Tobold's Blog
Sunday, March 06, 2011
 
Playing without you

The most moving commentary on guilds and challenges in World of Warcraft I have read in a long time was Larísa's story of how she left her guild. The core of the problem was expressed by one of her guildmates, who said: "If there are hard modes we can't do with you, then I do not want those hard modes. Do not leave, please."

Is the purpose of raiding to play with your friends, whatever the content is you can reach with those friends? Or is the purpose of raiding to reach the top, regardless of how many friends you need to ditch on the way?
Comments:
Making the assumption that the guildmates are the same thing as friends can lead to abusive, one-sided "friendships". It doesn't really matter whether the abuser is the one leaving or the one guilt-tripping people to stay.
 
What you're not seeing is that there may be other players in that guilds who really really do want to do those hard modes and will leave if that guild can't do them.

Yes, it is really moving. I mean, my husband has been on the receiving end of one of those talks from raid leaders (about why his damage isn't as high as the other warlocks) and it pretty much broke him because he just doesn't know.

But I know it isn't something that can be solved by saying "yeah, it's ok, don't worry about those hard modes, we'll just do as much as we can" or rather that's a very casual approach to raiding.
 
I think it's a question everyone has to answer for themselves.

For most of us I doubt it will be a clear answer, but will depend on who the person is.

In Larisa's case she clearly has qualities that more than make up for a perceived slowness to learn new encounters.

However a player of the same level of ability who had never said a word in guild chat would not have been missed.
 
I agree with Hirvox, on the guildmates = friends bit.

Very thin line to walk on, between incessant guild drama aka HR issues, and happy progression.

Walk in the shoes of a guild officer having to make these kind of decisions, before judging.

I think Larisa's account isn't the only case, and certainly won't be the last case.
 
The dilemma here is this:

First there is whining how the hard modes are too easy, then they are tweaked and made harder.

Now there is whining how hard modes are too hard and people have to make choices whether to go for them or not.

Good grief.

And for the people who are 'struggling' and 'broken' for not coming up with the standards of the requirements... boo-hoo. It's a game, first of all, and even if it's considered a hobby, everyone isn't cut up to the top.

I know, harsh words from someone who hasn't raided. I tried, it was not for me, thank you and good riddance.

You see, despite of my 'performance' in game, I'm at the receiving end of the whole game, not 'being able' to take part of The Game of end game.

Boo-hoo for that, too.

I agree with Tobold, though. Are the in game friendships more important than competing in raiding?

Or are there any sense in talking about 'in game friendships' at all?

C out
 
@Copra: your comment both here and at my post surprise me to be honest.

Have I ever whined about the game beeing to easy? Or the hardmodes being to hard?

You don't seem to have any idea about what kind of friendships that are forged after spending years together in a guild, with all what it means of ups and downs, after doing hundreds of raids together.

And please, please don't pull the "it's just a game" card. It's getting old.

Actually the quoted letter was probably the dealbreaker for me, what made me reconsider my decision. It came from somewhere I absolutely hadn't expected it, and it made me realize that you can make friends on many levels and in many ways without necessarily talking about it. I hadn't seen or understood until then.
 
My friend's list is full of friends, why does my guild need to be? The purpose of a guild in WoW is to facilitate your ability to complete the goals you have in the game. With the existence of friends lists, private chat channels and such it isn't necessary any longer to be in the same guild with your friends to play with them.
 
It's one or the other. The guild leadership needs to be clear about which it is, and make sure that it's made clear to the membership.

The guild members who disagree with the direction can then, depending on the organisational structure of the guild, attempt to change the policy or leave.

No-one has to stop being friends. Being in a guild together is not the only way to play together in an MMO, let alone the only means of human communication.

From my point of view, the primary reason I don't join guilds is to avoid the sense of ownership that others try to excercise over my character's time. They want to do one thing, I want to do another, I'd rather have my own way and go it alone than have company and spend my time doing things I'd rather not be doing.
 
