Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spilling the Beans or Where I Bitch and Moan

I don't talk much about any drama that I encounter in WoW, besides in my random pugs. That doesn't mean I am happily blessed without it, actually there is plenty of drama going on now and then, mostly in my guild of course, this wonderful place where people can clash their minds into what nearly ends up in fistfights. The only reason I haven't mentioned much about it is because I feel like it's somewhat private. Don't hang out your dirty laundry and all that. Although I am completely convinced that all guilds with an active member base bigger than 10 people has drama now and then, I just haven't felt like I wanted to vent my particular drama. I am also biased (it's inevitable) and probably wouldn't tell it the proper way.

I wrote this post mainly to get a load off my chest. This was back in end of January. It has taken me this long to post it because I wanted the situation at hand to have cooled down somewhat, and because it somewhere, somehow still feels wrong to post it. Yet, with all the things that I read around the bloggosphere, with guilds breaking up left and right I feel like this could actually be relevant. To show, perhaps, that your guild is not alone. I've always found great comfort in other bloggers posts like this - "Ah nice, I'm not the only one with guild wide issues". Maybe even to be a little educational. Be careful kids. This is what can happen when grown ups turn into kindergarten children. Like I said, this is written from my point of view so it will naturally be biased. I do not write this post to point at anyone and say "that guy did it wrong". We all did it wrong, some way or the other. Rather it fascinates me how easily things can go out of hand when we're dealing with eachother over the internet and misunderstandings might be even easier to get into than elsewhere. Read it, see what you think about it and try to avoid these kind of situations in your own guild.

This will be a rant of epic proportions, mixed with alot of nerdrage and frustration, so be warned.

As you may or may not know, I switched guilds about half a year ago. My old guild was great, we just didn't completely agree on raid commitment. I decided to join a guild that advertised themselves as a relatively serious 25 man guild, that had a "3 strikes and you're out"-rule. Basically, if you didn't perform to demands, you would be replaced. At this point of my raiding career, this suited me perfectly. I wanted to raid with people who were as interested, and had as much time to dedicate to it, as I did. My entrance to the guild went overall smoothly. I got along really well with nearly all in the guild and felt I had found just the right guild for me.

But soon, a small issue turned up. It started already soon after I had joined and blew up completely about a month ago [three months ago when posting this]. We had a healer, a holydin, who was treated specially by everyone in the guild for some reason. She had been in the guild for a very long time, and was seen as somewhat of the "veteran-healer" of the guild. She, along with a few other "old" healers were showing us newbies how things were going to be run. Most things went really well, because both she and every other healer in the guild were really skilled. But one incident in particular immediately made me flinch. I had just joined the guild and we were doing Valithria. Her being holydin and all I thought it would be a no brainer that she was taking one of the portals. But no, she didn't want to. And she didn't have to. I was completely flabbergasted. Valithria never was the toughest boss in the bunch, but if you have a best option, why go with the second best? Why do the fight in a more troublesome way when there was an easier way to go about it? Holydins and resto shamans were without any discussion the best healers for the portals on that fight. What really confused me was that I thought I had joined a serious raid guild. And it had behaved like one all the way, up until this particular moment. They actually tell disc and holy priests (omglol) to do the portals instead of her. I hope you understand the craziness. Eventhough the fight isn't the most difficult fight, we still had loads of wipes in heroic mode due to slow healing, something I felt could've been easily remedied by having the best healer do the appropriate job. You might ask "well if you managed the fight anyway, what does it matter?", and this is how everyone else in the guild reasoned about it too. Yes, we did manage the fight eventually, but to me it was a matter of principles. Everyone had to chip in and at least try do what had to be done for the best of the raid, no one was excused because they "didn't feel like it". Except her. That is what annoyed me. Special treatment should be for everyone, not just one player.

Now I would understand this treatment if the holydin in question was a newbie or completely undergeared. But this was the guilds maintankhealer and probably the best geared healer in the guild to boot. And she was a really good healer! She was inevitably one of the models to which all new healer applicants would conform. I didn't understand it at all. And all I got as an explanation was "she doesn't want to". I accepted it the first time. I was annoyed the second time. After a couple of weeks I just had to vent so I started asking questions. Delicately. I realized that this was something not to be spoken of. And people just brushed it aside. "Ah well, it doesn't matter. This is such an easy fight and if she doesn't feel like it etc etc". It really annoyed me. How will she ever become a good healer if she can pick and choose not to do the things that don't come easy at once? The most annoying thing is that the portals aren't even that difficult. I failed at them every now and them too. Everyone did. Well, if you've read my posts about gaming girls and how they don't dare to believe in themselves you know where I stand in this matter. I tried to tell her that no one is perfect, everyone make mistakes, but no. She refused. And everyone just patted her back and said that it was totally ok. It made me furious to be honest, because they were all doing her a disservice. And in any case, why was it ok for her to behave in this way, and no one else? Could I say "no I don't want to use shields on LK" and get away with it? Could I say "I don't want to spec Pain Supression because I don't want to use it"?

