Thursday, August 6, 2015

Guildleader chores - Between rocks and hard places

I had an unexpected piece of drama on Monday which lead to some unfortunate unforseen results.

I will be the first to admit that when we did Iskar on normal, I was happy throwing the Eye of Anzu around using the standard interface.  When I was told there was an addon (Iskar Assist) and that it was good I poo-pood that idea and went on without it.

However, as some people tried it they said it was actually very good.  So I gave in and had a look, and I was sold - it reduced the amount of time I spent clicking (went to one click instead of two) and it made the fight so easy.

Obviously this pic is not taken from my UI, but you can see Iskar assist looks - and you can set it up so it doesn't take up so much room
When we tried Iskar on heroic, the winds were throwing people off so much faster than on normal that I said that everyone should get the addon in preparation for attempting it on heroic on Monday. I was irritated that when I asked people to do this small thing, that they would refuse. So I put a caveat on the not having the addon - that you would be unable to get EP from a kill of that boss. Which meant you can go ahead and not have the addon if you wish because I can't force anyone to do anything, but there are consequences of non compliance.

What I didn't expect was the resistance from a number of people about being told what to do and the backlash of what I had said.

Madcow was the first to protest and said he was not going to get the addon no matter what we said. Kyxyn had already tried to reason with him but I was logging on after struggling to get the kids to go to bed. Arguing with them and cajoling them to do my bidding may have tinged what I said to Madcow and I was a lot more forceful with him than I should have been.  I said flat out that there would be penalties for non compliance.

His answer to that was to argue with me about when has he ever wiped a raid because of him not having addons. And he was angry with me when I listed the times he had caused major dramas because of no addons.

As a result, he quit the guild.  Took all his toons out and then locked us out of Vent. And took me off battletag.

I was shocked. Madcow and I have been friends for 10 years, and officers for most of that time in Frostwolves. We've met up in real life, we have played together in other games, discussed our RL problems... to leave like that, I must have done a grievous injustice.  But my sorrow was overshadowed by my anger that he was trying to hurt me and everyone else by his actions.  In actual fact he was only angry with me.  He had no issues with anyone else in the guild.

At the same time, Aza said in raid that he didn't agree with the addon rules and that he would sit out of raid, only because he didn't believe in the rule but he wasn't leaving the guild, nor was he angry. Of everyone who protested I found what he said to be the most adult and reasonable way to deal with the situation and I have only the greatest respect and admiration for that.  I abashedly admit that of people being reasonable, I wouldn't have thought Aza would be the top of the list.  He even said to me that I could always count on him for one thing - and that was to disagree with what everyone else is doing. I couldn't help but laugh, but the comment was said in good humour.

Sev left the raid and game without a word, but it was obvious that it was in protest to the addon rule as well as supporting Madcow. Exray did not join the raid at all in his protest by staying on his alt and kept quiet as he often does.

The raid itself went on - in actual fact it was a rather enjoyable raid because everyone felt the need to be chatty and have a sense of bonding after the unpleasantness of what had just occurred (even if we didn't kill a boss). Someone even commented to me that Mumble was even more lively than normal as everyone was trying to defuse the tension.  It distracted me in a pleasant way. Early in the raid there was a lot of speculation in guild about what had happened, but I said in guild chat that I would explain what had occurred after raid had concluded if anybody cared to listen, but there was to be no more discussion about it until after 11pm.

Once 11pm rolled around the enormity of what had occurred suddenly weighed on me like someone who has having a heart attack.  The heaviness, the heartache, the feeling of doom... and I still had to tell everyone what happened.  I said in Mumble that I would be dropping a channel to explain what had just occurred if anyone cared to join me.

I think the channel switching was faster than any target switching on Kilrogg ever was.

Kyxyn and I explained what had occurred in as neutral a way as possible.  There were comments from our guildies using words such as "childish" and 'non-team player" and various other expletives, which I did not want encouraged. There were voices of support, which was encouraging, and I left shortly after to speak to Sev who wanted to express his dismay at what had occurred and to tell me I had handled the situation poorly.  I knew this already but I couldn't take what I had done back.  The crux of what Sev was trying to say was "We aren't children and we don't appreciated being treated like children."  I wanted to scream that everyone should stop acting like children then!  But that wouldn't have been very helpful.

I've had time now to sit back with clearer eyes and try to look at the issues that led to this boiling point.  There are a few things that I identified.

1. Lack of preparation time before the announcement
People would probably have had more time to vocalise their objections and reasons if we had done it in a period more than 10 minutes before the start of raid. Without time for them to discuss it they felt that they were pressured to give a quick answer which was either not raid or quit. We would also have more time to discuss solutions as well if we had talked more about it, rather than me be hardheaded and try to force the change in that brief period.

