Posted by: ariedan | April 20, 2009

Have A Little Faith

The other day, when talking with a guild member regarding his lack of preparedness in raids, he shot back with a few of his guild-related concerns.

Why should I come prepared and work hard when So-And-So is sometimes late, rarely has consumables, consistently has low numbers, and always dies to everything. Why are you talking to me, instead of him?”

And as an officer, it’s something you hear all the time. It’s one of the biggest frustrations of the job, and you always have to be careful how you deal with it. Raiders, this blog entry is for you, so maybe you can help understand what we do behind the scenes a little better.

We See It, Don’t Worry

When that unnameable priest dies to flame wall every attempt, when the unspoken ret pally shows up late and expects a raid spot, or when the unidentifiable mage somehow manages to do less dps than the tank, we notice. We notice every mistake you make, every death. When a tank dies, we immediately look through combat logs to know how he/she died, whose fault it was, and how he/she can fix it.

Some raid leaders let their players know when they make mistakes, and some have a zero tolerance policy for it. In a guild such as mine, we promise a positive environment with no name-calling or finger-pointing. We don’t generally don’t call people out in vent for everyone to hear; it’s just not our style. To members that are playing well, it seems like because we’re not calling people out, we’re not doing anything about it. Wrong.

A big part of a leader’s job, whether it’s in-game or in real life, is behind-the-scenes work. Because you’re generally up in the front where everyone can see and judge you, people assume they see everything you do. In reality, that’s the easy part; the hardest part of being a leader is knowing you rarely get credit for most of what you do.

It’s Not Going To Happen Overnight

Every guild’s going to have those few members that just aren’t meeting your expectations. Either their attendance is flaky, performance is questionable, or their attitude is lackluster, but chances are, you’re not exactly happy about it. When you’ve got a few members like this, your reliable players start questioning why they’re still allowed to be a part of the guild and why you’re not doing anything about it.

My first question when I’m approached is, “Do you want me to gkick all those people? Do you want me to kick someone every time he/she’s late or makes a mistake?” Of course they always say no and agree, that would be horrible. Having a few people under-perform is still better than not being able to raid.

So then I’m usually asked, “Why don’t you just replace them?,” to which I always answer with, “If you think you can replace four people with top-notch players that have top-notch attitudes that actually mesh well with our members, go right ahead.” Recruiting is a hard deal. Getting people interested in playing with you is hard enough; getting the right kind of players interested in you is even harder. What’s the point of replacing a bad player with another bad player?

If I don’t belittle, kick, or replace people who aren’t meeting our standards, then what do I do? Fixing a problem isn’t always solved by brute force. You can’t will it to magically become better or remove the problem in order to find a solution. I’ve always been of a mindset that most of the best players weren’t born overnight. And in my experience, if I just watch how I handle it (no one likes being called bad, regardless of how nice and constructive you are), I’ve been able to turn flaky people and bad players into outstanding role models. And that takes time.

So people, when that priest dies to flame wall or that warrior is standing in a void yet again, take a deep breath and relax, because we know and we’re handling it. Chances are, we’re either whispering the person or we plan on approaching the person privately after the raid is over. Things will be fixed, but again, they won’t happen overnight. Have a little faith in your officers; without it, we’re useless.

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Responses

  1. “unspoken ret pally shows up late and expects a raid spot”

    >.> I don’t know who you’re talking about!

    • You’re not even a raider, wtf. I was just naming random classes. :P

  2. I do enjoy the graphic on this one. Rather evil if I may say so!

  3. Wonderful advices. I’ve been in those situations a handful of times before. Is there a trick to helping those under-performing raiders improve?

    Also, I thought the graphic was a reference to the “Take a few step back and fall in a hole” comment from a few blog back ;)

    • “Wonderful advices. I’ve been in those situations a handful of times before. Is there a trick to helping those under-performing raiders improve?”

      Yes, plenty! I’ll be sure to try to write about it in the relative future.

      “Also, I thought the graphic was a reference to the “Take a few step back and fall in a hole” comment from a few blog back.”

      I didn’t even think of that, hahahha. I guess it’s open to interpretation. :P

  4. Number 1: Wow (as an expression not the game), you’re really turning these out quickly or you wisely wrote several in advance before launching the blog. Either way, good work, Ariedan!

    Number 2: As it was said, no one is a superstar over night. Accept that if Michael Jordan could be cut from basketball in high school, that you might not be perfect as well =)

    • Actually, no. I have several “drafts” for big posts, but little posts like these are generally written in haste before I have to rush off to work late. I usually write ‘em in about 30-45 minutes. The “big” posts, such all the trial and application guides, were written over several days.

      And your second point is wonderfully insightful. Thanks!

  5. /bravo from all of the raid leaders well at least this one.

  6. I agree that this would be the ideal. But what if one single officer is a jerk? No guild is perfect.

    I have an theoretical example: A is constantly asking simple questions in guild chat. He’s the typical clueless guy with good intentions. B the officer is very annoyed and either gives the wrong answer or doesn’t answer at all. How is a guild member supposed to react to this?

    Talk to A? That could turn out bad if an officer later did the same. A member (usually) wouldn’t want to act above the guild rank.

    Ask another officer or the guild master? It can be hard to tell on an officer if these things happens in party chat etc. OR… talking to the officers/guild master could end with A being kicked. Not necessary if he just needed a quick lesson about guild chat etiquette and the use of wowhead.

  7. Sorry for double posting, I couldn’t edit my own comment after it was posted. I ment the question to consern the kind of situations where one officer behaves badly but no other officers or the guild leader knows. It’s kinda offtopic, so maybe another post? :p

    • Having been an officer in the past and being fortunate enough to be in the guild I am now I would say the best course is to talk to the other officers about the one who is a problem. There are a few potential results.

      1) The officers do not believe you. Nothing changes and then you ask yourself if that is the right place for you.

      2) The officers don’t suck and ask you for screenshots or other verification and do their best to solve the problem. Things will be resolved if they are willing to put in the effort. If the officers are worth their weight in even dirt, they are probably already aware of the problem anyways and may just be waiting for someone to come forward with something definitive.

  8. I think I love you.

    Can you please give this to everyone who raids in a guild?

  9. This topic consists of a very thin line to walk. Raid/guild leaders should not be bolstered by this into believing their methods are correct, and raiders should not simply trust.

    There are thousands of tiny differences in every guild, aside from all the obvious large ones, and even something as large as what holds the guild together can be vastly different.

    I applaud the leaders who take the fire, I’ve done it, I’ve been hated and loved for it and I’ll probably do it again someday.

    One word of advice I can offer, however, is that you watch the relationships between the players who are somewhat weaker and the ones who are somewhat stronger. If careful efforts are not made to maintain this relationship as positive, a guild can quickly divide into cliques and often break soon after.

  10. This is a terrific post, and something every raider should read. The most competent officers are the ones that handle things quietly, without causing ripples in the guild. Sadly, these are also the unsung heroes that are too often perceived as ‘doing nothing.’

  11. i really like all of your posts, i copied all of them on our guild forums, and i just wanted to say:
    Keep up the good work, this blog is awesome!


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