Thursday, June 18, 2015

4.39. True Colors

Gods Will Be Watching

"So, what's the status? It's been several weeks. Are you changing the line-up?"

Sir Klocker, Neps, Jungard, and Blain remained silent while I drilled Riskers in officer chat. I made a concerted effort to keep my tone in check.

"I don't really have a lot of options!" He sounded frustrated and defeated.

You have options. You just don't like any of them.

"You've been trying to get them to return to DoD?"

"Hanzo, let's face it...they're not really interested in that. At all."

"I completely understand. Not everyone is going to agree with my decisions. So, recruitment then? Perhaps replacing them is the better option?"

He sighed into the mic.

Go ahead. Say it. Tell me how this situation is completely unfair. That I did this to you. Tell me it's all my fault, while all of the officers are listening. I know you want to.

"I...can't really replace them. It's not an option for this team. We just wanna play, and we're getting things done."

"Not guild achievements," Neps and Sir Klocker both piped up, nearly in unison.

"You're getting things done," Blain added, "but they aren't relevant to DoD."

Silence lingered a moment. I took a deep breath.

"I know you're not dumb, Riskers. You know exactly what we're dealing with here. We have a 10-Man team comprised of guildies that are checked out, and non-guildies who have publicly wiped their asses with DoD. All eyes are on Herp Derp, now. ‘Why are they posting kill shots in the forums?’ ‘What’s being done about them?’. This is my life right now, Riskers."

"The people in this guild want to know why I'm still putting it up with it. And the reason is: You. You’re a good player and a good guy; you've contributed to DoD since as far back as Wrath. You know the ropes. And you've been given a raw deal, here...which sucks a lot. But I wanted to give you a fair opportunity to make it right."

Pack your bags. We're going on a guilt trip.

Riskers still had no options. He hadn't recruited, hadn't changed anyone's mind, so why were we going through this charade? Because I honestly thought he would've walked away from them, after seeing their behavior, their treatment of DoD.

I want to tell you that he did. I want to tell you that Riskers defied the gamer stereotype of cruel incivility, of unadulterated selfishness in the name of phat lewts. I want to tell you this, but I can't...because it isn't what happened. 

"Hanzo, whatever rift you and Drecca have going on, that's none of my business. I don't feel it's fair that you're putting this on me, and now I should have to deal with that. I just want to play the game and not have to worry about any of this."

"...and in any other situation, this would not be an issue. I hope you realize that. I mean, I'm really trying to make sure you do understand that. I don't think it's right for me to sit here and try to dictate who plays with who. You're right, that is none of my business. Players decide who they want to play with, not me."

Just put him out of his misery and be done with it. Quit dragging this out.

"But how this guild is treated by current and former members is my business. If I found out a group of DoD was running with a ninja-looting guild for pick-up runs in Tol Barad, do you think I would let that slide?"


"Damn right I wouldn't! We're better than that. Grouping with douchebags isn't a prerequesite to enjoying this game. So, why would I treat this situation any differently? When a few good folks like yourself are actively grouping with players openly disrespectful toward all of us?"

"To be fair, I don't think they appreciated being called parasites."

It isn't slander if it's true.

"I'll admit that announcement was a little emotional, but I hope you can see where I'm coming from. That team is using up guild resources now on every run. Guild repairs, flasks, etc...and contributing nothing in return. No achievements. No camaraderie. Nothing. Behaving like nothing is wrong at all. But we know something is wrong. Something is eating away at this guild. And we need to put it to bed, today."

Stitching the Wound

When Riskers parted ways with DoD, those in Herp Derp that bore the DoD guild tag were stripped of their Raider ranks, disallowing them from accessing any further guild resources. Within a couple of hours of the demotions, they left the guild on their own. There was no public outburst or profanity-laced insults, nor fanfare. They left quietly and without fuss. 

Later that evening, Neps informed me that Bheer managed to scoop out a healthy chunk of raiding materials from the guild vault before losing his rank.

