Thursday, April 2, 2015

4.33. Derpy Moves

"My Little Deathwing"
Artwork by Teemu Husso

Kant Justify the Behavior

Dragged through the filth, word eventually got back to me. Word always got back to me. I wasn't about to let a 10-Man team conduct their business in isolation...not after the events of the past. I leaned on trusted loyalties -- both the leaders and the inconspicuous, to feed me information from the other side. Keeping my finger on the pulse was imperative...especially if sprouts of psychological damage were taking root.

Their closed door discussions repeatedly trash talked the way the 25-Man handled itself. It was Eh Team all over again, but with added panache. The concern was no longer entitled elitism clamoring on about how the "carries" were getting a free ride, undeserving of loot they helped procure. Instead, voices inside Herp Derp chose to assault the fundamental precepts that the guild was built on. Loyalty. Dignity. Respect toward one another. Hell, even making an effort to be respectful toward so much of the pit that was dredged up out of Deathwing-US. They cared little about wiping away the spit and blood. Oh, they cared about getting shit done...on their terms. Time was far too valuable to waste on the likes of the 25.

I was constantly reminded of how little the guild meant to them. Every block of achievement spam that scrolled up through guild chat, weeks ahead of the 25, married to the hypocritical insistence that their road was the true challenge, the real effort, the actual goal...told the tale. They weren't on board.

I'm not about to defend Eh Team's behavior, but obvious differences emerged. They may have conspired behind protective walls, but when the bitching and loot collusion was over and they set foot in the 25, they meant business. The team mentality took over and the best and brightest led the charge, driving progression into something DoD could be proud of. Even if they did it for their own selfish purposes, they valued DoD enough to make their own successes a part of the guild's.

Herp Derp, by comparison, turned their back on core. They weren't stupid -- exceptionally skilled players rarely are. But they made a conscious decision to step out of the 25, fully aware of the jeopardy they thrust the guild into. Or maybe they didn't...and just didn't care.

So, they kept to themselves, crickets that chirped in the darkness, waiting for you to approach -- then, silence. And in that silence, an unspoken agreement that this was ok, right, and just. Nobody once thought to take a stand for the guild that they called home. All on account of…

...what was that reason Bheer gave me? The day he confessed all of Eh Team's sins?

"...because we had a good thing going."

DoD wasn't their home. It was a means to an end.

---

Monday arrived. Herp Derp was scheduled to resume their own Heroic 10-Man work. I prepped Jungard the night before; he was completely up-to-speed on the Ben incident. Jungard was in the eastern time zone, and so enjoyed the luxury of being online a few hours before the guild leader. I assigned him a mission. Keep tabs on Herp Derp as they prepare for the evening's raid. Ben had been dark for three days now, and Drecca -- like me -- had always been a stickler for Ventrilo. With Ben's kick/ban still intact, the curiosity was bewitching. What was Herp Derp's next move going to be?

The clock ticked up to 5:00pm on my contract gig, another web agency in the Denver Tech Center. I packed up my laptop to head home. Still no word from Jungard. No text messages from Ben. No private messages on the forums, no phone calls. As I stepped outside, proceeding to the Civic, the phone buzzed. Finally. I pulled it out and glanced at the number. Job Interview. A healthcare company I'd been back and forth with for several weeks wanted to schedule another tech screen. Dammit. I felt the frustration rising.

Stop.

I took a deep breath, then exhaled.

Focus. Don’t be pissed off at a possible new job opportunity. Leave the Herp Derp rage at the door.

I flipped the switch into "professional courtesy" mode, and took the call, scheduling the next interview with a gal by the name of Allison. It sounded like a great opportunity. I felt good about my chances, and remained optimistic. The call was quick -- done and out of there in no more than three minutes, tops. It wasn't until I hung up that I caught a glimpse of the tiny SMS icon:

Message From Jungard: Drecca spun up his own Vent server.

Death Knight vs. Paladin

"I see that your best interests are at heart (as always) but I would like to take this opportunity to point out that are you providing Ben with a means to circumvent the very carefully crafted guild rules I've put into place. Although it may seem like I'm picking on Ben, this rule applies to any guildy. He needs to be held accountable for his actions. He cannot be allowed to mistreat his fellow guildies, then get off, scot-free. It's what we call a double-standard, and I don't allow that behavior in DoD."

"I also realize that I ought to be taking this up with your ‘Tactician’, Riskers, so allow me to clarify why I'm filling up your inbox with my rant. You were the one that consciously made the decision to set up a new Vent server and put the team, Ben included, on it. I admit that a part of me held out the hope that you would demonstrate some leadership that I've sensed is buried deep inside you somewhere, and half-expected you to turn him directly back to me, so that we could resolve this outstanding guild issue. Alas, no such luck."

