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I was talking about guild drama the other night and stumbled into the middle of a conspiracy theory. I don’t have any time for conspiracy theories but they are fun, sometimes coincidence is a cruel mistress. In the following account only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I was in a guild some time ago, let’s call them Duality, not that they figure much in this story. A friend of mine in Duality, let’s call her Velvetbringer (thank you Blood Elf Name Generator) told me that she had had some weird experiences online with some random guy. Apparently he really wanted to marry Velvetbringer who he has never met in real life or seen photos of. Draenor-EU isn’t a RP server either so that’s just weird. Nothing really unusual about this: woman on Internet creeped out by a man. He we shall name Phalluspate©.

Meanwhile in another time, another place, you find me a guild officer (again) and looking after the shop. Now, after the release of an expansion and a few weeks before raiding is due to get underway again I start to become aware that a small group of four are gearing faster than anyone else. There’s nothing wrong with this, it will happen in any guild, someone has to be the quickest, someone the slowest. I believe this is called maths. The only problem I had was that one of the four, Treestream, was an officer and another, Nightfall, held a senior position in the guild.

Now for most of you this still won’t sound odd. However, in this particular guild we had a very clear policy of inclusion, cooperation and unity. I tried my best, along with the other officers, to gently hint and encourage these four try to engage in the project of gearing everyone, so that the entire team would be ready to raid when, or shortly after, the tier opened. The best response I got was sarcastic and dismissive.

Treestream was invited to (actually two) officer meetings to sort this “misunderstanding” out. He needed to address making unilateral decisions about promotions, whole guild meetings about raiding, focussing his efforts on gearing only himself and a tiny clique and not communicating with the other officers and ignoring meeting invites. We needed to plan how we could systematically gear up everyone that wanted to raid. It takes two seconds to get on Discord and post “Sorry I cannot make it tonight RL.” There’s even a phone app. So not turning up and not sending apologies is at best rude at worst arrogant and overly confident of your position.

In Treestream‘s awkward absence we confronted Nightfall about running all these mythics back to back when we, the other officers and many members, were trying to get everyone to max level and an ilevel that allowed queuing for heroic 5 mans. She gave me a lot of flannel. One piece caught my attention, in a nutshell she liked doing mythic and wanted to gear up to “help the raid” as much as possible “with progress”. She would get to this other “shit” when she’d geared. Now the shit, as she referred to it, was either a) helping other guild members or b) other guild members themselves. We chose to believe a) and we still didn’t like it.

It bothered us that she was running mythic with only three others. While Nightfall claims she’d only run a couple of mythics (ever) with Treestream and didn’t really know him we thought it odd he would unilaterally promote her to “Ranged DPS Leader”. She didn’t know what she had done wrong. It’s not what you’ve done, there is nothing wrong with what you’ve done per se, it’s what you haven’t done. Having a senior guild rank and not helping other guildies out wasn’t compatible so we had to demote her, busting her down to er…full member rank. She didn’t respect that decision and /ragequit.

I’ve played this MMO for thirteen years, Some phrases are coded and carry, often unspoken assumptions with them. So arguments in favour of having some people push to be better geared to make progress easier is code for having better geared people to carry the rest of the raid. When they get tired of carrying (immediately) you can implement two tier raiding with the “better” (read better geared) players in Team A. The rest of the people can raid on “a non-progress” night.

So a core of four apparently more raid and gear focused individuals in your guild can be problematic. Sooner or later they will being making statements that include most of the following; progress, frustration, repairs, wiping all night, carrying, less skilled, more DPS. It’s worse when two of the four are tanks and one is an officer. You can accuse me of paranoia and control freakery if you will but I see a coup brewing. It’s difficult to topple a Guild Master, it’s not difficult to hijack a raid and steal all the “best (geared) raiders”. The unspoken threat these people posed was of being too important to the guild to risk losing. Two well geared tanks and the (self appointed) Raid Leader.

The attitude of this clique, the sarcasm and dismissiveness towards officers, the outright lies in Nightfall‘s self justification (that made us question everything she said), Treestream’s arrogance and refusal to attend meetings or even message his regrets just irked me. After thirteen years I have seem all kinds of bullshit you just wouldn’t believe. Guild splits with the ex-GM leaving to form a raid guild with the best raiders. Tanks from other guilds stealthing into a guild and poaching the “best raiders”. It all boils down to the same asshatery in the end, adults playing a game and behaving like children. In a community guild that places equal value on all its members, no one person, or raid tank, is any more important than another. Sometimes you’re better off without these people.

