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Officers' Quarters: Content is easy

Scott Andrews

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

It's been a while here at Officers' Quarters since we've tackled some good, old-fashioned guild drama. This week's email comes from a guild leader dealing with an abrasive officer (and real-life friend) with a penchant for long, sudden and unexplained AFKs.

Hi Scott,

I am the guild leader of a new 10-man guild. I created the guild equally with several real-life friends and we co-share the leadership. The problem lies in this: One of the real-life friends has been doing things like going AFK for 45 minutes in the middle of a raid. This was a guild-led, non-scheduled ICC-25 PUG, but he gave me little warning and then disappeared for 45 minutes, which included the first two bosses.

He returns and expects to be let back into the raid, and when I privately questioned him, he got angry at me for being upset and claimed that the bosses were "easy" and we didn't need him there. While this is true (we 24-manned it easily), I think it is unfair of him to expect to take up a slot in our raid and not contribute.

I have confronted him on several issues similar to this, but he always makes an excuse or says that content is easy and we don't need him there or in Vent, etc. I am beginning to think that he is taking advantage of his position as officer-without-a-job to get into raids and then do things that he would normally get kicked for.

These confrontations have gotten on my nerves and I have snapped at him over silly things, leading him to say that he would quit our scheduled guild 10-man if I gave him any more attitude. I don't know what to do, since speaking with him obviously doesn't work. The other real-life friend is aware of the problem and commiserates but doesn't have a solution. I don't want to make him leave the guild as he is a friend and does good DPS, but I don't think he would stay if I demoted him from officer status. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Hi, BaRaaHP. A common mistake that many new guild leaders make is promoting their friends to officer rank for no other reason than their real-life relationship. And your situation is a great example of why you never should. It's one thing if your friends are actively helping you set up the guild, recruit, create a website, lead raids, manage the bank and so on. Then you can say they deserve to be officers. It's another situation entirely if they are simply given the rank by virtue of their friendship and then expected to do nothing.

The Drama Mamas wrote a great column on the topic of friends behaving badly back in July. I particularly like Lisa's reply, and I suggest you check it out.

To her advice, I'll add my own comments. First of all, if your friend is any kind of decent DPSer, he understands basic math. When he goes AFK, it doesn't mean you won't progress through the zone (normal ICC is fairly easy with the 30 percent buff and average gear levels these days). Still, it does mean you're progressing more slowly on the whole. Missing even one DPSer is a noticeable hit, especially if it's one of your better players. In a 25-player partial PUG, a great DPSer could account for as much as 10 to 15 percent of the overall damage. That's not even accounting for any unique buffs that his class brings to the table that could also speed up the clear, provide mana or prevent deaths.

Thus, when he's gone, he's breaking my Golden Rule of Raiding (GRR): Don't waste other people's time. To demonstrate the impact, use Recount on a night when he's actually at the keyboard and show him what percent of the damage he's doing. You're probably going to boost his ego, which is a bit contrary to the goal here, but at least he'll understand better how his AFKs are hurting the raid.

On a side note, I'd like to know what the heck he is doing for 45 minutes that's so damn important. You're well within your rights to ask, since he's making your job harder and then giving you attitude about it to boot.

The bottom line

The bottom line is this: You can't allow an officer in your guild to act this way. It sets a terrible, terrible example for everyone else in the guild. What would happen if five people decided to take long, unscheduled breaks? Or 10 people? Nothing would ever get accomplished. What makes him special that he deserves the break and other people don't? Not a thing.

It also reinforces an us-versus-them mentality between officers and nonofficers, since anyone else who acted that way would never get away with it. Officers can't be above their own rules, or the entire social framework of a guild breaks down. It's particularly problematic when people in the guild know that this guy is your friend, because then you're also sending a message that friends of yours get special benefits that others don't. It's a double whammy for you. Maybe if you explain it that way, your friend will understand, but you know him better than I.

Fortunately, you have an ally in your other friend. Enlist his or her help in this matter, since communication from two people in this case is going to be more effective than your own, lone voice of reason. It's important for him to realize that his behavior is unacceptable, not yours. Having a third party to weigh in would be extremely helpful.

Stand up for yourselves. Do what's right for the guild. Then let him decide if that's a deal-breaker. If it is, then quite honestly, you're better off without him. I don't care how awesome he is as a player. His DPS when he's AFK is 0.

Finally, as a general word of advice: If your officers aren't helping you, they shouldn't be officers, whether they're your friends or not. Find people who will chip in, or you're going to burn out on this whole leadership thing very fast!


Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas and suggestions at You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!

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