Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Helping Out Others

When someone in your guild asks for help with something do you help them?

That is really a loaded question that has no definitive answer.  At least not if you are going to ask me the question.  The reason I call it a loaded question is because there are way to many variables involved.  It can not simply be answered "yes I do" or "no I don't".  Not to mention, unless you are a world class jerk or the people in your guild are world class jerks who would ever answer "no I don't".

I believe that everyone would say "yes I do" and just leave it at that.  If you have ever read my blog you would know there is no such thing as a simple answer to a question like that if you ask me.  I'd have to think about it and ask you if you wanted the long answer or the short answer.

Short answer:  "Yes I try to help out people when I can."

Long answer:  That is where I explain in detail what "when I can" means.

Someone in the guild started a little firestorm the other day when the patch came out because "no one helps anyone here".  Meaning he believed the guild was unfriendly and that no one would help with the celestial bosses.

I said, when I came on most of the people that needed all four already got it done, so I started to do my stuff around the island and whenever I saw one of the 4 bosses I needed I just ran in and got in my hits and I got my 4 kills in no problem.

I explained it was just released content and everyone wanted to do it as soon as they came on.  Also, the bosses would be being pulled every few minutes anyway even on a small server like ours so I did not put up a group kill for release day.  Just get your shots in when you see a group, just like I did.

But while I believe what I said to be reasonable he decided that it just meant I did not want to help and no one else in the guild wanted to help because "they did it already so they do not care about anyone else".

I am not kidding, this is an actual situation that happened.  As ridiculous as it sounds someone wanted the entire guild to drop what they were doing to help on the day of new content when the boss is a shared tag boss that was being pulled every 10 minutes anyway.

He then gave an ultimatum that him and his friends where going to all leave the guild and take many people with them unless we changed our guild rules to require people to help others when they ask.

Again, I am not kidding, this was a real complaint and a real demand.

Do you know what my reply was, but I did not say it because I have experience in managing people I knew it would not be best to say it that way.  I what I wanted to say was good riddance, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

This is where I wonder what the line is for helping out others.  Was he reasonable to be upset no one would help him with the celestial kills?  I personally don't think so because it was patch day and everyone wanted to check things out, they were all busy with their own things and like I said, the bosses were basically being chain pulled to begin with.  But that is just my opinion, and others might disagree.  Apparently he did.  He believed that everyone should drop what they were doing to help him and if they didn't it was reason enough to try and start some guild drama.

See, that is why I could never answer "yes I do" to if I help people because the answer is not always that clear cut.  If I am in the middle of something else I won't.  If I am in the LFR or something like that I am not going to drop it to help.  If I did it already I might help, but when I switch to another character.  So while I might be willing to help, it isn't always a fact I will.  I might be doing something else and I think it is wrong to expect everyone to drop everything they are doing to help you.

The same goes for when people ask for gems or enchants or a belt buckle or shoulder or leg enchants.  I will be glad to help you, when I switch to that character.  But unless I am doing nothing at the particular moment you ask you have to wait until I switch.  I will never charge you or even ask for the mats, I will just give it to you, so the least you can do is not demand I switch right now to help you.

Honestly I did not even think for a second before I made my decision on his ultimatum.  I will not now or ever make a rule that requires other people to stop what they are doing to help everyone that asks.  Helping has to be because the person has the time, and willingness, to do so.  Once you force people to help they are no longer helping, they are doing a job, they are following rules.  That is not what the game is about. 

Sure, we need some rules, but that would not be one of them. 

If someone asks you for help with anything you have to drop what you are doing and help them or you will be kicked from the guild, screw having fun and enjoying yourself, everyone else is more important than you having fun.

Basically that is the rule he is asking us to add.  Not gonna happen.

The reason our guild works is because people help because they want to.  It is not only me that will make anything you need for your character, there are dozens of players in the guild that will make anything you need for free and all you need to do is ask.  There are many others that might not have the resources, but do have the skills, and will make it for you if you have the materials.  They all do it because they want to do it and that is what being a guild is all about.  But to demand they do it is out of line in my opinion.

He was told he would be given an answer to his demands this week, and it will be exactly what I said it would be, good riddance, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

On the average day I would have gladly sat around and helped people assemble a group for the 4 celestial bosses if they needed it.  I would have switched so I could loot on four different characters of course, but on day one of release, there is so much that everyone wanted to see and do that I felt it was incredibly selfish to ask everyone to drop what they are doing because you do not want to just get a hit in like me and many others that day have already done.

