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.

Did Cataclysm fail?

So, you’ve probably seen a number of these posts around lately, and to be honest you shouldn’t be too terribly surprised. We’re at the end of a cycle, with the last raid tier coming out soon and people already looking forward to the next expansion and the promise of bouncing pandas. The topic lately is whether or not that Cataclysm has failed as an expansion.

I figured the time is right for me to chime in on the topic, and I promise you it will be relevant to the site.

Healing Design

At the onset of the expansion, there were some very bold statements made about healing as a whole. They basically amounted to the following;

  • Shaman are the healing model that all healers will follow
  • Triage healing is vastly more important and mana is a concern
  • healing will be a lot harder and require smart decision making

So, in this regard did Cataclysm succeed or fail? Well to me the answer here is two fold. They both succeeded and failed at the same time. At the start of the expansion healing was definitely harder, mana consumption was much more of a concern and shaman healing really was the model when it came to triage healing. Note how I said at the start of the expansion. There was a bit of a problem though, once you started getting a pretty good head of steam going and gathered your gear the “model” started to fall apart. Spirit levels and regen abilities after heroic dungeon gearing were enough that some healing classes could just completely ignore the healing model. I’m casually whistling in innocence as I look at Mana Tide Totem from a year ago, I assure you. The problem exacerbated itself when some healing classes’ masteries got tweaked, and raid gear started circulating.

At this point, triage healing isn’t really used unless you’re just starting out, and some healing classes are just blowing others out of the water causing a lot of internal debate among raiding groups as to what the best healing setup really is now. Things are shaping up to be better in tier 13, but the healing model through tier 12 I would venture to say hangs at the edge of failure. We’ve been assured that the healing model will remain in tact for the next expansion, but only time will tell if that is true especially when adding a new healing class into the mix next expansion.

Guild advancement and recruiting

The new expansion brought with it the guild advancement system. Guilds earned experience points based on questing and the activity of the guild members involved. The guild was able to level up from level 1 to level 25 carrying various rewards such as XP boosts, mount speed increases and even alchemy patterns for flasks for the entire raid. It also came with some other perks like Heirloom gear helmet and cape slot items, mounts and pets as well as a Mass Teleport and Mass Resurrection. Honestly guild advancement was a huge success as far as adding perks to guilds that get rolling and stick to it and work together. Guild achievements also added nicely to this and added a further sense of accomplishment to a guild in certain respects.

The problem is that the success of the guild advancement system, however, in my eyes became a contributing factor in a problem that this expansion has had that I haven’t seen in either of the previous ones. Stagnant recruiting. Recruiting flat-out sucks right now to be honest. Any losses from people leaving the guild or leaving the game become increasingly difficult to replace. Let us face a simple truth, the game has been around for over 6 years at this point. People are taking a break. Maybe not out-right quitting, but they’re definitely going to start taking some vacation from Azeroth around this time. Before Cataclysm, replacing losses wasn’t nearly as difficult. I attribute this partly to the guild perk system. When a player leaves a guild, they lose all reputation they’ve gained with that guild. They then start from scratch just like with any other reputation when they join a new guild.

So the problem is that a lot of the guild perks don’t kick in unless you’re Honored with your guild. This can be a very unattractive prospect, especially when you consider there is a weekly cap to the reputation you can gain. Not only can swapping guilds be a daunting task on its own, but when you combine in extra things like rep to earn it adds to the heap. So, people are staying put in whatever guild they are in for the most part. Guild mergers seems much more frequent now, where whole groups of people make the commitment one way or another, but recruitment is certainly at an all time low.

