Drama Mamas: Love fool

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Drama Mamas: Love fool

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

If we used logic when choosing our significant others, there wouldn't be so many good stories, songs, poetry, etc. in this world and throughout history. Sometimes our hearts make good decisions and sometimes... well... sometimes our loved one turns out to be a Drama Queen or That Guy. And while the objects of our affection may have wonderful qualities that outweigh their faults, sometimes our friends are stuck with only the bad stuff. Today we have a story of some friends who wish to accommodate a friend who is a love fool.

Dear Drama Mamas, I have an acquaintance in the game I will refer to as "The Guy". The Guy is the real-life boyfriend of another friend in the game who I'll call The Girl. The Girl was a somewhat dedicated raider, The Guy was not. However, in the past few months, The Guy had decided that he finally wanted to try his hand at raiding so he can run with The Girl and do content with her. At her suggestion, he dropped in an application to The Girl's guild explaining that while he was entirely new to the fights, he was willing to learn and would like to run with his significant other and would they give him a trial run maybe? They agreed, and he was given a trial run in 10 man Ulduar, a raid the guild already had on farm.

It didn't go well. Not only was his application denied, he was summarily booted from his own trial run three boss fights in, and his application on the guild forums was quickly pasted and stickied with a public message noting that he was "easily the worst player we have ever seen", citing his "being completely and utterly incompetent at every single thing required of you" as a reason to deny his application. The fallout from this was that The Girl quit her own guild as a show of support for The Guy, then turned to us, a group of her mutual friends who run informal raids now and then, with the proposition that we bring The Guy along to Ulduar so he can see some content and get some loot without having to contend with the egos of a bunch of hardcore raiders. We agreed to this, figuring worst case scenario was we had to explain the fights to The Guy and get him his proverbial sea legs for raids. No big deal, right?

Here's the problem: The Guy really is staggeringly incompetent. (And loud. Very, very loud.)

We're not talking "Would do fine with some better gear". We're not talking occasionally stands in the fire. We're talking legendarily bad. Worse still, he's the kind of bad where it's everyone else's fault but his own and he's more than happy to point this out, launching into full-bore shrieking fits over vent when he gets stressed, which seems to be all the time.

That first shot at Ulduar was sobering. In each fight, he'd invariably somehow manage to die in fire right off the bat, or do something to ultimately wipe the raid. Finally, on Kologarn, he proceeded to stand way back in a corner and not move or cast a single spell for the entire fight, ultimately dying when targeted with the eye beam attack, which he simply stood in until it killed him. He then proceeded to complain loudly on Vent about how bad his lag was, and then abruptly left the raid, followed by The Girl who said he was "really stressed out" and that she had to go calm him down.

(It's important to point out that we were explaining the fights to him in fairly excruciating detail beforehand. We weren't just tossing the guy in there with no warning and saying "Okay, go heal!" We asked if he understood, made sure he had a clear idea of what to expect, and even gave him flasks and potions to help out. You can lead a horse to water...)

We ultimately replaced them both and completed the rest of Ulduar with no more problems. The next day, The Guy shows back up and cheerily asks if we're going again tonight, like nothing went wrong. When I tell him it's completely clear and won't be reset until Tuesday, he says "Oh, I figured you guys would wait for me. That's kind of a crappy thing to do. Thanks a bunch." and logs off before I can reply. Problem is, The Girl, who we are all friendly with, is endlessly thankful (and kind-of dishearteningly apologetic) that we haven't already permanently banned him from future runs; I get the feeling she's fully aware that he's no fun to run with.

So yeah, I'm at a loss. I don't want The Girl to feel bad that we don't want to help her boyfriend out, but at the same time, The Guy is both staggeringly incompetent and simultaneously remarkably self-entitled, not a great combination when you're looking to make new friends. None of the other people in our little group want to help this guy out and frankly I don't either. He's about as ungrateful as you can get considering he's basically asking us to carry him through content so he can get achievements and loot he did nothing to earn. But, he's only been with us on one run. Maybe he'll get better? How long should we give him? What if he gets worse? Should we just drag him along as dead weight until he gets bored (which seems inevitable) and thus avoid any drama, or drop him on his butt and hope he has an attitude adjustment because of it? Halp!? -- Exasperated

Drama Mama Robin: Dear Exasperated, you and your guild sound like a bunch of good people stuck in an icky situation, but for all the right reasons. It's also like being on the other end of what Feels Single in Game goes through with That Guy.

To directly answer your question, you're getting drama whether you help or avoid the guy. He is drama. And dropping him on his butt is only going to feed his persecution complex. To him, you are the bad guys in this scenario, as evidenced by the whole "That's kind of a crappy thing to do" comment. If you are still willing to work with him a bit (I don't know what's gone on since you sent us this email), here are some suggestions:
  • Suggest upgrades for his computer: Take the lag complaints at face value, after all, they may even be true. Find out his system specs and have your savviest member suggest what upgrades he should get for his computer. Then tell him that it would be best if he didn't raid until he gets his lag issues fixed. If he still insists on raiding without fixing his computer, then tell him that he'll be replaced the moment it seems to be a problem.
  • Mute him in vent the moment he becomes loud: There is no need to warn him beforehand, because that will just cause a useless argument. But as soon as he becomes disruptive in a raid say, "Sorry man, you're too distracting. You lose your vent privileges for the rest of this run." And continue this one strike and you're out policy forevermore.
  • Institute a "no res for avoidable deaths" policy: If he (or anyone else) dies due to standing in the fire or other avoidable reasons, make him run back right away. I wouldn't even wait for him to run back before you move on, since he's just dead weight anyway.
With these new rules in place, he'll either quit (you win) or he'll try and get better (you kinda win). In the meantime, it will continue to be frustrating, but your friend will appreciate what you are doing for her and will see that you're at least attempting to help him. And with an amazing amount of luck, he may turn out to be an acceptable groupmate! But don't hold your breath.

Drama Mama Lisa: I like Robin's suggestions, really I do. But I wouldn't do any of those things. Frankly, The Guy's appalling lack of social and gaming skills is not your problem. The Girl has tried to make it (or allow it to become seen as) your problem, and it could be your problem -- but only if you decide to hit "accept."

So don't. Your group of friends is exactly that: a group of friends. The Guy is not a friend. You extended The Girl the courtesy of giving him a fair trial run, and it was obvious to all parties concerned (except, embarrassingly enough, The Guy himself) that the attempt was a dismal failure. Your social obligation is complete. There's no need for elaborate excuses if The Guy comes back at you again. "Sorry, we're full up tonight" will serve perfectly well. It's up to The Girl to figure out how to deal with the fallout.

Here's the point: If you're going to bring a friend, co-worker or family member into a social situation -- including any group activity in an MMO -- you are socially obligated to facilitate the budding relationship beyond the initial introduction. The social burden here is on The Girl, to coordinate The Guy's introduction and smooth the way for future relationships and interactions. It appears that her involvement has been minimal, beyond some initial damage control. It's time for her to step up and take care of an uncomfortable situation that she, in fact, is responsible for creating.

Drama Buster of the Week

I have a long history of foot in mouth disease. As I've grown older and wiser, it happens less and less. But there are still times when I'll babble on and on and realize later that I've made a total butt of myself. You can do a lot to prevent it from happening in your guild by putting relevant information in the guild notes. Put the main for all alts and put relationships in there too. A simple "Onnix's wife" or "Legolol's alt" may prevent innocent comments from turning into embarrassment for all. Of course, if you don't look at the guild notes before spouting off, then the tasty toe sandwich is all on you.

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.

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