---

"Well, then we have a severe difference of opinion. The team is not circumventing anything by using a different Ventrilo server to raid in. If you want to impede the team's progress by keeping someone banned (it's well within your right to do so), then I will do what's best for the team in order to move forward with content and not concern myself with guild politics."

"Nowhere in the rules does it state we're not allowed to use a different Ventrilo server. So, if you'd like to go ahead and interpret your own rules on the fly, then we'll be disagreeing quite a bit on things."

---

"Drecca, the guild was founded on common-sense rules, and over the course of six years, I've had to write those rules down, because there is always someone who thinks the rules don't apply to them, or that it 'wasn't written down anywhere'.

Let's break down the facts of this particular situation:

1. Ben violated guild policy by being a douchebag in Vent, which he's been warned about, multiple times.

2. Ben was banned from Vent as a result of this continued behavior.

3. Rather than come to me and take responsibility for this behavior, he chose to remove his alts from the guild.

4. Then, he came to you and said (most likely), ‘I can no longer connect to Vent.’

5. Your solution to this problem was not to inquire why (which would have given you the means to direct him back to me), but instead, to move forward with your very own solution, blissfully unaware of the damage you were causing by doing so.

So, in summary, the entire mantra of DoD going into Cataclysm of "people being held accountable for their actions" was circumvented, not by the team, but by you. I can only assume your thought process went a little something like this:
Well...Ben was apparently banned from vent for some reason Hanzo deems important, but our priority is Herp Derp first, Hanzo's rules second, so I will go ahead and find a way for Ben to avoid taking responsibility for his actions so that we can kill bosses and get some fat loot and ring up achievements.
Read that last statement very carefully before you rebut me. Look at what is happening. This has transpired as a result of your actions, and this is the direction you have chosen. If, after this explanation, you truly do not see the error in your judgement, and declare me a 'dictator that is free to interpret his own rules as he goes', you may pack up your things, and take your leave of DoD now."

---

"Great countries have fallen under less tyrannical rule than what you impose upon this guild."

---

A day later, Drecca made his decision, exiting the guild.

The Third...Wait For It...

When Jundar (no relation to Jungard) left the guild back in '05, taking the handful of guildies that would eventually become Horderlies, it was DoD's first exodus. And it was my first mistake. I take full responsibility for it. Shortsightedness an inexperience as a guild leader prevented me from communicating a unified vision to my guild. This is what we're here to do. This is why we exist. The result was I lost good people like Hend and Chariot that weren't interested in 40-Man raiding, or didn't have the means to dedicate themselves to that sort of lifestyle.To be honest, when I reflect upon my own all-encompassing devotion to the guild in those early years, I can't say I had the means myself!

For me to criticize the casual preference of play while ignoring my family and responsibilities should, to some extent, convey to you how completely ill-equipped I was to make those kinds of judgments.

Some two years later, Dreadlocker, and those loyal to him, left the guild under a different pretense. Though I chalked it up at the time to petty self-conscious criticisms, the truth wasn't established until much later. I directed my disgust at Dreadlocker's insubordination, a player I put in the role of officership to defend the guild, and deal with miscreants in short order. So, when the second exodus unfolded before my eyes, my disgust was a convenient mask, shielding me from the root cause.

Many of those that followed Dreadlocker into the guild Illusion were a part of B-Team, aka "the bench", while A-Team enjoyed all the glory and progression of Blackwing Lair, Ahn'Qiraj, and Naxxramas. He was tired of it. Tired of sitting back and watching his friends increasingly forced onto the perma-bench, as the 40 transitioned to the 25, come TBC. And when you care about your friends, and see them disrespected after so long, an authority role in the guild making those decisions means very little. In fact, you probably wouldn't want to have anything to do with a guild like that. I own that second exodus as well, and am truly sorry for my decisions in handling B-Team. They didn't deserve that. Dreadlocker didn't deserve that.

I went through a long period of introspection after that. I'd learned a lot between the day Dreadlocker left the guild and the day I fought with Drecca over a series of forum PMs. Many epiphanies fundamentally changed how I approached the management of my guild. And although it may not have been perfect, by the arrival of the seventh year, I felt more in control of the little details than ever before. I was more respectful toward players preferring a different style of play (even if it was one I didn't agree with). And I was extraordinarily careful to clearly define my expectations of the guild, and ensure that they knew what our direction was, what our goals were, what we needed to succeed, and what would ultimately be our ruin.

The third exodus would not explode in a blast of g-quits as the first two had. And this is the key, loyal reader. Because I can't help but wonder which is worse. Watching as the band-aid is ripped off, a mass of dedicated followers now all siding with a leader whose vision is vastly superior to your own? Or watching a group of players make no decision either way. To not be concerned with the trivial details of a member's guild tag, now suddenly changed, or a Vent server suddenly different. To not take one moment to internalize these little details, and contemplate a larger narrative.

