What GMs Want to See on Your Guild App

What GMs Want to See on Your Guild App

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Every day, thousands of players are released from guilds. Thousands more leave them voluntarily. Some are looking to take things easier. Others want more out of their gaming experience. What do they all have in common? A desire for a change of scenery. Yeah, it’s the same old Azeroth. But the guild atmosphere is hardly similar.

When I was 15, I landed my first job as a high school computer tech. In the weekends, the school was commandeered by an older generation of adults learning how to “make millions of dollars via Ebay and “how to use windows  (I still remember vividly the longest possible method to create a folder on the desktop).

The experiences during those times taught me the extraordinary value of patience. Because I tell you, nothing in this world prepares you for patience more than trying to teach a bunch of senior citizens where the any key is.

I was the first among my friends to have a real paying job. “Wow, they would say, “A real paying job with real money! 

You see, it’s around that time in a youth ‘s life where the desire to become independent from their parents begins to kick in. Of course, the inverse is also true. I ‘m almost positive parents want to spend less on their kids. My friends starting feeling the same way. They wanted their own CD players (that ‘s metallic discs that held around 18 songs). That‘s the stuff my generation was into as MP3 players didn’t kick in until the year later since they weren‘t affordable yet.

My advice and consult was frequently sought after. My friends all wanted jobs of their own. I was the only one among them that went through the entire stage from resume to interview. I tried to coach them with what little I knew from my own experience. I helped them prep for their interviews after proofreading their resumes.

Nothing makes mom and dad happier more than knowing that some sucker hired their son after all, right?

And now I speak to you as a raider, officer, and GM who has sifted through hundreds upon hundreds of guild applications over the past several years.

What Matticus likes

  1. Simplicity: Don ‘t use 7 words when 4 will work. I scan most of my apps unless something catches my eye. Be blunt and straight to the point.
  2. Formatting: I hate my room. It’s a mess. I don‘t want to see a reflection of my room in your guild app. Put some effort in your punctuation and capitalization.
  3. Goal: What you want to do. Make sure it ‘s something that you actually want. The successful applicants into Conquest were the ones who said “I want to raid.”
  4. Past tense: Raided Molten Core. Killed Illidan. Acquired Twilight Drake. Achieved “Gotta Go!” .
  5. Contributions: Organized sheeps. Set up main tank targets. Lit up Warlock summons without being asked. Made healing assignments. Took care of DKP.
  6. Essential stats without having to armory: 2240 spellpower. 950 MP5. Important information that‘s included without me having to click the armory right away. If I‘m really interested, I‘ll do it after the fact to make sure you‘re not giving me a plate full of bull-shiitake.
  7. Guildie endorsements: These can make or break your chances. Make sure the player actually knows you and has good things to say since it can backfire.
  8. Link to blog: Not everyone has one. Bonus points if you do. It made the difference for Amava since it lent him extra credibility (but he doesn‘t know that, so don‘t tell him ;))
  9. Hobbies: This is what gives your digital avatar a little extra personality. Whether you‘re big into sports or an avid poker player, it‘s something I ‘m curious to know. Still waiting for the day where I see “Modeled for this agency.
  10. Extra: Whatever else you did that shows your ability to think critically. I‘m not here to hold your hand. The GM isn‘t supposed to be the chessmaster that instructs where every piece is supposed to attack. They‘re the conductor who controls the rhythm, beat, and sound that an orchestra plays for a standing ovation.
  11. PM to the GM: Rarely happens. But it takes energy and ingenuity to go straight to the boss. Sometimes a private message adds a nice touch.
  12. Customize: I‘ve seen cut and paste application jobs. Sometimes applicants forget to change the name of the guild or player name.

I can‘t speak for all GM ‘s or recruiting officers. There‘s always someone out there who has more experience. I ‘m going to toss a shoutout to Kreeoni, Veneretio, and Siha as they‘re all well respected GMs in my book, and ask them what they like to see in an app (Ceruleagos, I know you‘re out there reading, too!)

As always, reader thoughts are always welcome.

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

In the spirit of the blogger’s challenge I laid out last Saturday, I felt it was only fair to come up with a post of a similar theme.

I issued a question to the Twitterati asking them this:

On what grounds have you had to turn away guild apps?

Of the multiple responses I received, I was able to consolidate the majority into 6 real reasons guilds reject players.

Some of these reasons sound eerily familiar. Probably because I’ve been on the receiving end of all of them at some point.

It’s not you. It’s me.

@greyseer Attitude does not align with core purpose or ideals

This is the one of the more often used rejection reasons. Sometimes a player just does not fit in with the rest of the guild for whatever reason. Player personality plays a strong role in the minds of most GMs. If a personality clashes, then the door is closed. Perhaps the applicant is simply too liberal in their use of language which makes players uncomfortable. Maybe they’re looking to do nothing but PvP in a progression raiding guild. Whatever it is, the applicant just doesn’t have a place in the guild’s grand scheme of things.

You’re not open with me enough.

@asara_dragon Poor command of language on application
@cuppy Didn’t follow app instructions
@misskeli Didn’t fill app at all

First impressions matter. When GM’s are exposed to you for the first time, your language use plays an integral part in how you virtually “look and sound”. Take the time to put in the periods and capitals. Run it through a spellcheck. Come across as professional and intelligent. The guild app is your way of “selling” and marketing yourself to the guild. Even if you’re the best player around on the server, a crappy application will stone your efforts. Prove yourself out of the game or else you might not get the chance to prove yourself in the game.

Even worse than leaving a bad first impression is not following the instructions. If an applicant can’t follow instructions on a simple post, who is to say they can follow instructions in raids?

I think we need to go on a break.

@sylus Reputation for guild hopping
@Nightravyn Known drama llama
@dadexter Known to rob guild banks

These types of players are lone wolves. They travel from guild to guild exhausting their resources until they are no longer welcome. Fortunately, the names of such players spread quickly and far via trade chat and forums. It’s advisable for guilds to maintain their own blacklist for players that their guild should stay away from.

I’m just not interested in you right now.

@Threon We’ve got 4 Resto Druids
@Narayu People that app that are classes we’re full on.

