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Posted: Dec 23rd 2010 4:48PM Skyydragonn said

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interesting read, glad our idea gave you a topic for the week!
having seen both the good and bad that can come from cliques within a guild it was definately an interesting take on things and I do feel that several of your suggestions are spot on. for example try and deal with things one-on-one instead of the whole clique talking at once about an issue. its sometimes hard for one person to get a rational word in when being shouted down by 4-5 people at once and even if you do change one persons mind there are several people ready to change it right back.

Posted: Dec 23rd 2010 7:49PM Valdamar said

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Sometimes when a guild splits clearly into 2+ major cliques the best thing to do is to divide into 2+ guilds and just go into coalition/alliance with each other for if/when you need numbers to run big events/raids (especially if the game has a coalition/alliance channel so everyone can stay in touch as easily as if they were in the same guild).

That's especially true if both cliques have wildly different priorities. If you compromise of flip-flop between multiple agendas (e.g. pro-raiding vs pro-casual or pro-RP) then you just end up losing people to guilds with clearer aims and/or more decisive leadership - or members keep pushing for leadership changes and the intrigue all gets very bitter - or worst case scenario the guild tears itself apart in a very messy way into separate guilds (or other established guilds start poaching your members or scooping up ones that quit because they can "smell blood in the water").

I've experienced it first hand and it's never very pretty. So don't keep putting off a decision that needs to be made. If you have a problem between different cliques with different agendas then the officers need to talk it through as early as possible, canvas guildmates for their opinions on what they want from the guild, and be realistic and honest about what everyone wants and what a single guild can deliver. Compromises rarely work out well for everyone, and when some people have to give up or cut down on the things they enjoy about the game just to accommodate others they'll probably go looking for a new home instead.

Once the officers have a solution that works for them they need to present a united front to the members and lay out how things will be changing in a concise and clear way - if they're splitting the guild then frame it as an evolution of the guild or an administrative step more than a split - maybe give the other/new guild(s), that you'll be splitting some of the members/officers across to, a similar name to the existing guild.

Most importantly if some members are on the fence and can't decide which way to fall, let them put characters in both guilds (if the game allows this) - then over time during their own gameplay they'll decide where they want to spend the bulk of their time. Don't pressure people or think of the split as winning member's to your cause, just present options so that each member can make their own choice - in this respect it's probably better that the original guild stays with the more casual clique, so that it is the pro-active folks (arguably with most to gain from the split) who set up the new guild.

You'll probably lose some people in the transition, but you'll hold on to far more members if you're honest with them and give them choices, and have a better chance of friendly relations continuing between the players, than if you just let the problems and differences grow and worsen through inaction.

Posted: Dec 23rd 2010 9:44PM Matix said

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An other way to avoid cliques is rotation:

A) Rotate Officer Duties: Make sure that if you divide officer roles. Whether it's between PVP and PVE, or between multiple groups, that you rotate officer out once in awhile between groups or functions.

I know that can be a bitter pill to swallow. Scheduling and skill on the part of the officer makes it tempting to leave Officer O right where (s)he is. You can trust Officer O, right? Besides, that level of friendliness and trust between players and officers is nearly as important as with you, right?

However, like the article says, talk can lead to strange places. Maybe raid group two, going with Officer O, decides they can form a better, more fun guild with Officer O as guild leader. After all, Officer O is already a proven leader with people looking up to him/her.


B) The same goes for regular guild members: You can't avoid cliques, but when you rotate people out to different raid groups you force them to meet and rely on other guild members for game advancement. At least that way "clique B" isn't "them" or "those other guys" it's "OUR other raid group".


Lastly, I wanna give a thumbs up to PVP strike nights idea. Cliques are REALLY easy given that small world-PVP skirmish groups (or in WOW, arena teams) pop up. Strike Nights are good way to promote unity. Set a night of the week/month to just go out as a mass force and terrorize the opposing faction. Nothing says "power" and "unity" like all 50+ members of your guild ganking the crap out of an opposing faction's city..

Posted: Dec 23rd 2010 10:03PM The Wok said

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Cliques can really hurt when one member is exceptionally charismatic. I was leader of record (we actually had three "leaders" in the guild, but every member had a vote in guild business) of a guild in EQ. We developed a small clique in the form of a triad of people who always hung out with each other, 100% of the time. One of them became poisonous to the health of the guild and the happiness of the others in it. After he refused to change, I booted him from the guild. The other two followed.

Losing three people isn't a huge loss for most guilds, but we were a very small RP guild with about 12 members, not including alts. Years later, well after I stopped playing EQ, I actually got to talk to one of the other members of that trio of players, and she told me I was right for doing what I did. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to cut off the offending part before the cancer spreads. Sure you might hemmorhage some people, but if it's done early enough, then the wound will heal and the guild will move on.

Posted: Dec 24th 2010 9:40AM Irem said

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@The Wok
Yup. I learned the hard way that if you let a few people float the idea that people leaving = the guild is dying, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's always going to be people who are a poor fit, and it's reasonable to remove them if they won't remove themselves, since it can quickly turn into a situation where that charismatic person you mentioned decides that since they're unhappy, everyone else must be too, and the solution is to start discussing "the direction of the guild" with other members until everyone is convinced the guild is in its last days and sinking fast :P Not that listening to your members isn't great, but usually the ones who are sincere about wanting change will go to the leaders of the guild and lay it out.
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Posted: Dec 24th 2010 9:34AM Irem said

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Great article, thank you! It's rare to see the subject of cliques defined so clearly and handled so well, since even just the word often makes people bristle.

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