Nighfall left and we kicked Treestream, then we kicked the others for their obnoxious attitude and being part of a little cancer in the guild that I hoped wouldn’t spread. Sometimes you make these decisions and no matter how sound you think they are you worry about the fall out and long term consequences anyway. So it was with some trepidation that I logged on the next day, I took a deep breath as I logged in. I expected a barrage of questions, a few people complaining about he loss, in one fell swoop, of the four best geared raiders, a few guild quits, complaints, sullenness.

I was staggered by the guild’s response. All that day, that evening and the whole next day guild chat was buzzing with vivacity and activity. Not one single person asked me what had occurred but the atmosphere in the guild was one of laughter, amiableness and togetherness. As I wrote on Discord the night before “Inclusion and community are easy concepts to grasp and pay lip service to. We’re not doing that, we’re serious.” It seems like people really took that to heart. Since then we’ve all, and I do mean all, been pushing hard to level and gear each other. Some people have run mythics too…there never was anything wrong running mythics.

So we’re reflecting on how things work out and Velvetbringer is poking around on wowprogress.com and points my attention to a newly formed guild: PenisEnlargement. With Treestream as GM, well I guess that kinda confirms my worst fears and sorts out who the ring leader was. Nightfall is an officer of course. I wonder who will be grinding herbs and ore for the entire guild and when he will get sick of doing it? We can’t imagine who will lower themselves to do recruitment in a guild full of narcissists? Good luck. You’ll need it. When people join and gear themselves then leave, taking some of your raid with them, remember you can’t bitch and complain.

LOL It comes to my attention as I write this that PenisEnlargement are whispering guild members trying to poach. If anyone wants to join you you’re welcome to them mate. Really. No problem, Il advertised your guild in guild chat and encourage anyone who puts progress before people to try you first. There are a lot of guilds out there like that, that’s fine, I say join one, please don’t try to change us. Apparently the whisper (as posted in to guild chat) runs something like “Your[sic] in a gratzing guild that recruits in Trade and has had a raid leader kicked and is losing members hand over fist.” One small point, Raid Leader was a self-appointed aggrandisement, I thought we’d agreed to share that role…but whatever.

Then we discover something even weirder. Treestream was in a guild called (er…) Hydrophobia. our ex-GM and good friend shouts: “Hydrophoba! I know their GM!”
“How come?”
“Well I was recruiting and spamming Trade chat one afternoon and she was asking all her ex-members to come back to the guild. It turns off it was her birthday and she logged on in the morning to say hi and see you all tomorrow, I won’t be on all day – birthday celebrating. People said happy birthday. Some time that day, after she logged off, one of the officers started kicking everyone I felt so sorry for her I offered mine and Duality‘s help, if could in any way.”
“Wow! Hydrophobia is the guild Phalluspate© was in!”
“Phalluspate©! That was the officer that kicked everyone.”
“What? Your stalker, your GM friend and Treestream were all in the same guild?”

It’s a small world, and the WoW Community is smaller. Hey, funny coincidence though. It would be more scary than funny if Treestream turned out to be an alt of Phalluspate© though…

I’ve blogged about my guild history before. In Wrath I flirted with hardcore raidering for a while. I don’t know how good I was. I was never the top DPS, but sometimes I put out the most damage. I don’t die and I don’t take a lot of healing which is what you want from a warlock really. It doesn’t matter if you can cheese the metre at points in the fight, but it really helps if you’re alive deep into the encounter to lay down some damage and push the team over the line. I decided after Wrath that I was less interested in the higher levels of raiding than I was in making friends and having fun. I was recruited in Cata for a very specific role: to fill out a bench / “Team B” roster and bring some experience. I actually liked the sound of this.

