Drama Mamas: The case of the gold-selling guildie

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Drama Mamas: The case of the gold-selling guildie
Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I received the gift of massive drama for the holidays, which is why we went on an unscheduled hiatus. But that hiatus ends now. The promised roundup post will be next week, which means there is still time to get us the results of a letter we answered should you wish to be included. Just drop us an email at DramaMamas@wowinsider.com.

In the meantime, we have what this week's letter writer calls a "dilly of a pickle."
Dear Drama Mamas,

I have a situation in my guild that I could use your advice on. I am a senior officer in my guild, and some troubling news came to my attention a few days ago. It seems that one of my guild members is selling gold in real life. He's been using guildies' cool downs and the other guildies' professions to make items to sell on the AH. Originally, I thought it was to make items for himself, but that turned out to be false. The dilemma is that he's been in the guild for a while. He was an original member, then left, and came back about 4 months back. The other thing is that he's not selling the gold on a website. He's selling it to his real life friends because he's on work disability and his disability money will not allow him to play WoW, so he supplements his income by selling his WoW gold.

Thank you.

Drama Mama Lisa: I'm gonna be honest with you here, Senior Officer. The gang I game with has played various MMOs together for years and years, and if one of our group were on disability and unable to afford to keep playing, and he offered to sell us game-enhancing things for real money ... Sure, I'd definitely listen to his pitch -- and then I'd take up a collection and get him some game cards.

There are plenty of reasons this situation stinks:
  1. It sounds as if the guildies whose cooldowns and crafting time are being used may be in the dark about what their efforts are actually funding.
  2. It wouldn't be hard to raise $15/month. Where's the extra money going, and how does your disabled guildie rationalize that part of the equation?
  3. You have a guild to run, and encouraging anything sheisty is extremely counterproductive to the health of the guild.
  4. How long is this gonna go on, anyway?
Now that you know what's going on, Senior Officer, you can't un-know it. You can't simply go on about your business, letting guild drama slowly accumulate and fester out there in the dark. As a guild officer, it falls to you to track down the trail of deceit this guy is building. Is he being up-front with those he calls on for crafting about what he's doing with the items? How widespread among the rest of the guild is the knowledge of what's going on? How much interpersonal fall-out and resentment is your disabled guildie leaving in his wake?

Taking advantage of your guildmates for profit is downright sleazy. Even if they're aware and willing, selling gold is against the game's Terms of Service. And then you have the feelings of anyone who's participating but perhaps reluctantly, or anyone who's heard about it and disapproves. Don't condone this; it's a time bomb of anger waiting to blow up in your face.

Game time's cheap. If this guy's earned the kind of real-life guild rep and loyalty you seem to feel is there, why not just make an effort to round up some game cards for the guy?

Drama Mama Robin: Gold selling and exploitation and disability, oh my! So many topics about which to have knee-jerk reactions. Gold selling/buying always makes my head spin. Abusing the generosity of guildies for profit makes me want to speak in tongues. But then the disability angle muddles the whole good/bad thing ... initially.
  • My first reaction: Eep! He's disabled! Does that make this okay?
  • My second reaction: "Work disability" = short-term disability = he's recovering from an injury or illness and most likely has his job and a return to prosperity to look forward to in the very near future.
  • My next reaction: It's only 15 bucks a month.
  • My final reaction: Even if he is disabled for life, it still doesn't make it right to abandon ethics and morals.
Mr. Exploit N. Profit is already causing drama by putting you in this pickle. Would you let any other guildie get away with what he's doing to his online friends or with gold selling? If not, then you shouldn't let this guy do it either, even if he really is disabled.

Of course, if we misinterpreted the letter and the guildies are consenting to have their cooldowns used for his profit, it does change things a bit. If he's been up front about that, he's not really harming the guild with his abuse of the Terms of Service. I'm not saying you should condone the gold selling, but if he's just selling it to friends and not supporting the hacking sites -- well, he's really only causing his account potential harm. I would still ask him to stop or leave the guild, but you're not really going to be able to prove he stopped if he stays. It really doesn't sound like he has the guildies' consent, however.

Justice is really the best way to prevent drama in a guild. And injustice (perceived or real) is the best way to cause it. I'm all for taking a collection for the guy (in game cards as Lisa suggests, not cash). But separately, I think he has to be given the ultimatum to stop both the exploiting and the goldselling, or he will need to leave the guild.

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 DramaMamas@wowinsider.com.
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