|The 25-Man progression team completes The Blood Council|
in Heroic mode (following Blood Queen Lana'thel), earning
"Heroic: The Crimson Halls (25 Player)",
Points on Your LicenseMay of 2010 brought more achievements as DoD continued to knock out chunks of "Glory of the Icecrown Raider", eyes fixed on the skeletal frostwrym that rewarded those raiders who could withstand the most unforgiving of challenges in Icecrown. My collection of Shadowfrost Shards was nearing its end, and the power of Shadowmourne drew close. Two days into the month, we'd wrapped up the heroic versions of both The Blood Council and Blood Queen Lana'thel. Seven days later, we scratched "Dances With Ooozes (25 Player)" off the list. The requirement of not allowing a single large ooze from casting Unstable Explosion was brutal: forcing many small oozes out and kiting them relentlessly to keep from merging upon themselves. The tanks were stretched thin as it was, and healers wrung out every bit of mana from their pool. We surprised ourselves by pulling off the server 3rd completion, a feat not at all terrible by the server's standards, especially considering we pulled it off with only 24 players present. It was that same night that we knocked out "Portal Jockey (25 Player)", forcing our raid to enter all of Valithria Dreamwalker's portals, low-hanging fruit easily devoured.
The 25-Man progression team was jelling and our progression into "Glory" reflected that attention to detail. We had not seen an Avatar promotion in some time, the last being Hellspectral in early January. It was time to acknowledge the efforts of our outstanding earners, so who better to focus on than our newest additions, Lexxii and Bullshark? Since defecting from the Alliance when their previous guild collapsed, they provided our team with a wealth of knowledge and skill. Bypassing the need to even be vetted, they shot up to the top of the charts and sunk nearly as much time into the 25-Man as they did into the Alt-25. If someone needed an explanation on "going above the call of duty", I merely pointed in the direction of our newest raiding couple. Such acts of dedication in a short time deserved recognition, so I awarded them a promotion to Avatar for their service to Descendants of Draenor. Once the two-week promotion subsided, I fast-tracked them into the rank of Elite.
This, as it turned out, would not sit well with certain people.
The bug of jealousy crawled in my ear, picking up traces left by certain players unhappy at the apparent ease I rushed to acknowledge these new recruits. Others, they would have me see, were more loyal and devoted to the cause, having proven themselves long before these two "traitors" set foot in the house of DoD. I brushed this off; it was clear this jealousy could have been staved off by simply not red flagging themselves in the first place. But, I was also approaching a new horizon of thinking with regards to my perception of red flags. Every day, I came to perceive red flags a little less black-and-white, and a little more like points on your driver's license -- tallied up for little mistakes being made in your day-to-day commute. One could lose their license if the demerits piled up too high, but time and good behavior could mend these wounds and erode the record away. As word trickled up that players expressed resentment at Lexxii and Bullshark's promotion, I was certain to pass a message back down the chain: stop earning demerits, and you'll see the same promotion they saw.
Some driving offenses, however, earn so many demerits in a single moment of bad judgement, that there is no turning back. The damage is devastating and the crime unforgivable. What follows is swift punishment, the offender stripped of their privilege to drive, left to walk down a path of solitude in which few turn a compassionate eye.
|Mature stands surrounded by the 25-Man progression|
raid, after crafting the guild's first Shadowmourne,
ShadowmourneI collected my 50th and final Shadowfrost Shard on the 16th of May, 2010. The long journey from The Sacred and The Corrupt neared its finale. Crafting the legendary axe took me across Northrend; collecting Light's Vengeance, lining the walls of my inventory with the blood of Festergut and Rotface. Eventually, I wielded Shadow's Edge, an empty shell turned prison -- the weapon fed off the souls Mature cleaved life from as our guild executed weekly clears of ICC. As the Lich King began to whisper through the cursed weapon, Mature extracted an Unholy Essence from Professor Putricide, a Blood Essence from Blood Queen Lana'thel, and a Frost Essence from Sindragosa...tasks which pushed my death knight to the precipice of death. Through the efforts of the 25-Man progression team working together, healers shielded Mature, tanks redirected bosses away from Mature, and DPS held fast in exploding the boss until Mature's extraction could complete. Many of the tasks in this journey relied on the assistance of the 25-Man progression team; I certainly could not have pulled off its creation by myself. So as the 50th shard finally made its appearance, I insisted that the raid take a moment from our weekly clear, and head down to the base of the citadel to participate in the crafting.
Legendaries made their way to various players throughout DoD's history: Thunderfury to Ater, the Hand of Ragnaros to Teks, and more recently, Val'anyr to both Neps and Gunsmokeco. This day was monumental in that it was the first time the guild leader managed to secure a legendary of his own. I was both thankful and humbled that my guild came together to forge this weapon on my behalf. Once I sunk Shadowmourne into The Lich King's skull, a plentiful bounty of rewards were promised by way of an Unsealed Chest. I insisted on sharing these rewards with the team; there were few opportunities for me to give back to those who gave of themselves to further DoD's mission, and this was one such chance I wouldn't squander.
The following week, I revealed to the 25-Man progression team who would receive the rewards pulled from the Unsealed Chest. I kept Muradin's Favor for myself, selfish that I was towards costumes, but handed the rest out to important individuals in the roster. To Sir Klocker went Tabard of the Lightbringer, thanking him for fulfilling the duties formerly held by Dalans. Sylvanas' Music Box, a toy producing a chorale of ghostly banshees to sing Lament of the Highborne, went to Lexxii, thanking her for the dedication and expertise I wished of all my guildies. To Neps went the Dalaran-porting utility captured inside Jaina's Locket. His permanence in the roster exceeded that of any mage, so by giving him the ability to port us out at the end of the raid, the gift acted as both a reward for Neps and a practical convenience for the progression team.