Mid tier the officer that recruited me went on a break, Team B decided it would continue pushing and progress into Firelands, then the current tier. We voted on a name, a banner to rally behind, foolishly I joked “Team Ruta” and that was their choice. The first / progression team selected Team A as their name. Losing the officer we lost our raid leader, so we decided we wouldn’t have one. With no raid leader there was no one to shout at people, get sarcastic, complain about wiping, ask who fucked up. Many in Team Ruta said they’d never had as much fun raiding and would never, ever raid with Team A‘s raid leader again. Occasionally, Team A members who couldn’t raid on their nights that week came along with us, they’d try to “raid lead” for us which meant calling out all the stuff that Boss Mods announce. We didn’t want or need that, so we stopped them. Without blamestorming and finger-pointing the team gelled and started taking individual responsibility for any mistakes they made. This made other team members confide in us when they messed up and offer advice if they’d solved a particular problem themselves.

So we supported and encouraged each other and played as hard as we could because we genuinely didn’t want to let the rest of the team down. Relying on ourselves and our boss mod addons we became better, more independent raiders. No one could forget or be too busy to call out massive boss damage incoming or all stack on the left so ten people had to remember for themselves…and did. I’d like to tell you we trounced Team A and Team Ruta cruised to a comfortable first guild defeat of The Madness of Deathwing. Sadly that would be bullshit. However, for a team existing to fill gaps in the first team, a reserve pool to call on if first teamers were missing or couldn’t turn up, backups, we did give them a good run.

So recently I got arm twisted into forming my own guild, it didn’t take that much pressure, but it is still Mori’s fault. I think it’s our guild, but she seems to want to distance herself from that idea. If I am going to do this and get to be the GM this time, I can write the rules and this time implement them too. Being the only one around during days I get to do all the recruitment too, which can be an annoying, tedious chore, but does allow you to be very selective. Particularly satisfying when poor huntard, ex-guildies ask to join. Of course you too would decline them because you have too many people they wouldn’t like: “hypercrytes”, people who don’t play the game any more and having rules banning backstabbers.

So what is the great experiment we’re running? Well, I’ve been dismissed as a casual on many occasions since Cata by people who aspire to skip through Flex (normal) and then stumble through Heroic level raids trying to keep their raid team together. Define casual? These same people have argued that I’m living in a dream world believing that 10+ adults can motivate themselves to complete an heroic raid. That without a guy (and it usually is a man) shouting or growling, chastising mistakes and bullying the team along there would be no progress. There would also be no progress if you insisted on having any and all guild members that want to attend a raid in your raid. Some people are so bad they have to be excluded. Or if you want to be more inclusive and push for any progression you have to have two raid tiers: the progress team and the others who are shit and need carrying. The language is usually different but that is what they mean.

So the experiment is that our new guild is to be inclusive on all levels. We don’t tolerate intolerance or prejudice, we welcome all races, genders and sexualities. We also welcome all guild members to our raid, no one is excluded. We have a raid leader, but his job is to impart tactics and advise. Not to duplicate the boss mod announcements or tell off adults for “standing in the fire” in a video game. I swear to you I’ve told managers to fuck off and quit job(s) where I’ve been treated with more respect than I’ve had from some GMs and Raid Leaders. Does anyone believe that I can happily walk out of paid employment when given unreasonable shit but I will stay in a guild that treats its members like children who need hand holding and/or some shouting at? Not happening. We may be rolling dice with progress but who cares?

Inevitably some people won’t like what I’m trying to do. I’ve been called a feminazi, a snowflake, a fascist, a communist, a cuck, a race traitor and accused of trying to create a safe safe or imposing the tyranny of male oppression (LOL) on poor mistreated while, heterosexual men. Just stating that we have rules underlining that we don’t tolerate racism, sexism or homophobia has been descried as politics, which have no place in a guild. That’s not politics, it’s not left or right, only one political grouping espouse racism, sexism and homophobia: the alt- or extreme right. Tolerance is not political it’s ethical. If you do not treat equally any who is not male, white or heterosexual then you’re excluded from our guild. That’s isn’t politics, I’m not excluding a political group or their ideas, I’m excluding hatred and the people that peddle it. Cunts.

Currently we’ve got about 100 characters and more than half that many people in our guild. They all seem friendly, helpful and supportive, whoever you are and wherever you’re from. I call that winning. We’ve cleared Antorus Normal too, the second time with a team of ten guildies for the achievement. In Battle for Azeroth we’re going to keep on doing what we do and being who we are. I also hope we’re going to clear each raid tier on heroic. However, I won’t be too disappointed if we don’t. I’d rather raid with good people that clear Mythic with cunts. You can quote me.

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