We've been much happier since we realised our guild's raiding was a question of 'what can *we* do?', not '*what* do we do to beat all the content?'

Some people wanted more, left, formed a serious-business raiding guild, which runs 4 raids a week and recruits constantly - and they still hang around on our chat channels and come to some of our raids, as people's attendance allows.

It always pleases me to see that our pretty consistently outperforms theirs, despite a half-tier gap in gear and a lot less practice. The reaction from others in their raiding guild tends to be more along the lines of 'any tips for me?' than 'casual scrub!'.

(I was slightly embarassed to have to reply that I'd notched up a grand total of 4 hours ever raiding on the spec in question, so could only offer a list of resources I'd found useful.)

Casual. Not a dirty word to me.
 
@Copra

You seem to be contradicting yourself. On Larissa's blog you wrote the following:

"Its truly heartwarming to notice that there are so strong friendships in some guilds left."

On this thread, however, you post that WoW is "just a game", disregarding the strong relationships forged across servers. It may just be simply due to my relatively young age (15, 16 in 20 days), but some of the friends I've encountered online have had a much, much greater impact than the vast majority of people I've met in real life at school. I remember crying for weeks (it's slightly exaggerated, but I was quite depressed) after switching servers due to raiding ambitions. While I don't regret my switches, I recognize the depth of friendships in WoW and heavily sympathize with Larissa.

@World of Blogging
As for the content of the post, I truly believe that it is a matter of moderation. Unfortunately I tend to have a mercenary background, having been in 4 guilds within the last 18 months. I'm taking a break now, but I feel that I have recently been a bit too ambitious in what I look for in a guild. I have incredibly strict time parameters for raiding,so much so that out of the 60 servers I looked on there were only 3 guilds that met my requirements (along with having suitable progress). I've realized that I cannot expect massive progress in my current situation.

Regardless of this I think that if you truly feel at home with the guild and it is only a problem with raiding, then you could perhaps help your guild organize a solution before 'ditching' your friends. In my current guild, for example, there was a discussion as to whether the guild should become more 'hardcore' and raid more often and I was constantly engaged in discussions. I feel that as a member you should do everything in your power to keep the guild afloat during difficult times, and appreciate the large amount of effort and dedication the guild officers are putting into the guild. Simply leaving without contributing to the guild is something I consider selfish and ironically counter-productive in my situation with my current restrictions.
 
EDIT: The above is silvershaft. I can't post as my name on this blog so I used my gmail account.
 
I read Larisa'a post in its entirety, and I can only come away with a couple of questions based on assumptions due to the lack of other, what I consider important, information.

She states:
Despite our struggles to fill our roster, Adrenaline has put up daring goals for Cataclysm – even raising the ambition level a bit compared to earlier.

Followed by:
This was announced early in the expansion, and we also were told that our performances would be followed and noted and that players who couldn’t live up to the requirements would be removed, regardless if you were an old-timer or a new recruit. Fair enough.

So, I'm having a difficult time figuring out just exactly what Larisa's problem is here. It was pointed out that she was underperforming, she even makes mention of the fact that it was done in the open with other guild members present in Vent.

No where in her post does she mention that she was ever "asked to leave". This was nothing more than a GM, and apparently Raid Leader, doing what he HAS to do to facilitate the progression of the guild as related to the progression goals which were openly stated at the beginning of the expansion. She found out that she just wasnt cutting it performance wise, and then took it upon herself to leave. She then found out that people in her guild actually cared for her more than she thought and was convinced to come back ~48 hours later.

Strip away the emotion, drama or whatever you want to call it, and what is left are the facts of the situation. I dont see anything more with this situation other than she might have got her feelings hurt, ego deflated or something else on a deeper internal level that made her decide to quit. So I would have to ask: Why did she really leave in the first place, and why did she do it in the manner that she did?

@Tobold:

Is the purpose of raiding to play with your friends, whatever the content is you can reach with those friends? Or is the purpose of raiding to reach the top, regardless of how many friends you need to ditch on the way?

