Lately I've been noticing what I consider to be a real serious problem within the RP community. It's kind of a dangerous problem to have because our community is so small as is.
I'm talking about cliques.
My point of bringing this up isn't to point fingers of blame, but I would like to have an open dialogue about this problem. When I try to open discussion about this in game I am usually met with three kinds of responses. Either I am met with hostility, and forced to offer specific examples for people to pick apart, and ultimately never actually admit those examples are valid.
Given the classic contrarian response of. "Even though people have this problem I never have, which makes it not a problem"
Or honest to goodness people who don't realize it's a problem which are few and far between.
So why bring it up?
Well for starters in a population as low as wildstar cliques are very detrimental to the growth of the community.
Veteran players feel at ease sure, but newer players do not.
In fact in my own experience, the number one reason new roleplayers I meet who leave the game later is this. "I don't feel welcome"
Even when guilded or in a circle, people don't feel a part of things.
Is this entirely on veteran players? No.
Honestly sometimes I've seen newer roleplayers simply show up to events for their guilds, or public events, and without even 4 words typed they storm out because they didn't get enough attention.
While this is something I've witnessed on one or two occasions, it's more common that they are flat out ignored.
As an experiment, the last few weeks I've been making new toons to get an idea of what it is really like for a new roleplayer in this game.
I gotta say, my experience hasn't been positive guys.
When asking for info on the wsrp channel for events that are going on, I got ignored.
When introducing myself to new people I was also ignored.
Asking for help, resources and reaching out, doing all the leg work, I was ignore. With the exceptions of a few players who I can count on one hand the majority of players are brushing off people who aren't in their cliques.
I know it's tempting to stick to what you know, and to hang out with just your friends, but if we have an attitude like that, this awesome community isn't gonna stay awesome.
So I urge you guys to please speak up when people need help finding a place to belong in this game.
And to that end if you are reading this, and you're one of those people looking for friends to roleplay with.
You do need to do some of the work, meet people half way, do your research, ask about event, and talk to people.
Being a wall flower in game isn't gonna get you what you want.
to finish up here I really do hope that people who took the time to read this will use it as an opportunity to talk about how we can improve the community, instead of pointing fingers.
It's better for all of us if we just see a problem and discuss solutions.
thanks for reading.
I would like to say that I felt the same ways back when I first started this game. I really was into this game but I took a break when i felt like getting into the community was like smacking against a brick wall. I can be shy but I really tried to put myself out there.
I don't blame people for being in cliques. In all sorts of RP communities it happens, you find who you like to rp with and you stick with it. But the issue with that is that it causes your community to stagnate quickly. I am fairly sure there are a lot of nice people in the community but I found them hard to find. And the people who where ignoring where not being outwardly mean they seemed to simply disregard people because they didn't know them or they where busy.
Very often this happens in games. I do hope when I return to WS that I will be able to find more open people.
I'd just like to make an open invitation to 'bother' either of my my characters. They may be rude and snippy (well, Aya is. Lyreth is chill) but I like to think I am fairly friendly and welcome all RP. Mostly because the closest I've ever gotten into a clique in this game is the fringe because my character is r00d.
You know what? You are absolutely right, and its one of the things that drove me away from Wildstar the first time. Even last night, in my own club, I realized that I could have left, and no one would have noticed. Frankly it gets old fast. and I'm sorry that you are feeling like this. To be fair, Rp is hard for me when I'm DJing, but i'd love to get to know more people, and i don't care if you're new at it or not. Sunny ,( I think ) is very approachable and loves to talk to just about anyone.
Even the smallest person can change the course of the future- `Galadriel- The Fellowship of the Ring
I'm... a little bit on the new side? Not a 'veteran'. Came in May 2016. By then most of the current big guilds and such were already established, and not a ton has changed.
While I agree that WS can be "cliquey" at times, I've found that, at least on Dominion side, people were extremely willing to engage me in public RP. My first/main character was a fairly stoic guy and not all that social, but even then I found a lot of people approaching me/not being standoffish when I approached them.
I've been in three active RP groups across my time on WS. One was more of a social circle that didn't do meaningful events or anything, I am no longer part of it. The other two host events and plots frequently.
Even when I was new in these two groups I felt included. Definitely included. The main guild I'm in now seemed to love my character IC and OOC and that gave me a ton of confidence. It was the most fun I had RPing in years. And I was more or less a completely new face to them when I arrived.
