Recruiting Roulette: Elitist Jerks Paid Membership Review

Recruiting Roulette: Elitist Jerks Paid Membership Review

Player recruiting continues to be tough for guilds and their leaders around the community. Some might even consider resorting to third party sites in the hope that they can drive up and attract interest to their raiding guild. In the Recruiting Roulette series, I’ll offer my opinions on different recruiting sites and what kind of results my guild received and what you can expect. All fees are paid out of my own pocket.

Site: Elitist Jerks
Fees: $25 per thread or $30 for 6 months (Patron status)

Elitist Jerks has widely been accepted as the think tank  community of choice where top theorycrafters go to exchange ideas and beginners go to dive into more advanced concepts of their class. With a such a large and skilled community, it makes sense to try to recruit players here. The upfront costs can be considered expensive.

Is it worth it?

Ground rules

Once you’ve paid the requisite membership fee, you’ll be allowed to post in EJ’s /LFGuild forum. You can only have one visible recruiting thread at a time. Only threads with a post in the last 30 days will be visible.

Next, your thread must be in the following format:

[Faction][Server] <Guild> Title

[Alliance] [Ner’Zhul] <Conquest> Looking for all ranged DPS, 4/8 HM 25 man

Conquest started using Elitist Jerks back in the Fall of 2011. I can’t remember the exact date. Sometime around October or November or so? We were starting to dry up with applications and it was time for us to explore other alternatives. After some asking around, Elitist Jerks was one of several recommendations made.

Which option?

I could’ve gone with the 1 time fee of $25 which would only allow me to create 1 thread. Or I could’ve gone with the $30 fee which is good for 6 months and allows me to make as many threads as needed.

Didn’t take long for me to decide that the second option with the $30 is a better bang for the buck. The registration process after that was absolutely flawless. Payment is accepted via Paypal. After the confirmation email was received, I followed my own guild ad guidelines and created a forum thread on the site. Only thing left to do was to sit back.

Effectiveness

Was it worth it? I was essentially paying $5 a month for 6 months to keep a guild ad up there for maximum exposure.

In total, we received 2 applicants from Elitist Jerks and no additional referrals.

  • A tank who played no more than 8 weeks before deciding to leave to play with his real life friends.
  • A melee DPS who played for about 8 months before stepping down to real life. Still plays other games with us and remains a part of the community.

My option for renewal is going to come up fairly soon within the next month. Right now, I don’t think I will be exercising the option to renew it until we get closer to Mists release.

Factors

If you are planning to utilize EJ’s services, then keep some things in mind.

The community behind Elitist Jerks is full of extremely knowledgeable and skilled players (usually). Expect to get players of reasonably high calibre. With that in mind, your guild’s ability to attract candidates is going to depend on the progression of your guild. Proven guilds with consistent hard mode kills or successful raid achievements are going to have a higher appeal than a friends and family guild that had just taken down normal mode Ultraxion (as an example).

Mind you, your mileage may vary and you may have better responses. In addition, we’re also in a “lull” period of the game right now where burnout is quite high. I suspect results will be way different once Mists gets closer to release.

Edit: Just to help clarify a few things, I don’t suggest using their service right now. Most players are already cemented in their guilds and are hoping to finish out the tier and expansion with their guilds. Once Mists comes out, expect a stronger and higher population of people. With all guild progression resetting at “0”, this should warrant a much better yield for your money.

The Day Ultraxion Fell (Heroic)

The Day Ultraxion Fell (Heroic)

Took us about two weeks and around 7 hours of attempts. Managed to crush Ultraxion last night just before the expected nerf that kicks in today. Some of the pointers I can offer you:

  • We used 4 healers
  • Use your 3 minute cooldowns at some point between the first and second hour. You’ll want it up again around the 5 minute mark.
  • Tank 4 piece bonuses are a godsend. Finish those as quick as you can.
  • Respec and glyph specifically for the encounter. Cut out talents you don’t need (like movement speed bonuses).
  • Get in position for the coloured crystals early so you can run back earlier.
  • Use Mana potions instead of Concentration potions if you find you don’t have the 8 seconds to spare.
  • If a healer is using a Hymn of Hope, have another priest counter with Divine Hymn to offset their 8 seconds of inactivity.
  • Put the team on your back and carry them like you’ve never carried before. 🙂
  • Sadly, no VODs of this encounter yet. Largely because I didn’t want to compromise my computer’s performance during the raid. Will try to get one this week though.

