So I was dragging my feet with this post. With a boat anchor. From a battleship. Aside from the fact that I learned that I can’t concentrate long enough to write these in one go at work (this post took three weeks to flesh out, yikes), it’s hard to articulate exactly what I want to say. This hits near and dear to my heart, since I’ve seen it and been guilty of it myself, which is why I wanted to talk about it. With 5.2 out and underway with lots of new content and new bosses to tackle, ’tis the season for angy accusations, raid team breakups and guild drama.
I think I need an adult beverage. It’s past 11 am, right? Right?!
For as long as I’ve been playing any sort of multiplayer game, be it a board game (Curse you, Monopoly!) a console game or an online game like Quake (gah, I’m showing my age) – there will always be emotional investment. Monopoly as an example. Stress and anxiousness when first starting, to get properties before other people do, maintain a good cash supply. Excitement and elation at being handed money from the poor schmuck that landed on your hotel property. Anger, resentment and embarrassment at being the poor schmuck. Sounds silly? Maybe, but next time you play, keep an eye out, it’s there.
Anger in a video game seems silly when you say it out loud. It’s a video game for cryin’ out loud! But we all know that MMO’s and online games are definitely more than just pixels. These are people with interact with on a daily basis. Like Coworkers you like. Or don’t like, as the case may be. Maggie from accounting, I’m pointing at you! *shakes fist!*
I asked a friend of mine what comes to mind for her when I talk about Raid Rage. Immediately and without hesitation, her response is “Asshole Raid Leaders”. I had a feeling I knew what she was talking about, but I wanted her to expand on it a bit, so, throwing caution (and my eardrums) to the wind, I asked her what she meant.
“You know, the person, usually a guy, who leads the raid with an iron fist. Tells you where to be, where to stand, what to do at all times. Leaves you no free will to do anything you want to do. Yells at you if you’re not where you should be, yells if you aren’t doing what you shouldn’t be doing, is critical of your performance and calls you out in raid.” She gave a classic example:
Nobody likes to be yelled at. Well, most people don’t anyways, there’s always the exception. From the bad feelings that it creates, the tension and the stress to both the person on the receiving end and the people that happen to be in the group too, it’s just bad news all around. While it seems fairly dramatic, this is actually a decent demonstration of Raid Rage. FULL ANGERTUDE AT MAXIMUM THRUST GO! *FWOOSH!* annnnnd flamed.
But in all seriousness, seems kinda overkill, right? But I got to thinking. I’ve been in some serious raids, and even been lucky enough to be in a raidgroup that accomplished 8/8 Heroic Dragonsoul. I’ve also been in a raiding group that couldn’t manage to come together half the time, and when we DID raid, it was awful. People everywhere, healers dpsing, dps tanking, tanks doing I don’t know wtf. What was the difference? A strong raid leader, some ground rules, and people showing up for the right reasons. Now I’m not going to say you have to be like Dude from the Moar Dots video to lead a good raid. Far from it. But sometimes you have to be a little tough. I was reading a post about this subject by Cameron Sorden that talks about this in great length.
“I was thinking about this because we had a situation this weekend in Karazhan where someone got a little hot under the collar from the tone and warnings of our raid leader. He was slightly undergeared, a little inexperienced, and he messed up a few times. When he did, our raid leader told him what he was doing wrong (using slightly colorful language). You could tell from his voice that this player was frustrated and a little embarrassed. You could probably also tell those things from when he made a comment about the raid being like living in a Machiavellian state. While a lot of people would just be damn impressed that a World of Warcraft player not only knew but used the word “Machiavellian,” I thought it was more interesting that he was kind of correct.
One of the central ideas of Machiavellian theory is that cruel actions are sometimes necessary for leaders and that good can come of them. What characteristics should necessary cruelty have? “It must be swift, effective, and short-lived.” Yelling at someone in vent is fast, informative, and it has just enough sting to motivate you not to mess up again. A raid leader’s job isn’t to hold your hand, dry your tears, and give you a cookie to make you feel better. It’s to get the raid done as quickly and efficiently as possible, with minimal snags, minimal drama, and minimal wipes. Nobody likes a six-hour raid, and that’s exactly what you have when people are making mistakes. Especially on raids that your guild has on farm status.”
Is raid raging necessary? I think so, to a degree. Some of my best performances have come from some very candid honesty about my playstyle, in vent, and it forced me to admit to myself that maybe I am, indeed, doing something wrong and fix it. There’s a reason when you go through Basic Training, you have a Drill Sergeant. It screws your head on straight so you’ll be prepared when you go out in the field. Do you have to be an assface to your raiding team? Hell no, and if you were, I wouldn’t want to be around you. The loudness of your yelling does NOT equal the amount of respect I give you. People respect a good raid leader. They do not respect a loud one. Unless you’re Gilbert Gottfried, but that’s another story. O.o
Wow, anyways, writing this post in about 20 different sittings really got me way off in left field. The point is, keep cool with yourself and others. Be firm when you need to be, but do it right. Be mindful of the situation. If your raiding group is doing a first attempt on a boss and it all goes to hell, don’t get all bent out of shape. Talk about what happened, talk strategy and work on it. If you’re on try 20 and it’s all sloppy – it’s OK to sprinkle some salt on the conversation, especially if you can prove your point and it’s a point that will help the raid in a meaningful way. Don’t take it to legendary levels.. if you’re like the Moar Dots dude, maybe you might want to consider dropping it down a notch.. your raiders ears will thank you for it. If you struggle with that, some groups have designated role leads – a healing lead, dps lead, tank lead, etc – consider a setup where other people are empowered to help you.
On a side note, above all else, enjoy yourself and the game. This comment is for people who are frustrated with their situation in their guild, raiding team, whatever. If something isn’t working out for you and you’ve tried to change the situation and nothing is happening, it’s alright to go do something else. If you’re just not enjoying the people you’re with or the things you’re doing in game.. don’t hang out in a bad situation because you feel like you have to. You don’t mesh with a group of people, it’s ok to find a group you do mesh with. Things change and in the end, it’s just a game, right? And we play them to have fun, not stress. That’s what Maggie in Accounting is for. *shakes fist*
Keep calm and Lok’tar Ogar.