The third circle I joined on an alt after I was fairly well known in the community. Did I get a ton of attention? Nah, not at first. I felt like I was in the background. But as I was more active in the circle, my character became quite involved in plotlines and decently well known among the circle.
So what is my advice to new players or those who feel isolated?
1. Be realistic. No one is going to give you a ton of attention at first. You are NOT the spotlight, and may never be. Please recognize that everyone else here is a RPer with ambitions and desires. You aren't the main character here, no one is.
2. Be active. Approach. Recognize that some aren't going to be interested in being approached. Emote, even if it's more idle things. Show off your character! But don't cross the line of hogging attention. Put yourself out there, but don't try to force others to RP with you.
3. Be consistent in your activity and RP skill. If you are a decent RPer and decently active, you will definitely be noticed and have fun with the community. If you're more dedicated/seen as a better RPer, things will be easier for you. This is just how things are. If you're that person who shows up once every other week and half-halfheartedly roleplays, you aren't going to enjoy your time here and people aren't going to include you as heavily.
4. Take charge. Join one of the many RP circles/guilds. Find an active one. Don't expect people to come to you!
You know though, not everything is perfect. There ARE problems but it took me months of being here to notice them.
1. Headcanons. Yep, this seems to be a problem in almost every RP community. Many circles/RP groups seem to make their own assumptions, fanfiction, or excessively "fill in the gaps" of WS' lore. This is necessary to some degree, but it's best kept minor and out of public RP. I am very upset when I see people presenting their headcanons as fact and treating your character like an idiot for questioning them. Or just arguing with you OOC about it. I do not understand why people do this.
Following lore is important because it's the basis upon all of our RP is built on. It connects all of our characters because they share a common setting. If everyone tries to paint that setting an entirely different way, then we are completely negating that and harming the RP community.
2. Judging/assumptions. All Dominion players are elitists and cliquers. All Exile players are lolrpers and cuddlers. Everyone who does cross-faction just does it for ERP. You know what? Many of these are true part of the time, and I can keep giving examples. But we need to be very careful not to alienate people because they APPEAR a certain way. Reserve judgement for when you have seen someone act/RP. And frankly? If you don't like how certain people RP, don't RP with them.
3. This one seems like a given, but be nice. Seriously, just be nice. This one goes a LONG way in helping a community. If you want to complain about something/someone, do it in private. Don't cause a confrontation or start back-talking. Don't attack others.
I don't think the community is in a dire state or anything, but things could be better. WS' RP community feels very strong to me, personally. The population is enough to keep things fresh and the RPers here tend to be much better than other communities I've been in.
That being said, almost all of this was on Dominion. I'm not sure if this post is being made from a purely Exile perspective, or one from both factions.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son.
This is probably an unpopular rant, but--here we go:
You're right, Wildstar has cliques. I haven't seen an RP community that doesn't have them, and I come from the WRA server in WoW where there are cliques aplenty. It almost feels, however, that its a reflection of the population of the community simply from the fact that we HAVE cliques--cliques don't happen from a tiny group of people, they happen as the population grows and people drift towards subgroups suiting their particular views and interests. It seems like a monstrous task to try and push every group to be more inclusive than they possibly already are, whether they're official circles and guilds or just the usual crowd at RP plots who everyone's character seems to know somehow. I think it's a great idea to voice seeing cliques and letting everyone know about the possible problem of exclusion to new members of the community can be, however...I have a completely different opinion probably about what should be DONE about it, only because I had to do it myself.
I've been in this community since the beta, and never felt like I've ever belonged to the long standing cliques in either faction's communities. And I'm still here, constantly going to events and constantly RPing and building (my god so much building) with friends I've brought over from other games, or people I've managed to find while RPing in this game. Why? Because the cliques are just people who met either in other games or met here in Wildstar, and are now best friends who--like best friends--become absorbed in one another and accidentally tune people out. It's human. They're all human. They're not actively trying to keep anyone out, and being in a bubble while also outside of their bubbles, I empathize that it's frustrating when people seem to not understand you're trying to include them, but you've known these other folks longer and they understand you better. Not everyone wants to share their plots with you when those stories are personal to them. And nobody has to. I'm not trying to say that like 'STUP BLAMING THEM', I'm trying to say that that's literally what you have to rewire your brain to think about whenever you see the cliques and you grimace because you wish you could do things with them. It's an 'us vs. them' thing to you maybe, but it's honestly just an illusion your brain is cooking up--the doors they're opening for you might be wide open, but you turn away short of the door every time because you're listening to anxious thoughts.
