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I play World of Warcraft in a extremely nice guild for the better part of two months now. We are a casual semi-hardcore raiding guild, so raid performance is still rather important, and if someone does not meet the standards he/she sadly can't raid (1) until he/she improves significantly. Normal procedure. Mostly we recruit people and if they dont meet the expectations they are kicked in the trial period.

The problem is now with a couple in the guild. They are in for more than a month now, so kicking is no longer an option as they are full members and socialized with us already. Her husband is a very good raider, but she isn't. She is terrible! We had a healer shortage so we needed her, and that's why she came along every raid, altough her HPS (Heal Per Second) are terrible and she is constantly dying.

Now we dont have the need for her anymore, and would like to exclude her from our raid team (until she improved ofc) but we dont know how to tell her. We socially get along very well, and of course her husband is a very good DPS, so we don't want to lose either of them. But I know that she very, very easily takes things the wrong way, really likes raiding, and we, as we like her, don't want to offend her and/or make her feel bad.

We already told her that she will have to improve for the sake of the team, and I suppose she is trying to, but until now, this has not yielded any measurable results.

How can we communicate that she can no longer be in the core raid team without offending her in any way, and/or lose either of them?

Although this is gaming related, I think that this question still belongs to the interpersonal section as I wonder what path of communication to choose/how to communicate.

(1) Raiding = Group of 10-20 people coming together for several hours several times a week to clear a large difficult dungeon in an online role playing game.

Community Setting = In this community it's normal to be expected to put some effort into getting better constantly, to research, farm gear etc. This is expected and if this is not met, you normally get excluded from the raid. And sadly there exists no objective line someone has to cross to be "good" as we all strive to improve, but you can objectively (through logs) see if someone improves, but this is not the case with her

Solution: We talked with her and came to the conclusion that it would be best for all of us if she did not participate in the most difficult raid in the week, but is welcome in the less difficult ones and as backup if a heal has no time. And we managed to give her guidlines, run with her dungeons in the freetime to help her improve etc. She took it very well and enjoys us helping her out a bit :)

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    have you communicated with her before that her performance should improve? – ratchet freak Mar 30 '18 at 11:13
  • @ratchetfreak Yes but this yielded no results. I suppose she is trying to get better but she didnt improve a lot really. – MansNotHot Mar 30 '18 at 11:14
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    What exactly did you tell her? Have you highlighted some metrics that would show her when she is good enough? Have you shown her the way to achieve these? – svgrafov Mar 30 '18 at 11:19
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    You say there are no metrics, but it seems like frequency of deaths and HPS are both metrics you can use. Also you say "casual semi-hardcore" guild, which is contradictory. Are you casual or semi-hardcore? – Kat Apr 2 '18 at 0:00
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    There are a number of unclear/contradictory things in your question: Why wasn't she kicked out in the trial period if she's so bad? What is a "casual semi-hardcore raiding guild" (I'd expect either casual or semi-hardcore - but how can it be both)? You don't have clear metrics and can't create clear metrics but somehow you still know she's too bad? Which leads me to another question: is she a problem only in your eyes or do you have explicit support from a majority of other guild members to kick her out? How do you ensure that the rules are applied equally to all members? – AllTheKingsHorses Apr 2 '18 at 10:26
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I think my boyfriend could be of way better help than me concerning this (I am a video games-culture lover, don't like playing, don't know why, it's not my thing) but I hear him and his crew when they're playing and how they're dealing with people who aren't good enough to go to such things like raiding.


What my SO would say:

Most of the time, when it came to the point where the player is aware of his/her lack of skills because he/she's been told, things get pretty straight-forward yet neutral and polite:

Aw3s0m3_G4m3r, I'm sorry but this raid is very important to us and I fear it'd go the same way as last time, where we constantly needed to heal you because your skills are not good enough for this difficult raid. We like playing with you but when it comes to raiding, we'd also love to win what we engage in, and I'm sure you understand this.

What I'd say:

What I would do additionnally to that (because again, I'm not a gamer but I'm always trying to tell people what I'd like to hear myself and the former sentence alone would make me a bit upset) is to tell him/her that:

But you know Aw3s0m3_G4m3r I like playing with you, and I'd be pleased to help you improve. Shall we practice just the two of us in the hope of raiding together in the future?

