Know When to Hold ’em, Fold ’em, and to Just Walk Away
Sorry I'm not going to be my chipper self today. I left Aftermath yesterday. I saw some problems with the guild and evidently I'm the only person that sees said problems so instead of bashing my head against a brick wall (which tends to make quite a mess), I decided to leave.
I didn't leave a nasty note, I didn't leave a heartfelt goodbye. I just logged on at 3 in the morning and /gquit all of my toons. No explanation, just pulled a ninja vanish (minus taking any loot with me of course, I'm not that much of a jerk).
Why just vanish? Why not plead my case? Why didn't I bring these things up before just going poof?
I did bring these issues up and I never saw any change (Link) on my blog here and directly to the guild leadership. I tried to actively make changes and was never positively backed by the leadership. In fact I just made folks nervous. When I was running my newb school instance events there was room for worry that the level 80's would just get asked for instance runs. I'm sorry but I RARELY ever saw folks actively soliciting for instance runs in Guild Chat. Even when folks knew that they could come to me for help they only asked for it when they really needed it.
One of our newer members just the other day needed to complete some quests in Gnomer. No one offered to help him, no one likes Gnomer. I HELPED. Even though I was halfway through making my own breakfast, I logged over to my level 63 Death Knight and I helped him complete the instance. This guy isn't new to WoW, he wasn't looking for some power leveling, he just wanted to complete some quests in a hell dungeon and none of his guild members would help him out.
The other night one of our members needed help completing quests in Uldaman. He sent a whisper to me directly. I don't know if he posted a message in guild chat, and I don't think he'd had a chance to post a request in the guild forums. I've been through that instance so many times now that I should have it memorized. I helped him complete the quests with my shammies who were just high enough to be in the friggin' dungeon. We died once but thanks to Reincarnation we didn't have to corpse run.
Why am I bringing these up? Well because there are level 80's who are sitting around Dalarian BORED. Probably not so much in our guild but just in general. Here I am trying to level a toon to 80 so that I can participate in the end game activities, but I'm taking time out from that to stop, log over to another character sometimes, and go through instances a lot of times that offer no XP for me just to help these folks out. I'm not a level capped toon that's done with dailies and about to log out because I can't get into a Heroic. That's why I'm bringing this up.
Do I believe that we should just run all of our players through instances. No I don't. But I do believe that this is a good way to educate members about what's happening in the dungeons as you go through it AND it's a good way to get to know WHO THE HELL'S IN YOUR GUILD.
I ran lowbie instance nights where I helped folks learn how to instance. I taught them to keep an eye out for the green/red/whatever stuff and that they need to get out of it when their health is going down. I made them decide who was the tank, and helped that tank work through their skills so that they'd be able to grab and maintain aggro. I helped DPS learn that you let the tank get aggro first, that it's best to hit what the tank is hitting, and not to AOE unless the tank has the full attention of all the mobs. I almost cried the day that one of our Pallys killed a totem without my prompting. He not only knew what a totem was, but he killed it, instinctively. I was so, so very proud.
This stuff doesn't mean anything to a guild I guess. Helping folks that are actually new to the game doesn't mean anything in comparison to downing Naxx. I mean it's not as if the WotLK end game wasn't conquered the first week after the game was released or anything.
Before I left I really felt as if the folks that were level 80 looked down on me. I felt like they looked at me and saw 'slacker'. I mean they were already level 80, what the hell is wrong with Aus, why can't she level one toon to 80.
Every time I felt that way I worked harder on leveling. I set up a RAF account and dual boxed Shammans just to try as hard as I could to FINALLY get ONE toon to 80 so that my guild members would take me seriously, so that my words would have weight.
I left Aftermath because my words had no weight. I left Aftermath because even though I volunteered to be an officer, I was made a Veteran the day two other members were made Officer out of the blue. I left Aftermath because I kept seeing players either leave when they hit 80 or re-roll because they were told that they would have to get better gear if they were going to participate in end game activities with THEIR GUILD.
Last night I left Aftermath because of a post on our guild forums. The post was inspirational in nature. The post was supposed to say 'look guys we can do this'. Well, at least that's what the post said if you were level 80 and part of the raiding crew.
