What to do when Good Guildies Go Bad

Each week over at The Blog Azeroth Forums, the community comes together around a shared blog topic – interested WoW bloggers can pick up the topic and make posts on their own sites to respond to it, and all of the responses are collected and linked at TwistedNether.net. “What to do when Good Guildies Go Bad” is this week’s topic!

This week’s shared topic at Blog Azeroth resonated with me specifically:

What do you do when a normally good guildmate performs poorly or behaves badly? Your rock solid tank comes to raid ungemmed, your master mage dips down into pre-cata dps numbers several nights in a row or your best healer can’t seem to keep from going oom 2 minutes into any fight. What do you do? The obvious answer is shoot the hostage but…

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the kind of position to really gripe about this, but I’m going to take a different approach – not just one around DPS or poor performance in raids and instances, but also when it comes to behavior in general. I definitely have experience with guildies who generally behave badly and can’t bring themselves to either just be considerate to their guildmates or who are just so obnoxious in general that they’re difficult to deal with.

First thing’s first – let’s talk about the kind of guild member I’m thinking of here. Sure, there are plenty who mean well but do poorly in raids and instances because of one thing or another – bad gear, improperly gemmed, using the wrong weapon, poorly spec’d. You know those folks. Some of them may be a bit defensive when called out on their errors (after all, no one wants to be told they’re wrong) but more often than not they’re willing to learn from their mistakes and improve their game if you bring it up to them in a police and reasonable way. These people aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kind that constantly link their items in guild chat just to show off what they’ve seen/picked up/looted lately, the kind that use guild chat as their personal trade chat or use it largely to talk to one other person, (the kind that use guild chat for the types of conversations that should happen in whispers, for example) the kind that can’t stop saying wonderful things about themselves and generally clog up guild chat or raid chat with their own self-aggrandizing banter.

They’re the type who are the most defensive when you call them out on their errors, because they simply can’t believe themselves capable of any wrong. They’re the type who will start whining about you when you bring up a way they can improve – no matter how nicely you do it – or build a massive conspiracy theory against them on behalf of you and your whole guild if they perform poorly in raids and find themselves benched.

Oh yes, I know this type of person very well. And admittedly, they’re not always the type who was “good” before they “went bad,” usually this type has always been bad, but they made friends somehow, right? So what do you do about them? Click the jump, let me offer some suggestions.

Okay so first thing’s first – when you’re dealing with someone with a core personality problem, there isn’t too much you actually CAN do to resolve it. Some people are just different than others, and some people just haven’t grown up. One thing’s for sure, no one is going to fundamentally change their personality because it’s offensive to others unless they come to the realization that it’s not just toxic for others, but it’s unhealthy for them.

That said, there are a few things you can do regardless of your status in your guild to try and make things better.

  1. Be polite, no matter what.

    Always take the high road here – be polite when you ask them to take their conversation to whispers, and if you ask “Do you mind taking your conversation to whispers? It’s just a little much for guild chat,” and they shoot back with “well no one’s talking anyway” or something of the sort, just drop it unless you’re an officer or an officer backs you up. There’s no reason to start a fight, and there’s nothing to be accomplished by duking it out, even if you’re right. Take the high road and let it go – if more people do the same, eventually they’ll get the hint, even if they are being defensive.

  2. Talk to an officer.

    Even if your guild officers or raid leaders choose to do nothing about the offending person, the fact that you’ve lodged your complaint does wonders. If everyone did the same thing, eventually your guild leadership would be forced to – if they’re effective at all – do something about it. The worst situation is when everyone agrees that the person is annoying, your guild leadership agrees that the person is annoying, and yet no one wants to do anything about it because everyone’s non-confrontational.

    That kind of approach is one thing in a social guild (although I wouldn’t call it “okay,”) but it’s another in a guild that has any desire to progress in any way, even if it’s at casual pace. That’s the kind of approach that ensures you’ll bring that person along with you in raids even though you know they’ll defend their strength-gemmed hunter, and the kind of approach that will make your collective DPS suffer for it. It’s also the approach that ensures that you’ll be forced to either turn off guild chat (something I’ve done) or tolerate them until they get tired of your guild/get fed up with the conspiracy theories and choose to leave.