Or perhaps that they did consider, and didn't care...because they had a good thing going.

21 comments:

Grumpy said...

Hey, outsider here looking in, been enjoying your posts and all the details of back in the day that I can't even begin trying to remember. One question though, of all the red flags you've mentioned so far, the past few posts have been nothing but red flag after flag after flag. I'm wondering why you let this one fester so long, but maybe it's just that this one was the biggy and so much more detail was remembered. It's a sad, but well known tale, having been through multiple guild fall-outs myself.

Anonymous said...

Cliffhangers!!!

Shawn Holmes said...

@Grumpy

Couple of thoughts on your question:

1. Timing: The window of time between these three posts is essentially Jan 7th and March 8th, from the time Drecca et al. stepped down from the 25, to the Ben incident. That was really only two months of time that Drecca went from someone who I admired and thought was one of the key players in the guild...to someone who couldn't care less about DoD. Two months may seem like a lot of time, but I had had a lot on my plate, so was dismissing a lot of the backtalk.

2. I had the best interests of the guild at heart, and *some* of Herp Derp were actively contributing (on other characters) to the 25. I didn't want to jeopardize that in haste.

3. Options were limited. Apps had all but dried up and felt that micromanaging people issues would go much further than trying to recruit brand new strangers.

4. Most of all, I gave Drecca far too much credit. I mistook his command of the class at the tail end of Wrath as leadership. Being able to assemble a group of people, direct boss strategy and lead those players through kills are all traits of a great leader.

A great *raid* leader.

I focused too much on his practical sense as a tank and not enough on his words and actions as they pertained to people. And once I did, I began to see a very different person. One that good people watchers like Blain and Anni picked out long before I caught the hint.

One of the hardest lessons in becoming an effective leader is being able to admit you were wrong with your judgement of others. In my initial assessment, Drecca was a god send...and each time he disappointed me, it only reminded me that I had made the wrong decision, and that's a very difficult pill to swallow.

A good leader keeps an objective eye on people at all times, and is aware of biases like the Halo effect. Just because things start out great, doesn't mean that person can do no wrong. It's a hard lesson to learn.

In the end, I wanted Drecca in the upper ranks, sitting alongside Jungard and Blain and Klocker and Neps. I convinced myself that, in my absence, he was that type of a person: to be able to take control of not only a raid situation, but a guild situation as well, and direct traffic on my behalf.

Drecca was never that person. He had absolutely no interest whatsoever in directing traffic.

Anonymous said...

I find your thought process interesting, as my own WoW experience was totally different to yours when I played. You speak of Drecca and Herp Derp caring about themselves first and the guild second; to me, this was never a problem, but rather an immutable fact of life.

In guilds I was part of, if people left to join a different guild, nobody really batted an eye. I was with quite a few guilds, and I liked most of them, but if a better opportunity came up, I would take it. Nobody ever seemed to believe this was an issue, and I certainly wasn't the only one.

I suppose none of these guilds were as established, large, or old as DoD, however. If I'd been part of the same guild for six years, I can see how things would be rather different.

Kedavra said...

@Anonymous

Having been a part of DoD under the guidance and graces of Shawn, I can certainly say that this guild was built on the stipulation of community and maturity. But what does this mean?

People were free to come and go as they chose,true, but this also meant, as you just read, an understanding of self-accountability. We have a responsibility to each other. One might think it arbitrary to have such rules in place (Shawn even states they are "common sense"), but that's the point: this was the driving force behind the long-lasting success of DoD, and for those of us who were long-standing members, it came naturally.

People came to DoD for because of the mature community we had established. Our expectations are realistic and flexible. As a result, many of us found this guild as our final stop in a long trial of guilds (I personally came from AJFA which merged with Vile, then came to DoD). DoD wasn't just another opportunity. it was THE opportunity.

Anonymous said...

drecca and Bheer can all go eat a bag of dicks. drecca was and will always be that dude whos girlfriend plays with herself at night while closing her eyes and imagining 3 black guys and a female midget was there with her because drecca is a selfish piece of shit. Bheer I still kinda like but was the absolute perfect example of a person who hangs on coat tails. It took a a lot of people to help build and care about DoD and people like them just did not care but sure loved logging into the guild and having a blast while slowly acting as a cancer. Oh well though Herp Derp went with the rest of the other guild who based their guild and raiding experience on boss encounters instead of a productive community. Been here, Still here, gonna keep being here! -DoD.

P.S. I think that drecca was that Germanwings copilot. Those 2 have the thought process.

P.S.S. I love you Dalans!!

-Annihilation

GabrielMobius said...

