Dear Matt, What Should I Look for in Joining a Guild?

I like to run an advice column every once in a while because even though I don’t get many emails, the ones I *do* get are quite the stumpers. This week, I don’t have Wyn around to help me so I’ve turned to guest writer and Guildmaster Auzara from Chick GM to share her 2 cents.

I’ve been a reader of your site ever since I started my first priest, and I must say the articles have been inspirational. I’m coming out of lurker mode to ask your (and/or Wyn’s) advice on joining guilds.

My wife and I play together and over the course of many months we have made many friends online. Through our entire course of leveling to 70, we have remained unguilded (as we are on all of our characters). It has mostly been unnecessary because, with a large pool of friends, we can always find a group when we need one.

All of our friends are in different guilds and almost all of them have invited us to their guilds at one point or another. We always kindly turn them down and explain that we’ve been considering creating a “vanity guild” for just the two of us.

But lately, a recent group of 4 additions to our friends list (who all belong to the same guild) have been pretty persistent in trying to recruit us to their guild.

They are nice guys, and have been going out of their way to help us get better gear. One of them is an officer in their guild and has even offered me BoE gear from the Guild Bank. So now are stuck in a corundum:

  1. We’ve turned down offers from many other friends. If we join these guys’ guild (and not one of our own making), it might look like we’re slighting our other friends’ guilds.
  2. We really wanted to make a vanity guild, but if we finally do that, our new friends might feel slighted that we rejected theirs.
  3. Frankly, most guild names are embarrassing, including our new friends’ guild name. We don’t like the idea of running around with something stupid displayed on our character’s nameplates. We put a lot of effort into coming up with clever names for all of our characters, and it seems wasted to have a bad guild name spoiling it.
  4. While our new friends’ guild is making PVE progression, inspecting our friends show mostly PvP gear. We did a little PvP pre-60 but don’t much enjoy it at the higher levels. I guess I’m just a little worried about their guild’s focus.

We live in an odd time zone (we play from Japan) so normally there aren’t very many people on at the same time. It so happens that two of our new friends also live in Japan and are on-line at the same time as us.

I guess my question for y’all, as people with much more guild experience, is “does it matter?” What things are important in a guild? Is it petty to be hungup over a bad guild name? Do you have any advise for turning down guild invites from friends without insulting them?

From Guildless in Japan

Dear Guildless in Japan,

First piece of advice I can offer is that you do not let gear dictate what a player’s primary interest lies. I have multiple characters with Vengeful and Brutal gear but I will always place raiding above everything else. Ask that Guild one question:

What do you do? Raid or PvP?

If what they’re doing is what you want and your partner want to do (IE, raid), then you should probably join it. Is it petty to be hung up over a bad guild name? Probably but this is a matter that’s debatable on multiple fronts. Although the reputation of a guild is important to me, the name isn’t. If I want to raid and I have to wear the tag of <The Chuck Norris Crew>, I’d probably go into my options and disable the showing of guild tags. But if it really matters that much to you, then you probably shouldn’t. I’ve always been performance based. For example, others spend hours choosing every facet of their character. I just hit the randomize button. It all depends on you.

To me, not joining a Guild because of the name is like not buying a car because it doesn’t have racing stripes.

For textbook answers on how to turn down Guild invites, feel free to use one of the following excuses:

  • Sorry, I can’t join your Guild. It doesn’t have what I’m looking for.
  • It’s against my religion to join Guilds ending in a (insert last letter of Guild here)
  • I can’t! I’m washing my hair!

But by joining a Guild, you’re already joining a group of people that already has it’s foundations down in terms of tanks and healers. No Guild can survive without a stable group of tanks and healers. Apart from that, you’re going to have to use your own judgment on whether or not the atmosphere of the Guild is one you want to be apart of.

For a more in depth answer, see Auz’s below as she offers much more from the GM perspective.

Dear Guildless in Japan,

It’s clear from your message that you’re feeling conflicted and pulled in many directions at once. As I read your message two things stuck out to me. The first is I’ve heard more about your what your friends want than what you want. The second is, if you have been planning to create a vanity guild, what has prevented you from doing this already? With those things in mind, I’ve tried to work my way though the things that are affecting your decision and the questions you’ve asked in a semblance of order.

“Does it matter?” How much being in a guild matters is entirely up to you and to a lesser degree the expectations of the guild. In a social game like WoW, your game time is shaped by the people you experience it with. Your guild doesn’t have to determine who you experience the game with. You can be as involved or detached from a guild as you choose to be and the guild expectations allow you to be.

