A lot of times I have ambitious ideas and they turn out great. Sometimes, they end up with me driving down the highway on fire. It’s been awfully hot around here lately, so I want to put the record straight on what happened, and how we move forward.
But first, some context: Toward the end of Siege of Orgrimmar, a lot of things happened in my life that made me realize there was no way I could continue being a 3 night a week raider, let alone a raid leader. To me, leading the raid means I need to be well prepared, not just in my character but mentally prepared to lead people, answer questions, guide the raid, make the things work, everything. My priorities were shifting, and I couldn’t devote the time the raid needed for strong leadership. So I put out the call, and Umehara answered. He was going to step in and lead the raid. We had many discussions and it was very fruitful. He was going to bring in a lot of friends from other guilds, other servers.
These were very capable raiders. They were going to have a hardcore progression philosophy, and I was okay with that. In fact, I encouraged it. I thought it would be good to have a no-nonsense professional progression team in the guild.
The devil, as they say, is in the details.
Warlords of Draenor started out awesome. The guild was lively and we were all having a great time I think. We welcomed the newcomers, old members came back, the game was fresh and new. We leveled, we geared. Things were moving along in much the fashion we had planned. Then the raid opened.
The first raid week was a bit rough to be sure, but I chalked that up to new expansion, new raid team, new chaos. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the loot plugin we had planned to use wasn’t updated for the new expansion. Then there was the voting, and people had different philosophies about how loot should be distributed. I’m not going to say that one way was right and another way was wrong, they were just differing philosophies and perhaps suffered from the fact that I had promoted many new officers to help with the influx of people so many people thought their voice should be heard, and they were not wrong, but all that did nothing but build friction.
The friction caused a spark, and other things came into play. Some of the newer people didn’t like my philosophy on guild chat and thought I was too strict about what I thought was appropriate content for the guild. To be clear on that, I don’t care about profanity, but take umbrage when hate speech or certain derogatory terms are used, even if the intent is not malicious. To me, certain words that are used more often to injure are best left unsaid, even in a joking manner. Others have the philosophy that if these words are used in a joyful context the sting they have is muted, and that we should celebrate taking hateful words and spinning them into harmless things.
I honestly can’t say that my way is right and their way is wrong. But that is one of the original philosophies of this guild, and maybe it wasn’t spelled out clearly enough in the beginning, and that is my fault, but its something I want to stick to because I feel like it makes the guild a friendlier, warmer place. However, some of the new people felt this was too constrictive of the guild. They would rather have good solid progression raiders and didn’t care if they used that kind of language. That was their philosophy, mine differed.
On top of all this, there were respect issues. I think a lot were caused just because Umehara was not me. Some weren’t giving him the respect that a raid leader needs to command a raid because it still felt like “Aily’s Raid”, despite the fact that I didn’t have much to do with it other than showing up for a few of the fights. But it still ran on my raid times, with a large amount of the same crew. Ultimately, a successful raid leader needs the respect and authority from the team to operate smoothly and efficiently.
I felt like there were two choices: either I was going to turn over the guild in whole and spirit to the new team, or the new team was going to have to make its own guild to exist in with its own authority. I did a lot of soul searching, I reached out to people, I consulted with Umehara on his opinion. I didn’t mandate they leave the guild I asked them if they saw a better way through this. The original founder of this guild, my wife, Zelarosa and I thought deeply on what is the best way to a resolution. I sent Umehara an email. “to lead a successful raid I think you need to be empowered to have clear leadership, clear focus, and a singular voice. I think I’m holding you back because I can’t make you the GM of this guild.” And that was the crux of it, I couldn’t make him GM of the Ashen Order because I owe it to my friends, my family, the members of this guild who have been with us for over two years, the folks who built this guild and made it what it is, to maintain our original philosophy and atmosphere.
If you weren’t there, here’s what happened: A new guild was formed. Some heated words were spoken, and unfortunately due to real life prior commitments I wasn’t around to help keep this regrettable situation from escalating. I want people on both sides to realize that this ultimately falls on me. I am the one who asked Umehara to lead a raid in the Ashen Order, and I am the one who asked him later to leave. I wish the new guild “Enraged” nothing but success in their new venture and I’m sorry it just didn’t work out. I’m hoping that the new freedom of vision and clearer roles of responsibility in the new guild empowers them to accomplish their goals. They have talented, passionate leadership with a different perspective and with perseverance should certainly be able to challenge for the top raiding guild on the server. They felt like my rules were going to hold them back, and I agreed with them, but I was unwilling to change my rules for what I thought was the good of the guild.
I have no ill feelings toward the new guild or their membership. If anyone from The Ashen Order wishes to join that new raid, or any raid, I am not going to hold a grudge against you in any way, in fact I hope we’ll remain friends and you’ll keep me on your friends list. My biggest complaint about battle.net has always been the limitation of 100 friends, but anyone from the Ashen Order who wishes to leave will certainly get precedence on my list.
And now we move forward.
The Ashen Order will continue to exist as a friends and family guild. I don’t see that changing, even if its roster retreats to just me and Zelarosa, we’ll be here. However, we are blessed with having many friends and family, and we make new friends every day.
Sometime in January I plan to pick up the mantle of Raid leader again, only in a more casual limited fashion as my time will allow. We will start out raiding one night a week, and may even add a second night if we can find a good time for it. We will be targeting the Normal/Heroic raids which allow us the flexible roster. We will be inviting all our friends and family who are reasonably geared and ready for these raids and we will go in as a relaxed, non-competitive raid that is just there for fun with our friends. Because the flexible roster allows us to go with as few as 10 and as many as 30, there will be no attendance requirements, we’ll just ask that you’re appropriately geared and ready to go, and that even though we’re not progression, we raid with the respect and honor for our teammates that goes along with carrying our guild tag.
Right now I’m thinking a 4 hour Sunday night raid that goes from 5-9PM server time. Probably starting on January 10th at this point. But I’ll keep you all informed.
I sincerely apologize for all the drama and angst this has caused. I can promise you this, when we’re ready to raid again … he’ll be ready:
The official mascot of the Ashen Order raid team
<3 you all.