I’m going to start this post by saying that I am not in a raiding guild, and that while this may seem to start out like a post about raiding, what it turns into is a blunt statement of my personal attitude towards users and haters.
It’s long, so by all means, read on at your discretion.
We’re in summer session hereabouts, which means fewer scheduled official guild raids, and more emphasis on spontaneity and individual initiative. Folks are encouraged to get some stuff started on their own (and ask to have their events added to the calendar) without mama bear and papa bear playing Big Brother Is Watching You.
The point is to try and move away from an official or unofficial push to raid and gear up to raid and gear up to raid, and instead get into things at different times and days that are run for fun, led by new people or nobody at all, on a large or small scale. For fun. Did I mention that whole fun thing? Like, you go because you want to have fun. Not out of a hunger for more loot upgrades to get you to the next step in raid progression.
At the end of last week, in the midst of the chaos that was our life, we free Sidhe went into VoA to do some smacking around of the easy boss. Something nice and quick. A true situation where we log in, see there are 15 folks on, and call out “Who wants to smack the VoA boss around for a few minutes?”
Enough folks were interested in a quickie, we got in and got ‘er done.
At the end, I mused out loud that it was a shame that we had gotten together only to disband again so quickly. I’m afraid I may have even mentioned that we’d never set foot in Ulduar as a guild, and wouldn’t it be neat to go in and see what all this ‘vehicle’ crap was about? I shouldn’t have, since I was totally wiped out from the week, but what the hell, I get punchy when I’m tired.
We asked the existing group, everyone was willing to give it a shot, KNOWING that we were liable to wipe a few times then call it, but off we went. We went in with me stressing that chances of a win were somewhere between slim and none, because we were just too damn tired.
Keep in mind, we had just grabbed 10 folks that wanted to do VoA. We had spent zero time trying to figure out who had the highest item levels to have the strongest group we could for the vehicles. It wasn’t important. It wasn’t about winning to get loot, it was about seeing this famous vehicle event everyone’s always talking about.
Winning wasn’t the point. We wanted to play around a little, see something new.
We entered Ulduar, and I don’t know about anyone else on the run, but it was my very first time ever stepping foot in there.
Damn, that zone is pretty.
We got inside, I checked out www.wow-pro.com just for some idea of how the vehicles were supposed to work for a minute, and off we went in normal mode.
FYI, if you’re in a small guild and haven’t been there yet, running around in tanks and choppers and stuff killing trash is a ton of fun. It’s probably the first time in the game where killing trash was a joy, and not a chore.
I wouldn’t be annoyed at having to kill that trash again. Any other trash clears in a raid or instance, I get so tired of it, but in this case I just wish my tank had spikes on the hubcups to chew up the mobs we were running over!
We cleared all the towers and trash, eventually, and yes some folks were squishier than others. There were a few “hey, how do I target the aerial targets, they’re blowing me up” kind of deaths, but we all held tight and got to Flame Leviathan with only a few wipes.
We did not, in fact, take Flame Leviathan down. We gave it a few tries, I can’t even remember exactly how many, I know we did it three times, can’t remember if there was a fourth attempt.
We ended up having a lot of fun learning how the vehicles worked, running around and beating on trash and on the boss. It was a lot of fun. I personally would like to bring my Hunter next time to get launched onto its back to go after turrets. I think it would be hellacious fun to have my kitty gnawing on one turret while I shot the other. We launched Lady Jess and Kaelynn, our two Rogues on the trip, and found out that no matter how much they kick ass, we really needed some ranged DPS to be able to target both turrets from one launch.
I am not going to describe anything we specifically did, because nothing we did was based on anything other than flying by the seat of our pants and having fun. I’m sure there are plenty of people that could offer excellent advice on what to do… but we just weren’t worried about it. Not even to the point of studying it or preparing our gear first for the right Ilevels.
We were there to have fun, and fun was had by all. If not, they lie real well.
Studying up for an hour in advance wasn’t how we wanted to play it. We had a spur of the moment whim to go see something new, I wanted to actually SEE it by playing it the first time, and maybe I’m delusional, but I think we learned a lot being thrust headlong into the fire. I know I had a lot of fun. Maybe next time we will actually read something about what to do. Then again, maybe not. :)
But this ain’t an Ulduar post.