The purpose of a guild is to join with like minded people under a preset, well documented guild charter that spells out exactly the purpose and goals of the guild in question.

As I quoted above, her guild stated openly in the early days of the expansion that their direction was changing a bit, so this was no surprise for Larisa as she openly states. For her to make the decision to quit there had to have been something else going on that she isnt sharing for whatever reason, because short of being cut from the roster, I can see no real animosity or other mitigating circumstances from other guild members that would make her decide to up and quit, rather than asking to be removed from the roster until she could improve her performance.

The most poignant part about all of this this, was the level of attachment and affection that other guild members showed her once they heard of her decision to quit the guild. And with that in mind, I have to question why she would decide to quit if she knew that people actually cared for her and valued her guild membership above and beyond her performance issues.

At the heart of this issue is the seperation that is often overlooked in raiding guilds, in that the people behind the toons can be very likeable and can contribute to the guild in ways other than raid performance numbers. This seems more of an issue where the guild leadership lost track of its purpose in lieu of the newly stated goals, which led to feelings of alienation and and abandonment due to the way it was handled, and I doubt very seriously that it was done with any agenda.

At the end of the day Larisa found out that she is loved and well liked by her guildmates, and it turns out that for her, this is more important than her performance, or lack of.
 
I read Larisa'a post in its entirety, and I can only come away with a couple of questions based on assumptions due to the lack of other, what I consider important, information.

She states:
Despite our struggles to fill our roster, Adrenaline has put up daring goals for Cataclysm – even raising the ambition level a bit compared to earlier.

Followed by:
This was announced early in the expansion, and we also were told that our performances would be followed and noted and that players who couldn’t live up to the requirements would be removed, regardless if you were an old-timer or a new recruit. Fair enough.

So, I'm having a difficult time figuring out just exactly what Larisa's problem is here. It was pointed out that she was underperforming, she even makes mention of the fact that it was done in the open with other guild members present in Vent.

No where in her post does she mention that she was ever "asked to leave". This was nothing more than a GM, and apparently Raid Leader, doing what he HAS to do to facilitate the progression of the guild as related to the progression goals which were openly stated at the beginning of the expansion. She found out that she just wasnt cutting it performance wise, and then took it upon herself to leave. She then found out that people in her guild actually cared for her more than she thought and was convinced to come back ~48 hours later.

Strip away the emotion, drama or whatever you want to call it, and what is left are the facts of the situation. I dont see anything more with this situation other than she might have got her feelings hurt, ego deflated or something else on a deeper internal level that made her decide to quit. So I would have to ask: Why did she really leave in the first place, and why did she do it in the manner that she did?

@Tobold:

Is the purpose of raiding to play with your friends, whatever the content is you can reach with those friends? Or is the purpose of raiding to reach the top, regardless of how many friends you need to ditch on the way?

The purpose of a guild is to join with like minded people under a preset, well documented guild charter that spells out exactly the purpose and goals of the guild in question.

As I quoted above, her guild stated openly in the early days of the expansion that their direction was changing a bit, so this was no surprise for Larisa as she openly states. For her to make the decision to quit there had to have been something else going on that she isnt sharing for whatever reason, because short of being cut from the roster, I can see no real animosity or other mitigating circumstances from other guild members that would make her decide to up and quit, rather than asking to be removed from the roster until she could improve her performance.

The most poignant part about all of this this, was the level of attachment and affection that other guild members showed her once they heard of her decision to quit the guild. And with that in mind, I have to question why she would decide to quit if she knew that people actually cared for her and valued her guild membership above and beyond her performance issues.

At the heart of this issue is the seperation that is often overlooked in raiding guilds, in that the people behind the toons can be very likeable and can contribute to the guild in ways other than raid performance numbers. This seems more of an issue where the guild leadership lost track of its purpose in lieu of the newly stated goals, which led to feelings of alienation and and abandonment due to the way it was handled, and I doubt very seriously that it was done with any agenda.