The matter subsided since Cata was launched and well, we didn't do Valithria anymore. Instead we started raiding Cata raids. I let the matter go, but realized that this mentality wasn't going to just go away. And another issue surfaced. Cata raids are, as most of you probably have noticed, alot more difficult than most Wrath raids were. At least the first couple of times before you've got the hang of the fight. Communication, of any level, between healers is a must, in my opinion. And I don't mean you should vent every thought that pops into your head, but telling your fellow healergroup if you're unable to heal your assignment, oom, silenced, using a certain cooldown and the like is necessary. "Oh I got into twilight realm, someone heal the tank!" is information that the other healers might want to have. Join in on discussions and answer questions given to you in chat are also things I enjoy. But this holydin refused to speak. She never used TS, not to utter a word. Apparently her english was bad, but in my guild people come from all over Europe and we all speak bad english, even the native english speakers. And I don't want her to recite Shakespear, I want her to say simple stuff like "Out of range" or "oom" or "Used Lay on Hands" and etcetera. She completely refused. The guild, still on her side but seeing the sense in my demands tried to get her to at least use some sort of chat macros. She agreed to this and I said that that of course would be better than nothing, but completely unfair and most importantly not effective enough. It would force every healer to check the chat for her messages every now and then, when she could just as easily convey the message into our ears. We're doing stuff, we don't have time to read the chat. Before you tell me that I am too elitist, hear me out. I don't mind that people don't want to use vent. I don't mind if people don't want to use flasks or pve gear/spec when raiding either, as long as that is what everyone has agreed upon. But this was during a time when my guild was fighting for server firsts, and people were getting dkp fines for not using enough speed pots during fights. I could just not understand how people could allow for this kind of critical issue to exist, when everything and everyone else had to be perfect. How come she didn't have to use vent, when everyone else had to do everything in their power to make the raid as good as possible? That is what I was trying to wrap my brain around, and I just didn't get a proper answer from anyone. I was frustrated to say the least.

Then things got really out of hands. I am curious about all healing classes. I enjoy healing overall, I read several blogs about all healing classes and I love comparing the classes to get the most out of them. I play them all for this reason as well. It is good to know which class will handle which situation the best. Eventhough I'm not the healing leader, and don't assign people, I still like to know. And so I ask people about things they do in raid. I do this with everyone. I've asked our shamans and druids about skills of theirs, to compare them with my own and figure out how we can use our differences to our advantage. And this particular raid I was asking her. We had wiped alot on Ascendant Council and she was low on healing done. We had a problem and everyone were looking at it from different angles to figure out how to go about fixing it. Some people were looking at whether the dps was too low, whether people didn't move fast enough from shit on the ground. Just about every stone was being turned. I had read about how paladins had some issues with healing at that time so I thought I'd ask her about it. This was not to mock her! It was not to point out I was better than her. On just the fights before she had outperformed me in healing done, and she often did. And healing meters only say so much (actually next to nothing most of the time). But in this particular fight she was lagging behind and I thought that if she had trouble, maybe getting out of range or having to move too much, the rest of us healers should know about it so we could step in. Since she wouldn't tell us over vent, or in chat, I figured the only way to know was to ask. We were trying to improve ourselves, all of us, so we could down the boss. And I knew this was a touchy subject, so how would I go about asking? I really, really tried to make it as nice a question as possible.

"Do you need some help? You're a little low on healing done :)"
and then quickly added
"Because I read paladins were having some issues, so that might be it. Not much you can do about it then :)" (note the smileys)
and after a while she replies
"Then replace me"

I had really tried to ask nicely and that was totally not the answer I wanted. So I told her.
"That's not what I mean. And it's not up to me anyway"
and she says
"Just tell the raid leader to replace me".

And then I became really annoyed
. Why couldn't she just discuss the matter at hand? We had a problem, and we had to solve it. She was definitely not the core of the problem, but her not communicating didn't exactly make the fight easier, and when her tank target kept dying, someone had to ask if there was something we could change about our setup, right? Annoyed as I was that communicating with her was impossible I said;

"I just asked you a simple question, there is no need to become such a drama queen about it. I'm not saying you're doing a bad job, I am asking if you have some trouble in this fight".