2. Lack of respect for the chain of command
Though we do encourage people to put forward their ideas and suggestions and often take them on board, someone has to make an original decision. It would be easier to come to that decision if people wrote to us with their suggestions in game (if we weren't online to discuss them) because the officers/raid leaders very rarely make a decision that wasn't in the best interest of the raid as a whole. Any team model will clearly state that you need a leadership pyramid of some sort to make the team function effectively as a whole.  If everyone puts in their ideas and are all "leaders" then no decisions will be made.

3. Unwillingness to change
Human nature tends towards comfort in what is known rather than what is new. I still remember the horror from guild about all the new people that joined when WoD started - some of whom are not integrated well into the main raid group.  I also screen much more heavily now with recruits than we used to do and instill upon them the importance of the 3 rules that are about making the guild environment a more comfortable place. Older members wonder about the three rules and often feel that the rules don't apply to them because "we were here before these new rules" - another feeling that they don't need to change "because there was nothing wrong with the way things were" or "we never used to do it like that".  Just because things weren't always this way doesn't mean it isn't better if we did it a different way - and you won't know till you try it. (This is something I say to my children about eating new food - you won't know if you don't like it until you try it)
Another change I have been trying to instill is that casual raiding players are still valuable players, not just the heroic raiders. Sundays are an example of this, and we have now stepped up and made Sundays more challenging than previously and in actual fact this might be a good change, as long as we remember that we don't make the casual players feel like they are worthless if they are putting in an effort. Changes are an important part of evolution - even Darwin would tell you that - but things need to be changed slowly, insidiously, rather than dropped on people like an nuclear warhead.

4. Aggressiveness from leaders
I was pushing hard for the addon and I had to resort to threats to get the message across which was not a good strategy at all and not in line with our general guild policy. Anger was directed at me (and rightfully so) and I think if I had just taken a 20 second pause before I let my fingers fly across the keyboard the situation could have been averted.  I suppose this could also be classed under communication.


5. Communication
It feels like communications is a factor in just about every problem that arises - it's like the default answer! Including the point above, you can say that I wasn't the only person who had an issue with the way I was communicating - Madcow did also.  Aggression feeds aggression.  The only person that I thought communicated well in the whole incident was Aza.  Though Kyxyn was trying to be reasonable by saying how important he thought the addon was, sometimes he gives off the air of being like a nagging school teacher (gosh, I wonder why) or a know-it-all, and it can rub people the wrong way.

6. Setting good examples and fairness
It sends a disturbing message when two officers did not raid because of the disagreement. It's unreasonable to think that all officers should follow the same pattern of thinking and ideas (because otherwise why would you need a few of them? They're just copies of each other) but in some situations the rest of the guild look to the officers for direction and for leadership. Officers should be chosen because of their leadership qualities, their ability to see "the big picture" and having a similar vision for the guild in terms of core values.
I've often pushed the policy of fairness for all, despite rank. For example, loot is distributed fairly because of a points based system where by contributing to the benefit of the team is worth more than an individuals personal contribution to the raid (eg healing, tanking or DPS).  This differs from other guilds who loot council because in those situations it is the best performing players or roles which get the loot first.

7. We are a casual guild
Forcing people to get an addon when we are only a casual guild - some people felt it was unfair because if we are going to force people to get an addon, are we going to force people to play certain specs, do a certain amount of HPS/DPS? Cull them from the raid because suddenly we are notw much more serious about raiding?  We do have players in our raid who are not stellar players and at this stage they haven't dragged us down (we did have to drop a few for Blackhand), but I think that if we were struggling because of those players and despite our best efforts to improve them they would recognise that they are holding us back and drop from the raid.

So what is my stance now?

I think most people were wondering what will happen now.  I am thinking mostly about how to move forward from this.  Kyxyn and I are still arguing about our approach to addons and we still have come to an agreement before we can decide how we will tackle it. I won't lie and say that it usually means Kyxyn will brow beat me about it until I submit to his way of thinking but if I have felt strongly about something we will come to a grudgingly acceptable conclusion.

I accept that the penalty about the addon was a poorly made decision, and I apologise for having pushed for it.  However it reflected the importance that Kyxyn, Aimei and I placed upon the value of the addon. It was disappointing to see that everyone would rather rebel than give it a go and discuss it - but probably the way it was worded had a lot to do with that. I feel shame in making a bad decision and having a bad outcome, and though I can't take back the past, the only thing I can do is apologise for it and move on.

Hopefully everyone will try it and give an honest opinion.  If it's crap, then they can tell us why they won't use it and that's the end of that.  But at least, give it a try.

Edit: Please do not use the comments for open slather criticism of any of my guildies or former guildies.  I can understand why they did what they did and they are great people - any grievances they had are directed at me and I accept that without any malice.