Even outstanding apps have to get rejected. There are only 25 positions available in a raid. Some players already have cemented positions and it is extremely difficult to dislodge such people. It all boils down to having no room. Barring some kind of emergency, full time players who raid are full time for a reason. Their attendance is virtually flawless. This reason for rejecting players becomes more apparent in progressed guilds. They just can’t fit any more players, classes or roles into their raids. I’ve had to release some people over the past few weeks because I knew they wanted to raid and it wasn’t fair for them to be kept on retainer. They deserved to raid. There is still time for them to look for other guilds to join.

I’m too busy focusing on life and my career to get involved.

@siha You can’t make our raid times
@crazeigh Attendance and availability

Players apply with intentions to raid. Some guilds are okay with a 50% attendance rate or what have you. Other guilds expect raiders to be able to go at it from start to finish. Obviously it is not possible to expect flawless attendance. From experience, I can say that guilds I’ve been in, there is an expectation that players show up to a set amount (as a minimum). Given the choice between two identically geared and skilled players, I will always start with the player that can go from start to finish as opposed to the one that has to leave every night right before Patchwerk. From a management perspective, it just makes sense. A player that can only be available for a small amount of time is not going to be able to serve the guild well in a raid capacity.

You can’t afford me.

@Kreeoni Gear is lacking

Older friends have told me that companies generally don’t care what type of degree I have. I was freaking out because I was second guessing my program choices for school. Kimbo, an officer, explained to me that companies only care that you have the piece of paper that says you’ve got your 4 years or 120 credits. Whether it’s Psychology, Criminology, Sociology or Business Administration isn’t as big of a factor (in most cases but I know someone’s going to say “but yes it plays a HUGE factor”.

Having the degree shows you have the discipline and perseverance to work your way through school.

That mentality has some merit here. I’ve always held the belief that gear and skill are equally important. I need the weapons and armor to do my job. But I need the knowledge and skills to use my gear effectively.

Having your Sons of Hodir enchants or your exalted Rep faction gear demonstrates that you put a lot of time and effort into your character. Having high end heroic blues or a smattering of epics shows that you’re willing to grind through to get what you want. Appropriate gems and enchants show that you know how to best augment your character (unlike that one Priest I saw with nothing but agility gems. Hmm!

Finally, with raiding instances set to go up in difficulty, it becomes clear that minimum throughput of DPS and healing are only going to go up. For example, the gear requirement for pre-nerf Sunwell was much higher than a fray into Gruul’s Lair of Magtheridon’s cavern. The entire raid has to reach a certain minimum baseline performance in order to kill a boss. Otherwise the enrage timer hits or healers run out of mana and it’s game over.

Why have you or your guild rejected applicants? Do you have any good (or sad) stories you like to share?

Image courtesy of nyuszika

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

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On Saturday, I wrote a brief highlight on how not to recruit healers. The actual post was written by Ess. Reader Spinks posted a comment wondering how I recruited my healers.

In truth, recruiting healers involved higher standards and scrutiny. This was only because I’m way more critical with healing. It’s difficult to explain. Maybe it’s because I know what I want in a healer.

I’ll start with the longest serving healers and work my way up.

Sthirteen

I’ve served with S13 in my last guild. He was there when we worked on Illidan and onto Kil’Jaden. Even though he’s only played for a little over a year, he’s come a long way from the Druid who played all the way up to level 10 without realizing he could equip gear. His signing was a no brainer. I’ve known him for many years and Resto Druids aren’t exactly a common commodity on my server.

Sydera

Syd was a transfer. She was one of the founding mothers of Conquest. If she hadn’t come to me, Conquest might have still been just a dream. Her case is a unique one. She was on a different server. There was no way I could gauge her play without directly observing. A lot of it was based on inference. It certainly helped that she turned out to be a great Druid blogger. Reading her posts showed me that she knew what she was doing even though I had no way of seeing it for myself. Her previous guild managed to kill Illidan prepatch which added extra credibility.

Kaldora

I didn’t know Kaldora that well. I’ve played with him several times in other raids. One day he decided to leave his previous guild and sign with Conquest for a more focused raiding experience. I knew from the times I’ve played with him before that he knew what he was doing. He took advice and critique really well. Quick learners is a big must for my healers.

Epiks

I don’t know what it is about Resto Shamans. But they’re always hyped up on something. Epiks actually came to me in trade chat. I didn’t know about him before so I had very little to go on. Like Kaldora, he wanted a change of scenery. I had nothing to go by other than his present gear and the reputation of his old guild. I knew how progressed his old guild was and I could tell by some of the 70 gear he still had Epiks was a part of the team that helped his old guild get to where they were before Wrath. That was a testament to his perseverance and his abilities. Even though those were all good marks, I still didn’t know enough about him as a player. A Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum run later, his position was virtually cemented in the ranks.

Krinan

I took a chance on her and she took a chance on my guild. Krinan’s journey into the guild revolved around Twitter (and she has a post up on that very subject). Her pickup was a great risk moreso for her then myself. She was willing to take a chance on an unproven guild with an unproven GM. In most cases, that would have been a recipe for disaster. I’m proud to say she’s still in after 4 months. I think what did it for me was her willingness to give this organization a chance and her ability to learn quickly.

Notice that gear didn’t play a significant factor in the signings of these players. In Epiks’ case, his 70 epics from BT and the like demonstrated to me that he could hold his own. But not a single one of these players entered the guild and leveled to 80 with more then a handful of blues and greens.

These are players I know and count on to hold down the fort and they’ve done an admirable job of doing it.

photo © David Martín :: Suki_ :: for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds

5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds

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The comments from Wednesday’s post drew a consensus where everyone called for a Gkick. As some readers observed, it’s not exactly going to win the Emmy for Best Drama of the year.

On the other hand, the fact that a Paladin on break is the best I can offer in terms of drama should say something about myself and the organization.

Please understand that I wrote that post to inform and let readers know that no guild is impervious. I did this to inform. I didn’t mean for it to come out as a rant (because there’s far worse things in life then a Paladin leaving).