Apparently she snapped there because she didn't say anything more that fight (which means it was just as normal). Later on the guild forums she had posted an extremely angry post which started with a F*CK OFF! (yes in caps) and some more caps about how people (namely me) shouldn't question her way of healing. How I didn't know anything about pala healing and should just shut up. And I totally agree. I don't know anything about pala healing. That is precisely why I ask her about stuff during raids, so that I understand more about how we can encounter the fight and work together. I have to know which cooldowns you have, which healing you prefer, if you will focus on the tank or on the raid and etcetera. I have to know what everyone else in the raid is doing, this is not about 25 people simultaneously soloing the same boss.

It all exploded into a heated argument between me and some other guildies (in which she didn't take part) on how important communication really was. The interesting thing is that this fight had huge implications for the guild as a whole. We suddenly decided to split into two 10-man groups, where she happened to be in one and I in the other. That was trouble initially because we didn't really have people for two 10-man groups. And also suddenly the whole "we have to become server first" was blown away. Instead the very same people who had argued for it initially were now arguing that we shouldn't become too elitist. And I was standing there totally confused. The guild had set up a goal, everyone had worked for it, people had been punished for not doing their best. Punishing people for not using enough pots during a fight was never up for argument (although the people involved weren't happy about it). I find an area in which we can improve and suddenly the goal disappears. It was never there. And I am the elitist bitch because I questioned the wrong person. It reminds me of Communist China in the 50s. Tell people to do something, encourage them to do something, and when they finally do it, punish them. Yeah I warned you about the ranting.

How do you like them dramas?

Towards the end of december we had enough players at max level to do 25 mans again, and the holydin suddenly went "away" (that is what they said, she and her boyfriend who was the guild main tank and tank role leader). Nearly three months has passed and not a word from them. Because of... me. Somehow I managed to get the main tank, an officer of the guild, and one of the main healers in the guild to take a three month break, just because of my question. They both returned to the guild this week, and maybe the officers of the guild knew they'd return some day all along. But any questions on the matter have been answered with "no idea". I never really understood what happened. Clearly I had stepped on the toes of an esteemed member of the guild, who signed for every raid and usually did a very good job. But Cataclysm had set up new demands and communication was definitely one of them. Your track record can't protect you from having to adapt to these new demands. Months and years of service mustn't blind people to the fact that everyone have to be included in the guild rules or no one will take them seriously. Imagine doing a Cataclysm boss without vent? I dare you.


  1. Special treatment is always annoying, but especially when it gets in the way of serious progression and causes unnecessary stress/hardship on the other raiders! That's really frustrating to hear. I don't see how your raid leader / guild leader can justify it... :|

    It's funny, I actually just had a conversation about the difference between Cataclysm raids and Wrath raids with a friend who's just starting to raid. He didn't think the new fights were that much more complicated, and while might be true, they definitely require a TON more communication.

    I mean, Omnitrons is the second fight, but can you imagine doing that without any voice chat? Slimes, laser beams, interrupts, target swaps, lightning conductors...and that's only on regular! These simply aren't the days of "kill bone spikes" any longer.

    I'd be similarly annoyed and peeved about the situation if I were in your shoes. Perhaps if she is still bad, show her healing logs to someone you know who is familiar with Paladin healing? They might be able to tell you more about her performance. And if it's something really bad - the equivalent of a priest only casting Flash Heal or something - then I'd say it'd warrant bringing up to the raid leader, firmly.

    There's just no room for bad play in serious progression, but especially if she's not willing to listen to constructive criticism and improve.

  2. I find it interesting that she actually is not bad - there was a specific fight where she was having trouble, but you say that for the most part she was really good. (The lack of voice communication aside.)

    Usually people who are good are open to discussion - because they want to continue to be good. She seems to have become defensive incredibly soon.

    I can definitely understand the annoyance with no voice communication though. Sure, people can be worried about their spoken English, but really.. saying two words on vent like "nearly OOM" or similar isn't really going to make it painfully obvious that your English is horrible.

    We had a girl in my guild previously who got special treatment - and it drove me absolutely nuts. I think everyone should be treated equally, always. This girl however got whatever she wanted and did whatever she wanted without repercussions.

    For example, in Wrath when we were all leveling she was one of the slowest. She was one of two tanks - and because she was so slow we ended up having someone off-spec to tanking while she was still leveling so we could start on 10 man Naxx.

    The other ms tank was there, gearing up and everything - but don't you think that once she was 80 she felt that she should be THE Main Tank and get prio on all loot?

    Attitudes like that really annoy me - especially if the guild allows it.

    I can never quite understand why anyone would allow it in the first place. What makes someone so "special" that they deserve to be treated differently to everyone else?

  3. I had a run-in like that when I politely talked about the way one guild not to be named was doing Festergut. At the time, we couldn't get past him. Among other things, I noted that it would help if we had a demonology warlock.

