Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Another Brick in the Wall, Eh?!?!?

I don't deal well with hierarchy.

I like to think I'm an egalitarian type, except when I'm dealing with idiots. ;) I tend to like democracies in action, and as little vertical structure as is possible.


I read a fair number of blogs and forums posts, and one thing never ceases to astound me: the willingess of a LOT of WoW players to submit themselves to rather militaristic, extremely controlling hegemonies, with mostly one way communications: Top -> Down.

If you aren't a leader, your opinion doesn't count, and you'd better keep your effing yap SHUT!


My best guess is this willingness is part & parcel of a more "harcore" raiding attitude, which is something I know I do not possess.

I am NOT passing any sort of judgement (honestly, I'm not!) but I am completely bewildered by it.

To me, the social aspect of WoW is one of the most captivating parts of it. Vent, /g chat, psts and especially the blogs. The interaction, the irreverence, the flow of ideas, emotions and general banter are what make this game enjoyable to me.

Having to sit in my chair, keep quiet, follow orders (that I may or may not agree with) and essentially submit myself to an electronic dictatorship seems as far away from fun as I can imaging. (at least while playing a game)

A part of me understands that, at times, it's nice to simply sit there and put yourself on autopilot and just follow orders. Another part of me understands that beating higher end content requires some serious dedication and , most likley, a fair amount of discipline (the attribute, not the spec ;) ) But to have the entire game revolve around this structure/culture is rather foreign to me.

Am I missing something? If any of you folks out there are a part of a rather martial guild, are NOT part of the leadership of that guild, and still REALLY enjoy it, could you help this n00b out? Because I'm either missing the point by a long shot, or there's a massive subculture in WoW that is REALLY into electronic S&M... lol


  1. I think a lot of this depends on the situation.

    1) Guild members should be able to express their opinions on guild policy without fear of repercussions, and the policy should be made with regard to those opinions. If the majority of the guild members are against something, the leadership shouldn't do it. The leaders are simply there to carry out the will of the members in an organized fashion. They SERVE the members, and a lot of people forget that this is what officership is - a JOB representing the MEMBERS.

    2) In a raid, you follow orders and STFU. When you're trying to keep 10-25 people together on task, it's like herding cats. They all need to be following the same top-down strategy, or nothing will be accomplished.

    Now, should guildies be able to express their opinions about strats for #2 - of course! Maybe whisper the raid leader after a few wipes if his strat isn't working out. Or suggest alternatives on the forums the next day. But at the time, you simply can't have 5-10 people piping up in vent dictating conflicting strategies. Everyone has to be on the same page, and the raid leader is the one who volunteered to do that organizing.

  2. I'm a firm believer in one captain of the ship. Too many captains pulls the ship in too many directions effectively keeping you in one spot.

    However, I'm also a firm believer in democracy. But there is a time and place for it. For example, in between boss attempts alternate suggestions from people are appropriate, but I wouldn't condone arguments. Say your piece and stop there. At that point it's up to the "captain" to decide what to do.

    I think it ultimately depends on timing.

  3. Generally, people submitting to one-rule partnerships are doing so because they're doing what they want to do!

    If there is no room for input and the guild is no longer doing what they want to do, then they quit.

    Long-standing guilds balance this by providing easy ways for members to express concerns and strats. You still lose some, but it ensures that the guild is a happy spot for everyone.

    Dictatorships are only really chafing if they mess up your plans for the night ^^

  4. Thanks for the replies... :)

    I understand that you need to have a distinct leader during a raid. That makes sense.

    And the more progreesive/bleeding edge you are, I can see a need for even more focus.

    Maybe it's just how I've been reading a number of posts recently, that it just struck me that entire guilds is/are rather strict. (Larisa's discovery about Paragon seems to be the exception) The impression I get is that guild chat/vent are pretty much always "controlled".

    Again, this is coming from my primarily social interest in the game (don't get me wrong, I *WANT* to raid, and be successful)

    Thanks again for the response!

  5. I've noticed that same thing and it's definitely one reason I have not raided. Seems to take the fun out when its all serious business/HC raiding stuff. I'd like to try it, but I truely need to find a mellow group that are actually laid back (because I hear that all the time!) "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...."

  6. Interesting...I don't think I'd be at all comfortable as part of an extremely militaristic system, however I think often srs achievement involves srs sacrifice. I mean even one-step-beyond-casual raiding essentially means signing up to be told by another dude when you're allowed to take a piss, y'know? Because unless you stick to relatively strict breaks (within reason obviously) you can lose 30 minutes at a time for a 25 man raid all getting pizza and going to to the toilet.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe in democracy and a system in which everyone has a right to a voice and so on and so forth but I believe when you join a guild you're essentially saying "I trust you to make sensible decisions" and at the point you decide you can't give that trust, that's the point you leave.

