Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Culture Clash?

I've been debating whether to post this as it's normally something I'd tend to keep private.  You see, I run a weekly Flex speed clear every Wednesday (here is the link for last week -- note the very first sentence) and last week there was a...situation.  And then there was some private fallout as a result.

One thing I evidently have a habit of is picking up "projects" -- people new to WoW or people looking to get into raiding.  I help them figure out what they need to be doing to accomplish their goals, offer suggestions/advice when they ask questions, and help them into things like Flex or normal ToT groups (sometimes make a group from scratch for them if needed).  These aren't people I'm looking to recruit for my own heroic raiding guild, just trying to help others out and get more people engaged in WoW.

So let's call one of these "projects" by the moniker of "P."  I ran into P in a leveling dungeon where they seemed pretty competent and I added them on BTag.  Turns out they had a max level character and were interested in getting into raiding of some kind but were somewhat shy and not sure what to do.  I did some ToT and parts of Flex with them to try to help get their gear up, using my ilvl and experience to get them invited.

I did wind up having to make a Flex 4 group from scratch for them and at the start of the run I said over Mumble that anyone who was severely underperforming would be removed -- which prompted P to whisper me and say something like "Wow, turns out you have a ruthless side, I thought you were basically a giant teddy bear."  I didn't have to kick anyone, thankfully, and based on the conversation we had after that comment I figured P was just used to me being this perfectly helpful and nice guy rather than someone with a backbone who would kick people if needed .

Around this time, I mentioned that I ran a Flex clear each week and offered P a spot if they could make it (since I met them after the Flex run the previous week).  They showed up and did quite well.  DPS wasn't the highest (relatively speaking in runs where most people were 550+) but they were way behind on gear and lacking the legendary meta and cloak.  This continued for a few weeks -- and based on their increasing DPS and apparent ease with mechanics I suggested they consider looking for a normal raiding guild to join.  P was hesitant but agreed to look into it.

P wound up finding a run that was pretty awful led by someone who had the group stop after 2-3 wipes or something -- they never got normal Galakras down.  I suggested they look into another group that was better as P was definitely not happy with that group (where they also typically doubled the second place DPS, apparently).  P felt guilty about leaving that group but I managed to convince them that they simply weren't happy in that group and it definitely wasn't measuring up to what they wanted from raiding.

By the next week P managed to find another guild which was clearing normals -- however, their times conflicted with my Flex clear.  Oh well, they were moving onto bigger and better things and it was to be expected.

Now, one thing I haven't mentioned yet about P -- they play on the Ragnaros server and are a native Spanish speaker who also knows English.

Last week P finished raiding for the night right about when my clear was about halfway through.  They asked if I had any room left and I said yes, I had a spot.  We did a boss or two and then before Malkorok P asked if they could bring some friends (we had a few people who needed to go after Nazgrim).  I said sure and they invited a few more people from Ragnaros.

After they joined I linked the Mumble info in raid, figuring they would join as we cleared trash.  And I linked it again at Malkorok in case they had missed it earlier and did a ready check a moment later.  Everyone hit ready.  We wound up wiping to Malkorok since a few people, including P's friends, died to the Breath of Y'Shaarj and people let some explosions off.  Linked Mumble again since it turned out NONE of P's friends had joined, and did a ready check a moment later.  Everyone hit ready so we pulled and killed the boss...except P's friends still died to the Breath again.

The Breath we were making on the group and that we were calling out over Mumble.  And it turned out STILL none of P's friends had joined Mumble.

So I linked it again after the fight.  Shockingly, none of them had joined Mumble by the time we got to Spoils, so I linked it again.  P said that they were going to download Mumble so we took a special three minute break specifically for P's three friends to do so.  At the end of the break P asked me to link the info again, which I did.  Waited another minute and then did a readycheck.  Everyone hit ready.

I then called out which group was going where (pretty simple: 1 and 2 on one side and 3, 4, and 5 on the other) over Mumble and we started the fight.  Three people from groups 3, 4, and 5 went to the wrong side so I called out over Mumble that they needed to switch.  Two of them quickly did so.  The third was one of P's friends...and did absolutely nothing.  Let's call them B.  The next 60 seconds or so of Mumble sounded like this:

"B, please go to the other side."

"B, you need to go to the other side."

"B, seriously, go to the other side."

"B, you're still on the wrong side."

"B, other side, now."

"B, get to the other side."

"B, I'm serious, get to the other side."

"B, get moving to the other side, NOW."

"B, other side."

"B, other side."

"B, other side."

"Screw it."