    Crappy part of killing a new boss? Having to update every single recruiting thread and forum across all the different sites you have ads up on.

    Oh, and if you’re reading this in an email or an RSS reader, I changed the look of the blog. Keeps many of the same colours but I’m aiming for a simpler approach.

    I also changed my permalink structure. So if you’ve linked to any of the posts on the blog, chances are it’s not going to work. Just modify the URL so that it removes the date from the slug (For example, worldofmatticus.com/03/26/12/post-name is now worldofmatticus.com/post-name).

    Forgot how exhausting this process can be. But, time to raid!

Attracting Gaming Sponsorships

Attracting Gaming Sponsorships

If you’re reading this, you have a blog, a podcast, or an event that you’re looking to drum up some kind of resources for.

Maybe you’re an e-sports organization looking for some help or a guild that’s looking to ease a few financial burdens. I know how costly and expensive it can be.

One of the questions that often get asked is how do I attract and get sponsors for <something>? I can’t offer you a definitive step-by-step guide or formula on how to get sponsorship. But having been on both sides of the sponsorship question (both reviewing sponsorship requests and negotiating with companies for sponsors for events/organizations), there are a few things you really need to keep in mind to make yourself more attractive to them.

Not all sponsorship arrangements have to involve money. Instead consider things like:

  • Gaming peripherals
  • Hardware
  • Voice servers
  • Guild hosting websites
  • Web hosting services (For your blog or podcast)
  • Discount agreements

Know your audience

If you write a blog, do you know what the demographics of your readers are?

How many of them are male?
How many of them are between the ages of 16 – 25?
How many listeners does your podcast get?
What your RSS subscriber count is?
How many page views you get per month?
What your top 5 most popular articles are?

Having this data is extremely important. The question you need to keep in the back of your mind is how does sponsoring you help them with their message?

Provide evidence and data. Interested potential sponsors will ask for data about traffic and page views. If you don’t have Google Analytics set up, start with that.

Case Study: World of Matticus

Not many of you may remember this, but years ago I came really close to shutting down WoM. Hosting bills were gradually climbing up. It got to the point where I almost had to pay $300 a month to keep the site going. Luckily, I was able to negotiate a web hosting sponsorship. Having traffic information allowed the two of us to come to an agreement because they were able to allocate the necessary resources needed as the audience (in other words, you guys) continued to scale and grow.

Know your sponsors

What is the goal of the company you want to partner with? Are they trying to raise subscriptions? Are they gunning for increased awareness and exposure? Do you know what kind of players are interested in their products? If you have an idea of what their sales goals are, you can help factor that in with your proposal in how you can help them with their challenges.

What can you offer?

Business is still business. You need to be able to exchange value for value. How can you ensure that your sponsor’s message reaches the desired audience? There’s a few ways you can do that.

One of the easiest methods is to place a logo and a link to your sponsors anyone on your site. Graphical banners do the job. Logos can be placed in the site header. Another good spot is to place them on the background image of the site (and it’ll appear prominently to anyone on widescreen monitors).

If you have a podcast, mention here and there (“We’d like to thank our sponsors …”).
If you run a livestream, place their logo on the stream itself somewhere out of the way or change the background image of the page your stream is on to reflect them.
Work with videos? Place their logo at the front and at the end of your productions.
Attending events in person? Have any custom gear? See if you can get their brand embedded on your shirts.

Does your guild run a ton of pickup raids or organized PvP? If your group gets a ton of pickup or cross realm traffic, create a message of the day in Ventrilo that mentions them. Consider changing the name of the waiting room channel. Think of different methods to help your sponsors with their message.

Case study: Fnatic and Team 3D

Fnatic.RaidCall changed the name of their organization to help draw awareness to Raidcall. Years ago when Counter-strike was at it’s height, I believe Team 3d changed their in game tags from 3D.KSharp to 3D.nVidia :: Ksharp. This was during the finals of one of the CPL events where thousands of players were watching the game live. Can you imagine the exposure nVidia received?

