On “fit”: part one

We had a guildie quit recently because we thought we were casual but really we were hardcore1 which left me foaming a little, mostly because I particularly hate the terms “casual” and “hardcore”. But it did get  me thinking about the notion of fit and guild culture, particularly as we also recently asked a trial member to move on. Not because they weren’t capable, but because in some way they didn’t “fit”.

So now I’m going to vent *all over* this blog on and around the subject. It’s going to be messy2 but I’ll feel better afterward. Much like vomiting I suppose.

Casual? Hardcore? I don’t know what those words mean.
Hell, take them out of the game and into the real world; they’re pretty vague there, never mind within WoW.

Casual clothes. What are casual clothes? I’ve no idea. Sweatpants and a vest? Slacks and a polo shirt? Jeans and tshirt? And don’t get me started on the dreaded “business casual” — ye gods do I hate seeing that on itineraries. Being the creative mind that I am, I’ve solved the problem by wearing pretty much the same clothes all the time whether I’m at work, in the pub, travelling, whatever. Are the clothes I wear “casual”? Hell if I know. I’m pretty casual3 about ironing them, I can tell you that

Hardcore? Well, it’s a construction substrate. Or it’s generically used to describe someone who is keen. About… anything. I’m pretty hardcore about mustard, personally. I like it. I’m pretty hardcore4 about Bryn, my ‘levelling partner’. I like her too. I don’t like mustard in the same way I like Bryn though. It’s quite a different feeling. And I don’t recommend snogging a mustard jar at all5.

The problem with the words “casual” and “hardcore” is that they are arbitrary. There’s no standardised definition. There’s no benchmark, no agreed “if you do *this* you are *that*”. What does one have to do to be hardcore? Who knows?6

What about fit?
Hardcore and casual seem to be starting point for many guild mission statements, in one way or another. Some guilds shy away from the labels, or actively declaim them. Some embrace them wholeheartedly. I wonder how many choose to define them (not a research project I’m keen to take on). Once you get past the hardcore/casual divide though, what next?

I suspect a lot of guilds start with “don’t be an arse” as a maxim. Which is fine as far as it goes, but there’s a lot more to being comfortable in a guild than not being an arse — although it is an important first step, for our guild at least (YMMV). Particularly for smaller guilds, you’ve got find people who “fit”, and that’s a bit more subtle.

Fit is hard to get right. It’s why you have “triallist” or “recruit” ranks in your guild roster. It’s why you go to job interviews, rather than just submitting your resume. Fit is why good teams will often beat a collection of better individuals. Fit is why companies spend huge sums of money on specialist recruiters. Fit isn’t about being a hive mind, it’s about being compatible, and having shared values as well as shared goals.

Getting it wrong is, I suspect, a handy shortcut to guild drama, and can have a significant effect on the people in your guild. More specifics in part two…

  1. not a quote, but a reasonable paraphrase IMO []
  2. and possibly a bit dull []
  3. in this instance, “casual” means “I do not ever” []
  4. Drag your mind from the gutter please. []
  5. I don’t recommend you snogging Bryn either []
  6. And does spending 250 words discussing the definitions of ‘hardcore’ and ‘casual’ make me hardcore? Argh! []

10 thoughts on “On “fit”: part one”

  1. …I have to ask – HOW do you do those footnotes?

    (the blog post was very interesting, and I myself am annoyed by the vagueness of those terms, but the footnotes are something I’d LOVE to have – less parenthetical asides would probably be good for my readers…)

  2. naturally come points 4 and 5 i fell about laughing :p

    Vagueness affords us the ability to skim over all the dull crap of issues. This is one thing I can relate to, as reading an essay of detail, over a sentence or two of “coverage” is what i like.

    Mix in some comedic genius, and it all makes sense anyway.

    “Fit” is important, and not important. People need to get along otherwise they wont enjoy what they do, however they can’t be sheep, again because they wont enjoy what they do ***in general***

    So essentially fitting in, is composed of being able to get along with others, but not be a sheep to the same thing in every subject.

    Wait, that would mean we would be clones…

    Anyway, for example, most people when deciding to relax, don’t want to listen to someone bitching about something, it takes the “fun” out of it. Clearly the bitcher is not fitting in. The bitcher in this case, can be a guild member, trialist, or leader. It doesn’t matter which really.

    A good way to judge, or rather, my personal fav way to judge someone to see if they fit is whether or not, after a week of haning out, would i want to go to the pub with them for a beer.

    Yes i reference drinking a hell of a lot.

    If said person, is not someone beer worthy, they dont fit. If they are, and more importantly they are single as are you and of the opposite gender(if thats your thing), quickly get married.

    Wait what?

    what are we talking about again?

    Ano, I still owe u a beer.Promise I wont as Bryn to marry me.

    /mwhahahahahahahaa essay over


    fitting = beer worthy entity you want to hang around with, gaming or other.

    1. I’m pretty much inclined to agree with you here, Joe. It’s actually better put than you may think! I know, for example, that I don’t want to drink beer with someone who “knows it all” and makes sure you know they do!

    2. The “beer” barrier is a good one, actually.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that fit requires everyone to react in mechanically identical ways to every situation; just that if people don’t broadly share the same values and ideals, they’re unlikely to mesh well.

      Yes to the beer!

  3. Okay, I will admit.. when I first read the title of the post I was thinking of “throwing a fit” rather than “fitting in”.

    I think it’s a really interesting thought process overall (though I agree to laughing on footnotes 4 and 5 too), and it’s something that I don’t think can be defined – as much as some people would like to.

    Cause really, where do you draw the line.. casual as someone who doesn’t raid at all, or raids at leisure, or raid 3 times a week instead of 5, or is really bad and can’t down any bosses despite raiding 7 days a week?

    It just doesn’t really work to use those words, but admittedly I can’t think of any other ones to use either. Progression-oriented maybe? Or raiding for fun. Hmm, personally I like a combination of both.. I want to have fun when raiding, but I definitely still want to make some progression. At the same time I wouldn’t give up the fun for being server first, nor would I give up the progression and only have fun.

    I don’t know, it’s all a slippery slope. And as I’m writing this I realise I probably seem very incoherent and making little sense – but I blame having had little sleep for a few days. Blame ftw? :)

    1. “Throwing a fit” happens in part two (well, a little bit).

      I tend to think that we’ll never find handy one- or two-word phrases to cover people’s approaches to the game.

      A guild might care, first and foremost, about having friendly people who had consideration for each other. It might like to raid. It might choose, when it raided, to do so with the intention of downing bosses and improving both individual skills and team cohesion. It might choose to do so whilst concurrently making filthy comments in vent. It might choose to do so with no attendance requirements, or complicated loot systems.

      How do you boil all of those desires into a couple of words? I don’t think it’s possible, but it’s in our nature to try :)

  4. I can’t even remember if we said anything about being “hardcore” or casual in our mission statement. I should…possibly review that. It’s really a sliding scale of useless, in my opinion. To some we could be “hardcore” because we raid three nights a week. People who raid five probably think we’re casual. We have a performance component so that makes us “hardcore.” We joke around like “casuals.” Who knows! The important thing is that we try to recruit people who “fit.” If someone is off-putting or doesn’t get the jokes or talks incessantly in guild chat… They just aren’t fitting. I know what you mean, although it’s hard to describe!

    1. I can’t remember who, I’m sure *someone* once talked about the distinction between the “uncommitted casuals/those not making an effort”, and the “unhealthily obsessed” being that the former were people who played less than you, and the latter people who played more than you.

      I suspect there could be a similar thing here…

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