(This is a joint post between Analogue and Reversion)
Like last week’s post said, we’re basically guildless right now and looking around at our options. We’ve had two different very nice offers from a pair of guilds that I think we’d be honored to join – Avengers of Azeroth on Ursin and Crits and Giggles on Winterhoof. Thanks to Jed and Trout and Repgrind for answering my questions and talking up your guilds, by the way!
Some people seem to hop around guilds all the time, always leaving for greener pastures (or being kicked for idiocy). Some have been in their same guild for five years. We’re more in-between… the first guild I was in was a vanity guild for us and a couple friends. Then our friends put their alts in the raid guild where their mains were and we were left sitting in an empty guild. Then, on a whim joining a guild I’ll call the Knights of Lame (actual name withheld to protect the dumb). This was around when Ulduar came out. They were… lame. Friendly, I guess, but it became obvious that they were taking advantage of our being willing to tank and heal for them and expecting to be carried. We were pretty new to the whole raid thing (and this was in Naxx, when Naxx was already old content….) but it just wasn’t working. So when our friends transferred off server, we went too. Did I mention the server, Garithos, is so dead that apparently it now has fewer than 800 active players? Yeah. Moving was a breath of fresh air. And we joined the friends’ guild and watched the elite raiders take down content, and… there wasn’t a place for us there, either. The raid schedule wouldn’t have worked for us even if the hardcore style had worked… which it didn’t.
We were only there as ‘friends’ and not as ‘raiders’ so it was ok. We had fun getting in alt runs and were able to see how serious raiders rolled. For that we thank them. In that time we progressed a lot as players and got to see some first rate content. To keep the fun going and progress more in ICC we tried some pugging. We raided in pugs. We joined in other guilds’ runs. We started our own raids. We even led our own semi regular run for a while.
We also saw a lot of bad raid leading. (Reversion: Sometime I should do a post on raid leading…. Nah, other people have done good ones)
But we finally hit the limits of what pugs could really coordinate. Once fights get to a certain level of complexity they just can’t stand up. Then we got distracted by alting with RAF and got out of the raiding habit for a few months. That was over on Argent Dawn with Single Abstract Noun. So we lost touch with the few people we knew at all in our ‘main’ guild. We do check in there often though. We do realize we are not up to the hardcore standards of that guild…. But we do want to raid in CATA… And we want fun people to hang with…
So we’ve been discussing what we want for the near future. It’s interesting all the criteria that there are. I suppose anyone looking to change guilds has to ask the same sort of questions and since we did spend some time thinking this up, I thought I’d make a post.
Laying out the criteria
Server: What server you’re on makes a big difference to your playing. There’s:
- PVP/PVE – we’ve played on both. I actually prefer PVP but not enough to rule out a PVE server
- RP/Non-RP – not into roleplay so it doesn’t matter. If RP servers really had fewer morons, that would be nice, but it doesn’t really seem that way..
- Size: a tiny server is a dead end, unless you’ve got an amazing guild. We were there and we’re nervous about going back. A huge server can have queue times, and you feel like part of a faceless crowd
- Time zone: something too far off your own time zone cane have population spikes at the wrong time. If peak PUG time is an hour after you go to bed, or three hours before you get up Saturday morning, that can hurt. Less of a concern with a good guild, assuming their schedule matches yours.
- PVP: do we have a shot at Wintergrasp? So far no server that I’ve looked at seriously seems to have Alliance win, like, ever. Sigh
- Horde/Alliance: we’re Alliance. That’s just how it is – my druid is not going to race change to Tauren. I’ve played Tauren, don’t get me wrong, but I have emotional ties with her and changing her that drastically isn’t going to happen. Plus, as many alts as can be gnomes, must be gnomes.
- Guild size: like server size, a huge guild can make you feel anonymous but a tiny guild doesn’t get anything done. You need enough people that the guild won’t just rupture. (Rev: I have a mental guild scale and what I call ‘critical mass’. Below a certain number of people a guild is socially dead. You need a ‘critical mass’ of people for things to live and breath.)
