I couldn’t kick him

My kinship wanted to do the turtle raid. We didn’t have enough people to do it without inviting people from outside the kin. One of the people we picked up was a guardian. The first thing we noticed about this guardian was his health pool. My squishy little runekeeper had the same amount of health as he did. An inspection of his traits revealed that he had terrible equipment. Many of the things he was wearing were quest rewards in dire need of replacement. His virtues had such gems as “Charity 9” and “Wisdom 4”. He also didn’t have his traits set up to hold agro.

My kin-mates were complaining about the guy on our teamspeak server before we started, but we went with him anyway. During the battle he had the attention of the turtle for about half the time. He just couldn’t hold agro. When the turtle was down to about 50k health, we wiped. I’ve seen turtle raids before, and if you wipe when it has 50k left, you’re in trouble.

I’ve been in situations like this before. Usually, I just grumble about someone not having worked on their traits and I trudge on, feeling like I have some extra burden to bear to make up for their poorly equipped character. But this time was different. This time, leadership had been passed to me after the raid was formed so that that I could tell all the different classes when to use their skills with some semblance of authority.

My kin mates continued to complain about the tank who couldn’t tank. They told me I should kick him. I knew we couldn’t beat it without swapping out some people, it’s true… but I really didn’t want to just kick him. That would make me feel terribly guilty.

My kinship mates started suggesting in raid chat that we remove the guardian. I think they were trying to make it easier for me to kick him, but it just made things more awkward. A conversation started in raid chat about asking him to leave. I didn’t mention how bad his traits or equipment were. Instead, I suggested that we swap out the lowest dps person for someone with more dps. He didn’t take well to it. He felt hurt by it. I think most of the raid felt uneasy about it. Why couldn’t he just gracefully leave after being asked to leave? Why did he have to argue and make me feel like such a monster?

I decided to put it to a vote. I enabled a ready-check and said, “If you want to try the raid without swapping anyone out, click ready”. Only 4 people didn’t click ready. I was a little disappointed with the result of that poll. I was hoping to say, “Hey, the raid agrees with me, we can’t beat it.” But even people who had been pestering for me to kick him were now against kicking. I felt like a witch with a capital B.

So I gave the order to prepare for another run. I sent a full raid to an assured death because I couldn’t bring myself to actually kick someone unwillingly out of the raid. After the second wipe, people started saying things like, “Well I’ve got to go…” and “Yeah I’m going to log as well.”

I felt horrible. I still do. I had to log off. I hope he didn’t take it personally. I hope the rest of the raid didn’t think me a monster for asking him to go. Honestly, I don’t care that we wiped against the turtle. A tiny repair bill doesn’t bother me as much as the tightness I feel in my chest right now.

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Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband. Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

28 thoughts on “I couldn’t kick him”

  1. i was in a very smilar position last week: capt for GS HM had shocking traits, outdated quest armour and didnt have the remove fear trait >< .

    i kicked him after the fs suggested to me in whisper to do so, and altho he was upset, he took it pretty well. the capt we replaced him with was full rad, so even better. i've done instances with the 1st capt since then, and he's cool about it – and he's put a lot of time into improving his equipment and traits (and skills :) ).

    morale of the story: you have to kick under those circumstances. it's not just the guard who's needs you need to consider – it's all the other ppl on the run who's time is being wasted (and play time is always limited, even when you play 24/7) by the person who isn't ready for the run.

    of course, it's best to kick and explain *why* yr kicking, and give them pointers on what they need to do to improve, but short answer: you have to kick.

  2. *shrug*

    It is a game. The criticism is against the guy’s toon’s armour and his readiness to take on a game challenge that he was not ready for. You are not attacking his personal character when you ask him to leave.

    However, it could be done in an instructive manner. For example. Perhaps you guys could have explained to him that there is no way the Turtle is going to be beaten with the equipment the Guard currently has. Tell him what you suggest he works at getting, and tell him to whisper you whenever he is ready and you would be willing to join with him again at a later date…

    That way he learns something, and you guys are able to pass your knowledge on, and everyone benefits.

    But bottom line…these are all just games. If a player cannot take constructive criticism that is kndly advised and that will help him better his game, then THAT speaks of his real life character development.

    I have found that being very clear about expectations and an offer to help the other player improve if they wish it, is usually met with positive feedback.

    NOT telling the guy why you all wanted to kick him was not helpful in any way. That leads to bitterness on his part and feelings of guilt on yours…as you have found out…

  3. Before the vote, you should have said to your kinship, “I’m going to put this to a vote, if you are complaining about this guy, you had better not vote to continue with him…”

    The fact that people were bitching and voted to continue as is makes them the guilty party, not you.

  4. World of Warcraft type drama right there. I know how you feel, but after years of dealing with people that didn’t know how to play their class I grew a thick skin and no longer cared. I would boot without hesitation. People need to learn that MMO’s are more than speed leveling via questing and they have to put effort into their characters, so tough on him I say.

  5. One last thing: if you are going to lead raids, and I know it is hard, you have to get over this type of thing.

  6. I think you handled the situation very badly. When you are leading a raid you have to _lead_ rather than be swept along by group decisions.

