Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Team Mentality

Hanzo levels his Paladin alt, Laire,
The Violet Hold
The following post was made to "Announcements" on the Descendants of Draenor guild forums on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, at 6:09pm.

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When I created the guild Descendants of Draenor at the end of November 2004, it was with several real-life friends I had been LANning with in the Denver, CO area. It should come as no surprise that this is often the main reason any guild forms; a group of people who know one another and get along well...decide to group up and continue playing together. It is a very simple premise -- to play with folks you enjoy spending time with.

Over the course of the next six years, that small group of people I formed with began to expand and grow, and we have had the opportunity of meeting some very diverse (read: STRANGE) individuals. I joke; in reality, we have come across many different personalities and welcomed them into the DoD family with open arms. Those players, in turn, sacrificed much of themselves to help me make this guild a better place for all, one we can all enjoy being a part of. It was because of their joint contributions that we were able to refine just who we were as a guild, and what we stood for, while sticking to my original ideals. We were to be successful as a raiding guild, and we would do it in a respectful manner, treating each other with dignity and fairness.

Name another guild on Deathwing-US that does that.

It has not been easy. We've struggled. We've wiped. We've had great players come...and go. We've had petty politics and we've dealt with them, and learned...and grown. We continue to do so every day. I was very happy to have been a part of, most recently, an online discussion in Vent where the 25m raid team actually got up and voiced their opinions...and were heard! The team and raid leaders spoke, discussed their issues, and modifications are going into play as we speak so that our players continue to have fun playing WoW, and raiding with one another.

I want to focus in on that last part for just a moment, as it is the concern of this letter. I am proud to have led Descendants of Draenor for as long as it has been around, and I enjoy spending time online with both new and old alike -- that's what makes the game enjoyable for me is the social element. I've had many guildies come to me and tell me "If it wasn't for DoD, I wouldn't be playing WoW any more..." That tells me we make a real difference -- we give a shit about the people in this guild and want to make sure they are having fun and being acknowledged, which in turn, keeps them coming back, building and maintaining our DoD community and culture.

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It has come to my attention, most recently, that there are a number of people who no longer fit into this culture. When questioned, responses we've received are: 

"We are no longer the guild we once were." 

"The guild has become a sea of rules and regulations, and there is little room for anyone to relax without fear of going against something that might 'piss Hanzo off'."

"We are no longer a family."

Today, I'm here to address these issues.

First and foremost, if I didn't believe we were a family, enjoying each other's time online -- and being respectful of one another's time -- I would have dismantled the guild long ago. In response to the claim that we have too many rules and regulations, I say that it is a compilation of all the unspoken, common-sense things we have all come to agree upon -- that simply need to be written down for new members, and....well, those who lack common-sense. I know, it may seem silly to you to even consider for a moment trying to raid in green quality gear with empty sockets and no enchants...but you would be surprised how often new players think that is OK. You'd also be surprised how often people think it's OK to suddenly not show up to a raid without speaking to anyone about it...as if their spot is magically filled by someone else at random.

The long-term players (or Vets, as I often refer to them) shouldn't need to be stressed out or worry too terribly about the sea of rules -- they helped create the rules. They are already following the rules on a day-to-day basis. Families need rules; expectations need to be set. My kids have a bed time and they know they need to go to bed at that time; my wife and I have an allowance and we know if we overspend, we're not eating! Again...it sounds silly and common-sense...but sometimes, people still need to be told these things. You shouldn't take offense to them, but rather, be thankful I took the time to write them down, so that some alt doesn't come into a raid, and accidentally roll/win an item you've been working towards for the last 3 months.

So, families have rules and families contribute. We're all a part of what makes DoD tick; it couldn't have been demonstrated any better than by the mass rush to 25 last week. It took a joint effort to pull that off -- and not everybody could contribute due to their own schedules, but many did any little thing that they could. And I appreciated that effort. It was done -- because the folks here in this guild cared about DoD and wanted it to be a success. For that, I'm very thankful and honored. Think about it, a good majority of you are officially still strangers to me...yet you have made DoD your home and your priority...and you helped turn this into a place everyone wants to be. I'm very honored by that.

Hanzo continues to grind out levels on Laire,
Gundrak
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Just as families need contributors and rules to guide them along -- families have bad eggs, and they need to be addressed. I shouldn't have to explain to you what happens when you put a rotten apple into a basket of perfectly ripe, fresh ones -- but I'll tell you anyway: Mold grows off of the infected fruit and rots the entire basket of apples. The sad fact is that over the course of six years, we've had to deal with rotten apples; players who superficially want to be here...but could care less about contributing, and want nothing more than to suck the guild dry of its people and resources like a parasite. In many cases, it's due to either laziness or a sense of entitlement.

