|"My Little Deathwing"|
Artwork by Teemu Husso
Kant Justify the BehaviorDragged 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.
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.