The Silence of the Crickets


#1

Inside those raids, I monitored chat very carefully, listening for her in Vent and watching what she typed into /raid and /dodhealers. Was she rebutting a healing assignment, or merely seeking clarity? Did I detect some snark? Or was it an innocent observation? Were remnants of her bitchy, passive-aggressive tone creeping back into the conversation? Or was she merely pointing out possible reasons we wiped as a means to educate? I analyzed every sentence, every phrase…every single word she typed into chat, while considering her personality, her history, her possible targets of resentment.

If I were Falnerashe, who would disgust me?


Outline for Patch 4.0
#2

I don’t really have any edits or thoughts on the composition but I do have some related thoughts to share on this that I feel would be better here than in the public comments section. First of all, the entire first section about proficiency and egos is a home run and I’m finding it more and more true lately. So I have been unsubscribed for a bit, winding down my interest after my time dwindled enough to the point where I couldn’t keep my old schedule or get home on time consistently. I was an officer over in that guild up until the end of last expansion but I was recently surprised by some issues that unfolded there – and how relevant it is to this latest post.

We had one raid leader for a lot of the time I was there, but after he stepped down, the raid leadership ultimately fell back in the hands of someone named Lucy who used to be in charge in Wrath. A lot of things have happened since he took over, from my leaving the raid team along with some other veterans, and the guild leadership being passed off to another longtime officer for pretty valid real-life reasons. Since then, this former/new raid leader stepped down abruptly and left the guild high and dry for a while, but came back once again very recently with a very… poor attitude.

Let’s rewind a bit. The guild is a classic example of a mid-range progression guild. Not really hardcore or putting in extra time. 3 nights/week and top-end content eventually, but not cutting-edge by any means. A consistent core who just likes to play together. You keep good players in those mid-level guilds by making them want to raid with each other. When getting less progression on less days but with better people feels like a more fulfilling way to spend your time, it’s what creates the cohesion that drives these kinds of guilds forward. Same with DoD. It wasn’t about the progression, it was about the community.

Going in to the current expansion, I butted heads with Lucy because he was trying to brainstorm ways to make the guild more hardcore. Add more raid nights but make it only required to attend 3 nights. Logistical concerns aside with consistency and roster, it just wasn’t the type of guild we were. Apparently, in more recent times, he kicked this mentality into high gear by turning the raid environment toxic with attitudes, screaming at people and calling them idiots/other insults, all in the name of Mythic progression. So people started complaining and that’s when we got an absolute gem of a forum post where ego just completely spiraled out of control. This new post brought it to mind so I figured I would share some tidbits here, both for kicks/discussion and relevancy. Let’s see…

It has been brought to my attention that some of you feel offended by my comments during raids. I am not sorry for calling people out who are not doing their jobs, or are simply being morons.

-GuildNameHere- is “supposed” to be a mythic progression raiding guild. We advertise as such, and have recruited people who currently raid with us under that falsehood. Any mythic progression raiding guild would not tolerate the whining, people who do not know their left from their right, or people who get easily offended when called out for not doing their assignment in raid. A large portion of our raid group consists of people who fit these categories. It is annoying and frustrating.

I am one of the few people with the balls to say what needs to be said in raids. If you don’t like it, well that’s just too bad. You signed up for progression, not hand holding and snuggle time. Sure there could be nicer ways to say what needs to be said, but try looking at it this way…there are also much meaner ways to say it too.

Our guild is doing poorly. Simple as that, Why? Because people do NOT pay attention, aren’t where they are supposed to be, or just aren’t good enough players to be in this content. We have yet to kill one mythic boss, the next tier has already been announced and we are losing players…a lot of players. And we will continue to lose a lot of good players. People who sign up for this guild, do so with the understanding that they will see progression. We cannot do that with the way things are right now.

So my response to the complaints about my “attitude” or my “comments” being offensive is this: Go to a real mythic progression raiding guild and see if your nonsense is tolerated. I guarantee they wouldn’t even take the time to write a post to explain, they would kick you plain and simple. Top guilds are good for one reason and one reason only… their raiders give a shit. Ours do not. Fix it and I will stop calling you out.

