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Group Cliques (World of Warcraft)

We've all seen it at one time or another, in WoW or in Real Life. A clique of close friends who will only interact and socialize within their own group. Cliques are as much a part of WoW as Guilds are. Infact, most guilds are originally formed around a clique. However the 'C' word seems to be a very bad word. Why would a close group of friends be considered bad? Well first of all, there are 3 main types of cliques. There is a constructive or open clique, and a negative, or closed clique. There is a fairly distinct difference between the two, however it is also possible to have a mixed clique, with some members being open, and others being closed. A constructive or open clique is generally the basis of many guilds. In WoW, such a clique would be a group of players who have a common goal, and common interests. They play together and are willing to accept others as they prove they are worthy. This type of clique can grow over time, and while it may exclude some people, it is still opened to many who take the effort to join in. The problem is, that some people will not make a huge effort to become accepted, and will remain outsiders in almost every guild they join. However this type of clique, is the backbone of any Guild. A Guild itself is a clique, and in most cases, guilds are open cliques. A closed or negative clique generally forms inside a established guild or group of people. You can think of a negative clique, as a back room gambling club, in an old western movie type bar. The normal patrons of the bar don't ever get to see this back room, however the clique almost exclusively spend time back there. Generally a negative clique will only wish to socialize or play the game, within the confines of the clique. Often they will turn a blind eye, ignore, or try and pass on responsibility, when a non clique member wants to join their group. New membership into such a clique is rare and often such a clique will do their own thing, seperate from the guild. There is also a mixed clique. A mixed clique will also form inside an existing guild. Some members may be open with the guild, and others may be closed and would rather avoid contact with other non-clique guild members. Mixed cliques are among the most difficult to work with, and hardest to avoid. Almost everyone has preferences as to who they will group with and who they will avoid. This is a problem for many medium to large guilds out there. I say problem, because a guild is supposed to be a giant clique in a way. A group of similar minded, and similar skilled players, whos goals are similar. When you start introducing cliques within cliques, then you start having problems. So why is a group of friends, who only socialize with themselves considered a problem? Well, there are a few reasons. People join guilds to be included in something. They wish to group with and quest with other guild members. However when guild members are constantly excluded from such groups, either passivly, or activly, then what incentive is there for that person to wish to stay in the guild? Cliques will usually form within a group of active players. Players you will see online, almost all the time. And in turn these players will be the most visible people in a guild, as they are always online. Therefore, the overall guild image is affected by cliques who activly or passivly exclude members from their groups. There is also an aspect of control. Cliques usually will have a leader or group of leaders, and they will generally decide what is best for them, as a group. This may include breaking guild rules or procedures, and doing things within their own set of rules. Because of this, cliques will generally put themselves above the law. In Guilds in WoW, administration and control is very important to ensure fair treatment and guild stability. As no mature player wishes for an unstable and dramatic guild in which to spend their free time in. Therefore the resistance of cliques to guild control is also a major problem. If a clique member breaks the rules of the guild, and an officer tries to correct that member, they will usually get jumped on by the clique members for being wrong, and harassing that member. This lack of the ability for authority figures within a guild, to enforce guild rules on clique members is very wrong. (And in many cases officers will be afriad to, or unwilling to approach clique members, with problems, due to the fear of it setting off a larger problem / causing drama.) As I said before, mixed cliques are the most dangerous. Why is this? Well, they will include both social, and exclusive members of the guild. Often mixed cliques will include administrative or very popular guild members within their core. So how do you tell a mixed clique apart from a regular guild atmosphere? Well that is tricky. Mixed cliques will often form up regular groups, of the same, or similar group members, on a regular basis. These groups are usually formed in whisper, without a general broadcast of 'hey, anyone want to do such and such' in guild chat. The problem with such groups, is that they don't always see that there is a problem. And usually any negative actions towards it by administration, will result in an uprising, or further seperation, and cliquey behaviour. The group may choose to seclude themselves even more and they turn into a closed clique. Closed cliques are lost causes for a WoW guild. The clique has already made up their mind who they wish to socialize with, and as far as administration is considered, if a closed clique group ends up leaving the guild, then it is a better option in the long run, and as such, there is no real loss. This is however not an answer for mixed