A Time for All Things
So last night, our guild had a big meeting. There were about 25 or 30 people in the mumble channel, listening and discussing the various topics at hand. It started with a long but earnest statement from the guild leader about his vision, the complaints he’s heard, and the officers role. It took about a half hour for him to get through it, and we were told that he had actually taken the time to prepare notes about what he wanted to cover. A lot of people tease him in the guild, but that’s a nice piece of dedication, and I suspect that the teasing is good-natured and that others see that, too.
The major points that the GM brought up were
1) we’re more inclusive than progressive, but we do care about progressions. As a result, flex raiding will be an option when several people would have to be benched, but when 10 mans are a better option, we will default to those.
2) Raiders should have their gear gemmed and enchanted, but flasking and food buffs are not required.
3) The officers are available, but you need to come to them with your problems, not just stew.
Sound familiar? You wouldn’t believe how many guilds I’ve been in with these exact same complaints, these exact same meetings, these exact same speeches.
But it wasn’t over. The officers opened the mic for an open-ended Q&A. Several raiders had some complaints they wanted voiced, including
1) officers aren’t available enough, so we need new officers who play more.
2) We have food and flasks in the bank; why aren’t they being required?
Again, I’ve heard precisely these same things before. Two raiders were particularly annoyed about the flask and food issue. They pointed out that there was stuff available in the bank and wanted to know why those weren’t being “required” for raiding, too (which I basically agree with). There was a debate about it, but as it was getting nowhere, I asked two simple questions.
1) Would anyone actively refuse food and flasks if offered? Of course the answer was no.
2) Why not have an officer or other member take up the role of dispensary for them, then, and hand them out to those who need it at raid time? That would solve the problem.
Still, though, the two raiders didn’t like that. They took the time to get their own food and flasks, and they didn’t like that others could show up with zero effort and have someone else hand out consumables to them. Also, they still wanted people to use them no matter what.
It’s an overtly contradictory position, but I understand the underlying theme: repsonsibility. They’re responsible, and they want others to be, either by providing for themselves or at least by getting stuff out and not having it brought to them. This of course all comes back to the raiding ethos of the guild, of which many people seem angry about the – in their perspective – declination.
So it was a great meeting and told me a lot about people’s personalities.
There was one problem, though.
This was happening DURING THE RAID.
Look, I’m all for guild meetings, and I’m certainly for open, honest debate. But there’s a time and place for everything. If people are interested in the guild’s culture, they need to find time to make it to one of these meetings outside of raid time. We spent an hour and half on two bosses that we’re usually done with before a half hour or so. The raid was dragging and dragging along, trying to split attention between the two efforts, debate and raiding, and it was not creating a conducive environment.
When the two angry raiders were really getting worked up – and rightly so, since someone said something somewhat rude to them – I realized that we’d been standing in front of the second boss for a half hour just talking, not pulling. My “naughty” side rose from the depths, and I whispered one of the good-natured players, a tank, and said, “Everyone said they were ready with the ready check. Pull before this argument eats the raid.”
I followed that with, “Be aware I give bad advice, though, so you may not want to listen.”
He clicked the countdown and pulled. Everyone shut the hell up and started in on the boss. It turned out to be a wipe “because we weren’t ready,” but really we got to the second door and things fell apart, so I feel it was really because we weren’t focused, not ready. I don’t know if they realized that further discussion would likely have led to less focus or even people leaving the raid. The tank got called out for it, too, so I felt bad and whispered him an apology, but we continued the raid instead of fanning the flames and downed the damn boss.
There’s a mental zone that’s required for raiding. It’s not about argumentative back and forth thinking; it’s about focus on the task at hand. You can’t have both. As the conversation turned from productive to counter-productive, which, let me tell you, I’m a master at identifying from all the guild debates I’ve witnessed – and, of course, my highly interpersonal job, I knew that this was headed for a wall, a wall upon which the raid would splat like a car-load of clowns.
I in no way deny I was WAY out of my position to suggest to a tank that he pull, but I’m not sorry I did. I’m AM sorry he got called out for it, though. Some may also say that the debate was more important than the raid and I was in the wrong putting a stop to it, but I’m convinced that I prevented a worse outcome. If we’re a raiding guild, be it more inclusive or more progressive, we’re still there to raid. Having a raid eaten by a heated debate that’s not going anywhere because it’s about a basic culture clash, a debate that’s descending into “If you don’t think things can improve, why are you still here?” (the aforementioned rude comment), would do more harm than good.
I’m going to push for another meeting, several of them, in fact, at different times so more people can access them. I’m like this; it’s my nature; I can’t stop being like this any more than the scorpion can not sting the frog. I see a problem and I want to help solve it, and it may destroy me. I know that going in, so if I’m whining in a month or two about how this guild didn’t work out and it’s a result of my own interference, feel free to remind me. These meeting, though, won’t be during a raid time, so we’ll see who really cares about the issues.
Stubborn (and, occasionally, naughty)