Officer Blues

It's been nearly two months since I was made an officer in our heavily shrunken guild. Things are kind of quiet now, but at the current point in the game I think that's okay. We're still running raids, even if a lot of them end up being retro raids or alt runs instead of progression.

Still, I have to admit that the initial shine of the officer badge has worn off quite quickly.

Human Resources

I used to think of myself as a pretty friendly and sociable player, but the way you have to judge people by their function an an officer and raid leader really doesn't play well with that ideal. I hate treating people like tools... but if you need another healer, you need another healer, not just another friend or guildmate. I have to spend a lot more time talking to people that I don't like as much, simply because of the role they fulfill, and I can't show my affection for those I do like a lot quite as much, because from an officer-to-raider point of view I should treat everyone equally. Leadership is srs bsns.

And it cuts both ways as well. I'm not just one of the healers anymore, I'm much more defined by my role as officer. On one occasion I was assumed to take responsibility for something that another officer did long before I was even raised to that rank, because clearly all officers share knowledge and responsibility across space and time, right? And if I get cranky with someone it's not just me being cranky, it's an officer bearing down on a poor guild member. I can never separate rank and person anymore, which is awkward at times.

It's all my fault!

Responsibility is another thing that I find quite challenging to deal with right now, especially while leading raids. As someone who mostly plays healers, I'm used to the concept of being responsible for other people and actually get enjoyment out of it, but when you're leading a raid it's all hugely magnified, and I haven't quite hardened my skin enough yet to not feel a little overwhelmed by it.

I mean, when I'm healing I feel responsible for people, but at the same time I know that there are limits to how much I can do. If someone gets one-shot, it's no fault of mine. If someone gets two-shot - well, I suppose I could have theoretically landed a heal right in that half-second between the hits, but realistically? No. I think this is something that players new to healing often struggle with, being able to judge these things correctly and to differentiate between when they actually messed up and when it's really not their fault.

Raid-leading is similar, except that at the moment I seriously do feel responsible for absolutely everything. Even if someone dies to a completely avoidable mechanic, I just find myself questioning my own part in it. Did I not explain the mechanic well enough? Maybe I should have called out a warning? And so on, and so forth. This isn't helped by the fact that many fights in ICC are very healing-intensive and I often feel that I don't have the time to spare to press push-to-talk instead of spamming heals. Hopefully this is an area where I'll manage to find my balance in time.

I thought I told you...

And finally, communication. This is something for which I criticised our old officers quite frequently, or rather for what I felt was a lack of it. Nothing like having a new plan or rule dropped on your head out of nowhere.

Walking in their shoes however, I find it much easier to see where they were coming from. First you discuss your idea with the guild leader, then with some friends, then on the forums... it gets bloody redundant after a while, so you eventually start to skip some steps or simply forget. Which works alright for a while, until something goes wrong and someone says "Well, how was I supposed to know?" and you realise that this is indeed something that wasn't posted anywhere where that person could see it. It's pretty tiring.

I think I'll have to take it easy in the next couple of weeks. I knew that becoming an officer would be a burden to a certain extent, but I didn't expect to feel it quite so quickly. I'm still convinced that I'll be able to handle it in the long run, but I think I need to be careful not to let too many things bog me down too soon.


  1. I wish you good luck and enjoyment in your newer roles. they do immensely change the way we look at wow but few of the downsides aside, I found more responsibility heightened my gaming experience and fun as a whole bigtime - I don't think I would still be playing wow actually, had I not taken to dealing with guild matters and co-leading so much in the past. it brings a lot more social aspects into play indeed, many of which I could relate to also from a real life profession's perspective. people work the same way anywhere really, inside or outside of games and the dynamics in guilds can be very interesting (even if they also make for sleepless nights sometimes).

    I'm sure once you've settled in, you will feel more relaxed and know where your responsibilities lie as a raidleader, as much as where they end. all things get easier with routine and in the end you're just that: a coordinator for the greater good, doing her best - nobody can ask for more than that! =)

  2. Well, I think you're doing a good job. You've always answered all of my questions about the raids I was in, and I find the way you explain the raid mechanics pretty good. Plus, you're always good to hear on Vent too, hehe.

    Your encouragement was actually one of the things that made me believe in myself that I could be a raider.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Syl and Ando. :) I didn't mean for this post to come across as asking for a pity party - I do think I'm doing okay, but there simply are some issues that I hadn't really thought about in detail before I became an officer, and I wanted to mull them over a bit (and maybe share them with others who might ever find themselves in a similar position).

  4. You don't really have to change how you act around your friends in private, you just have to treat them on the same level as everyone when it comes to guild stuff and guild functions (in most cases, raids). When you're just hanging out with your friends during downtime, though, you can act the way you always have. Any friend worth having will understand that when it comes to business, it's about killing dragons.

    I hear you about raid leading. I've always felt that when we kill a new boss or do something awesome under my lead, it's OUR victory, but if we fail, then it's MY failure. From talking with other raid leaders, it seems like it's normal to feel that way at first or with a new team, and it gets better over time.

    It's especially difficult to raid lead as a healer, because there's just that much more going on. The healing lead in my guild is a gifted raid leader, but he won't do it unless there's no one else. It's just that much easier for a DPS to raid lead. You seem to be doing an awesome job at it, so give yourself a pat on the back!

    On the topic of press to talk, I had one raid leader who turned on voice activation when he was leading. Me, I have my press to talk button set to a different key than any of my heal bindings, so I can keep casting and talk at the same time. Might be things to look into.

  5. Well, of course I can still joke around with my friends in private but I find that the line between official business and friendly banter is a lot more blurry than I thought. If a guild member you're not overly fond of asks a dumb question in guild chat and you don't respond or call him out on it, aren't you making the guild look unfriendly and unhelpful instead of just yourself? It's as if every action weighs much more heavily when you have a rank than if you were just a member.

    And my push-to-talk key doesn't affect my in-game keybindings, but I feel that I just don't have enough fingers to move and heal and do something else at the same time. I think it was Zelmaru who recommended a foot pedal when this came up recently, but I don't really have cash to spare for anything fancy like that at the moment. And I think voice activation would be a disaster, considering the stuff I say to my boyfriend in-between fights... :D

  6. Ah, both of the guilds I've been really involved in of have been really informal with officer roles for the friendliness part of the guild. If someone wants to answer a question, they do, but it's not an obligation.

    I usually answer if no one does, whether I'm an officer or not, just because it makes me too sad to see a question with no response.

  7. Good luck - I'm sure you're already (and will be) and excellent officer. The self-awareness, at least, makes you about 110% better than a lot of officers I have seen in action.

    I have to say, I hated being an officer passionately. It's partially that I'm too self-critical and any sort of power makes me uncomfortable ... and I don't think it's so much that I *can't* do it, it's just that it's too much work against my own nature to do it effectively. Everybody I officered with hated me by the end of it, and I can't say I blame them. They thought I was incredibly critical and pessimistic - I never meant to be, but I guess when you're always conscious of the unhappiness of others it makes you a real drag to be around.

    And I mourned the loss of personal relationships that went with always being expected to wear your Official Badge.

    God, this is the worst comment ever! I think what I was trying to say was ... err ... something positive?