This is a ‘we are not a raiding guild’ post. And, hand in hand with it, a ‘what is polite behavior when contacting someone who is raiding’ post.
While we were in Ulduar, for the first time ever, as we fought Flame Leviathan as a guild for the very first time ever…seriously, ON our first attempt…
Between Cassie and I, we got five whispers.
That is during one boss fight, our first shot, not spread over the course of multiple attempts.
Are you people kidding me?
Now, yes, Cassie and I are GMs of a fairly public guild. We may not raid or do anything special, but simply by blabbing about it it’s got some visibility. Likewise, from having a public blogging persona I do get a few whispers from folks here and there, both while raiding and not.
It happens, and I know that I’ve blogged about a raid here or there, and I get the feeling this has given the wrong impression of our guild. Blogging about raiding puts a spotlight on the fact that we have, in fact, raided and continue to do so, to some extent.
There is a huge difference between raiding guilds and us.
Five whispers within a 7 minute stretch of time, from people not in the guild, most of whom we’ve never heard from before. It’s way over the norm.
And since then, two of those people applied to join, mentioning raiding in some way, and someone that is a friend of someone in the guild has server transfered without talking to us at all first, and applied to join citing a desire to raid and not liking casual guilds.
Yeah, umm… sigh.
Yes, we stepped foot in Ulduar. Yes, we were actually in the hallowed of the hallowed halls, the holy grail for raiders, the allmighty Ulduar.
We are not a raiding guild.
There’s two parts to this, obviously, and they aren’t the same. They just both came out of the same event.
The first part is being an officer of a guild, and accepting the fact that people watch where you are, what you’re doing… and when you are seen to be raiding somewhere they want to be, they see it as a perfect opportunity to try and join in.
From the point of view of the player, it must seem eminently reasonable. You want to raid, see new stuff, you see someone that’s there, so if you join them, you can do what it is you want to do. They’re not doing you a favor, either; it works out for both sides, right? You want to raid, and most guilds need dedicated, skilled, responsible raiders. So it’s a win-win.
That works well only up to the point that the guild in question IS driven by a desire to raid, and to take people based on skill and gear and the dedication to show up for the majority of scheduled raids.
When the guild is a casual one, a social one, a guild founded on and driven by having fun with friends, it becomes a different situation.
In politics, it’s called the “Who was with me before Chicago” principle. The people you meet after you are successful really can’t be trusted, not as deeply as those people who were your friends long before you ‘blew up’, long before there was any reason to hang with you other than friendship and shared interests in fun.
Once you have something other people may want, you accept that they are joining you for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with what’s important to you.
In this case, we are raiding with friends, friends that have been there with us to have fun long before raiding was a twinkle in anyone’s eye. Ever since we started doing Naxx, we’ve seen an increase in raiders asking to join. Raiders that want to take part in serious raids want into the guild.
When we review apps, we look very closely as to the motivations behind why someone wants to join. Why? Because we don’t want to waste our time or someone else’s by accepting someone that is joining to raid, and who will only become frustrated when they find out Sidhe Devils aren’t ‘happy super raid puppy zone’.
We have been extremely lucky in this. We have, to my knowledge, only people that fit in the ‘friend’ category, and not in the ‘raider’ category.
The other part… well, the other part is the kicker.
Now, I’ll grant you, last week Cassie and I were both on short fuses. It’s been hella stressful around here, and so any stress, any added drama of any kind from any direction has been incredibly unwelcome these last few weeks.
But even so.
I’ve been playing this game a long damn time. Long enough that there are certain unwritten rules that, for better or worse, I take for granted.
One of the very first rules, almost at the top of the list, is that before you whisper someone out of the blue, you do a /who on their name to see what they are doing, to try and see if maybe they are busy at the moment.
Want an item crafted? Want to join a guild? Want to invite along for a run? Want to say “Hi, love the blog”? It doesn’t matter. It’s always been polite to see what they may be involved in first.
Has that suddenly changed? Do formerly considerate people now just whisper whoever they want, whenever they want, without giving a damn what they might be doing?
I really don’t think so. I think the considerate people are still considerate.
I’m going to continue believing that doing a /who and holding off on whispering someone if they’re in a raid is the courteous, polite thing to do.
