05 March 2011

Angry Cow

You guys...I yelled at my raid.

This had been going wrong all day and my temper was percolating, and I kind of blew up at the raid.

It began at work - I had 6 straight classes - of speaking tests no less. That means I had variations of the same conversation approximately 150 times in one day. Then, I was asked to stay late, when the teachers remembered they had to record the listening test, except they never have any free time because teachers have about 1000 times more things on their plate than any one person should be expected to deal with at work. While I wait for a teacher to become available, I post that I'll be late on the forums and manage to walk into some mini personal drama via texting. Woot.

I finally get home and log on right at raid start time. (Quoth my high school band teacher, "To be on time is to be late!") Considering how late I thought I might be, this is awesome. Especially since I've been replaced for being 10 min early instead of an hour (even though the asked time is 15 min prior. IDK.) So I log on and people immediately start giving me crap about being late. I know they're joking, but am I in the mood for that? Hell no! So I cuss about it in whispers to a buddy and head to raid. During Magmaw, Vent dies. We text our way through Chimaeron, then head to Omnitron.

This is where it gets bad. Omni has a ton of things to look out for. Even with DBM blaring at me every few seconds, it's easy to miss things. On Vent, calls like "So-and-so is active," "Ability inc," "Star, get the hell out of the raid" can be immensely useful - although at this point the first four bosses have clicked for me and I have accidentally done them without DBM before with no huge problems.

Anyway, each tank and two raid leaders decide to make raid warning macros for all of the things we need to know. Then, each time that thing happens, they all click their macros, and due to lag, each click several times just in case. On the screen, only 2 lines of RW are visible, so they all overwrite each other too quickly to be read. In my chat log, I get about 8 lines of text, and end up seeing 4 lines from 2 different macros saying the same thing with slightly different wording. This makes me want to flip tables.

As an aside, I generally find RW hilarious. I mourned losing it in party chat - I used to group with a friend while questing just to talk entirely in RW, or at least exclaim things like /rw CAWK to break the monotony of dailies. Furthermore, we have a lock who can't talk on Vent during raids, and he uses RW to alert us to important things like being carried off by a Valkyr during LK. He also spams his macro, but it's the same message and also not competing with any other messages on the screen.

So what I'm getting at is that in small doses, RW spam is not that annoying, and also had I not been in a fucking terrible mood I probably would have found the Omni situation humorous. But I didn't. When the encounter ended my first comment was NO MORE FUCKING RW MACROS THAT WAS TERRIBLE. I nerdraged about screen clutter and inability to actually get any of the helpful messages due to scrolling and quantity. It was quiet. I panted a little after my tirade. The RL hesitantly joked, "Well, that means you noticed them, right?" Others defended the necessity of getting the info out, some conceded that perhaps 4 people don't need to all do the same job in slightly different ways. I made some remarks about not needing the RW so long as you pay attention to DBM, increasingly becoming less combatitve. My desire to ragequit and flip my desk subsided. Fortunately nothing dropped that I would have rolled on...

I broke character. Windsoar talks about this in reference to bloggers - the necessity of having a predictable personality and tone in your writing in order to not surprise or alienate readers. I think it can be applied to WoW, although the in-game situation is more reminiscent of how you present yourself in meatspace. On a blog, you can be a raging asshole, set that tone for your writing, and still get a big following. At work, or in a guild, it's usually in your best interests to at least try to be socially appropriate - assuming you want to do social activities. Up until now, my character has been easygoing, rarely critical, and forgiving. But by breaking with that, did I help or hurt my cause?

For instance, one of our raiders recently got drunk and made a very blunt forum post about our progression stagnating and our guild being well behind where it should be given our skill and time input. That was the message, anyway; the wording was more like "get ur shit together this is embarrassingly bad." Some people felt attacked, many were defensive, but by looking closely at the message instead of tuning out at the delivery, it sparked a good conversation and even garnered some more RL volunteers.

Back to Windsoar's example, if a blogger were to suddenly break character, I might take even more special notice of the situation. If Larisa posted an angry rant, I would pay close attention, because it must be some serious shit. Anger might be hard to listen to, especially if it's directed at you, but it's not always an excuse to ignore the message.

As a raider, how do you deal with bad days? As a raider, or even a guild member, how do you deal with getting pissed off and/or wanting to criticize something in your social group? As a RL (or GL), how do you react to occasional grumpiness or criticism?


  1. You know, people never believe me when I tell them that I'm swearing up a storm and scaring the beejezus out of my husband with my gripiness. But, sometimes it DOES overflow. One day, I'll click the push-to-talk and actually say something catty... in raid. I actually get embarrassed when I let it spill over.

    That being said, I've never had anyone else comment on my cattiness -- even when I've apologized. Just because it's out of character for you doesn't mean it's uncalled for, and honestly, we generally are much more critical of ourselves when it comes to not "containing" ourselves when we're having a truly horrible day.

    In the end, you gotta expect that no one is going to be 100% all the time, whether it's in gameplay or attitude, and you just take it in stride and keep on downing those internet dragons!

  2. I am always wary of playing WoW with manfriend because he has a tendency to start talking in Vent when I'm saying something embarrassing or snarky - not something I want broadcast to the raid!

    And yeah, I was pretty hard on myself for losing my cool, but the next day I came on no one said anything, and since then there doesn't seem to be any awkward or bad feelings about it.

    Internet dragons, I'm coming for yooouuuuu! *_*

  3. All guilds need an angry outburst from someone once in a while, a bit of a shake-up that can stir a good discussion. However, there are diminishing returns on it. You have to use it with care, only when it's really, really needed. And not too often, because then people stop listening or even get demoralized. A bad day is fine but if all you hear about is bad days and there isn't any "we're actually a pretty cool bunch of people to play with" sprit left, you've hit a road that is likely to spiral downwards.

  4. Larisa, I think you're right! Furthermore, if one person has continuous angry outbursts, they run the risk of turning their perceived personality into an angry one (in which case, they would have to do something neutral or kind to be noticed!)

  5. Good post! This mad me think about ophelia's post about constructive criticism. An angry outburst every once in a while can be good and spark some emtion and get some people to work, but you need to make sure its not just negative all the time. Often times after an angry outburst people will just start criticizing each other (playing the blame game if you want to think of it like that), if they instead can give constructive criticism along with some things going well I think that is a big part of what can make an angry outburst like that helpful to the raid.

  6. Tamek, you make a good point. Especially if someone has an angry comment, the tone can put people on the defensive instead of open to criticism. If possible, staying open to criticism, even if it's combative, is generally a good idea :)