At the end of the day Larisa found out that she is loved and well liked by her guildmates, and it turns out that for her, this is more important than her performance, or lack of.
 
@Chris: I'm not hiding anything in my blog post. I think I state my reasons for leaving pretty clearly and can't think of anything more to add. I think it was a combination of hurt feelings quite logical thinking, trying to see what was best for me as well as the guild. Having issues with your learning curve is serious business. It's not that I'm not learning, it's that I'm not learning quickly enough. And if it's even possible to improve this, you don't improve it by NOT raiding.

Our guild is not a social guild, it's a raiding guild, Especially these days there isn't that much of socialization going on outside of the raids, apart from those who are in Rift and have created a parallel guild there. I can't see any reason for me to remain in the guild as a non-raider.

But you are right about that I had no idea of that I was that much appreciated. I guess it's a bit in our European culture? We don't really say those things to each other until it's too late.
 
Strictly speaking, the purpose of raiding is to progress as far as possible. The purpose of raiding is not to deepen friendship, even if this happens by consequence in many guilds. At least, I think this is the answer Blizzard would give internally from a game design point of view.

That said, the ultimate purpose for raiding to a player can be either "to reach the top" or "to deepen friendship." The former may lead to a lot of guild hopping until you reach the top. The latter may lead to sticking with your guild regardless of progression because the relationships matter more.

My point, is that it's not mutually exclusive. You can have guilds that have both types of approaches coexist. From the player's perspective, there is no universal purpose for raiding.

I am more inclined to understand the things Tobold and Larisa say, because we value similar things. In my moral structure, I cannot ditch human relationships for purple pixels. But that's my prerogative; I don't believe it's a universal truth the to be discovered or a point of view I can reasonably prove as optimal to all. As sad as that makes me.
 
I think Tobold had this discussion before, about being able to join MULTIPLE guilds for DIFFERENT purposes.

Kinda like having a "social guild" and a "raiding guild" and a "pvp guild" and you can be part of them all.

This is what all this drama is coming down to. People playing WoW are not one-dimensional Raid Drones , but the "system" is forcing you to be exactly that. You join a guild and if that guild wants to raid then you have to raid too.

In real life we don't have this do we? You got your work colleagues which you do work with, then you got your social friends you go drinking with. Sometimes it might be the same people, but it does not have to be.

So in the social department , Blizzard [and any MMO that are aiming for a 10-year plan] have a long way to go....
 
@ Larisa

Having issues with your learning curve is serious business. It's not that I'm not learning, it's that I'm not learning quickly enough. And if it's even possible to improve this, you don't improve it by NOT raiding.

Well, in all honesty, it is refreshing to hear you make such a statement in light of your past views on the hardcore/casual debate. I wasnt attacking you, but rather I was making an attempt to understand how you might have become blind to the fact that your guild entered into a realm where the line between the two was being more clearly drawn. It sucks to realize that one might not be able to live up to someone elses expectations, especially in an online environment where social bonds and the resulting friendships are often lost when the leadership gets caught up in the "expectations shuffle".

I think there will be positive fallout for your guild as a result of this situation, and it seems that Stumps is realizing what has occured and is committed to taking steps to improve the guilds image. It will serve to strengthen the guild and bring those involved with raiding more closer together. It's just sad to see that you have basically lost your desire to be a part of it, whatever the outcome.

You've done nothing dishonorable, and hopefully you'll chalk this up as a major learning experience to help guide you in your next phase of online gaming.

I wish you all the best with this.
 
This all comes back to scarcity.

The expansion was light on content. So what content there is was made more difficult to keep the hamsters at their cage wheels longer.

If there were more content available Blizzard would probably make one raid Naxx2 and you could 10/25 pug it. That way more people would be happy.

