Random Musings on Cliques

I was reading Righteous Orbs today when I stumbled across this quote:

A clique is one of those irregular verbs: “we have a good relationship” “you are a clique” and often people deal with something that, for whatever reason, they don’t like by labelling it a clique.

Cliques.  It’s an interesting topic in my guild, where you have a few perceived groups: the bloggers, the RL friends, the Elysium crew, the “old school” gang…I might be missing one or two for all I know. 

There are roughly 100 accounts in my guild-not that many people, of course, but still a good many.  It’s not terribly unusual for someone to ask me who So and So is and for me to not have an answer-I’m not the only one with invite powers.  Person A invites their friend, their fiance, and their cousin in and by then I’m just as confused as anyone else.  If it wasn’t for guild notes I don’t know what I’d do.

A clique is an exclusive group of people who share interests, views, purposes, patterns of behavior, or ethnicity. Membership in a clique is often, but not necessarily, exclusive, and qualifications for membership may be social or essential to the nature of the clique. The term ‘clique’ may be used pejoratively.

Pejoratives are words or grammatical forms which denote a negative affect; that is, they express the contempt or distaste of the speaker.

Thank you, Wikipedia.  The point is that within any large group of people, smaller groups are going to form.   The bloggers all talk amongst each other, yes-often quite a bit, outside of game.  We share an interest beyond that of World of Warcraft itself, and the WoW blogosphere is actually a rather close-knit one.  People who don’t understand this, or who don’t “get” blogging, probably look at us sideways.  

Let’s face it, though-between chats, twitter, comments, blog posts…it’s entirely possible that I talk to some of these people more in a given day then I may talk to my boyfriend.  You know, the man I live with?  Yeah.   Not that Josh and I don’t talk, but man, I spew out a lot of bored chatter at work!  Does this mean I’ll never socialize outside of them?  LOL, no.  Have you ever tried to make a raid of all healers plus a rogue and a hunter?  Yeah I didn’t think so. 

I think a lot of the muttering about cliques is based on fear.  You see a group of people that’s all nice and cozy together, and you either feel left out, or feel that you might be left out.  Sometimes this is genuinely the case-with a previous guild merger, the group never did integrate with us.  They didn’t talk much on our vent or go on our raids.  Eventually they left en masse.  The occasional true, negative clique tends to reflect badly on the other natural groups that form.

Ask yourself this: is one group really closed to new comers, or are people just afraid to try?  Did you really get left out of the raid because you’re not one of the in crowd, or did they already have five other hunters?  Do they all sit in their own vent channel…because you never try to join them?  You could very well all be sitting there accusing the others of being cliquish when really you’re all just too chicken shit to socialize with new people.

I am not worried about “cliques” in BoO.  Rather, I am pleased to see an active guild housing a wide variety of people, and all of their wide variety of interests.

Now excuse me while I leave the vent channel full of MinMax Debaters to go hang with the Bloggers, for the sake of not developing a headache.


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  1. #1 by theerivs on February 24, 2010 - 4:32 pm

    I’m not cliqueish…I hate all of you equally.

  2. #2 by Eda on February 24, 2010 - 4:33 pm

    Hi =)

    I wish I could have directed ex-guildies to this post about 3 months ago. There was such drama and hurt butts over the definition of the word “clique,” and in the end people were so angry and defensive that friendships deteriorated to the point where general and trade chat seemed to dissolve into a battle zone between people defending our guild and people trying to tear it down.

    Thanks for the great post ^_^

  3. #3 by Ori on February 24, 2010 - 4:40 pm

    So much word. I want to give my rainbow sparkle hugs to everyone, I don’t care if you’re a blogger, healer, whatever.

  4. #4 by Myssidia on February 24, 2010 - 5:03 pm

    =O Deep thoughts from Amber today! I know I’m cliquish. I’ll be the first to admit it, I just find myself more comfortable randomly talking in the healer channel (blogger channel… ass cherry channel… whatever everybody calls it) because we all have to work very closely with each other during raids, and we tend to share the same gripes/problems/solutions, etc. I’ve been really working to not be so cliquish though =]…

    Also, on a totally unrelated note, I just started taking a class online where I have to… 1) Read something the professor posts on the interwebs, then 2) comment on it on a semi-regular basis. Basically… =3 Blog reading/commenting in learning form. \o/

  5. #5 by Demeternoth on February 24, 2010 - 5:15 pm

    I’m forwarding this to my guild mates. We’re trying a merger with another guild and reading this would help a lot of people understand what is making them afraid.

  6. #6 by Pike on February 24, 2010 - 5:23 pm

    The bloggers are clearly the best.


  7. #7 by Oasi on February 24, 2010 - 5:25 pm

    I’m in a clique with myself. You get all the attention, it’s very exclusive, and everyone in it thinks I am hilarious… O_O

    The downside is that everyone outside thinks the opposite.

