Guild Chat: Should I quit my MMO because of in-guild bullying?

Welcome along to another advice-filled edition of Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively OP community can both offer pearls of wisdom to fellow readers and air their own guild-related issues in front the masses in the hope that I can be of assistance while also crowdsourcing further great solutions from fellow MMO enthusiasts in the comments. This time, an anonymous reader wishes to discuss in-guild bullying and whether or not he should leave his MMO of choice in order to avoid further nasty confrontations. What started as brief periods of tension within his guild has now bubbled over into full-on personal attacks and our reader in need is unsure of the best method for dealing with the bullying he now faces from his ex-guildmates. Read on for the full submission and my take on the situation facing our mystery submitter.

“This is one of those questions I’d never thought I’d ask, but what is the best thing to do when your guild (well, ex-guild, in my case) is actively bullying you so that you’ll quit? To give you some background, we were a close-knit guild, and I would have called the members friends, until recently. We all used to hang out on Teamspeak and chill together, having a laugh, doing content, but then some tension started one night, when we were a little drunk, and things went from bad to worse. I said something stupid about politics (I’m from the US, lots happened here that way in case you don’t know), this caused 3 members in particular to hate my guts. I apologized, knowing I was an idiot to bring politics into anything, especially since it was my first time drinking, but these people took it way too seriously, calling me out for being racist and basically an inbred moron for what I said, even though I didn’t mean it, since I was just trying to be funny. Anyways, these people involved the guild leader, who kicked me out without even hearing my side of the story, but it doesn’t stop there because they still follow me around in-game, whispering me, sending me hate any way they can, and generally ruining my play time. I spoke to the guild leader about it, but she blames me, and told me she supports them in this. I find this all a bit much, and am now thinking, what would fix this, if I just quit altogether? I tried sorry, it doesn’t work, so don’t tell me to do that again. I want to make it right, but not if they won’t stop ruining my fun, and getting other people to avoid me or message me too.”

Check yourself so nobody else has to

This is one of those stories that makes me wish I had the magic ability to go back in time and tell people that their actions have consequences, no matter how trivial or fun it might seem before the fallout. I’m assuming from your submission that you’re young and relatively inexperienced when it comes to more approaching more mature, serious topics sensitively: When you add alcohol and overfamiliarity due to not being able to read body language or facial expressions, it’s easy to see how the conversation might have taken such a u-turn.You certainly won’t be the first person to royally put their foot in it when under the influence, but that’s not to say that gives you a free pass to be offensive, crude, or derogatory without consequence.

A more controversial point I feel I must make is this: If you managed to cause such offense in one night that more than one person has taken it upon themselves to smear your name at any given opportunity, perhaps the views you’re expressing need checking or you need to compare the sort of person you become when drinking to your sober self. Without being on that TeamSpeak channel with you when the incident occurred, I can’t tell much about the event, what was said, and just how obnoxious you were, but I’m willing to bet your behaviour was fairly shocking if a group that were friendly with you beforehand turned against you so swiftly.

I know you feel as though their reaction is over-the-top — and after the point of guild-kicking you I agree with you — but sometimes we really can cause such a great deal of hurt and anger that we go past the point of an apology making things better. Where I feel as though the guild is being unfair to you, however, is carrying the anger on after your removal from their company: Following you around and proactively ruining your experience indefinitely is a tacky attempt at revenge for your poor behaviour that isn’t any more justified than your drunken tirade. I have some advice to help alleviate the sting on your mishap with booze, but do bear in mind that the damage is already done with your old guild and there’s no “making it right” in your case. You’ll have to do your best to move on, learn from the mistakes made on your part, negate the continued fallout as best you can, and take this a lesson for your next encounter with the bottle.

Is there a reason you can’t /ignore?

In real life, it can be most difficult to break away from a cycle of drama due to physical proximity, but in MMOs, most of the aggravation can be prevented by using in-game block, ignore, or unfriend features. If you’ve already blocked the main culprits but are still running into abuse online, you could consider placing your account on invisible or unavailable for a period of time where that is available, or perhaps you could turn off map chat if you’re being hounded in particular zones. Remember to report each instance of abuse via the appropriate in-game channels: Two wrongs don’t make a right, and sustaining contact isn’t healthy for any of you.