If you're a member who's running with two level 40 Shamans, the post said that the guild would help out folks in the Outlands and in Northrend, but the guild leadership is tired of level 50 dungeons. I haven't even hit level 50 yet. That was like a punch in the gut. That post was like saying, hey if you're 80, come raid with us. If you're 60-70, we've got your back. If you're less that 50, well just get to level 60 and we'll get your back.
There were other forum posts in the Aftermath forums that were like this. They were meant to be informative or they were meant to be inspirational, but really they just came across as exclusive or scolding. I was the one that heard the rumblings of guild members who thought that they're a little too old to be scolded (most of the guild is between the ages of 25 and 45). I heard rumblings of folks that felt like there was an exclusive clique forming in the level 80's group despite the fact that there was just a small group of level 80's to begin with. It just didn't look good that specific members of the guild were assisted to get the gear they needed to meet the raid leader's requirements, while other members of the guild were told that their gear wasn't good enough and that needed to be fixed before they'd be able to raid with the guild.
When I tried to talk to the guild about these things, they dismissed them. I think they kind of dismissed me in the process, not taking me seriously because I'm not level 80, I'm not raiding with them, and I'm not seeing things from their perspective.I was however seeing things from the perspective of about 75% of the guild members. You know, the guild members that hadn't hit 80 or who had re-rolled after hitting 80. Guild members who'd started with the guild and didn't get ignored when they needed help with quests in Gnomer. Guild members that had run with the level 80's once in a while in guild events and feel like they knew them.
That recent forum post, that was the catalyst for my exodus, also mentioned that folks needed to communicate more, to speak up when they need something. Well, when you either feel like you're going to be scolded or ignored would you speak up? If you feel like you only know one maybe two members of your 70 person guild would you speak up?
This is the reason I left Aftermath. I left because the guild I helped to found, had meaning. The guild I helped to found was a guild based on people. Evidently I founded a guild where we would raid together. I neglected to see that the rest of the game's activities were not included in the guild charter.
So now that I've burned a ton of bridges and feel like I've been the bad puppy who got the newspaper across the nose, what can I do? Well I'm going to be on Rexxar for the rest of this week. I intend on leveling my Shamans high enough to create a Deat Knight on my RAF account so that I can run a Death Knight with Talta.
After that I'm going back to Geistig, that's right I'm going back to the Horde. After this experience with the Alliance I can assure you that my Alliance days are quite over. I'd prefer to spend the rest of my days unable to level over 30 and be forever bombarded with Barrens Chat than to spend more time on the Alliance side. This will also mean going back to being a guild leader. I think this time, I'll just take it slow and see how things go. I also intend on moving Strategiest and Kleineubel to Uldum as well. That way I'd be able to swap out as tank, heals or DPS as I choose. I am not giving up on being a Shaman however. Though Tanzengeist (the original Tanzengiest by the way) is only level 27, once I've capped my other toons she's on my list as well. I'll probably run with her every once in a while to help out Talta's Priest, Rogue or Mage.
I learned a lot as a member of Aftermath. I'm looking forward to applying those lessons in Ghost Walkers. I also want to start back up my newb school on Uldum, see if I can't get folks trained up on how to be a party member so they've got the basics before heading off for raids. I don't regret the time I spent there, though I'm kicking myself a little because I could be 80 and part of this magical end game that seems to consume these folks so much.
I mentioned to our raid leader that I felt that Aftermath had potential and it'd lost that potential, it went raiding. Why would I say something like that? I mean we were successfully raiding ist't that success?
No, we had a chance to create a guild that wasn't cliquish, that wasn't all business, that was just as much about the players as it was about the game. The guild lost that to my perspective. That is what I was most upset about.
If nothing else though I guess the lesson of the tale is this, words are powerful. People forget that it's not so much what you say, but how you say it. You can tell someone something that they may not want to hear, but if you tell them in a way that isn't demeaning, scolding, or aloof, chances are that they'll listen. If they don't that's their problem. COMMUNICATION doesn't just mean typing some words off the cuff and trying to get by with it. Communication is an art form. Writing means taking a bunch of letters and putting them together in a way that it builds a picture in someone else's head. If you give them lousy schematics, they're going to build a lousy house. So please folks when you write, take a sec to look it over and make sure that what you're saying actually means what you say, and that the way you say it conveys the meaning but doesn't do it in a way that puts the reader on the defensive or just makes them want to ignore it.