You Have Freedom

Have you read this post by Elleiras? All I know is that he’s a Warlock blogger.

Yes, I read Warlock blogs in addition to healing blogs. I never know where inspiration strikes so I get my Dwarven mitts on anything that I can read.

In this post, he makes the fundamental assumption:

You pay for your subscription, not your Guild Leader.  You control your characters, your playtime, your actions and your interactions in the game.  Your guild simply does not have the ability to prevent you from doing something that you want to do, nor does it have the power to force you to do anything that you don’t want to do against your will.

In other words, you play this game however you want and even though you follow the flag of your guild leader, that guild leader cannot control you. What us guild leaders can do is try to influence you into doing what we want you to do. But in the end, the choice will always be yours.

In my guild, you can do anything.

You can respec from a healer to a DPS position.
You can skip out on a raid.
You can even take a long hiatus.

The question that remains is how I react to these events. Rules and guidelines help outline what is cool and what is not cool. I can’t control you and I have no desire to. What I have are goals and what I can control is how I meet those goals. Your leaders are the one that decide the path that their guild takes.

I can’t exactly stop players from doing anything they want. But that doesn’t mean I have to include them in the next event. By considering that, I exert a small measure of influence in their decision making.

If a player respecs from Resto to Elemental, they no longer become valuable to me.

If my F-16 fighter jet needs a nut to be fully finished and you hand me a screw, then the jet won’t be able to get off the ground.

Why?

Because I only have a finite amount of DPS slots available. By switching roles, their roster slot has been compromised and I have been forced into the unfortunate position of replacing them.

Just remember that there’s a social cost attached to every action. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s a cost you can afford.

I guess that’s not really being free.

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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.

Comments

  1. Nice find on the Fel Fire blog. Although I was going to subscribe to her feed anyways based on the post you linked, the “Nerf Hockey” rant/article really won me over. 😛

    Karthiss last blog post..That DPS Itch

    • @Karthis: Oh crap. IT’s a her?

      Let this be a lesson to everyone. Keep your About page up to date and current ESPECIALLY with a gender. ^^

  2. I think what the blogger means is that guild members should be more proactive about going after things they want. I’ve listened to people who are trapped in guilds that don’t suit them out of a sense of obligation. When asked why they don’t seek out a guild that meets their needs, they give all kinds of excuses. What they don’t always realize is that they are always free–and that staying in a guild is a choice. So don’t stay in a guild that doesn’t make you happy!

  3. Great find, and a good read. My guild tends to operate the same way:

    You were promoted to Raider under the assumption that you were resto/holy/shadow/fury/ret…. whatever… if you chose to respec, you might not fill the need we currently have, and you will need to prove your worth in the new role before you are back in the normal raiding rotation.

    Ultimately it is all about the game YOU pay to PLAY. Not what your GL does. However, if your guild no longer needs you in this new role… thats a different story.

    Derevkas last blog post..New and More 3.08 News

  4. I see both sides of it.
    Three weeks ago, I took the freedom to app to a guild who was about to start raiding 25s instead of pugging heroics.

    New Guild is a Tank-heavy and melee-heavy. They had me respec arms because my prot gear was NOT going to earn me even a bench spot.

    Three weeks later, i have the best 2hander in the game ([Betrayer of Humanity, bishes!) and my Arms DPS has me in the top 5 most nights.

    If you don’t feel the “freedom” to play in your “chosen” spec, it boils down to embracing what you are asked to do and enjoying it.

    Danielandthelionss last blog post..danielandlions: @mattycus Contemplating DPSPlate.com. Would welcome DK and Ret/Holy Pallies to participate too. I think I’ll work on it tonight.

  5. The basis of any guild is that people come together in cooperation to defeat a common foe and reep those rewards.

    This whole idea that you can do whatever you want is true, but it doesn’t fit the basic guildline of a guild. People in guilds coordinate raid times, set the strat for the attempts, and ask that you come prepared. This is not meant to confine the player, but to reach the common goal of mastering the content.

    If you raid leader asks that you MOVE out fo the fire, it usually works better if you MOVE out fo the fire. Works better for everyone.

  6. Just like in society, every action in game has a cost (consequence/benefit if you will). It is up to the player to assess the cost of his actions, anticipate reactions of others to his actions, weigh all these factors against the gain and decide which path he/she wants to take. Freedom of action is undoubtedly present but if one chooses to act according to ones will, one must also be prepared to accept the consequences of the action.

  7. Back in the days when I ran a guild, I allowed the freedom of not forcing a certain spec, but I also reminded my raiders that they needed to understand that healers and tanks were in far more demand then the DPS, and if they choose to be DPS they;d be in a much larger rotation, and not see as much raid time. I found that most of my could-be-healers stayed healers under that notion.

