What do you do when a raid member does not perform as they should? Hurl abuse, attack them, kick them from the team? Maybe. But also consider the Golden Rule.
The Four Horsemen: wiping raids since 150 AD...

The Four Horsemen: wiping raids since 150 AD...

Lol nOOb u cant play!

MMOs are famous for the abuse players through at each other due to the anonymity of the internet:

“hey loser yr DPS sux!”

“why can’t you noobs get anything right!”

“that’s it I quit the guild!!!!!!”

In both MMOs I’ve played extensively (WAR and WoW) I’ve seen plenty of ugly name calling incidents, nerd rage and abuse. It can be pretty bad in PvP situations (Battlegrounds in WoW, Scenarios in WAR)… I still shudder when I think of my first few WoW Battlegrounds experiences.

It can happen in PuGs as well, but my experiences has been mostly positive over the past four years. In the end you can shrug off the harsh words of strangers. I’ve spent enough time in MMOs and been involved in enough online discussion groups and “debates” with forum trolls to have developed a pretty thick skin.

Sure, you can abuse a stranger. But what if it’s a guild mate?

What happens if you don’t have the anonymity of the internet to hide behind? This is the problem often faced by raid teams. More often than not the group is made up of guild members. At the very least there is some familiarity with each other. In a good guild, people strive to be nice.

But just like real life, the more you know someone, the harder it is to point out a mistake they’ve made. You want to spare their feelings. Especially if they’re a “nice guy/girl”.

And thus, the famous candid behaviour of MMO players evaporates.

Rather than a group of strangers hurling abuse at each other over guild/general chat no-one is prepared to say anything.

That’s the situation we had last night. Our Naxx team threw themselves at the Four Horsemen for just shy of two hours last night without completing the encounter. Now, we can be forgiven I think for most wipes. Most of us our new to raiding, and for many it was the first time in the fight – it’s also the most technical fight in Naxx. I was up the back holding the aggro of one of the bosses while one of the guilds best Warlocks held the aggro of another. My role was to simply heal myself through the damage, and swap bosses with the Warlock when we received three buffs. We got that down pat.

The rest of the raid had to kill the bosses. If anyone lost the aggro of a boss, or got two many buffs the whole raid would wipe. The key to the fight is co-ordination.

It was good healing experience for me, and I was able to keep myself up and maintain adequate mana reserves.

But the wipes kept happening.

In the end it came down to one raid member not performing their role. Most people were frustrated, and at the end of the raid I got a lot of private tells from other raid members about the performance of the non-performing individual.

WoW team management skills and the Golden Rule

Telling someone their performance in a raid is not up to scratch is not easy. How do you approach it? Just like real life – make it constructive, keep your tone neutral and don’t make the person feel there is something “wrong with them”.

So as the, ahem, raid leader this job fell to me.

And thus  I had a little chat with them after the raid.

I started off by asking them about their gear, and asked them to link the gear in chat. Right away I could see they were wearing a mixture of PvP and PvE gear. For WoW raiding not so good. Nor was the gear enchanted.

I pointed this out to them, as the right gear set up could make a difference.

My next step was to point them in the direction of useful web resources; WoWWiki, Tankspot, Elitist Jerks. Even doing a little bit of research about gear and boss strategies may help. they where not familiar with these resources.

“OK – this is good I thought.”

In less then five minutes I’m able to point out a few things. No-one teaches you how to play an MMO. These games can be complex beasts, and more often than not your left to own devices in figuring out what to do. As a baby raider, I know just how daunting an experience it can be.

Still that was the easy part:  next I had to tell them they’re performance was not up to standards. However, if they could gear up, do the research they’d have another shot.

Constructive criticism and incentive: tell the person what the problem is, suggest ways to fix it and give them a goal to shoot for.

As best I can tell it went OK. I hope they felt it was a conversation, not a personal attack. It’s what I expect others would do for me.

But the most important thing is remember there is another human being controlling that avatar. Sure, hurl abuse if you want… but really, is that how you would want to be treated?

Just like real life, observe the Golden Rule: “Do unto others and would be done to you.”

We all can’t be uber-l337 raiders. But we can treat each other respect. That’s what makes a “true hero” in the MMO world.