I’m not going to remove him. I’ll let him stick around in the guild. On the flip side, it doesn’t mean he’s going to get the start when the 2 raiding instances come out. He’ll have to earn his stripes.

Belief 1: Your GM Owns You

Wrong. I don’t own my players. They recognize that they’re all technically free agents. They didn’t sign a multi-year contract to raid. I’ll elaborate on this in the next point. But there is nothing to prevent people from walking away.

All I can say is this. If you don’t want to clear out Heroic Naxx, OS with 2 Drakes, Malygos, and Vault of Archavon within 6 hours, then you don’t want to be in this guild.

It’s all about incentives.

And if a player doesn’t want to do that, I’m damn sure I can find someone who’s willing. When a player’s goal differs from a guild’s goal, no amount of incentives will win them back.

Belief 2: It’s a One Way Street

The relationship between a guild and a member is a symbiotic relationship. It works both ways. The guild serves the individual by providing them with a home, discounted prices on materials, and a supply of other likeminded people to do 5 mans or heroics.

On the other hand, the individual serves the guild by being present for raids, investing their time and money into raids, and just being there.

Belief 3: Your Excuses Mean Something

Whether a player wants to leave because of burnout or they have exams or their wife is pregnant is irrelevant. I realize this sounds quite harsh. But the reality is, no matter what the reason, I’m still going to have an empty hole in my roster for a period of time that has to be filled. I can’t be expected to wait around for 4 months for a player to come back. I’m not going to raid short handed with 24.

Whether a hockey goalie injures his groin, breaks a leg, or has to deal with family issues is important. But the team’s general manager still has to go out and make a trade for a goalie or promote one from the minors because the team needs one.

No matter how you slice it, it all leads to the same result. In this case, it is a net loss of one player for a few months.

Belief 4: Your Spot is Guaranteed

Sorry, that’s not the case here. If a player doesn’t perform, they get replaced. If a player isn’t here to perform, they have to be replaced anyway.

The difference between a Paladin who leaves and one who stays with the rest of us?

It proves to me that they’re willing to stick around and dedicate themselves. Those are the type of troopers I want.

Readers, understand that we’re all expendable to an extent. It’s going to be easier to replace a healer because there are 4 different healer classes to choose from.

But it will be much more difficult to replace the guy who tirelessly draws out maps, sets up strategy and organizes the kill method on a weekly basis.

The hint here is to be be valuable as much as possible. In the end, the Paladin I lost is just one Paladin. They’re a dime a dozen.

My guild is in a good bargaining position right now since we’re ahead of the raiding curve (also coming soon). Finding people isn’t the problem especially when I’m not terribly concerned with a player’s gear level. When I started Conquest, I didn’t have a reputation. I’ll elaborate more on this later.

Belief 5: Gear Makes You Important

I can see this being true to an extent. But in my years of raiding, I’ve learned something. I’m going to refer to this concept as the 30% rule.

30% of loot will be wasted

This factors in upgrades, players leaving, and off spec items. Inversely, this means that 70% of loot awarded will actually be used for raiding and be effective for guild progression. It’s just the way of guilds.

While I may invest a large proportion of gear into players, I know that gear alone isn’t going to win me any favours. But progression will.

We say stuff all the time about guilds rewarding players or just gearing them up for whatever reason. But the reality is that every instance has a “minimum standard of gear” before it can be completed successfully. What the standard is will deviate from guild to guild.

I wrote my recommended requirements for Naxx last week. Note how the comments vary. Some agreeing and some disagreeing. Your guild’s “sweet spot” will differ from mine.

Another example would be Brutallus. A raid DPS of 20420 (post nerf) is required to kill him within enraged timers (another post entirely). Once you reach that threshold, you’re gold.

Reflections

If a player is going to burn out after only 6 hours of raiding a week, then this guild is not for them. What’s going to happen when the second tier of raiding instances are released? How will they handle the wear and tear of progression raiding where we commit ourselves to 12 hours a week?

To me, these early farm raids are a dress rehearsal. If we compare raiding to a season of sports, then Naxx, OS, and Malygos is just pre-season for me.

Remember that when I formed this guild, I had nothing to go on but my name, my reputation, and my promise. I could’ve lied and said that I was a proven guild leader. But I didn’t. I managed to convince around 25 players to buy into my vision and my goals. This was a combination of people that I had raided with for a long time, readers via my blog, people on twitter, and players in trade chat. I had no way of knowing whether or not it would work. I didn’t know whether they would gel together. There was so much uncertainty when I started out.

I’d by lying to you if I said I didn’t spend every waking moment second guessing myself.

A new guild does not have it’s fair share of pickings. There’s no reason for star players of other guilds to come play under your banner. I had to build from the bottom up with all sorts of people without knowing what their motives were.

Use these “easy” raids to learn more about your guild. Find out about their strengths and weaknesses. Figure out habits and tendencies. What makes them laugh and what makes them cry.

Oh, one more thing. I want to extend a thank you to all the Paladins and healers who emailed me and sent in applications. I believe that position’s been settled for now (unless they turn out be pure crap, in which case I’ll put the call out again).

Image courtesy of barunpatro

Reader Question: How Do I Find a Quality Raiding Guild?

Reader Question: How Do I Find a Quality Raiding Guild?

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Recently, reader Solarius wrote in with a question that I found so insightful and thought-provoking that I felt it deserved a whole post in response. In his own words:

I was wondering if you had any advice for players who are looking for a decent raiding guild – I’ve read your post on “How do I break into raiding?”, but there are also considerations, like how to recognize a good guild or know when its recruiting and so on. I remember back during BC when Karazhan just had i’s entrance requirements relaxed, and I had the hardest time finding even a Karazhan guild that didn’t either try to run with greens, or have an established cliquish environment.

While I admit I didn’t improve my equipment to the upmost (enchantments and non-green gems being the cardinal sins), I tried my best to be a better raider: I ran PuG Heroics for equipment upgrades, made and offered potions and elixirs, learned how to maximize my DPS rotations, and read up on instance encounters. I still never really made it past PuGing Karazhan.

