When You Fail to Plan…
You know the rest. Perusing the blogs today, I came across Matticus’s look at guild recruiting. He suggests that the time to recruit is now, or, perhaps even better, yesterday. I can attest to this with personal experience, but I’m also afraid he may be too late in his timing. The time to recruit was before Cata even hit, at least on smaller servers.
I was living on Shattered Halls then, and a group of excellent raiders (somehow I was included) decided to start a guild. The group consisted of top raiders from other guilds that had died the long slow death between the ICC release to the Cata release. Starcraft II had played a part (and, in fact, one of their interim guild’s names was “SC2 Disbanded my Guild”).
At any rate, we had a strong list. Everyone knew everyone else at least a little bit, so we had a good amount of trust to start. We had excellent tanks and healers, but were short a few dps. Cata hit, and we leveled quickly. We were recruiting as many people we knew as possible, though trying to avoid ninjaing players from other guilds. Our second night raiding, we downed Conclave; we were one of the first guilds on the server to down a raid boss.
Things were flying high. Then two raiders disappeared. One had gone back to college, and the other told us his computer had blown up or somesuch. It was only two; no problem. We had a good raid history, a boss under our belt, and lots of other people in the guild to choose from.
We never downed a boss again, not even the same one we’d downed. The players we had to replace lost raiders were beyond sub-par. We worked to recruit, but every serious raider seemed to be nestled comfortably into a guild already. Even those who weren’t spectacular but might have done didn’t want to switch guilds thanks to guild experience.
Therein lies one of the two big problems, I think. The guild experience option makes people far less willing to switch guilds, even if the new guild is sizably better than their old one. Even though the rewards aren’t particularly meaningful, having that bar zeroed out is just unacceptable to many people. Even serious raiders who we knew personally didn’t want to leave their guild that “would be starting to raid soon” because they were already revered.
The second problem is the cross-server LFD system. While I’m glad I don’t have to wait an hour to get into a dungeon or bust my butt to get a dungeon group anymore, the unintended consequence is that you don’t meet many people on your server. Heroics used to be a great opportunity to meet folks, measure their skills, and potentially recruit them. Now we have the opposite. After skills are measured, you’re far more likely to kick them. Without the “first date” scenario, about the only means of recruiting from scratch are trade/LFG/general chat, which is rather obnoxious and brings in the dregs of society.
A potential solution, I think, would be a small check box in the LFD system that allowed you to opt to wait for server-only groups. It would vastly increase your wait time, of course, but there would be several reasons to be willing to wait. First, obviously, guild recruiting we’ve already covered. However, an additional benefit would be that people on your own server generally aren’t as big jerks in dungeons; their anonymity is lessened only because they might actually see you again, so your actual dungeon experience might be more pleasant.
Whether or not you’re willing to wait longer for that sort of thing is entirely based on your own priorities. Even I would only want to wait sometimes, I’m sure, depending on what I was really after: gear and JPs or new relationships and quality play experiences. As a Part-Core Gamer, I’m usually after the latter.