Joining a new group of people is always tricky. There are many things that people are comfortable putting up with from those they know well that would be considered rude or cruel coming from someone outside the group. Starting off with a new guild is no exception to this rule: You have to watch what you say and play it cool until you get settled in and everyone gets used to you. Of course although I understand this from a intellectual perspective I am am enough of a perfectionist / overconfident fool / elitist to just do whatever it is I was going to do anyway and damn the consequences. This is at least partly because I figure that I am not going to do anything bad enough to actually cause a reasonable group of people to reject me; thus if what I do does cause them to reject me then I should probably go somewhere else anyhow. Did I mention the overconfident part? This is all complicated by the fact that I am switching from a leadership position to a 'lowly peon' position. That is actually completely fine by me since I am quite happy to avoid the hassles and headaches of having to decide who is in and who is out and being responsible for planning but it is a big change in style. Just show up, play well, log off sounds pretty good after years of responsibility.
I got to thinking about what exactly I found bothersome in recruits when I was in charge of things and what I found useful. I liked people that pointed out things that might be problems and I liked people that offered to do things to make things easier. The things I really didn't like were people insisting that it was necessary to change the plan to whatever they thought it should be or refusing to follow orders. Note that following orders but being whiny and annoying about it is the same damn thing as refusing to follow orders. :) Differentiating between a suggestion or comment about how things might be better and an insistence on changing the plan can be tricky, particularly between people who don't know each other very well yet. Last night we had an exchange that really shows how these sorts of things can get messed up even with the best intentions on all sides:
Me: Warrior2 is taking about double the damage of Warrior1 and I am having to heal him a lot. (Which wasn't my assignment, but needed doing.)
NewGuildie: Well, Warrior2 is tanking two of the big drakes and Warrior1 is tanking 1 big drake and 10 little ones.
Me: Given that their damage intake should be nearly identical since 10 little drakes do almost exactly the same damage as 1 big drake.
NewGuildie: Well, that might be true for other tanks but not for block tanks like warriors.
Me: Block reduces damage by a % and therefore it cannot explain any of the discrepancy.
NewGuildie: Our strategy works fine and we aren't going to change it.
I could just feel the irritation swirling around this conversation. Obviously people (including me) don't like the new guy walking in and telling them their strategy is wrong. When I made my first comment I checked my intuition against the facts and found them to agree so I knew I was right and I also knew that what I was observing should not be if everything was going according to plan. I wasn't suggesting that the plan was bad though I can see how it could be taken that way; I was suggesting that something must be awry though I still don't know what it might have been. It could have been Warrior2 not hitting his cooldowns, it could have been positioning issues, aggro issues, or just really, really outrageous RNG. The only thing I was watching was the movement of health bars... Big Bird and the Polkaroo could have joined the battle and I wouldn't have noticed until the fight was over. There is much wisdom in backing down from confrontations that cannot have a positive outcome and yet I find that although I can easily and happily back down on "We aren't going to do it your way" I don't back down from "You don't know what you are talking about" when in fact I do.
I wrote before that you can only really find out whether a company is worth doing business with by finding out how they handle it when they really screw up and I think the same principle applies here: You don't really know if people are of any use until you see them in a situation where the pressure is on. Imagine you join a new group of people and all you do is be completely silent and make sure to maximize your performance. Clearly you aren't going to be rejected but you really aren't going to have any idea whether or not this group suits you. The only way to know a set of people well includes seeing how they act when things are difficult or confrontational. Of course there are real limits - showing up and deliberately provoking confrontation or picking fights are going to get you rejected and having no regard for other people's feelings isn't a good thing. I will submit that being involved and unafraid of confrontation while complying with orders is the best way to achieve the dual goals of convincing the group you can fit in and figuring out if you actually do.
The other critical question of whether or not it is a good idea to link your blog to your new guild and then blog about stuff that happens during your initiate period is one I will leave to the philosophers.