Raid design, gear options, and accomplishing goals

This is another measuring stick by which to judge the success or failure of the current expansion. Raid design was a bit different this go around. In Wrath, all of the raid tiers were contained to one single zone. You didn’t have to go from place to place in order to see all of a raid tier.  In Cataclysm, the starting raid tier was divided between not one, not two but three different locations to contain all of the bosses and events. Honestly though, I think that served to make things a little better. Having different locations broke up the monotony of raiding in one single zone for however many hours a week. Some of the mechanics were fun, and the boss fights had the potential to give you at least some challenge. Overall I’d say it was a good tier. It reminded me of Burning Crusade where tier 4 and tier 5 were divided between different zones in different locations, breaking the long dredges through BWL that we were used to at this point.

The use of valor points to purchase tier gear, as well as off set items, was a smart move at first. It allowed a certain gear gating of the content as players had to earn their valor points to purchase the raid gear. Keeping a few pieces as raid drops only also made perfect sense. It eliminated the fighting over tokens at least a little bit, and while it could be annoying have to wait to restock your valor, it served it’s purpose well enough I think. Listening to the developers at BlizzCon it would appear that they too really liked how tier 11 worked out and will be continuing that style of breaking up the raids going into Mists.

One of the goals for Cataclysm was to reignite the fire the propelled the game to 12 million subscribers and get people excited about the game. New graphics throughout the world, Azeroth split and changed. Entire zones looking completely different and completely different starting zones and quests for the races of Azeroth. Well, this was both successful and a failure at the same time. The new starting zones did reignite the flame somewhat, but mostly in people with alt creation.  Some old players did come back to check out the new zones and explore some of the new content, but it didn’t quite have the kick that it originally intended. Subscriber rates pretty much stayed the same, and the number of active toons remained about the same as well. It just didn’t quite have the shakeup that was expected.

So what is it? Success or Failure?

Well, that’s the whole point of this post right? The big question. Is Cataclysm a success or a failure? The answer is honestly both. There are things that Cata did exceptionally well, and things that it fell behind on. To be honest a lot of the goals were pretty damn lofty from the get go. It was ambitious and new things were tried, combined with old things that we knew worked. Not everything was ever going to be achieved just based on the pure scope of the original intent. There were things it did well, and things it didn’t do quite so well. That said it was hardly the failure that some folks seem to think. The content is still there, there is still plenty of value in the game, and for a game that is going to be rapidly approaching the age  of 7 they can boast a lot of good things. The game hasn’t really lost too many subscribers and is going strong. Oh and they still get my money every month, and I signed up for my hear subscription with free Diablo 3 “phone”.

So what do you think?

Common Recruiting Terms

Hey everyone! The other day, I gave you a quick method on narrowing down the collossal amount of search results you’d get from recruiting and compiling a neat, orderly list to work with. Today we’re going to hit up the actual recruiting forums and pick out some common jargon for new recruiters who are confused with the terms or have difficulty reading between the lines. Some of these are serious and some are rather tongue and cheek. I’ll let you decide which is which!

“We are exceptional <class> looking for…”

What they really mean: They think they’re really, really good and clearly there is no one in the entire 11+ million pool of players who are better than them. Not just some average Joe Raider. It’s just no one wants to take a chance on them on their server. Like seriously, it seems that half the recruiting ads I see are from players who believe they’re really exceptional. But if everyone says they’re exceptional, how can they all be exceptional? Unless they were the exception to the exceptionism.

E X C E P T I O N

“US Top 100 only”

What they really mean: They’ve been around since beta. They’ve seen it all and done it all. They’ve got lots of time to spare for progression. Whatever needs to be done, I can do. Looking for the best guilds only! These types mean business. Either that or they’ll wash out when they realize the raid leader really can remove them from the raid and they’re not the center of the universe.

“Progressed realm”

What they really mean: Clear desire to get off their low population, backwater server. They need a life line and they need it fast. Thinks they have what it takes to raid at a higher level but have trouble finding other like minded people.

“No less than 5/7 Firelands”

What they really mean:  Clearly they took a break at the end of tier 11 and missed the first few weeks of Firelands. Probably just started Firelands for the first time and got trounced. Wants to get back into the thick of things again. Probably stonewalled on one specific boss for a long time and cannot seem to muster the man power or skill to power through.

