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The Search is On

July 29, 2013

Dear Reader,

I spent a fair portion of Saturday and Sunday talking to people in the various guilds I’m looking into.  Everyone I spoke to was nice and helpful, which – believe it or not – is not always the case on “cold calls.”

Since I often can’t get in touch with people in the guild outside of their servers, I often just make a level 1 toon on their server, search the guild name, and then whisper someone on the list.  There have been times people have told me I was bothering them (a shared experience that led to my friendship with Navi, though hers was much, much worse) or outright  ignored me even when it was clear they were not afk.  Of course, those guilds immediately lost my interest.

I want to take a moment to really emphasize how important public relations is to a guild.  I suspect it’s not often talked about in guild-wide meetings or messages, but clearly communicating how important it is that people be polite to interested parties, no matter how low the level or odd the initial contact, is crucial to good guild recruitment.  I spoke to five people over the weekend from completely cold starts, and those conversations greatly informed my opinion of the guilds, for good or bad.

I generally asked 5 questions:

1) How would you describe the raiding atmosphere in your guild?

The second question came usually as a follow up, since every guild I looked into used the word “casual” in their answer to question one.

2) Casual can have a lot of meanings.  What does it mean in your guild?

3) What expectations – formal or unspoken – do you have of raiders?

4) What’s your guild chat like on an average day or night?

5) What activities do your guildies do when they’re not raiding?

I’d often respond with some personal explanations of my own preferences.  If there were “right answers,” which really there aren’t, they’d go something like this:

1) We’re a casual guild that takes raiding more seriously than an average casual guild.  We like to get started on time and make progress, but we’re not over-anxious about it.

2) Casual means that we understand that there’s real-life responsibilities for our members.  It doesn’t mean that we’re completely unreliable or unprofessional in our organization.

3) We expect our raiders to know the fights and be willing and able to improve if they make mistakes.  We expect them to treat other raiders’ time with respect, and thus to show up on time and prepared to start at the raid time.  We expect a minimum level of attendance, and the willingness to communicate with others about their availability.

4) We’re all adults, so it ranges from G to R rating, but as adults, we’re not all potty-mouthed college students.

5) We do a variety of other things to build community that are encouraged but not required.

Several of the conversations I had reflected most of those values, but two really stood out.  As a result, I was able to narrow down my choices to two guilds.  One of them is a long-established (since beta, I’m told) guild with a clear culture that I think I’d fit well into; it seems they’re casual about the game as a whole while still taking raiding seriously.

The other is more intriguing; they’re a guild that’s still forming without a clear raid schedule yet.  They’re also recruiting a raid leader.  The officer I spoke to had very similar values to mine and indicated an interest in me as a potential RL.  I’m interested in this as a possibility, but curious, too, as to whether the GM and she have the same vision.  I set up a future talk with the GM, but for now, that’s all I know.

So, assuming the GM conversation goes well, I’m left with a tough choice.  Would I prefer the ability to shape a guild’s raiding ethic into my own, thus guaranteeing a good fit while also saddling myself with a lot of responsibility, or would I prefer to see how close the fit in the established guild is and maybe or maybe not really end up fitting in?

It’s an intriguing problem that requires more thought.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and thinking)

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2013 5:58 am

    Good luck! :) I have to admit I’m intrigued and looking forward to more posts about your journey in search of yet another new guild.

  2. July 29, 2013 8:49 am

    Well I hope you find what you need! It makes a huge impact (for me anyway) when it comes to enjoyment of this game.

  3. Beshara permalink
    July 29, 2013 10:45 am

    When school starts back up, will having that extra responsibility be too much? I know I accepted officership in a guild before, then realized later I had overestimated how much time and effort I could contribute. Something to add to your thought process. Good luck!

  4. July 29, 2013 6:31 pm

    I think a lot of it is how much time and effort you’re willing to dedicate (plus factor in that if you decide to help the forming guild, if you quit you’ll be leaving them in the lurch). It’s not something that you can do half-heartedly – either jump in swinging with the forming guild or relax in the established guild.

  5. July 30, 2013 12:26 am

    Join the established guild. They will have loot drama, but they will also have subs to fill the spots of the people who make loot drama, so it all works out.

    I like to think I’m an optimistic person overall, but in my experience small starter guilds like the one you describe very, very rarely get off the ground. I’ve started imagining it must be a similar success rate to something like a small business, except without any financial pressure on the owner to make it work. (Also, I’m probably reading too much into it, but I would definitely question why a small guild would need to actively recruit leaders. Did the GM reach his limit already?)