    That said, most people get very little experience in leadership situations in their normal lives and since it’s a skill that must be learned it’s very understandable why most people do so badly at it.

    Your options were:
    A) Tell people to quit complaining about the Guardian and keep at it.
    B) Tell the Guardian what the problem was, give them a small amount of time to resolve it, and then either call the raid or kick them.
    C) Be more careful about inspecting people before you invite them.

    If you are running a raid, you have to set the tone and take responsibility for making all the decisions. I agree with Hudson, it’s really hard to do the first few times and you’re gonna make bad calls frequently. But it’s a learned skill and you will get better.

  7. With Hudson on this. There is a reason the word leader is part of the whole Raid Leader title. If you can’t make decisions because you are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings and instead waste the time of everyone else you should pass the reigns to someone else.

    I know that sounds harsh but that is just the way it is. you are responsible fo rmore than just you at that point. It’s the same if you are an officer or Guild/Corp/Kin whatever leader.

    That said the people who complained and then turned around and didn’t vote to kick him are just as guilty as you. Is the ready check visible to all? As in can you see what everyone’s yes or no answer is?

    Anonymity always emboldens people in RL as well as in a game as soon as you bring their complaints about someone or something in to the light along with them they tend ot change their tune.

    If you had a lot of people talking to you privately about removing him you should never have gone to a vote. You should have calmly explained to him that his gear just wasn’t ready for this type of encounter and asked him to leave, if he refused then you should have kicked him.

    It’s not being rude it’s being responsible for all the other people you are leading.

  8. Group think kills any raid, like it did here.

    Even before the first attempt, a gear/trait check should have been done and the weak link identified. While some raids let you carry weak dps/healing, the tank is the most critical member, and if he is the weak link, you might as well not bother wiping.

    At the end of the day, the weak tank felt bad/hurt, and everyone else in the raid also came away with a negative impression. Would have been much easier/better to cut the tank when you first saw him, explain to him he is not ready for this raid, and save everyone the time/effort of a futile attempt. Live and learn :)

  9. Yeah, I agree with most commentors. My biggest issue is that you needed him to tank. As a captain, I have tanked the turtle plenty of times. I am pretty sure a champ can do it easily as well. So, I was kind of surprised you took him AND had him tank.

    The second issue I have is that the “ask him to leave” was in public chat. Even if you are some half-intelligent, pre-pubescent kid, you will still get defensive if multiple people “attack” you playing the game. When I raid lead, I always privately tell the individual his services are not required, good luck to him, and then I boot him. Asking him to withdraw is like making him say he agrees that he doesn’t live up to your expectations.

  10. I think all the posters above me are correct (unfortunately). Nonetheless, you have my sympathies. I know damn well I’m not cold hearted enough to be a good raid leader, so I just don’t. Having to make someone feel like crap for the greater good is not my idea of entertainment.

    Even in 6 mans I’d rather not be in charge unless I am well and truly the only one that knows the content we are doing. Admittedly, if a group is sufficiently uncoordinated I will start directing the pulls. If it’s a choice between we all die horribly or I lead a party I’ll take the latter. But I won’t enjoy it as much as if I can just concentrate on my role. Being in charge of shit is something I generally try to get paid for.

  11. First of all, when I began reading this post I got the weirdest sense of deja vu. Second, I’m glad you didn’t go out and buy him a crap ton of new gear like that last guy. Finally, everyone else already said it.

  12. oddly, I agree with bonedead. Don’t let it get to you too much. Leading hurts sometimes. I’ve have my share of painful booting and stuff.

  13. Yea, sorry you feel bad but leadership can do that to you. Just have to be ready to make the hard choices. I try to be polite during these situations but if that doesn’t work I just boot.

  14. Get put into that situation enough and you’ll see why a lot of leaders have no issue removing them.

  15. I would be so pissed if a raid leader kept a person just so they wouldn’t feel bad about kicking them. Sure it is just a game but raids are enough of a pain in the ass as it is. The amount of time they can take means more to me than any personal feelings. If I had been you (and I have been in that situation on both ends) I would have explained to the tank why the raid was failing and why you were asking them to leave. If they didn’t volunteer to leave then they would get the boot.

    To paraphrase Spock, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one”. You let down the other people in the raid and shouldn’t have cared about the one tank. That’s where your guilt should lie.

    Sorry to be harsh but I raiding brings out the worst in me and I hate them for it.

  16. You aren’t in charge of that character, or that player. You’re in charge of the raid. If someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, hasn’t put effort into improving their character, and as a result isn’t able to do their job is causing your raid to wipe, you kick them. If they complain, tell them why- specifically. Explain that his gear is worse than what he could obtain off the AH for cheap, that his traits are not good for what he’s trying to do.
    It’s not your job to take everyone, it’s not your job to justify what you do by making people vote. Do what is best for the raid. There’s a reason a military is not run as a democracy- it kills discipline.

  17. I think there is good in this post. It shows that when you utterly fail at your job, you feel bad about it. Now you just have to stop failing so bad.

  18. This is a really good example of how dealing with an in-game issue can help you rise up in dealing with RL problems. I’ve read several blogs where the blogger stated how they became more confident due to be able to work out there social demons in the low pressure mmo social environment.