And I kicked B from the group mid-fight.  I'm not going to keep someone in my run who is completely ignoring my instructions and hurting the raid by being in the wrong place.  I also had several other people who wanted to join but I let P invite their friends instead.

After the fight P whispered me to say that NONE of their friends had ever received the Mumble info according to them -- said that I was linking it in raid instead of instance.  One might think this is something you mention instead of just hitting ready, but whatever.  I invited B back (which also meant NOT inviting one of the other people who wanted to join), linked the Mumble info in instance chat, and we moved on to Thok.  Linked the info again after the trash was cleared.  Waited a moment, heard at least someone join Mumble, did a ready check, everyone hit ready, and we pulled.

B happened to be a paladin so once we were around stack 5 I started calling for Devotion Aura.

"B, please hit Devotion Aura."

"B, hit Devotion Aura."

"B, Devotion Aura, now."

"B, Devotion Aura."

"B, hit Devotion Aura."

"B...well, looks like we just transitioned early!"

Due to the unexpected transition and people being distracted or something, like a third of the raid got eaten nearly right away (bad kite going a weird direction didn't help).  Called for a wipe and we ran back in.  It turns out, as you might suspect, that B had STILL not managed to join Mumble.  At this point I was sitting there pretty much steaming and whispered P to ask what in the world was going on.  Some people started to talk about Ragnaros the server on Mumble and a few comments started getting made about how so many people from Ragnaros were terrible and similar things.

Let me be clear about something: in retrospect, I should have stopped that talk in Mumble.  Should have said something like "Guys, shut up about Ragnaros, that's not acceptable."  I was feeling quite peeved and frustrated at the time and didn't step in where I should have.

One of P's three friends and of course P were in Mumble to overhear the comments about Ragnaros.  All four then left the group without me saying a word, though B decided to toss out an obscene insult in Spanish before dropping the group.

We then cleared the last four bosses extremely quickly.

To recap about P's friends:

1. They joined before Malkorok, Mumble was linked several times, they didn't join Mumble.
2. They died to Breath on Malkorok (which they would have had a better chance of avoiding if they were on Mumble) and we wound up wiping (not directly due to them but they didn't help)
3. Ran back, linked Mumble again
4. They died to Breath again
5. Mumble was linked again after Malkorok
6. Upon reaching Spoils, none of them had joined Mumble still
7. I whispered P, P said they were going to download Mumble, I called a special three minute break for them to download it.
8. Break ends, P whispers me to say they still need the info, I link it again
9. I give them another minute or so and do a ready check (giving them time to get in Mumble and if they're tabbed out getting in Mumble then they'll register as AFK), everyone hits ready
10. I say the group assignments for Spoils (1 and 2 on green marker, 3/4/5 on blue marker) and we go.
11. Three people supposed to be on blue come to green (one Ragnaros and two others).  I call out that they need to switch and the two non-Ragnaros immediately switch back but the Ragnaros person does not.  I spend the next 60+ seconds repeatedly calling out that person to switch sides with no effect.  Exasperated I just kick him from the group as it's clear he's completely ignoring me and hurting the group by being on the wrong side.
12. After the fight P whispers me that they still don't have the Mumble info because apparently I'm linking it in raid and not instance.  I link it in instance.
13. We go to clear Thok trash and I hear a person join.
14. Link it again to be safe before Thok, wait another minute, do a ready check, everyone hits ready
15. Pull Thok, I call out for the guy who I kicked on Spoils to use Devotion Aura.  Nothing happens.  I call again, and again, and again, and again.  Nothing happens.  Since I'm trying to get that cooldown to be used and nothing is happening we transition unexpectedly, people get flustered, half the raid gets eaten, and we wipe.  Yes, I could have moved on to another cooldown but I was trying to make sure the guy who was on the wrong side on Spoils while not being in Mumble (who I thought was ignoring me) was actually paying attention this time.
16. Turns out the guy STILL isn't in Mumble and I whisper P to ask what is going on
17. As we run back some people make some disparaging comments over Mumble about Ragnaros (with P and one of the other three, so 2 out of 4 total, people from Ragnaros in Mumble)
18. As we're eating rebuffing/eating all four leave the group of their own volition, though the guy I kicked on Spoils and was telling to Devotion Aura on Thok tossed out an insult in Spanish before leaving.

After the raid I whispered P, who was very angry with me for apparently just about everything.  I asked them whether, at a minimum, they understood why I kicked B during Spoils when they were on the wrong side, ignoring instructions as far as I could tell, and hurting the raid.  P said no.  I spoke to my officer in Mumble for a few minutes to get his opinion on what happened -- asked if he thought I acted unfairly or unreasonably at any point.  He said no.  I asked P to explain why they felt that way and P said they didn't want to talk about it.