    Still, even guild officers don’t have the last say – my suggestion is to just make your complaint known to your guild leader or officers, make sure you’re concise, polite, and fair (as opposed to frothing with irritation and rage,) and let them know how you feel. Then see how they take it from there, and how comfortable you are with the result.

  3. Refer to the Rules

    Even the most sympathetic guild officer to your complaint – or you as a guild officer who sees there’s a problem – can’t do anything without the right rules in place for your guild. If your guild doesn’t have documented rules that are available at all times to every member of the guild, then you need them. Now.

    Seriously – it’s impossible to tell someone their behavior is inappropriate if you don’t have some guidelines somewhere that lay out what’s appropriate and whats not – even if they’re general enough to give guild officers the leeway to define inappropriate. If you’re an officer, get your fellow officers and GM together and get something on paper. If you’re not an officer, suggest real, solid rules to one of your officers or your class leader. (I would strongly suggest, however, NOT drafting your rules to target a specific person, by the way? Annoying as they may be?) Look around at the guild rules that other guilds have and see what you like and dislike, break them out into sections like “general behavior” for guild chat, and “instances/raiding” for what you expect from each player in a group.

    This is a good time to get your loot rules documented as well – even if you don’t want to use some kind of loot system and prefer to go “need if you need it, greed if you want, pass to shard it – highest roll wins unless it’s a bigger upgrade for someone,” you need that on paper so no one whines when they didn’t get something (although people will still whine. I was in a guild where the rules were clear: need if you need it, greed if you want it, highest roll wins regardless of the size of the upgrade, and before long one of our members started complaining about a concerted campaign to rob them of upgrades because they repeatedly lost rolls to people for whom the item was an upgrade, but perhaps not as large to the winner as it would have been to them.)

    Ultimately, without having your guild rules of behavior and expectations for raiding in print, usually with the caveat that guild officers have the discretion to settle disputes and resolve differences, it’s hard to really enforce any standards of behavior, or address complaints if they come up. Then your guild will be in a much better position to do something about your annoying friend.

Admittedly, if you’re not a guild officer and your guild officers still don’t do anything, or there are no rules and no desire to document the rules or do anything about this particular person’s behavior, then you have your own decision to make. There are enough guilds out there that there’s no reason to spend too much time in one that really doesn’t resonate with you – or one that tolerates behavior that drives you mad every time you log in.

Remember WoWCrendor’s always-good advice:

Free yourself, find another guild, and remember: we play World of Warcraft because it’s FUN, not because it’s something you tolerate. Make sure you’re having fun when you play. Enjoy!

4 Comments so far

  1. Tweets that mention What to do when Good Guildies Go Bad | Azeroth Metblogs -- Topsy.com (pingback) on February 17th, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alan Henry, Jo Laing.
    Jo Laing said: RT @halophoenix: When Good Guildies Go Bad:
    http://bit.ly/ikjzLT << New post at the Azeroth Metblogs!
    (suggested by @blogazeroth) … […]

  2. Lokaler (unregistered) on February 19th, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    “Free yourself, find another guild, and remember: we play World of
    Warcraft because it’s FUN, not because it’s something you tolerate.
    Make sure you’re having fun when you play. Enjoy!” This is just
    great words!

  3. Shared Topic: When Good Guildies Go Bad | Twisted Nether Blogcast (pingback) on February 20th, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

    […] Halophoenix from Azeroth Metblogs […]

  4. Alan Henry (phoenix) on February 23rd, 2011 @ 3:42 am

    Thanks Lokaler! I’m a huge fan of making sure you play for the
    right reasons; if you’re not having a good time, it’s time to
    either stop playing, or find a way to play that fixes the problems
    that keep you from enjoying the game. And yup – that includes

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