Chamber of Guilds: Integration of Cliques

Chamber of Guilds meetingI recently stumbled upon a forum thread on WoW’s Guild Discussion forums about an organization called the Chamber of Guilds. Curious, I decided to go check it out.

So what is it?

Roundtable is a cross-server, cross-faction guild that allows past, present, and future guild leaders and officers to get together and discuss any issues that they may be experiencing and see how other guilds deal with it. Everything from guild involvement and events to instances and loot is discussed. This is more a “Chamber of Commerce” type situation where we exist to provide information and discussion. How you apply that to your Guild is completely up to you.

Turns out their next meeting was on Sunday the 13th and I signed up for it to learn more. Think of it as an online conference involving GM’s from a variety of Guilds around WoW. Every 4-6 weeks, they all gather up on Ventrilo to discuss topics that are of interest to other GM’s. In these talks, GM’s share their experiences and solutions with other GM’s so that everyone learns.

Boy, what an experience! Even though I wasn’t a GM, I’m technically a recruiting officer for Carnage. I’ve certainly been in my fair share of senior positions in other Guilds.

You have to be in the same Guild as everyone so you can participate effectively. If you don’t have a mic, you can still comment in Guild chat alongside those speaking on vent.

After a brief introduction by the main speaker (Penlowe), we instantly dived into the topic of the day.

Cliques Within Guilds: Are they a problem?

The main issue here was on the topic of cliques. A good way to kick off a good discussion is with a definition, which is what the speakers did.

Def’n: an association of people with similar interests or pursuits; especially : a medieval association of merchants or craftsmen

Def’n: a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes

A problem that is a frequent occurrence among Guilds of any size, any level, and any progression is the formation of cliques within Guilds. Typically, these are close knit groups of friends who have known each other for a long time. What typically happens is that there are players who will run with no one else BUT the players that they know and that they trust. Obviously a clique by itself is not able to tackle higher end difficult content which is why they apply for Guilds as “package deals”. Now they could come in groups as small as two or in groups as large as a self sustaining Karazhan team. Depending on the players, this could be a severe problem as they could all refuse to run with certain other players and grind Guild progression to a halt.

This could manifest itself as an even larger problem when such a large group of players could effectively dictate the course of actions a GM could take, particularly when the clique consists of your main tank. I would not be surprised if GM’s have been held hostage in a manner similar to this. I’ve often said before that a Guild revolves around their tanks and healers.

Dealing With Negative Cliques

What was suggested was that Guild objectives be made known to them before coming in. Tell them that you are a casual guild with little to no desire for end game. Or tell them that you are a progression guild which values performance over preference (my personal stance). If there’s any problems or issues that have arisen, it should be “nipped in the bud” (I could not have put it any better myself). Deal with these brushfires swiftly before it grows into a forest fire. GM’s need to be willing to grow emotionally distant and effectively give these players a way out or fire them. Sometimes it pays to be heartless.

Encouraging Cliques to Integrate

1 of the proposed methods that some of the GM’s suggested was to force rotating Karazhan rosters and here’s the reasons why:

  • Players grow outside of their comfort zone and learn to adapt to other players
  • Helps eliminate why cliques exist in the first place
  • Players become more sociable

The downside is that there is going to be a large amount of player shuffling going around so that different raid days can be accomodated for different players. I heard an example from one GM where she had shuffled a student with a curfew and a working security guard who had to do his rounds. Time’s were scheduled so that players who had not had an opportunity to tango with a boss could have a shot at taking him down (IE, Nightbane).

Closing Comments and Feedback

The talks were about 2 hours at max and it seemed like everyone had a good time exchanging ideas and techniques. Not everyone had a mic and those individuals had to type in guild chat to keep up with everything. As a first time participant, I restricted myself mostly to typing in game. From what I know, there are minutes being compiled. I even recorded the entire 2 hour conversation before my power got jolted for a second erasing the first half of the discussion. My plan is to convert it to an MP3 and compress it down to little audio clips for anyone interested in listening. Think of it as audio highlights.

My participation was limited. I was more of an observer than anything. I had a mic active but I felt out of place using it. Actually, I felt kind of intimidated. Everyone in there seemed to literally be a GM and I felt outranked in every aspect.