Image matters

Sponsors will associate with organizations that project a certain image that they are trying to appeal to. Be mindful of the targeted demographic that they are trying to reach. Be mindful of any negative or abusive language. Adjust your tone so that it falls in line with what your ideal sponsors are looking for.

Case study: Capcom and Tekken

There was an incident several weeks ago when rampant trash talking between two competitors during a match resulted one of them dropping out. Miranda forfeited due to mental distress from the verbal abuse that Aris was delivering. Penny Arcade had an excellent editorial piece about some of that verbal abuse. I pulled off a double take when that same individual then said that “The sexual harassment is part of the culture [and] if you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community”. While I don’t know if there was any fallout after those comments were made, I’m pretty sure potential sponsors would be wary of associating with any organizations with that type of mentality.

A better example might be that Conservative radio show guy. How many advertisers pulled out again?

Anyway, the above points are a topic for another post entirely.

Measure it

Make sure you have a way to help your sponsors measure any positive benefits. Can’t attract any sponsors unless they can determine how well the exposure is doing them for them. One such example would be a customized link which tracks how many referrals came from your site and how many of those referrals signed up for a product or service.

Look out for them

Your job is to ensure that your sponsors are taken care of. Help them out with whatever they need. Make sure you deliver on the terms that you have agreed upon. Cultivate those long term relationships. Get and provide feedback on what worked and what didn’t. If you’re running an event such as a tournament, invite them out again next year while the whole ordeal remains in the front of their minds.

Most importantly, remember to thank them!

Good luck in your efforts!

Handling Raiding Couples

Handling Raiding Couples

Couples that raid together in the same guild can be a nightmare to deal with. I’m glad to say I’ve only ever had to deal with a small handful of them. There were some great husband/wife combinations and some not-so-stellar ones.

Interacting with them individually can be a chore at times because most couples share information with each other. There’s little (if any) secrets between the two and I get that. Talking to half a couple may as well be like talking to the whole couple because the other half will usually be brought up to speed about any decisions, events, or other information shared with them.

Here’s the worst part.

Ever tried giving criticism and feedback to one of them? Maybe they weren’t doing so  hot or they entered a streak where they just had some bad nights. Or maybe that individual just plain sucks at dealing with a certain mechanic. You drag them out to the side on an off night or send them a message trying to figure out what’s wrong. They reply back with “But I’m doing everything I can possibly do” and deep down inside you know for a fact that it’s not true because you just looked at 4 other players of the same class, progression, and gear level then coming to the realization that they really weren’t. You send back another message laying out the information you have found along with some additional pointers.

And then what ultimately ends up happening is the other half just swoops in.

“WHADDAYA MEAN MY WIFE IS TERRIBLE HEALER? SHE’S REALLY AWESOME! SHE HEALS MY ASS ALL THE TIME IN BATTLEGROUNDS AND KEEPS ME UP, NO PUN INTENDED”.

Naturally, a cursory glance at other logs and incidental information proves otherwise.

“YOUR INFORMATION AND INTERPRETATION OF IT IS WRONG. THOSE FRAPS VIDEOS OF ATTEMPTS WERE OBVIOUSLY DOCTORED WITH THE INTENT OF SLANDERING HER AND MAKING HER LOOK AS UNSKILLED AS POSSIBLE.”

It’s at this moment where you introduce your face to your palm.

“THERE IS A CONSPIRACY HERE DESIGNED TO THROW HER OUT AND SPLIT UP OUR MARRIAGE. WELL IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.”

inception

We’re not out to get you

Seriously, there’s no conspiracy. There’s no secret organization designed to screw over a couple and split their marriage. It’s an honest to Elune criticism of their performance and the fact that it’s lacking.

That’s it.

Just not worth it

After a while, I realized then that some couples just aren’t worth having around especially not with such an overprotective attitude like that. GMs need to be able to deliver that honest feedback without a vulture jumping in and protecting every chance they get. Handling couple applications usually warrant a much closer examination and the questions asked during any interview stages are going to be different then the solo applicants. It’s gotten to the point where I’m tempted to blanket ask “If I said your significant other was performing poorly in this area, what would you do?”