    The forum sure gets used more with more bloggers in the guild :-)

  8. #8 by evisceratespam on February 24, 2010 - 6:12 pm

    i don’t understand why people cry about cliques…

    then again i seem to catapult myself into all of them,


  9. #9 by Joe Ego on February 24, 2010 - 6:21 pm

    As long as we all agree paladins are the best.

    What? Are you a Hater? Are you in the Hater Clique?! H8 is bad. The bumper stickers say so.

  10. #10 by Rake on February 25, 2010 - 12:31 am

    I think the term clique in reference to a guild is almost always used in a pejorative sense. In fact I haven’t heard it used in a flattering way in a long time. To illustrate, I’ve belonged to a couple of guilds where cliques aren’t just a group with a particular interest. They’re made up of members who only hang out with that group of people.

    Case in point. Back when I was on Doomhammer there was a guild that were up to old school Naxx. 40 man raids and whatnot. There was a clique, but it couldn’t be too exclusive because you couldn’t piss off the other 30 or so people you relied on to raid, and was made up of the officers and a few of the highly ranked members. No problem. Then BC hit and guilds everywhere suffered. Not only that, everyone was madly leveling. Still no problem.

    Then the clique hit 80 around the same time and started on Karazhan. They got through Black Morass together and started on 10 man Kara. They insisted that they would eventually help out other groups get through once they “understood all the encounters fully”.

    Three months later with Kara on farm there was still very little sign they intended to help others out. I was still struggling to find enough people to stick around for a full BM run so I could get my key. People started to leave around the time the clique realised they couldn’t get into Gruul’s without 15 other people were there to carry th-, er, help them. Then the penny dropped. Bad clique, silly clique.

    Move on to a few weeks ago and another server and a different guild. I joined what I thought would be a good guild. The officer who recruited me said that my gear was a little under that required for ICC 25 but if I logged on Friday or Saturday nights at raid times I’d be able to gear up no probs.

    So turn up I did. Well before raid times. Whispered the raid leader who logged on about start time. No response. Asked again in guild chat. Nothing. Asked again. Was told “Sorry, invites have already gone out.” Not by the raid leader mind, by someone who got in. Rinse and repeat for the following night. And for the next weekend. No response, ever, from the raid leader. The same people regularly invited one night, then their alts and a couple of others the next. The RL had several alts he was gearing through ICC 10 just so he could see ICC 25 on all his toons. Same for others.

    So…cliques aren’t necessarily a good thing. In my time as a guild officer many moons ago I actively sought to disband cliques, to force the clique members to accept others when all they wanted to do was take the same group of people each time. Yes, I can see the group of PvP dudes and dudettes aren’t for everyone. If someone wants to join their ranks and can do so without a problem . . . good clique. It’s when you can’t get into them no matter what when cliques are bad things in guilds.


  11. #11 by Larísa on February 25, 2010 - 4:29 am

    The people who defend cliques tend to be the one who already belong to one. If you don’t belong to any clique your prespective is quite different. You will only understand it if you’ve been there.

    Cliques are natural and understandable, I don’t argue about that. But I think it’s a bit cruel to just dismiss the ones who are unhappy since they somehow don’t make their way into a clique.

    To me it reminds me very much of the mechanisms of schoolyard back in the days. I think that’s what triggers so many bad feelings among players who feel excluded.

  12. #12 by Actorious on February 25, 2010 - 8:15 am

    That first quote is mistaken. A clique is not a verb, irregular or otherwise.

  13. #13 by Shadowhisper on February 25, 2010 - 10:39 am

    Its interesting really the fears surrounding a clique, I started as an officer and then became GM in my last guild, and I found that there were several ppl that cried about us (me and the other officers) being cliquish, the biggest problem was during Naxx 10, no matter how you shake it some of the officers would be in the same grp together, but I got complaints about these ppl are ALWAYS together and its not fair… oh really because when I set up the grp last week no that trinity wasn’t together, and this week it worked out that way with who we had on and what class they are.
    I would try to grp with my boyfriend if I could help it but I tried to do the same for the other married couples we had in the guild they liked raiding with their other half, but it didn’t always work that way and they were okay when they were split, I had to split me and the boyfriend to sometimes.
    One week after a few ppl complaining, I gave ‘my’ spot up for someone else I was tired of that particular person bitching, I ended up going and watching tv to cool off, and I came on later and that same person wsp me a little angerly saying the grp didn’t do so well. I am defiantly not a puppet master and I cant control ‘everything’.
    I even had 5man heros that me and my boyfriend did for the red proto drake achievement, and I would always ask openly in guild chat, anyone want to come with?? Those that responded first got to go we had a tank/healer (myself) and a healer/dps we could be either so it was pretty open, and I got several winey whispers from a few ppl why is so and so going… cause they offered too.
    Even in vent, most of the time I was in open channels that anyone could come hang out in some did some didn’t :s
    I find that you cant please everyone, and even when I tried to talk to or reason with ppl they weren’t satisfied /shrug it can be hard to deal with.

  14. #14 by Echo on February 26, 2010 - 6:31 am

    Wall of text inc!