I sent an email a few hours later saying:

"Upon some reflection I did want to apologize for something.

I shouldn't have let the people in Mumble badmouth Ragnaros.  I was angry and frustrated and thus didn't step in, but I should have just told them to shut up about the server.  It was immature of me not to do so and I apologize."

I got a response back the next day:

I don't want your apologies, this silly apology just helped to make me angrier.

Thinking about it, it probably was all my fault, because when I told them if they wanted to come, they asked me if it was a US group, because most of them are elitist jerk/"toxic" players who love to badmouth Ragnaros. I was NAIVE ENOUGH to tell them I know you and we weren't going to have drama, NEVER been so wrong. Not only you ended up being a gigantic elitist jerk, you let the idiots of your raid to talk bad about the server, which means talking bad about me and my friends, which didn't do anything wrong, just problems to log in mumble which is awful. I thought you were my friend and would stop them because since the day we met I told you how the stupid US people treats our server, but it turned out you didn't do anything, just whispered me to complain, I had you complaining in whispers, while your friends insulted us, and trying to get my friends in mumble so they could be insulted. But then again, it was my fault that I felt betrayed, because clearly I'm YOUR friend, but you're not mine, you're just my ex flex raid leader. I hope that at least you enjoyed having your raid badmouth us so it wasn't for nothing.

You were "angry and frustrated" that's cute, try to argue with 2 different groups of friends (While they're hating each other), while also being insulted by stupid randoms who doesn't know anything. Even though it was an in game experience it was awful and I certainly don't want to experience it again, but still helped to learn, I was naive and I really thought it'd be nice if I could join your guild for the new exp and raid with you, good thing this happened, I wouldn't have lasted long there, I hate your kind of leadership (which I don't say its wrong, I just can't stand it).

I wouldn't make such a huge deal of this if I were just angry about what happened, but I'm really really sad and disappointed, I just wanted to help my friends (which they are not noob at all, I wasn't expecting them to get carried by any means) and it turned out to be awful, because the person I just told them it wasn't a jerk was being one. And also because I was telling them you were posting the mumble info and they kept insisting you weren't, but even before I noticed they actually werent getting the info, the pull happened, and holy got kicked within a minute.

I don't know what your "right hand" officer that helps you understand the feelings of other people (because insta-kicks without previous explanation has unpredictable feeling results in people, not just ANGER)  told you, but he was probably right, what you did was robotically and mathematically the best for the raid to finish 0.5 seconds earlier and raise the raid's morale to acceptable levels , I just wished you'd give me a chance to fix things, before making everyone insult us and complain at me right away.  Hopefully the 5 minutes you saved yesterday to the raid from kicking us helped you do a lot more productive things today.

I'm emailing all this instead of telling it to you via chat because at this point, and the way I'm feeling, I'm not interested in what you have to say, don't reply this email.

From my perspective I was bending over backwards REPEATEDLY to try to give P's friends a chance.

I didn't say anything immediately when they didn't get into Mumble initially.

I didn't say anything when they died to Breath and didn't get in Mumble after that.

I didn't say anything when they died to Breath AGAIN.

I took a special break SPECIFICALLY for them to download Mumble at Spoils.

I let B back in the raid after Spoils.

I whispered P after the first Thok pull to ask what was going on rather than just kick B again during the pull.

The whole thing felt incredibly insulting to me, like they were taking advantage of our run.  They never ONCE said anything like "Hey, need a second for Mumble" or "I still don't see the Mumble information" (P had to say that and then they STILL ignored it after I posted it per their specifications).  P KNEW they weren't on Mumble and never said anything until Spoils.  Nor did P say something like "Hey, they don't understand English, sorry."  P's friends just always hit ready.

And it got to the point where it was angering some of my regulars because we kept having to waste time over this group of three who apparently decided the rules we indicated just didn't apply to them or something.

But apparently I'm the bad guy and being completely unreasonable for expecting people to either get in Mumble or say something if there's a problem.

I don't get it.  And as you might have noticed in the last line of the email P doesn't want to discuss it, so I'm hoping maybe someone else has some insight on what happened.

If they were US players I'd just write them off as inconsiderate jerks and be done with it -- but P honestly seems to think I was being "ruthless" and unfair.  I'm trying to figure out some other way of looking at this but it's rather difficult.

Is this a kind of cultural gap or something?  Is that the expected behavior on the Latin America realms for whatever reason?