As an RPer in plenty of guilds and communities in the past, I know what it's like to beat your head against an invisible wall like 'C'MON GUYS JUST NOTICE ME AND GET INTERESTED IN ME' but at the same time as a current and past GM I know what it's like when you have the door wide open like 'GET HERE AND FEEL ACCEPTED DEMMIT' too.
Biggrouse said some really great points, but I wanted to just add some more.
Things to Do To Feel More Welcome:
- Stay at an event, even if you feel like everyone is ignoring you. At least for an hour. You might not get emoted at back for that whole hour, but SOMEBODY saw your character. And when you come back to the next event they'll SEE YOU AGAIN. When you become a constant and not just a random nobody, people will warm up to wanting to RP to you pretty damn quick.
- Can't be constantly online for RP? Seem to be constantly missing everyone, even in your guild or circles? Make an event. No, shh, do it. Do the thing. Open up an RP plot and host a bar or something, or make a guild event (if your GM is cool with that) or a public event. If YOU cannot make the time to RP, try getting people to come to you at the time you CAN RP at.
- If you're going to do idle emotes, try to do better than '/e sighed and rolled her eyes. Ugh, why did she come here?' I don't know, Jan. Why did you come here? My character would ask that if they could read minds, but unfortunately they can't. I guess we're not going to have a possibly lovely IC chatter then. A better emote would be '/e stared obviously at the nearby draken's drink with a fat stink face, trying to figure out if that was REALLY bleach he was drinking, or just the name of the drink.' Give something for somebody to go off with, in case they do decide to emote back at you.
- Finding no niche to shuffle into to spread your creative wings and fly in? Make your own group. Do your own thing. Don't just sit in a bar day after day wondering when someone will take interest in your character and sweet juicy plot will just pour in like money. Nuh-uh, go pick up ya pants and build something, or start a new group. When you obsess more over your own fun and your own interests rather than trying to get the interests of others on yourself, you'll look up one day and realize there's a lot of people suddenly around you, ogling the neat thing you made for yourself and wanting it just as badly as you wanted other people's things. That's just a good rule of thumb for anything socially, really.
I can't speak except for from the perspective of Dominionside, but on this side of the fence, the various event hosts and faction leaders are regularly pushed and reinforced by each other to actively engage and try to bring in and include new players at the things we host. It is a point of discussion in several of our community meetings, not because it's a new subject, but because we identify that it's constantly something that needs attention drawn to it and that we must always be vigilant in attempting to engage new blood -- since that is what keeps the community thriving. We also do try to constructively criticize one another when we witness a host being lax in glad-handing an unfamiliar face. It is extremely important for more veteran roleplayers to try to engage or at minimum acknowledge new faces, although everyone has a different level of comfort in doing so.. as well as different levels of bandwidth for keeping track of everyone posting on the plot.
However, it is also a two-way street. I have on some occasions witnessed players who very actively rejected being engaged, either by ignoring other's posts *directed at them*, or by ICly brushing off would-be interactions, and later complained that they were ignored! RP is all about give and take, which leads me to my next thought.
The others in this thread have made very good points. Another that I would make is to not be afraid to proactively take the first step and walk up and introduce yourself to others, especially if for some reason the others in the scene are not doing so. Some may not have noticed your arrival, some may be uncomfortable of anxious about approaching a stranger. Another good idea is to have something prepared mentally that you're willing to ICly discuss; have some topic that your character is passionate about or interested in that you can spur a conversation with. You would be surprised how far that goes in garnering the attention of others and serving as an icebreaker. While it *is ideal* for more established members of the community to be the first to initiate, any number of things can cause them to slip up and miss the opportunity now and again. So don't be afraid to be the initiator! In many cases, the other players present may genuinely not know that you wish to RP with them because they don't know you, and may think you're there with someone else!
I do not wish to diminish the concern about cliques, but rather to simply share my own two cents and some hopefully constructive points towards engaging others in RP, both as a new member and as an old.