Since you were writing about guild management and recruitment, I hoped you could cover the other end of the spectrum. As you’ve mentioned before, not everyone advertises on Trade (and I’ve regretted the three times I took those blind offers), the Realm forums can be sketchy, and sites like WoWJutsu are impersonal and lack contact information.

Solarius is absolutely right in that the question of finding a guild has two sides. Yes, players need to do everything that they can to “sell” themselves to the organization they would like to join. There is plenty of information available in the blogosphere, both on this site and elsewhere, about how to apply to a guild. However, how does a player find a guild worth applying to?

I’ve recently changed guilds myself, and you might say that I had an insider’s tip as to where to go, as I’m now raiding with Matticus (who, as I’ve said, is every bit as great a GM as he is a boss). However, I am confident that, if I had to find a guild with no personal connection whatsoever to me, I think I could sort the good from the bad. What would be my plan of attack, and even more importantly, what decisions would I have to make?

If you’re looking for a new guild, consider following these ten steps to virtual health, happiness, and phat loots.

1. Decide whether you want to stay on your current server.

Personal circumstances will probably decide this one for you. If there will be a lot of drama involved when you leave your current guild, a server jump can be a good way to get a fresh start. However, if you have friends and relatives on your server, and they’re not willing to move with you, you may want to stay. In many cases, this decision will be impacted by the overall health of raiding guilds on your server. If there are many active guilds that you wouldn’t mind joining, it could be a good idea to stick around the neighborhood. If your server’s too quiet, or if your faction is outnumbered or always loses battlegrounds, you may be happier with a change of scene.

2. Place advertisements.

What you’re doing is fishing for responses from guilds who are actively looking. If you’re staying on your own realm, make a post about yourself on your realm forum. Be aware that these posts can draw the trolls, but they will get your name out there. However, for a fairly troll-free place to fish, go to the Alliance or Horde Guild Recruitment Forums and place a thoughtful ad about yourself. Quality guilds will search these almost daily when they’re looking for new blood. I found Trinia, an awesome warlock and one of my favorite people in Conquest, that way. Watch to see who responds to your ad, and then research their organization before you take the next step.

3. Observe how your prospective guild behaves.

If you’re staying on your own server, do watch that Trade Chat. Sometimes really good organizations will advertise that way. Write their names down, and whisper the recruiter for more information. If you’re thinking of a guild on another server, make an alt and stand in a major city for a while. Are they an active presence on the server? If so, do they contribute in a positive or negative way? This is far easier to do on your own server, where you are in effect listening all the time to how other guilds behave. If the guild recruits in trade, ask to talk to someone. That will be your best measure of what the guild is really like. I must admit, I judge guilds by their members, particularly their public interactions with others. Just one person spamming trade with obscenities will color my opinion of the whole group.

4. When a guild interviews you, interview them right back.

If you’re invited to chat or get on vent with a guild recruiter, ask questions. It’s not just about “auditioning” for this new person and proving how great you are. This is your chance to quiz them on the issues that are important to you. How do they distribute loot? How do longtime members treat new people? Is there any longstanding guild drama? What do they do when problems arise? These are tough questions, and you’ll be listening carefully to your recruiter’s responses. If she’s being evasive, take it as a warning sign. This interview is your opportunity to find out whatever you want to know–use it wisely.

5. E-stalk your new guild.

Before you accept a g-invite, take advantage of any and all public information about them. Go to their website, and, if you can, make an account there. Read the whole thing if they will let you. If they are well-organized, the site will have at least some content. Raiding guilds tend to have fairly active websites. Watch for too much activity however. All guilds have drama, but beware all-out insult fests.

It probably already occurred to you to check a guild’s progress on Wowjutsu. However, I want you to go with a critical eye. Go through all the listings and find out what their gear distribution is like. How many players are getting geared up? Is there a lot of competition for your class and role? Do the officers seem to be getting everything? Wowjutsu doesn’t track everything, but you can pretty much count on guilds queueing up their loot from first boss kills. If the loot distribution is fair, you will see a lot of different names. In addition, Wowjutsu lets you see the grayed out names of players who have recently left the organization. A high proportion of these can indicate that your prospective guild has lost many members and is trying to rebuild.

In addition to the guild’s own website and Wowjutsu, I urge you to go to the guild’s realm forum and see how other guilds respond to them there. They probably have a recruitment thread up, and there are probably responses from players with other guild tags. If they have a good rep on the server, most of this commentary will be positive. If your prospective guild is comprised of a bunch of ninja asshats, the server forums might just clue you in.

6. Go on a trial run if you can.

A really good organization will let you try out–and even take loot. They will be proud of what they have to offer. Particularly if you’re on the same server, pug a 10-man with some of their members. If you like the personalities of the people you run with, talk to them more in-depth about the guild. Most people will be honest with you, and you’ll get to see their perspective on the good and bad features of the guild.

Remember, accepting a g-invite is not a lifetime commitment. If you’re unhappy, you owe it to yourself to seek your bliss elsewhere. Even if you server hop, you can change guilds again in a month. I am all for loyalty to an organization, but be sure it is a guild that deserves your allegiance. Be fair to your guild, and don’t expect perfection, but don’t be a martyr either. Happy hunting!

Is Trade Chat a Good Avenue for Guild Prospects?

Is Trade Chat a Good Avenue for Guild Prospects?

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I don’t get a lot of email. But the ones I do get are often insightful questions. Heh, sometimes I have to respond to the reader and tell them that an email response wouldn’t do their email justice. The next best thing is to convert their question and topic into a blog post so I can really attack it from all angles.

From Ephii:

I see that you’re posting in trade to advertise/recruit. Our guild is currently recruiting but our members have always felt that spamming trade carries a social stigma of being "one of those crappy guilds." We were the most progressed Alliance guild in TBC until some of our core members transferred off. Our reputation is sterling as the mature guild with players who don’t run their mouths. However, we’re having problems getting new recruits by posting on the realm forums alone (for server recruits). What is your take on posting in trade?

Ephii runs a really cool Shadow Priest blog, interestingly enough. Pay attention to the Healing Macros post.

