A Reverse Guild App Primer
We’re going to take a break from the “drama” of the guild to give it some time to play out, hopefully for the better. Today, I want to talk about the time-honored tradition of guild apps, and how I think it’s time that the practice be shared equally by both parties.
Having to fill out an application to join a digital-only organization in a game seemed to me, at first, a bit of a joke. I didn’t have to fill out an app for a guild for several years in WoW, not until I switched servers to move to my previous “best guild.” In their app, I saw what was already becoming a pretty standard formula: ask about the player, check for availability, describe raid preparation, verify they’ve read the guild mission statement, and ask a silly question to get an idea of their personality. I’ve filled out a lot of guild apps since then, and they’ve rarely strayed from that formula.
That’s not a problem, mind you, but I take my writing and my applications seriously, especially since I usually do a lot of research before I join a guild, so I know I want to get in and want my app to be as good as it can be. That means that the extended guild apps I’ve filled out, some of which have had 20 or so questions, half of which required a written response, can actually be very time consuming.
One guild app did the “verify they’ve read the mission statement” part by asking a sneaky question about how many movie references there were in it. Well, shoot. I don’t know; I wasn’t paying any attention to that, so I had to go back and scour the thing, which of course does nothing for actual comprehension of the mission statement, to find how many references there were, and in the end, I still got it wrong because I didn’t get one of the references. In hindsight, that was the guild with the very passive aggressive GM, so that should have been a warning sign.
Since I’ve been in the role of “applicant” so much and only recruiter (and not an officer, at that) once, I’ve really gotten more than my fair taste of that side of the relationship. I’ve come to see a great power imbalance, there, too, which of course there would be, since the applicant is asking to join an otherwise closed organization. However, I also know that I and many other applicants actually provide great benefit to the guild through our experience, knowledge, time, and dedication, so I feel like it may be time for all good guilds to be prepared to fill out an app of the applicant’s own.
That’s where this project came from. After my all-too-many failures to find a guild I really fit into, I started to formulate questions that I needed answered before I felt comfortable committing to a guild. I described before some of them, but have added several and want to get further feedback from all of you, dear reader, about what players should know about a guild before they join. I’m not talking about what’s in the mission statement, either, because those are carefully crafted responses, like a letter of introduction for an interview, and off-the-cuff and digitally face-to-face answers are far more revealing.
When I was searching for my current guild, I cold-called a few people and asked them five questions. After I got their answers, I sent the guild leader a list of questions via email for him to answer (as I was having a hard time catching him online). Here’s a copy of what I sent, with a few redactions for privacy
Hello,I’m a veteran raider in WoW who’s been in again and out again for a while. I’ve finally decided I want to get back into end-game raiding. I bring a lot of experience with me and a whole host of characters for selection. I’m not particularly demanding in what I want, but I am looking for the right guild “fit” for me. I’m a professional adult with a lot of outside responsibilities, which means I can’t make a ton of raids per week (I see you have 3), but when I do raid, I like it to be on-task and focused. It’s very hard for me to find a combination of those two: a serious mentality towards goals but a light atmosphere that recognizes it as a game.As such, I’ve launched a search for a new guild. I’ve got a few questions I’d like to ask which may have follow-ups in the future. Please answer as much as you’re willing to, but don’t feel obligated to write a novel, either. I’ve already spoken to (the two players I spoke well of before in a post) and gotten some input from them, but I prefer speaking to the GM to get a better idea of the foundational pillar of your vision of the guild.1) How would you describe the raiding atmosphere in your guild?As an expectation of your answer and a preliminary follow up (if such a thing can exist), if you use the word “casual” to define your atmosphere, please define “casual” from your point of view; it means a lot of things to a lot of people.2) What are your guild’s expectations of raiders? Please be thorough including both defined and unspoken expectations.3) How often do your raids start on time versus late (if they’re ever late)?4) How would you describe guild chat on an average evening?5) When not raiding, what do a majority of your players do?Thank you for your time answering these questions, and I look forward to getting to speak with you in the future.Sincerely,Stubborn