Dealing with difficult FFXI players

Dealing with Difficult FFXI Players as leaders

the StarOnion, Maiev, Heriheatto

If everyone’s easy going like Heri, this game would be more fun!

As a linkshell leader, dealing with negative or difficult players is almost all leader’s daily tasks. Everyone have their own opinions, ideas and views, and as a leader who cannot always satisfy everyone at once, you will always have these trouble people¯ in your linkshell/guild. How do you as a leader handle it? What are the results? Are there any way that you can resolve everything in peace?

No matter if its in-game or your IRL off-time, as a leader, we will always be bombarded with players who oppose your ideas, theories, strategies, management, policies or even simply people who just don’t like you. There are over 10,000 people on every server and conflict / drama is just part of the game. It’s not the 10,000 that are the cause of conflict, but it is the trigger of our own emos, and it’s our emo’s that drive us back to our most basic survival instinct, react and attack back to defend ourselves.

Unlike dealing with people IRL, everyone tends to be even more of an asshole behind the keyboard, because you can always log-out and get away from the game and avoid all the consequences. This is typically practiced a lot, and as a leader in such environment, you are bombarded with even more emo’s. Such event usually trigger a leader’s emo’s and that’s when a typical leader make irrational choices or just be defending ourselves.

the StarOnion

There are higher priorities as leader than screwing with dead ppl’s butt

When we do these instinctual actions such as defending for ourselves, we as leader, tend to lose track of who we are, our roles, and become the human animal with an urge to protect ourselves when attack. Like all other animal, this is very natural but we must keep in mind that as a leader, you have higher priorities with more important tasks and roles and therefore, should always look at the bigger picture. Just remember, we as leadres are also human and are blessed with intelligence, and have the ability to control our responses.

I often ask other linkshell leaders: How do you deal with the negative people / trouble people that are in your linkshell? They are brutal, and I don’t know what to do, but I also don’t have the heart to kick them. As linkshell leader, you do have the ultimate power to simply close your eyes and remove the member, but is that really the ideal way of dealing with the problem? For one thing, that would be an honest thing to do.

In World of Warcraft, you deal with MUCH more assholes, especially in an end-game guild, people can pull really BS things, not even remotely imaginable. I went to the leader or Notorious (The top-notch guild on my server who farms Illidan) and ask the same question.. he said I just don’t let it bother me to begin with.¯ He told me that it’s not simple at all, but as you build your guild/linkshell, you realize time is scarce as a leader and… instead of listening to all the BS that comes to your ear, you just naturally learn to not let them bother you (aka filtering BS). If filtering was easy, then you wouldn’t see broken guilds or linkshell to begin with.

This brings in the most important aspect of dealing with difficult people. You don’t control their response, but you could control yours! That’s the key! As a leader, you have to control your own response. It is very important to control what response you make, if at all. Here’s a few things that I recognize as leaders. I’ve classified them into a few categories, and you might recognize some of them – the different types of difficult players that Mai encounter.

the StarOnion, Maiev, Shaya

I once emo and Shaya just happen to walk by and took the EMO.


I’ve learned that when people throws out emo’™s to your face, it’s a reflection of their inner state expressed externally and your face just happen to be a part of that equation. It’s not personal, so why do we take it personally? ^_^ Basically, our ego likes problems and conflict. People are often SO BORED and unhappy with their lives/in-game lives that they want to take others down with them. This is especially common in video game because you do not have to deal with the consequences. If you do that in an office environment, you’d probably get sent home or even lose your job. There have been many times when a random player just login to their mule / anonymous AIM and sends you random BS or post on your FFXIAH or even my blog, then regularly checked back to see if anyone else responded to their comment, waiting eagerly to respond with more negativity.