"Drecca did the same on the Alliance side," he told me.

Wow. Stealing from Neps. Did they stop to kick an old man down a flight of stairs, too?

I questioned Neps as to whether or not he'd heard any justification for the final 'fuck you' flipped our way.

"Mmm, not sure who said it, but it was, like, ‘Well, if Hanzo's going to call us parasites, then I guess we better act like it'."


As so many players come and go in WoW, I doubted their departure would have an emotional impact on anyone but me. Annihilation, ever the faithful representation of DoD's idealism, took it to heart. I didn't want him to shoulder this petty load. His time was best spent elsewhere, enjoying the game, not repairing the guild leader's failed negotiations.

"Anni, if you really feel like you think you can talk some sense into them, be my guest."

"I just want to try. Whatever it is that they're bent out of shape over can't possibly be that bad. Maybe all they need is a mediator."

"You've been mediating for damn near eight years. At some point, a retired officer needs to not worry about guild administration shit. You don't have to do this."

"Kerulak, you know me. You know I can't let shit like this just drop."

Annihilation headed off to Herp Derp's vent server, with the hope of bringing back some options.

He couldn't.

But what he did bring back were a few quotes that guaranteed entertainment, particularly when considering the sources. I asked Annihilation what they said to him when he began his pilgrimage to resolve this inter-guild rivalry. And this is what they said to him.

A History of Histrionics

Bheer. A player who was in my guild as far back as Molten Core. A player for whom I carved a spot out in progression for, recommending a shift from druid to shaman in order to best get his raiding needs served. A player I promoted to Elite, only to then deal with his absence after he chose to leave progression without fair warning or explanation. A player I welcomed back to the guild without hesitation, defending him from alleged harassment from player like Crasian. A player who gladly accepted all this support, then thanked me with a single night of raiding in Cataclysm as a "courtesy", blaming rules he helped to shape as his justification for such decisions.

To Annihilation, Bheer said this:

"If Hanzo wants us to return, the first thing he's going to have to do is apologize."

Falnerashe. A player whose skill with healing was no match for her skill in judging others. A player adept at blaming failure on others with cruel insults, but rarely able to acknowledge her own incompetence at human decency. A player who stormed out of my guild, filling our forums with vile hatred toward a group of online strangers that chose to open the door and invite her in. A player whose people skills were so vast and immeasurable that her next home bled out until it was a guild of one. A player I decided was worth a second chance, because we are all human and make mistakes, that somewhere there was a shred of decency, that she was worthy of forgiveness, so that we could start fresh. A player I knew deep down wanted to play with experts, suffered no fools, and understood that our common top-end raiding culture had already begun to decay. A player that agreed to let me deal with drama, so she could focus on enjoying the game and not have to interact with idiocy; to let me push annoyances and ineffectuals out of her hair, so she wouldn't have to. The player who agreed to all of these things, and then walked away, and all of that effort wasn't even worth a single sentence explaining her exit.

To Annihilation, Falnerashe said this:

"I was expecting an officer position."

If Anni told me what Drecca said, or what Riskers said, or really any of the rest of Herp Derp, I've forgotten. I know that it was dismissive of the original issue, that they simply were tired of the fighting and wanted to get on with the playing. Which I think we can all agree is the end goal...just not at the price they were willing to pay.

But there is one more thing I remember about the quotable quotes that Anni's mediation attempt brought back. And it was really the one person I was most interested in hearing about, more than Falnerashe, more than Bheer, even more than Drecca. I was most interested in the person whom kicked this entire ordeal off. The person who gave me many opportunities to kick him to the curb (he made it very easy). The person I chose to invest in, kept working with, getting him to be more communicative, more accountable. The person who went from no-shows to texting me when he'd be a few minutes late, getting him to keep his shit together, getting him reliable, a skill far more valuable in real life than behind his shadow priest. The person I gave enough of a shit about that I constructed a new guild rank specifically for him, to make his raid life a little easier, then watched as he never even bothered to step one foot into that role, not even for a moment.

