Couples and WoW, Part 4: The Finalé
Today, we resume and conclude our look at couples and WoW. So far, we’ve discussed some tips on how to improve couple play in WoW and seen some various couple paradigms that exist in WoW. Today, we’ll discuss how to deal with those couples as a guild or raid leader.
Cats and Dogs
This pattern is a very tricky and dangerous pattern to have to deal with, perhaps even more so than the more obvious Grizzlies. In America, the most common cause of death for a police officer in the line of duty is investigating domestic disturbances. In other words, more cops die on the job from trying to stop couples from fighting than from any other dangerous situation.
The rub is that any animosity the couple feels during the fight, real or playful, gets turned on any interloper into their domestic territory. If you try to stop a couple fighting, they’ll often both turn on you as a common enemy, especially since their pattern is to fight and make up, and you stopping the fight allows the make up, but all the anger has to go somewhere.
As a result, my advice is not to interfere during a fight. If the situation needs to be dealt with, you should speak to them – separately if possible – on a day before they’ve had an opportunity to get going. Explain how the fights are distracting and destabilizing, and most importantly make clear what the consequences will be if they continue to publicly fight in a way that creates problems in the guild. If they each can individually agree to work towards keeping their sparring private, then the next time a fight breaks out (and there most likely will be a next time), privately remind them individually of their agreement in whispers, and if they stop, great! Continue this until their fights disappear from the public view. If they don’t stop, though, carry out your side of the job and dispense with discipline. If you’re in a position to be dealing with this problem, then your loyalty is to the guild’s good health, not the couple.
Penguins are really easy to deal with. Penguins by nature don’t mind being separated in their tasks, so the best way to approach penguins is honestly and directly. If you’ve only got one spot, just tell them that; don’t come up with excuses or stories to alleviate your guilt; they don’t mind parting for a few hours.
Wolves, like cats and dogs, can be tricky. In fact, to be frank, if there’s a wolves couple in your guild and you’re in a leadership position, it’s probably you. Wolves require a caretaker and an invalid, you see, and for there to be spots in a raid for the invalid, I can only assume that someone in power is giving them that spot. Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible you’re the raid leader and it’s the guild leader’s partner who’s expected to be taken. Not to be repetitive, but honesty and directness are the best way to go.
I’d speak to the caretaker first to air your concerns about the partner’s performance. I’d be numbers-based and as objective as possible, but also firm in my stance. Appeal to the community responsibility of the guild leader; make it about all the people in the raid, not just one, and hope that good nature can shine through the guild leader’s eyes. Lastly, make it about strengthening the collective guild, not about replacing the weak link. Hopefully the guild leader can speak to their partner and help them improve (which should be the goal here, not replacement). Patience is a virtue in dealing with this couple because you don’t want to alienate anyone in power via their partner.
If time passes and nothing changes, you may want to speak to the partner about their situation. If you feel the need in your hierarchy to invite the caretaker into the conversation, fine, but I’d advise against it; two on one is never a good place to start. If you must bring both of them, ask to bring another officer who you know feels the same way you do to even the odds. Remember to focus on improvement, not replacement, and ask the invalid what kind of help he feels could benefit the situation. Take time, listen, and work for compromise, because frankly you’re probably not going to win an all out battle.
Crocs and Plovers
Of the problem couples, this one is probably the easiest to deal with. The crocs all want their plovers with them, but often the plovers are pretty reasonable people. They’re aware their just a small bird compared to the big crocodile. It won’t make you feel good to ask them to sit out, and it may upset the crocodile, but in my experience the plovers have been completely reasonable and understanding.
The trick is to play on the fan-like relationship with the crocodile. If you make it seem that the croc is suffering as a result of the plover’s attendance, the plover will frequently volunteer to step out. You don’t have to be insidious of mean about it; you can mention the difficulty of the group caused by players in need of practice. I tend to believe that most plovers know what they are, and will, if they’re interested in the game, work to get better, and if they’re not, get out of the way.
This paradigm is, on its surface, the most difficult to deal with. As Matticus described in his post that got this series started, Grizzlies charge in regardless of invitation when they feel their partner threatened. To deal with situations like this, I’d suggest to simply play into it. As mentioned above, the problem with addressing couples is frequently the 2 on 1 dynamic. However, if you’re prepared for it, you can simply bring along support, as well.
However, before you set up a council hearing, you should gently find out if both of the partners want the other one there. If not, then ask the “loner” of the two if they’d mind speaking in a private chat or vent channel. This privacy can both ensure an uninterrupted conversation and send a clear signal to the grizzly that the conversation is not for them.
In true Grizzly couples, though, often the protection is mutual and wanted. Simply schedule a meeting with both of them and let them know you’re bringing in another officer so they don’t feel blindsided or ambushed. Have the conversation like a committee, then, once again being understanding but firm. Always address whoever you’re actually talking to, and only respond to questions or comments from that partner, even if you have to overtly ask them for their opinion, as opposed to the Grizzly’s. This can seem overly professional, cold even, but if the alternative is either getting ambushed by the grizzly or removing them both from the guild, then it’s clearly the most kind and fair of the options.
Angelfish are rarely a problem except under a very specific circumstance: you need one of them but don’t have a spot for both of them. If this isn’t the case, frequently Angelfish will be happy to do their own things together elsewhere, giving up their spot(s) in the raid. If you do find yourself in that circumstance, there’s pretty limited and unattractive options. Grizzlies may seem the most dangerous and cats and dogs may be the most dangerous, but really, this one, unlikely situation is the most difficult. In my experience (and I’d be happy to hear anyone who has a better solution), I’ve found that either someone else has to step out so the raid can go on or you have to beg, cajole, bribe, or guilt one of the two into coming and leaving the other one out. Neither of these outcomes are desirable, but if the good of the raid is truly at stake, sometimes a raid leader has to get their hands – or dignity – a little dirty.
At any rate, dear reader, that concludes our series on couples and WoW. I hope it’s been entertaining at least, and educational at best. Coming up we’ll talk about juggling, a return to – of all things – level 85 pvp, and how bloggers -gasp- use words to mislead others or even themselves!
Sincerely, (or is it?)