So there was that. Some of it is true. The guild wasn’t progressing quite as well as they intended. Roster turnover is a tough battle and veteran/core raiders have been dropping out. It’s just a struggle, but the ego didn’t come in quite yet. He got questioned a bit in the thread and the responses got worse and worse. He got called out on personal performance and started firing back about having just a bad night and how others were consistently bad, then all this unfolded…

“How can he be calling people out when just yesterday he fucked up all night” - because no one else will do it. And I will say again, even though I fucked up, I still maintained my DPS. Constructive criticism is what this guild has heard for years, and where has that gotten us? Bottom of the server, that’s where. I don’t know about you, but I signed up for progression MYTHIC raiding. Not fucking up constantly and having people in raid that cannot do the job.

If people don’t have the skill or desire to be in Mythic raiding, why are we here? What are we doing wasting our time night after night? I hear Scarlet Crusaders is recruiting, that’s where people who have no skill or desire to be in a mythic raiding guild can go.

You’re right, this isn’t something to be fixed over night, but this has been the same song and dance for YEARS in this guild. Hand holding, taking people who suck because we “don’t want to hurt feelings”, and dealing with people fucking around in raid is the reason why we lost good players like -GuildMembersHere-…the list goes on and on, and I am sure the remaining GOOD players we have left, have one foot out the door already.

Being nice and complacent is the reason we are in this mess. We need leadership, recruitment and a hard ass raid leader who will call someone out when they fuck up. I don’t see anyone else is stepping up to the plate, so I did.

And for the record, this post was not directed at you, or directed at the new people. This post is directed at those people that we have been bringing to raids week after week, month after month, have caught up on gear and STILL can’t out DPS a tank! You personally are doing fine, your damage is good and you don’t usually die to stupid shit. As far as being bothered because some of you don’t know me, that makes no sense to me. All you need to know is my awareness, and my damage. Sure I had a bad night Tuesday, and harp on it all you like, but I guarantee you cannot find logs of constant fucking up by me. Why? because I learn from mistakes, I do my job, and I usually out DPS most of the raid in the process.

For the record, we progressed pretty damn fine without screaming at people. So the whole “not being a dick is getting us nowhere” thing makes pretty much no sense. And here the ego finally starts kicking in…

This is turning into a recruitment thread and that is not what this is about. -GuildMemberHere-, you talk about where -GuildNameHere- “used to be”? -GuildNameHere- has NEVER finished a tier when it was current content in any expansion unless I WAS IN CHARGE. For those of you who don’t know me, I signed this guilds charter, so yeah I have been around a while.

Who organized, led and kept the group going that killed Heroic Hellscream before the nerf? Yeah that was me. I didn’t take shit from anyone, and yeah sometimes I was a dick, but every damn person in my group got their progression kills, and they got them before the nerf. So ask yourself, are you here to make friends and not ruffle feathers, or are you here to raid?

Point here is not to toot my own horn, but to say that when this guild has leadership and a group of people who give a shit to put the effort in to get things done…that SHIT GETS DONE! Right now we have nothing. No leadership, No morale, No incentive for new players to join…we have NOTHING.

ANY time I say anything on these forums, there is always a huge outcry. I don’t sugarcoat, I call a spade a spade, but I am here because I am trying to help this guild. I honestly don’t care if you don’t like me, I am not here to be your buddy, I am here to get progression kills for you, me and the guild. You don’t like my methods? Too bad, because quite frankly with this guilds track record, the ONLY time progression shit gets done is when I am in charge.

And sitting here being nice and smiley to the horribad players we have to take week after week to raid is NEVER going to get this guild anywhere. We need strong, hard ass leadership to get rid of the dead weight and push the people who can do the work, but have just chosen to screw around lately.

And before anyone brings up the fact that this guild killed heroic Deathwing while I was elsewhere, don’t bother. Heroic Deathwing was a joke and I killed it on 2 alts who weren’t even geared before the nerf. In 6 weeks with my raid leading, we had Highmaul cleared on heroic and 2 mythic kills…when I took my break, the guild couldn’t even finish BRF in 6 weeks.