On the other hand, you could just auto decline couples entirely and sidestep any potential drama problems that might happen later.

Thankfully the couples I have in guild right now are quite mellow and I haven’t had a reason to punt any just yet.

Poll: Guild Site Hosting

Hey team, can you do me a favor? I want to conduct a poll about your guild website. I’m curious about what your guild is using and why. My interest is both personal and professional (Disclaimer: I’m with Enjin).

Which site hosting does your guild use?

View Results

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Note: If you can’t see the poll because you’re on a reader, try this link

In addition to voting on the poll, could you drop a comment answering the following questions for me?

  1. What influenced your guild to use that hosting service?
  2. What one site feature are you most thankful for?
  3. What’s the URL to your site?
When it Comes to Guild Apps, Pick Two

When it Comes to Guild Apps, Pick Two

pick2

Historically speaking, most of the players I’ve picked up in the past had two out of the three attributes. Rare is the player who manages to possess all three. Recruiting seems to be at an all time low according to a few GMs I’ve spoken to (10 man and 25 man, Horde and Alliance). It’s as if the majority of players just want to see the content, regardless of what difficulty level it is (meaning the path of least resistance gets selected the most or the LFR tool). It seems like the applicants I see seem to exhibit 2 out of the 3 traits.

Skilled

Manages to bring the pain (or the healing). We’re talking on a consistent basis. I often find myself wondering about the players who (over a 2 month period) go from the bottom to the top back to the bottom again.

Of course, no one wants the player who has a really hard time hitting that Hour of Twilight button and ends up burning all 3 Battle Res skills allotted. The ability to pick up what the rules and requirements for each encounter is a big plus (as is the ability to do it fast).

High attendance

Willingness to reschedule most events in their lives around raiding is an advantage. I’m not that much of a tyrant though.

Wedding? Sure.

Exam? Yeah, you better go study for it.

House on fire? Go.

But if you’re missing out on a raid to catch the series finale of American Idol, I can tell you’re just not into it. Or if a new game came out and you’re signing out of raid when I can see on Steam that you’re clearly playing Skyrim. That tells me where your priorities are and it’s clearly not with WoW.

Drama free

Perhaps drama free might not be the best choice of words to use. When I mean drama free, I’m not referring to guild splitting dramatic incidents. I’m talking about the little things that can get under people’s skins eventually leading to guild splitting incidents.

How difficult does a person need to be?

There’s been times I’ve tried to compromise on issues to reach the best approach for everyone involved. In other cases, a single course of action was settled upon because that’s what the leaders wanted to do, period. I really hate working with players who argue for the simple sake of arguing. I can tell you it takes away my efforts and focus on the next item I want to resolve. Pick your battles carefully. Otherwise the GM might exercise their right to throw you out because you keep causing problems and end up being more of a liability instead of an asset.

Now going back to the original question, if you were restricted to two selections, which two would you pick?

The Worst Thing a Guild Leader can do to a Player

The Worst Thing a Guild Leader can do to a Player

GM-sup

I think I’ve found my guild prank for April Fools!

I know of other guild leaders who joke about doing it (and some who actually have done it because they couldn’t do it anymore). So to all the guild leaders out there, I salute you. Doesn’t matter if the game is Rift, Guild Wars, SWTOR, WoW or what have you. It’s often a thankless job and you’re the butt of every joke but without you, your guild would be non-existent.

Although, I learned last night from Lodur that changing guild leaders can result in a bugged guild bank.

It’s okay, Logan. Your job is still safe. No plans for retirement yet. Sometimes I’ve always wondered about holding mock guild elections and what platforms people would run on. Fiscal guild responsibility?

P.S. I just noticed this. Which one of you clowns set my guild note?

Is it the Tank’s Responsibility to Lead Groups?

As Javier said in a previous comment:

Please answer me a question that I have been wondering forever. […] Why is it the sole responsibility of the tank to know and lead the group in to every instances?

During my adventures through the dungeon finder, I’ve been remarkably fortunate.

Little to no wipes.

Timely CC’s.

Sustained DPS.