    Oh, did that get a response! Before I made that note, everyone was talking about "personal responsibility". We can't beat the bosses if everyone just ladeedahs around doing what they feel like, you know. After that note, though, guild leaders fell all over themselves saying nobody was going to have to spec a certain way just for the sake of raid progression. I quietly wondered if, I didn't like how swiftmend worked, it would be okay if I just didn't bother with emergency heals.

    After more thought, I must say it would be weird to see a guild that didn't kowtow to the senior folks. At the end of the day, a guild is like any other club. The old timers are going to run the show. I'm not even sure it's bad. I'm in this game for the social aspects. Who really cares about purple pixels?

  4. @Rades
    Your comment about bone spikes pretty much hits the spot. Your idea about using healing logs is a great one actually, and I will definitely try to find some input from another healer (of the appropriate class) if this issue should arise again. But heres to hoping it won't ;)

    Glad I'm not alone (or maybe that's a bad thing ^^), for a while I thought I was going nutters tbh :P Everyone was acting like the behavior was completely ok and I just couldn't understand how. Quite frustrating!

    I totally agree with you on the social aspect, but honestly I think that is what is taking a blow when people get special treatment. I don't want anyone in the guild who thinks he or she is better than anyone else. In a way you can compare the situation to public sector vs private sector. In sweden, once you've got a job in the public sector it's basically impossible to lose. You'd really have to break the law to be booted, and there too seniority always has precedence over juniority, without much regard to skill.
    In the private sector it's generally the other way around - if you don't do your job, you're out. Both systems have their goods and bads, but the public sector is alot less competitive than the private one (which doesn't have to be a bad thing). If the guild has decided to be competitive, it should act that way or it will eventually file bankruptcy (dissapointed players leaving).

  5. For the record you're not doing anything wrong or bitchy for posting this, whether it's now or back then. You haven't sat there flaming members of your guild, you've just done your best to convey what happened.

    The whole way through I couldn't understand this special treatment, why, why why. And then, right at the end, there it was "...she and her boyfriend who was the guild main tank and tank role leader...". Bam, there's your problem.

    Sometimes a gf/bf duo of officers in a guild works just fine. But I've had a couple of experiences myself with this working out extremely badly. Much to my dismay it's normally the girl being a selfish, entitled bitch that causes issues (issues with my blood pressure).

    This treatment defies reason or rebuttal, it's like arguing with a brick wall and the best thing that could have happened is for them to 'take a break' so he could massage her fragile ego and you can get on with proper raiding.

    It's unfortunate that you ended up with raid split, but I hope you find, as I do, that 10-man raids are actually better. Sure it's not quite as epic a feeling, but if you raid frequently with them, you'll work incredibly well as a team because you pick up on everyone's styles that much quicker. I've found much more success in 10-man during Cataclysm, not because the raid bosses are much easier, but because communication is up, you haven't got 5 people talking over each other on vent and spamming /ra and it's much easier to have discussions with everybody after a wipe-fest.

    I hope you find yourself happy in your new setup.


  6. Hey Zinn,

    I actually feel that you should have posted about this earlier (you actually mentioned her a few weeks ago if I remember well).

    The fact that her boyfriend is the Main Tank might be the reason the other guild members refuse to talk about the problem.

    Anyhow, you should try talking to her outside of Wow (email her and ask for her phone number or something), and if there really is no way to communicate, then take it to the guild leader.

    If he refuses to act upon it, then leave, there ARE other serious raiding guilds after all, and a change is always nice.

  7. I used to heal 10 mans with someone who just would not communicate, either in vent or in chat. There would be no discussions on tactics, or about how hard/easy they found particular fights, nothing.
    When it came to who would be removing diseases or for eg healing the marked player at Saurfang, they would never say a word, and I would end up having to either volunteer for it myself, or tell them that they were doing it, to which I would get a 'ok' if I was lucky, or nothing at all otherwise.
    I got so paranoid that it was me who they didn't like, that even when I saw them doing things wrong, or could see ways that they could do things better, I daren't say anything for fear of making them dislike me even more.

  8. First off, congrats on getting a link from WoWInsider! I say that not only as someone who follows your page closely and enjoys your work, but also as someone on your Blogroll who is enjoying the residual views from you being so popular.

    Keep up the good work!

    Back to the post at hand. I enjoyed this post because I have been there. More than you know. The main theme that stuck out to me here was:

    "We had a problem, and we had to solve it."

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people who play this game are content to sweep things under the rug, pretend like they never happened and hope they go away. Life does not work that way. Or if it does, I sure didn't grow up that way or believing that.

    Certain things crop up and need to be dealt with. I wish people would understand that and not be afraid of that. Adults can have a conversation and raise their voices. Adults can not like each other sometimes. I don't think these are bad things. Sadly, not everyone feels the same way.