There’s a First Time For Everything

So…I got kicked out of my guild last week.

Yeah, I know, not what you would expect from this guy. And I hadn’t intended to say anything about it, but, after reading Rowan’s piece on Guild Drama, and the original posts behind it, most poignantly, A Resolution, I decided I would throw my voice in as well, because it resonated with my own story. (If you want the TL;DR, you can skip to the last three paragraphs, if you want the whole story: read on.)

In my case, I got thrown out for something I have gotten in trouble with before in real life. People who know me IRL know that, personality-wise, I am that little kid in the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. I’m the one that says something when nobody else will, and the one who is not fooled by hand-waving, and is genuinely perplexed at people’s ability to lie to themselves.

A friend of mine in the Clan (as we call them in Tanks) was set to be an FC – a field commander, the one who directs the strategy of a match in Clan Wars – the World of Tanks equivalent of raiding I suppose – an end game activity with high stakes. And, in a surprising twist, the commander (“guild leader”) went ape-shit on Teamspeak when he found out – with my friend in the same room. He told him to his face that there was no way in hell he would let him lead such a crucial battle (…it was just another battle), and that he was bad at tanks and didn’t need to be involved in Clan Wars at all. A surprising statement given that my friends stats are light years beyond where the commander’s stats are. It was unexpected, painful (for all of us), and more than a little embarrassing. My friend, a bit blindsided and more than pissed, sent a PM the next day asking for an apology.

And was kicked out of the clan.

Now…it happened so fast, and so much out of the public eye, that for most of the guild, they went to bed wondering why my buddy was getting yelled at and woke up to him having been booted out. Questions were asked, in private. But rather than answer them in private, the commander, perhaps feeling the pressure, started a public forum post. Several of us commented that this wasn’t a good idea, and at least one person who so commented had their post erased by him. And three of us were threatened with boots for questioning him. And then, the entire thread went missing.

Which only kicked up more dust.

So, the next day, another thread, again public, only this time…with a garnish of lies. My buddy had been a problem for weeks, FC’s didn’t want him on their team, and although the boot process happened fast, all guild protocols had been included and both deputy commanders had signed off on the decision to boot him.

So..remember, I’m the little boy, right? So I told my commander that since he was desperate to have this conversation in public, so be it. And then I went on to call him a liar and call for him to step down. And he basically said “prove it.” So I did.

See, I had a copy of the PM’s that had been sent. And I posted them. And then…poof, posts started disappearing again. Funny how that happens. Eventually he posted again that either we needed to get in line or else. I got a PM from one of the two deputy commanders with the same message.

So I explained to the deputy commander (again) that our commander had lied and booted someone for the sole reason that he didn’t like him, and that this was unacceptable by guild standards. I presented, again, the proof. The deputy commander admitted that while he had known nothing of it, an FC and the other deputy commander did. At which point I told him that I’d already spoken with the FC in question and that he admitted that he had never spoken with my buddy about being a problem and never asked for him to be kicked. And then I told him that if it really was that big a deal to support the commander – no matter what – then fine, I would shut up and play. After all, we’d switched commanders twice in six months, I’m sure eventually things would change. The other deputy commander remained (strangely) silent throughout this entire venture.

And when I went to log in that night (I sent the last PM earlier in the day), I was no longer in the clan. Actually, more than that, I was permabanned from the clan forums and website. That they keep open for everyone – including and most especially former members. Nobody has ever been banned from there, even people who regularly come in to the public portion of the forums and do nothing but make trouble and insult the clan.

But me? I get banned and kicked. For telling the truth I guess. On top of that, as an unrelated issue – I had been removed from my guild diplomat position a week earlier – and nobody told me. And right up until the day I got booted, nobody could tell me why or who had done it!


Anyway, I tell you this story to recommend to you Sheep’s five priniciples for handling guilds better. Because all four of them come directly into play in my own situation. The (1) overuse of middlemanagement (the clan has nearly a dozen different commanders and less than one hundred members) meant that the commander could play “he said, she said” and be indignant behind a smoke screen long enough to get away with causing drama and making a power play. I can only assume that there was a (2) clique at play, because I can’t fathom why things unfolded the way they did unless some people held their friends above the good of the group. Secrecy (3) was clearly a problem here since apparently my buddy was on thin ice and never knew it. At least, according to them. In reality secrecy is still a problem because decisions were made behind closed doors and without the proper checks and balances being followed, and when the fail was discovered, the decided course of action was to cover it up rather than fix it.

And finally, (4) and (5) go hand in hand. My former clan’s tagline is now a tremendous joke: “Securing victory is our goal: doing so with respectful fun is the method.” It prides itself on allowing “no asshats” and actively screening applicants to keep out people who are dirty, underhanded, trollish, or…well, asshats. And yet, I discovered in short ordere that those traits are not only allowed in the guild – they are in control of it. The culture of the clan does not match the recruiting line, and some people are more valuable than others based on their “longevity.”