If these options are somehow unavailable to you, maybe because the people involved are harassing you through other channels or with dummy accounts, you could try letting the worst of their ill feeling ebb away with the passage of time. There are two approaches here: You can either keep playing throughout this rocky patch and ignore and report all abuse, or you can take a break until things are quieter. Should you choose to keep playing, it’s imperative that you don’t make the situation worse by rising to the abuse. You don’t want to justify the behaviour of your old guildmates by becoming everything they are calling you.

Prevention is far better than cure

It’s important to reflect on situations like this in order to grow as a person and prevent something similar happening again. There’s something in the wording of your submission that makes me believe that you’re quite indignant about your apology not being accepted as good enough, but unless you accept your fair share of the blame for this falling out, you’re risking repeating history in the future. If you take one piece of advice away from this entire article, my anonymous friend, make it this! You now feel victimised and bullied because these people won’t let your actions go, but try to remember that the scenario started by your hurtful actions making them feel much the same way.

In future, it’s best to cater your humour and delivery to the audience that your jokes are intended for, and that might well mean either moderating your content or choosing a different environment in which to joke around. Leave the drinking until you’re offline until you know your limits and keep your chatter game-specific if you’re not particularly friendly with your guildmates. Drunken-you probably felt both comfortable and justified in what you were saying, making it all the more hurtful to those you offended. Remember that you can always join an adult-only, mature content, anything goes sort of guild if you find containing your humour too restrictive.

If all else fails, start afresh!

If the whole experience has left too much of a sour taste in your mouth and you can find no way to end the slur campaign your ex-guild has begun against you, you might find it easier to start over on a new server, take a short break to let the heat die down, or even open a new account to give yourself a fresh start. You might even find that your particular MMO of choice has lost its appeal after your run-in, so branching out into similar titles where a silly night of overindulgence and loose talk hasn’t ruined your fun. It might seem dramatic to take such action and you’ll have a strong tendency to think, “why should I be the one to quit?” – but remember that your gaming time is supposed to be enjoyable. There’s absolutely nothing fun about online harassment and being caught in a never-ending cycle of drama and smack talk, so in some cases, you’re better making a clean break and finding fun elsewhere.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope that you’ll take this as a learning experience instead of as a terrible event: Virtually all of us have made similar foolish gaffes or otherwise made a complete nuisance of themselves in some fashion while navigating alcohol, fledgling relationships, or online circles, so don’t feel bad. I’d cringe so hard my face would never unwrinkle if I could hear sixteen-year-old me speak to her friends right now, and I’m sure I’ve offended and hurt more people than enough by being too quick to judge and condemn before giving my opinion more than have a moment’s idle thought. The real marker of a person is how they acknowledge these moments and use them to rub along a little better with people in future. Good luck!

Over to you!

Do you have any advice for our anonymous reader in need? Have you ever made a drunken blunder that ruined your gaming fun? Do you have any off-limits topics in your guild to prevent such offences from happening? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments.

Many thanks to our anonymous reader for this submission. If you have a guild-related issue you’d like to see tackled here, email me your submission for consideration.

MOP’s Tina Lauro is on-hand to deal with all of your guild-related questions, queries, and drama in Guild Chat. Whatever your guild issue, she’s sure to have a witty yet sympathetic response. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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88 Comments on "Guild Chat: Should I quit my MMO because of in-guild bullying?"

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Yuri Geinish

Poeple are the same everywhere. Leaving a game because of people-related problems makes no sense at all as other games will have the same problems. Leaving a guild though might be a good solution if you’re outnumbered.

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Byórðæįr

First if someone is stalking you or you think they are, make sure they are not in your friends list. In many games there are ways to teleport to your friends.

Second people trying to force someone from game are usually the American gold farmers the group of people that use social engineering to take over people accounts to sell the items on them to other players for real money. As long as you can long in if you suddenly notice your stuff is missing and is reported to a GM that starts a long investigation process to make sure you did not just make a mistake. I try to leave ingame emails to people I know in real life in case I get attacked. So when the GM looks into the messages they start laughing and know who knows me in real life. GMs can ask accounting if the bank account is still the same as it was prior to the attacks but they can not tell a player about someone else’s account. It prevents social engineering from getting details about a player’s account.