Obviously this only works if you're willing to help him/her improve but it lets him/her understand that you don't have anything personal against him/her and that if he/she improves, then you could raid together.

Why is she playing?

You say you think she's trying to improve, and that the community settings forces everybody to constantly get better. If she's aware of your community settings well I think she's not dumb and wouldn't be your ball and chain voluntarily. Maybe she really likes playing with you all, despite her lack of skills? Is there a way to include her in other plays that wouldn't imply performance like raids do?

If I understand well, she's one of the players wife. Maybe she likes these moments because it's something she shares with him, she gets to know the people her husband loves. Finding a play in which you could be together and where her lack of skills wouldn't be a problem could be a way to gently tell her that she doesn't belong to the raiding guild (in the sense that she's not good enough) but it has nothing to do with her and that you like her anyway.

HTH!

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I would suggest a couple things. First:

Set metric standards and make sure everyone meets them.

It should be easy enough to explain to everyone, "If we want to actually make this happen we have to be hitting the mark." Unless the raid is fairly new you can probably find different thresholds online for what your group should be doing.

Second:

Get your high-performers to buy-in to tutoring the people below the bar.

This sterilizes the denial and gives her a path to correcting it. This second step is crucial - sometimes all the difference between a high-performer and a low-performer is a couple handy tips.

In my own time in WoW, I nearly doubled my DPS one day when someone explained to me the math of why my spell-pattern wasn't optimal. One tip and I went from the middle of the pack to the top 5 dps.

Git Gud.

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    In these games it's often the case that some people are flat out incapable of being up to par for a certain activity, as I suspect is the case here. – Magisch Apr 3 '18 at 12:25
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This is a common issue among gaming groups of varying skill levels. There are a few things you can do to make your friend not feel offended or bullied.

From what I've heard through other gamers, a lot of these raids are planned well in advance and you'll often have a good idea of what obstacles and enemies to expect. Each time a raid is being planned, make sure everyone is included in the planning process. Or at least, give everyone an opportunity to venture an opinion. Eventually, you'll work out that - for example - you'll need five warriors that can do X damage per second, two mages that can cast a certain spell and two healers that have at least X defence and can heal X per second. From these requirements, the party is chosen. I assume you do something like this anyway, but it can soften the blow if it is at least made clear that NO-ONE is exempt from these criteria. Even if the highest level mage in your party can't cast that particular spell, he/she's not in.

A second suggestion is to encourage back-up plans. If a major event is going on, the less experienced members of your group could participate in something less dangerous. At least then, you will have the option of saying "Unfortunately, the party needs an X HPS healer for Event A, but we're also planning a group for Event B where you could definitely help. We'll be making sure to share the spoils of the two events among the entire group." This could give her an opportunity to practice in a less risky raid and still be included in the group's activities. The risk of course is that it will appear that only the 'good' players take part in Event A every time, but it will be up to the group to rotate a mix of experienced / inexperienced players between the parties when it's safe to do so.

As respectfully as possible, it would be best to explain that her exclusion from the raid party is only due to the difficulty of the challenge ahead, not necessarily due to her lack of skill. This may give her an opportunity to realise what her gameplay is missing to meet the requirements for next time. If it's brought up, politely emphasise that being in a relationship with someone else in the party is not factored in because it would be unfair on other players. It's a harsh decision but has to be made objectively.

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I'm going to re-phrase this using team sports instead of a WoW raid, because... not everyone really knows what it is. We'll use baseball.

Basically, the SO of a particular teammate seems to like playing baseball. Her husband is a good player, but she kind of sucks.

In this case, she's not really playing baseball at all, at least not for baseball itself. She likes to hang around people, likes the interaction, but she's actually just part of a team and likes being in it. If you like baseball for baseball, you'll work hard to get better, because being better at it is something you like!

Hint: She doesn't like baseball/raid.

One solution is to setup the team to play non-competitively when she's around. Just like in a WoW raid, if you play super-competitively, her flaws will be magnified and her weakness will show. You do not bring a known weak player into a highly-competitive game (she will get killed by the other team). Like-wise, you don't bring her to any raid that absolutely requires top-tier performance.

I bet you if you bring her to a mickey-mouse raid where she's a healer and can tank the boss, she'll enjoy it even more. This will prove she actually doesn't like to do the top-tier raids. She just likes to be part of the team!

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