For that person, what he said to Anni spoke the greatest volume of all, because it confirmed every gut instinct I ever had about him, every red flag I chose to ignore, believing instead in the ability for a person to grow and take responsibility for their actions; to understand this was a game built on human interaction, and that we needed to rely on one another to achieve a common goal -- something he was bound to use in real life one day.

To Annihilation, Ben said absolutely nothing.


Oro said...

Great post, really speaks volumes for the sort of people we are forced to deal with when attempting any sort of serious raiding. I always wondered how they behave in real life. Do they treat everyone with the same sort of callous indifference or is it it like wearing a mask which they can remove on a whim? There were people I knew for years in game, that I considered friends, who ultimately showed me the real value of what we had built - none at all.

Anonymous said...

Some people treat and value online people in the same manner of respect they would in real life. Others view people they deal with only online not as real people; to be treated with respect only when there's something in it for them but when that ceases to be the case they toss aside without regard. We've all met both types of players.

Ultimately many folks are unable to sacrifice for the greater good over long periods of time.

Max0r847 said...

More than perhaps any other entry thus far, this really touched me, because if there's one thing I've learned from my years of World of Warcraft, it's that a vast sector of the population absolutely cannot be trusted to comport themselves with any true semblance of honor. This may perhaps extend to people in general. Their words truly mean little, for they are just manipulations used to arrange things to their convenience on the outside, while inside their intent points elsewhere as they plot, and behind the scenes they move in a different direction toward their true objective, whether it be diabolically nefarious or innocently self-centered.

But even worse is what I might call the innocently spineless: the ones who refuse to stand up for anything, for whatever reason. This may be an overly harsh and judgey term, but after all the suffering I've endured as a result of the behavior it describes, I see no reason to pull any punches. The overly selfish and self-centered ones, and the assholes, even if they're sneaky about it, they tend to be the obvious bad guys. But it's the innocently spineless who are the most insidious, for they seem like a wonderful team mate, a wonderful friend. It is only when when the time comes for them to draw a line in the sand that indicates what they stand for that you will come to find you will have no support from them whatsoever, and when that happens you will wonder if they ever truly stood with you to begin with, or if they were just occupying the same space.

When you sort out the assholes and the evil leeches, what you have left is still a large pool of dishonor, people who will never let you know where they stand, no matter how hard you try to get them to tell you. That's been my experience. With time, it becomes pretty easy to filter them out, as there are ways to test whether someone has the spine of a jellyfish. However, as time goes on I become convinced that once you filter all these aforementioned out, you are left with virtually no one. Men of honor seem to be a rarity in the WoWz, and then you have to deal with in-game goal/schedule differences ;)

If I'm projecting anything upon those involved which is inaccurate, given my lack of knowledge of whatever transpired, I apologize. Perhaps I'm just venting my own personal frustrations here upon seeing something similar enough in the entry.

Little hurts quite as much as when someone who I thought was my friend, fellow guild member, and ally, not only tolerates when someone violates what we supposedly stand for, but continues to spend time with the violators instead of me, continuing to support their groups, and making no mention of it ever again, as if it never happened. And why? So they can progress in the game, out of convenience, so they can go along to get along, because it's just a game and it's not a big deal so why care about it so much?

This type of shit is the reason guilds and raid teams are built on a foundation of wet toilet paper, and why it's so damned hard just to find or create and maintain a truly great guild.

Sometimes reality checks my sentiments and I consider that perhaps ultimately, we're all spineless at some point, when we have no other choice but to be to ensure our survival and well being. But I don't have to like it, and in my opinion, we all have the choice to decide which side of the fence we want to lean toward as we live our lives. And in my opinion, a large sector of the WoW population is, in a way, metaphysically and spiritually "siding with evil" in the way they approach WoW.

Apologies for the TLDRant and any possible projections/exaggerations. I hope it was entertaining to all!