    I’ve seen it in many guilds I’ve been a part of. One I’ve seen many times is the Officer/Officer Led Clique. Basically the group of players who tends to have most of the older members and the bulk of the officer squad in it.

    I was part of it in the guild I formed at the beginning of TBC. Maybe a little ironcially we were part of another guild which had distanced ourselves (none of the main players/officers wanted to join guild ZG raids becasue they did them with a raid alliance). Although at the same time we were quite welcoming and absorbed many people over time into a friendly guild atmosphere. The only trouble started when a subsection formed a new “pvp” clique. I’d been on a team from the start, paid the startup costs and showed up every week with a couple of the people I played regularly with. One of my officers (a guy who I’d helped through some difficult times) replaced me on the team with a new addition to the guild who was a total elitist jerkoff who I’d previously kicked twice from the guild for being an asshole. This was on a tuesday before the end of s1 and I missed out on a good title because that 5v5 was our highest ranked team. I nerdraged and promoted someone else to Guildmaster then left to join another guild. The entire core of the guild left as soon as they saw that, and my post on the gforums. Most of them applied to the guild I’d joined.

    My point is that creating a stable and friendly environment is easy in the beginning but as it grows you let more and more people in who will possibly destroy it. Only by being communicative and forcing people to mix will you get the kind of environment you want to play in. Often to face the larger content you’ll have to pull mutiple cliques together and they can share a bond and eventually become good team mates but at the first signs of trouble they’ll be in their silo blaming the “swedish mafia”

    I was also on the recieving end of the shit side of a clique. Coming back from a long absence nearer the end of TBC I joined a guild where from the outset the officer team made it clear they didn’t like me ( I was told in no uncertain terms it was only because there was such a large number of vouches in the app thread and they needed an expose weakness debuffer). My own officer almost made me quit the game by repeatedly rubbishing my spec (surv woop) and then forcing me to respec BM so he could go surv.

    I ended up in the small group that was tired of gearing the GM, and carrying him and his friends through the content. Maybe a little elitist but at the same time the core raiders of the guild. The officer clique bar my priest friend repeatedly split us into kara groups with alts so they could cherry pick our healers/tanks for their own officer run.

    In the end I discovered the Hearts of Darkness we’d been saving for Shadow Res gear had been taken by the GM to make craftables for his alt. not to mention looking at the guilds gold it seemed he’d paid for all his Alts Flying mounts with that too. He also refused to reset the DKP system which meant people who’d spent ages in the guild farming kara had more DKP than the new active members.

    At the time the guild was struggling to progress (the gm refused to let people form raids he couldnt attend) and people were being cherry picked by the guilds above us and it ended in ugly drama on the officials forums. The entire core left and it was hilarious. He tried to start up a new guild on another server but a couple people were still slightly bitter and ruined his recruitment thread.

    Would this have happened if the guild was better integrated? No, if we’d had higher standards and a better leadership the guild would probably be together and the officers wouldn’t have started seeing their contribution as above the guild so much , that they could abuse it.

  15. #15 by Melvyl on February 26, 2010 - 3:32 pm

    “Yeah, you know. Cliques. Little in-groups of different kids. All we have to do is click with the right clique, and we can finally have a social life that’s worthy of us.” – Square Pegs Opening Dialogue

  16. #16 by Morrighan on March 6, 2010 - 5:32 am

    I definitely get what Amber is saying here. There are some cases where theres a genuine clique in a guild – but in all honesty that tends to happen in broken guilds. Whats hard for some people to differentiate is the difference between what we’ll call a pejorative clique and a group of friends and a raid team.

    A group of friends are often officers together because they often choose to start a guild together. I’ve known some of my fellow officers a very long time. Sometimes people coming in don’t see the differentiation – we’re not a group because we dislike you, we’re a group because we like each other. If we got to know you, we’d probably like you too! And that has happened with quite a few new guild members.

    A raid team in my guild is just that – we operate two 10 man teams. The teams came together largely from the people who joined us who had the gear and skill. I think we have a couple of people who are in the Friend rank who are unhappy about this. But there are two other considerations they don’t really see. The first is that we need players with the gear/skill for raiding. If you do less damage than the tank in a heroic, you won’t get an ICC invite. Very simple. The second is that the people who are already in the team deserve that spot as much as, if not more than, the person who wants to take it. They have worked for it. Finally, a major consideration in having fixed teams is to enhance progress. The teams get used to working together as a team. They then can speed up their farm content and make progress on new content.

    Finally, the pejorative clique. I’ve been there, in a previous guild. We had a 10 man Ulduar HM run going we only invited certain people to. We did deliberately exclude people we didn’t like. This was because they were the kind of people who whined about raid spots and gear and we just didn’t want to listen to that every evening. So sometimes this can happen. I’m sure from the pov of the people we didn’t like, we were the bad guys. But if you walk out on a 25 man raid because you didn’t get a drop, or you proposed yourself for the legendary weapon a week after you get out of trial, well then I feel its ok for me to not like you! So even those work both ways.

    Thats not to say the really bad cliques described above don’t exist. Its just that theres often another side to the story.

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