Being a Woman in Gaming

Typically there would be at least one other female gamer in the guild that I was in.  I don’t know if this is because we tended to find each other due to the type of leadership that the guild had.  I had refused to play with certain guilds due to how I was treated, or if they had provocative pictures on their forum.  I am fine with pictures of beautiful women but I’ll be out the door if they is pornography in your player forums…just….no.

In my experience there is always a lot of flirting in games.  When your guild has a male to female ratio of 15:1 you tend to see the women getting a lot of attention.  I have benefited from lots of help over the years in the game, I will assume that it was due to being a female.  I always try to pay it back or pay it forward but I’m sure there is an imbalance in my favor.

Along with the attention, women can also be the target of unwanted harassment.  There have been more than a few times where I received inappropriate and unwanted private messages.  It was even worst if it came from people that I played with on a regular basis or members of my guild.  It was a difficult position to be put in.  If a woman deflects advances she gets called a bitch and I’ve seen this type of negative notions get spread throughout a guild because rather than nurse a bruised male ego quietly, it was done with rumors and trash talk.  For about 2 years I refused to play in the same guild as my husband (boyfriend at the time) because there was this ONE GUY that would call me a “little c**t” every time I joined up with them to do group content.  I told him to cut it out, but he saw that it irritated me so he kept doing it.  One of the benefits of being the guild leader is that people don’t test my boundaries like this.  If they were to call me any sort of derogatory term they would be out the door faster a speeding ticket.

I’ve been exploring the world of how female players are treated in gaming to gain a broader understanding beyond my own experiences.  I found the Not in the Kitchen Anymore where a Jenny Haniver publishes clips of negative interactions that she has with other gamers.  I will tell you that I’ve listened to these clips and was shocked to find that my initial thoughts were “yea I hear this all the time” and it didn’t seem out of the ordinary.  Have I grown complacent to the verbal abuse that we face in these games as women?

So why do these men berate women in these games?  Is it a power thing?  Are the motivations to cat call women on the street or call them whores in video games the same?  I’ve often heard that women would be better off if they confronted the abuser and to this I am conflicted.  A few weeks ago I was the target of unwanted advances while at a fair grounds.  I will tell you that I did not give him an ear full for a few reasons, first – he was operating a ride that my child was on and I didn’t want her to become a target for retaliation after I rejected this man.  Second – I didn’t know what this guy was capable of, was he prone to violence?  or stalking?  I don’t know and I’d rather not put myself in a position to find out.

SSC and Guild Drama

Today I wanted to share an old story about my guild.  At the time these events were very upsetting for all of us. I was a holy priest raiding in Dies Irae which was one of my very first guilds in WoW and we held the #2 spot on the server in terms of progression.  When you are not quite the best but still have a lot of great players, it makes you a target for sniping members and attacks on your team’s moral.  I will tell you the story from our perspective, since this reporter didn’t seek out quotes from both guilds involved and the only quote used was a whisper of a guild member that was not representative of our guild as a whole.

So here is the story from our perspective:  Clockwise was a guild lead by the brother of a Nightmares Asylum member who started a Karazhan pug with around 3 people from Clockwise and at least 3 from Dies Irae.  They killed a couple of the early bosses in the raid instance and then the pug raid ended.  Using the general pug rules, a couple guys from Dies Irae who were part of the pug decided to continue the pug raid.  Later that night the Clockwise guys started another group to continue the raid as well.  When they attempted to zone in, they could not since there was the max amount of player in the raid for that specific raid ID.  Of course the perceived “stealing” of the raid ID was not done intentionally or with malice.  And I’m sure you can decide for yourself if the raid belongs to only the raid leader?  Or does it belong to each and every person who participated?  I’ll let you decide.  I can’t say what was said between the Clockwise member and my guildie because I can’t view their whisper history but it sounded like the Clockwise leader was flipping out and because of his attitude, the players that were already in the raid decided to just continue and finish the raid.

At this point in time raids were assigned a unique ID number which locked you to the progress of the players that are saved.  If you were saved to different raid IDs you could not play together.  This feature has since been been changed to allow any player to join and leave any raid that they wish.

What happened next was a bizarre turn for our guild.  We were working on the last boss in SSC and before our scheduled raid time, Nightmares Asylum created a raid group and whispered one of our raiders to help summon someone.  Him being a nice guy said “sure invite” when he was expecting to join a party of 2 or 3 players he instead saw a full raid group and was promoted to leader which allowed Nightmares Asylum to zone in under our raid ID.  They went on to kill the boss that we were working on.  It was a shitty thing to do and I’m still mad about it ten years later.

I wanted to save the contents of this post just in case it ever gets purged, the original post can be found here.

DI Vashj

Today’s story comes from the realm of Smolderthorn, home of one of the U.S.’s top Horde guilds, Nightmares Asylum (obligatory note: Blizzard apparently doesn’t let you use apostrophes in guild names.)

Our tale begins in Karazhan this weekend, where the guild Clockwise was just learning the instance. They didn’t have enough people for a full group, so they invited in some puggers to help them down some bosses. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to kill too many bosses, so they left half of the instance for the next day. One of their puggers, who was a member of the medium-level guild Dies Irae, invited in some of his guildmates’ alts to clear the rest. Dies Irae claimed they didn’t know it was another guild’s instance at first, but only decided to kill Prince after Clockwise’s guild leader got angry at them and told them to get the bleep out. Whatever the cause, no one disputes that it ended with Dies Irae’s alts clearing Karazhan on Clockwise’s raid ID.