12 comments:

  1. Your guild and raid group might be casual but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be rules and requirements. Surely voice chat is a requirement, how is that any different to an addon? I probably would have taken a 'no addons = no raid' stance rather than a punishment within the point system. From what I have seen of many casual guild applications, addons are a minimum requirement.

    It seems like nobody actually had a valid reason for not using the addon regardless of how they exited the raid. Rather, they were just being defiant children trying to push Mommy's boundaries.

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    1. Let's be absolutely clear: "I don't want to use/install an addon" IS a valid excuse. As soon as you start telling me that I have to play a certain way, you're going to get pushback. Obviously a few of Navi's guildmates felt the same way.

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    2. We have since changed the approach to "we'd appreciate if you'd try it because we think it's great and give us feedback about what you don't like about it." The penalty thing was a dumb idea on my part - an unfortunate blowback to me being a parent with 2 young children.

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    3. Let's be absolutely clear: saying "Let's be absolutely clear" does not add any weight to your argument. :p

      The pool owners set the pool rules, they are there for everyone's enjoyment. You can choose to ignore them, but you surrender your rights to use it when you do. Doesn't mean you piss in the pool.

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    4. Ignoring and mocking the argument is obviously the way to go then, eh? :p

      The issue I had wasn't with the fact that people exited the raid, or even how they did so. The issue was that if you say stupid shit like "they didn't have a valid reason" and calling them defiant children for their absolutely valid reactions, then you're incredibly rude and it's a great way to persuade them that you are not worth being around.

      In your analogy, if you are swimming happily in the pool and the owners decide that suddenly no, you have to wear flippers if you want to keep using the pool, you have to have a warped view of the world to call those who don't want to wear flippers, and who choose to leave rather than do so, "defiant children".

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    5. I didn't ignore your argument, you spoke with an authority that I didn't recognise. "Because" may be a valid reason for you, and ragequitting a valid reaction, but neither are for me and dare I suggest many people. Certainly enough that your definitive declaration is challengeable.

      Perhaps you interpreted their reaction a result of being called defiant children? To be clear, nobody said that except for anon above, after the fact. No, it was to being asked to do something innocuous by the GM, refusing, and reacting to the resulting negative reinforcement.

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  2. Yikes. I hope you can work things out without further drama, Navi. Good luck!

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    1. Moving forward Dah and just trying to be a better person, that's all I can try to do!

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  3. I don't know how I feel about a punishment, but they weren't asked to leave the raid, so they still had a chance to work on a new boss with their guildies and use their bonus rolls if they got the kill! Perhaps they weren't given enough time to object prior to the raid, but there was time after the raid to speak about the issue, without interrupting raid time.

    Outside of the 'I don't need them' argument against add-ons, I don't really know why people refuse to use them. I find the 5 million that add-ons that I use to be quite useful!

    I hope you will be able to sort things out with Moo on a personal level, if not in game.

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    1. What I don't really understand is why /not/ install the addon? Like, it's like a 5 click process through Curse, right? And what's stopping them from just uninstalling the addon when the fight is over?
      Something as simple as this is not worth leaving a guild that you've been a part of since the start.

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  4. His answer to that was to argue with me about when has he ever wiped a raid because of him not having addons. And he was angry with me when I listed the times he had caused major dramas because of no addons

    Hilarious! :-)

    Personally, if I felt that strongly about addons I would have made a mouseover macro to do the same job, maybe even told you I had the addon, then made absolutely sure I didn't f*ck it up.

    It's a real shame it has ruined a long friendship, it's terrible when temper flare and people make hasty comments and decisions.
    I really hope you can reconcile.

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  5. So we door knocked this boss the other day. And I've done many pugs whilst trying to finish my warrior in normal mode.

    Personally, I'm a minimalist guy. I use grid2 for heals, nothing more. I resisted hard for thogar assist (but got it when I went tank/ranged). I even remember resisting sha of fear assist (but ultimately got it in the end)

    I understand where people might be coming from. And I've even raided with people who refuse to use dbm/bigwigs/vem. I always take the approach that if you can clearly perform the task without addons, all the power to you.

    But tons of people can't. Certainly for us, there is a direct correlation between people passing it to the wrong person repeatedly - or holding on for too long - and people who aren't using iskar assist. And God help us for dispels and Interrupts. Wiping at the 2nd add phase constantly because fel bombs go off is *irritating*.

    Its your Raid/guild. You have epgp (by the sounds of it). Casual guilds aren't doing heroic yet. IMO you were justified in the requirement - its no different to 'be enchanted/gemmed'.

    I even think what happened after was OK.

    It's good that you've thought about the event, but I don't really think you've been unreasonable nor unfair.

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I hope these comments work! Not sure why people can't comment lately, it makes me sad :(