Most people when they make a mistake among friends get laughed at but if someone says something really offensive actual friends talk about it, fake ones don’t. People who bring back up a topic to scream about it have an agenda. Simply look at your friends outside of game do they act that way at all? They may act hurt or sullen by something a friend says but the only time you get can “he/she said what…?” and laughing is when people have trouble believing someone actually said it. It is more shock and humor. People trying to get someone guild kicked are either trying to remove a problem child, someone who is always the worst tropes in video games, the ninja looter, the begging for money, the person who is always trying to break up relationships between people who have actual person to person relationships outside of game (I really don’t understand these people keeping a woman happy is hard enough), the people who don’t need an item but roll on it not because they want it but because someone else does. Greed is normal and admitting you have it is healthy, jealousy is wanted someone else’s ice cream cone because they have only licked it once and you ate most of yours. Greed is simply wanting lots of shiny things. People play video games to amass loot. Pretending you don’t want lots of loot is stupid. The people who learn you can earn more of the loot you actual want working together than by yourself or by stealing from other players, make friends.

But really no matter how offensive someone a person says is, once you stop trying to contact them, they would naturally just go on with their life if they are healthy individuals. So just live by only to the good. I can not explain what that means to me you have to figure it out for yourself. But focus on that and life gets better, it might not get easier but it gets better.

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Raul Gonzalez

I always had problems with players the joined my guild with a XBOXLIVE mentality. Thinking it was okay to openly insult people and just be cool if they decide your nickname was TittyFace or some shit like that. Beyond Rude haha had to always kick players like that.

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panthyr

I think your intent is good and I think your approach is fine but if you’re trying to remain unbiased you’re going to have to be prepared for a few things. If you’re not worried about bias then you’re getting exactly what you signed up for. I think with the current political climate both camps are on a witch hunt and regardless of your affiliation or faction (I called it a faction on an mmo site! I want points) anytime there’s a chance its political in nature readers are going to comb for opportunity to rage. You don’t need any further proof then to read this posts comments. All sides are angry right now so its not at all shocking. That said the moment he/she identified as a trump supporter (which an argument can be made but racist/inbred seems to be the theme for one particular party to sling at another particular party) you were jumping headfirst into a swamp when you replied. I’m reserving my opinion of the original post because it in itself would spark a debate but I would say look at what we know:

He/she claimed they messed up (and acknowledged)
He/she asked forgiveness
He/she was Gkicked
They are actively being stalked

We don’t know if any of that is true but thats what we have. You can read into it, which everyone seems want to do, but then its a slippery slope of what ifs and we don’t have any way of confirming anything. For the sake of this whole post we can assume the last 2 are accurate because it’s relevant to their question. Should they quit? Most people are saying “No” (I’m currently of the mindset of absolutely, yes) and if “No” then what actions can they take. I think you address all those points on how to respond. Really anything beyond that is likely to get blown out of proportion because of the world we live in currently.

Edit: I just realized I didn’t answer Tinas question directly. “Do you have any advice for our anonymous reader in need?” Answer: Yes, quit.

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Suikoden

Starting fresh would be my suggestion. I have done it, and in fact I am playing on a toon right now that I had to start fresh. This wasn’t because of bullying so much as it was the simple fact that I played for so many years and knew so many people, and quit and came back so many times, into different guilds, and different ranks/roles, that I wanted to just log in a play with a guild and not have to worry about random tells and mail, etc. It worked great for me, and the added bonus is that everything thinks your a noob! And in my case I am playing a new class and I am a total noob at it, and everyone in my guild is willing to help.

However, I do encounter bullying, especially since I am learning my new class, and for some reason bullies hate it when you are learning, so /ignore is my best friend now.

In short, don;t quit because of that, the beauty is that you can always reroll.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

I don’t see how all of this couldn’t be solved by appropriate applications of /ignore, and, if that doesn’t fix it, then /report for harassment.

