Home Sweet …

This is a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic suggested by Sionel @ Eight Paws

Author’s note: This post ended up being rather long and drifted off topic a bit. I considered splitting it into two posts but in the end decided against it. If you aren’t interested in some of the drama of my former guild then just skip the middle part that has been marked off.

When I first started playing WoW I considered one of the open houses in Ironforge home. I can’t remember which one it is now, but I distinctly remember that I was particularly fond of it.

Nowadays I think of my guild as home. When we were in the formation stages I remember a number of people referred to the guild in those terms as well. It makes sense – for most people home is where their family is, and for most people the WoW equivalent is their guild.  You share your WoW life with these people – your accomplishments (should I say achievements?) and failures, maybe you raid or PvP with some of them, hopefully you laugh with and support each other. Sometimes it spills over into real life with members meeting, becoming friends or even becoming each others real life family.

I am the co-lead of a small 10 man raiding guild. I really like all the members, and I should, because the other guild leaders and I handpicked them… from our former guild. Ok, wait just a second, and that thing about my mother is only half true. It really isn’t as bad as it would seem to be.

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When I joined my former guild, at the beginning of this year, it was mostly  a leveling guild. It was also the largest guild on the server (active level 80s). There were a few people who raided, mainly with one of our ‘sister guilds’. In fact I had almost left to raid with my wife’s guild as they had an open spot on a team for a raid healer, having gone so far as to whisper the guild master to have the talk with him, a whisper that went unanswered. The next day one of the members of my former guild (now an officer in my guild) sent me a whisper to ask if I would heal ICC 10. I said yes and opted to stay as otherwise the guild seemed like a good fit.

I raided with that team for a few months but eventually a few issues prompted me to form my own team. The fact that we had three of the best healers in the guild in the group while only using two of them was one. I was healing full time but it wasn’t fair to our priest who went shadow most of the time. My wife had a tank that she wanted to raid with but didn’t have the opportunity in her guild, and I would have been a fool to pass up the chance to have her tank and heal her. So I gathered up a shaman healer who we had known since BC who had just joined the guild and filled the rest (including one of the people who would become co -lead of my guild) over the course of the next few days. By the time the whispers started floating around in the guild we were ready to raid. I kept it quiet because a few weeks prior someone else (who would become the other co-lead) tried to set up an ICC 10 team only to have it quashed by the GM despite there being more than enough interest within the guild. (Writing it here I see the threads starting to be woven together)

My new team started progressing at a steady pace, especially given that we had a few people who had never really raided before. We killed the Lich King. Happily every after… right? Well obviously not, so what could have happened? Well, who would have imagined that the biggest guild on the server would be prone to drama?

It just so happened that I had inadvertently exacerbated the drama when I created my ICC team. I hadn’t realized it before then but there was a split within the guild, with the two progression teams on either side of the fault line. I think it started as a preference for one raid leadership style over another, but it really started to feel like it had morphed into cults of personality.

On one side there was… lets call him Tom. Tom had been in the guild for quite a long time (longer than the GM, iirc) and was a high ranking officer. He ran an ICC 10 that was half  from our guild and half from a sister guild. It was the first team from our guild to start running ICC. Tom also lead the ICC 25 when it was started up in the guild.

I think the best way to describe Tom’s raid leadership style is… Tom liked to yell. Indiscriminately. This turned a lot of people off, and many in the guild got to experience it. Because people don’t generally don’t like to get yelled at for other people’s obvious mistakes, there was quite a bit of turnover in his group. When I ran 25s with him as the loot master the application of the stated rules changed from week to week and there was always at least one major issue with loot distribution each time we ran. Soon people started asking me to ‘fix’ things that were going on in Tom’s group. People started asking that the loot system that I used in my 10 man group (Suicide Kings) be used in the 25 man even though I had no real authority in that raid and had stopped participating in it rather quickly, and it continued well after I had stopped raiding with the guild ICC 25. After a while the 25 fell apart because enough people weren’t willing to run with Tom anymore.