I don’t always run with my guild on my priest. I prefer to give opportunities to other healers in the guild who still need the gear or the reputation. If I need a refresher course in healing, there’s no test greater than braving LFD.

But I digress.

Tank ‘em!

Traditionally speaking, tanks have been the players that automatically take leadership of a group. For years, they’ve been the ones setting up the marks, executing the pulls and controlling the pace. Whenever I joined trade chat groups (this was before the dungeon finder, mind you), tanks would usually insist on leading groups. During Wrath, it got to the point where the rest of the players in the group expected the tank to assume that role.

The thing is, I’m not really noticing that as much anymore. I mean, it wasn’t until recently that I started observing other players taking control of groups. It wouldn’t always be the tank. It could be that random ret paladin or that warlock. Its an interesting trend to see happening, for sure. Could it be that there are just that much more knowledgeable people in the game? I once dropped in on a Halls of Origination group where most of the players in there didn’t know how to do any of the bosses on normal much less heroic. I had the option of dropping out of the group right there and then.

I’ll admit, I was tempted.

But no, I stayed right in there and showed them all the ropes. I gave myself a limit of 3 wipes on a boss. If we wiped 3 times on a single boss and it was clear they just weren’t “getting it”, then I’d take my leave. Setting a hard boundary for yourself is a good way to retain your sanity.

Blizzard allowing anyone in the party to mark targets was a great improvement overall. I’d say it ranks as one of those really underrated changes. Now other players don’t have to be the dungeon guide to mark stuff. They can simply tag their own targets.

The pressure is slowly easing off the tanks when it comes to taking the lead. That is a good thing, right?

Is Team Melee the New Hotness?

Lodur did a great job last week when he recruited 4 additional players. The catch? They were all melee players. We snagged a Rogue, a Paladin, Warrior and an Enhancement Shaman. Our melee roster now looks something like this:

4 Warriors
4 Rogues
2 Paladins
2 Enhancement Shamans

Gunship 2.0 turned into a challenge with just 6 ranged DPS players.

The guild historically has been melee heavy but not to this extent. As much as I would prefer having more ranged players as options, the raiding reality is to take the players we can get and find a way to make it work. Between the end of this expansion and a new MMO that’s holding player interest, it’s a little tougher to pick up players of the right class.

I’ve found some perks with a melee heavy raid, however.

Stuff dies really fast

That change to the melee buff (where it’s now 20%) makes a bigger difference. With trash and adds dying faster, it means overall less healing needed.

Closer proximity

Melee players typically stand in one location – Right behind the butt of the boss. I don’t have to worry about being out of range. Spells like Holy Word: Sanctuary are that much better since the melee players are in one tight location.

It’s nice to have a comfortable number of raiding players again. Holiday season is always tough. The next areas we need to shore up are ranged DPS and healers.

Now that we’ve gotten Deathwing down, we’re starting work on Heroic Morchuk (Norris). For those of you that have knocked it out already on 25 man, what would you suggest?

8 Raid Leading Mistakes That You’re Not Aware Of

I stopped raid leading a long time ago.

Who would’ve guessed that raid leading might mean a loss in ability to heal effectively? I leave that in the hands of my capable team. We’ve all made our fair share of errors and mistakes. Chances are, yours did as well. I’ve always felt that there was no reason for every player to make a mistake to learn from it. You don’t need 25 players to stand in a Void Zone to experience that it’s a bad thing to do.

So allow me to give you several fouls that I’ve committed over the years.

Pulling too fast

This is one of my biggest faults. I get pestered about trying to get pulls going too quickly. Sometimes there’s a pat coming around through a 4 pull. I’ve also been with tanks who keep pulling trash mobs even when a significant portion of the raid is down or on their way back. Generally speaking, if there’s over 5 players dead, I’ll call a stop and burn a mass resurrect followed by quick buffs before getting under way again. Keeping an eye on healer mana is important. If everyone’s fresh out of gas, give them a few seconds to replenish (I use Mana Hymns and Mana Tide totems on trash to accelerate the process).

Pulling too slow

On the other hand, you want to make sure things are going according to a schedule. There’s always time to socialize outside of raids. I used to raid with a player who flat out screamed that he was missing Blessing of Kings on trash.