    Heh, I have trouble with authority by nature and I don't work with people so I kind of try to consciously compensate for this by being the best damn follower I can be :P

    But I draw the line at despotism, injustice and abuse.

  7. Hm, I think you got the leadership a bit wrong, at least regarding semi-hardcore or casual guilds. The guild i'm in is great, we've been together since vanilla with a break when the GM and his wife had their first kid when TBC hit. The core group is composed of some 8 guys and we're all around 30 years old, give or take.

    When one of us is "leading" basically isn't saying "do this OR ELSE", it's more like "this is how we should be doing it". We joke around on vent, we have a scottish guy that sings when he's drunk, and i sing john travolta and the GM's wife sings olivia newton john (without being drunk). It's a very friendly environment, we don't get upset when we wipe.

    We may not have the progression of those hardcore guilds and we only raid 10-man, but i wouldn't switch my guild for a 25-man stuck up hardcore guild. We just killed festergut the other day, so i'd say even if we're moving slower, we're still progressing, we're still seeing content and getting some loots, but on top of that, we're having some fun.

    I honestly can't remember the last time we had guild drama, or an officer yelling at members. Perhaps this type of guild is best suited for you, seeing how you like to explore or do non-raid stuff, find a casually hardcore guild, that doesn't raid much, but they're friendly and you can do whatever you like with most of your in-game time.

  8. @ everyone - I know I'm "picking" on a certain type of guild, but my concenpt of how some guilds are come from reading posts and comments, not my own experience. As such, it means my understanding is second or third hand hearsay. The things I have read include:

    "I'm not used to being able to talk in Vent"


    "My old guild reserved Guild Chat to only critical information"

    And the context of these comments was that this was ALWAYS the case, not just "in raid". And that little tidit is what makes me shake my head.

    Just to make sure everyone knows my point of view, here are a couple other things:

    - I am more than happy to follow a raid leader and follow their direction. I STRONGLY prefer haivng someone with expertise running things.

    - In a raid, during combat, and during the prep/strat for combat, I agree that extraneous chatter is not a success factor to downing a boss. Focus is useful and something I prefer AT THAT TIME.

    My big confusion is with guilds that have this type of structure/discipline ALL the time.

    By the way, I will be posting a "guild application" in the next few days. This sill pretty clearly describe what I am looking for.

    I wanted to have my "how to DPS" post done beforehand, so that any prospects I send hree, can get a feel for how I play.

    @ Tam - My experience with most online groups, is that at the top is usually a "leadership clique". As long as they don't muff things up TOO bad, I don't much care. I rely on them for basic organization and fundamental rule settings. But do I trust any of them enough for a loot council or anything? Absolutely not. (though my trust CAN be gained with enough time)

    So, if I had to use trust as a measure of whether or not I join/stay with a guild, I'd never join one, let alone stay past the first week.

    @ Kensai - It sounds like your guild is pretty much what I'm looking for.

    I take my game play seriously enough to look up a lot of information so I can play better. I don't expect everyone in a guild to have my level of dedication. In fact I think I'd prefer if a portion doesn't go to this extreme. That being said, they MUST have SOME level of dedication and understanding.

    I have raided a few times with another guild that is TOO social, and a number of the members simply refuse to listen & learn. They just wanna pew-pew or whatever. I've been invited to join, but even though they are REALLY friendly, I have said no.

  9. I've been on both sides of the fence.

    When I'm an officer or GM there is nothing I can't stand more than raiders who give opinions and tell us "we're doing it wrong" in the middle of a raid. I think it's just disrespectful. You have to trust that the people at the top are capable of intelligent thought and have already considered and discarded what you are suggesting. We don't ever yell at people, but we do state often "quiet on vent".

    Making suggestions should be constructive and done in private to an officer after raid or via the forums.

    To me this isn't a matter of things being militaristic - its just how things need to be handled so that your officers don't get burnt out and you can actually get things done. Otherwise you do end up with officers who yell at their raid and have bad tempers - it becomes a vicious cycle.

    The other side of the fence - being the raider. I loved it - I wish I could go back to it. Not having to worry or be responsible for progression/attendance/fail people.... it is a freaking dream come true and unless you have ever had to shoulder the responsibility I guess that's hard to see.

    When i was a raider I just worried about resto druid stuff and making sure I was performing correctly. Sure I occassionally disagreed with the healing assigns or the strat being used but i would always stop myself and go "am i really going to be improving things by bringing this up?" 9/10 times i realise it isn't going to do much but waste another 5 mins so I then just shut up and enjoyed the ride :)

    In all the guilds I've been in casual and progression oriented the following holds true: - as soon as you give people the opportunity to start giving opinions - all you actually get is whining and uninformed crap. And all this leads to is negativity which isn't really going to help any type of guild social or hard core is it?