So in that case, it was a "no" to helping out.  And sometimes it has to be a no.

Let me give an example of an actual question I've been asked more than a few times this expansion and some of the actual replies that I have said.  Even if I would normally answer the help out question as "yes I do" you will see that more often than not I end up saying no.  But it is not because I do not want to help but sometimes it is just not practical to do so.

Can someone with a two seater mount fly me to dread wastes so I can start the quests there?

1) Sure, I'll send an invite.
2) You are in townlong, just talk to one of the shado pan with a quest marker, they will give you a quest to go to the serpent spire and open up the fight path, that will take you to where the klaxxi quests start in the dread wastes.
3) I am in queue for the LFR now, sorry.
4) I am on another server at the moment, if you still have not gotten there later I can take you.
5) I am waiting on this world boss group to start, I can help when we are done.

So 4 out of 5 times my answer was actually no but I still would give "yes" as my answer if asked straight out.  The reason being, is as I said, there is always a conditional and no matter what the conditions where, even if I said no, I was willing the help with all 5, just  of them were not possible to help with at the moment.

In case one I am currently not doing anything of consequence and am willing to head there.  In case two I use the teach a man to fish approach where I teach them how to get there so they do not need to depend on others to do so.  It is how most of us got there after all, unless you are like me and just jumped over the wall on the day of release and almost died.  In case three I would have been willing to help but I can not help because that would mean losing my place in queue, so effectively I am busy at the moment.  In case four I am not even on the server, as you can guess this means they asked in voice chat, so I can not help. And last but not least in case five we have the half and half.  Yes, I will help you in the immediate future, but I have to finish something first.  But from an instant assistance standpoint only one of my answers was yes.

Same goes for many other things.  I've given out hundreds of gems and enchants this expansion alone already but there are some people I just won't give them too.  I might suggest they buy the cheap versions, I might even offer to make them the cheap versions, but some people are honestly just not worth the effort.  You know the type I am talking about.  They are rarely on, they never help anyone but they always expect everyone to give them everything.  So being they are part time players they do not need top end things because they are not doing anything that might require it.  So I will help, but only in a limited way.  I will not use top end materials on someone that logs in once or twice a month.

While I will help everyone I do hold that motto to only help those that help themselves.  The huge difference there is when someone asks, can anyone help me with some gems, and I say, sure what do you need.  If they say, I need the agility & crit cut, 2 of them, I have no issue helping them.  If they say I don't know but I have 2 yellow slots I won't.  I will direct them to and tell them get back to me when they know what gems they need.  Once they help themselves by learning what they need, I will help them with what they need.  Call me an asshole if you want, but I think that is a fair line in the sand to draw.  If you ask me for help and say, do you think crit or haste is better for yellow, I will give my opinion but don't say, I don't know and expect me to do all the research for you. (even if I would know it to begin with anyway)

So as you see, there is no "yes I do" or "no I don't" even for people that like to help or refuse to help.  There is always some middle ground and in the case that made me think of this post, that middle ground was, it is patch day and there is a ton of new content.  No, people are not going to drop everything just to help you.  Get your tags in the same way the rest of us did.

For the record, week 2, we did the guild celestial thing.  You know why?  Because now it is not a new patch with everyone wanting to see all the new stuff on their own schedule based on when they logged on.  I guess the difference is, I understand that it is selfish to ask everyone to drop what they are doing for you and some others don't understand that.  I take all the help I can when I can get it, but I would never demand it.

I don't think I could ever make a guild rule that people have to help others.  Who would make a rule like that?  Good people will help, if they have the time to do so, but do not demand it from them, it is wrong, and selfish.


  1. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Thank god for the former in my name above. I likely would at this point in time have gone off on the stupid fool.

    I have paid attention to folks hollering for help since vanilla. There have been many times when I dropped what I was doing to go to someone's aid, and then come back to what I was doing, to many to count.

    But very early on in WoW vanilla, I figured out the very best help was a tiny nudge in the right direction. As in, a brief explanation of the situation, maybe a tip or trick or two to aid the others next try or a pointer to a website that has the pertinent information needed.

    My actual physical help was much rarer I suppose, but if an old fella like me can figure out how to do it most others can too.