On the other side there was me. I tried to run a tight ship instituting performance standards, attendance requirements, and a loot system other than /roll. We progressed quickly, and people started to notice. It seemed like everyone wanted to run ICC with us. This being a social guild not everyone was really ready to go past the first wing but the fact that I refused to PuG and filled empty spots with people from the guild (or the raid’s friends lists) means that sometimes they did, sometimes going 10/12 in a few hours. Every time someone got a new wing achievement it was another member of my cult.

People started asking that I start a 25 man ICC. People started asking that I start another 10 man ICC. I have never really cared for 25 mans so that was really out of the question and my only other level 80 character was my neglected warlock, fully decked out in T7 gear, and I really had no desire to play him. My wife on the other hand has 7 geared 80s, and started a new non-progression run, basically she was running raid school. It was able to absorb most of the people who wanted to run with me, and most of them seemed happy with it.

Many people were happier with their raiding schedule, but the atmosphere in the guild continued to deteriorate. Many of the raiders were looked down upon. The GM would refer to raiders in derogatory terms such as ‘the jocks’ or ‘the people who have beer and pizza every night’. One night when we were working on Lich King, before we had killed him, right before our second pull of the night the GM said in guild chat something to the effect of ‘Oh they’re wiping on LK again’. That pretty much ruined that night’s attempts for us, and even prompted one of our raid members to leave the guild. I was promoted to officer along with one of the co-leads of my current guild but we later found out that it was really just in name only after being told by the GM that our opinions wouldn’t really be considered.  That was really the last straw for me.

We left on a Saturday after word had started getting out the night before. We ended up pulling my 10 man team, most of the people on my wife’s training team, and most of another 10 man team (the first one I had been on) and most of their alts.

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I had a lot of mixed emotions when we decided to leave the guild and form a new one. This was a place that I had called home all year. There was a community there although I was becoming increasingly aware of how dysfunctional it was. One of my co-leaders and I discussed, thought about and agonized over it for weeks. Then we brought in our other co-lead and went over it for another week. We had tried to make improvements to the raiding situation but were rebuffed. The social atmosphere in the guild was driving us away more than enticing us to stick around. With the Cataclysm coming we decided it was time to make a change. So we basically moved across the street.

I ran into my former GM in the Goldshire graveyard on the Day of the Dead. He whispered me and said hi and asked a few questions about the event. I politely answered but was slightly uncomfortable until a moment later when one of my current guildies showed up… it brought a smile to my face.

All that being said, I found myself sitting on one of the balconies in Ironforge the other evening, looking out over the entrance to the Military Ward… but I realized between fielding whispers from guildies that it wasn’t my old place. Think… think… the Great Forge…? Mystic ward…?

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8 Responses to Home Sweet …

  1. Ophelie says:

    Great post! This really struck a chord with me as my guild feels very much like home to me as well. My story is more random: I heard about a guild that seemed to raid the way I wanted, I applied, got in and subsequently fell in love with everyone in it. It never ceases to amaze me how close we can become to these people whom, for the most part, we’ve never even met.

    Anyway, please keep writing!

    • Cryptic says:

      Thank you so much. It was really good to be able to write something about that whole situation. It turns out that it had bothered me more than I had admitted, even to myself. I’m always surprised at how much some of the interpersonal issues in game affects people in their real lives. One of the things one of my co-leads and I talked about the most during the process was how much it was bothering us, I think it was causing both of us to have trouble sleeping.

  2. Missanthropy says:

    Small world.

    As is usually the case, there are many threads to this story. Long term members were protesting, and bailing, because the folks on Team Bravo were articulate, noisy even, and didn’t hesitate to demean those to did not share their values.

    Names could be named, but viewing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDwz8o3aLBw&feature=player_embedded will suffice.

    • Cryptic says:

      After WoW Insider linked here I knew it wouldn’t be too long before I heard from you. You are right, there are many threads to every story and I don’t believe that I have all the information. This thread of the story is admittedly from my perspective and informed by my experiences and those who came to me with their own issues.

