Drama Mama Lisa:
My big issue is that this newer player has pretty much dominated the raid night. He seems to do more talking than our glead/raidlead, and tends to try to work the group composition around himself, by swapping among his two healers to 'compensate' in a way for the other healers. He doesn't do this when I'm not in group and consistently makes allusions to the fact that he doesn't feel that I'm competent for my class/role. IE: "If we had better healers/better geared healers, I'd dps this fight." It was myself and an older member returned to the game aside from him. My GM's wife has said that he was called out in officer chat about it, however I have yet to see a change, as he has made similar assumptions/comments about group composition again this week. I've been told that this player never really got over that I had taken a while to 're-learn' my class so to speak, so each mistake is a 'nail in the coffin'. He's a good player. He's a valuable asset to the guild and it's raiding progression, whereas I am beginning to believe I'm not. I can raid only one night a week right now due to IRL concerns, and in the same token haven't been able to do much in the way of badge grinding. I really feel like if I hear more of this, I'll g-quit. I informed the GM's wife of this, and she answered that not all of the guild felt that way about me, which doesn't really show because they're mostly quiet when this player talks.
So far I haven't said anything in gchat. I've mostly just sent tells to the GM's wife, who I'm fairly certain talks to her husband... cause that's usually a safe assumption. I've sort of commiserated with our main tank, who really isn't that great of a tank, but a fixture in the guild. This player also tends to critique the tank when he's not around, going as far as backing up his reason for saying the tank is bad, such as failing interrupts, not focused, etc. With me, I get sidelong comments and no constructive advice, hence my frustration at what seems like unfounded attacks. I've done my research, I've listened to our other pally's advice, and I've altered my rotation and play style. Our guild is not a serious raiding guild, it's considered casual, even though we do have an application system. This player tends to push hard for progression. [...]
I'm just stuck trying to decide if it's worth staying in this guild where I've been and have wonderful friends, but get looked down on by the most vocal person in the room, or if I should cut losses and server transfer like I've been debating, or none of the above.
PS: I think it's super-cool that there's a WoW advice column. Who says we're not a subculture?!
Change -- it's inevitable, even in Azeroth. Even in the coziest guilds, the undeniable march of progression and evolving guild culture can pull the rug out from under your feet. It's this, more than the interpersonal dynamics of Mr. Expert, that I want to remind you of today, Hurt Healadin.
funnels more raiders into the endgame today than ever before. Guilds that never would have dreamed of taking on the latest raids even a year or two ago are hanging with the big dogs. That means that players who were perfectly content to cruise along a tier or two behind the cutting edge are now eager to keep up with the latest content. With that desire comes a natural escalation in expectations for skill and experience, time spent, mastery of material, and gearing levels.
Some guild members will dig that. And some won't.
I'm sure that Robin will have much more to say about the interpersonal dynamics of this situation, but I want to make sure you're looking squarely at the realities of the situation as it stands. This isn't the same guild that you bootstrapped out of the Arthas doldrums. It's two full raiding tiers later. There's a new guy at the center of attention in raids, and he's a hotshot, and he's very, very vocal. As you yourself point out, guild members are pushing hard for progression. And in the midst of all this, you're working with a reduced play schedule and the inevitable gearing and experience deficits that naturally brings.
All this boils down to two naked realities:
Drama Mama Robin:
Your guild culture is undeniably shifting. It doesn't sound as if Mr. Hotshot's behavior is a deal-breaker for your GM and his wife, and your guildmates seem to be willing to ride the new wave of energy and take things at a more aggressive clip, too. This isn't to say that your guild will inevitably become a hardcore raiding guild, but I think you'll agree that the tone has already ratcheted up a notch. You won't change that now, not at this point.
You've become a casual player. For a while there, you'd worked your fingers back into the healadin gloves, but now you're already falling behind the curve again in terms of badge gear, drops, and experience with the encounters. You can't have your old spot back because you're simply not there often enough to fill it. As a casual player in a guild that's moving more quickly than you are, you need to get happy riding the other end of the teeter-totter ... or look for a new playground where everyone shares the swings at the same speed.
Hurt, you need to talk to your guild/raid leader as soon as possible. It's okay if his wife is in on the conversation, but rather than assuming she is telling him everything the way you want it to be told, you should talk to him directly. Here are some tips and suggestions:
Don't get defensive. Apply this to almost all situations. Yes, you are insecure about your role and the perception of your skills. But making declarations and accusations is a weak way to come at this issue.
Don't be demanding. No matter how much the leaders may like you, they won't want to work with a troublemaker. I'm not saying you are, but I'm just warning you in case you are considering giving an ultimatum.
Verify what the raid leader expects from you. Are you both on the same page? Does he know what day you can raid and what you are able to do outside of the raid to keep up with everyone else? This is the raid leader's chance to either confirm your role in his raid or give you a warning of changes to come. If it's bad news, it's best to find out now so you can adjust if possible or find a new home, if not.
Be open to criticism. Perhaps there is some extra reading you can be doing during your offline time. Maybe you can squeeze in a few more activities to help keep up. Your raid leader may have some things to say to help your game that may hurt, but it's better than the silence from him and the nastiness from That Guy.
Make a request for reduced drama. That Guy's snottiness is not the way to handle the situation. Duh. So once you've worked things out with the raid leader as to how he wants you to move forward, request that he inform That Guy about his decision. Explain that you find That Guy's behavior rather unprofessional and you hope that it will stop so that everyone can enjoy a drama-free raid experience.
That Guy seems rather immature, so even if the raid leader handles the situation perfectly, That Guy may continue with his lack of people skills. Hopefully, with the new mindset of your role you get from Lisa's advice and the talk with your raid leader, you will be able to handle That Guy's nastiness by just ignoring it and doing your best.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org.