Maybe it was the fact that I appeared to be surrounded by female speakers =).

Whatever the case, I will definitely be at the next Chamber of Guilds meeting. It certainly makes for good blog discussion. It was made clear to me after the meeting that all leaders and officers are welcome (which includes class leaders, officers, GM’s, raid leaders, recruitment, etc). What do you think about cliques? Do you have any within your Guild?

21 thoughts on “Chamber of Guilds: Integration of Cliques”

  1. Brezlon: I noticed that it was difficult to find gaps to throw in your 2 cents about something. There were a lot of times that I felt like I could’ve added something, but I didn’t for 2 reasons:

    1) Didn’t want to cut someone out because of respect
    2) I’m the new guy and wanted to find out more about how things were done

  2. @Trollin’… i’ve been there, it’s not fun!

    thanks for telling us about this Matt, it’s interesting to hear more about the guild-running side of things 🙂

    unfortunately we’re sutck with a gm who doesnt really play on his main anymore (alts outside the guild), but there’s no one who can put in the time and effort to take over… a pity in a guild with 200+ members.

    Lucky we’ve got a pretty good set of officers (biased ofc cause I’m one of em) to handle things 🙂

  3. Marylin: Ouch, any particular reason why the GM just doesn’t just pass off interim GMship?

    And yeah, I’ll be going to future ones and reporting in on them here just to expand a bit outside of my usual niche.

    It seems as if there’s a lot of demand from leadership players who don’t know how to be effective leadership players…

  4. Having a meeting set up like that sound like it can be a good helper for GM’s across as many server as possible as long as its always productive.

    I remember when I myself was more active playing SecondLife as a Resident and a private island Sim owner. Was a big deal to have private Sim back then with all the real estate and having to run, develops, manage. So we has groups for a SL Sim Owners Association for all the owners to come togeather and discuss issues and help each other out with common issues we all had and with the game owners Linden Labs. I found as a island owner myself back then it was always helpfull and for the social networking because some people were of great help on problems I had or things I did not know.

    Translate that in WoW it can be just as beneficial as long as people do perticipate and meetings are productive. So it sounds interesting.

  5. I am in a clique that me start by saying that. In all honesty I think cliques serve the same purpose as unions in real life. My clique formed together in our last guild we were basically top performers including MH, MT and 3 of the top 5 dps. Now we knew what their guild goal was and agreed with it we had previously had been farther in progression. We quickly got recognized as a clear benefit to any raid we attended. Now that we had established ourselves we threw our weight around occasionally to get invites for the rest of the clique to 25 mans. Now the reason I think cliques are good is that we provide a good balance to the power officers and GM wield we keep them honest so to speak.
    The officers/GM in my current guild are occasionally doing some sketchy things with their power. For example we have caught the GM and some officers giving themselves and their friends(most of which are officers but a couple who arent)extra dkp and forced them to revert the change to keep things fair. We also occasionally step up and try to force progression basically trying to force time to work on vashj because in the 1 and a half months since we became 5/6 SSC and 3/4 TK we have made less then ten attempts on Vashj because the GM and officers have some alts and buddies who want SSC TK gear. In example we had a druid in our SSC raid last night who had 0 epics 6800 hp buffed and 9200 mana buffed with a whopping 788 healing. I mean wow right take a little effort and at least get instance blues before going to SSC huh.
    The only problem I see with cliques is that the game doesnt afford them any power(other then our threat to quit) I believe the GM should be able to lose his position if the guild majority wants it to happen after all the amount we have contributed to the gbank and the guild as a whole shouldnt be sacrificed because some people are unfit leaders.

  6. Definitely a valuable post. Our guild has been trying to cover a lot of ground lately and I worry it may start to bring out the cliques– everyone in our guild enjoys roleplaying, but we have some people who “overall” prefer to spend their time leveling/instancing and some people who prefer to spend their time roleplaying and I’m starting to notice a ever-so-slight break between the two camps. Hopefully it doesn’t get any worse…

  7. Thanks for the very interesting post. As I am a European player I would not be able to attend that meeting. I would love to read more about future meetings.

    This is my first comment here, but I’d love to contribute my experience with guild-cliques.

