Sullying Our Good Name
On my main's server, I've been running PUGs pretty much daily for the last few weeks. The time just isn't right to form Cold Comfort the guild it seems, so I've resolved to try again closer to the release of Cataclysm, when there is bound to be a fair amount of shakeup and re-rolling.
As any regular reader will be aware, I have reasonable but strict standards for the people I play with. I'm not going to tell a tank that they need 35k buffed HP to do Naxxramas, or that you have to have surpass 4k dps to join an Onyxia-10 PUG, but if I invite you to my group for Trial of the Champion and you fail more than once to avoid Radiance when fighting Eadric, then I'm not going to group with you again. The record of failures I've observed in one fight was 11 spread among 3 people.
I use the excellent addon Do I Know You? to keep track of such people because it instantly tells me when someone whispers me if I've marked them as negative in the past. I track more than just people who don't meet my standards: trade spammers, griefers, people who have caused loot problems, people who ditch on groups and especially that bloody Death Knight who won't shut up about how the Dragonball-Z game is available on PS3 but not on XBox-360 all get on the list.
Over time, patterns start to emerge with regard to the guild tags of people on my list. On my main server, two guilds in particular are responsible for a disproportionate number of negative entries, and as such I won't accept invites from members of those two guilds. It's not a foregone conclusion that any group I join started by someone from the two is going to go poorly, but I've wasted enough time in the past and play roles that are in enough demand that I'm not robbing myself of opportunities by doing so.
If a guild on a realm gets a reputation for actively antagonising the other members of the realm, the decision not to group with them is pretty obvious. Has the guild been proven to harbor ninja looters? Don't group with them. Did they transfer in to steal a server first from a home grown guild? Don't group with them. Simple.
The position I take on the smaller stuff - just not being a good player - is one that I seem to take a bit more seriously than others. I want to play with skilled people. If your guild is made up of people that tend to end up on my "do not group with" list, the impression I get is that you recruit for numbers, not for skill.
Is this fair? Should guilds be responsible for their members' actions, and what, if any actions by a guild member outside of a guild event reflect on the guild?
It's my $15 a Month
We all pay our $15 / £9 / €13 per month to play WoW, so shouldn't we be able to do whatever we want? Why should I have to conform to a playstyle or set of rules that I don't like just to stay in my guild? There's a nearly year old post on Fel Fire that is still a good read on this subject. In essence, your guild can't force you to do anything, but they can say "these are the requirements for continuing to be a member - break them and you're out".
So, when leading or joining a guild, it's a good idea to be clear on what is and is not tolerated. I touched on this more specifically a few weeks ago; in the same way as guilds tend to gloss over the bigotry issue with terms like "respect your guildmates" they gloss over other unwanted behaviour with terms like "respect the members of the realm". Use words and like "respect" that have different meanings for different people and you're just setting yourself up for an argument when someone crosses the line you've drawn in your mind but is still far from it in theirs.
What are some of the things you might write down?
Ninja looting - if charges against one of your guild members are proven, then I think a gkick is warranted. But remember that anyone can level a charge of ninja looting against someone, and that people are called ninjas for lesser loot offences. Ninja looting is taking something that you did not win per the rules in effect at the time. Rolling on an item that you can use but that doesn't match your spec generally isn't - though it might be in poor judgement.
Colluding with a lesser geared friend to improve their chances of getting loot? Borderline, but as it's hard to prove the intent behind it, probably not strictly a ninja situation (though definately something the community finds despicable). Advise your members to take screenshots any time loot decisions are called into question, and demand that anyone accusing your member provide proof. I also suggest publishing the results of accusations against your members somewhere that non-members can see them.
Ripping People Off - if you advertise in /trade to craft an item or perform an enchant then abscond with their materials or gold, that's no different than ninja looting in an instance. Any other misunderstanding is probably not something the guild should get involved in. If a member makes a mistake when crafting (say crafting Brilliant Saronite Boots when the person asked for Tempered Saronite Boots), it's not unreasonable to expect them to make good on the deal, but remember that the mistake can just as easily be made by the customer, so encourage your members to take screenshots any time something like this happens. A few hundred kilobytes of diskspace used is well worth being able to protect your name.
Booting Someone from a Group to Bring in a Guildmate - I've always felt that this was a bad practice, though I've seen members of guilds I've been a member of in the past do it without compunction. If you form a PUG, you should complete the run with whoever your start with. This is even more true once the group is saved to the instance. If you boot someone from the daily heroic after the first boss, you're effectively stealing two Emblems of Triumph from them. In patch 3.3 the damage won't be as severe (because you can still get two Emblems of Frost from the first random heroic you complete), but the sentiment behind it is still pretty elitist - "you're entitled to less respect from me because you're not in my guild".
Ditching on a Group when you play a Critical Role - I recently PUGged VoA-10. The tank (who wasn't the raid leader) did a ready check, which some people claim of have missed (how I don't know, but that's what was said), causing a messy start to the fight. We still downed Koralon on the first try, but afterwards whispers were exchanged between the tank and raid leader, after which the tank left the group. No other tanks wanted to come in to replace him because they would only get emblems of conquest and tier 7/8 drops, so we had to call the group.
Anyone who tanks or heals knows that their presence can make or break a raid, and to pull a hissy fit and strand nine people definitely gets you on my "do not group" list. But the rest of his guild? I might be hesitant to apply to them if they tolerate such childish behaviour, but I probably wouldn't turn them down in a PUG over what the tank did.
Performance - my example with regard to performance in PUGs is a bit extreme. While I wouldn't begrudge anyone for making PUG decisions based upon previous experience with members of the same guild, I won't tell my members that they are representing the guild when they jump into a random heroic. Of course, if the guild organizes a raid and PUGs a few people, then I expect people to perform at least as well as they would on a guild run.
Even if you choose to not put many restrictions on your members, try to remind them that when you're recruiting (and really, most raid guilds are constantly in some phase of recruiting), their behaviour can mean the difference between someone wanting to apply or not. Would I apply to the guild of the tank that ditched on VoA? Not if I thought that they indulged people in that type of "taking my ball and going home" behaviour.
What do you think? Is it over the top to set such rules? How much do you care what other members of your realm think of your guild? With server transfers of entire guilds coming in Cataclysm, do you think we'll see rampant asshattery followed by a server move once a guild's reputation gets so bad that nobody will group with them?
Until Next Time