Like patches through the PTR, so go the Raids of Our Lives. (Thanks, Matticus!) We got quite a few questions after last week's column. There's a lot of drama out there! We'll be answering two questions each episode, so if we don't get to your question this week ... we will eventually.
This week, we're talking about the drama caused by fellow raiders when they take phone calls during raids. We also talk about how to handle officers who end up being not-so-loyal. Let's get to it!
Dear Drama Mamas: It really gets on my one last nerve when the raid grinds to a halt because somebody is on a phone call. We have a couple of guys in the guild who just can't say no to their cells. They take calls from their moms, their girlfriends, their roommates, and then we deal with half an hour (and that's being generous) of "Is it safe to pull? He said he's 'kinda AFK.' Is he, or isn't he?". If it's a boss, we're stuck waiting – and sometimes we can hear them jabbering away through Vent. These aren't business calls; they're friends and relatives calling to chat. Seriously – WTF? Signed, Please Shut 'em Up
Drama Mama Lisa: Taking a pressing business call during a raid is one thing. But when the pizza arrives night after night during the most chaotic section of trash clears, or when Mom calls predictably right before the new boss on progression night, it's time to put on the brakes.
Raiding is a commitment; either you're there for your group, or you're not. With nine to 24 other people waiting on you (with their own pizzas to eat and their own Moms to call), you simply don't get the luxury of being "kinda AFK." Take care of your business beforehand! There's nothing the least bit attractive about a text- and cell-addicted junkie who can't keep his thumbs off the keypad long enough to deal with what's right in front of him. And make no mistake about it – the people who are waiting on you in game are very much a part of "real life," not figments of the internet that you can shuffle under the rug because "Sorry, guys, I have to talk to Mom!" (You really don't. Mom didn't raise you to ignore your commitments, now, did she?)
Let your voice mail take calls when you're raiding. (It's true: you're really not there right now – you're in Northrend!) At the very least, tell callers "Hey, I picked up because I really didn't want to miss you, but I'm busy now and can't talk. Can I call you back at 9:30?"
The easiest way to cope with chatterboxes who hold up the raid is to suggest that a guild or raid officer speak with them. Group leaders can set group expectations, including clear rules on replacing the person in question after X number of minutes or interruptions.
Drama Mama Robin: Something that your Raid Leader can do to avoid interruptions is to schedule a regular 15-minute raid break. The Spousal Unit did this so that he can participate in The Spawn's bedtime and it enables the entire raid to take care of all personal business and be ready to get back to work. If it's a scheduled break, then people can coax their friends and family to call during that time (and warn them they will be unavailable otherwise). Also, they can order their pizzas so that they can be delivered during that window. It has really helped my husband's guild put a lid on rampant AFKism, but it won't work unless it is enforced as Drama Mama Lisa suggests.
Dear Drama Mamas: I am the GM of a fairly small guild that is making casual but steady progress through endgame content. We are a close knit group that has been playing together for a considerable amount of time. The officers that I have selected to help me run the guild are people that I have always fully trusted. So when I recently found out that one of the officers, in addition to choosing NOT to help the guild with progression, has been spending his time on vent slandering the guild, and me (both as a person and the GM) I was floored. Now I feel as though there is constant tension whenever he logs on.
Is this a demotable or /gkickable issue? He has made it clear that he does not understand my frustrations with him and feels as though my complaints are invalid. Turn the other cheek, or make it clear that this is unacceptable behavior by letting the door hit him on the way out? Signed, NoAngel
Drama Mama Robin: NoAngel, my initial reaction is to say, "Kick him!" Life is too short to have stress in your leisure time activity as well as the rest of your life. If he's not helping progress the guild and is badmouthing you, my question is what does he bring to the guild?
Upon further reflection, and after consulting Officer's Quarters, having a serious chat with him is in both of your best interests. Discuss his current attitude and the reasoning behind it. Obviously, badmouthing you and the guild publicly and not helping in progression are not good for the guild and needs to stop. If he gives you solutions for making his experience better and the guild's as a whole, while apologizing for handling his issues so unprofessionally, then everyone benefits. If, on the other hand, he is neither apologetic nor cooperative, then I go back to my original advice: Kick him!
Drama Mama Lisa: I have to wonder where the other officers are in all this. After all, if you're a true team, this isn't simply between you and This Guy. Where were the other officers when all this slander was going on? Were they agreeing with him? Disagreeing? Shocked into silence? Fleeing from the channel in terror?
If you truly intend the officers to fill working roles, they need to get off their duffs and act. Obviously, Drama Mama Robin is right: you need to have a talk with This Guy and figure out what his beef is. But equally important, you need to get your officers on the same page with an eye toward actively managing guild issues. If This Guy's complaints were without merit, why didn't anyone tell him to knock it off? And if his complaints do have merit, why didn't he or anyone else bring it to the attention of the officers as a group, instead of creating drama in a guildwide channel?
Bottom line: officers need to be useful -- or there's no point. That goes for This Guy, and that goes for the rest of the officers. Sounds like time for a summer tune-up!
Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.