Guild Recruiting Methods

August 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm (Guild Relationships, Snark)

Does your guild need more players? Spamming the trade channel and the official forums not working? Perhaps it’s time to take a new tack, and try something different. In that vein, I present the following unconventional, but effective, means of advertising your guild’s need for skill.

* Bumper Stickers: They’ve worked so well for the parents of honor roll students, so putting “My Guild went 6/7 in Normal Mode” with contact information will certainly drive new applicants to you.

* T-Shirts.  Classic advertising, in the form of “<UberNoobs> downed the Litch King, and all I got was this crappy T-shirt.”  Who wouldn’t want to join a guild that drops this kind of loot.  For bonus points, make sure the shirt is purple … unless your guild name is <RedShirtGuys>.

* Church Bulletin Board: Rather effective if you remind the parishioners that “<Resurrection> is actively recruiting Shadow Priests and Warlocks.”

* Sandwich Board on the Sidewalk:  This method has worked wonders for $5 pizzas, discount tax preparers, and Cub Scout carwashes.

* Public Access Television:  It did wonders for Wayne and Garth, and if they’re up at midnight watching TV, you know they have the right lifestyle for raiding.

* Highway Billboard: A hot girl wearing a nelf costume, with the following text: “Play with me every night.  <Lonelyndesperate> Moon Guard – US.”  If the recruits don’t come a floodin’ in, it’s because you put it in Amish country.

* Booth at San Diego Comic-Con.  The audience is targeted correctly.  The only problem you may have is convincing the same guild that wouldn’t cough up $10 a month for a vent server to lay out that kind of cash.

* Chief Sponsor for a NASCAR Truck team:  The trucks race on Friday nights, so you know that viewers don’t have a social life to get in the way, and NASCAR fans are some of the most brand-loyal people around.

* On the back of an Alexstrasa costume:  The first rule of advertising is the same as real-estate: location, location, location.  It doesn’t matter if the print is small, it WILL be read.  I wonder if Nads is available…

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It Burns When I PvE

July 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm (Guild Relationships, Raiding)

The last few weeks I’ve been beating my head (along with the rest of my guild) on Beth repeatedly.  It sounds like the guild is suffering from massive failure; however, reality differs significantly from the first impression.  We’ve suffered from disconnects, and on a 25-man fight like this one, the sudden loss of one of your spiderling killers is an almost auto-wipe.  The lag within Vent caused the guild to switch to Mumble – here’s a tip, don’t switch systems on a raid night.  We’ve also tried a number of strategies, and moved from 3 tanks to 2.  If suffering is sunshine on the soul, enough already – we’re suffering from 3rd degree burns.  Despite the problems, we’re still filling our raids, there has not been a mass of /gquits in frustration, and the group has been willing to continue on this boss rather than moving over to a different target.  How has this group held it together, when others that I have been a part of have fractured under the strain?  Well, several ways:

No public blame game.  There’s no open discussion, either in chat or on Mumble, that “player X fracked up.”  Issues with individual performance are handled by /whisper in chat.  And, by referring issues directly to the raid leader in a PM, you avoid the potential drama bomb that explodes later.

Individual responsibility.  Sometimes bad things happen.  And occasionally, it’s even your fault.  Own up.  Ask for help if you need it.  A raid leader will appreciate your honesty, and may save the group countless wipes.

Humor in the group.  While returning to the instance the lighthearted comments fly faster than our ghostly griffins.  Comments about our “leet sporebats” help reduce the stress, and remind everyone that we are, in fact, here to have fun.

Willingness to adapt strategies to fit the group.  Diverse groups mean diverse abilities.  Moving players around may solve some problems, but occasionally the strategy just won’t work with the group available.  Instead of trying to pound square pegs into round holes, look to find a square hole instead.

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Why Guild Romances Just Don’t Work

July 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm (Guild Relationships, Snark)

For some reason, this video strikes me as familiar.  I wonder if anyone I know can relate…

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Guild Websites

July 11, 2011 at 4:52 am (Guild Relationships)

A good guild website serves a number of functions, everything from communication to recruiting and promotion.  A good website will serve these functions efficiently, and provide information both for potential recruits and established members.  A bad website, however, will turn away potential members, and serve no practical purpose for the guild.  So, the question becomes, what makes a good website.  In truth, there is no single thing or style that makes a good website, but there are several things that a good guild site will include.  In later weeks, I’m going to go into some of these in depth, so if you don’t understand what I’m saying, please ask a question in the comments.

