Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Guild recruitment

In 2006 I wrote a post about guild management. Yesterday somebody posted the following comment to that thread:
Disorder are a Kul Tiras - EU (PVE) Alliance Raiding guild. We are late to the party but are catching up quick Smile

We have recently got the 5/6 SSC and 3/4 TK point and have been working on Vashj. Due to a group of players retiring from the raiding aspect of the game recently, we are looking to bolster our team for advancement in BT/Hyjal and returning to kick Vashj and Kael butt.

We are looking for the following classes:

Warlock: 1
Priest: 1 Holy
Druid: 0
Paladin: 2
Warrior: 1 Prot (Must be well geared)
Hunter: 0
Shamans: 1 Resto
Mage: 0
Rogue: 1

Any applicants wishing to join us need at minimum full Kara epics / best crafted epics, preferably with SSC / TK experience beyond Lurker and Void Reaver. Our Raid schedule is Wednesday/Thursday/Sunday/Tuesday from 8 til 12 Server time. We have a very good team at the moment and will only take on players that are fully committed to the PVE scene and all the effort it takes to progress. We welcome X-server transfer applicants and will discuss more about the guild 1:1 if it helps.

You can find more details about us at our website http://disorder.guildomatic.com.
Fell free to fill up application post in the Recruitment topic on forum.
Why anyone would think that posting a guild recruitment add in some ancient comment thread on my blog would get him any applicants is beyond me. The comment section of Blogger is automatically tagged NOFOLLOW, so anything you write here will never make it to a search engine, even if the thread has a high page rank. And as the poster didn't ask me whether he could use my blog for advertising, I'm going to make him a deal unilaterally too: I'm posting his add on my front page, where it will be seen a lot more. And in return I will write about what is wrong with that sort of add in general. Because while this is just one guild, you can find guild recruitment adds that look pretty much identical all over the internet.

I didn't really become involved with guilds a lot in Ultima Online, so my very first real guild was in Everquest. I played Everquest for 19 months, and pretty much all of it with the same people, although a server split shook the guild up a bit. Also I have to say that the highest level I ever reached in EQ was 42, so I never raided. In fact my guild never raided. The whole idea that the only purpose of a guild could be to go raiding was completely foreign to us. A guild was there to hang out with online friends, and to form groups with people you trusted and knew they were competent. And of course the guild purpose determined the criteria for guild recruitment: you were looking for people who were nice, who you could get along with, and who would be loyal to the guild. Loyalty was extremely important, not just for our guild, but for EQ guilds in general. People were building long-term online friendships in that game, and your friends were often what kept you playing even if you were frustrated with some aspect of the game.

Now look at the guild recruitment ad above: It doesn't even mention people! Guilds in World of Warcraft don't hire players, they hire avatars. They need holy priests and well geared protection warriors (surprise, surprise), and don't care much about the character of the player who is behind the avatar. Did you just rob your guild bank and can't show your face on your server any more? No problem, cross-server applicants are accepted with no questions asked, except for questions about their gear and what boss fights they are already trained to do. In EQ guild switching was frowned upon, in WoW it is considered to be a classical raider career, working your way up from small guilds to medium guilds until you finally arrive at one of the top raiding guilds.

In my post about guild management I wrote: "I've seen that again and again how guilds are so concentrated of pushing the front forward that they basically forget about the stragglers coming behind. The worst uber guilds just kick out the people that fall behind. But even the better guilds basically let the newbies fight for themselves, or think that by letting them have an epic from MC they helped them more than enough. But purple loot can't replace the feeling of being part of a community, and new players having to endure pickup groups while the guild is raiding BWL probably don't feel much friendship towards the others. By the time they arrive at being able to raid Zul'Gurub, the guild has probably just decided to not give out any DKP for ZG raids any more, because no officer can be bothered to join these "low level" raids. The gap between players even inside the same guild is growing. And if everything is organized by guild officers that are the guild's top raiders, it is logical that not much thought is spent on the problems of the "lesser" guild members. I've seen some cases where the guild leaders evolved so far ahead of the rest of the guild, that they ended up quitting and leaving the bulk of the guild behind. Or they burned out and quit, with nobody left to take over guild leadership. My hope is that the Burning Crusade fixes some of these issues."

Guess what? The Burning Crusade didn't fix these issues. I just need to change the names of the raid dungeons, and the paragraph is as true as it ever was. Guilds do not recruit nice people and then train them in how to raid. They try to recruit fully trained and equipped raiders. And as the only way to get a fully trained and equipped raider is to get him from another guild, loyalty can't be a selection criteria. EQ had blacklists, WoW has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on why you left your previous guild. And if somebody asks, "I left my old friends because with you guys I hope to advance faster" is a perfectly acceptable answer. Being available for raiding "Wednesday/Thursday/Sunday/Tuesday from 8 til 12 Server time" becomes a more important selection criteria than unimportant things like being nice, polite and helpful.

If a guild's only reason of being is raid progress, with no friendship or mutual help outside raids involved, the thought of losing your "friends" isn't going to stop you from quitting the day you get burned out by the game. If a guild was a band of brothers, lacking a holy priest or protection warrior wouldn't be a problem. Somebody would volunteer to create a new character, knowing that the guild would help him to advance fast to the point where he could help them out with their raiding. Most companies and most armies in the real world hire people with talent and then train them to their needs. Why can't that work for WoW guilds?

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