Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The window that can bring your guild together

I think we can agree on that teamwork is one of the essentials in raiding.

You won’t kill a single boss if you have 10 or 25 individuals, each one running their own show without paying too much attention to what everyone else is doing. Optimal enchants and precious gems won’t help you if the group mind is lacking.

Yet I have the feeling that many raid teams spend way more time on memorizing every little detail in Tankspot videos or penetrating the latest spellrotation discussions at EJ than they spend time thinking about how they could develop their raiding team and bring it all together.

Why bother?
I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps the theories and suggestions about group development are just too vague and therefore more difficult to grasp than the solid number-crunching figures of strategies and spec optimization. After all, it’s not your guild happiness level that literally kills bosses. It’s raw damage, point by point. So why bother about psychology?

One reason why you should is that a stable raiding team which manages to hold together overtime, not getting dragged down by a huge turnover, probably will be more successful. in the long run Handling internal conflicts (a.k.a. Guild drama) leaks a ton of energy and effort that you could use way better elsewhere. If you want to minimize that kind of crap, I think you might want to look into this field.

Some guilds actually already do. For instance Paragon, the highest ranked guild in the world, cooperates with a researcher in group psychology. They use personality types as a tool when they’re recruiting and improving their raiding team.

But you don’t have to be a world class guild to benefit from this approach. Perhaps you’re not even raiding at all. You could still have a good reason to want to bring stability to your guild, making your members get a little closer to each other. After all, I think many of us (although not all) find it nicer to play with friends or colleagues than with NPC-resembling anonymous robots.

A Johari Window
One way to develop your team is to use a Johari Window. The new blogger Stubborn at Sheep The Diamond had a post where he suggested a way to adapt the model for a WoW setting.

Basically the Johari Window is a tool that you can use to help people to discuss how they see themselves and discover how others see them. As you get to know more about it, the window will open up, which from my experience will bring a solid ground for teambuilding as well as self development.

As an example Stubborn gives us a list with suggestion of adjectives to describe you as a player and he asks us to pick a few of them that we think fit to ourselves. The next step is to ask a guild mate to do the same thing and pick the adjectives that he or she thinks describe you best. And then you compare your resaults.

You might end up getting quite surprised, seeing that your ideas about yourself are entirely different to the impression you’ve made on your guildie. The differences you find can spark a discussion that can result in a deeper understanding and acceptance of each other’s personality. But it can also highlight behaviour and habits that you were completely oblivious of and that you might want to change.

I tried Stubborn’s list on myself and ended up with the following adjectives about me: doesn’t nerdrage, signs up for raids, stays until the end, reads WoW blogs, always ready on time, worries about causing wipes and doesn’t afk.

But is that how my guildies see me? Maybe, maybe not. And if I’d ask them about it, I might learn something from it. Our windows could widen a bit and bring us together, putting oil in the raiding machinery.

Check out Stubborn’s post and try it for yourself! Perhaps you’ll get some insights. And if you don’t – at least it can bring you some laughs.


Anonymous said...

I don't think my fellow players would be happy if they knew what I really think about them. So I hide it carefully. Less drama that way!

Anonymous said...

That's a very interesting idea! I think it might be fun to use regular (not WoW specific) adjectives like 'calm', 'fun loving', 'makes me laugh', 'inspiring', 'trustworthy' etc too, because I think most people would be surprised at how well a large raid guild can actually know each other.

tonyp51 said...

I'm sorry. Interesting as it sounds, I really don't want to know my guildmates that intimately.

Why should you HAVE to know people that well to play a game? If you do, is it possible the game is designed wrong?

Maybe these aren't really games, but hobbies, or sports, or something else?

Stubborn said...


I actually totally agree with the last part of your post, that this has gone beyond being just a game. If you're a serious raider in a more-than-casual raiding guild, it's psychologically no different than strategy planning on a sports team (though of course the physical aspects are QUITE different). I've been referring to WoW as my hobby for years now, because explaining how you can spend so much time playing a "game" is bothersome, whereas when you call it a hobby, people assume it takes a good bit of your free time.

As to the first part of your post, I've never been in a guild that took the time to do this, either, but I think it'd be a fascinating study to do, and I agree that it would - if nothing else - certainly open a debate about the raiders' expectations and goals.

However, I have used the Kiersey (spelling?) Temperment Sorter on my D&D players, though. For those unfamiliar (I promise to keep this short and simple), players are to choose an "alignment" for their character, which is a general behavior pattern. I found the game's system to be woefully lacking, so I used the KTS instead and found it to be a perfect tool for judging how characters would react to situations. I think the premise is mostly the same as Larisa's. Perhaps I'll talk about that one in the future (:

Clovis said...

Thanks for the post Larisa. Will share this with my guildies and see what they think :)

Talarian said...

At the raid level, it can absolutely be like a sport. In fact, I use that as a basis for explaining why attendance matters to my raiders (as I raid lead in a very laid back guild), where our raid is like a recreational soccer team. If you can't make it, no biggie, let us know, but don't just not show up and expect folks to not be upset.

Soccer, Football, Baseball, Hockey, and other organized sports *are* games, and the level of seriousness and intensity that you play them at runs the gamut from completely disorganized pick up games at the local field to international competitions between people who've been playing their whole lives. And those teams often end up doing better when folks get to know one another better.

The term 'game' these days seems to have been relegated to only spurious activities, whereas traditionally games could be spurious, but were often deadly serious. War games by miltaries, the games at the Roman Colliseum, the Olympic Games of Greece.

Larísa said...

@Anonymous: maybe time to find a new guild? ;)

@Spinksville: Yeah, I think that could work as well. The list of adjectives could be worked on.

@Tonyp51: As others pointed out: yes, being in a raiding guild actually IS quite a bit of a hobby or sport.

@Stubborn: Please go ahead and talk about it! The psychological/group dynamic aspect of WoW is probably what intrigues me most about the game.

@Clovis: would be interesting to hear about the outcome if you come around to give it a try!

@Talarian: You put it better than I do. /agree

Zahia said...

Raiding in a friends' 10-man guild, I'm very interested in trying this. I'll work a bit on the adjective list and see if other guild members are willing to try it out !