- Guild culture: a sublist:
- Raiding style: elitist, totally casual, in between. I know what we want: a friendly atmosphere that promotes competent raiding, with raiding as a hobby and not a job. If I sign up, I’m there and ready and I expect my raid partners to be there too. Other people value other things. I know very well that a hardcore progression guild gets more done than my “ideal” raid, and that’s ok, because I’m not willing to make the hardcore lifestyle choices. But I don’t want the “ok, we’ll start around 7… oh the dk can’t come he’s got to do chores, and we don’t know where the priest is, and why are we taking five hunters?” style either
- Culture: is the chat full of fun or seriousness? Are we getting details about peoples’ lives I’d rather not have? Jokes that make fun of guild members in a poisonous way? Outright stupidity? I’m not saying we all have to sit around and discuss Proust; that wouldn’t be fun. More than once. And that once, we’d better be discussing Monty Python’s Competitive Proust Reading skit, thanks.
- Alt attitudes: one character, that’s it, keep your alts out. Or… you’ve got one of everything and they’re all 80 and geared. Or… I expect the guild to run my alts through Scarlet Monastery three nights a week. There’s a lot of range here. My style is that I have alts, I play them, I gear them. I like options. I also have a main that I pay more attention to. I know how to play all my chosen roles, and as long as you do too, we’re good.
- Lots of other areas. What’s the loot style, does it vary by raid? If I sign up to raid, do I actually get a spot? If I don’t sign up to raid, do I get guilted? If I sign up and don’t come, what happens? All these and more….
Putting your thoughts together
So think about everything on that list. If you have not considered some of those, do it. Don’t just randomly pick a guild. Guilds are like spouses, you should actively chose based on real factors and actual decisions, and not just randomly pick and hope it works out. Make a list of the things you absolutely refuse to compromise on and also make a list of the ‘nice to have’ features. Some things on the list will be binary, that is they will be yes/no. Either a guild raids or it does not. Either the server is RP or it is not. Other factors will be fuzzy. How do you define ‘fun and friendly’?
While you are making your list, consider which are most important to you. Is ‘fun and friendly’ more important than ‘progression’? Some people answer that one way and some the other. But it might be that you rate progression a LOT higher or you might rate fun just a tiny bit higher. You have to weight HOW MUCH more you care about one factor or another.
The point of having the list is so you don’t forget to ask a question or look for some information.
Where to look
So you have this information; what do you do with it? There are a lot of places to look for a guild.
If you are looking for a specific server (such as if you don’t have the money to transfer) then you can try the in-game recruiting channel. You can also try the server specific forum threads on the official forums. Don’t forget to do some ‘google’ searches.
If you are not bound to a server you can also check the general recruiting threads on the forums. Again, don’t neglect googling. You never know where you might find a recruiting post. Some other forum somewhere, a blog post, the guild’s site, many places are used by people to recruit.
Once you have a guild or server targeted as a possible choice you want to look stuff up about them and their server. You might start by just rolling a level 1 alt on their server and talking to a member.
Note on HARDE CORE: If you are looking for a hard core progression guild this might be a bad idea. For that sort you want to find their website, read their recruiting policy, and follow the proper application process exactly. There are some good posts on there about what NOT to put in an application. I would suggest reading them. The only advice I will offer here is the same advice as I offer for non-hardcore types….
Don’t get clever!
Just be yourself but don’t try to be ‘more’. Most of the time when people try to be clever or unique in a post, application, or when talking to a recruiting officer those attempts fall flat…. very very flat. “But I am witty and want them to know it…” DON’T! If you are that interesting they will figure it out no matter what you do. And the chances are you are not as clever as you think. NO ONE is clever when they try to force it. Trying too hard will not impress them. Quite the opposite. So just be polite, and honest. Don’t brag, don’t try to ‘wow’ them or impress. Just ask questions, and answer them honestly and specifically.
Check the guild’s armory page; you can get a list of members, some basic statistics (class and race breakdown, how many characters in the guild, how many are at level cap). If they already have 25% of their max level characters as the same class as yours only character, maybe it’s not a good fit – but maybe it is!
Research the server too. There’s the official forums, where you can often get a feel for some of the more colorful personalities. Google searches – try “realm name” + progression, or “realm name” + statistics. Again, the level 1 alt standing in Stormwind watching Trade will get an idea of what the server is like – how many pugs are forming, what’s on the auction house, how bad are their Chuck Norris jokes.
This is the time to start thinking about guild changes, if you want one for Cataclysm. If you’re reasonably confident your choice of guild will remain the same after the world changes, moving now gives you time to settle in. Beware though; expansions kill guilds and if you get even a whiff of bad drama, be careful.