Fighting our Ego
When we respond impulsively such as kicking the person out of your shell with your power, it is a natural and honest response. However, is it an educated choice and smart thing to do? Do you really solve problems by just kicking the person? The answer is: no, you solved nothing. You’d also be dealing with some short-term emo’s too. It does however, satisfy your ego and the need to vent and revenge. Did you ever notice when you fight back, you feel GOOD? It feels like I’ve beaten someone with a Kraken Club. But at the same time it doesn’t really feel good morally inside your soul. It feels weird and we start having weird chain of thoughts. When we do not respond rationally, it turns the conversation from a one-sided negative expression into a battle of two egos. It becomes an unnecessary and really non-productive battle of Who’s actually right?¯.

the StarOnion

I sometime think my EMO is a contribution to this type of mess.

Anger and Negatively are like Chain 300 Exp Chains
Its pretty safe to say nothing really comes out good when we react against someone who is in a negative state. As a leader, you are only provoking them and add reactive response from that person. If we do responds impulsively with power, we are wasting energy in the end just to defend ourselves after. People would question your usage of power, and usually you get in trouble. Have you ever had the moment where the angrier our chain of thoughts become, the angrier we become? Garbage In, Garbage Out, Anger in, Anger comes out. It doesn’t really change.

Freedom of Speech
Everyone are entitled to their opinions as you are. Let them express how they feel and let it be. Just keep in mind that it’s all relative and a matter of perspective, hence people always say there’s really no right or wrong answer in these situation. Something that you see as positive can be negative from others. When we react, we go into the chain reaction of Me vs You, who is right then?!¯ Remember, we don’t own other people’s mouth and mind, but we do own our OWN mouth and mind, and our responses is where we make our choice between peace or conflict. Also, people tend to neglect that doing nothing is also an option when resolving conflict.

Negatively is like the “Blind” Status
I’ve discover as leader that if I allow negatively in one area, it starts to bleed into areas as well. I lost sight of what I want to do, my thinking, or even my plan of attack for linkshell events when I am in a negatively status. When we are in a negative state or holding grudges against someone or simply bombarded with problems, we don’t feel too good. We carry that energy with us and as we lead our linkshell, we lost sight of objective, clarity and order and may react unconsciously and irrational to matters that didn’t necessary need it.

Experience as Linkshell Leader

the StarOnion, Maiev, Hesasa

There are times you’re a little emo, smoking people up feels like a relief.

While I’ve had a lot of practice of dealing with people with negatively, it is something I find myself having to actively work on. When I’m caught off-guard and resulting in putting myself into a defensive position, chances are stuff turns into crap. Both the events and my emotions goes on a roller coaster ride.

Afterall, this is a game, and a lot of people use the virtual world to express their emotions and egos. MMORPG is a place where you log-off from real life and log-on to your 2nd life¯. It’s an escape from reality. You as a leader, will have a higher exposure of people who aren’t satisfy with their real life¯, and will bring these unsatisfaction to their “2nd life”. However, by keeping our own ego in-check and inserting emotional management skills, we’ll not only be doing a favour for our own health and mental space, but we’ll be creating a more favourable gaming environment of all those that are part of your linkshell/guild and for yourself.

Who think linkshell leader is simply just a person who can sack people and run events? As a leader, you have a lot of power, but at the same time you have a lot of responsibility. Running events, planning and organizing events, executing your plan of action, judgement and decision making, book-keeping, DKP’s and emotional management. That pretty orange shell-holder pearl that I wear comes with a huge amount of responsibility and obligation. As the shell grows, the responsibilities and obligation escalates, and as leaders, you need to prepare for that.

Here’s what I learn as being a linkshell leader.

the StarOnion

Accept forgiveness, just like Caitsith!

Accept Forgiveness
I try to do this as much as I can, to the best as I can. Deep inside everyone’s spirit, we are good, but everyone can be blinded and say very harmful things. Ask yourself, What is it about this situation or person that I can seek to understand and forgive? Is the person being sincere and truthfully saying sorry? Put yourself in their shoes and see for yourself what you might have done wrong. Understanding the lesson behind this conflict would help us grow and just generally become a better person. There’s always something to learn, a hidden gift inside every lesson. Our job is to find it, understand it and learn from it.