      After Bravo experienced some successes, it went to a few people’s heads, some were more vocal than others, some were more tactful than others. There was definitely a difference in philosophy among the guild members. I’m still not exactly sure how things escalated to the point that they did, but toward the end it was obvious that the situation was becoming detrimental not only to Bravo but other teams and the guild as a whole. I was truly surprised with who started whispering me saying that they weren’t happy and were thinking about leaving, even more so at some of the people who had been whispering Trax with the same things. We started spending a lot of time talking people off the ledge so to speak because we liked these people and enjoyed being in a community with them. They stuck around but then a lot of the frustration and anger that had been getting expressed privately started spilling over into guild chat. I felt like I was watching the guild start to tear itself apart.

      Many of the people who left were starting to hurt others in the guild. I was incredibly tactless in my description of what I thought of Peawee in one of my last posts. It certainly didn’t come across but I am truly appreciative of her for coming with us the times that she did. Despite any issues I had with her performance I would still have taken her over someone from trade chat any day. She was never anything but a total sweetheart and she didn’t deserve to be made to feel that we thought so little of her.

      Ultimately, DC isn’t a raiding guild. It was perfect for me when I joined, it was filled with great people and was a safe place to get my bearings coming back after missing two tiers of raiding. That mindset is telling of where my focus is, I wasn’t gone for a year, I was gone for two tiers if raiding. My hope is that things have settled down over there now that there aren’t people trying to force a raiding peg into a social hole. Things have settled down on my side and I only have two young males who like to snipe at one another. You might also be interested to know that we have lost a couple of people because we aren’t hardcore enough.

      On another note, I heard about Wanda and I was floored. She has been in our thoughts. Please let us know when more is known and if there is anything we can do.

  3. Glorm says:

    Thank you for kind words for Wanda, for any readers this is “Tom” from Home Sweet … article.

    I am glad to hear that you are happy in your new guild and I honestly wish you the best of luck. I am trying to wrap my head around your post, I do not yell indiscriminately and when I do it is with good cause. Also the disciplinary actions I’ve meted out have never been disproportionate to the offence. I’ve never been accused of being belligerent as you’d indicated.

    I do not believe in SK as I feel that it disadvantages pugs and up until the week before you left we had always had to have several pugs.

    With regard to the 25 when you pulled out your folks from guild and Nilpotent didn’t feel like keeping it going. Nil was the raid lead for the 25 man the fact that you think me was confuses me to no end and as a matter of fact we had successfully been running it up until the split. I really can’t complain about that as it let us focus on our heroic 10 man (now 9/12 Just LK, Valithria, Princes left).

    It’s a hard time for us and our prayers are with Wanda, thank you again for your kind words, but in all honesty I am left confused by most of what your wrote.

  4. Buffme says:

    Sorry to bring this on your blog, but since everyone else is posting their version of events, I figured I might as well jump in.

    I’m sure you’re point of view of the whole ordeal depends on which side of the rift you were on. If people were offended because several of the higher ranking guild members (who also happened to be on Bravo team- the fact that you separate the whole group out is telling.) had opinions about the topics posted for consideration in the forums, they should have brought it up. As DC we had quiet a few contentious debates but they all ended with (what seemed to me) respect and clear understanding even if we didn’t all agree. If I recall, the “long time members” was one person who didn’t take kindly to being told they weren’t a particularly skillful raider because, well… they didn’t raid. If you and some other “long time” members didn’t want opinions from everyone else, I’m not exactly sure why you posted issues on the forums for “consideration.”

    Taking criticism isn’t exactly DC leaderships’ strong suit. When you promoted Cryptic and Trax as officers (as you had noted in a gmotd for several days running), a lot of people assumed they were actually officers and started bringing up problems with them. When they both tried to bring these problems up with Miss, they were rebuffed and ignored. At some point, I assumed when it became clear they weren’t going to just stfu and keep their opinions to themselves, Miss actually posted that they were nothing more than figureheads i.e. their opinions didn’t matter.

