Big guilds, little people

April 27th, 2011 § 3 comments

How big is your guild? Do you know everyone in it? Do you make an effort to really know everyone in it? Or are you content to surround yourself in the people you know and ignore the other 200?

Just this discussion came up the other day amongst my guild-mates and I and I genuinely think that it needs some serious thought if a large guild is to be successful. It is a natural human trait to form a small group of people around you whom you really know well—you might consider these your best friends. Sure, you will have other friends, beyond that acquaintances and everyone is different; one person may maintain a very small circle of close friends where others will have much larger groups. At some point though the guild grows beyond the size of even the socialites largest circle and that, in my opinion, is when issues arise.

The symptoms are fairly easy to spot; when the new Druid asks for help on a quest, or to form a heroic group and they get no response they may check to see if people are busy and assume they are. But if that request is followed by a more established guild members plea for help—and it is responded to—then at that point your guild has become hostile to new players. You log into your voice server (be it Mumble, Teamspeak or Ventrilo) and you see that there are groups of people segregated away in their own channels—how would you approach these people as a newer guild member, or even and old hand from a different raid team? I fear the answer is that you do not.

Any large guild must work hard to reduce the impact that these unintentional (or perhaps intentional) cliques have on it’s members—both new and old. Older members are likely more then happy to remain within their circles but this means that working with other groups is likely to be trickier then it should be. Newer members do not even have the fallback of their own crowd and so are stuck in a sort of limbo where the large majority of people seem difficult to approach and the social guild they joined does not appear to be all that social.

So how do you fix this? I will be honest—I don’t know. I have a few ideas but they all boil down to the individuals of the guild. They have to want to solve this problem, but for many of them there is no issue and in these cases some gentle persuasion is probably necessary. Personally I try to follow a few of rules I’ve set myself:

  1. If someone asks for something in /g then respond, even if it’s a negative. Then they are not being ignored (or at least feeling that way).
  2. If I am genuinely not doing much and a request for a heroic team goes out then I’ll take on the challenge—expensive as it may be.
  3. When I am idle on our voice server (Mumble in our case) then I join the Lobby. I am making the statement that I am good to talk to (honest).

How do you go about these things? Does your guild have similar issues or have you worked them out?

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§ 3 Responses to Big guilds, little people"

  • Demeternoth says:

    I hereby pledge to be more available for CPS, assisting guildies and spamming /g when I’m online. I draw the line at running heroics because we all know I hate them.

  • Woodstone says:

    From my personal PoV I find that when I ask for something in /g I would much rather it wen’t unanswered than got a negative answer. An unanswered question is one I can ask again in 5min without issue. Once it has an answer be it negative or positive I often feel like at that point I shouldn’t ask again since the question has had its response.

  • Brighttree says:

    Loved your ideas! We are hovering around 200 members with about half being alts. During some periods of aggressive recruitment we honestly do not know everyone. All it takes though is one or two really friendly people who love to chat to everyone to create a feeling of membership. Even a small group who is chatting openly give the whole guild, including the new ones and the timid players a feeling of belonging. But we absolutely lose people who do not get involved. And I’d say it is more the lack of involvement in HC’s than the chat. I have seen 12 people online and 7 in HC’s, some in the same instance, but upon checking, they are all in randoms outside the guild and no guildies are in the same instance. As a GM or an Officer, the burden of going along for every HC ride can become overwhelming and I personally find getting chatted at in the lobby can be a bit distracting if I am in a random. I think one solution, if you are more than 30 active players, is dedicated chatters (who perhaps take turns?) and people who set some time aside specifically for doing HC’s during certain time frames, again taking turns so that there is always someone willing to do randoms. But I don’t think anyone can deny the fact that there are some natural limits to how big a group can be and still be truly united and intimate. Big is not always better. And less really is sometimes more. A good portion of the successful raiding guilds have found this to be true and are normally a trim sized. Anything over 200 is probably a hang out for people who like to be anonymous.

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