's -really- about favoritism or "just because".

    Some people spend real money to get to join guilds, and they deserve to know what they're really getting.

  3. "How long should I accept bad behavior just because I'm not perfect myself?"

    Never. you should never think that not being perfect forbids the criticism of other people's actions or speaking up in the face of an injustice. whether it's a subjective injustice or not is irrelevant; everything is subjective.
    I used to like guild mates who'd ask me questions. it's way better than holding back or speaking in whispers, as some others will. if you're in a transparent guild, they won't mind you asking and they won't even mind an argument. it means you care and you certainly don't strike me as somebody who argues for argument's sake. so don't accept that label.

    I have never been able to shut up about arbitrary and illogical guild decisions in the past myself, even among my fellow officers. I have had at least 2 noteworthy, big arguments with my GM(s) because of this, with lasting impact to our relationship. that's lamentable, but you don't want to be somewhere where honesty is not asked for. so at the end of the day it's a judgment call: how important a matter is it for you and what are you willing to give up for it? I always found that there is satisfaction in moral 'victory'. if you can't have transparent rules and equal treatment, then at least you can wear your integrity and courage like a badge.