I have no interest in supporting either mentality -- and the poor decisions of players who could give two shits about us -- are negatively affecting those who stand for the guild. I should not have to name names, but if you take a moment and reflect on the speed-bumps of our past, it should be obvious to you what types of behavior I frown upon, and the people who made those rules famous:
  • Talking shit about other players/other guilds. It's disrespectful and immature.
  • Raiding to loot gear with the full intention of quitting. See above.
  • Gearing to the tooth and then disappearing, leaving a huge hole in our raid team, without giving any thought as to how you have negatively affected many other players and their schedules.
  • Using our guild resources (gold, repair money, flasks) etc. to fund the progression of another guild -- or simply to fund a group of individuals that do not contribute in return (5s, Guild Achievements, etc.)
  • Using exploits, either in BGs, or in a Raid Environment, to accomplish progression.
  • Being blatantly bad at your class while simultaneously denying any such imperfection, thus negating any opportunity to improve.
  • A self-righteous attitude, as if your shit doesn't stink, and that you cannot be told...nor be in a position to learn...anything. Nobody is perfect.
Most recently, a new type of rotten apple has emerged that I feel compelled to add to that list:
  • Choosing to prioritize 10s over 25s, not due to schedule, but rather, out of spite, as if to 'teach the administrators of the guild a lesson'.
It's painful for me to have to deal with issues like this. Some of the people I've had to cut from the guild due to reasons listed above are things I think about every day. Two separate occasions stand out in my mind the most when thinking about ejecting players from DoD, and I gotta tell you...they were hard fucking decisions for me to make. It wasn't as simple as kicking a Paladin-who-shall-remain-nameless-that-likes-Burning-Man, where everyone cheers and posts massive CONGRATULATIONS / THANKS posts on the forums.

No, it was more like me having to listen to a grown woman cry her eyes out, begging me to reconsider my decision and that she had absolutely no control over the behavior and attitude of her significant other, and that we meant everything to her -- she considered us family -- and wanted desperately to find a way to make it work...to solve a problem that was unsolvable.

It was also like me having to take one of my best friends aside, whom I confided with on a daily basis, and whom shared many of my own best interests in the guild...and tell him I had to remove him because he could no longer keep up. It was difficult, because I know exactly why he could not keep up; he had a new born baby, new job, and new responsibilities to deal with, and his poor play was only getting worse. I could have kept him, it's true -- but I also need to think about what is best for the guild. And to provide a positive, fun progressive guild, I needed quality players as well as quality people...and if he had stayed, I'm certain we would not have gone quite as far in WotLK as we did.

I struggle with those decisions every day. All of those decisions to remove people have been hard on me -- because of the fact that I consider you all friends...and family.

And so, I will not stand by, and allow dirt to be kicked in my face, and in the face of the rest of the guild, while players continue to make statements about how we have become a faceless, rule-governed guild, while they hypocritically suck the life out of us and our resources, taking advantage of the very rules they themselves helped to create in the first place...while contributing nothing in return...because they feel justified in their decisions -- and it's more convenient to just "not be online" when I'm in-game.

DoD means enough to me that I will do my best to protect those whose intentions are aligned with the guild's -- no matter how difficult a decision it becomes. You have busted your balls on my behalf to remain here and make DoD the best damn guild on Deathwing-US.

And to those players who couldn't give a shit, let this be a warning: it is time for you to pack your bags, and hit the road. Or I will be packing it for you...

...and it is going to come a hell of a lot faster than the 20 day idle mark.

3 comments:

André said...

Ah, the mandatory 'Get your act together, else I'll kick you'-post I have seen before..and written myself..

Sometimes you need to slap your guild.

I wonder how many 'I recognise myself in that post, and try to do better'-messages you received after this.

Ernest McFadden II said...

Ah, the reason I pug exclusively and am not big on family functions. How'd this speech work for you? I suppose I'll stay tuned to find out, though I could guess.

Angelo said...

Ernest, unless you haven't been reading the blog since day one, you will see what Hanzo had to go through to get to that point.

It's his members that forced his hand, no GM wants to run a dictatorship or "run it into the ground." In fact, I think Hanzo was able to keep DoD alive far past its expiration date.