These are facts people, I am not making this shit up. If you don’t like me, fine, but you cannot deny that my methods work when I am given free reign to use them. Problem is that my hands get tied by leadership not wanting to deal with the whiners and drama of people who don’t like me.

Fact is - you want kills, let me LEAD and do your job, and do it like you give a shit. You want buddies, go sit on your chopper in Orgrimmar and talk to the bank alts.

Several members took issue and basically said, hey, we all worked on heroic Hellscream and we took the best of the best in guild. It had little to do with just him carrying the guild to victory. That’s true, they had a kickass group for that but who to credit for that seems to be getting pretty cloudy here. A former officer chimes in with thoughts on approach, constructively and such, and gets this kind of dismissal…

I appreciate your taking the time to post your comments, but you aren’t a raider. You aren’t in raid chat nor in mumble during any of our raids. Taking what people may say to you about me, and turning it into facts to base your opinion on is ridiculous. You are a respected member of the guild, but raiding issues are unfortunately outside your realm of opinion.

One of the main tanks added some thoughts and this excerpt kind of gives you guys a feel for the responses from other guild members as well:

tldr; You are an amazingly competent player, but most people can’t stand you(which you seem to enjoy). Pretending you’re God just means the other 9 people that achieved something with you just got demoted to pawns. I find you to be a terrible raid lead and if YOU are Mythic…then I don’t want it. I’ll show up on Tuesday because I’m a good soldier and I care about the guild more than I care about you…but I’m pretty much burnt. We had ideas and methods in place to attempt to fix our shit…your negativity and impatience definitely made me question my own presence…but after reading your last post - you’re fucking psychotic. Raiders are people and this is a game and you act like we owe you money for your presence.

Needless to say, after some more disagreement from current raiders, the former guild leader, another former officer (me) and the current guild leader, a nice new forum thread appeared for him quitting the guild and taking all the stuff he contributed to the guild bank, saying he was under attack and questioning why people didn’t have a problem with other raid leaders (they held themselves to the same standards and weren’t toxic fuckwads, pretty much). This guy simply made good players hate raiding. For those interested, I already wrote a few points on this topic from that thread so I’ll share them here as well.

This is sadly all too common with progression guilds that just aren’t quite as hardcore or cutting-edge as those who have that kind of status. You want to push content and you need a certain mentality to do it, but roster turnover forces you to work with what you have and that makes it harder to pick up or keep capable players who can handle the content. I feel like you need some kind of selling point to start or restart from that, though. You need to already have the progression to back up the guild’s mission statement or a solid raiding reputation at the very least. There’s no easy answer to how you can hit the point when you have to make due with whoever you have and are dealing with enough roster turnover that makes it difficult to pick up players who are already established and geared up.

Lucy made an important point, though. Members are applying to the guild and saying they are ready for that level of progression when some of them just aren’t. So the expectation to perform is there because they are applying to a Mythic progression guild. That means they’re ready to play at that Mythic progression level. It’s still extremely tricky to balance turnover with pushing progression while trying to get more skilled players without already having the progression to show off.

I feel like guilds who go through this limp on for a while and it takes a hell of a great deal of effort to turn it around, but it’s important that everybody stays positive and patient with the process. Now positive is an important word. That doesn’t mean anybody needs to coddle or give excessive leeway to players who can’t perform. There are many ways to call people out and hold them accountable without yelling or swearing at people. I doubt that is what’s going on but attitude and frustration can damper people’s morale and cause even more shittiness. A negative environment makes people not want to be there and lose motivation to perform which further traps the guild in a rebuilding loop.

Again, I can’t say that is what’s going on, whether the call-outs are particularly harsh (the tone of this thread started very negative) or people are taking even basic criticism too personally, but it goes both ways. The leadership needs to keep a high-morale environment and raiders need to be willing to listen to others and do better. High morale comes from killing bosses, yeah, but also having fun and making sure all members feel like it is an enjoyable expenditure of your time. Guilds like this are a community, not just a progression machine that cycles through members like they are nothing because they have a past history and reputation to stand on and can always get better players. They are willing to make the harsh decisions too but it’s important to keep perspective on more than just the bottom line of progression. That goes for everybody.