“25 man only”

What they really mean: Possibly prone to screwing up. Likes to hide along the relative anonymity of other players. Has a 4% chance of being blamed for a wipe on 25 man instead of 10% on a 10 man. Hates the closeness of 10 mans. My kind of player.

“LF adult guild!!111”

What they really mean: Likes to make lots of sex jokes. Possible cybering involved. Use caution.

“Immediate core position for <class>”

What they really mean: Wants to feel like that special snowflake. You know, like the only Shaman or Boomkin in the guild. Wants to feel really unique and indispensible. Yeah. That guy. Works great until you discover they can’t sustain their Molten Feather stacks or circumvent tornadoes properly :(.

“Must be able to accept all 3 of us”

What they really mean: Will quit if even one person is deemed not good enough. Must accept all or accept none. Strong desire to stay together.

“Professional environment”

What they really mean: Likes to raid with really loud music. Doesn’t want Mumble chatter to impede what they’re listening on iTunes or what they’re watching on Netflix. He’s the guy who constantly blasts top 40 music whenever he speaks.

“No female officers“

What they really mean: Deemed “sexist douchebags”, according to one player. I’ve actually seen a recruiting post once that specifically stated no female officers. May have suffered some type of traumatic experience earlier in their gaming career and doesn’t want to go through it again. If I remember right, the reasoning behind the original poster involved something about cattiness and snark because the applicant was also female as well. Maybe Kat would know more about this than I would. All the female officers I’ve ever interacted with in my own guild or other guilds seemed pleasant enough.

And now you too can navigate the murky waters of recruiting! In any case, good luck to you young recruiters out there and may all your apps last long term!

7 Tips for Creating the Perfect Guild Application Form

Application forms can be a little daunting for the first time guild leader. What’re the right questions to ask? What if it’s too long? What answers are considered “right”? Over at Enjin, I’ve written a quick guide on how to get started. Don’t expect your application form to be final. But I hope this’ll put you on the right track.

And yes, I am familiar that some organizations have done away with forms entirely. I also know that some players absolutely refuse to apply and scoff at guilds who suggest filling out a form. “I’m not applying for a job!”. They’re right, it’s not a job. I look at it more as a binding commitment.

Anyway, back to the tips. Here’s one that should be included.

Requirements overview

I’ve seen guilds place their entire policies and rules on the same page as the application. I don’t advise doing this. Place a link that leads to it and then include a summary list of all the important rules. Include only what players absolutely need. Some of the common ones I’ve seen are:

  • Working headset and microphone
  • Minimum gear standard for MMO guilds
  • Minimum kill to death ratio for FPS clans
  • Positive and forward-thinking attitude
  • A regular schedule of events (More on this below)

Read more on Enjin

Handling the Guild Dirty Work

“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.”

– Thomas J. Watson

And I don’t mean scrubbing the toilets.

As leaders, we have an obligation to the players within our guilds. Whenever a boss comes up where something needs to dispelled, I’m the first person to volunteer for it. Not necessarily because I want to, but to show that I can and am willing. The mantle of being an officer comes with a set of unique responsibilities. In order to have the right to ask people to do something, you must be willing to do it yourself.

This is why my raid leader is the first in line when he needs to eat a debuff, maintain constant crowd control or take care of some other craptacular job that no other player really wants to do.

  • Gong banging in Atramedes? He’s always there.
  • Dispelling Blackouts? Sure, I’ll take care of it.

So whether you are a class officer, a role officer or otherwise, it doesn’t hurt to show the troops that you still have it. Because if you keep hiding behind lame excuses and continue giving players assignments you’re unwilling to do, no one’s going to take you seriously anymore. In pickup raids where I’m raiding on my Shaman, I’ll volunteer to tackle any interrupts or purges that need to be done.