    I mean if you’re interested in going into that new small guild whole hog as an experiment I’d gladly read about it. :P

    Thinking about it, I’m sure it is just a matter of time and effort, but also it’s not really possible to know ahead of time how much time and effort…

    Good luck!

  6. July 30, 2013 4:30 am

    Hi, Stubborn. Been a while :).

    I’ll just jump in to say that I know what you are going through because that has been a dilemma of mine quite frequently, and now I know what it spurs it. Most people would go with the established guild save for those that have the tendency of getting personally involved, either to be seen as helpful to the guild and thus earn reputation with that faction (from friendly to revered – a go-to person for your fellow guildies, he/she who makes the funny jokes and relaxes the atmosphere, who has the answers or searches wowhead for them in the place of the interested party, etc), or getting involved to actually affect the guild management because they cannot bear with mismanagement when the solution seems so obvious to them. I tend to fall into both roles. And I get burned pretty quickly.

    This is my personal experience, which may or may not apply to you. I am offering it because I feel that in some level you will be able to relate, from what I gather from your tales of past woes:

    If I get involved in the manner I usually do, I get burned out quickly, I feel hopeless of the new generation of players (which is quite similar to the old one, but without the brakes that were social exclusion from jerky behaviour), and I feel obliged to the people I went into contract with to keep working on the guild. Then my general malaise with the game kicks in and whichever project I had becomes more burdensome that it initially seemed.

    If you are going back to a WoW you are not so sure of anymore, the last thing you should do is commit yourself to being a fixture in a new hopeful project. It will not help them nor help you, as your sense of obligation will prevent you from cutting loose if you feel the weight of the game and the guild becoming too much on your already shaky shoulders.

    Go to the established guild and be content to be a small cog. I know the allure of being a bigger cog, a grand lever, but it is not worth it. I sometimes remember how it felt to be the head of a guild and a raid leader, with everybody looking up to you for guidance. The compliments: ‘how do you manage to have your eyes on everything at the same time and top the meters?’ But I also remember the heartache of kicking out obstreperous members, of witnessing how things went awry no matter what you did, and of the many nights in which I did not felt like raiding but I had to because I was the raid leader. Of me talking on the ventrilo almost exclusively: raiding as a job. Even though it was grand, a 18 year old *woman* (there always was sexism) leading a 25-man guild and proving quite a few people wrong, I also remember this part of my WoW career as the least joyous.

    Start small with the established guild, see if you like it, and maybe commit a little bit more, one morsel at a time, if you find it worth your time and effort. Do not commit beforehand.

    Take care,
    Milady

  7. AliPally permalink
    July 30, 2013 6:50 am

    I would opt for the established guild every single time. I would look on the realm forum and see how many pages that guild’s recruitment thread runs to as well. A lot of pages shows longevity, I think; people may come and go but the raiding goes on.

    With “a guild that’s still forming without a clear raid schedule yet” it might never get off the ground.

  8. July 30, 2013 10:47 am

    After trying to keep a raid team going on our original server, we made the move to a mega-guild – Convert to Raid, Aerie Peak. While we are still trying to fill a few spots with permament raid team members, we don’t run into the same issue we did back on our old server – namely spamming trade for a large part of our scheduled raid time, sometimes not even being able to fill the raid.

    With a guild as large as CtR (a confederation of multiple guilds managed by the same core people) there are always a raid teams recruiting and requests for fill-ins.

    For you five questions:

    1. Active – everything from heroic teams to casual pugs.
    2. Varied – see above, our team “professional casual” – we only raid two nights a week, but we strive to progress.
    3. Our own team expects on time, ready to raid, and advance notice if possible if unable to attend. Our only loot drama is when shaman gear drops off council (every damn time) and we don’t have a shaman. We’ve gone from struggling in MSV to 11/12 in ToT.
    4. With the greenwall addon (for extending guild chat across all the CTR guilds) chat is usually very active. All public chat is PG-13, as are the public mumble channels. Private raid chat and channels are exempt, but are expected to follow the guild’s and WoW’s rules.
    5. At least two events per week, ranging from “pony runs” (running all of the old raids that drop mounts), faction rep grinding, plus many more on the in-game calendar or the forums. There is also a dedicated CTRLFG general chat channel with everything from world boss to guild LFR runs. There’s always something going on!

    Check out the web page and forums for more:

    http://converttoraid.com/

    http://forums.signalsmedia.com/index.php?sid=822910968ed774d26f17b3329ae40571

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