There is a lot of work to do and raiders need to be patient, prepared and willing to listen to criticism. And I think from the top, this can’t become an overly negative environment or the situation is not going to improve at all. There are a lot of jabs in the first post here and I feel like it’s just venting and a bit of an inappropriate start to this needed dialogue. The posts following are pushing it in the right direction but this is just my two cents. Feel free to take it for what it’s worth or ignore me. I may not be around WoW anymore but I’ve seen this before in my 9 years and we’ll all surely see it again.

Once shit hit the fan a bit:

This is one of the most toxic and relentless examples of an ego trip I have ever seen. It’s becoming pretty damn clear what the problem is: a crisis of identity between one person’s vision of the guild (and self worth) and what the guild actually is. Sling some shit at me all you like, I don’t really care if my opinion is valued or even read. Skip it right over if you like. Say I’m not around anymore (the posts here say more than enough) or haven’t been a part of -GuildNameHere- so long, but I have spent the better part of 9 years on this game doing my share of work in a guild whose core lasted multiple expansions and competitively progressed on a limited schedule. That’s probably some kind of qualification to having another two cents. One thing I know is that this ridiculous display is never going to work because ego is fracturing the fundamental reasons that good, skilled players stay in guilds like this instead of hardcore progression groups: the community.

You can always get progression as a good player by spending more time in better guilds, yet I’ve been around plenty of players who could have competed with the best but chose to do it our way instead. That’s because the enjoyment and accomplishment of doing it together became far more valuable investments of time than getting yelled at 5 nights a week so that the rest of the server can line up to worship these amazing players. The structure, rules and accountability for those rules can easily create a system in which you can operate efficiently (i.e. no bullshit) and still kill bosses with people you like, instead of becoming an environment desperately trying to emulate Method or Paragon without measuring up to their actual accomplishments.

Maybe it’s time to think about what drives you all to stay together and keep raiding, then do what is best for that. Beyond that, the dismissal of opinions from veterans like -OtherOfficerNameHere-, and inevitably mine, only speak volumes about where this is headed. Sorry to see this and best of luck.

If I learned one thing from this blog, you all love reading drama but this is a very recent and relevant example I can’t capture all of the back and forth, or link to the protected thread, but the gist of it was that things quickly turned sour when the raid leader was called out for messing up the same mechanic he was calling other people idiots for. At that point, it came a hyper-defensive “I know how to do my job” and eventually he started taking personal credit for a lot of things which began to rub a lot of people the wrong way. Needless to say, it resulted in the guy completely quitting but seriously, how relevant is this to the ego vs proficiency outlined here?

Hope you guys enjoyed the read! It reminded me a lot of these situations, the community aspects that made DoD (and that guild) great as a community and the kinds of egos/mentalities that pull them apart. For these kinds of guilds, it’s all about building a core of players who love to kill shit together and keeping the toxic out. You have your ups and downs as you make due with other players to surround that core but it’s still the recipe for continued success without a hardcore raiding reputation and demanding schedule. I feel like this now-former leader couldn’t see things that way.


#3

Fantastic post. Thanks for contributing! I really would love to see this repurposed as a comment on the post, as so many readers could benefit from it.

I can also pinpoint the exact moment he loses all credibility:

Being nice and complacent is the reason we are in this mess. We need leadership

This is the double whammy of douche. Conflating ‘nice’ with ‘complacency’ is the first sign he is out of his league. Also, ‘nice’ isn’t mutually exclusive with ‘leadership’.


#4

I guess I’ll do my normal sweep for errors and then go back and read Jungard’s as that wall o text crit me for 9001 upon first scrolling down…

Finding a gamer that’s a decent human being seems to be an achievement in and of itself.

Maybe finding an “omgwtfbbq super awesome player” that’s a decent human being is an achievement maybe? I mean we had plenty of decent human beings, Anni…shit, uhh Klocker…damn, hmm Blain…errr, Neps, yeah lets go with Neps.