But as my values and understanding may not be the same as yours, I will take the time to explain why I think it’s rude. Maybe someone has a totally valid reason for disagreeing.
If you are in the middle of doing something, something that requires concentration, such as raiding in Ulduar, and someone whispers you demanding your time and attention, it’s saying very clearly that they feel that talking to you on their schedule is more important than whatever else you might have been doing, and it’s also more important than what the other 9 people in the raid are doing as well.
All ten of you should just stop what you’re doing so you can give your attention to this other person.
Now, does that really sound correct?
As far as whispering us specifically, I would have thought that I had shown myself often enough already to be an assertive, no bullshit, in-your-face kind of bear. Someone that would not appreciate rudeness, at least not if someone wanted something from me.
Now, that’s all that needs to be said about my views on being whispered in the middle of a raid, or of being whispered where the person doesn’t say something like “Hey, I see you’re busy in Ulduar, but if you get a free moment, I’ll be online and would like to talk to you about X.”
I love things like that. It tells me you checked, saw where I was, are acknowledging that I might not be able to reply, but are telling me that you would like to talk to me, that you’d be around, telling me what you’d like to talk about, and showing that you are capable of patience. Totally different situation, you see?
Hell, rather than resenting it, I just got a whole new appreciation for you! I think you’re great! Conscientous, responsible, etc.
But thinking about the whole thing, being whispered by so many people while on a boss fight, and thinking of other things that have gone on, here and there over the course of a few years, has got me thinking of something else.
Maybe sometime during the course of this blog or in the game, I have given the impression that Cassie and I like to roll over and expose the throat, to be submissive victim types, or that we are co-dependant personalities.
Maybe the breezy tone of most of my posts, the way I try (not always successfully) to see as many sides to an argument as I can, have given this impression.
Let me just say, I apologize for any confusion, but this is simply not the case.
Nobody, and I mean nobody other than my wife and son has the right to demand that I drop what I’m doing to talk to them right that second, or to expect that I should drop whatever I’m doing and pay attention to you.
Nobody other than my family and close, personal friends has the right to expect me to drop everything else and give them my instant, slavish obedience.
Friends help you move. Good friends help you move bodies. I welcome my good friends to call or email me at any time. I can dig with the best of ’em.
But this whole mistaking us for victims thing does seem to come up with some regularity.
I am in fact a very big asshole, and I don’t turn a blind eye to crap that gets hurled at Cassie or myself, or God forbid Alex.
There are any number of people who have made this very mistake previously, people who have mistaken our attempts at being patient, open and considerate for weakness. People who have dumped on either of us, or been rude, or insulting, or just hateful or prejudiced, and then expected me to bend over.
If you asked them, they could tell you the truth, that if you take it to that level, I do not bend over and cheerfully say “Ram it home, please, so I can placate you, because your disapproval fills me with fear.”
Instead I’ll boot your ass from the guild, boot your ass from my life, put you on ignore, and otherwise remove all traces of your existence from my memory. Not a worry or concern.
If someone else chooses to act that way… they have the freedom to make that choice, and they also have the freedom to deal with the consequences.
It is not our responsibility to coddle someone that is rude, obnoxious, or who otherwise acts as though the world owes them a free ride with a smile and an apology. It is also not our responsiblity to be anyone’s parent, to let them know that, gee Timmy, you really should play nicer with others, telling other people in the guild they suck isn’t polite.
If someone acts the fool or is rude or in our face and hostile, there is no discussion, there is a simple boot to the ass and gone.
The minor incidents, the misunderstandings, these are issues for a gentle word and an understanding ear. Situations where the person has done nothing other than tweak someone else’s feeling a teeny bit, no real harm done.
If real harm is done, then boot to the head.
Tell me that I make you physically ill, that I revolt you, that I sicken you… tell me that you don’t want to play with anyone else in the guild, that they’re not worth your time… tell me that women gamers don’t make good, skilled players, that they aren’t capable… make a commitment, let everyone rearrange their lives to accomodate you, and then totally blow them off right to their face… and you’re done. Gone.
No, I’m not going to make an attempt to understand your point of view. I don’t share it, and I don’t have the desire to try. I am not your victim, and if you’re crying out for attention.. oops. Because it’s hard to get my attention on /ignore.
Life is just too short, and too precious, to spend it on haters and users.