In-game harassment of one player by another is against the ToS of every MMO that I know of, and generally reports that involve some sort of evidence, like, say, chat logs that include harassing or threatening speech (and in most games ALL in-game chat is logged and available to customer service), will be acted upon. Customer service action probably isn’t even needed assuming that /ignore will stop everything that interfered with the OP’s gameplay.

If there is game play conduct that amounts to griefing beyond chat messaging, then /report ought to fix it. If the issue is that people are “following OP around” in-game, then removing the offenders from in-game “friends” lists generally will prevent those people from knowing when OP is logged in.

Quitting the game just seems a bit extreme when other options that could entirely solve the problem have not even been tried.

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odin valhalla

This is going to sound harsh or insensitive but 3 points I’d like to make

1. The anonymity of the web allows people to be assholes. Some of these people who say “I treat everyone like this IRL” are full of shit and we all know it. Half the things you see in MMO’s, politics, race, sexuality on and on and on most people (and I mean 99%) wouldn’t utter this crap IRL. Is it cowardice? Is it a venue to say how you truly feel? I don’t know but its ugly and I have witnessed things in my MMO life ( a woman being sexually harassed) where the guy in the end did the mia culpa asked for forgiveness. IMHO not only should they not be forgiven but as harsh a penalty as possible in the MMO context should be applied to them.

2. This seems to be symptom of too much investment into the online world. Some appear to have a great deal of personal investment into relationships with people online. Often they play with people for YEARS, never know there real name, never know where they live etc. they see a name on a screen and hear a voice. While I am not super critical of this investment, it is the choice of the person to do it. I am blessed I have a lot of people in my life, there isn’t any one online whom I am that vested in. To be blunt, if I never logged onto an T.S. or Discord or MMO again my life would be great, many people, socially, can’t say that.

3. Forgiveness is overrated. This is my personal opinion but when people knowingly try to hurt others that’s bad. There are distinctions though, there is one person who used to post a lot on an MMO forum I went too. To say he was salty would be an understatement but he repeated many times “if you don’t like what you are reading put me on ignore” In this case the person seemed to be trying to entertain himself or others and correctly advised people to ignore him. Then we have the people who gang up, pursue and follow people in game and off sending PM, emails, doxing, verbal abuse in chat on and on. Not only should they not be forgiven for this BLATANT attempt to harm others MAXIMUM penalties should be imposed in context. Kicking from a guild, yep good move. Banned from a game, yep good move. Age is irrelevant, you transgress on someone’s liberty you’re gone.

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Utakata

Without context to what the person actually said while they where…

…err, skip that. It doesn’t matter what this person said, following he or she around and griefing them is both abusive and stalker’ish. These players and their “esteemed” leader should be reported for this. And then all sent a few weeks or more all inclusive game vacation package to Suspended Isle courtesy of the respective GM. Just saying.

edangerous
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edangerous

I’d say it all depends on the circumstances, the last person I’d take as telling the whole truth is someone who says things so offensive that they get guild kicked and then plays the victim card.
Perhaps these other people are out of order or perhaps this person is baiting them via PMs or some crap.

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Utakata

It very well could be this person is gaming this for their own advantage. And there are examples of this happening. But until such evidence comes to light, I am going to give what this person says the benefit of the doubt.

Even then, there is no excuse for his or her guild that was to be playing the vigilante here – presuming that’s what they’re are doing. If the offences are such, they should be reporting this person instead, as opposed to taking the law into their own hands.

Bannex
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Bannex

Clearly what she said was racist and probably extremely offensive to whomever was listening.

Sorry mana but this person offended the hell out of an entire guild and is now dealing with the consequences. She’s not a victim, she’s an asshole.

Following a person around is a bit much but seriously just put them on ignore, change servers or character names. It’s not that hard…

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Utakata

That isn’t clear whatsoever. It could of been that the person was unwittingly in a *guild full of Trumpets…and said something disparaging about their Hair Fuhrer while drunk on TeamSpeak. This person was very vague as to what he or she said…and likely not to let whatever this person said to distract from the point of the letter. So we really don’t know.

