Monday, March 3, 2008

Rules? We don't need no stinking Rules!

One of my biggest pet peeves is when other players start making rules that other players have to follow. I hate that type of thing with a passion. This is a game for chrissakes, so rules that we have to religiously follow is taking the whole thing too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I play a lot and already take it more seriously than I should, but strict enforcement of “rules” for a GAME is where I draw the line. Typically, these rules fall into a few categories:
  • Loot Rules: First, a minor distinction here, a Loot Reward System, is a system for fairly and equitably distributing drops. The system itself is more of a process than it is a rule. However, once you start adding “Rules” to the system that have little to nothing to do with the system, then it’s bullshit. For example, earning EP or DKP points for Raid attendance or downing a boss and then using them auction style is part of a system for participation. Getting no DKP for the raid because you used an Elixir instead of a Flask for a boss you downed anyway is bullshit.

  • Class Rules: I hate 90% of class officers. The whole idea that one person in the guild ”knows best” for all other people of that class is ludicrous. As I pointed out in a previous post, it’s hard to be well qualified to offer advice to others. Being better geared or a better friend to the Guild leader doesn’t make a person the end-all-be-all of class knowledge. This is particularly true when they don’t have similar talent specs. It’s bad enough when it’s just advice, but when it becomes a RULE that tells someone how to play (or worse, not allowing someone access to gear), then it’s bullshit. The best example is, “spec this way or you don’t raid”. Nevermind that the person may not be geared for that spec, know how to play that spec, is over-geared and can compensate for spec shortcomings, or has a better understanding for theory and class mechanics than the person making the rules. I think I need to write a whole future post dedicated to how damage and healing meters lie to us and perpetuate myths. Anyway… my number one problem with Class rules is that they dictate how we should play. I’m sorry, what I find enjoyable and how I play is MY DECISION, not someone elses.

  • Gear ChecksEither you are geared well enough to do it, or you are not. If you aren’t, then you don’t get to go. Pretty simple and something that I agree with completely. However, gear checks for entry into a guild are another thing altogether. While too often, gear equates to skill, this is a pretty narrow minded view for the long term health of your Guild. If a player is skilled and plays often enough, then he won’t be undergeared forever. What matters more than gear, is attitude. Is the person mature? Are they positive and self sufficient, or do they bitch and moan about needing help for simple things? How do they impact the morale of the Guild? Are they about ego or about enjoying the game? Hint: The ones always boasting about what dropped or the new piece of phat loot are in it for the ego.

  • Silly Rules:
  • These are the WTF?! Rules that were created because one guy that should have just been kicked out of the Guild couldn’t get something through his thick head. The worst is when they become part of one of the above rules. For example, my current Guild had one guy who was on “standby” take entirely too long to show up to a 25-man. The guild waited more than half an hour on the guy and 24 people were pretty pissed. Thus, the “new rule” that you must be actively standing outside of the instance if you SIGN UP for standby or you aren’t allowed any loot or DKP for the run. In other words, that toon is not allowed to do anything other than stand by the entrance of the instance for however long it takes you to be needed (if at all). I could learn to understand this rule if you were given like 5 to 10 minutes warning before someone left. At least then you could set your Hearth to the area and get there quickly to be ready.

In my day job, I need to hire (and fire) people to be part of a team. The best person doesn’t always have the best resume. Often, it’s the person with the underlying skills and mind set that will make them successful. I am cautious and wary of the guy with way more experience than is needed for the task. Either the job is beneath them and they are in it for the short-term, or they could never advance in their career because they lacked the skill, motivation or were simply a problematic employee. The trouble starts when you get desperate and make a bad hire. If you DO make a bad hire, then fire them before they become a cancer that spreads to your other employees. Be as open and honest (as you can legally) with your team about why it happened and what direction you are headed. If you have the right mix of people and act fairly with them, you don’t need to manage the drama or make unnecessary rules.

If you have an underperforming employee, there are three possible reasons: 1) they don’t know how or don’t have the tools (in which case, it’s your job to get them the tools), or 2) they have an personality conflict or attitude problem, or finally 3) they simply are unable or unwilling to become skilled. If its #1, then you nuture them until you learn that it’s #3. If it’s #2 or #3, then fire them. You are better off without them and hiring someone new who has the underlying skills and personality to make your team successful.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need all these rules to make your guild work, then you took shortcuts and didn’t work to ensure you had good people within your guild that are willing to work together as a team to achieve your objectives. Instead, you have a bunch of “me” types that are overly concerned about personal epeen. You should stop and rethink the makeup of your Guild. Character First. Skill Second. Gear Last. After all, good gear and phat loots will always drop and you can work to teach Skill. But Character and personality is something each player is stuck with forever.

EDIT: To make it clear, there is a difference between “rules” and “process”. A process is something you linearly follow to achieve a purpose. Rules are just there to prevent undesired behavior. Process is about efficiency and people should be easily able to follow it along. If they can’t follow your process – then you need to rethink how you are implementing it. Loot rules, gear progession, attunement quests – these are linear and can be defined by process. When “rules” are required to make your guild function, then you have simply done a poor job in your recruitment process. RULES for a freaking GAME is ludicrous.

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