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.