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Drama Mamas: Problem guildie vs. inassertive GM

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.

Brownie points to the person who can concoct a connection between the above video and this week's letter. I failed. I was just in the mood for the song.

Dear Drama Mamas,

I've been thinking of writing for some time, and have reached the tipping point. There is one obnoxious and rude guy in guild who ruins the fun for the overwhelming majority of the rest of us. He curses, bullies, and complains nearly constantly in guild chat in what has to be intentionally improper English (since still spells his class incorrectly after years of playing), and yells loud obscenities in vent if he doesn't win a drop. He shows a lack of respect for everyone (and our time) by coming to raids woefully unprepared (like tanking in an alt group without an offspec so he has to be MT, without gems or enchants and improperly specced, while not knowing what he needs to do in his new role and not knowing his own abilities) and causing us to spend hours on wipes and not be able to complete the run. The GM is stuck in a place where she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't, because if he doesn't come he makes things even more miserable for everyone. No one is sure why she puts up with him, because he's been rude and very inappropriate to her as well.

Many of us have tried to teach him, both in terms of playstyle and appropriate behavior, but he doesn't listen or remember, or perhaps since he's not the brightest bulb in the pack he doesn't get it. I'm fair and nice to him, so he typically (but not always) treats me the same, but I'm reaching the end of my rope because I can't take the way he behaves with my friends and acquantances who are well-respected guildies.

He's been kicked from most other guilds on the server because he won't change his behavior despite warnings/punishments, and I'm worried our GM doesn't have the...assertiveness to do what's necessary to fix the situation. I think part of my worry stems from the fact that there are no guild rules and very little communication about plans for the future, so there's just a general lack of wanting to assume responsibility/control on the GM's part. His bullying, badmouthing, and overall obnoxiousness drove many significant members of the guild to quit several months ago. It's been escalating recently, and several other people (including my two closest friends in the guild) have taken a break, but don't want to come back for MoP if he will be there. Others are quietly talking about finding somewhere else, and most have been almost exclusively on non-guilded toons or leveling alts on other servers.

It reached a head recently, with him arguing vehemently (and rudely, while they were calm and rational) with several other officers, who told me they aren't sure how much longer they can take it. My attempts to diffuse the situation were not met with success. I sent the GM a piece of mail telling her of my worries of what he's doing to the guild and that I'd like to talk to her, but I'm also worried she won't step up and fix it.

On to the "tipping point." He has started attempting to sell RL items to people online and/or in vent. I'm pretty sure that's against the ToS, but since when he tried to sell to me it was in vent I think he was covered there and I don't have screenshots or anything. Regardless, it put me in a weird spot and I was extremely uncomfortable because he wouldn't just take no for an answer, he kept going until I gave him a fake email address he could send the info too. He also threatened to punch someone's face in the other night when he argued with the officers, and it went beyond just a person saying something offhandedly out of anger.

About 5 long term friends and I have been daydreaming of resurrecting the guild we all met in, but our server is one of the lowest pop servers. Recruitment would be a huge problem and our main focus is raiding. What do you suggest? Should I stick it out until MoP hits and see what happens, or take a break from the guild until then? And if nothing happens, should I leave and make that guild with my friends, be happier day to day, but only be able to do LFR and randoms, or stay and hope the GM takes action to prevent further deterioration? Or should I keep searching for a new server and hope I stumble across another guild? Is a guild that's "just right" an unrealistic fairytale at this point in WoW?

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: As eye-clawingly annoying as he seems, Mr. Rude isn't the cause of your guild-wide chaos here. He's got his issues, indeed -- but those are individual problems, not guild-wide concerns.

But before I go on to explain, let's take a quick look in the mirror, too. You and your guildmates appear to be contributing to the situation based on your impatience and dislike for him. For example, why is his lack of an off spec even an issue? The guy likes to play what he likes to play. Either adjust your tactics and play past the issue, or don't take him on as a group or raid member. Consider that while you're grousing about how rude and disrespectful his lack of an off spec might be, it's just as rude and disrespectful of you to accept him as a group member knowing his spec and playstyle and then complain endlessly about his performance. Common sense says don't group with a character who can't fulfill the role needed. Let his lack of versatility be a natural selector for his ability to get a group rather than a lightning rod for your own complaints and resentment.

So back to the problem. The problem isn't things like his admittedly ugly lack of manners or even his spec and gameplay; it's the fact that your guild is allowing each and every one of this guy's behavioral and gameplay tics to trample the rest of the group. Allowing a single player to trip up raid tactics or drive members into quitting demands prompt action.

Your derelict GM is the one who's causing guild-wide problems here. If your GM can't step up to the plate and handle his issues, and if the officers continue to stand by wringing their hands, it's time to drop the guild leadership a note letting them know you'll be joining the others who've already left if things don't turn around.

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Let's get right to it and list the major issues with Obnoxious Guy. (Yay, bullet lists!)
  • He is a foulmouthed, whining bully.
  • His chat is painful to read.
  • He is disrespectful and argumentative.
  • He doesn't take the time and effort to prepare properly for group activities.
  • He doesn't follow directions well.
  • His spec is not a good fit for your raid.
  • He is participating in shady doings that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • He has been kicked out of many guilds but still shows no signs of changing.
OK, let's move onto your GM.
  • She is not assertive.
  • She has not posted any rules for the guild and her leadership to be guided by.
  • She is not communicative.
  • She has no clue how to lead anything, let alone a guild with a problem member.
I wouldn't want to be in a guild with either one. The way I see it, you have two choices: Form a new guild, or ask that the GM relinquish her role to someone else. I see no point in ultimatums -- neither player is going to change.

Either way, your new guild leader needs to make sure not to make the same mistakes, particularly:
  • Be willing and able to step up and do the right thing, no matter how awkward.
  • Post rules that would ensure nothing like this would ever happen again -- and make it much easier to recruit since prospective guildies could be better educated as to what kind of a guild you are.
  • Be willing to enforce those rules.
  • Set up an appropriate number of officers to help with leadership.
  • Communicate regularly as to changes, concerns, and goals.
If you stay in the same guild, Obnoxious Guy has to go immediately. Since you don't have rules, the sales harassment can easily be the reason for the gkick.

Don't shilly-shally. (What a silly phrase. /giggle) Pick one or the other, and start preparing for Mists of Pandaria. It's just around the corner.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

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