“What things are important in a guild?” This is largely dependent on the individual guild. In some guilds your worth to the guild is determined by how much DPS you can provide. In others, your encyclopedic knowledge of your mom jokes might be the your key to success. The best way to find out what’s important to a guild is to find out what the guild requests from it’s members. Do they require 15 hours of raiding? 10 hours of role playing in Ironforge? That you refrain from cursing in trade chat? Active participation in their forums? A successful guild will tell you upfront what they expect from their members. From there it’s up to you to determine if that matches what you and your wife wish to provide.

“Is it petty to be hungup over a bad guild name?” No. Someone else may not be bothered by a bad guild name, but the fact is you are. If you weren’t you wouldn’t have asked that question. What bothers you is never petty. The question isn’t “is it petty?” The question is, “is it something that should prevent me from joining a guild?” The answer is to ask the question another way; “does the potential benefit of being in the guild outweigh the annoyance I’ll feel when I login   to find <I’m with Stupid> over my head?”

It appears there are three major things affecting your decision:

  • Loyalty to old friends and fear of causing offense should you join an existing guild.
  • Concern that joining an established guild may cause you to feel compelled to participate in aspects of the game that you don’t enjoy.
  • Fear of alienating your new friends who’ve been helpful, persistent, and a few share your time zone in a server where that is unusual.

I think you should put two of these concerns to rest right away. This game is first and foremost how you and your wife choose to spend some of your entertainment time. No one other than you and your wife has the right to impose their will on how you spend that time. Choosing to join or not join a guild out of fear of alienating your friends will make you miserable, which will in turn alienate you from your friends. (Funny how that works.) Regardless of the decision you make, if after explaining it to your friends, they aren’t supportive then you are better off without their friendship.

The remaining concern is something that needs further examination. How do your new friends react now when you want to do something that differs from what they want to do? (Especially the officer) Do they pressure you to partake in their activity? Do they offer a different suggestion for how to spend time together? Do they do leave you to your activity? Do they join in your plans? How they treat you now as friends will likely correlate to how they would treat you as a guildmate.

Another thing to consider when addressing this concern is to determine what parts of the game you two enjoy. You note that you don’t enjoy “higher level” PVP, but what do you find enjoyable?  Before you can decide if a guild’s focus might be counter to your own, you have to determine your focus. Next look at your wife and right now decide, how much time do you two want to spend playing wow? If they are asking for more of a time commitment than you are currently making and more than you want to make, then walk away now; that isn’t the guild for you.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but creating a vanity guild takes 8 signatures (other than your wife and yours) and 10 silver. If this is really what you want, it’s relatively simple to accomplish. I can see two possibilities that would prevent you from having done it already; you two are either debating the perfect name or you two aren’t completely sold on the idea of the vanity guild. Perhaps some part of you wonders what it would be like to be a part of a community like these friends are offering.

Hopefully at this point I’ve helped you unravel some of the things that are tugging you in different directions so that you and your wife can make the right decision for you regarding your guild status. From there you’ll need advice on one of two topics:

  • Explaining to old friends you’ve chosen to join an existing guild even though in the past you’ve declined theirs.
  • Determining how to head off future and current friend’s recruitment attempts.

Fortunately for you, the examination of what you want out of your gaming time that you’ve just done will help you in both of these conversations. In either case, take your friends aside and assure them that your friendship with them is valuable to you. Next explain your decision to them, highlight why you think this is the best decision for you. Lastly ask for their support, either in the form of ceasing further recruitment attempts or in helping you as you adjust to your new home.

My final suggestion is this, if you come to the conclusion that you and your wife are happy with your solitary ways, then go create that vanity guild! It will reduce the amount of invitations you receive AND you get a guild bank to share. Honestly, it’s just a winning solution all around.

Thanks Auz!

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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  1. [...] A post is written on AFKing with etiquette: 4 things to remember for those of us with seemingly oversized bladders. Wyn presents her perspective on why the attitude of it doesn’t matter as long as the boss dies is wrong and harmful to raiding guilds. Confessions of a Raid healer is shamelessly written followed by Murphy’s 13 laws of raiding. An important question is answered: What should I look for in joining a guild? [...]

  2. [...] A post is written on AFKing with etiquette: 4 things to remember for those of us with seemingly oversized bladders. Wyn presents her perspective on why the attitude of it doesn’t matter as long as the boss dies is wrong and harmful to raiding guilds. Confessions of a Raid healer is shamelessly written followed by Murphy’s 13 laws of raiding. An important question is answered: What should I look for in joining a guild? [...]