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Drama Mamas: Invasion of privacy


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.

Captain Obvious says that communication within guilds is a very good thing. But as we've seen before, sometimes too much communication can cause more drama than keeping quiet. It is smart to anticipate problems and make preparations in case they occur. But is thinking the worst of people the same as proactive problem-solving? When thinking ahead to avoid trouble, it is usually a good idea to examine your own motives and see if any prejudices are lurking that color your viewpoint. If it's possible that envy or disapproval are clouding your judgment, it is usually best to keep your mouth closed and your eyes open. I assume the best about this week's letter writer's motives for wanting to prevent drama in his guild. But in this case, motives are irrelevant to the possible drama bomb that would explode from an invasion of privacy.

Dear Drama Mamas: There are two members of my guild, both male, who are in a romantic relationship with each other. Most members of my guild don't know this, and the two men prefer to keep it that way. The problem is, one of them was recently promoted, and on some nights will be distributing loot among a group that includes his boyfriend. I don't think it's appropriate for an officer to be dating a lower-ranking member, and ordinarily I would raise that issue to argue against the promotion. However, I don't want to out the couple -- that would be a serious invasion of privacy. What should I do? -- Morton's Diner

Drama Mama Robin: Morton, I have a few questions which need answers for me to answer your question fully:

  • What is your guild's current couple policy? If an officer gets his girlfriend/wife into the guild and she raids, is he not allowed to distribute loot for that raid? Or is there no clearly stated couple policy? If there is no couple policy or if other couples have different guild ranks and are able to play and loot together, there is no reason to make a fuss about this particular couple.
  • What is your rank in the guild? Are you an officer whose business it is to set up and enforce policies, or are you just a concerned citizen? If you are an officer, you have more power in this situation than if you are of lesser rank than the officer-boyfriend. Warning: If you are not an officer, any noise you make about this promotion may seem like sour grapes.
  • Has the officer behaved inappropriately loot-wise yet? You may be convicting this couple of inappropriate behavior before any takes place. And they may behave completely professionally forever, or just as likely, the non-officer may get less loot in this scenario in order to throw off any suspicion.
Actually, no -- I don't need any of the above questions answered. Of course you shouldn't out these two players. And I must admit that I disagree completely that it is inappropriate for people to date within guilds, no matter what their ranks. Let's talk about the nature of guilds:
  • A guild is a group of people in a game. It is not a company or the military or a government agency. Though a professionally run guild is most certainly more successful than one that is not, physical world rules established to avoid lawsuits and the like just don't apply.
  • A guild is a social club. Guilds are formed by people with common interests and goals. Of course romance will happen, no matter the gender.
  • Most guilds have couples in them, even progression guilds. Despite the popular conception that gamers are all lonely basement-dwellers, we know that guilds have been functioning with couples in them for years.
  • Friends who aren't dating conspire for loot nastiness all the time. Just because two people aren't romantically involved doesn't mean they will automatically behave better than those who are. The fact is that most loot conspiracies and raid invitation bias occur between people who are just friends.
  • Raiding guilds raid. So whatever loot drops that you don't get will drop again in the near future. If your guild isn't raiding regularly or you're not getting the loot you think is appropriate, these are issues that have nothing to do with this couple.
  • Loot distributors are under a magnifying glass. If there is unfairness going on, you won't be the only one who notices. Complaining will happen and adjustments will be made, regardless of romantic connections.
If you find that inappropriate loot distribution behavior is occurring and you want to bring it up to an officer, then you still shouldn't out the couple. It is the officer-boyfriend's ethics and judgment that is the problem, not his taste in partners. Use the word "friend" and imply nothing more, and you will be able to deal with the problem without causing any extra drama and pain. If no loot issues occur, then rejoice at the lack of drama. Enjoy!

Drama Mama Lisa: The nature of the relationship between these two players has nothing to do with loot. A couple in a romantic relationship is no more likely to cheat on loot rules than friends in a platonic relationship. Cheaters cheat -- it has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

So here we have it: The nature of their relationship is irrelevant. No cheating on loot has occurred. What should you do? Nothing, my friend. Nothing at all.

Drama Buster of the Week:
Raid leaders, when you assign a non-traditional role to a specific player as part of your strategy, it is not enough to just tell the player. Announce this assignment before each raid to avoid drama. If your best DPS is assigned to only hit the boss and not touch the adds, for example, make sure everyone knows this. Otherwise your star damage-artist will most likely receive "advice" in whispers. [Thanks, Jagoex, for this tip!]

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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