Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Mature blows a kiss to "Sara" during
an attempt on Yogg-Saron,
During the re-structure of my guild, I separated the ranks of my PvE focused players into two distinct ranks: Raiders and Elites. This model allowed both casuals and hardcore players to work together to make progression happen. Each level of commitment had to be handled and rewarded differently, but there were core concepts that applied to both. One of these concepts dealt with how a player would sign up for -- and then cancel out of -- a raid sign-up. It didn't matter if you raided once a month or every day of the week: Once we entered the 24 hour window before the raid weekend began, raid rotations were locked into position, and there was no getting out of it...unless there was an emergency. Up until the restructure, players took advantage of me by making up any excuse they felt like using in order to excuse themselves for the night.

The right way to do it is to define with extreme clarity what constitutes an emergency. This was yet another example of my broad strategy to lead Descendants of Draenor by setting expectations up front. By keeping the leash tight, unscrupulous players had less opportunity to take advantage of us.

Presented here for your perusal is that original forum post educating my guild on what I considered an emergency.

The dictionary defines an emergency as "a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action." These are things in life that, unfortunately, we cannot plan for...we can only hope and pray that they do not come up. When they do, I have no right to penalize you for them.

However, some people still need clarification as to what constitutes an emergency. I don't feel this is from a lack of common knowledge, but rather, a failure to acknowledge that, when raiding begins, you can no longer use the excuse of "It's just a game, it's not important in the grand scheme of things". The game itself may not be important, but what is important are the lives and schedules of the other individuals that you play this game with. They don't inconvenience you, so you have no right in return to inconvenience them.

What Constitutes an Emergency

If you have to bow out of a raid at the last minute, due to an emergency, that emergency should fall into one of the following categories:

  • Illness (yourself, or a family member you're responsible for)
  • Imminent birth of your child
  • Death of a family member or close friend
  • Extreme weather conditions (ie. Tornado Warning forces you to leave your home)
  • Stranded (flat tire out in the middle of nowhere, calling tow-truck, etc)
  • Major Internet catastrophe (ie. backbone your ISP is fed accidentally cut, massive network outages, huge amounts of customers without access)
  • Military Duty
  • Accident involving your person or your property (ie. was involved in a car wreck, roof caved in, basement flooded, etc.)
  • You've been kidnapped and are being held for ransom and/or are being killed
Alternately, the following categories do not constitute an emergency:
  • Jury Duty -- Jury duty doesn't "randomly happen" one day. You'll get plenty of notice and know how to schedule your life accordingly.
  • Friends/Family Members arriving from out-of-town that you haven't seen in years pop in unexpectedly -- Inconvenient, but not an emergency.
  • Helping your friend move -- Not an emergency, even if she's being evicted. Shitty luck, nonetheless.
  • Being Grounded -- Sorry kids, but unfortunately, your shitty behavior/choices (and their consequences) do not constitute an emergency.
  • Religious Holidays -- I'm not here to shit on anyone's religion, but YOU know when your days of rest are. Don't leave it to the last minute/forget, and then use it as an excuse to not show up with minutes remaining until raid invites begin. Plan Accordingly.
  • Can't Connect to the Internet -- Notice this is worded differently than the Internet catastrophe listed above. When an ISP cannot gain access to the Global Internet due to fibre being cut or hardware failing, there is nothing you can do about it. When you keep disconnecting because you've been playing WoW on a Wireless connection for the last 8 months and have had "no problems until just this minute!", you're only making yourself look silly. Don't play on a Wireless connection. If you're having Modem problems, contact your provider. Schedule a visit to have your lines checked and your modem/router replaced well in advance of the raid if need be. There are players in the guild that do it for a living; you have a wide-array of resources at your fingertips. Use them. Your connection to the internet is your responsibility.
  • Ran out of WoW Time/Can't Get a GameCard Until Monday -- Plan ahead. This is not an emergency.


If you are signed up for a raid, planning to be present, and an emergency situation happens which is inevitably going to cause you to miss the raid, contact an Officer, via Forum PM, or Phone/Text. If you don't have access to the forums, and you don't know your Officer's phone number, call me; my number is listed in-game in the guild-info tab. Program it into your phone now. Let us know what's happened, so that we can do our best to adjust if need be. Contact us as SOON as the emergency happens and it is reasonably safe/convenient to contact us. If you don't have free long distance, buy a calling card. It's not our responsibility to contact you, it's the other way around.

Optionally, if you have the contact number of an alternate raid member that can fill your spot, please make an effort to touch base with them and see if they can cover. It's not your responsibility, but it helps lighten the load.

If you follow this procedure, you will not be docked DKP, you will not lose your team status, and additionally, you will still earn DKP for the night, as if you had been present all along. In the real world, when emergencies strike, employees contact their employers and let them know what's up, so they still have a job the next day (and continue to get paid). It's a common courtesy. I expect the same courtesy from my raiding team.

If you do not follow this procedure, you will be docked DKP and categorized as a "No Show", you will most definitely affect your team status (possibly even losing it), and you will earn nothing.

Rule of Thumb - The Awards Ceremony

Perhaps your specific excuse/reason isn't listed above, and you're still having trouble deciding whether or not your specific reason is what we would consider an "emergency". If you are ever in doubt, use this handy-dandy analogy as a rule of thumb when trying to determine if the reason you're about to miss a raid is legit.

Pretend that the night of the raid is actually an awards ceremony to be held in your honor. Take the event you're about to ditch us for, and plug it into the following sentence:

"I have two choices, I can either do (event), or I can go to that award ceremony they're holding in my name, and toasting my great achievements and victories."

Which makes more sense to do now? Let's walk through a couple of examples:

Skipping the award ceremony to witness your baby being born - Sounds legit. I'm sure the ceremony could be rescheduled, but even if they couldn't, those who would honor your name and your great contributions to society would be happy to step up on stage and say that you weren't able to be here tonight on account of the birth of your child.

Skipping the award ceremony to go see a movie - So the Master of Ceremonies has just let everyone in the audience know that you've skipped your own award to go see a movie with some buds. Wow. You'd skip an award ceremony being held in your honor...for a movie? I'm sure that would impress everyone that planned to be a part of the ceremony, especially the people that had speeches prepared to speak about how honorable, trustworthy and dependable a person you were.

The analogy may sound silly, but it isn't: When you are a raid team member in DoD, you are important. Everything you do and contribute has value and worth. Becoming a part of the raid team requires commitment, and that will involve some personal sacrifice from time-to-time. However, if you plan accordingly (as I have for the last four years, while maintaining a full-time job and a wife + two kids), you should be able to become a competent, dependable member of the raid team, and still maintain a schedule/life outside of WoW, without using lame excuses and justifying them as "emergencies".

Besides, if you really want to go out for drinks or see a movie, just don't sign up that night (or schedule the appropriate time-off if you are an Elite). We'll see it in advance and make the appropriate changes to the lineup. Trying to do it at the last minute and making up an excuse that you think is an emergency is only going to make you look like a fool among the people whom you raid with on a regular basis. Once their mind is made up, we can't change it. Only you can -- by being responsible.


Anonymous said...

Will there be a continuation of the story this week?

Matthew Savoie said...

i have really enjoyed this whole read...im hoping theres more to come...

Fred said...

Quit teasing me. Get to the good stuff already. What about that sexy Paladin...... that loves ASCII names?

Kedavra said...

Zip it, Fred!