Statement of Purpose/Goals:  Let people know what you’re banded together for.  Reasons range from “We’re a 25-man, progression raiding guild striving for all hard-mode achievements,” to “A social guild dedicated to grossing each other out in Vent.”  A sentence is good, a paragraph is better – but let potential recruits know what you are all about.

Membership Requirements/Application:  List your requirements for membership, and link to an application if you have one.  If you’re a raiding only guild, and you expect members to be on 5 nights a week for raiding, say so.  Here is the place to list add-ons that your guild requires.  You can mention that Vent is required, but here is not the place to have your vent information.

Code of Conduct:  Having a concrete set of rules makes it much easier to handle problem players.  If you can point to specific infractions, the party can’t claim ignorance.  Also indicate the potential penalties for breaking the rules.  For example, if you’re a family-friendly guild, you may have a rule about bad language in vent or guild chat.  If a player does it, and finds themselves demoted without guild bank access and on probation, you can simply point to “Rule #3.”

Loot System/Rules:  Having your loot system explained on your website will keep the raid leaders sane by simply referring back to the website.  And potential recruits to your guild will know going in how loot is distributed.  If you’re using a Loot Council type system, this is the place to list the members of the council.

Guild Officer List:  Have a full list of guild officers and the positions they hold.  If someone is on the server, they can contact an officer in-game if they have questions, and your guild members can find the person they need quickly.

General Raid Schedule:  You’ll save a recruitment officer reams of paperwork if you simply list the times and days you run raids. 

Contact Information:  A good way to contact the guild out of the game.  Normally, this will be an e-mail answered by the recruiting officer(s).  Expecting someone to jump servers to contact you in order to get questions answered won’t win you many recruits.

Screenshots:  Here’s the place to brag, show off the guild, or highlight your activities.  Be unique, this is an easy way to set yourself apart from other guilds.

Members Only Forum/Area:  While all of the above should be accessible by the public at large, the forum you have is often best kept for the guild only.  This keeps internal drama and issues in-house.

Update Regularly:  When’s the last time you saw a guild webpage that hadn’t been updated in a while?  What are the odds of a skilled raider applying to a group that shows BC content at the top of their page?  Regular updates lets the world know you’re alive and thriving.

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How to lose friends and influence raiders

June 16, 2011 at 11:51 am (Guild Relationships)

I usually discuss ways to positively influence your guild members and raid team, but I wanted to take a moment to list some ways you can insure getting less than the best from others.  Sadly, most of this is comon sense, but within a larger guild, leadership can overlook some of these things – but it is their responsibility to make sure these types of things don’t happen.
* When raiding, make sure that all raiders are treated alike.  If the guild bank is paying for raid repairs, it should be paying for everyone’s.  If you’re charging for flasks from cauldrons, everyone best pay.  That said, it is ok to have an exception to two, like free flasks for a month, but only if its for a limited time, and the same couple of people aren’t getting the benefit repeatedly.
* Don’t relegate someone to the bench with silence.  If they’re worthy of a raid invite, they’re worthy of a whisper to inform them you’re full up.  And no, a /g anouncement isn’t any better.
* Run with who brought you.  If someone spends more than one raid period while the group learns the fight, replacing them at the last minute then dropping the boss (unless they were the reason you weren’t succeeding, and you’d best be able to back it up) is rather low class.  if they’re paying their own repairs, even more so.  If you do have to replace them, make sure that they get into the group to down the boss soon, and tell them why you’re taking them out.  If you use folks to save someone else’s purse or time, don’t be surprised when they leave, and take others with them.  This is easiest when you keep your progression group steady from week to week.
* Don’t use new content as a crutch to avoid farming older content when raiders still can use gear/want achievements from older instances.  Officers need to be aware that they’re not thbe only ones in the guild who care about achievements.
* Don’t endlessly repeat basic raid instructions/strategies unless there’s someone new or someone asks.  The 5th week of raiding, everyone knows what flasks cost.