To be fair, that’s the only thing I’m really good for on an encounter like the Omnitron Defense System anyway.

Bob Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, states that, “Being in a position of leadership is the most reliable way to become oblivious and emotionally insensitive. Fight this by remembering that you’re under a spotlight. You’ll be watched closely by the people you lead – even more so than how you’re observing them.”

Even though you’re an officer, by the nature of your position, you are placed on a much higher pedestal when compared to everyone else in the raid.

Let’s move on to another aspect of dirty work. Let’s go through the not-so-cool responsibilities that officers need to do.

Do not avoid the dirty work

A quality officer must do things that will upset players. As the guild leader, I have to reprimand, gkick and talk to players who need improvement. The last bit is a bit tricky because I don’t have enough knowledge of a class to offer effective feedback. This is where I need my officers to come in play and assist me in supplying that feedback. None of those are responsibilities we need to shoulder alone. Reprimands and giving critical feedback can be a difficult thing to do. If you can’t handle that aspect of it, you might not be the right guy for the job.

Alternatively, grab a guy willing to do the dirty work. I recommend hunters.

In that same book by Sutton, he quotes a study that “Bosses of the most productive work groups confronted problems directly and quickly, issued more warnings and formal punishments, and promptly fired employees when warnings failed.”

Translating that into guilds, productive raid raid groups address any internal problems head on within a reasonable time frame. Denial doesn’t help anyone. You can talk the smack you want, but you better have the guts to confront players as well. Bad officers continue to conjure up some kind of excuse in order to put off what needs to be done. An example would be like me saying I can’t cast Dispel because I don’t have the mana to do it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best bad cop type of personality. It’s not in my nature. However, I am driven by own desire to excel and succeed in what I do. If it’s a necessity, it needs to be done.

The first thing I’ll do is delegate it. The next thing I do is set an internal deadline for myself where if an officer doesn’t pull off the reprimand, I’ll take care of it personally.

Actually now that I think about it, setting deadlines tends to help in most aspects of life.

Heck, take the extra step and tell someone what deadline you’re setting and what it’s for.

Implementing the two man (or person) rule

I love he said, she said arguments.

It’s difficult to determine and sift through what’s true and what isn’t. Because of recent incidences, I’ve implemented the two person policy. When any type of feedback, reprimand or anything along those lines are being given, there needs to be another officer in the channel with them. They don’t have to be the same class or role. They just need to be players who the GM trusts and who are able to keep each other in check.

No whispers or tells either. Don’t underestimate the importance of tone. Sure there;s no facial contact unless you’re using a webcam. But listening to the tone of someone else is the next best thing you can do to subtly improve communication.

This was an oversight on my part, but I hope this is a step in the right direction.

Quick Guide to Dirty Work

  • No problem is just going to go away. So don’t delay too long in making the hard decisions.
  • Make the hard decisions to the best of your ability. You’re going to screw them up, but it’ll be a learning experience. If you can’t do it, delegate someone who is willing.
  • Tell players why this is necessary. Example:
    • “The stuff you’re saying in raids, whether you realize it or not, is having a negative impact on our morale.”
    • “You’re not nailing those interrupts. Looking at the same fight for the past 3 weeks, your interrupt success rate is 50%. If there’s something stopping you from doing your job, tell me. Otherwise, I’m going to have to pick up another Rogue”.
  • You do not humiliate, belittle, or bad-mouth people if they’re the ones that are under fire. Of course, you’re free to poke fun at the guy who’s at the top of the meters or if he’s the GM, apparently.
  • Don’t lie to your raid. It kills your own reputation.
  • If you’re not able to do say what needs to be said the correct way, don’t do it until you figure out the best approach.
  • Set an example to the rest of the team. Show them you can compete on meters. Show them you can dispel, purge and interrupt like the best of them.

I’m still learning this stuff. I also need to begin applying these principles.

Thinking about starting your own guild?