The Search is On
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.
Stubborn (and thinking)