Case study: The Player Who Wanted More and the GM Who Couldn’t Care Less

Have you heard of the grass is greener concept? It’s a basic premise that there is something better elsewhere or on the other side of the fence.

When it comes to Warcraft, there are all sorts of guilds with different aims. You’re going to play alongside players with different goals. These goals aren’t static. People’s ambitions change. Sometimes life deals a curveball and the game has to take a back seat. The end result is the departure of a player.

One case I wanted to discuss is the departure of the player who wants more. I’m not going to delve too deeply on other reasons and there’s no hard feelings between myself and the player who left. I’m very liberal when it comes to stuff like that and I’ve learned long ago to not let people leaving bother me too much.

What it boils down to was that the player was ambitious. He wanted to do more and see what it was like in an a higher echelon guild. The environment in an extremely hardcore guild is obviously different compared to a simple raiding guild. He’s never been in a situation like that before and he told me he wanted to try it out.

There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourage everyone to try apping with or raiding with a top server guild at least once just to see what it’s like in that sort of setting. I believe everyone should experience it at least once.

What’s unfortunate is the way he did it:

  • Left in the middle of the raiding week – As a GM, given the choice between having a player take off midweek or depart at the end of the week after multiple attempts on hard mode, I’d rather they leave at the end of the week. It’s advantageous for both parties. That player still remains an asset to the guild until such time that another player can fill in and they don’t waste their lockout until the time is up.
  • Took an item – I suppose I shouldn’t be too upset about this one. I might have done the same thing if I were in their position. It’s incredibly bad form to take an item knowing that you’re planning on leaving if there’s another person in the guild who can also use it. But, we did award it to him because it was felt he deserved it after an increase in performance.
  • No advance notice – My only desire is he spoke to me first before leaving. Instead he opted to leave before consulting with any of the leadership about his attentions. I would’ve been happy for him to go and get the experience. In my view, there’s two things that can happen: Player leaves and raids with a higher end guild, discovers he enjoys the pressure and is able to sustain the high level of performance required or comes back after having his confidence shattered and realizing that high level of guild isn’t what he’s looking for.

How should a GM react in this case?

So this is where a bit of introspection comes into play.

Reactions are going to vary based on situation and individual. Why wasn’t I as upset as my officers? They were rightly pissed. I felt indifferent. He expressed interest in some gear which we awarded to him and took off with virtually no warning. I should have been super angry. Chairs should have been thrown against the wall. Headsets should have been smashed. Don’t get me wrong, I care about my players. I’m just not sure if any player warrants begging or groveling to return. Other GMs on my server would have pitched an absolute fit if a player deserted their ranks. I suppose I am just as mortal as others for not recognizing the signs and the symptoms.

I didn’t feel any shock nor did I feel anger.

But why?

The guild still has a some amount of depth. It may not be the most ideal, since I had to ask a Resto Druid to come in as Balance instead. It’s funny because on previous attempts on Heroic Icehowl, we were only 1 for 4 on dodging his tramples. It was disappointing. The other night we didn’t have any Hunters for de-enrage duty and we were able to pull off a 100% success rate on dodging the oversized Yeti Icehowl when he was trying to take us out. He was killed with 1 tank, 4 DPS and 3 healers down. Thankfully he enraged right after he crashed into a wall allowing everyone to pour a large amount of damage resulting in a kill.

As a sidenote, we were able to wax Heroic Jaraxxus after 9 or so attempts as well. Faction Champions was down after another grinder of 6+ wipes and reached Heroic twins.

I suspect my lack of emotion could be attributed to my inherent belief that everyone is expendable and replaceable (which is true to an extent). I do care about my players, but as a GM I also keep many people at arms length. Again, I wish I could explain why. It just feels like another day.

“Hey Matt, this player left today.”
“Alright, put the word out for that class. I’ll be in my ready room reviewing logs.”

On a side note, I’m looking for some additional ranged DPS and backup healers for our raids if there’s any free agents out there looking.

Two fantastic posts by new team additions Mimetir and Thespius earlier today. I’m putting the final touches on a post that addresses the idea and problem that Wrath is too easy and follow it up with a solution. Look for it as early as tomorrow.

Have a good weekend

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.