Friday, November 12, 2010

In which I shall dance carefully around substance

To begin with, this blog is not remotely secret from guildies, and in fact I've linked to it from the new guild website I've put up on guildomatic. I have also been serving as raid leader for the guild since April, albeit with a several-months-long break from raiding during the Summer. To complicate this issue, I was a friend of the guild leader in the real world before I started playing WoW, much less before I joined her guild. I'm not sure how aware of this fact several of the guild people are, but I could easily see it turning into a dramabomb at some point in the future.
What I'm getting at here is that if I want to talk about my guild, or about raid leading, or anything like that, I have to be very careful about it. The thing is, I also do quite want to talk about my guild and raid leading.
I think I want to start by just going over some things that I think are true, so that even though they've been said a million times before, I'm clear about where I'm coming from when I talk about things. Then I would like to congratulate myself for prefacing clarification with possibly one of the vaguest statements ever uttered by a human being. Yeesh.
Be of brave heart, self! Onward! Hiyah!
  • The term "casual" is a loaded one, which is why I put it in square quotes. What I mean when I use it is: we raid two nights per week and three hours per night. This isn't a particularly strenuous raid schedule, and we're not going to be getting server firsts in Cataclysm, but I think we'll be able to do quite well.
  • As has frequently been noted by innumerable people, Starting the Raid Late is the barbed and venomous bane of pretty much every small, "casual" raiding guild. Even if all you're trying to run is a 10-person raid, an endeavor exponentially less complicated and awful than running 25s, it's pretty easy to find yourself with 8 or 9 people in the raid waiting on the last person or two, and then someone goes to Dalaran to respec or hops on an alt "until the tank shows up" or whatever, and by the time the last person logs on and zones in, you're making your first pull 45 minutes late.
  • This sucks. It is no fun for anyone. And it cuts in to time that could actually be spent killing new bosses and listening to each other cheer on vent, which is why we do it, right?
  • This, then, is the fundamental reason I think that a guild doing any raiding at all whatsoever needs to have rules.
If you accept my argument above, then everything else is just dickering, to paraphrase a misogynist aphorism. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure that in 2-4 months this is going to cause Issues in the guild, and I'm probably going to be the guy that has to be a dick. I am really, really not looking forward to this, for a whole sticky web of interconnected reasons.
Note to any guildies reading this: if you think I'm thinking of you, well, maybe? But probably not in the way you think I am. A safe zone example of the bridges I profoundly do not want to come to, let alone decide how to cross and/or burn, is my boyfriend's participation in the raid. First, I love him. Second, I love playing with him. Third, he is in my perhaps biased opinion one of the best - if not the best - healers on the server. Fourth, he may or may not be able to convince his job to play nicely with our raid times. I encourage the reader to refer to my foundational Argument For Why We Ought To Have Rules, found above. What am I going to do if fair enforcement of guild policy mandates that I bench my boyfriend?
Honestly, as I am not a terrifying and emotionless automaton, I have no idea. Here's hoping I don't find out.
I'm also clearly, in my opinion, not doing very well with handling things so far. I can justify this in part by noting that, even though we did just kill Arthas, the guild is in a very fragile (perhaps even frangible!) state. It has franged before, in fact! And some of our current members are actually fragments of this previous cataclysm, if you will, that we have since grafted back on to the trunk. One of these fragments has been guildless since he originally separated some months ago, but then came to a night full of Arthas wipes on Wednesday, the day before we got our kill. He was filling in for one of two regulars who weren't able to make it that night. When that person returned, there wasn't space for him, and I knew that person would be returning, but I didn't warn him. He was understandably upset when he got benched Thursday, and I'd assume more upset when we then killed the LK. He is also connected in to a social network the full extents of which I am not fully aware of, but it seems possible to me that mis-handling this further could again cause damage to the guild.
The hilarious irony of all this is that, when we were both a member of the same (hordeside!) 25-person raiding guild, I frequently talked with my boyfriend about how easy it would be to fix all the little drama problems in the guild. I still think that perhaps, as GL or RL, I might have handled some issues differently, but I am also forced to face the fact that I was largely full of poo. Especially because I was in an extremely odd position in the guild, such that I sort of ended up being friends with leaders of both of the most prominent squabbling factions in the guild. I indeed I think even made a post on the guild forums at the time about how I thought everyone involved was just terrific and why couldn't they all be friends!? You would think that the very fact of having to make such a post would tip me off that it wasn't that simple, but I suppose not.
Angst having been appropriately wafted around like spoiled myrrh from a censer (does myrrh spoil?), I should point that I actually am the happiest that I have been with my guild situation since a certain moment* in Burning Crusade. I have my boyfriend, several RL friends, vent is friendly and welcoming, raids are fun and wonderful: it's just great. I love it so much. And that's why I'm afraid I'll break it.

*I actually posted this story to LJ a long, long time ago - you can read it here, if you like.

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