A while back, I took a look at a friend’s guild and offered some opinions regarding certain issues they were having. I wrote from the perspective of an outsider, but at the time of writing, I had actually been a member of that guild for a couple of months. The opinions I expressed in my article came from first-hand experience; the clique within the guild was painfully obvious to me. Now, I was not really an active member of the guild; at the time I was one of a few non-level capped members, and I was content just to do my own thing. My opinions were still quite valid however, because I was seeing a lot of the problems first-hand.
What the guild officers thought was a close-knit group, I considered to be an exclusive clique. There was a specific subset of members that did things together all the time, with minimal interaction with the rest of the guild. There was a discussion about my post in our guild forums, and all of those who were quick to defend the guild’s close-knit nature were in fact, members of that clique; mainly the officers and the primary raiders. There were a few members who replied saying that they could see what I was saying, but they were more or less dismissed outright. To be honest, I felt bad talking about some of the negative aspects of the guild because my friend was an officer and I know he took some of the criticism personally. Unfortunately, he couldn’t see the issues that I was addressing because, as an officer, he was a member of the guild’s inner circle.
If there was one main point I tried to make in my original article, it was that if the guild was truly close-knit, and truly a “family”, then member loyalty would be increased to the point where membership turnover wouldn’t be so frequent. One of the main problems I saw with the guild was an apparent lack of recruitment restrictions; from what I could tell, almost anyone could join. Sure enough, the guild grew to be quite large. It’s quite difficult maintaining a family atmosphere when that family grows exponentially. It got to the point where I’d be constantly running across fellow guild members who I had never seen, nor heard of before.
So where is the guild today? Just last week a fairly large chunk of the members, mostly those from the “inner circle”, quit to form their own guild. I attribute this split to burnout, in the sense that most of those people had raced their way to level 80 and soon grew frustrated at the “lack of progress” of the guild when they had to wait for everyone else to catch up. This same scenario happened to the guild I was in back in my EverQuest II days, which I outlined in a previous post. It drives me nuts to think that some of these people steamrolled their way to level 80 and then had the audacity to complain that the rest of the guild was too slow. I suppose it would be too much to ask of them to actually work with the guild and help others level as well. Once those core members were 80, a key majority of them stuck together, running instances over and over with each other in search of gear, rather than helping some of the other guild members run through the lower level dungeons. For all intents and purposes, the guild ceased to exist.
The guild still has many good members left and will likely be just fine in the long run. I just found it somewhat funny, that a lot of the very people who defended what a great “family” the guild was were the first to split when they saw greener pastures on the other side of the fence, leaving the rest of the guild behind. Even my friend, who I talked about in my last post, eventually admitted to seeing that there was a clique in the guild which he hadn’t seen until he stepped down from his officer role.
For those not in the inner-circle, it wasn’t difficult to predict something like this would happen. For some players, a close-knit family only works so long as the family doesn’t get in the way. I can only hope that when those players are slipping into their latest piece of epic gear that they remember the family members they stepped on to get where they are. Unfortunately, I really don’t think they’ll care enough to do so.