Back to the question at hand. I can understand why players don’t like to advertise in trade. Trade chat has traditionally been viewed as a place where scoundrels, heathens, morons, and bad players congregate.

So why would I want to advertise my guild there?

Because, like it or not, it is the largest channel in terms of population. Just because you have scoundrels, heathens, morons and bad players running their mouths off in trade chat doesn’t mean that you have scoundrels, heathens, morons and bad players reading it all the time.

I used to think about trade chat the same way. I wouldn’t want any guild I was a part of to advertise there because of the perception that those bad players bring. Why would I want to play or raid alongside these trade chat pollutants, right? Only crappy and unskilled guilds recruit from trade chat. Real good players are the ones that transfer to you off server and come to you directly. With that in mind, I shouldn’t advertise in trade chat.

Why is this wrong?

You have to start somewhere. Unless you’re a top 20 guild, you’re never going to be able to attract top level talent. The only way to attract talent is to prove that you have tenacity to get the job done with whatever members you have at your disposal. At this point, for most guilds, their immediate goal is to attract players. Skilled players come later. Weak players weed themselves out as time goes on.

As GM, my immediate goal is to get into the 25s as soon as possible. I wanted to develop the image and perception that Conquest would be a successful guild. In order to do that, I have to have at least 25 raiders. Without it, my goals are as good as dead in the water. I don’t have the reputation yet to be able to convince or draw 25 players without utilizing trade chat.

Lesson of exposure

One important concept I was taught in marketing is the concept of exposure. If you don’t expose yourself, people aren’t going to know you. If they don’t know you, they’re not going to join you.

Let’s put it this way.

I’m an electronics chain looking to unload some Blu-ray Players. Specifically, I got these kick ass Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray Player‘s lying around.

Let’s forget the fact that it’s 1080p, HDMI, Dolby Digital, and comes at a low price of only $199. Because it’s not important.

(I can hear the epic sighs and see the head shaking but I’m trying to prove a point here!)

You wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t told you. If I was working in marketing and I wanted to sell as many of these as I could, I have to make people aware that I’m selling these. Why do you think advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry? Companies employ television ads, magazine and newspaper ads, billboards and our most hated enemy are banner ads.

Hell, people call you at 7 PM when you’re having dinner to ask you to buy something. Those guys, I want to shoot.

Everyone is competing for your attention.

We’ve grown accustomed to filtering them out. But if a company can attract your attention for even a few seconds, they’ll have succeeded because they want you to think about them. The next time you get the urge to to buy a product or pursue a service, they’re banking on you to remember it.

Back to trade chat

So how does this apply to WoW guilds and recruiting? It’s the same general principle. People aren’t going to buy stuff if they don’t know you have them. Players won’t apply for your guild if they don’t know you exist. For guilds that are just starting out, trade chat is the biggest source of potential recruits because in my experience there are three types of players:

  • Players that aren’t looking for a raiding guild
  • Players that are looking for a raiding guild, but don’t know it yet because they’re waiting for the right opportunity
  • Players that are looking for a guild

Numbers 2 and 3 are the most important. Offering EST friendly hours was one of the best moves I was able to make because I didn’t alienate players on the other side of the continent. I advertised this in trade and received a number of applicants this way because they weren’t able to handle raiding up until 1 AM or 2 AM anymore. The only reason they stayed in their current guild was because they had little choice.

But by exposing my guild, my days, my times, my goals, and wants, I gave them another way out. Raiders looking to join raiding guilds generally have little to say in trade chat. You’ll be amazed at how many people you can pick up from there.

Realm and guild recruitment forums are nice. But only a small fraction of players check those. In my experience, those tend to be the 3rd category of players.

Although you may hate it, trade chat’s going to be the biggest source of recruits for you. Take advantage of it. Otherwise, you’re going to be waiting for a long time.

For my purposes, I view trade chat as a necessary tool. I don’t exactly have people knocking on my door and I need to spotlight my guild as much as possible. This means plugging it on Twitter, using my blog, advertising in Trade chat, using the realm forums, the guild recruitment forums, my Plusheal forums and so forth.

Where did they come from?

Since my guild is still relatively lean, I still remember where (most of) my players come from:

recruits

When I mean off server, I don’t mean transfer. These are players that were a result of advertising on guild recruitment forums. I probably had around 7ish server transfers (if you include the blog and twitter). Referrals are players that a guild member knows. A Paladin applies, gets in, refers a Rogue and a Shaman and those guys subsequently get in as well. They may or may not have been exposed to trade chat. Had I not advertised in trade chat, the original Paladin would not have known about Conquest or advised his friends about it.

Don’t judge the quality of every player in trade chat by what’s said. Most of us generally keep our mouths shut. Just because we don’t say anything doesn’t mean we aren’t reading.

The Care and Keeping of Recruits

Welcome mat

One of the best bosses I ever had was fond of saying:

“Expectations without support erode trust.”

My beloved guild lets me handle pretty much anything to do with Priests, without making me be an actual officer. I do the recruiting and the interviews, I give input on Priest-related loot council and raid spots, and make the recommendation for full membership. I appreciate the respect and autonomy my Raid Leader and Officers have given me, and in return I make sure that our Priest-corps is always prepared to do the best we can.

Sydera recently wrote a great article on how to recruit a healer, and the 10th step hit home: Follow up:

Your guild has a new healer, and you are the person she knows best. Serve as her mentor, and check in with her often. If the guild isn’t happy with your recruit’s performance, be the one to explain why. If it seems that the guild is a good fit, be her champion when the officers vote on whether she should be promoted to full member.

This is so unbelievably true, and I think is a huge reason that some guilds experience high amounts of recruit turn-over. They can get players in the door, but one or two epics later, they’re gone again. The reason seems to be that the new raiders never really found a warm welcome, or a sense of belonging – just a lot of high-pressure to perform with little feedback and even less help. Here’s how I avoid turnover with my recruits, and help them realize their Priestly potential.