Cast out of social groups at a young age, mocked for our ability to geek out on subject matter too niche for the general public:

Change the comma in this sentence to “and”, helps with flow into the list.

Kids and adults handle it very differently.

Handle what? Being shunned? Being a geek? The “it” isn’t clear enough in this sentence.

Children shift into an offensive mode, attacking with name calling and pantsing to prevent us from knowing the truth: they have no idea what you are talking about.

Along the same lines as the last edit, which children? The geeks or someone else? This isn’t clear enough to the reader.

they have no idea what you are talking about. Or even better: they are just like you, but don’t want their friends to know.

Remember, italics for emphasis, I would change the first bit to standard text to make the “they are just like you” be outstanding.

After a time, any interest in mingling with them far outweighed the effort of dumbing down our conversation…or we simply didn’t care to risk additional mockery for our less cavalier interests.

Again, just clarifying who is who.

We grew thick skins, shielding us from the ignorance of the others

There’s far too many italics in this paragraph even if they are being used to signal internal thoughts, might just want to save it for those so I would normalize “the others” here.

what we are missing in life.

Normalize text.

empathize…to communicate…with any efficacy.

Normalize text, no need for ellipses here either.

By what you knew.

Normalize text.

that high score.

Normalize text and change “that” to “the”

Scoring High lists

So this first part has a lot of X, Y, Z list examples of things and by the last paragraph it gets a little grating as far as pacing in reading the whole post.

ham radio signal frequencies and ‘handles’ imprinted onto license plates, the collected works of Rumiko Takahashi, an admiration for the aesthetic of a twenty-sided die.

I think this one works ok.

This is us: gamers, geeks, nerds…shunned by the jocks and the preps, the popular and the masses.

This could do with some cleanup, either combine gamers/geeks/nerds or drop “jocks and the preps” as popular pretty much covers both those groups from a cliche standpoint.

week-long binges of Mega Man and R-Type and Phantasy Star II. We ranked each other by who beat Battletoads, and our struggles with humanity were digitally obscured by the universes we occupied: the empty solitude of Fallout and the corporate greed driving Ultima into the ground.

I would say for the week-long binges, keep one or two as the examples are starting to saturate the point. Dump the bit about Battletoads but I think keeping the whole “obscured by the universes” bit is ok.

We grew thick skins, shielding us from the ignorance of the others, saving us from having to carry on a meaningful conversation about what’s important to us, what we need, what we are missing in life.

“We grew thick skins that shielded us from the ignorance of the others thus saving us from having to carry on a meaningful conversation about what’s important to us.” Less is more.

In turn, we lost our shot at gaining any tools necessary to persuade, empathize…to communicate…with any efficacy.

:“In turn, we lost out shot at gaining any tools necessary to communicate with any efficacy.” Again less is more.

Our only means of relating to people was through games and shared geekdom, and when we managed to pick other geeks out in a crowd, how did we do it?

Our only mode of relating to people is via our shared expertise, our proficiency at what we geek out on.

Same sentiment repeats between paragraph 5 and 6, alot of the same content, needs some cleanup.

But we could at least forgive, accept we made mistakes in judgement (both of us), and move forward.

I’m drowning in commas, send halp! “But we could at least forgive and accept we made mistakes in judgement, then move forward”

Better to be in a group of similarly-minded folk than to be off alone, roaming Azeroth, exiled to a life of pick-up groups and battlegrounds whose ever-changing faces ensure no history…nor any opportunity to write one.

Run on. “Better to be in a group of similarly-minded folk than to be exiled to a life of pick-up groups and battlegrounds that X.” Solve for X but make it something simple, I’m not quite sure what you are going for here but “ever-changing faces ensure no blah blah blah” is too much.

I don’t want things to ever get as bad as they did in TBC. If you are being pushed aside, mistreated, or have an issue with anyone in this guild, you can come to me directly and I will deal with it. Even if you think it’s not OK to bring up – I’m letting you know: it is.

Does this whole thing need to be italicized? It isn’t an internal thought correct? You are just going over what was previously said to Fal?