    We’re a small non-raiding guild, our goal is not end-game progression. We make sure we communicate this to every applicant. Our goal is to provide a close-knit community for players who do not want to be part of a raiding guild. We’re 2 and a half years old and only had the clique problem once and it nearly finished us off. At the time I was guildmaster (now I am co-guildmaster) and we had invited first two then three friends of a member.

    These friends just got to 60 a week or so before BC hit the shelves. They played a DPS Warrior, feral Druid and a Mage. They had made friends with a Priest from another guild and one of our long-time members a Rogue. These 5 – one not even of our guild – managed to race to 70 ahead of nearly everyone else. Only 2 others – founding members of the guild and former officers – managed to keep up. At 70 the clique started doing group quests and instances right away, quickly proceeding to heroics. Only when one of their number was not available they would ask anyone else and refuse requests to help anyone – they were instancing constantly anyway. The other 70s regularly complained about them. As more and more people became 70 the problem became more and more obvious. These 5 wanted nothing to do with the rest, only occasionally looking for healers and complaining how we had a “healer problem” in the guild. They skipped any and all guild events.

    The complaints from the rest led to the guild leadership becoming the target for not intervening all the time. The complaints were varied and very aggressive towards me and the officers. We had emergeny TS meetings to try and find a solution beyond the “we just kick everybody who complains”.

    I then tried to talk to these people to make them see they would have to play with the guild. They seemed rather reasonable at the time and I had hopes it would work. To make the rest of the guild see something was happening and we were finally fixing the problem, I did something stupid and degraded them to the “Novice” rank. The next day the whole group left, followed by a couple more people who took the chance to quit in this “mass exodus” without anyone taking big notice of them.

    The problems were not even solved then, because the leadership had lost the trust of a certain group of members – those who had to suffer from the clique the most. This led to further trouble and we lost more members. In the middle of all this I resigned as GM and took a month-long break from WoW. It took us about 7-8 months to recover from the BC leveling phase. Most of those who left after the clique have by now returned and we are currently having a lot of fun together.

    The clique proceeded to found a raiding guild forming the leadership and recruiting aggressively. They had a joined Kara raid with a guild that is friendly with ours and would only play if all 5 of them could be on the team despite “their” allied guild being much larger. So this raid broke apart. They then progressed on their own. But the leading a guild is a lot of work … and one day they must have had a good offer .. and the whole leadership – the clique – quit their own guild.

    Much later I found out that they seem to have hoped to convert our guild to a raiding guild. That was the moment I was very happy I managed to make them quit before more damage was done.

    I hope to have learned a few lessons from all this.

    Thx for reading 🙂
    Bye Yashima

  8. That place isn’t for past or “future” GMs: I was interested when I read this, but at the website it says you have to be a current GM, officer, raid or class lead. Too bad =/

  9. Mark: Yes it is. If you’re truly interested, just go ahead and signup and check the place out. There’s a lot of players there that aren’t GM’s or officers or anything.

  10. //That place isn’t for past or “future” GMs: I was interested when I read this, but at the website it says you have to be a current GM, officer, raid or class lead. Too bad =/

    Actually, its open to anyone who wants to join. The original intent was for more leadership based members, but we have a diverse group of various leaders and non-leaders.

    Matticus, glad you enjoyed your visit and hopefully we will see you for the next meeting?

  11. A problem I’ve seen is when the guild leader part of the problem and leads a clique. If he and only a few friends are basically one group, and everyone else a different group, it is just really difficult to deal with.

    Or I’ve seen where people not in the clique could still get help they needed, but only if they posted on the guild forums a week in advance and organized things. But the people in the clique never organized in advance they’d be on vent 100% of the time and organize dungeons the last second and not ask anyone not on vent if they want to go. In that situation it’s really hard to get them to see the 2 classes of players because they’ll say “but I help people when they ask on the forum so there’s no problem!”

    To combat that I tried to organize more events (I was an officer in that guild), help people out more when they asked in chat. The reason I left though was the guild leader outright lied to me about an event and there were serious trust issues after that.

  12. Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this post so thoroughly.
    We should join a discussion forums with a chat room, because we need information. The best benefits about using a forum or chat room is that you can talk about any problem you have and ask any questions you might have in your mind.


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