Now it gets interesting. Apparently Nightmares Asylum decided it was time to stand up for the little guy and get Dies Irae back. So Monday night, they asked one of Dies Irae’s members to help them on a quest. Suddenly, the DI member was promoted to leader and kicked out of the group as Nightmares Asylum members ran inside their Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern instances. (SSC, by the way, was completely clear except for Lady Vashj, who Dies Irae was planning on working on — Nightmares Asylum apparently no longer runs SSC.) Nightmares Asylum then proceeded to kill Vashj, made a screenshot of her dead with their raid members forming the letters DI, and — this is the best part — tracked down various Dies Irae members and disenchanted the Vashj loot they would have gotten in front of them. Man, I feel bad for that rogue who watched the Fang of Vashj dissolve. DI claimed not to care, since it “gave them another day to PVP”, but the attempts to report Nightmares Asylum say otherwise.

So who’s in the wrong here? We don’t know the full situation, but both sides have given their account. Dies Irae says they didn’t intentionally steal the Kara ID and only cleared it after being provoked by the other guild’s leader, while Nightmares Asylum was malicious in their thievery. Nightmares Asylum defends their actions as karma and standing up for the little guy, and it’s pretty obvious they didn’t do it to get the phat loots. Ethically, they’re both probably wrong, since stealing raid IDs is pretty nasty, but I can’t help but feel a soft spot for Nightmares Asylum after this. They may have done a vicious, petty thing, but they did it with style.

What do you think about this situation? Should there be a way to remedy the “stealing” of raid IDs, or should people just be careful who they accept raid invites from?

Dealing with drama as a Guild Leader

As humans, we love to gossip, spread rumors and tell secrets.  It creates a social bond that we enjoy belonging to a group and the endorphin rush from being included.  Of course there is a negative side to gossiping, especially when you are a group that spends a lot of time together.  A guild is just like any other social group where drama can be a real rock in the shoe.  Sometimes you gotta take off your shoe and get rid of that pesky rock.

Magz was a tank, which was an important role to fill in our guild.  There are usually only 2 tanks in a group of 30 people.  Normally a chill guy, one night Magz had a change in attitude.  I can only speculate what caused the change.  Maybe something traumatic happen in his life that we didn’t know about?  Did he get bored and start picking fights with people to spice up his day?  Whatever was going on, he was pissing people off.  If I have one rule in my guild, it is you can’t make everyone hate you.  Several members of the guild began to come to me with stories complaining about him.

It hasn’t happened very often where a longtime member was causing issues.  I’m very direct and to the point when I need to communicate an expectation.  I talked to him and told him how it was going to be.  He had to get along or move along.

The next raid he began to give me sass when I gave him normal raid instructions.  He seemed to think that he was too important to lose and that I would just suck it up and put up with his crap.  I held me temper through the rest of the raid, so I wouldn’t disrupt our planned group play.  Through the 4 hour raid I simmered below the surface and by the end of the night I had reached full boil.

After that raid ended I spoke to him in voice chat, “Magz, your behavior tonight was unacceptable and you don’t seem to care about making things right with the players that have been having disagreements with you.”  He seemed to be indignant, indifferent and perhaps a little irritable.  We talked and when it was clear that I was going to get no where with him and his poor attitude I gave him the boot  “I guess you will no longer be playing with us.”

If you want to continue to play with the group, you can’t make everyone hate you.  Had I chosen to keep him in our guild it would have effected moral and I would have lost some great friends and raiders in the process.  The guy was complaining all the time, being disrespectful towards the leadership (including me) and didn’t seem to want to be there.

I’ve seen players deteriorate into non-productive members and have found that they usually have some warning signs:

  1. They become less responsive to communications.
  2. They start acting weird – acting out or starting fights.
  3. They do something immoral such as scamming a guild member, stealing guild resources or doing other things to harm the guild.
  4. They start having poor attendance.

Of course poor attendance by itself isn’t cause for the boot.  They could have legitimate reasons for missing your scheduled play time, but when a member exhibits the above warnings signs and then has a family emergency of some sort that takes them away from the game for a week – I consider them gone, and I’m usually right.  I’ll make the call every once in a while “That guy is going to quit soon”  I’ll say to my officers.  If I were a gambling woman I would make some serious money with how often I’m right.

If your guild is participating in organized group play, try to always have a contingency plan.  Whether it is someone else in your guild that can fill the role or if you have a potential recruit in the pipeline.  I try to always be prepared.  This way if someone starts causing problems with other guildies, I don’t have to suck it up and deal with the drama.  I always give people the benefit of a doubt and communicate expectations.  To this date I’ve only had to kick a handful of people.  Its not the part of the job that I like, but I need to keep the wheels turning, the bosses dying, and my members happy.

I do love a good gaming drama story.  Anyone have a good one to share?

Start at the beginning

My first soiree into guild leadership happened in an explosion of drama, which I somehow became the catalyst.  “We are supposed to be a hard core guild,” I said “You can’t cancel a raid just because you can’t make it!!”  Our argument was a whirl of purple text from our in game whispers, which were anything but quiet.  Our guild was named Nox, which means night or something like that and we had a great start as a guild.  We were wracking up the accomplishments and able to brag that we were 4/5 in bosses defeated.  Only one more to go…and the Guild Leader was CANCELING!  “I won’t have it!”  I fumed, “this is not how this works!”

Cali has been removed from the guild

Kicked.  How can he kick me?  I wasn’t the problem.  From there I can only describe what came next as a scheme.  Like any respectable guild at the time we had a website where we all communicated daily and on this website I still had access.  I began my plea in a forum private mesage (PM) to all of my guildmates asking them to to reject the bad leadership and join me on a new adventure.  And join me they did!

I stood in our main city hub, staring at a blank text box asking me to name the guild.  I’m terrible at naming things.  I typed in some text and created the guild.  I knew that everyone would get a kick out of this temporary name that I picked and make me change it in a week.

You have joined Cali Killed Nox

Little did I know that we would play under that guild name for the next 4 years…