    I have made and gave away many a green or blue or purple item at no cost to the user or at most the cost of the mats needed.

    In fact very specific rules on helping are written into our guild charter which all members above the entry level have to have signed and at least claim to have read. Those rules pretty much reflect the nuance that Grumpy is talking about. Yes, you can ask for help, but no, no one is obligated to go help on the drop of a hat. Yes you can ask for items to be made for you, but at the bare minimum be prepared to provide the mats if the maker either has none or doesn't or can't use their own supplies.

    As a side bar on that, we also prohibit profiteering by the makers. If you need money that bad, put your items up on the AH, the guild is not your private captive audience for making money. The makers can make a reasonable profit without incurring officer rants, but advertising in guild chat saying I will make...for xxxx gold is pretty much forbidden.

    As far as original story of the no one will help member, he won't last in the guild and his slipping away won't get as much attention as he hopes. Don't know who he is and don't care really, just making the observation that no one is as special a snowflake as they might like to think they are. Those who think otherwise are in for a life long series of disappointments.

    1. I am sure he felt the same way when I logged in. I was hoping to do the celestial world bosses as a guild, but so many had already done it so I had to do it myself. It sucked because it would have been nice to do it with everyone. I think the difference is I realize that it would be wrong of me to make everyone "wait" for me to experience new content and he thought they should "wait" for him.

      We kicked someone recently because of the crafting thing you mentioned. They asked for something to be made, the person used their very own mats and made it for them, then they put it on the auction house. So they basically used someone that was being nice trying to help them. That gets you a guild kick every single time.

  2. If it's someone I don't know and if it's unreasonable and is likely being asked of everyone in the zone, I'll usually just ignore it. If it's reasonable and convenient (say, a guy standing next to me while we killed a rare on the island asks me to buff him), I'll do that. I'll do that proactively at times when I think to but either way, if it's a reasonable request, I'll try to do it even for someone I don't know.

    If it's someone I know, I'll always, 100% of the time, consider the request. I generally value my time more than my gold so that often directs my responses but I'm not consistent on that. When I craft for someone I'll generally request either the base mats of the value of the base mats although not necessarily if it's a limited-quantity item (something stuck behind a daily cooldown, for instance). In that case I won't charge them anything for my time or effort, though, I basically just do it at cost.

    If someone wants something like a realm swap I'll generally do that immediately unless I have something happening very shortly.

    For something more complicated, I'll weigh the request in terms of whether I can somehow get some value out of it myself. I recently had a request to help someone kill the last couple of bosses in BT, they weren't able to solo for some reason. In that case I owed the person a few favours (so would have said yes regardless pretty much no matter WHAT I was doing, short of scheduled or group content) but, also, I trusted that help was necessary and I figured I could at least get some rep that I might want to grind later. That was a pretty easy decision.

    Being a 3rd person for something like TK, though, when 2 is generally plenty and they're just looking to save some time? It'll use a lot more of my time than it'll save of theirs so I'll usually say no to those types of requests. Similarly, a request to help someone with challenging content (2-manning Heroic DS, for instance, assuming that would be challenging at this point, I suspect it would be) I'd normally say no to unless I was in the mood to do something like that.

    Saying yes would also require that I actually be able to help. If someone asked for help with some aspect of pet battles, I wouldn't be able to help.

    So, for me it's a complicated answer as well. I'll usually say yes when it's a reasonable or necessary request but it does depend on what I'm doing and what it is that is being requested. I'll almost always say no when it's something that will take me more time than it saves, though, like in your example of flying someone to Dread Wastes, that's just laziness on their part. Unless I'm out there already, just get on your mount and go... sheesh.

    As for your guildie, I'd just say politely that unfortunately you don't feel that he embodies the principles of the guild to not be an undue burden to each other, wish him well and /gkick his ass. Needy people rarely seem to get less needy over time and nobody should ever have to deal with being talked down to for acting reasonably.

    1. I've taken many to dread wastes when they were leveling but usually I am either doing nothing while waiting for raid time or in the area anyway.

      You mention time and yes I guess that is an extremely important factor. I do use that to consider what I can and can not help with. Like I sometimes might say I can't because the raid is starting in 30 minutes when I know it will take longer. So you are very right, time is a huge factor.

      I still can not solo heroic DS. :( Have not tried in a while but only the first boss was doable last I tried. Got one of the others sub 20% on a few tries but gave up waiting for more gear, might have to try it again soon as I have a lot more gear than I did when I last tried it. Probably 60 item levels higher actually.