Did I read this right, is it the case that there was a kind of lingering resentment festering in the guild after Herp Derp broke off? Or was it apathy?

If that's the case I think it's more likely that it's exactly what you said at the end: You'd created this framework for 10-mans to work within the structure of a big guild and support network which -- while a good idea in theory -- would create this weird culture of people who had a good thing going (having people to chat with, resources and repair subsidies without needing to bother with the hassle of guild leading) while not necessarily caring about what went on in the rest of the guild.

If this is leading up to what I think it is, I think I might be seeing what eventually caused DoD's downfall.

Also, longtime reader, huge fan of your writing, I spend Thursdays anxiously refreshing the front page of the blog for my fix. Did a re-read of the archives recently, I'd highly suggest it to other readers as well. It helps put some things in perspective, knowing more of the story and what becomes of people.

Dalans said...

@Anni: Hahaha, too soon!

"that dude whos girlfriend plays with herself at night while closing her eyes and imagining 3 black guys and a female midget"

You always were a wordsmith ;D

Shawn Holmes said...

@GabrielMobius,

Thank you for being a fan! And good hunch on the 10-Man theory.

Technically, at this stage of the story, Herp Derp has not yet made a clean cut -- only Drecca and Ben are gone by the end of this post.

In the posts to come, I'll take you through a tour of the remaining members, how each of them handled the situation...and why Anni (see above) is still so pissed off.

Ben' said...

Jesus, I was a douche bag. I mean, a really sexy, hilarious, charming douche bag, but a douche bag none the less. /sigh

Chris Paterson said...

@Anni - oi, spoilers! If Shawn wants to keep us on tenterhooks, let him have his sadistic way :-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I spoiled anything but DoD has and always will have tons of differing opinions which Shawn(IMO) did a fantastic job of being able to weed through and stay on point of trying to have a successful raid. drecca as a gamer and I can almost guarantee as a real life person is like a pinky toe, you think you need him cuz he's useful but you really don't and come to find out hes a useless parasite. Ben I will always love just because he made no secrets about who is his. He's a selfish fucker who only cared about getting enough gear to prove to you he was better than you. He was better than you with less gear, the guy can game but he was upfront, as long as you understood that it was easy to deal with him. Ben also has a really cute daughter and looks like the greatest dad ever and must get laid more than 90% of the porn stars out there but he is an asshole but a very productive asshole. I would take Bens annoying as assholeness over dreccas worthless parasite powers any day!

Out of soo many people that came and went from DoD I loved the fact that people always had the ability to come back and find a place whether it be raiding, pvp or just casual stuff. We had people we had to kick for stealing, stealing from others, didn't meet age requirements and a bunch of other reasons, but drecca will always and forever be on my list of WTF. The dude was smart but man he was a shitbox. I have no idea what that dude does for a living but I imagine him running a factory of sweat shop kids in India making shoes for Nike and all the kids have had their feet cut off. When one of the kids ask what the shoes are supposed to be for drecca tries to explain. The whole scenario is stupid and a waste of space.

-Annihilation

Shawn Holmes said...

Anni's comments are spoiler-safe! (so far...)

Anonymous said...

I think that last statement about people not caring what thier guild tag was is one of the shifts that affected WoW and all MMO's in general around that time. When the idea of communities started to break down in the face of easy of anominity. Between group finder and cross realm grouping, ease of server transfers and name changes. People could behave like assholes and then just move on to the next place. The idea of a guild and what it once was became expendable. While there are some who still appreciate the value of strong communities, more and more of the playerbase seemed to shift in favor bouncing from place to place seeking just to satisfy their selfish needs without having to make sacrifices.

Thanks again for the great writing, its always a pleasure to read the next episode.

jazbo smith said...

The "next" episode is Late. ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh, the wait...the wait... oh Shawn, wherefore art thou?

Wylset

Goldenrod said...

For everyone wondering why the next installment is late, here's my guess. Shawn has probably gotten a Cease and Desist Letter from Drecca's attorney. All of us commenting should probably expect one too!

Shawn Holmes said...

@Goldenrod

It's not libel if it is true. :)

Been a very busy week! Appreciate the patience and loyalty of the readership, and plan to have a new post this week.

Chris Paterson said...

What - you mean you DON'T have the whole story written up already, and just copy a piece of it into the blog each week? Slacker! ;-)

jazbo smith said...

Is there a contingency plan in place incase something unfortunate was to happen to you. I mean I hope you live long and prosper, but I, as a reader will feel like, well like we've been grinding thru bosses with epic kill after kill. Only to get close to the end and have everyone bail, cause its getting late, And I wont get my phat loot.

Fred said...

If something were to happen to Shawn, I will gladly take over for him. My writing is terrible, and I tend to screw up punctuation but I can promise that it will be far less entertaining.