    AltoholicsAreUss last blog post..Spider Wing Cleared

  8. It’s interesting watching guild leaders have this conversation. I am not one, but I have lead raids on occasion and love healing. That being said, WotLK is having growing pains, just like BC did. Add in the holiday season (BC release in Jan/Feb iirc), and I’m seeing lots of players trying to figure out what role they really want to play after all this time.

    Some people are switching specs or classes after getting a taste for how their “mains” play out in the new endgame. I, myself, am slowly leveling a heroic tank for times that I get sick of healing people. Figure the new challenge might be worth it.

    I agree with the premise that the player can do whatever they want to do with their 15 bucks, but the GL can try to influence the other players with raid slots, gkicks, etc, to keep the runs flowing smoothly.

    However, as a non-leader, I sometimes question this “the guild doesn’t need you” mentality that crops up from time to time in guilds that push progression. What motivations are there to be in a guild at this point? Don’t say progression or loot. Right now, anyone can see all the content in the game through pugs (minus malygos, I guess). I have run every raid as both a guild run and a pug, and have had bad and good runs in both.

    As a healer, I know I’m in demand, mostly because of the superficial lack of healers (there are plenty of healers, they just already have a tank they’re grouped with), but sometimes I feel like I’m being treated like last weeks mutton for “the sake of the guild”.

    The next step from GLs influencing raiding members by withholding raiding slots can sometimes be creating a clique of people and just running with them. I saw it happen to my last guildL two groups, people who were senior members or officers and the rest of the guild. I was an officer in the guild, saw what was happening, and called it out (privately). When I was told to stfu or gtfo, I chose the latter option, and ended up where I am now.

    I understand why a GL can and does try to enforce consistency from their raiding members, but something inside me hesitates when I hear what basically amounts to a “put out and shut up” approach to leading.

    People’s goals change all the time (a man’s reach should exceed his grasp…. yada, yada, yada), and in some guilds, there’s no room for that. I don’t have any sage advice for either a guild leader who runs that kind of ship, nor a guildie who’s in that boat, but I wanted to at least get the “other player’s” side on the board.

    Sometimes, after players just like the journey, and once they reach it, realize it wasn’t what they wanted. Going back to an earlier post here, it’s one thing to have a goal (be an endgame progression guild) that doesn’t change; it’s another to have a process that doesn’t. All I can really say is that, given time, things will smooth out. I hope.

  9. edit: Just realized her post is just a big semantics post… lame.

    I think this ‘lock needs a reality check on social dynamics. I know that I’ve stopped people from doing things they wanted to do and forced people to do things they didn’t want to do an uncountable number of times.

    This guy really has no idea what he’s talking about. By his logic, I could also go out and drive my car into a grocery store too. After all, no one can stop me. That does change though that…

    There are consequences for your actions.

    Veneretios last blog post..Expertise is always better than Hit

  10. What about alts to mains? Different classes and whatnot. I’d like to see a guild relations blog about this, and how people handle that situation.

    • @Totemlol: I’m not quite sure what you mean here. Would I accept an alt into my raid? I think those are very situation specific. If you could clarify them, I’ll see what I can do about answering them.

  11. The debating about consequences of respeccing seems to make it clear that every guild should have a policy about respecs. Do you require appoval from anyone? If so who? Do you have some for of trial period with the new spec? What if the chosen role is full? Are you first up if that role opens up or will the guild recruit and you need to compete with applicants? etc.

    As far as other actions, when you apply to a guild, you should know the rules and policies the guild has in place. When you accept that guild invite, you’re agreeing to play by those rules. If you feel that those rules are no longer a good fit for you, then it is time for you to bid the guild adieu and leave (amicably.) in search of something more fitting to your needs.

  12. @Veneretio: Heh, you could. That’s like saying I could just whip out my textbook or notes during an exam and use that to fill out the answers. You can do ANYTHING in this world. But there are costs. What prevents people from cheating? What stops you from driving your car into a grocery store?

    Because social mores and laws state that our actions will also have a consequence or a cost. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to jeopordize my academic career.

  13. It’s true you have freedom to do what you wish with your account, but if what you want to do doesn’t jive with the current needs of the guild/raiding group – you also have the freedom to find a home elsewhere.

    I can see where she’s coming from, but every choice you make has a consequence – good or bad.

  14. When I first read this post I thought the other blogger was telling people to just /gquit if they don’t get what they want. But then I read her full post and it started to make a little more sense, but still sends mixed signals.

    Basically, she’s telling these people in her guild that you can do whatever you want, but if you don’t do it her way, there may be repercussions. And if you don’t like that – /gquit. At least that’s how I read it.

    And, I kinda agree. When you apply to a serious raiding guild, most likely you filled out an application. You told the guild leader what your spec was and what role you want on their team. You were accepted on those conditions. Now you want to change everything up. That just doesn’t fly when you are trying to reach a goal as a group.

