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Meet the Spectrum Syndicate, an LGBTQ Warframe Clan

Warframe is an incredibly LGBTQ friendly game that surprisingly few people know little about. Little discussed outside its fanbase, it has 75 million registered players who provide a wholesome community for diverse players.

Created by the Canada-based developer Digital Extremes, Warframe is a cooperative free-to-play third person online action game set in an evolving sci-fi world which originally launched way back in 2013.

While a lot of online games struggle with challenges around toxicity of their player based, Digital Extremes have done an amazing job in curating their game community to be friendly, welcoming and supportive of diverse players. Digital Extremes have also been incredibly supportive of Pride celebrations with charitable donations and in-game Pride theming available each year. Check out what Pride in Warframe looked like in 2023 here.

To help foster and bring players together, Warframe players can form Clans which allow groups of players to associate themselves under a single name, similar to a team, but have the potential for this to be on a much larger scale.

One such Clan is the Spectrum Syndicate, the largest LGBTQ Warframe community in the world. I had the chance to speak to it’s founder Bastian about their origins and mission.

Robin: Thanks so much for joining me, tell me about the Spectrum Syndicate, how did it start?

Bastian: Spectrum Syndicate started out as a little clan to welcome viewers from my stream that needed a clan in and build a community up around my stream. I went on hiatus from streaming and decided it would be a shame to let the empty spots in my full research clan go to waste so started recruiting to fill the clan up. Being gay myself I wanted to make sure that the people I was inviting in would be accepting of the queer community so included that in my recruitment from the very start. 

How does Warframe‘s gameplay and community structure lend itself to creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ players?

Warframe’s community structure really lends itself to a vibrant community in a couple of ways. First it’s primarily a PvE (Player vs. Environment) game so people aren’t really competitive with each other for most of the content. Second, the game is pretty darn confusing a lot of the time so folks like to help each other though the parts that stumped them when they first when through it.

In addition, Warframe’s devs are really supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community and the community overall is great, but there are some bad seeds out there that vulnerable folks will want to steer clear of. That combination of factors makes clans like mine necessary but also allows for the folks in my clan to thrive.

How do you ensure that your clan remains a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ players?

First thing in creating a safe space starts with recruiting cool people. I advertise as a LGBTQIA+ focused clan and so we attract people that think that sounds like a good place to be.

I think the next most impactful thing we do here to maintain a safe space is trying to always be available for people in the clan and community to talk to. If something is off-putting to any member of the clan they’re free to report it to me or one of my staff and then we can determine whether there was just a misunderstanding, if someone needs to be coached, or if someone should be removed from the community.

Our staff also keep an eye on the Discord and in game chat for potential problems. They have all been selected for their ability to listen with empathy and problem solve to help navigate tough situations.

What activities or events does your clan typically engage in within the Warframe universe?

I think clan activities and events is one of our weak points as a clan and community. We sometimes have movie nights or scavenger hunts, we have pretty frequent giveaways. When we need resources we do a donation drive that offers fun prizes and incentives to get people motivated to contribute, but I’d love to see more to keep folks engaged with each other. That being said the community has been a great place for people to find help and form squads together and make some lasting friendships.

How do you recruit new members to your clan, and what qualities or characteristics do you look for in potential recruits?

I try to be anywhere that a queer Tenno looking for a clan might be. I recruit in recruiting chat in game, through the official Warframe Discord and Warframe community Discord, we have a website designed to help people find us if they’re looking for a LGBT clan, trans friendly clan, or any number of similar searches. I’m also on Reddit, Twitter, Bluesky, Facebook, and Instagram to help reach out to people that might be in need of a LGBTQIA+ friendly clan. 

Have you faced any challenges in maintaining LGBTQIA+ inclusivity within your clan?

The clan usually stays pretty chill with a couple of exceptions. We’ve had a couple of people that joined thinking that we were LGB inclusive not realizing that I meant the rest of the letters I include in the initialism as well.

The most recent problem we had was someone that didn’t realize that creating a safe space for all included being a furry friendly community as well. Folks like that I feel are better suited for different clans so they get removed pretty quickly and are free to find other communities that might suit them better. It’s genuinely very rare for someone that’s a bigot to join us in the in-game clan.

For the Discord community that can be another matter because there is a greater sense of anonymity there, so we get trolls joining on a semi-regular basis. We have a verification interview process that’s really quick and light weight for people that want to join us but helps us filter out folks that intend to cause harm to the community. 

Do you collaborate with other LGBTQIA+ friendly clans or communities within Warframe or gaming in general? 

Yes, I’m always watching recruiting chat and reach out to anyone that I see advertising for a LGBTQIA+ friendly clan just to make the connection. Recently I started building a section on the website warframe.gay to help match folks that are looking for a LGBTQIA+ friendly clan with a clan that fits their needs. I also just recently set up r/WarframeLGBTrecruit on reddit to create a self-serve version of the same service.

How does Warframe’s strong emphasis on player customization and expression allow for greater representation and visibility of LGBTQIA+ identities within the game?

I love how fashionframe allows Tenno to express themselves in a variety of ways. I’ve seen a ton of trans pride colored Warframes or furries putting tails on their favorite Warframes. There are countless customization possibilities and the devs have put in a lot of work to make it so they almost always look good no matter what you put together.

How important is it for people to have LGBTQ-inclusive communities like yours?

It’s super important in my opinion. There are a lot of folks that aren’t able to be themselves in their home lives and online communities like Warframe are the only times they get to express their true selves.

What advice do you have for other Warframe clan leaders looking to create a thriving and inclusive community within the game?

Clan leaders that are looking to create a thriving and inclusive community within the game really need to speak up for those that aren’t in the room. Don’t allow for homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, or whatever remarks no matter who is present because people see what you do and don’t allow and react to that. Creating a space where transphobia can survive creates a space where trans people can’t.

What are your hopes for the future of your Clan and Warframe in general?

I’m really excited to see this community grow and become more visible. I’m also looking forward to launching my second clan to be able to welcome even more folks into this great community.

I’m also hoping that the new Reddit community starts to really take off and helps connect folks with the community that suits them the best.

For Warframe, I’m excited for the direction that the game is going with the love story of Whispers in the Walls, and I’m excited to see more of that in Warframe 1999.

Bastian, thanks so much for joining me, how can people find out more about the Spectrum Syndicate?

You can visit our website warframe.gay to get started. You can join our Discord to begin your journey into the community, and you can follow us Facebook, Twitter, Bluesky and Instagram.

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