I find myself rather bewildered.


  1. "I didn't say anything immediately when they didn't get into Mumble initially."

    In my opinion, this was your mistake.

    There are certain people who go by the saying "if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile". These guys didn't want to download Mumble. They didn't see it as necessary. When you did not say anything initially, they wrote it down as you puffing yourself up, requiring unnecessary things for the sake of being "all hardcore".

    Then at the end, when it all starts going bitter, they're trying to justify their earlier decision, making excuses about not having the right information, etc. Saving face, basically. You gave them an inch, and they took a mile.

    You would have been far better off to give them 5 min at the start to get in mumble, and then kick those who did not. Rules need to be applied consistently, or people will decide that the "rule" doesn't apply to them.

    1. Keep in mind P's friends almost certainly did not know about the Mumble rule -- they didn't sign up on OpenRaid and only heard about it from P as far as I know. But *P* knew we required it.

      And normally I would have done something like the 5 min thing -- I just initially assumed they were just being a bit slow about it and given that P hadn't ever caused any issues I figured the people they wanted to bring would be fine. Was trying to give the benefit of the doubt.

      Turned out to be a bad idea.

  2. Ouch, that's extremely rough. I agree with Rohan's assessment, but at the end of the day P has some pretty unrealistic expectations about what a raid is. I view raiding as similar to a sports team. You're there to play, and yeah, you can have fun, make jokes, etc. but at the end of the day you have 9 - 24 other people relying on you, so you need to step it up or step out.

    Seems like P either doesn't quite get raiding yet after being so new, or has a different mentality altogether about raiding.

  3. Also, sad. Now the my Sunday raid is no longer running, I have my Enhancement Shaman sitting and doing nothing, but your flex raids are on Wednesdays, same time my other raid plays. Still, you're a brave person for running an Open Raid Flex run. I don't think I could handle a bunch of strangers.

    1. "Still, you're a brave person for running an Open Raid Flex run. I don't think I could handle a bunch of strangers."

      To be fair, like 5-10 are people from my guild and at this point like 80% of the group is the same each week (often have 20-25 people each week total). And since it's a scheduled OpenRaid event I can filter out the worst people and look at feedback people have gotten.

  4. I'm having a hard time seeing anything in there to blame you for... there was an obvious issue on both sides if you were using /r instead of /i (I trained myself out of that a long time ago) so up to the point where you started using /i, I'm calling for a mulligan on both sides and it looks like you did likewise, although I'm not sure why you didn't quickly check Mumble to see if the number in matched the number in your raid, have to assume there's a way to do that (I don't use Mumble much).

    Going strictly from 12+ on your list as being the starting point of the situation, they were at that point aware that you needed them in Mumble (they wouldn't have seen the OpenRaid requirement but knew by now) and at least one wasn't. To me, that's kickable. And unless you were one of the ones slamming that server, I'm not blaming you for that either, although I have zero exposure to any of that server-specific bias (for whatever reason I've just never seen it happen, even in queued content, although I haven't used OpenRaid or similar, might be more common there) so I can't gauge how hard it would be to hear that if they were saying it about mine. On the other hand, if they were snarking about my main server I'd have a hard time disagreeing...

    I'm also not blaming P for anything aside from what seems to be an over-reaction and a comprehensive bridge burning after the fact... while your reaction was based solely on things that happened during the raid, with (12+) or without (<11) their knowledge, Ps reaction seems based in large part on previous experiences that had nothing to do with you or your flex raid... it isn't fair to lump you in with those although I wouldn't begrudge her blaming those actually making the comments if they were that hurtful.

    I can fully understand why the fallout bothers and confuses you (I'd have had a very similar reaction) but ultimately you have little to no control over how someone else will react when something goes sideways. Live, learn (/i!), move on.

    1. 'I'm not sure why you didn't quickly check Mumble to see if the number in matched the number in your raid, have to assume there's a way to do that (I don't use Mumble much)."

      There's not a super easy way to do that which I know of, unless I logged off the server and back on. There very well might be a way but I don't think it's obvious if so.

      I also figured they'd get on "Soon" and was trying to not pressure P's friends unduly.

      "To me, that's kickable."

      To P, it's not. According to P's comments afterward P doesn't think I should have kicked them regardless if they got on Mumble. Claimed that the group could manage to get through Flex without them on Mumble and therefore I shouldn't have kicked them.

      " And unless you were one of the ones slamming that server, I'm not blaming you for that either"

      I wasn't, but I was still the group leader and should have stopped it when it started.