Time or even doing nothing is always part of the solution
A lot of people neglect the fact that doing nothing is always another solution to everything. We might just simply be overreacting. Imagine when the economy was inflated, you had 40m and you did nothing! You’d still have 40m now and could possibly get a relic. We all want to react, find a solution or even start defending ourselves right away, to get it over with. But when we do so, we are really adding oil to the fire – defending or reacting sometime is a bad choice. Let time kicks in and cool the problem off. Sooner or later, we will forget it. Maybe in the end, you find out that not responding was the best solution. (This isn’t always the case though, as some people see not responding is way to run away from the problem). Remember, when you act impulsively, you tend to act irrationally too!

Does the leader always have to be right?

the StarOnion, Maiev, Roranora

Although I wrote guides of how to Solo imps, I still die to it!

No. We are human just like everyone else, we make mistakes. We aren’t always right. I apologize when I make mistakes, and when it’s coming from a leader, your member feel that their opinions and rights are being respected even by the leader. However, most of the time, does it matter if you’re right, if yes, ask again why you need to be right, will you gain anything from being right? So what if you’re right? So what if you’re right, do you get a medal? People argue just to fulfill their ego, for the sake of it. Totally not necessary, and is a complete waste of energy. I learned this long ago, and I just don’t give in to it.

When in Rome, eliminate the negative people in your life/game
Depressing and trouble makers can be a source of energy drain. Deeply unsatisfied people will want to bring you down emotionally, so they are not down there alone. Be aware of this. Unless you have a lot of time playing FFXI 24/7, I’d suggest cutting them off your life/in-game life. Block them, blacklist them, set filters, just get them away.

This summarize the tools and experience that I learn as a linkshell leader. It doesn’t necessary cover all situation, but I think it summarize most situation in a nutshell.

My own personal example.

Lost of my KS99 orb (only mines out of 26 others)
I once had two member who accidentally took a wrong step, made a big mistake which costed me 99 hard-earned Kindred Seal. One of the person was also happen to be my real-life friend. The power as a leader to remove this member instantly came to my mind. I was so angry, so pissed, it was a potential of good items. Out of all the other runs, only I lost my orb. Why… why me?

I gave it time. I knew whatever I do would be under impulse. It would be not rational, and I would regret it. I held it, held it for a week. In the end, I did not punish this member. I sat down, and let them know what they did really hurt me, and all I did was gave them a warning. It was hard, especially it was my hard-earn KS99 (I only have 3 75 jobs), but as a leader, I was being tested on scene and emotional management. I could use some improvement, but this is once situation where waiting it out result in a more favorable ending. Both member are much more caution in their actions now. Sucks for my Kindred Seals though.

Dealing with people who bring their negative RL into game

the StarOnion, Maiev, Mithra, NPC, Slapping Butt

This NPC is sure having a bad day!

I’ve had this one person who brings a lot of their real-life non satisfaction into the game. I’m always bombarded with his/her depression. A virtual world IMO is an opportunity where you can log-off from real life and log-on to a more happier life, where you can achieve personal satisfaction in a micro level, the easy way. But for this person, logging into FFXI is about bringing unhappiness to the guild/linkshell, constantly express externally to everyone and want to take both me and the linkshell down with him/her.

I took on the approach of not letting it hurt me to begin with. I blocked/blacklist this person, setup filters that scans IP and just remove that person out of my sight. I don’t let it bother me. I have more important roles and priorities. I have a bunch of members that I enjoy hanging out with, well why not hang out with them? I have more important roles as a leader than dealing with their ego.

Dealing with people who just hates/jealous of you
Not everyone likes or agrees with what you choose/decide as a leader. If everyone agrees, then there wouldn’t be conflict or rules. People can hate you for numerous reason. Jealous people will tend to trash your achievements. What do I do? I don’t respond. They are trying to trigger a response from me, when in fact, we are actually giving in what they want. I don’t respond to a ton of stuff, especially BG forums or any public forums. Eventually they will stop talking about it.
Stop talking about it will make people care less about the whole situation. The less you contribute, the less people notice about you. You want the topic to die? Then stop feeling it energy.