  19. Suz you gotta stop blaming the stats for player suck, and also raid managment suck. Traits in LOTRO can help a lot but if one individual’s _virtues_ are make-or-break for the group then enough of the group just plain sucks.

  20. Good raid leading has nothing to do with being cold hearted or telling people they suck. You just have to tune back your own personal emoness about it a bit so you don’t feel too bad if you have to tell someone that they are not ready for some encounter. This can happen in the nicest and most polite ways, no need to be rude about it or humiliate someone.
    But as said, the raid leader is the one calling the shots and you have to do so in a timely and goal oriented manner :P.

  21. Doesn’t “tone back your own personal emoness” = “become more coldhearted?”

    And being a good raid leader absolutely does entail telling folks exactly how and why they suck so that they can get better. It’s called “constructive criticism” when done well, and “being a prick” when handled poorly. But either way, it goes with the turf.

  22. I agree with a lot of people here as well.

    You’re lead, he’s the weak link, remove as needed. Doing it with tact, politeness and some “well here’s what we see wrong” sort of advice puts the ball in their court. If he/she chooses to take it personally that’s their own fault, especially if you use some constructive criticism.

    If the guy wants to tank raid bosses like that he has to at least be responsible enough to max out his core virtues. Far too many people rush to 60 now (as they’ve made it so damned easy) without taking the time to learn their class and flesh out their characters.

    If his gear was in serious need of replacement he should have been focusing on the main instances (radiance or not, the Moria sets are pretty good), not Norn.

  23. @Yeebo:
    It’s about choice of words, maybe we mean the same thing. If you wrap the idea of constructive criticism into insulting words (“you suck, go change your spec and upgrade your gear”) it might become less valuable and the message might miss the intention at the receiving end.
    I read cold-hearted as not caring. But a raid leader should care, without making a drama about certain annoying decisions or letting bad feelings paralyze the decisions process.

  24. This is where dancing around the issue just makes it worse. No one likes being publicly called out. Could have made an attempt to avoid it by sending a tell directly to the Guardian in question and explaining what the issue was – which you described in your first paragraph, not enough hp, poor equipment, virtues that may not be set up for tanking, and your doubt at his ability to hold aggro and survive it. Diplomatically, of course.

    Could have asked if he had any gear to switch, or traits to replace to correct the issue. If you felt kindhearted enough after that, and he responded decently well, you could try him out again, though maintanking with a PUG Guardian would have been really iffy indeed.

    By the time you got into the ‘everyone in a foul bitchy mood looking for somebody else to blame’ stage, it’s too easy for self-fulfilled prophecy to come true.

    Have to say that those who backed out of their opinion once you called a public vote were two-faced cowards though. I’d be very careful of their tendency to drama queen behind people’s back and then turn around and say “No, it wasn’t me” when confronted. :/

    This reminds me why my own solo Guardian is perpetually annonymous. No time to grind traits, barely any decent equipment to speak of, not much practice holding aggro (though I do keep sword and board and relevant skills around). Don’t even dare walking into a PUG instance for fear of failing badly at main role, let alone dream of a raid. Sad. At least I recognize my character’s not geared up for any kind of group activity though. Wish there was a newbie tanks academy somewhere for those interested in learning the role.

  25. “My kin-mates were complaining about the guy on our teamspeak server before we started, but we went with him anyway.”

    Your problem started, and should have ended, there. I don’t play LOTRO but as an officer in a casual raiding guild in WoW, I empathize with the sort of position you were thrust into. However, part of your responsibility as raid leader is making sure that at least with respect to factors within your control, you have enabled the raid to succeed. Inviting a tank to an encounter he is clearly not ready for is setting up your raid for failure and frustration, as you and your kin-mates recognized before the raid even started.

    Having invited him, and having wiped as a direct result of his inability to handle the encounter given his current gear/stats, you ought to have asked him to leave. You aren’t casting judgment on the person playing the character. You’re merely recognizing that the encounter requires a certain level of gear or stats that the character in question does not have. Rather than inconvenience the rest of your group in the vain hope that you would succeed despite someone who, through no fault of their own, could not pull their own weight, you ought to have asked him to leave; and failing that, kicked him if necessary.

    Again though this shouldn’t have been a problem in the first place. If you want to succeed, make sure you raid members have the tools to make that possible. If not, no matter how good of a player they are, or how well coordinated you all work as a group, the encounters will be frustrating if not impossible. And that’s not fun for anyone.

  26. You can dance around it with all the nice words you like, the dude was gimp and caused you to wipe. In a harsher game he’d be blacklisted, and if the game is small enough, and he doesn’t change fast enough, he builds a rep and no one will invite him.

    The way MMOs are you need to fulfil players expectations. It doesn’t matter what you want, you need to have the approved build down to the T for your class and for each specific raid or instance. Your only excuse not to is ignorance, which players forgive. I don’t know LOTR though, but I’m assuming that moria is a milestone by which you should have your act together.

    It sucks, to be honest. It makes it like a job, especially endgame raiding. But thats the way any group content is.

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