I have written on this same topic before, when I left my first EVE corporation – and it boils down to this: do what you say you are going to do. And if you make a mistake and fail in that, do whatever it takes to make it right. Because fixing it will always take less time, less energy, and cause less drama and problems then trying to cover it up. Whether you think so or not. Otherwise you will end up like my former clan – a revolving door with a 15% average monthly dropout rate – a stat I wish I had uncovered before I had joined.

Real Life Controversy Boils Up In MMO Update

Buried among the patch notes for this months update to the popular international MMO World of Tanks was this little tidbit:

– Wittmann’s Medal substituted with Boelter’s Medal

It didn’t take long for people to notice it standing out in the midst of number crunching statistics changes around reload times and traverse angles.  And the obvious question was: why?  In the same manner, it didn’t take long for a few forum members (game updates are actually announced and detailed on the head developers blog first) to come over and explain why.  You see, Wittmann was a Nazi.

As you can see, the normal game drama about updates took a radical real life turn at this point.  Nobody was griping over who got nerfed and who was OP!  To briefly unpack both sides of that argument, here’s a few of the highlights:

Those in favor of the change point out that:

1) WoT has always had a policy not allowing the promotion or encouragement of national socialism in any way.  In the past, this rule has been enforced around Clans that have tried to take the name of SS Panzer units or anyone who utilized the pageantry or RP flavor of such a unit.  Some people have pointed out the dual standard of having a medal named after arguably the most famous tank ace of the SS.

2) That Wittmann was not just a tanker who happened to be in a Nazi unit.  He was in the Allgemeine SS from 1936 onwards.  There is no evidence to suggest he was anything other than a true supporter of the Nazi party and its policies.

Those arguing against the change have pointed out:

1) The Soviet Guards units weren’t exactly angels themselves, and there is no evidence that any of the tankers who have elite medal’s named after them in the game committed war crimes directly.

2) Most of the war crimes committed by the SS were in fact done by the SS-Totenkopfverbände units, who were in charge of the concentration camps, and were in fact an independent unit that had its own command structure separate from that of the Waffen-SS.  (If that’s confusing, basically it boils down to this – Wittmann was involved in the general SS organization, but when it split between the two above named units, Wittmann went with the front line army branch, not the political MP/Paramiltary branch directly responsible for carrying out the holocaust).

As of awhile ago, Overlord disable the comments section of his blog, which was rapidly descending into a firestorm of critique and name calling that went above and beyond the usual trolling.  Probably a smart move on his part.  But me…well, I think there is a worthy discussion to be had.  Please add your two cents in, and feel free (you fellow bloggers) to weigh in on the discussion in your own realms as well, I’ll be sure to link them here.

For my part, I find the argument separating the tank aces themselves from atrocities committed by their respective armies and countries pretty compelling.  I’m also not convinced that when one says “Michael Wittmann” it immediately conjures up images of war crimes or the holocaust.  He was simply a good tank commander.

On the other hand, I am not Jewish, nor am I from Europe, or in particular from Russia or any of the other former states of the USSR.  So while I am not personally touched or haunted by this, I can see that it would be possible that others were and are.  And I supposed you could just chalk this up to good PR or marketing for Wargaming.  After all, its a small, non-mechanical change to their game that has the potential to garner it more attention and acceptance in the European community, which is arguably a bigger market for them than us here in the US.

Your thoughts?

All Night Long

That’s my new corp.

Well, it’s not really *new* new.  See my buddy that I tag along with in EVE is a popular guy.  When he facilitated this merger, he not only brought me and the other two from our corp on board, he brought a bunch of pilots – most of them veterans, from the original alliance that we had belonged too, Shadows of Light.  And this became the nucleus of the merged corp that we belonged too.  But as sometimes happens, those vets were restless, and when you add that into the corp still not having a full handle on the one trouble maker – well meaning as he often was, a conspiracy took root.

Originally the plan was to wait and make a break from our current corp to form a new one over in Gallente space in January.  Sufficient notice would have been given, it would have been slow over the holiday’s anyway, etc.   But for some reason the founding vet left much much sooner.  And the end result was that our corp of a dozen or so lost half of its members to this new corp in the space of 24 hours.   That, my readers, is not cool, no matter how you slice it.

So while I have packed and moved myself, transitioned back into Gallente space, and am happy with the company and location and the possibilities therein, I stayed an extra day with our old corp on purpose.  I apologized to the corp leader and the rest of the people for what I think was a poor and hasty decision, and generally speaking, tried to do the right and honorable thing.

It probably doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, and we probably aren’t worth much in the grand scheme of null sec politics and the story of EVE, but there is too little of honor in this world, and it meant alot to me to try to do what I could.

After all, isn’t that what is missing?  In all our governments?  In our churches?  In our schools?  In our cultures?  We think honor is something that goes hand in hand with war and the military, but honor can be had in more places than just that.  We think the opposite of shame is pride, but it isn’t.  The opposite of shame is honor, and we could use alot more of it.  They say when the student is ready the master will appear.  I hope that is not true, because I’m not sure we will ever be ready.

“Honor isn’t about making the right choices. It’s about dealing with the consequences.”

Unknown quote, compiled from