*Note: To be fair though, I suspect it was the other way around. But it doesn’t matter, guild members should not be harassing their ex-members after they left, regardless of the circumstances.

Bannex
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Bannex

It is very clear. The person said that their comments were misconstrued as racist and they were called a redneck.

That doesn’t sound like the description of a hillary supporter but I understand you’re trying to be diplomatic because I’d imagine you, mana, would find little sympathy in this case if you identify this guy purely as a Trump supporter :)

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Utakata

I remember when Bree took issues with certain aspect’s of EVE’s community in a thread some years back, and she was called a bigot by a couple of posters for doing that, for example. But that’s the problem, without knowing what really went down, there are all sorts of reasons and rational that this person could of been construed as a racist under. As I just demonstrated, that word can thrown around under any circumstances…so yeah, it’s clear as mud.

And I don’t care it this person is a flaming Trump supporter or not. It does not excuse the behaviors of his former guildies whatsoever if his side of the story is true.

Bannex
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Bannex

Nobody is excusing the harassment.

We’re both debating hypotheticals. Always fun poking at you mana…

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Utakata

(Off topic)

One that seems to view I would of supported Clinton instead. If I knew that my *single vote would change the Electoral College in her favor, to prevent a madman running the country then maybe she would have my vote. But if recent events have proven, both leaders are quite willing to descend into World War III madness in a name of taking pot shots at some despot country from over there…so this exercise is all academic in the end. Just saying.

*Note: I am not even living in the right jurisdiction to do this.

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GiantsBane

I’ve met quite a lot of idiots who go completely ballistic whenever somebody says anything in support of Trump, shifting from friendly towards the person talking to hostile and ready to beat their ass in the street over a difference of political opinion.

Like Mana said, it’s not clear at all what the person said, though obviously it was offensive to the people who decided to kick them out.

Another thing ill point out is that offense is never given, it’s always taken. Every person chooses whether or not to be offended by something, and if you’re playing online games it’s probably best to grow a thicker skin then you’ve got on facebook if you’re the type of person to unfriend people over their presidential candidate choices, and dub them an irredeemable inhuman scourge of society.

It’d be nice to have the transcript, but it’s also totally unreasonable for the player being harassed to be told they need to change character names or servers, /ignore works fine so long as they aren’t going the extra mile with new characters to harass them, at which point it’s time to involve CS.

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Notorious Rekt

Ah, yes. The voice of reason and words of wisdom that OP actually needs.

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Stropp

The biggest problem I have with this article is that most of it reeks of victim blaming.

Sure, the guy made a mistake saying what he said, and that obviously caused tension within the guild, but he paid for that by being kicked. If he learned from that mistake and moved on, it’s a valuable life lesson.

That’s where it should have ended. To be then stalked and harassed afterwards is unacceptable, and he should report it as abuse. If the devs are not willing to do anything about abuse after that, then yes, quit the game. They don’t deserve your money quite frankly. There are plenty of other MMOs out there if you want to return to that style of game.

If you’re not prepared to quit, then several options have been suggested, from renaming to changing server.

Another possibility, since you seem quite stressed about the situation, is to take a break. Leave it for a month or a few weeks and don’t log in at all. If these guys are like any other bullies, they’ll get sick of waiting for you and move on. If they start harassing you when you come back, then reconsider your long term with the game.

It also sounds a little like you’ve dodged a bullet. If your ex-guild members act like that, they’re dicks plain and simple. You’re better off being away from them. At some point they’ll have dumped on you anyway.

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BalsBigBrother

There is more than one victim in this story. The one subject to harassment and abuse after the fact (the OP) and the one who was subject to some comment (content unknown) but that they found offensive enough to justify kicking the OP from the guild plus having the guild leader agree to that.

Given that TIna isn’t privy to every party involved and not all the details of “the incident” I think she did a damn good job of addressing both sides.

Bannex
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Bannex

Upon reading the article, the story writer is obviously leaving shit out and if he/she is truly innocent in this sense then use the resources they gave you to stop harassment and if that doesn’t work and these people really are stalking then quitting the game won’t help ;)