But the final reward, Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger, I reserved for a player I felt deserved the most recognition, a player who continued to prove himself a true member of the DoD family. He hadn't managed to secure a position among the Elite, yet stayed well ahead of the Raiders. The Crimson Deathcarger, therefore, was assigned to Ben. I can't promote you to Elite yet, so take this as a token of my gratitude instead, and keep pushing. Perhaps one day soon, you'll get there.
Morale was strong, and the family bonds of DoD ran deep. It was a boost that would help keep the forward momentum as we prepared to dig into the most difficult meta achievements in "Glory". One member, however, let the recent acknowledgements get the better of him, and he was pushed over the edge, a level of inappropriateness from which there was no return.
Blowing an .08Bulwinkul returned to progression on May 7th, turning a two-week vacation into a sixty-day stretch. I looked the other way because I valued Bul's contributions; he'd been diligent in attendance, present at every raid since we cleared our first set of trash in the Spider Wing. Giving him an extended period of time off, I hoped, would serve as a necessary cooldown, re-energizing him and lowering his frustration formerly directed toward non-Eh Team members. Bulwinkul had, on occasion, lashed out at players he'd run out of patience with, but there was more to the issue than simply anti-social behavior. Bul had a tendency to enjoy a little recreational drinking when playing WoW, something not unusual when playing video games. I had no problem with this; players drank, took smoke breaks, even chose to partake of substances perhaps more illicit than one might admit in public. My stance simply was this: I don't want to know about it, so keep it to yourselves and don't let it get in the way of the raid. In my mind, raiding under the influence was no different than raiding while distracted by the "game on TV", so I treated the alcoholics of the guild the same as those afflicted with March Madness.
Even when it came up in the past, such as during Hellspectral's infamous passing out in the middle of the raid, I kept my fury at bay only thanks to the help of folks like Blain. What went down with Bulwinkul, however, was an act that a handful of Blains couldn't repair.
"And that's when he called me a fucking bitch."
"This was when?" I asked Lexxii, sighing in frustration.
"Last night in the Alt-25. You can ask Mang or Drecca, one of 'em was there for sure."
I stared at my screen and listened on, Lexxii's digitized voice squeaking out of Vent. She was audibly upset, but keeping her composure.
"I'm sorry you had to deal with this. I've had talks with Bul before. He's been warned to keep this sort of behavior under control."
"I'm alright, I mean...I was just very surprised, he totally caught me off guard. I was just making a suggestion about positioning, y'know. Bullshark has done a lot of research on this particular fight, so I thought offering it up would help Bulwinkul, seeing as how he's been away for awhile..."
"No, I get it. It absolutely would've helped...he's missed a huge chunk of work in that respect. Again, I'm sorry you had to take this from him. I'll see to it that it isn't left unpunished."
Gone for two months, then you come back and treat our star performers like this? It was inexcusable. I pulled Bulwinkul into officer chat after I was done with Lexxii.
"Well? Do you want to explain your side of the story?"
"Basically she was acting all high and mighty and telling a bunch of us what to do. She was trying to lead the raid the entire night."
"Do you really believe that? Or do you think she was maybe perhaps offering some advice to some players who weren't exactly squared away. This is the Alt-25 we're talking about, Bul. Remember that it isn't always populated with the sharpest players in the guild."
"She was shooting her mouth off and, frankly, I was sick of it."
"So you thought it was OK to call her a fucking bitch in Vent in front of the raid. That's an appropriate way to handle yourself when you have an issue with other people in DoD?"
"I don't have to take that crap from her. Some of us aren't here to just ride coattails. What's she done? Besides getting showered with promotions and trinkets?"
You asked for it. "Well, for starters, she hasn't taken a two-week vacation and turned it into two months. So that's one thing."
Silence was the response I got from that jab; I can imagine that it stung. So being in the Eh Team makes you untouchable? I took a deep breath, "Are you drunk right now?"
He paused a moment, "...no."
"Alright. We're done here. I can't allow this behavior to continue. You can find another place to be drunk and disrespectful toward the guild." I flicked the guild roster up, scroll down to Bulwinkul's name, highlighted it, and ejected him from Descendants of Draenor. I left him alone in the Vent channel and alt-tabbed to the forums, clicked on "Announcements", and created a new post entitled "Zero Tolerance of Drama", writing the following:
I'm certain I've said it to each member of this guild, but I want to reiterate as it is no less meaningful now as the day I first stated it to each of you.
I'm not in any position to tolerate any drama in this guild. If you have interpersonal problems with other guild members, and have a problem with your temper, I highly suggest you seek help and/or professional counseling, because I have neither the time nor the patience to tolerate it.
One of the reasons I set an age limit at the start of WotLK was so that I knew we had a group of adults working together towards a common goal.
If you want to act like children and/or treat the rest of the guild like children, you can do it on someone else's dime. I'm currently in the midst of pouring a ton of excess energy into the refactoring of this guild as we move into Cataclysm, and I'd rather not waste any of that time listening to stories about guild members going on drunken disrespectful tirades.
If you want to shit on other players, do it someone else's guild. You're not doing it in this one.
I clicked submit, then alt-tabbed back to the Vent server. Bulwinkul had already left.