I mean really I was on wow yesterday... I have 4 max characters and I could not figure out what to do. Tol Barad? Again?, Collect Pets on Hunter Done it. Run a random? Yeah, maybe get a root canal at the same time. Level an alt 5 ... er seen all the leveling content too.

Folks it's like 3.5 months since launch... the content is light... too light for the money we paid in Dec... PLUS as an added bonus Blizz has decided to NOT have Firelands in 4.1 so even less content is coming.

Yep, time for alternatives.
 
@Chris

"No where in her post does she mention that she was ever "asked to leave". This was nothing more than a GM, and apparently Raid Leader, doing what he HAS to do to facilitate the progression of the guild as related to the progression goals which were openly stated at the beginning of the expansion. "

Let me clue you in on a good way to look at this.

For many people (myself included) asking me not to raid is the same as asking me to leave.

No offence but if I want to "raid" and I happen to be in a guild that raids. Why on earth would I be in a guild that raids but I don't?

No one wants to be the wow equivalent of a groupie joining in on Gchat about this or that exploit that the groupie was not actually a part of.

Seriously, you really think that someone should stay around after a person's performace vs progression is broached as a topic? Whoa Wut?

I personally would prefer to be in a guild where performace would NEVER be discussed. Because WE KNOW all about the time we brought the sub-standard tank or healer to make a run. And of course we NEVER EVER talked bout performance with them oh noes can't do that. Tank might get offended.
 
@Chris: "It's just sad to see that you have basically lost your desire to be a part of it, whatever the outcome."

I'm not sure where you got that from. I'm back in Adrenaline after all and I hope to knock down a few more bosses in Azeroth together with this bunch of people before I eventually at some point in the future - as everyone else - will call it a day and move on, quitting the game. When I do it I certainly hope it won't be because of my performances, but because of lack of interest.
 
@shoshtak.matt/Silvershaft
Comments not connected to each other and the comment you refer to has been written sometime after this, in reaction to another comment. No contradiction, different concept.

@Larísa dear, this response is a general comment to TOBOLD's post, which is spruced from your post. This was not a comment to you nor your post, so please try to see the connections. I never implicated you had said about hard/easymodes, but this is what it boils down: your guild decided to tackle the hardmodes which were harder than expected and not all cut the requirements. At least I see it that way.

Anyhow, it's over. Whatever the reasons, what ever the events, whatever the discussion, all is well in the fair land of Azeroth and all it's myriard guilds.

End. Finis. Loppu.

C out
 
A friend would never tell you to walk no matter how bad you do. There is being a guild leader and there is a friend. It sounds like the guild is a raiding guild with a group of friends that firmed over time. Some might see it as a clique.

She made right choice leaving the raiding guild. The friends she made over the years made it hard to stay away. I can understand it is hard choice. I've made lots of friends in MMOs through the years. Sounds like hard choice. I would have;

1. Stepped down from raiding and PUGd in guild till I made cut. That way I could have stayed with my friends.

2. If the GM would not allow this. He is not friend and the guild will break under blured friendship vs raiding

3. The guild policy seems too harsh in my opinion. J would suggest a guild rank for people in a 1-2 month PUG probation.

4. If you want to be in raiding guild, it takes hours upon hours of needing out to make that cut. If you can't possible ever make that because of slow response, show yourself to the door like she did and except the fact that it is best for that guild and the "friends" you left behind. Anything else will highlight the flaws in the system and drama will rear it's ugly head.

5. I quit WoW because of this elitist crap. I play MMOs for friends not loot. If it takes a year to down a hard mode, so be it if I had a smile on my face.
 
My guild has made a conscious decision that friendship > hardmodes. We had a couple players leave because they had different priorities, but it was very up-front and open. Our weakest player is an active duty soldier defending our country, and he doesn't get much time to play. We could rather raid with 24 players and his toon dead from standing in fire (again) than leave this friend and soldier out of the raid group.
 
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Check your Bartle score -- socials like to play with friends; achievers tend to choose friends to get their objectives met.
 
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