    As for raid leadership, Glorm, I can’t believe you still insist on saying your raids are fine, despite all evidence to the contrary. Though some brought up their problems more passively aggressively than others, the fact that more than 40 unique accounts left DC to join Incursio should have been at least a little disconcerting. Did you seriously not think that might have indicated a problem? Yes! You did in fact yell indiscriminately! Yes. you were belligerent! You didn’t say, “Hey! Arthasdkxxx, get out of the fire!.” You would yell at everyone in vent, saying “You guys…” and speaking in vague generalities that would make everyone who might actually care about wtf was going on in the raid feel like shit. Did half the group dropping out of the guild raid to go pug from trade seriously not tip you off?!? When we had the infamous Ignis debacle you said something to the effect of “all these people suck” when the whole group, except the “ringers” from your 10 man team, were guildies. When I brought up that sort of attitude wasn’t going to help us down Ignis, you started defending your behavior, saying you were joking and no one took you seriously, despite the 5 people who dropped group and two people who /gquit over it. Perhaps that is why people stopped mentioning it and instead decided not to raid with you (and yes, I’ve seen at least 5 people say specifically “I don’t raid with Glorm.”) or left the guild. Nil might have been listed as the raid leader on the sign ups, but you were running the show, as you seem to do with any raid group you’re in.

    Though you say the group was successful, we went from a about 23/25 guild members to about half pug in a matter of weeks, til we finally just called it because we weren’t even getting as far as most of the random pugs on our server.

    I’m not trying to be rude, but maybe being frank will help you see we didn’t just leave DC because we’re all single and have pizza and beer for dinner and don’t have lives (we’re not, we do sometimes, and we do, actually).

  5. Cryptic says:

    Sweet, juicy drama. I think this demonstrated the dynamic that was in place better than anything I could have written. This is one of the things I miss actually, having verbal sparring partners. While a little back and forth is good and healthy, things had really devolved from a reasoned discussion among the officers and raid leaders to an all out brawl with more members jumping in and other members on the sidelines getting hurt.

    I do want to say thanks though, I thought it would take months for me to see this many comments. Also, seriously WoW Insider, seriously. I write three posts and get linked to. Now you’re going to have to send the mamas after me.

  6. Glorm says:

    You do bring up good points, and I do regret what happened with the Ignis run… But really, what basically happened was that we where forming for ICC and where waiting on members stuck on Ignis till one at a time I had to rotate people out to help with the weekly Ignis. Until I actually had to leave my raid to tank him and get the job done. This caused over an hours delay in getting our 10 man going that night.

    This frustrated me as we had at that point always stopped 25 mans so that Bravo or Rynuku’s team could get into icc 10, this had happened every single week almost. So when the weekly had gone over schedule but we had to accommodate the 25 man, I was more than annoyed, I felt taken advantage of as the same patience hadn’t been shown.

    I am truly sorry if I hurt peoples feelings, I was exasperated at that point.

    As for me yelling and being belligerent, I do yell don’t stand in fire. But if you’re not actually standing in fire then there shouldn’t be an issue as I am not addressing you personally. As you know I take training and teaching very seriously, and I have always tried to give people the tools they need before throwing them to the lions. But at some point it is sink or swim, and the truth is that some folks just don’t have the awareness or capacity to raid effectively.

    But just ask Griff, if you are personally interested and have the gumption to learn I have and will continue to give assistance, and sometimes that does include negative reinforcement. I put time and effort helping countless people up their game, I have personally regemmed and rein chanted countless guildies and semi-pugs. But you are right if you stand in fire I will yell, but I don’t think that makes me belligerent. I will call out people and tell them they suck, this is true but I always follow up with help and I’ve never meant it to be demeaning. Just ask Shastina, Atlamilia, even Zueb, even my harshest criticisms is meant with honest intentions.

    You ran with me in ICC 10 Buff, you should know me, and that you say that I was belligerent without need has stunned me. I suppose I’ll have to try and reign in my temper…

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