cliques. Mixed cliques will still have several ties to the social fabric of the guild, and a uprising or uprooting from the guild, will often have drastic outcomes. Non clique, and semi clique members of the guild will question what is really going on, and the whole situation will tend to get pretty ugly if not dealt with properly. Either way you look at it, cliques will cause trouble in a guild over time. If a clique is challenged in a guild, by the authority of that guild, then it is very likely that the clique will end up leaving the guild. If a clique is left to continue within a guild, over time, the non clique members will all leave, feeling that they aren't part of the 'inner circle', and the guild will slowly diminish. Those are the 2 most common outcomes of cliques in WoW guilds. Are there other outcomes and solutions? Yes. but they take time, and effort on the part of both the guild as a whole, and the clique. Cliques can be worked around, and re-inigrated over time. One step is the realization within the clique, that they are infact a clique. The next step is the opening up, and inclusion of other non clique members, within their daily activities. Some larger guilds are able to accomidate both closed and mixed cliques within them. These guilds (which will usually have more then 400 members) will often have enough active members to sustain a working relationship with many other members, and cliques. The benefit of this, is that with so many members, cliques are overshadowed by the size of the guild. Most people will be able to find groups or help when needed and will not complain or feel left out if they aren't included in the cliques runs. However, with most moderate sized guilds, cliques remain a problem as they are very visible with fewer people online. These are of course my observations from being a guild master for the past 3 years. I have also talked to many other guild masters about this issue as it has been a recurring problem here in the guild - as it has been in almost every other guild. Generally we expect a major clique to develop, and leave the guild every 6 months or so. This seems to be the trend. Of course preventing and integrating cliques are the highest priority for the administration of the guild. I know that many members of the guild have been hurt by cliques in the past. And I wish for them to speak up, and share their stories with the rest of us. As a guild master myself, my interests lay with providing the best expierance for the guild as a whole. And as such, my decisions, actions, and observations, are all in an effort to provide the best possible future for the guild as a whole. I suppose you could say I am like spock in star trek. The good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one. So I am constantly worrying about the guilds future, and trying to plot the course through the next hurtle. I do not believe that anyone should be treated differently or excluded from a group if they have proven to be unskilled, or have had bad days in the past. With the only exception being the elite kara run, where we must focus on progression if we ever wish to move forward. And I do wish, that anyone who thinks they are being treated differently, please come to me, and discuss their feelings with me. I wish to work with every member, to provide a better guild environment in the long run. So if you have any suggestions, or if you notice anything which could have negative effects in the long run, please, I beg you to come forward and talk about them with me (or any Duke). In conclusion, in this guild, since we are not large enough to support them, cliques are a negative influence on the future of the guild. We must all work together and help recruit, and open ourselves up to both guild members and non guild members alike, in order to grow to a point where we can start not worrying about cliques so much. This guild used to have about 480 players in it. It was one of the largest if not THE largest guild on the alliance side at one time. Why have we lost so many? well, likely because of our strict stance on raiding. However I believe that our stance is in the best interest of the guilds future at this time. We have also been very good over the past year at filtering out undesired players, through the use of GEM and the IGIS. So, thru the use of GEM, we have helped filter out many undesirable players. We should ALL be one happy family, of skilled players. Some might even go as far as to suggest we are very elite for such a casual guild. Of course behaviour is the key factor for us, so skill, should not be a basis as to why someone is in the guild. Skill can develop over time, and with the help of our members, in a positive environment, unskilled playes can develop into skilled players. The key is to keep that positive and supportive. 'Negative nellying' and frustrated comments or actions imply a negative environment for people who are trying to improve their skill, and make them feel even more upset about their lack of skill, and they will often give up. So the key is to keep it positive. I kind of veered a bit off course, so I am gonna wrap it up. I hope that all of us are able to maintain bonds and forge a lasting guild relationship. Believe me, I want the best for all of us. Please feel free to share your stories here about how cliques have effected your enjoyment of the game in the past. And also please feel free to approach me, with any questions or concerns you have about the social situation of the guild. Or any aspect of the guild for that matter. I hope this has been an informative article, and expresses the views, and concerns of the administration of the guild. Thanks for your time :-) Roadwolf,

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