Big guilds, little people

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?