Set Clear Expectations

This process starts in the interview. Be explicit with your expectations – gear, consumables, punctuality, and attendance. I tell Holy recruits that I’m looking for a Priest to take my place. I want them to out-heal me, to be more familiar with the class and fights than I am, and to teach me a thing or two. If they accept that challenge, I tell them I will help them gear up, adjust their UI’s and learn the fights – and invite them to my guild.

Give A Sense of Structure

Tell them what the Raid schedule typically is. Sure, they may know that you raid M-Th 6-10 server, but if you know that Monday is guaranteed to be a progression boss with no Trials in attendance, tell them. If you don’t know exactly what’s on the menu, at least give them the options for the next day. It could go something like this: “We’ll probably raid Sunwell tomorrow, so be prepared for that. If [Paladin] can’t come, it’ll be BT. You’ll be required for BT, but may have the night off if it’s Sunwell.” That way, they can plan ahead – they may need time to farm shadow resist gear, or different consumables. They may need to adjust their dailies for more repair bill or respec money. Be courteous, and give them the information they’l need to make a good impression.

Make Yourself Available

Let the recruit know when you’ll be available for last minute questions before the raid. Seek them out, and ask them what assistance they need – not if they need assistance. (A subtle but important difference.) Remember, you’re the recruiting officer of the big, scary progression guild – and that can be intimidating, even if the night before you told them to seek you out.

Make Sure They’re Really Prepared

At this point, you know their gear is okay from the interview. But raid-prep can get glossed over. Typically, I ask specific questions about a few things:

  • Do you have enough elixirs, flasks, and mana pots?
  • Do you have enough food?
  • Do you have enough cash for repairs and/or respecs?
  • Do you have enough reagents?
  • I also make sure that I’m clear about my definition of “enough”. Their old guild might have been okay with 10 elixirs and 20 candles. I carry full stacks of 3 kinds of elixirs and 200 candles. Don’t get me started on food, pots, oils, and flasks. The idea is to avoid any lack of communication that could result in your recruit being singled out as unprepared. You know what the expectations are, but they do not. Help them. Personally, I always bring enough consumables to a recruit’s first raid for both of us. If they forget anything or need anything, I want them to ask ME in a whisper, not the raid in vent. These small things matter, and a recruit who is nervous over something as minor as reagents will not perform at their best. Help them make the best first impression they can.

    Raid Mechanics

    Most guilds are pretty good about making sure recruits get a run-down of how the fight is done – even with a basically similar strat, most guilds have a few quirks that should be explained to avoid confusion. What gets missed are the details of how your Raid works overall. Make sure your new player knows any extra channels they should join (class channel, healer channel, etc.), what officer gives out the target-assignments, and how to bid for loot (& whether they’re eligible.) It’s not as big an issue with DPSers, but for healers, give specific healing assignments. “Heal Joe”  may mean something to you, but if it is really Joeblaze, the Warlock tank in Group 4, that could make a difference. Also, if you’re in a situation where tanks are passing aggro – think Netherspite, Hydross, BloodBoil, or Kalecgos – and calling on vent, make sure players know to say their names.”I’ve got it!” wastes time, but “Stefizzle, taunting” means new healers don’t have to guess whose voice goes with what .

    Give Feedback

    I’ve made my position on meters pretty clear. They’re a very visible part of my UI. One of the biggest reasons is that I’ve noticed the best way to improve performance is to give timely feedback, whether positive or negative. With Recount open at all times, I can tell if my new CoH Priest is using CoH 84% of the time, and not using ProM at all. More importantly, I can tell him how to modify his style to improve, right now. I can also quicky find out how much overhealing is going on, whether the right targets are being healed, what was responsible for killing someone, and any other information that allows me to analyse my recruits’ performances. (Personally, I also set the recruit as my focus – I pay attention to their casting bar, spell rank, timing, target, health and mana levels.) Creepy? Sure. Relevant? Absolutely. Telling a DPSer that they need 10k more output to catch up with the mage above them, or a healer that another 3k will top that Shammy gets results. They work harder and faster. When they do well, I’ll also link the meter in the appropriate channel. Nothing makes someone’s day like showing them in the #1 spot to the whole raid. (I usually just link the first or second spots to avoid high amounts of spam.)

    Back Them Up

    Sometimes, bad things happen. Players die, raids wipe – and in the spirit of fixing it, we all look for the cause. Be an advocate for your recruit. It’s easy to blame the new healer for the Tank’s death, but if you know the real problem was something else, speak up. What are sound reasons coming from you may sound like excuses coming from them. On the other hand, If the problem really WAS the recruit, you can help them fix it.

    When They Struggle

    Even the best applicants can turn out to be lackluster players. Be prepared to talk to them, either 1:1 or with your Raid Leader, about their perspective on the problem, and possible solutions. Provide resources outside the game for them to peruse and soak up information. In the end, if they’re not a good fit, or not talented enough to keep up with the content, you’ll both be able to make the best decision – no waiting to “see if they get better or whether they just need a little more experience”.

    If you’ve given them the help, environment, and resources they need to be successful, you can part company on good terms – and they, with a full understanding of your expectations, may even be able to refer other players who would be a better fit.

    And you thought the hardest part of recruiting was finding good players! The thing to remember is that different personality types thrive in different environments. Personally, nothing will make me perform better than a situation where I have to fight to prove that I’m the best – provided that once I’ve done so, the achievement is recognized. Others seem to need a bit more coaching, and relatively well-defined requirements and goals. Tailor your leadership style to their needs; don’t force them to conform to you. Just remember that although their job is to impress you, your job is to make sure that they know how to do theirs.

    Luv,
    Wyn

    Resources for the New Guild Leader

    I just wanted to highlight some links for any up and coming Guildmasters who aren’t sure where to start looking for the various services they will need to set up and organize their guild..