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The Substitute

May 24, 2011 at 2:49 am (Guild Relationships, Raiding)

With the onset of summer vacations and raid content in Cataclysm becoming stale in some players’ minds, some guilds have noticed a drop off in raid attendance, and some burn out has occurred.  One method of combating these issues is introducing substitutes into a raid group.  While the addition of new and sometimes untried players may be cause for concern, there are a number of positives as well.  Guild cohesion, raid viability, and planning for the future may all be addressed though relieving players, if handled correctly.  The decision cannot be made by a raid team’s leadership lightly, and much of the following should be considered to determine if switching players on a temporary basis might provide a positive result for a raid team.

The positives for substituting members in and out on a raid team are varied; some are well recognized, others not so.  First and foremost, it allows other members of a guild to gear up, particularly useful when someone is needed at the last minute to fill a hole in progression content.  In addition, guild retention as a whole appears to be better.  Giving a dedicated guild member who might not be able to raid full-time, yet performs services and benefits the guild, will keep them coming back for more.  Less often considered is using raider rotation to prevent or forestall burnout.  A dedicated tank or healer may well prefer to give up a slot on farm content, particularly when they have no loot dropping from the bosses at hand.  The result is less stress.

Conversely, there are a few negatives during the substitution of raiders.  Leading the pack are deficiencies in gear.  Raid members are then left with less health, mana, and DPS; virtually guaranteeing a longer fight and increased odds of wiping.  Along with this is the lack of “muscle memory” of a particular fight.  After a number of attempts at a particular encounter, an experienced raider understands not just the mechanics of the fight, but also the actions they need to take to insure success.  Finally, there is a limit to how much a particular raid group can “carry.”  With the ever increasing number of group-wiping abilities by bosses, expecting multiple new raiders to mitigate the mechanics of the fight each and every time has become even more difficult.  Lack of experience in tanking or healing often lead to shortages in 5-man groups, raids experience the lack of these positions even more.  Raid lockouts may limit the number of “farm” content available.

Once the decision to rotate new raiders into a group has been made, some key logistics need to be worked out.  It is usually best to begin by asking if anyone wishes to rotate out for a night or week.  However, one should probably either ask before raid time, or ask that folks whisper back.  I’ve seen instances where members were pressured into raiding, and their performance was visibly off.  Pressure by peers you’ve never really met can be just as exacting as anywhere else.  If you still need to remove players after the call for volunteers is met, be as fair as possible – try not to have someone ride the pines 2 weeks or nights in a row.  Consider finding innovative ways to help compensate – additional loot points for example.  However, getting into an argument on vent or in guild chat is to be avoided – raid drama never helps a guild and may cause resentment towards the person stepping in.  The persons that will be joining the raid should, in theory, be told in advance that they will probably be raiding, and given the homework necessary to prepare them – gems, enchants up to par, the fights researched and any strategies or guild discussion threads read and understood.  They may be a substitute, but there is no substituting for the preparation required. 

Once the switch has been made, remember that someone who isn’t normally a part of the raid team will be present.  Everyone in the raid has to reduce their expectations.  Allowances must be made, don’t forget that they may have never seen this fight outside of a video.  The raid leader should give a general description of the fight again, just as a refresher for the strategies.  Role or class leaders should also give reminders of what abilities are useful, and any particular threats they are going to have to avoid or mitigate.  Once the attempt is over, for good or bad, be sure to ask if the replacement has any questions.  If the result was a wipe caused by the player, gently instruct them how to prevent it from happening again.  In addition, raid leaders have to be quick to squash any comments or suggestions from other raid members over vent or in chat.  Any such information should be whispered to the raid or class leaders.  Save any in-depth discussion of performance and how to improve it until a break or after the raid.  It is best to do this on a separate vent channel, never in a general audio channel or on chat – it’s far too easy to misunderstand meaning.  It’s never easy being told of your faults and areas for improvement, it needs to be handled in a professional manner.  After the raid is complete, no matter what the outcome, be sure to thank publically not only those who were left out, but those who joined the group as well.

If done for the right reasons, and handled properly, substituting players can be a positive experience for the raid group as a whole.  Some time off benefits every raider, even if they don’t admit it.  So don’t be afraid of changing things up now and again.

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