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