    It’s like applying for a position in the accounting department and then after you’ve been working there for awhile you decide I’m going to switch over to the IT department. You can’t just do it because you work for the company. Many questions need to be answered first: Does the IT department have room for another person? Can the accounting department afford to lose an employee? Are you good at IT related tasks? Is the company willing to pay to bring you up to the level the other IT employees are at? Sure, you can leave the company and look somewhere else where you can do IT, but if your not skilled or don’t have the right tools to get the job done, don’t expect to walk into a 6 figure role. Your going to have to work your way up.

  15. Ya know Matt, I never truly appreciated the work you and your cohorts put into this blog (probably cause you’re a bunch of healers talking about healing stuff..lol) until I tried to find a decent Mage blog/forum (besides EJ). I was sadly disappointed. I guess I took for granted how much thought and preparation goes into a good blog. Just thought I’d drop you a Kudos while I was thinking about it (you’re still the only wow blog I read regularly).

    On a side note: Almost every mage blog I looked into linked to World of Matticus somewhere on their front page.

    On another side note: Any suggestions on a good Mage blog out there (I think it’s in the best interest of the WoW community that I find one, so I don’t end up writing my own…lol).

  16. “I guess that’s not really being free.”

    But it is free. True freedom is being free to make decisions. It has nothing to do with whether or not to accept the consequences. The consequences happen.

    I am free to smoke, but once I make that decision I’m no longer free to be immune to the prospect of lung cancer.

    I am free to drink and drive, but once I make that decision I am not free of the increased chances of getting into an accident and/or going to jail.

    I am free to change my spec, but once I do I’m not free of the increased chance of losing my spot in the raid.

    The point is that we limit our own freedoms by the choices we make, but in WoW we’re always free to leave and start over.

    kyrileans last blog post..How Do You Motivate Members?

  17. @Dynasor

    Critical QQ @ http://criticalqq.wordpress.com/ is a decent blog I think.

  18. A good rule of thumb is

    DO WHAT THE HELL I TELL YOU TO DO

    things work out from there

  19. Its really all just social contracts. Guilds, governments, society at large. Just the name of the game.

  20. @ Revaan re: spec changes

    Our guild is really casual, so we often enough have hybrids bouncing back and forth upon request (not forced). But we do have a set-in-stone policy in regards to Main Spec and looting. If your main spec is Resto Druid, thou shalt get priority on Resto Druid loot, but get much lower priority on Moonkin loot, for 6 months at a time. If, after 6 months, you get the dps bug, or the tankin’ bug you want have a change you can re-announce your main spec, and earn your spot back. Switching in between those times does not guarantee you a spot in any raid.

  21. DocHoliday, may I add a second rule of thumb?
    OR GTFO

    I was thinking about all the same analogies, leave jobs, not going to work, changing departments. Everything has consequences.

    For Matt,
    Be careful, or you may end up with a lot of bolts when you need screws. I’m sure you know you are setting a huge precedent for the lifetime of you guild. LOKI blew up and reformed twice, and a major reason we blew up was all the dead weight (casuals, “retired”, friends, respecs, main changes) we were trying to carry around. It did bad stuff to us. Maybe we have become tough love type people, but I think we have a really stable, happy guild now.

    Aertimuss last blog post..1 Drake and Malygos Down!

  22. I think Sydera hit the nail on the head: “I’ve listened to people who are trapped in guilds that don’t suit them out of a sense of obligation.”

    The goals of the team (or leaders) should be clear, known and be talked about. The individual player should compare them to his own and make sure they match. If not, you’re better of by withdrawing respectfully than getting frustrated over an inconvenient partnership.
    Individual change and creativity should be accepted or tolerated but it may lead to re-evaluating the personal and the teams goals, the individual’s position in the team and ultimately the membership itself.

    TBH, I really feel I can relate this topic to my work. When I have a meeting with my manager about my carreer path and development, he would go beserk if I’d change my mind and preferences on every meeting. Needless to say: the meeting and team-feeling will lose a lot of value. If I would lay out a set of clearly defined goals (including those exact same changes, for example) and discuss the team’s goals, then I would probably get a very productive meeting. We could discuss what can and what can not be accomplished or if he can find a new assignment or project where my goals can be met over time. I’m happy because I get a cool job and meet my goals. He prefers it like that because he can plan me “as a resource” in advance and he’ll have a motivated worker that will work for the team’s interest by achieving his individual goals. The key to a good cooperation is knowing where you want to go to, and negotiating these goals with your leaders.

    This application guide comes to mind:
    http://www.worldofmatticus.com/2008/12/15/reader-question-how-do-i-find-a-quality-raiding-guild/
    This feels like a good system to avoid such problems in the first place.

Trackbacks

  1. […] on World of Matticus, a healer blog that I frequent, there’s a recent blog post that really caught my eye. Apparently, Matticus reads a warlock’s blog, where the following […]

  2. […] Questions to Answer on the Respec Policy A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post detailing the freedom that players had in their own play. Reader Revaan wrote a series of questions that I wanted to answer but I never got around to it […]

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