    Guild Webhosting

    Enjin (Affiliate link) – Free. Contains forums, item mouseovers, roster, news management, calendar, progression indicator, multiple themes available (Demos, upgradable)
    Guildomatic
    – Free. Contains forums, item mouseovers, roster, news management, Ad-Supported (Demo, upgradable)
    Shivtr – Forums, character profiles, image gallery, events calendar, guild bank interface, polls (Free trial, $8.99 /month)
    Guild Launch – Free, Forums, calendar, guild progression, RapidRaid loot management system, guild bank interface, armory interface, 10 MB file storage, Ad-Supported (demo, upgradable)
    WoW Guilds – DKP system, bank management, raid progression module, WoW MP3 player, event management, over 70 templates to choose from, guild stats, armory interface (Demo – $9.88 /month)
    Guild Universe – Forums, calendar, event management, guild application, roster, news management, polls (Demo, upgradable)
    Guild Portal – Forums, polls, mail, content management system, raid calendar, bank management, roster management,  (Demo, equals to $5.00 /month)

    Webhosting

    Dreamhost (Affiliate link): Dreamhost powers World of Matticus (500 GB Disk storage, 5 TB monthly bandwidth, $5.95 /month depending on prepayment).

    Forums

    Yuku – Free, hundreds of skins, customizable polls, member management (premium available)
    Free Forums – Free, daily backups, over 100 styles, member management, data recovery (premium available)

    DKP and EPGP

    DKP 4 Guilds – Inhouse DKP management, raid attendance logs, raid bank, item mouseovers.
    EPGP Web – Web interface for EPGP users.

    Voice Servers

    Nationvoice (Affiliate link): My personal vent provider of choice. I’ve been with them for over 5 years since my early days in Counter-strike (50 users for $14.99).
    Typefrag – An alternative to Nationvoice. A number of Guilds I know use them (50 users for $9.99 and they have a special where if you order for a year, you get 50% off).
    MMO Mumble – Mumble hosting service. $5.63 for 25 slots.
    Raidcall – Free, no dedicated servers needed.

    General

    Warcraft Realms – Online WoW census. Tracks a player’s guild history.
    WoW Jutsu – Ranks guilds based on their progression. Filterable by battlegroup, server, and faction.
    WoW Progress – Ranks guilds based on their progression. Filterable by battlegroup, server, and faction.
    World of Logs – Think of it as a really indepth damage meter. Takes your combat log and outputs it into something meaningful.
    WoWpedia – The encyclopedia of WoW. Useful for learning about raid instances and the trash therein as well as boss strategy.
    Boss Killers – Various strategies for killing bosses.
    Ask Mr Robot – Online tool for figure out what gear to get next on your character. Optimizes reforging and augments. Customizable stat weights.
    Icy Veins – Class information and raid strategy

    Recruiting

    Elitist Jerks – One of the largest theorycrafting communities. $25 per thread.
    Tankspot – Available to Tankspot donors only.
    WoW Lemmings – WoW forums aggregator. Sorts the latest posts on the Guild Recruiting forums on the official WoW site by faction and class.

    Now Hiring: How to Recruit Players to Your Guild

    There’s quite a few Guilds out there who are always on the lookout for new players to help augment their ranks but are not quite sure how to pull it off. I’m going to assume you have been assigned by your GM to look for more players and that you have no clue how to do it apart from spamming trade. If so, then this column is for you. By the end of this, you should be able to pick up players with no problems at all. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, this is one of my longer pieces.

    There are many places a Human Resources officer in a Guild can go to start looking. The first thing is to set up a “Help Wanted ad”. But like any newspaper or wanted ad, you want to specify exactly what spots your Guild needs filled. So before you start looking and posting in trade chat or the WoW recruiting forums, ask yourself the following questions:

    What kind of Guild are we? Do we tackle progression raids only? Do I need a position filled on our PvP teams? Figure out the purpose of your Guild before doing anything else.

    Next, figure out the role that you need filled. Are we short on healers? Do we need competent spellcasting DPS? Are our Druid tanks stupid with no ideas on how to tank? Once you have that sorted out, narrow it down even further. Of those three categories, which class do you need the most? What class can you use but already have enough of? You may already have 3 Priests and no Paladins but need another healer. You would really like a Holy Paladin or a Restoration Druid, but chances are you will not turn away another Holy Priest if they apply because it fills the need of another healer.

    Where is your Guild on progression? Now you need to begin specifying gear requirements. If Conquest was looking for a tank, our needs would be vastly different from a Guild just starting to go into Karazhan. For example, the Canucks would have a different need than the Penguins. For us, the ideal tank should have about X HP or Stamina, Y Defense, with Z Frost or Nature resistance. But a tank looking for a Karazhan group can get away with having less than that.

     

    If your Guild is working on Magtheridon with Gruul down and on farm, then be sure to mention your progression. Going back to our tanking example, you will want to pick up a tank that has done similar encounters with similar experience. Ideally, you don’t want to have to train a tank on an encounter but sometimes it must be done. I understand it is hard to find a perfect player which matches your needs, but it does not hurt to say where you are on progression.

    List your raiding times and other requirements. Conquest only raids on Tuesday, Thursday, and Mondays in the evenings. Therefore, it would not make sense to pick up a Warlock who lives in Australia with a 9-5 job. If a person cannot make th time, then they will not bother applying. They don’t waste your time and you don’t waste their time. There might be some software or UI requirements that you should mention. Conquest makes heavy use of Mumble. If you don’t have those two, then you don’t raid with us period.

    My old personal policy when I was in charge with recruiting was this: If a player is not willing to follow the simple instructions of downloading and installing an addon or program, how do I know they will obey and follow instructions when it really matters in the raid? I will automatically assume they won’t and immediately write them off. I don’t care if they’re decked out in all T5 or however geared they are because I value a person’s ability to willingly follow instructions over gear they have. Gear can be acquired by any button mashing monkey. But attitude and personality are learned attributes.

    Finally, be sure to mention any other quirks or rules that need to be said. Mention any age restrictions or beliefs that you want. I don’t want to go through the effort of having to censor myself or others. I won’t get started on attitudes either.

    Creating the Post

    Now you create your Guild ad from all the above questions that you have answered. Keep a copy of this at all times somewhere in your computer in Word format or on your Guild recruiting forums for easy access. I’ll write a hypothetical ad about Conquest (Note that we’re not actually hiring).