      I think that is what we will do with him in the end. Sad part is he is not really a bad guy or a bad player. Just completely unreasonable about some things. Like complaining when he did not get an invite to a raid once when he never signed up. "Because you knew I would be on" was his reason that he did not need to sign up. Hey dude, that is why there is a sign up sheet. No sign up, no invite. Simple.

  3. Haven't finished reading the whole post yet. Just got the "change the rules, do what I want, or I quit" part and felt compelled to make a comment.

    That's not asking for help; that's demanding to be carried. There's a big difference.

    If that is discussed later in the post or earlier in the comments; sorry for the for the repeat :( But as you wrote about yesterday, that kinda crap a big pet peeve of mine

    Hunters Rock!

    1. In an officer meeting someone said the same thing, "they are just looking to be carried".

      Our standard as a casual guild has always been we work as a team. We have some good player but we are not great by any means so we are not in the position to be carrying people. Even if we were I doubt we would, at least I doubt we would, carry someone who is only looking to be carried. It does not fit the team spirit in my opinion.

  4. I kind of loved this post! I spend a lot of time helping out my guildies. I'll cut gems, and won't usually ask for the raw ones unless I don't have them. I'll blacksmith if it's something I can feasibly do. I do lots of runthroughs for alts and I'm generally game to help out with just about anything as long as I'm not busy. This is just something I like to do.
    But. (There's always a but.) If I'm busy they have to wait. If I'm also doing something out of game when I agree to help then I expect them to not complain if I have to pause now and then for whatever. If it's gems, or other crafted stuff for that matter and I'm not on the right toon at the moment then I ask to be game mailed a list of what's wanted. Not my job to write it down or remember.
    And there are times I get a little reluctant to help. Back in Cata I'd spent two evenings tanking regular dungeons for a couple of guildies to help them get to 85. Could have been doing heroics for stuff I needed but I liked helping out and didn't mind. At least I didn't mind until the next time they both logged on and spent half an hour in guild chat complain about how nobody in the guild would ever help them with anything and they didn't get to do anything with anybody ever because nobody helped out. I didn't kick them, I talked down a few other irritated people who wanted to kick them. But I didn't offer to tank any more dungeons for them either.

    1. It is funny how the people that complain the most about no one helping them seem to be the ones everyone helps the most. At least some times.

      This person has been helped by many people, but because someone did not help him this day when he asked he made a big stink about it.

      As someone mentioned in another comment, it just screams of someone that wants to be carried. Or, as I see it, someone that thinks everything should revolve around them.

  5. I only help people if they ask me by name specifically. And even then, it depends.
    For example, I tend to not raid anything on weekends if it's not an official raids so I don't really do alt runs, nor older raids. Not sure
    My people aren't really the type to ask for help though. Stuff gets crafted / made and put in the bank and people just take it out. We're pretty close so when we need something we usually know and go to the person who we know can make the stuff. For example, I'm guild enchanter. As in I get all the stuff that goes to DE and make the enchants for all if they want.
    Also, my Guild Leader has a very short fuse. If people we don't really know start asking for stuff, they get kicked. Only had one case. Some guy called Azakol, who asked everyone for gold and for taking him places and stuff to do his professions. I think he still owes gold to half the guild. Tbh, when asked for a gold loan from him my answer was pretty simple: "Sorry, no, I don't know you well enough for that".

    1. In our guild rules, that people need to sign to get a rank, it clearly states that asking for gold is against the rules and will result in a guild kick. I personally believe this should be standard in every single guilds rules.

      Sure, once you have been around a long time and earned the trust and respect you could ask to borrow, from friends, not open guild. But never should people ask in open guild, even more so when new.

      I find that people are afraid to ask for help or even take things from the guild bank. We keep the bank filled with gems and current popular enchants and no one ever takes them. Might have to stop doing that.

      I guess it is because the ones that actually use the stuff, like me, have all profession maxed and make all our own stuff anyway.

      I often hear people say, like last night, wow it just cost me 1K to get leg enchants, the prices keep going up. I will usually say, just let me know next time and I will give you some.

      Interestingly, it is the person that does not ask me for it that I am most likely to give it to for free and not even worry. But when you get those people that seem to always be asking for stuff, I pretend I am AFK after a while and just not answer them.