She was a star healer in those first weeks of January and February, granted every rotation she signed up for.

Change comma to “and”

Inside those raids, I monitored chat very carefully, listening for her in Vent and watching what she typed into /raid and /dodhealers.

Dump the first comma after “radis”

Was she rebutting a healing assignment, or merely seeking clarity?

Remove the comma.

Did I detect some snark? Or was it an innocent observation?

Combine these sentences.

her history, her possible targets of resentment.

Change comma after “history” to “and”

grate on you.

Italics aren’t needed (unless I guess they really grated on you)

Fred was a potential second candidate, a dedicated, enthusiastic member of the healing squad, backing opinion by quoting articles and research, yet struggled at the performance part of his role.

Run on. “Fred was a potential second candidate, a dedicated member of the healing squad. He backed opinion with research and by quoting articles but struggled at the performance part of his role.”

the likes of which Fal would chew up and spit out when put to the test.

Change second instance of “Fal” to “she”

of tamagotchi missing its battery.

“of a tamagotchi”

And yet, each time I’d ping her, Fal was amicable, perhaps even (dare I say it) pleasant.

Holy hell. “And yet each time I’d ping her, Fal was amicable and perhaps even (dare I say it) pleasant.” Either/or on the parenthesis or italics and since this post is already littered with the latter, lets go with the former.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Redundant, remove completely.

We were going to have folks like that

Normalize text

She took in stride, and with each passing week, I felt more optimistic about Fal’s state of mind as we dug in for the long, cataclysmic haul.

“She took it in stride and with each passing week, I fel more optimistic about Fal’s state of mind” Less is more.

this is why I kept a close eye on the roster and spammed guild messages / forum posts with reminders – we’re fallible, we forget. We’re human.

Em dash extension in the second part of a semicolon sentence? Gah! “…this is why I kept a close eye on the roster and spammed guild chat and the forums with reminders.”

We had a good roster – there were a few fillers here and there, waiting in the queue, but it was nothing like the days of Wrath: whole groups of players of each class, vying for a spot in the 25-Man.

ARRRRGGHHH “We had a good rost with a few fillers here and there waiting in the queue but it was nothing like in the days of Wrath. Whole groups of players of each class would be vying for the same spots in the 25-Man.”

which is why I eyed her missing sign-ups

Replace “her” with “Fal”. Even though she is the subject of this whole blog post, her name hasn’t been mentioned yet in the 3rd part.

Teras was Fal’s SO? Holy shit, TIL.

A cricket needs time for things to settle, too much activity forces them into a defensive position, unable to cope.

“A cricket needs time for things to settle. Too much activity forces them into a defensive position where they are unable to cope.”

You’ll get your chirping, about how your guild has become “too big of a crowd for their personality”

Remove the comma after “chirping”


#5

I definitely thought about that but I figured sharing the full text of some of his posts was more appropriate here. I could probably summarize some of them in a comment post and inject my thoughts into it as well. You hit the nail on the head, though. Nobody was really complacent for being nice. The only times where we had to continue to take lesser-skilled players were during bumpy times for the roster and recruitment.

When I was in charge of melee, I think I had to yell and get into it a total of once in my entire time in the role, and that was an escalation of some serious insubordination (raider fighting with me over an assignment and refusing to even try it before getting snippy in Mumble). Beyond that, logs were checked every week, reviews were written and people were told when they were screwing up. Even benched in some cases. I was the “nice guy” at the same time, which is probably unsurprising for how long you guys have known me, and the melee were among the best groups in guild during the final tier of MoP. There were a lot of players who I worked with and pushed to do better, going from average to quality raiders and keeping their spot instead of just kicking them and moving on. We don’t roll that way.

Patience and understanding can be rewarding in this type of environment so long as people are held accountable by the same standards. It was a lot of work to play that role but I think it was successful. These so-called great failures for not being angry and elitist enough are nowhere to be found.

@Dalans: You know you missed my walls of text! Critting readers just like I crit bosses.


#6

Much more easy to absorb at 3pm rather than 1am. Epic story of one dude flipping out.