The group within a group: Guild Cliques

Sometimes, certain events make you think over even the simplest of things. A death in the family usually reminds you of the frailty of life and how we take a lot for granted. Watching a newscast about hunger in African countries reminds you of how good our own lives are. This is true for a lot of things in WoW as well. From a massive argument in guild chat to a silent /gquit, it can all result in a huge train of thought. The latter being my case.

Guild members come and go. That’s just the way it is, there’s nothing you can do about it. However, I do find it important to know why someone chose to leave our guild. Was it something we did, something we said? Do the raiding times just not suit you, or is our current difficulty level too high or low for you? Whatever the reason, I just want to know if it was something we could have prevented. In order to improve, you need constant feedback.

Not too long ago, one of our members left the guild without notice. I wasn’t online at that time, otherwise I would’ve taken action right away. I’ve been trying ever since to have a quick word with him. To find out why he left, if there were any hard feelings, if there was anything I could do. To no avail, unfortunately, as our playing times differ too much. Eventually I dug up some information about his reasons to leave. It was his belief that there was a kind of “clique” present, one which was hard to get in to. If you didn’t “belong” in that clique, you kind of sat on the sidelines.

This surprised me a lot. I was once a newcomer as well, and I’ve never felt as if I had to work my way into a group, so to speak. Unfortunately this wasn’t the first time this point came up, and I started thinking about it. Was it possible that this clique really existed, or was it just a case of misperception? I decided to trace back all of the people who had left because of this, and take a look at the overall situation. I came to a few conclusions:

  • Samsara can be seen as an outspoken guild. Many of our members have their own view on things, and are anything but afraid to voice those opinions. I count myself as one of those people, although I usually present it with a fair amount of tact. It’s one of our charms and turn-offs, a strength as well as a weakness. Looking at the members who left because of “clique-forming” – let’s call them Bruce and Tina – it can be said that they were a bit quieter. Their participation in guild chat was less than the average guild member, they could be online for most of the day and go largely unnoticed and were more likely to be seen pugging heroics than trying to form a guild group first.
  • Bruce and Tina never came to me or any other officer with this issue, although I can only guess why. If it was such a big problem, why not try to fix it? Did they expect us, as officers, to notice their position and do something about it? It’s something I might try to figure out. I’d like to hear the reasoning behind staying passive when you have an issue.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are indeed groups of people who stick together in Samsara. I, too, have people I like to hang around with online, even though I like to see myself as someone who holds good relationships with many guild members instead of just a few. I find it an inevitable fact. After all, everyone makes his or her own friends in a guild (and sometimes enemies) with whom he or she likes to hang out with. As officers we try to break those groups up every now and then, mainly by splitting them up in different raid groups. Everyone gets to raid with everyone, ensuring full-scale guild interaction. You don’t have to be a part of these small groups to fit in, as everyone still plays with everyone. Even the people outside of their own little group.

Then it occurred to me: when are you truly part of the guild? It could very well be that there is a misconception in when you are a “part of the guild” which is the root of this issue. Are you part of the guild as soon as you’ve been invited?

Many guilds, including us, hold a trial period of a week or two to see if the person fits in. After that time, if the person in question hasn’t left him-/herself a decision is made to either let that person go or promote him/her to member. In reality, many of the people make it to member. The bad apples show their true colors very early on, but most of the people applying are decent players who get along well with the rest. Some might be a bit quiet, some more outspoken. We don’t select our members on such a trait, and accept both with equally open arms. The advantage of this is that we get a large diversity in players and personalities (which can collide from time to time, I admit). The downside is that we get members like Bruce and Tina, who have a hard time truly fitting in due to whatever reasons, and eventually leave. This is unfortunate for us as a guild, who has to say goodbye to a few people, and for the people in question, who have to go on their search for their perfect guild again.

I came to the conclusion that you can’t truly call yourself “part of the guild” until you feel comfortable in its community. It was exactly that why I never experienced this clique-forming: I felt an instant click with my new guildies. In reality, the guild itself is the clique. The misconception starts when you think you’re “in” when you’ve been invited to the guild. Sure, it’s the first barrier, but you’ll have to open the second door in order to truly fit in somewhere: the door to people’s hearts. As mushy as this may sound, it is a fact. As long as you can’t (or won’t) get along with the rest of the guild, it just won’t happen. This isn’t limited to acting nice or acting like a prick. It includes acting at all.

Samsara won’t keep you out of raids if you’re new, we won’t ignore you if you say something or choose someone else over you for heroics if you called first. But we also won’t ask you every week if you want to come to Ulduar or TotC. We won’t try to drag a conversation out of you or automatically assume you want to come to heroics. Interaction is the keyword, and if you don’t interact you might indeed feel as though you’re on the sidelines.

If you never ask that girl to dance with you, you’ll stay a wallflower.


One Response to The group within a group: Guild Cliques

  1. eristhan says:

    I agree entirely. My guild’s had issues with people complaining about cliques before. You put your thoughts into words better than I can though. 😛

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