Internet Anonymity – Conduct in a Virtual World

On Thursday, the GM of my guild kicked over 400 members. Unfortunately, I was at work and didn’t see the actual drama unfold which involved some abuse of GMOTD (guild message of the day) as well as a general guild “catfight” over lack of monetary distribution and failure to provide access to game content on the guild level.

The result was the mass kick of around 400 people from a guild that hit 25 only 3 weeks ago. The drama may have ended there after a few days of server wide trade chat complaining and possibly a call out on the server forums (does anyone even use the new style?). However, our leader’s rage was not assuaged by the kicking. He wrote out his feelings in a diatribe posted on the main page of our site. It didn’t take long for the letter to be linked both on the general WoW forums as well as MMO Champion. It was one of those shots heard round the internet, or at least heard around the WoW community. “The incident” has now made its way to my twitter feed, and been linked by several blog sites.

I have experienced a myriad of emotions over the issue. On one hand, I’m on the last leg of my journey through Azeroth. It takes more and more effort to pull away from RL (real life) things that are currently holding my attention and log on for my scheduled 10 man or arena matches with my WoW buddies. On the other, I’ve truly enjoyed my time with these guys. Of the 10 of us, I’ve played with 8 off and on in hardcore 25’s since Sunwell in late-BC, and I’m married to the other one. Sure, it can be challenging raiding with a bunch of dudes. They can be assholes sometimes, and they enjoy “ribbing” each other. We all enjoy the occasional beer or 20 on a raid night sometimes to the detriment of the content being worked on. A regular bunch of WoW “joes” rambling through 10 man content.

Anyway, the whole thing really did grow out of a joke. At first, we didn’t give them guild chat access, but that felt cruel so we turned it on. Created a bank tab, created some forums, answered silly questions, prevented people from typing in all caps in chat. As time wore on, we, the original raid team, finished 12/12 raid content to the point that we could do it in one 3 hour session instead of 2 nights. The gold was rolling in from our sales of BoE epics from Tier 11 content (NOT from the guild perk). There was an increase in gold begging, run begging, silly question asking. We booted repeat or extreme offenders and kept chugging along. We started running an alt run on the other night, and started pulling in a few of our well liked guild members.

I’d like to state now for the record that we NEVER, EVER, EVER took herbs, gold or any kind of mats from any of these people to support our raiding activities. This misconception in the whole thing makes me laugh and irritated. Anyone who would think this has never been on a raid team. Of the 10 of us, we have 8 people with 6 alts with epic flying earned long before Cataclysm ever launched. We didn’t need to steal money from these people. Learn to AH.

Alt runs weren’t enough for them. We promoted officers from their ranks as he stated. Gave them forums. Posted our strats in strat threads. Hosted rated battleground nights (that 3 people out of 400 showed up for). The push to 25 came, and with much begging, pleading and cajoling the 8 of us willing to run heroics to push our level managed to split up and get some of the running with us. For the most part, indifference.

After 25, our GM had pretty much had enough as had most of the founding members. Guild chat was a mess, the natives were hitting 85 and were restless, but were too lazy to do anything without hand holding. I used to be extremely patient with newer players, with jerky players, with anyone, but after seeing the garbage that this game community is capable of producing, I say YOU WANT THEM TAKE THEM.

The day after we hit 25, we kicked all inactives of a week or more, we did an analysis of who we thought made good guild members and who were unsalvageable, and we compared that to who we believed actually contributed to our vast viral community. We created two ranks. For PC (politically correct, even though you probably think most of us incapable of that by now) purposes, we’ll call the ranks “Staying” and “Going.” Those of the “Going” rank were informed that they were at the mercy of the leadership’s rage and might want to consider a new homestead.

This all came to a head this past Thursday night, there was an abuse of GMOTD privileges, a general “You don’t do anything for us” outcry from the masses, and an answering “fine get out” kick from our GM.

Was the language of the dismissal letter inappropriate? Yes. Should we have never let things get this out of control? Yes. Did I disagree with turning on guild chat and perpetuating this from the beginning? Yes.

I feel like I should feel more sorry and don’t, and to be perfectly honest that doesn’t make me want to quit this guild. It makes me even more tired of what this game and its community have become.

I will not miss being called a jerk for not passing out epic flying money, being called mean for refusing to teach someone how to play or telling them to stop “grats”ing every, little thing. I am just as happy to get my quiet, mellow environment back. I just didn’t go all beserker rage and get linked by a person who was in the guild for one week after we hit 25.

Five years ago, I’d have been mortified to be associated with the whole thing. Now the disgust goes both ways. The message for the masses? Be careful, and don’t join guilds from /2.

Oh and for the people on our server saying they don’t want to run with us? We don’t PUG crap ,so we don’t care if you don’t want to run with us. GLHF.

Peace and good luck building communities out of the social waste area.

I do read back through this and think….where did this cynical, dbag come from….the difference in my own outlook is astounding.