Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Maintaining Member Happiness

One of the biggest challenges of running a Guild and a Raid Team is fielding a team of 25 appropriately geared players of the right classes, the right talent specs, the right attitude and skill, who are available on the right days, at the right time, for the right relatively uninterrupted duration.

Along with that, comes the added challenge of ensuring each of the people involved is having enough fun to be interested in continuing to play with the team.

When surrounded by supportive people, the challenges are tolerable, because the shared sense of team accomplishment and spirit outweighs the cost of getting there. When I know the people around me are struggling to solve the very same problems that I'm trying to solve. When the people around me want the same things that I want, and are willing to work to accomplish them with me.

Then I get a tell like this...."we've canceled a bunch of raids this month. i joined to raid. i'm not saying i'm leaving, but unless you can guarantee three nights of raiding, i'll have to consider leaving."

Some facts:

A) Out of a possible 15 raid nights in the past five weeks, three nights have had cancellations by one of the 10-man units, with no night fully canceled by the Guild.

B) The person sending the tell is a respected member of the team who fits well with our Guild's culture and atmosphere.

B) The person sending the tell took a week off of raiding recently for family reasons.

C) The person sent this tell the day after skipping a raid for family reasons.

D) A group of four other raiders used the most recent canceled raid night to do something very special for this person.

Some Commentary:

A) I respect the fact that the person came to me with the problem rather than just ghost disappearing from the guild in the middle of the night, or spitefully quitting immediately following a canceled raid. Basic respect and open communication gives me hope that we can find a solution. I appreciate people who can constructively assert their needs.

B) The ultimatum of "unless you can guarantee....i'll have to consider leaving" nearly was responded to with an immediate /gkick. I'll skip every raid night from now until WotLK than continue on feeling like players are trying to hold a gun to my head. Show me that you're interested in helping solve a shared problem, I'll fight for your needs till my dying breath. Make demands and show no interest in helping? In the words of the Fresh Prince, "Smell you later".

C) Our Guild is a casual raiding guild, in that we take raids seriously while we're running them, but we have no attendance requirement, and we generally allow players to enjoy the game in their own way. The player in question has benefited from this casual policy in that their absences were never viewed negatively, and the raid adjusted, found alternatives, maybe even faced cancellations. But never any bad feelings.

D) During the subsequent conversation, I illustrated just how much we share the same desired outcome of consistent and timely raid nights. I asked for help, as we currently view recruiting as the biggest obstacle. The member skirted accepting responsibility for helping, with a response of "everybody on my friends list is satisfied". This leaves me with little hope that the member will be providing any help in the search for players, and will be looking to me and the other officers to solve the problem.

When it comes down to it, these sorts of issues are my biggest problem with WoW. When we get a team together, things are pretty healthy. Some drama as you'd expect with any group of 30 people, but generally folks work together.

Healthy, constructive communication, even if its about opposing ideas or difficult topics? Good.

Dictating ultimatums? Bad.

Helping your team solve problems that affect you? Good.

Looking to others to solve your problems? Bad.

This particular instance really has me sad. The player is a great member of the team, fits well with the Guild's atmosphere, plays their role well, listens to instruction, asks questions for clarity, is active on the Guild chat. All very good things that I value in a teammate. I hope we can get the player involved in some constructive team efforts to solve our communal problem before they bail on us.

No comments: