The Reality of Recruiting Part 1

Last week I sent out an open call on Twitter for players who are involved in the process of recruiting for their guilds. Either they’re an officer or a GM or some other person in a position of leadership. I was able to get in touch with a myriad of personalities and guild types. There are numerous post in the WoWosphere about recruiting do’s and don’ts along with various tidbits of advice. The aim of this post is to outline their mentality and thought process when considering applicants.

This is part 1 of 3.

When recruiting, what are common characteristics that you value in players who you consider?

Aggressiveness and enthusiasm are a huge factor in how I perceive an application. I immediately discard applications that offer the bare minimum of responses–yes/no and even the occasional "maybe" to our questions. Even if they’re undergeared or inexperienced, an applicant who goes the extra mile to show us that they can keep up with us via WWS reports, their level of preparedness, or their devotion to theorycrafting has an advantage over a decked-out applicant whose attitude is blasé. One mage we recruited came from a no-name guild on our server, but his DPS was impressive for his gear and he was extremely eager to prove himself to be in our caliber. His application even noted that he had 50 stacks of fish feasts banked for new content–that’s some preparedness and willingness to wipe right there!

- Cerinne, Impulse (Cenarius US)
Blog: Spectrecles

We are looking for people who will stick with us, so we want them to be interested in progression at our casual but serious pace. Personality is important to us, as we want to enjoy one another’s company.  We look to see that someone knows their class and can demonstrate this both through their answers to their application and through their armory.

- Sylly
Blog: Rolling Hots

I like it when people are up front and honest about why they are leaving their current guild and willing to share the name of their current or most recent guild. Completely anonymous applications make me instantly suspicious. I want to know that their guild officers are in the loop about their desire to leave, because that is a pretty clear indication of how they’ll handle things down the road if they want to leave OUR guild.

Other characteristics include: Experience, demonstrated knowledge of their class/spec/role and maturity.

- Seri
Blog: World of Snarkcraft

Being articulate, someone who seems to be a good fit with our raid personality wise, someone who isn’t afraid to research their class in order to improve their abilities. We also do trial runs  in five mans and sometimes bring them to 10/25 mans to see how they do, but in general it’s actual trial time that usually gives us the whole picture, regardless of what we test/try out prior to accepting a trial.

Knowing one’s class and being able to play their character properly (It seems obvious, but then again…).

- Fire

What are some of the expectations that you set for recruits right off the bat?

I expect that within 2 weeks of joining the guild, any player should be able to compete equally with any other member of the raid.  While we do often invite friends of people we have recruited, we don’t want to carry anyone, no matter who they are married to/dating/best-friends with or how hilarious they are in vent.  Other specific expectations include 75% raid attendance, fully gemmed & enchanted gear, being self-sufficient (flasks, food, repair costs without complaining) and DPS above a given threshold; for Ulduar this is 3.3k right now.

We expect that our recruits know more than our raiders.  We also expect good rotations, solid knowledge of all encounters, the gear that they would like in the future, and know how to be kind and courteous to all folks.

- Kitts, Lowered Expectations
Blog: Blood Elf Priestess

That they sign up to our progression raids, come to the raid with appropriate reagents / pots / flasks and 100% repaired. We’ll also try to let them know which bosses we’re going to take on, so ask that they will keep an eye on the guild’s forums for tactics and / or look up the tactics by themselves.  We also use teamspeak and expect them to at least be able to listen in.

- Eid, Dead Poets Society

Pull your weight. If you are a new 80 then we expect you to research your class, know what heroics to run to get geared, do dailies to get rep, get gear enchanted, etc.

OR

Take the initiative. If you don’t know where to find this information ask a senior guild member to help find it. I am a Warlock, but as an admitted forum troll in the guild I know where to send someone if they are looking for the hunter hit cap or where to send a druid looking to dual spec Resto.

- Finnugen, Legacy of the Elite

Do you conduct any sort of background checks on recruits? If so, via what methods?

We don’t really go talk to their former or current guild masters, if that’s what you mean. But I do run a guild history check on the name at Warcraft Realms and WoWProgress to see if the person’s a guild hopper. I also sometimes do a search on the realm forums to see if the recruit is prone to trolling (a no-no). There’s also a question on the app asking if the recruit knows anyone or has played with anyone in the guild. I definitely make a point to ask the people named in those 2 questions. Amory, etc, but I think that’s pretty standard.

- Raesa
Blog: Violaceous Mana

Only if we suspect that there may have been issues in a former guild, or if someone mentions something to the officers about the person. Then we’ll talk to officers in the former guild. Usually, any issues will come to light very quickly, and we can gkick accordingly if necessary, or give them a chance to reform themselves.

- Trilynne, Dawn of Maelstrom

Since our guild has long had a "referral process" and requires vouches from other members and eventually from an officer, the background check usually comes from the people they associate with. If you’re in tight with a bunch of our members and they say you’re alright? Then you’re probably not going to be a bad match for us. However, complete unknowns usually never get in. Someone we’re on the fence about usually sits down and gets asked about what they are looking for in a guild, etc. We also ask prior guild members or ask around the community at large. We’re not a huge server, a history follows you most times.

- Aislinana, Northrend Commonwealth

Matt on Massively

Darren, that community PR guy for My Game Mug managed to rope me in a quick interview. It’s the same group that’s developed WoW Headhunter. Be careful! That guy’s as sly as a Rogue. The interview on Massively involved both myself and Kree. We both chatted with Darren about what we looked for in candidates as guild leaders, recommendations for what new applicants can do and how important personality is.

And then there’s the shameless praising of WoW Headhunter (naturally).

Some quips:

What are the top 3 things that you as a guild leaders look for in order to recruit the best candidates for your guild? (Answered by Matt)

Attendance – Are the people we are recruiting going to be able to make the majority of the raids? While it’d be awesome to pickup a really good player, if he or she can only do 1 or 2 raids per month, they’re kind of useless to me and the rest of the guild since they’re never actually there.

Knowledge – Often times, knowledge translates to in-game skill. I need to know how you play your role with your given class and spec, things like, when do you end up using your spells and if you use them in the most opportune times.

Personality and Attitude – WoW has a lot of challenges. We’re going to try and accomplish big things and that’ll lead to wiping over and over again. We need candidates that are going to tough it out and make their sacrifices. They have to have the right attitude and personality to want to get better and to help their guild out. They need to be able to stick with it even when times are bad.

What is your recommendation with what candidates should put in their application when applying to your guild? (Answered by Kree)

Originality. The application has to stand out, just like a resume. If it’s too-safe or boring, it’s difficult to stand out from everyone else. Let your personality out in the application.
Also, read the question completely! I asked a question about how people plan on utilizing dual spec and one of the responses I received was, "Maybe". This doesn’t even make any sense! It shows that the person didn’t really read through the application.

Check out the full interview!

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

Is Trade Chat a Good Avenue for Guild Prospects?

Is Trade Chat a Good Avenue for Guild Prospects?

recruiting

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.

Collateral Damage Seeks Rogue: This Could Be You!

Collateral Damage Seeks Rogue: This Could Be You!

Well, I suppose it’s not likely to be you, is it, dear reader, because you’re probably a healer. However, my wonderful guild, Collateral Damage, is in a bit of a bind, and if you know of a kickass rogue who’s looking for a new guild home, please do me a favor and spread the word! I figured I would indulge in a shameless abuse of Matticus’s blog (mwa ha ha) to help my guild out of a bit of a sticky situation.

Collateral Damage has always been light on rogues. Up until now, we’ve had two, but our most consistent rogue has just left the server following his arena team to greener pastures. Vek’nilash is in battlegroup Bloodlust, and I can understand their need for a less competitive (or horde-dominated) PvP scene. However, our other rogue is also taking a little time off to rededicate himself to schoolwork, and that leaves us rogue-less. We’re scratching our heads as to how we’re going to do Illidari Council this week without a rogue to coordinate the interrupts on Lady Malande. It’s hard to lose one of our best players (we’ll miss you, Slice!) and it’s doubly hard when we were so under-represented in his class.

So, please read the following advertising blurb about CD and pass it along to any qualified rogues.

Collateral Damage [A-Veknilash] is a great place to raid. We are looking for a rogue to join our high-quality raiding corps. We have a solid group of longtime members, and we’ve recently killed Archimonde and Illidan, completing T6 content. Our players are friendly, helpful, and respectful, but we are committed to high-quality raiding. Before the expansion hits, we will be farming Illy and Archy as well as taking on the early bosses in Sunwell. Our raid times are Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 PM CST-12:00 AM CST and Sunday 8:00 PM CST-12:00 CST. Check out our website and application template at www.cdvekguild.com.

Our new rogue must be both experienced and geared (we prefer 2 pc+ T6). You must know your class well and play up to the potential of your gear. You must be able to listen and talk on vent. Extra credit for being able to communicate well and call out interrupt rotations. We require at least 2/3 attendance from initiates, though most of our successful recruits have attended 90% or more of raids. Make sure our raid times work for you before you apply!

We are also looking for a personality match for CD. Our raiders are respectful of others, and we have a crazy, silly sense of humor. Our raiders give and take constructive criticism, but we never antagonize individual players. Rather, we work together to be the best we can be at the hobby we all love–endgame raiding.

CD formed Jan 1 and was behind the progression curve for BC, but we have big plans for Wrath. We will be raiding 25-mans at the leading edge of content. We’re not trying for server firsts, because we’re committed to our sensible 3-day a week schedule. However, we plan to start at the beginning, make steady progress, and someday kill Arthas. Our officers have been actively making plans for Wrath, and our first Naxx 25 raid is already on the calendar.

CD uses Ep/Gp to distribute loot, and new raiders have chances at drops fairly quickly.

If you’re interested, contact me in-game (Sydera or Isidora on Vek’nilash) or on our guild website, www.cdvekguild.com. I love to talk to potential recruits! If I’m not raiding at the moment, we’ll chat on vent and talk about whether CD is a good fit for you.

The good news is, dear readers, if you apply to Collateral Damage, you’ll get to deal with me, Sydera, your leafy recruiting officer extraordinaire. I promise I don’t bite–hard. You can drop me a line in the comments or use the comment form–I’ll pop on over to your server for a visit.

My name is Matticus and I approve this message.

Build Your Own Guild Part 5: Membership

Build Your Own Guild Part 5: Membership

Once you decide what kind of organization your guild is going to be, sketch out rules and policies, and design a leadership structure, you are ready to build up your membership. Ideally, if you have an ambition to start a brand-new guild, you already have a stalwart band of friends and associates to sign your charter. I would go so far as to say that it’s essential to start any new organization with at least a couple of members–it will be extremely hard for just one person to follow the recommendations I’m going to make in this.

1. Get the Word Out

I hate to break it to you, but a guild of one–or even ten–isn’t going to be able to accomplish much. Ideally, you need to bring in a lot of people quickly. How can you do this with a new organization? If I were starting from scratch, I would do the following four things. This set of tips assumes that you want to muster your troops right now, ahead of the expansion.

a. Go through your entire friends list and send everyone a note about your new guild.
b. Advertise on your realm forum and bump it once per day.
c. Start pugging instances obsessively and talking about your guild to everyone you meet.
d. Sponsor and lead open events, like a pug Karazhan, or for the ambitious or more experienced, ZA bear runs, Magtheridon or even Hyjal. The events you lead depend on your level of experience in the current content and the number of members you have at startup.

At this early stage, you may choose not to have an application process and may invite all who are interested. This is not a bad idea when you’re getting off the ground, but it could make raiding difficult later. It’s hard to get people to apply to an organization that doesn’t have a track record, but some people will take a chance if they’re offered a spot in a more informal manner. I advise you to find a middle way and only invite players you or another officer have had a conversation with. You want them to know ahead of time what kind of organization they are joining.

It bears mentioning, also, that prospective members will judge your guild by your behavior and the behavior of your officers. Now is the time to watch everything you say and do on your server–make sure that you reflect your guild’s values in how you treat other players. Now is NOT the time to spam trade channel.

2. Get Friendly With Other Guilds

Alliances between guilds can be formed on the basis of just a few friendly words passed back and forth. My current, very successful guild began when one of our tanks saved one of our healers from certain death in Blade’s Edge Mountains. They got to talking and found that they were both officers in Karazhan guilds with the ambition of moving on to 25-mans. At that moment, the seeds of an alliance were sown.

Alliances and cross-guild friendships have many different uses. You may want to partner up with another small guild at some point and run instances together, even if you keep your two guilds separate. Friends in other–ideally more progressed–guilds can be a source of help and information. For example, many members of Collateral Damage have friends in Cohors Praetoria, a more progressed guild on our server. The lovely people of CP have sold us Hearts of Darkness for cheap and have advised us on many boss fights as we’ve gone through T6 a few months later than they did. Some of their players have even offered to fill spaces in our runs if we need them. In return, CP has used our raid ID at least once to get an Illidan kill without farming the whole instance. These kinds of cross-guild arrangements are golden–they are mutually beneficial, and they tend to leave everyone with a good feeling about the virtual community. In addition, at times we’ve shared information about recruits, particularly about certain bad apples. Ideally, if one raiding guild on your server recruits and later /gkicks a whiny, greedy player, their recruiting officer will inform other guilds about it. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what a player will be like from an application alone.

I urge you, as a prospective GM, to open a line of dialogue to the recruiting officers of other guilds on your sever. It’s a recruiting officer’s job to talk to people–if this person is halfway competent, he or she will be happy to have a conversation with you. Something I’ve done in the past, whether or not I knew much about the guilds in question, was to refer good applicants that were not right for my guild, either because they were not prepared for T6 or because we didn’t have space, to other guilds on the server that happened to be recruiting. I judged these guilds based on their ads and on the players that I knew, and have referred people to the ones that seem like class acts. Especially with the changes leading up to the expansion, there are enough players to go around for everyone. If you get to know some recruiting officers, they will probably be glad to help a new guild out. Established guilds can’t take anyone and everyone who comes their way. I know CD can’t even take all of the good applications. I always try to help anyone who applies to find a new guild home, when I can. If I knew of an enthusiastic new guild that was trying to build itself up, I would certainly point people that way. In turn, I know that many of Collateral Damage’s players have filled spots in other guilds’ T4 and T5 runs when particular classes are needed. If you reach out to others–particularly players that you know are classy, friendly individuals–people will most likely support you.

3. Recruit Creatively

Once you get a few members on the roster, you can fine-tune your recruiting a bit. In order to find players to fill specific roles, follow the 10-step guide I wrote on this type of recruiting. The guide assumes that you already have an existing player base, so you may have to adjust some of the advice to suit the needs of your brand-new guild.

What Do I Do if I Want to Start Once the Expansion Comes Out?

It may have occurred to you that most of the advice in this article applies to those who want to get their guild off the ground ahead of the expansion. It is true that the time is running short, and that you may prefer to start building a membership base during the leveling phase of Wrath. That approach has a set of advantages.

1. Many players may return to the game at that time, and some of those will be free agents.
2. It’s easier to leave a guild during a leveling phase than during a raiding phase, so some raiders will suddenly be free once Wrath hits.
3. Expansions in general are a time of change–some old guilds will implode when it hits, leaving their raiders homeless.
4. Some guilds will downsize to 10-man content, and some of their players will leave.

It sounds great, right? The only drawback to starting your recruiting drive when Wrath hits is that with everyone leveling at the same time, you may not be able to distinguish the kind of player that you want from the herd. If you pick up lots of players as they level, it will be hard to tell who will be able to make a commitment to raiding. This is in some sense an unavoidable problem for a new guild. My advice is to plan for continuous recruiting. Bring in more people than you think you will need, and sort out the difference between raiders and non-raiders once you actually start tackling 10 or 25 man content in the expansion. And yes, if you do general recruiting early in the expansion you may have to draw some distinctions in your guild roster between raiders and non-raiders, but that, dear readers, is a topic for a different entry in the series.

Happy recruiting!

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

    Shameless Abuse of Publicity

    Shameless Abuse of Publicity

    Wynthea wants YOU

     

    My beloved guild is currently 2/6 Sunwell.  Although our guild is medium-sized, our raiding core is pretty small. In fact, we have no spares for any of our classes. This is becoming problematic as we work on our progression through Sunwell – vacations, changing class schedules, work promotions, etc… all seem to interfere with raid time. And frequently, if two people can’t make it we’re left without an optimal set up. It’s frustrating to bring in alts or undergeared casual members for progression nights.