Look guys, while you might wipe to trash here and there, it isn’t because you are missing Kings. Buffs can always be done on the fly. You don’t necessarily need to wait for all of your buffs to fire off before pulling.

Are there tanks present?

Are there healers present?

Is there enough DPS around?

Then it’s time to pull and let the WoW gods sort out the rest.

Not knowing when to tap out

Sometimes your raid meets a boss that they’re just presently not capable of. Maybe there’s only 15 minutes left in raid and you’ve been working on a new progression boss all night that you just killed. Now there’s a new boss standing in front of you that no one has any idea how to take on. You could always do a for fun pull and play the game of “Let’s see who survives the longest”.

Actually, where this really takes effect is around the holiday season. Maybe you don’t have enough players to field a full group. Now I dare say most raid groups can run short handed 1 or 2 players (unless you’re in 10 man). But if you suffer enough absences where it represents a significant portion of the raid, cut your losses and give everyone a night off.

Not enough sleep

Get some sleep, guys! No one likes it when a player misses a raid because they wanted to catch a quick nap and oversleep their alarm!

Makes me wish I could dock DKP for that!

Excessive consensus

Let’s be real here. If you’re raid leading, chances are you know what the hell you’re talking about more. You’ll most likely have studied up on the encounter extensively. You’ve mentally orchestrated your unit about what needs to happen. There’s generally one or two ways to take down a boss. Run that raid with a fist of steel and stick to your plan. Do not instantly agree with every new radical proposal or idea that occurs after a wipe. Stick to making minor adjustments as needed but don’t overhaul the general strategy. Chances are, your strategy is sound but the rest of the team needs to adapt and make their own individual changes to make it work.

But don’t run a raid or take on a boss in a majority rules fashion.

Too much Hand Holding

This really bothers me. It shouldn’t be the job of the raid leader to micromanage every player’s DPS rotations and individual skills. I’ve heard stories shared to me by players where their raid leader would tell a new recruit exactly what to do and when.

“Okay, Lightning Bolt… then Lava Burst … trigger your Earth Shock … Lightning Bolt again and refresh your Flame Shock.”

We try to do everything we can when it comes to recruiting applications to figure out what players know. There’s a minimum threshold of knowledge that is required. I’d say having a solid idea of how your class works and any rotations would be on the “must know” list. For other progressive guilds, knowing every ability on select hard mode bosses is a plus. Perhaps knowing how to fluently play in an off role would be a requirement. It all really depends on your guild.

Your raid leader should not be the person teaching players as they go how to play their class. Your raid leader is the guy people look to when they’re trying to figure out the overarching strategy on taking down a boss. Vik addressed the difference between a raid leader and a guild leader quite nicely last year.

Being too accommodating

There’s this great quote by Steve Jobs that I keep on my wallpaper.

“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.”

Press the buttons that you feel will actually result in action. Don’t press buttons for the sake of pressing them. Remember that you’re in the business of raiding. Your focus and dedication is going to vary. No matter what it is, figure out what your limits are.

Someone needs a quick glass of water during a trash pull? Sure, I can live with that.

Baby just started crying right before pulling a boss and needs to be dealt with? It’s a teeth grinder and a stress ball destroyer but I’ll survive until I can get a replacement.

Need to AFK for a smoke right when you clear the last pack of trash to a new encounter? Get the hell out of my raid.

That last one especially is one of my biggest pet peeves after playing this game for so long. I’m sure it’s influenced by the fact that my dad used to smoke and I hated the smell of it. While flexibility is a great strength to have, be careful that you’re not going too far in the direction at the cost of progress.

Not pulling the trigger on decisions

Cold feet on which boss to go for?

Can’t seem to switch out the healer for the DPS?

Trouble deciding on which strategy to use?

The best raid leaders are the ones who come to a decision within a quick and reasonable amount of time. Indecision is never the right way to go. Consult with officers or other players as needed, but don’t drag your feet too much. Pick one and run with it. If you’re wrong, at least you’ll know what to do for sure next week.

One more thing

Don’t be afraid to give your raid leader feedback. Just do it after the raid is over, not during. Doing it mid raid is enough to throw them off their game which isn’t a good idea if the raid is working on some new encounters.