    Server: Ner’Zuhl (West Coast, PvP, PST Server)
    Guild Name: Conquest
    Website: http://www.nerzhulconquest.com
    Raiding Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 6:00PM – 9:30 PM [Note that times are subject to change]
    Faction: Alliance
    Progress: 5/12 Tier 11 on 25 normal

    What our Guild can offer:

    • A relaxed and fun raiding environment
    • A competitive rated BG team
    • A diverse group of players to engage in activities with
    • Mumble

    Ideal Candidates:

    • Are mature, over 16 years
    • Possess a working microphone and are not afraid to use it
    • Possess a stable internet connection and a raid capable computer that will not explode
    • Skilled Player: Skilled in the class that you play
    • Excellent Attitude: No negativity. A positive personality that synchronizes with the rest of the guild is an asset

    UI Requirements:
    Omen
    Some boss timers: DXE, DBM or Bigwigs

    Once again, contacts: Send in game messages to Matticus on Ner’Zuhl. Alternatively, you can create an account on the website, and use our recruiting form

    Now that you have your template post made, the time has come to focus on the real work of actively looking for players. There’s three different ways to go about finding the players you want:

    WoW Forums

    Yes, the WoW forums are a mess but it still does not mean a lot of players don’t use it. There are two boards interest: Guild Recruitment Forums and your Realm Forums.

    Check your Realm forum first. It would be great to find a player that matches your need wo is already on your server. If not, it’s time to check the Guild Recruitment Forums.

    Now the Guild Recruitment Forums are one of the top places I go to in order to pick up players. Still have that ad handy? Good, keep it in your clipboard (Ctrl + C). If players are smart, their topic will contain their faction, name, class, realm, and server type. When I started doing this, I sifted through the first ten pages. Everything after page 10, I safely assumed that player had already found a guild otherwise it would have been bumped up to page 1 or 2 by now. Take the time to click on posters of interest and read their own application. Compare it to your shopping list and see if there are any similarities. Scroll down the reply list and see if the original poster has responded to any of the Guild requests or he’s withdrawn his WoW Resume.

    If he has, press the back button and continue sifting through the pages and repeat the process.

    If he’s still a free agent or has made no signs showing that he’s signed with a Guild, then post your ad, press back and continue sifting anyway.

    Here’s how you can bring your Guild to the top of his list:

    If that player has posted additional contact information, use it. Send that person an email or add him on to your MSN list. Want to take it a step further? Make a new character on that player’s server and try to send him a tell. If he’s not online, make sure you rolled a mage or warlock, kill a few boars, and send him an in game mail saying Hi and leaving him your contact information saying that you are very much interested in speaking with him.

    If you’re an Alliance Guild, I recommend rolling a Human because Stormwind is so close. Im unsure about the Horde side. Undead perhaps?

    Why would you do this? Why go through all this trouble for a player?

    Chances are, there are a lot of Guilds vying for that player. Make every effort you can to get noticed. The key is to attract his attention. Player’s are not likely to apply unless they know you exist. But on the other hand, if you show initiative, I think most players would be flattered. At the very least, you will be noticed first. Think abut it for a second. If you’re jobless and you get a call from a company asking you for an interview, wouldn’t you be excited? I know I would be. A Guild isn’t so different from a business after all.

    Recruiting within the game

    The next method is ingame recruiting. Post a message in trade chat outlining your needs but be sure to cut out the stuff you don’t need. You want to include the class you’re looking for, your progression, and your website. I personally believe raiding Guilds need to have websites so they can maintain a presence of some sort and remain competitive if they need to recruit. I don’t know how else to explain it. There’s just a sense of professionalism between Guilds with a site and a Guild without. Anyways, the reason I said post in trade chat is because th Guild Recruiting Channel isn’t automatically joined by players who are already in Guilds. If a player is interested, they should theoretically message you asking for details.

    Here’s an example of an in game ad that I use:

    [Level 9] LF to join! Raids are Mon, Tue, Th,6 – 930 PM. Rated BGs Wed, Fri and weekends. Visit our new site – nerzhulconquest.com 1/12 25 man, 2/12 10 man PST for details/questions. All classes may apply.

    Running instances

    The last method is the most tiring but allows you to evaluate the individual skill of a player. At the end of the run, let the other players know that your huild is recruiting. If they have any friends who are interested, tell them to send them your way. With any luck, they will pass the information on to their friends and you will have skirted the unethical practice of poaching players from other guilds. You’ve indirectly said to tem that you are recruiting. If they’re impressed with you and your guild, they’ll check you out. You cannot get accused of stealing players because thy did it voluntarily, right? After all, it is not like you directly said to them “Hey, our guild’s doing this and we need players. Interested?” But alas, that is a discussion for another time. The point is to generate player interest via word of mouth.

    Now that you have a solid set of applicants, the time has come for the interview process. This can either be done in game or on a voice server. I generally prefer ventrilo. I like to hear a person and listen to how they answer my questions. If you’re speaking to a player off server, it is absolutely doubly important since transferring characters is not cheap. Ask them a question even if it’s already been answered by tem in their application or such. If there is a discrepancy between answers, alarm bells should be going off in your head and you need to make sure it’s clarified. If he posts one thing and says another, be sure to follow up on it. Here’s a few sample questions that you can ask:

    What’s your raiding experience?
    When are you able to raid?
    What kind of gear do you have? (With Armory open)
    Do you know anyone in the Guild?
    Why did you pick our Guild?
    What are your professions?
    Do you have any questions?

    The last question is important because you want to give that player an opening to help dispel his or her concerns. Such topics may include loot distribution, raiding frequency (backup or starting raider), etc. It would suck for a player to transfer and then immediately regret it. It’s just common courtesy. The point here is to ensure that the Guild is a good fit for the player and vice versa. If he aces your interview and you think he is a good fit, then tell him to transfer and sign him immediately.

    If not, and here is were I find things interesting, then just let him know. For some reason, there are people who exist who do not seem able to or are unwilling to say no. Jut tell them that “Sorry, you don’t match what we’re looking for in a player. Good luck to you!”

    There you have it. A start to finish guide on how to pick up and recruit players. I hope my experience as a recruiting officer helps and hopefully you’ll pick up the players you need to succeed in higher end content. Now get back to raiding!