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Drama Mamas: Make it work


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.

Wives get a bad reputation. We are often portrayed more like evil stepmothers than the helpmates and lovers that we would like to be seen as. Some of us deserve it, from time to time. But often we are just trying to be the voice of responsibility in the face of a spouse who's behaving more like a carefree teen. Supervisors and guild leaders are also put in uncomfortable situations, where they are forced to be The Bad Guy in order take care of their responsibilities. This week, we mamas put on our stern caps and wag our fingers a bit more than usual. But we really hope things turn out well for the letter writer and those he interacts with.

Dear Drama Mamas, I play WoW at work. Wife aggro is extremely bad at home (seriously, she makes up excuses to keep me from playing), so the only time I play there is if she is asleep or out of the house, neither of which happens often.

The problem with playing at work is that I have to go AFK fairly often to take care of customers. Depending on the customer, it could take anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of hours. When I am soloing (as an altaholic, I do that often), it is not a problem; but if I try to do a 5-man or raid, I waste other people's time when I go AFK.

Last week, I was in a guild raid, got a customer, and announced that I was going AFK. After ten minutes, I snuck back to my desk, told the guild that I may be a while longer, and they can replace me if they can find another healer. They managed to find a replacement and booted me. Later on, I got a tell from a guildmate that some officers have been complaining that I go AFK a lot.

When I heard that there were complaints against me, I was determined to find out how I can fix it. The guild I am in is filled with very nice, non-confrontational people; so I knew that any hard decisions were going to have to come from me. I could swear off raids and 5-mans altogether, but then I would miss out on a huge portion of the game. I could push for playing at home, but it would be a long, uphill battle that may destroy my marriage (yeah, she's that stubborn). The suggestion I gave to the raid leader was that I am to be treated as a stand-in, and anyone that wants my spot can have it, regardless to whether or not I am AFK at the time. I am also to be booted if I am AFK for a ready check, minimizing the amount of time the raid loses if I have to go AFK unannounced.

The raid leader agreed, but I do not feel at peace with how I handled the situation. We don't have a lot of active raiders in the guild, but we typically have a couple of people on a wait list. Now any person on the wait list automatically gets my spot, which could prove to be very inconvenient. At the same time, raiding is a time commitment, and playing at work puts me in no condition to be raiding in the first place. Please tell me how I can enjoy the game without being a burden. Thanks, AFK

Drama Mama Robin: AFK, I'm going to be a bit harsh here. You are making your teammates, employer and customers pay for the fact that you haven't solved your wife aggro issues. You are letting your wife dictate your leisure time, and that is a problem that has nothing to do with Azeroth. We've already dedicated a column to advice for people in your situation. Rather than just giving up on playing at home, take a look at our suggestions and some of the things the commenters say. You can and should work on your relationship with your wife as your highest priority. I don't know the source of your wife's not wanting you to play. She may be being completely unreasonable, or you may be neglecting her. Again, I don't know. But fixing the real source of your problem will help everything else fall into place.

I also read your letter and get a bit stressed on your behalf. In this economy, doing something like playing WoW at work is extremely risky. Even if you say to yourself, "I'm helping the customers first and getting my work done;" you are still playing games at work, on company time and presumably with company equipment and bandwidth. Most companies consider this an offense worth firing over. And let's say your supervisors know and condone this -- do you think they're going to promote the guy who plays games at work or the person who doesn't? I won't get all preachy about the ethical issues as well, but from a purely practical standpoint, you should really consider all of the ramifications of playing at work.

While you're fixing your issues at home and if you continue to play at work, I really do think that to be considerate to both your customers and your guildmates, you should not do instances at all. Yes, you are missing out on a huge part of the game -- but consider it an incentive to fix your relationship issues sooner rather than putting them off.

Drama Mama Lisa: What a tangled mess! You're ruining your enjoyment of a favorite leisure activity because you're hiding it from your wife and customers? There's not a pretty way to paint this picture. I agree wholeheartedly with Robin that being forthright with your wife is your first order of business.

Before you begin, though, I'd encourage you to spend time reflecting on your priorities. Right now, it appears that you've placed World of Warcraft squarely at the top of your list.

  1. You've prioritized WoW above your marriage by whisking your play time to another venue, rather than navigating through whatever concerns are causing all the hard feelings.
  2. You've prioritized WoW above your work, by inappropriately dividing your time and attention and depriving your customers of considerate, thorough service.
  3. You've prioritized your personal WoW goals above the needs of the very groupmates and guildmates who are helping you achieve them, by insisting on grouping and raiding at times when you know you are unable to give your undivided attention.
Ultimately, I hope that you can work things out with your wife and get back to playing WoW at home. Everyone deserves the freedom of some independent leisure time. But if there are circumstances that prevent that, then you may need to let WoW go. You've said you don't feel at peace with how you handled the situation -- and you won't, not until you realize that it's time to stop cheating your wife, yourself, your customers and your guildmates by continuing to try to force the round peg of WoW into the square hole of time stolen from work.

Drama Buster of the Week

If you have a blowout with a guildie, sleep on it before you take your grievances to the guild forums. And maybe do some yoga, run a few miles, do some kickboxing -- whatever helps you get rid of your aggression. Then write the post, but don't post it. Let it sit a few hours before you commit. The calmer and more rational you are, the more support you will gain.

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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