    So what, you ask?

    Well… my fearless Raid leader asked me to help with recruiting. So here I am, recruiting with the best resource I have: You!!

    Although some classes are spread more thinly than others, we are looking for strong, full-time players of every class. We figure we have a spot for at least one of each, in a regular rotation.

    A little about my guild:

    • We are <Them>, of Nazjatar-PvP-US. We raid M-Th, 6-10 Pacific Time. (Sundays are flexible.)
    • We are 2/6 Sunwell, with Felmyst making excellent progress.
    • We are relatively hardcore, but certainly know how to have a good time.
    • We use a modified Loot council, with DKP for tie breakers.
    • Thrall is our homeboy.

    A little about what we want:

    • Experienced T6 Raiders, preferably AT LEAST 4/5 Hyjal and 7/9 BT. (We’d really rather have Sunwell-experience, but obviously we’ll gear up and train anyone that shows good promise.)
    • We’re considering taking on all classes.
    • Anyone we DO take will NOT BE A BENCH SPOT.
    • We’re looking for upwards of 80% attendance.
    • Your gear, spec, and attitude should be the best that you can make it. We are NOT looking to simply carry anyone through and give out free epics without effort on your part.

    How you should apply:

    The guild website is here.  Simply post an application with the format provided in our forums. You get bonus points if you put “Wyn sent me!” at the top of your post. (But don’t put it in the title.)

    If you’re a Priest, you get to interview with Yours Truly. Yay!

     

    Okay, shameless plug over – thanks for bearing with me. I hope to speak with you soon!

     

    Luv,

    Wyn

    How to Successfully Pick up a GM

    How to Successfully Pick up a GM

    Image courtesy of dbking

    Making the first move and first impression counts when you’re looking to join a Guild. Excellent Guildmasters (I prefer General Managers) have a way of cutting through the random crap that applicants throw at them. They’re able to translate what applicants say and interpret them in a more precise way. As my Guild’s first line of defense against “R-Tards”, I’ve seen my share of bad opening introductions from players that were interested. Here’s 10:

    1. You say: “I can maintain 100% attendance.” GM thinks: “Even if he does make 100% of the raids, he’ll probably afk for a good portion of them.”
    2. You say: “I am willing to listen and pay attention all the time.” GM thinks: “Good, because my guild is full of players who do whatever the heck it is that they want at will.”
    3. You say: “I’m not quite sure what level your Guild is at in terms of progression, but… ” GM thinks: “No homework or research done and you’re applying for our Guild blindly? If you can’t research Guilds then we can’t expect you to research boss strategies.”
    4. You say: “I can lead PvP battlegrounds and form a top notch arena team within the Guild.” GM thinks: “We’re a frackin’ progression guild, not a PvP guild! Besides, this Guild can’t handle more than 1 emo BG leader.”
    5. You say: “I’d like to see end game raiding and experience it.” GM thinks: “You willing to die for it?”
    6. You say: “I don’t think my gear is good enough, however…” GM thinks: “Nope, probably not.”
    7. You say: “There’s not much time left before the expansion comes out, so…” GM thinks: “We’re not a sightseeing operation.”
    8. You say: “I’m willing to sit on the bench for a while and stay as a trial if you’re full.” GM thinks: “Great, someone whose not even going to try and compete for a raid spot.”
    9. You say: “You’ve made these mods mandatory for use in the Guild, but I don’t think I need them because…” GM thinks: “You can’t even pass a simple test of just downloading and installing mods. How will I know you will do as I instruct during a raid?”
    10. You say: “The only way for me to get better as a player is to get better gear.” GM thinks: “A million dollars to anyone who invents a device that allows for strangulation across the internet

    The best opening lines to make to a GM or their representative is to say something similar to:

    Hi, my name is __________, I would like to raid as a __________ spec and I have experience up to this encounter in the game.

    For a much better insight into the application and mental thought processes of GMs, I strongly advise you read Chick GM’s post about the very same subject in more detail.

    Post inspired by Guy Kawasaki

    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.