I 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?