Friday, September 19, 2008

Someone sucks. How do you deal with it?

This post is about sucking. There are different ways to deal with it. One way can lead to guild kick. And the other way to progression towards eternal fame and glory. Which one do you pick?

The story begins a few nights ago. It was one of those nights which won’t be remembered as epic; to be honest it was pretty bad. We sucked. A lot.
We were in Mount Hyjal, doing bosses which we’ve had on farm for a long time. They should all have been one-shotted, and then we would get some time to work on next one in line – Archimond. But somehow things didn’t go as smoothly as they should and we ended up with only three boss kills.

The raid wasn’t just experiencing one problem, but several. People seemed to forget about the basics – such as moving out of fire and other stuff that hurts. And the dps was insanely slow, we could barely take the waves in order, giving us no time for decent recovery for the mana users.

We were all pretty disappointed, especially since it was one of the first raids we’d managed to get going after reorganizing the guild. We had recently split up from a raid alliance and. now we were supposed to rock on our own, to let our beloved guild shine in all its glory. This was not what we had expected.

Being drastic
When the raid finished quite a few players logged off, without saying much. It was just a “good night” and then they went offline, probably wishing to forget about the raid as soon as possible. That’s the privilege of a non officer, to be allowed not to take full responsibility.

For others, the players in charge, the night wasn’t over. There was more work to be done. Now it was time to deal with the suckiness – to face it and to take necessary measures. You won’t progress one millimetre if you flee into denial. So what did they do?

The first thing that happened was that one player got kicked from the guild. Yes, that sounds a bit drastic, but I think the guild master did just the right decision. This was a trialist, a new recruit who was doing his first raid. What got him kicked wasn’t just the fact that he sucked. He would probably have gotten a second chance if he had just been able to communicate. But he didn’t. He didn’t respond to suggestions or orders from the raid leader and he didn’t participate in the class channel as he was supposed to. “I kicked him because I couldn’t see how he could improve”, said the GM.

Being constructive
But of course it wasn’t just because of this single player that the raid wasn’t a success. We were several raiders who didn’t do our best performance ever. This was obvious when you studied the wws chart, which as usual was posted on our forum.

So what happened next was that an officer made a comment about it. He wrote a few lines, declaring how disappointed he was and mentioned a few basic things that didn’t work. He also encouraged us to start discussions in our class forums, asking each other for ideas how to improve, and also to speak up if there was anything about tactics we didn’t understand.

It didn’t take long before the first post appeared from one of our rogues:

“Ok, I have to be honest and say that I somewhat suck doing MH trash. Looking at yesterday’s report it’s obvious that xx kicked my ass goooood…and I wasn’t slacking!”

Right after that another “help me please” post appeared from one of his colleagues. Soon enough they got answers from an experienced rogue, who after looking at the wws charts had suggestions about rotations as well as gear.

I think this post from the rogue was awesome. This guy had the courage to admit he needed help. And that opened up for some sharing of knowledge. It was humble, it was honest and the whole thing was dealt with in a non-aggressive manner – still without lying or being overly polite. It was straight forward and I’m pretty sure those rogues will shape up soon after this.

Similar discussion threads were initiated for some of the other classes and I’m pretty sure that many players will have improved a lot to the next raid.

Communication is everything
Now to my conclusion:

If someone is playing sub-par you have to deal with it. It’s not pleasant but it has to be done or you’ll soon find yourself on a dangerous road which for a raiding guild eventually will lead to despair, failure and breakdown. The guild kick came because communications didn’t work. If this player had talked about his problems, listened to instructions, been open on how to improve, he definitly would have got more chances to show that he was a capabel raider.

The players who on the other hand didn’t deny their problems, but were willing to discuss them openly, aren’t facing guild kicks, on the contrary. These players show maturity. They help the guild to increase the total amount of knowledge. They help the team to grow stronger. They’re an excellent example of good communications.

To those of you who are in leading postions: I don’t deny that it takes a lot of courage to deal with players who suck, unless you’re extremely hard skinned and don’t give a damned about the feelings of other players.

But if you’re brave enough to do it, it’s very rewarding. You grow as a leader. You grow as a player. You grow as a team. Talk openly to the players who suck, trust your ability to communicate and you’ll be successful.

Next time in MH we’ll own the place.


krizzlybear said...

Communication. How could I forget? You amongst others have reminded me of what really matters, Lar. Thanks a bunch.

Gevlon said...

What you wrote is on the one hand obvious. On the other hand the ONLY difference between guilds that do MH/BT/SWP and guild doing Kara, but without those "terribly overpowered" dragons.

I have left several guilds with my main because of this one problem. In the "social" guild even mentioning damage meter reports is an offense against the "undergeared" players.

Now my girlfriend, me and another good player formed a guild. We pick up even green geared players if they ready to communicate, learn and work to improve their char.

Every new DPS-ers are taken to the black portal where a tank pulls a felguard (lvl 71 70K HP) I heal her and the DPS-er kills it. We check the effect of spell rotation changes and talent changes.

As long as his gear is green he won't get into Kara, not to mention ZA. But we tell him which rep factions give him nice gear, which normal instances provide improvement and such, where can he find money to support these improvements.

World of Warcraft is NOT hard, all information is available on sites and in the advices of more effective players. The ONLY difference between winners and losers is the ability and will to learn.

Captain The First said...

Not entirely on topic but I read the post title and immediately thought of this:

An automation addon that answers wispers for you in a rather creative way.

I can't even tell anymore how many sucky people have me on their ignore list now thanks to that one.

Anonymous said...

I am ridiculously supportive of communication as a way to become a better player. One of the problems that we've had with raids in the past is that a lot of members are wonderful people but are poor players because they honestly have no interest in learning how to be better players.

You don't have to be a progressive end-game guild to be good at the game. My current guild, Drunken Badgers, was a casual social guild of players who spent a hell of a lot of time discussing different classes on the forums. Now we're closing in on the top raiding guilds on the server, despite raiding only once a week for five hours. We managed to full clear Hyjal with one-shots in four weeks!

I'm clearly very proud of my guild, haha.

Anonymous said...

@Krizzlybear: thanks!

@Gevlon: I really like your approach. I can't understand why some people are so unsecure about themselves that they get offended when they actually are receiving a gift from another person, trying to help them out.

@Captain the first: I've never heard about that addon before. I checked it out and the examples of conversations they gave were just wonderful! I don't honestly think it will work for helping sucking players of your guild out. But I'm glad you mentioned it.

By the way after a night of sucking, who wouldn't need to see a goblin therapist? Wonder if a conversation with this one could help?

@Cynra: I bet you're proud! You really should be. It's an inspiring example to all of us. If you can accomplish that raiding only once a week, we definitly should be able to take down Archie, running three raids a week. As long as we keep the communications going an people really bother. Our biggest enemy currently imo is the pre-expansion blues.

Anonymous said...

I actually have a macro that will whisper or even /rw the phrase "TALK TO EACH OTHER."

When I have to put my guild leader feathery chapeau to deal with problems, I listen to what the issue is and then I almost always say "communication" in response.

Communication and respect are my two keywords for any and all guild drama. If we respected each other and we talked to each other every raid, every day, all the time, we would be at the top of the server. And so would any guild who knew how to use those two words properly.