Like most people, I learned the hard way about second chances at relationships–backsliding, regression relationships, whatever you want to call it. Namely that they don’t work, despite the fact that regression sex might sound like just what you need after a series of terrible first dates. However, unless one of you has been in a coma or similarly life-changing event, inevitably the crazy in your ex or the behavior that brought out the crazy in you (or both) manifests again… and then you finally wake to find yourself stuck in a supremely depressing place: exactly the same kind of unhappy situation you were in before, except you’re older and you have demonstrably not learned your lesson. You’re connected again to this person who makes you unhappy.
Then you somehow break it off. Whether you’ve extricated yourself via your own force of will or via external causes, you’re free of this person and you now have some ability to see this kind of situation coming again. When faced with future backsliding, eventually you either:
- Realize that the number of seconds you have on this planet is finite, and perhaps regression sex-and-crazy this isn’t the best way to spend those seconds. You opt out from that person.
- Let them back into your guild.
Big jump, but stay with me. I suspect that those of you who have walked both the dating road and the long-time guild member road see where I’m going with this.
You’ve got this guy, Bob, in your community who appears to be friendly/funny/talented and has learned to cleverly disguise his crazy. Bob knows how to sound aligned to the goals of your guild, because how hard is it to sound like that when said goals are likely written on your guild’s front page? Honestly, only the really thick people ever do anything stupid enough to warrant immediate kicking. Not Bob–he can seem like a good guild member… but at some point, you know from firsthand experience that he’ll will do one or more of the following:
- Feel justified in a broken give/take ratio
- Complain whenever they don’t get instantaneous service from guild resources, like officers and crafters
- Pick fights with people inside or outside the guild
- Beg for anything over /g, especially gold
- Be an embarrassment in public, like /trade, hurting your guild’s continuous recruitment efforts
- Make suggestions that involve a lot of work, not offer to help with execution, and then get pissed and complain
- Sow dissension
- Only participate when there’s a clear chance for personal reward/suggest large guild investments in their own personal improvement
- Speak in txtmsg like they’re not sitting at a keyboard (“y cant i come 2 ZA”)
- Link random people’s gear over /g with text-drool of how much they want that gear
- Tell Chuck Norris jokes or other completely played-out memes
- Freak out when they don’t get attention frequently enough
…or whatever it is that pushes your Button of Incompatibility. The fact that Bob is talented and/or funny and/or generous isn’t the question; it’s that he brings out the crazy in you. The experience of being in this Bob’s company makes the game unfun for you.
How do you personally deal with Bob? For me, a notice of silence followed by enforcement of silence works. “Bob, I wish you well but I’m going to do my best to avoid you.” No conversation after that is necessary. I’ve tried “having it out” and “an honest conversation”, but honestly an extended conversation about incompatibility, however you deliver it, isn’t necessary. You’re not going to enlighten this person. The equivalent of silence in MMORPGs is some variation of /ignore and refusal to group with this person. Do not break this silence for any reason. It works great!
If only it were that easy in MMORPGs.
The problem is that you’re in a guild. The pool of people around you on the server is mostly static and is certainly limited. Your friends in this guild–the ones whose company you seek out and that you’ve come to enjoy–are perfectly good people with the glaring exception that they don’t share your opinion on Bob. This person who you’ve concluded is a complete waste of your time, he doesn’t drive them nuts like he drives you nuts.
As long as Bob plays the game and you play the game, you’re going to exist in the same limited social circle. You’re going to be around him. You’re going to see him in the bank, he’ll be grouping with your friends. He might even still be in your guild! The only method of escape is server transfer, but that means leaving everything you enjoy about where you are. The vast majority of the time, this is an unacceptable solution.
So what happens? Drama, that’s what!
Now take this two way relationship that can happen between any two people and bring that to a group of ten people. Or forty! The odds of this happening between any two people is small, but the more people you add to the mix, the more likely you are that it’s going to happen. Add the variable of time and you can pretty much guarantee that it’s going not just happen to someone in your guild, but happen to you. No matter how good you try to be, drama happens.
This is why there’s always one thing you can count on in massively multiplayer games: Drama is Inevitable.