Just putting this out there. My plot is open to the public 24/7, unless there is major construction going on. I can get pretty busy with building at times and have some events that I either take part in or even run but if I'm not doing anything or I'm just fiddling with stuff, I am open to folks RPing with me. On Wednesday evenings between 8:30 to 10 Eastern Standard Time, my restaurant event for Bugs 'n Stuff will be taking place so if you find it hard to break into the RP community as it were, stop by and be noticed. Even if you aren't ready to jump out there just yet, you can still observe the folks that take part and they will notice you too. Look for other events like The Villa, The Triple B, and Thayd University as well. They serve as great ways to enter the community in a safer manner then some other events out there or faction specific housing plots.
My character Vorkha "Willow" Willowbrush is outgoing, friendly, energetic, and extremely curious about new people in her little world of crazy. Yes she has an accent and a speech impediment but if you have a problem understanding something she says you can always ask OOC (out of character) for a translation and I will supply one. I love new RP and am always looking for more folks to spend time with. If you play a Chua or a Mechari, you will have difficulty getting my character to willingly interact with you if she is on her own but at a public event you'll find her much more approachable. Sometimes it's all in the timing so keep this in mind when trying to interact with any character you might stumble upon.
Why do I put this out there? Because maybe someone needs to see it out there. I've seen a whole lot of discussion about what the perceived issues are, and they have all been quite valid based on point-of-view, but I haven't seen many actual ownership of solutions. Yes, I've read a ton of valid concerns and valid suggestions but not a lot of direct "Hey, I'm here and I'll work with ya" type stuff. I've even seen comments that touch on the assumptions that we all make at one time or another. Those being "The door's open, come in and play" and "Why won't anyone notice me" view points. We are all only individuals and we all have very real limits in what we can do and where we can be at any particular time. We all know that RL ( real life ) concerns outweigh IG ( in game ) concerns. This is not about finger pointing but rather saying simply, "Here's a door and it's open."
For those that may be new to role play or to serve as a refresher for veteran RPers, here are some great videos that I strongly suggest:
We are all here to enjoy this amazing game and this community is one of the best that I've come across. All the responses to this thread tell me that there are many out there that want to keep it that way. We can do this, cliques and all. We just need to meet each other half way. Cliques will happen. They are a thing we all deal with in RL and in every single game out there with a multi player base. For some it's mainly driven by enjoyment, as in they are with a group of friends that they have a good time RPing with, and for some it's a comfort zone thing. All I have to say on that is don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This is a fairly receptive community and the vast majority of folks I've met have been friendly even if their characters weren't. For those where enjoyment is a factor, what are ya missing out on by staying in your tight knit group? Don't be afraid to grab up other folks. It's all give and take in the wide world of RP. By all means, know your limits and don't get in over your head but feel free to expand. In the long run, it is my honest belief that no one is really intentionally being exclusive. We all get busy, we all have our interests and disinterests, and we are all trying to remain true to our characters. We just need to make sure we each do our due diligence to the community as a whole so that we don't wake up one day and find that it's gone.
There's also the matter of perspective to consider.
A 'clique' by another name is simply a community, and even a friendly community can be tough to penetrate. That players are gregarious and tend to cluster together into groups is nothing to be alarmed about in and of itself - it's simply human nature. And while there are definitely plenty of times when these groups could stand to be more inclusive (and times when they're downright isolationist), that doesn't mean that 'cliques' are arbitrarily a bad thing. At their core, they're just groups of like-minded players who enjoy RPing with one another.
It's also worth considering that roleplaying is a hobby that attracts a lot of people who are socially awkward and/or struggle with very real anxiety in social settings from an OOC perspective, and some folks aren't very comfortable in large groups, or have difficulty opening up to new players. You'll find these sorts of players in 'cliques' as well and it's really for the sake of their own well-being, and not any sort of malicious intent to exclude.
Anyway, having said all that, bottom line is that every post here makes lots of valid points, including the OP. While RP won't just rain from the sky and getting involved with the community is a reciprocal effort, we as players within the established community have a responsibility to make inroads to include newcomers when they appear and make them feel welcome. And all it takes is one person - if you're part of a close-knit group and somebody new appears on your periphery, remember that you're probably seen as being in a 'clique' and you can be the player within your group to say "hey guys, let's talk to that new person over there".