Friday, December 13, 2013

The Roles We Play

Sometimes I think about where I am in the game, not as a player in terms of skill, not as a raider in terms of progression, not as an achievement hunter in terms of points, not as a pet collector in terms of pets owned or any other number of things you could put actual or arbitrary numbers on.  I think of where I am in the game as a person and the role that I play.

I ended up as a raid leader kind of by accident.  I had only been raiding for about a year, maybe even less and only playing a bit longer than that, maybe another year more at most.  It was a role I never wanted and quite honestly is something I really think there are many others could do better at it.  But it is the role I play.

By accident I call it, the incidental raid leader if you will.  The old story of the right place at the right time but only if the person wanted the job.  I just wanted to raid and if that meant I had to be the raid leader to get it done, so be it.  I'll find someone to replace me later on, lets just get to raiding.  That was around 4 years ago.

While raiding the other day someone said something that I thought was rather funny.  Not funny ha ha but funny interesting.  Between a wipe when we were running back people where talking about, you know, anything.  When we reached the boss I said, okay shut up and lets get killing and one of the raiders daughters grabbed the mic to say hello, not like I could understand it.  She is just a baby and that is probably one of the few things she can say, sort of, but she does that from time to time.  We all said hello back and her mother said, whenever you talk she tries to grab the mic from me because she wants to say hello.  She listens to everyone else talk but she always wants to listen to you.  Whenever you start talking she stops whatever she is doing and listens.  I said, I guess she likes my voice.

Then it occurred to me.  Perhaps there is something hidden deep in the subconscious of the human mind that makes some people listen to others for no real reason.  They just like the sound of their voice.  It is not about what they are saying or how they are saying it, but just the sound of their voice leaves a feeling within them that this is someone they want to listen to.  Could it be that deep?

When I was thinking about it the thought passed my mind that perhaps even if I never wanted the job maybe that is part of the reason I do it.  Even to me on a subconscious level, it is the role I was meant to play because people will listen to me, oddly enough, even when I am wrong.

Then I think about the other people and the role they play.  The person that keeps pointing out something after I've already said it.  The person that whispers me ideas.  The person that questions strategy vocally on voice chat.  The silent dedicated person that is always there.  The complainer that always complains they can't get gear but they are the best geared in the raid.  The person who says they are going to quit every time their class is even mentioned in the patch notes, good or bad.  The player that clearly could be in a world first guild but seems amazingly content raiding normals.  The person that wants more but does not have the tools to get it.  The person that will always offer to fill whatever role is needed even if they want to be on their main.  The person that has geared alts for everything but would rather ride the bench than bring one in because we need it.

There are so many people that have so many personalities that show and we can call them out by them like I just did.  In the end, they make up a team and all of them, like it or not, make things work.  Kind of as if they are needed.  As if you need that person to always be upset about changes to their class because it makes them try harder.  As if you need that person that refuses to switch because it gives you an easy option on who to sit.  Or the person that whispers strategy to nudge you in a direction they are thinking or at least discuss it.  Or the person that says it out loud so you can explain, to everyone in case they too were thinking it, why that would not work.

Some of the things I mentioned might be looked at as bad, but they all have good parts to them and those people all have a role to play.  So perhaps one day I might find my replacement but maybe it will not be the person I have been looking for all of these years.  It will not be the person that reads all the forums and strategies like I do and plans out how to make it work with the make up we might have.  Maybe the person that is meant to fill that role just has to have a voice that even a baby would stop and listen to, because maybe that is really the most important part of being a raid leader, being listened to.


  1. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    I picked you because I already knew you are about as pre-prepared as any other person playing, period. Oh sure, others do the same as you, but not that many come as prepared as you and have what I call a command voice available to them. You do, so yea, that baby is just acknowledging what I already knew which is you do have a good speaking voice. Basically it is from you always sounding sure of yourself, even when you are as wrong as can be.

    I know that sounds contradictory but it isn't really. Let me put it this way, doing something and getting others to go along is much better than doing nothing. Even when what you suggest is wrong, we learn from our mistakes and you can inspire/goad/prod folks into another try in a slightly modified manner until we get things to click.

    The thing about leadership is those who want it are usually the very ones who should never once be allowed to touch it. Those who will step in and do what needs doing, while not wanting to have to do it and really wanting to set aside the burden are the ones who need to be in leadership roles. This is a rule that applies to more than just WoW, by the way which is why the world is in such a deplorable state at any given time. The Cincinnatus and Washington's of the world are far to few, the Octavius and Napoleon's far to common.

    1. I agree completely with the "those that want it" idea. The ones that seek a leadership role tend to be the worst at it. They just want it for their own reasons, not to help. Doesn't fit for a gaming environment in my opinion.