In Conclusion
I’ve been through a lot of emotional spikes (sadly, even though it’s just a video game), and plenty of linkshell member know this. It’s sometime irritating, but I learned how to control my emotion a lot (especially hiding it from everyone else). It’s a great skill to have. I am now more aware of people’s feelings, will able to put myself in other people’s shoes, and simply getting the skills in handling people in different situations. FFXI is a place where you’ll meet a lot of people from a variety of background, so you’ll get a taste of managing people from diverse background.

“Little FFXI Story”, how the game should be enjoyed!

I express my anger, in writing but it never made it to the front page of my blog. A lot of things never made it through for that reason because I know, it doesn’t do anything. I am now more tolerant to emotional spikes, and can take quite a lot of punch before I blow up, thanks to FFXI. My linkshell’s been helping me a lot for sure! Without them, I wouldn’t be still leading this. My ego will probably be so huge, no one else can fit into the elevator lol.

Last but not least, the Disney trip helped a lot. It feels like these people are my real friends, someone who I can lean onto when I need emotional help or going through spikes. The Disney trip was more than just a trip to know each other, but a place for me to vent and let it all out. It was very good.

Anyway, I think that sums up my writing for handling difficult FFXI players. I hope you learn something from it or… realize something for yourself too. I did too, in the processing of writing this, and enjoy the game like the little whm taru wanted it to be on the right.

8 Responses to “Dealing with difficult FFXI players”

  1. Jowah says:

    I’m not really a LS leader myself but leading a salvage group is really, really enough for me.
    People always complain no matter, you do; try to make everyone happy but yet they still cry. You do a little slighly thing/take some decision and then other cries and starts to be emo forever.
    You cant be too nice or you leadership strength won’t be strong enough. You can’t be too hard or they will start hate you and leave. There are some times i’d really like to kill bunnies but i just limit myself to walk aways 2 min and then come back.
    Sometimes i just wish i were a “sheep” in some random group and being there for my lottings only <.<

  2. Artanis says:

    A very strong and well-written post Maiev. I am glad you layed everything down on the table. I myself lead a Dynamis/Sky/Sea shell and sometimes find myself lost whenever conflict arises between myself and my members. As a leader, times will get rough, but the most important thing is to do the right thing for your linkshell, not yourself.

  3. Maiev says:

    Thanks Artanis :) You are right ^^; do the right thing for the shell and not yourself :) Nicely put in a simple way! :)

  4. Trebla says:

    Thanks Maiev.

    I myself lead a Dynamis shell and recently felt lost that i committed my time in leading the runs and setting the system right but members still whines of the way our system works even though we have been running for nearly a year.

    Thanks Artanis too. ;)

  5. Maiev says:

    Hay, thanks for droppin by.

    I myself just recently gave away my throne and took the back seat of the LS too. It was extremely difficult but when you have loot whores in your linkshell whining about how unfair the system is “to them”, it becomes extremely difficult.

    Its so simple, all that a leader like us is to ask people to “roleplay” their job as a member, but no people just keep emo and emo until they get what they want. We don’t even get extra pay/points/gil but we do get all the emo’s. Sounds pretty unfair huh.

    O well :D

  6. VeVe says:

    Very nice article Mai <3!

  7. Aldair says:

    I guess that’s how things are essentially in most MMORPGs. My take on this is that the angriest/most dissatisfied people in real life turn to this game to both escape and take it out on people in the game itself. Behind the screen, everyone is superior. It’s so easy to do.

    Nothing much can be done about it, really. But the fact that these thoughts are going through your head and you are actually thinking of ways to improve does show a great deal. It’s a first step of sorts, and you’ll have to keep taking this first step over and over again.

    I wrote much more than I intended to lol, and I hope I don’t come across as trying to preach.

    Cheers, take care.

  8. Maiev says:

    Hay Aldair,

    Thanks for your kind comment. This effect is even more apparent in WoW, where everyone is an ass and take it to the virtual world. Hence why most people say FFXI is better. Well another thing is since WoW got a bigger player base, there’s more opportunity for you to meet someone like that :D

    No worry about writing too much :D I’m always interesting of how people thinks too :D See you around!

    Cheers xD

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