Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me

One of our tanks said "peace out" recently.  I wanted to write a snarky email response to the team, but I'm adhering to the "if you don't have something nice to say" rule.  Seems odd for me to do that, being a 'lock and all, but my desire to kill the LK outweighs my desire to create trouble.  At least for today.  No promises on tomorrow.  And no, it was not my wife.  Also, I'm probably beating an undead horse by writing this, but writing is cathartic and I have a blog, so I'm going to try to vent generically.  Here goes...

(Note: I want to make it clear that our tank chose option two, and I respect him for that.  It still sucks, but we have stuff lined up to go on.  I wanted to vent to get it off my chest because I don't think there's a way not to feel hurt, and I've been in a lot of groups where they didn't choose option two.  In fact, I think that's a larger problem in the realm of casual raiding than we sometimes give credit to.  Anyways, I just wanted to make that clear.)

I guess you can't fault a person who admittedly subscribes to the Me First magazine.  It shouldn't then, surprise you when people like that continually place the needs of a team behind their own.  I mean, it is their $15, right, and we should all respect that and junk.  And I guess I just get sort of miffed when people throw out "kids and a family" or "other priorities" or other BS like that as an excuse to leave you in the lurch, and then ask everyone to not "take it personally".  Whereby they mean they want to desert you, and you to be happy for their leaving you.  It's the old "it's not you, it's me" mantra, and I think we all know how that one feels.

(If you don't, I'll let you in: You feel like a PuG.  Like someone just picked you up at a bar and left you in the morning.  Used.  Cast aside.  I maintain that pugging, both IRL and in gaming L, is only tolerable when both parties are aware of the nature of the PuG.  If one party thinks this is a team, and the other a PuG, then someone is going to be hurt.)

I mean, it's hard to argue with these reasons and they sound really good in e-ink.  On one hand, kids and a family are totally more important that a game, I agree.  By all means, if that part of your life is suffering, stop raiding.  Stop playing altogether, I would say.  Or maybe work out the communication issues.  A lot of problems in relationships are simply a result of poor communication, IMO.

I know it can work, the gaming/marriage/kids thing.  I mean, I know plenty of people who are happily married, with kids, and can juggle one (or multiple) two-hour commitment(s) per week (especially if it's not gaming, because, you know... double standards and stuff).  So when I hear the excuse, what I really here is: "playing with you louts isn't worth two hours of my precious time".  And maybe that's true for good reason, but I don't see how I'm not supposed to take that personally.

Or the whole "other priorities" thing.  I'm a busy guy, I get it.  I have tons of important stuff that I do, whether it be coaching, work, writing, or family (Fuu and I both have BIG families, and big families warrant big amounts of your time and travel).  And maybe you just want to go level that brand new Hunter alt you just rolled on the Horde side of things.  The fact remains, we're two bosses out from the LK and you're leaving us short a tank.  In the game I play, tanks are hard to come by.  I can't speak for anyone else. 

In all honesty, what I hear instead of these generic, overused excuses is "I have a problem with the way things are being run or a specific person."  And in that case, I wish you'd just say it so we can all have a fist fight and get it over with.

So Mr. Ful, you might ask, what am I to do if I've legitimately lost my desire to raid (and/or it really is not a personal squabble)?  Well, I believe there is a right way to excuse one's self from a team.  The wrong way is to wait a few days before a raid and simply say "see ya", transferring your toon to an opposing faction or server so that there is no possible way you could be called on as a sub.

The right away?  Make sure the team you're leaving behind will be all right without you.  Talk to the RL about your intentions well in advance.  Let him/her know of your issues.   Be preemptive!  If it's a simple matter of time conflicts, maybe things can be rearranged.  If not, then at least you tried, and that sits with people a lot easier.  Caring is directly proportional to Effort.

Suggest/find a replacement.  Make sure they're geared as near to you as possible.  Especially for a tank, it really sucks to lose someone you, as a team, have spent months gearing up.  The other roles are a little less gear dependent and, thus, easier to stomach, but it still sucks.  If someone is waiting in the wings, then things can transition smoothly and it will go over much better.  Getting shot back two wings in a progression path because you just lost 6 months of skill/gear is a rough pill to swallow, regardless of the reasoning.

Offer to sub as much as possible until a replacement is ready/up to speed.  With the current state of WoW, it shouldn't be that long.  I think people are understanding of a shift in desires/priorities, but everyone else shouldn't have to suffer just because you changed your mind on a commitment.  And, let me be clear, joining a raid team is a commitment.  It may almost be worse the more casual you are, since people are more likely to count on the player and not on the generic class/gear combo.  Plus you generally have fewer folks in the replacement pool. 

If the RL has it all covered, than you're good to go.   Just make sure it's covered first, or leaving can be a lot more dramatic than necessary.  Of course, I guess this is all assuming these are bridges you care about burning.  If you hate all the people, then by all means, choose option one.   I don't care what your reasons are, option one will always cause some sort of hurt.  All it takes is a small amount of effort to let people know you care and have thought about those left behind.  The bottom line is just to follow the Golden Rule, and that little pebble of effort will send out larger ripples of goodwill in the pond of group emotions.

Now, if you're really pissed, then just go all Tsunami on their asses.


  1. I understand your feelings on the matter, it always sucks to lose a skilled player, especially a tank. But I can see one possible way your proposed solution is bad for the out-going tank.

    Say he (or possibly she) lets it known that, I'm planning on winding down with WoW, I can be around for a few more weeks ( lets say 3 ) to help you guys find a replacement and sub, but after that I think I'm done. If all goes well then the team spends the next few days finding a tank or two as replacements, and the rest of the time getting them geared and gelling with the rest of the raid.

    What I've seen happen is that they spend the next 3 weeks raiding as usual, the only difference is that 2-3 people whisper out-going tank, saying "look how fun this is, why would you want to leave?" or "Leave after we down LK" or some other variation. The 3 weeks go by and right before the tank's last raid people are scrambling to find a replacement, or ask him to extend "another few weeks". When outgoing tank finally decides its time to leave, there are still hurt feelings, and he's been raiding for a month or two longer than he wanted to.

    I'm not saying that just leaving is the answer, I'm just saying that there are disadvantages to every exit strategy, and a lot of the time, no matter what, some people's feelings will be hurt.

  2. The tank in question already knew there was a ready replacement for him if needed, so I doubt all this was necessary.

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  4. @Ron - That's a good point that I didn't think of. It cuts both ways then, the other folks should respect the decision. Easier said than done.

    @Jess - Yeah, I know, I pulled a bit of a "Tam". :-). In any case, I talked to the ppl involved and hopefully cleared that up. Mah bad.