Growing your Guild
[Inspired by a post on the Bronze Kettle - a fun blog I like as it combines two hobbies of mine - WoW and cooking.]
So, you’ve got a nice PVE guild of 8 people, and you’ve worked together well from lower level to 70. You’ve rocked the 5-mans to include the heroics, and want your Kara. For that matter, you want to go further. But as you’ve already discovered – you NEED the 8 to ensure having 5 when it’s time. And even if all 8 are together at the right time and place it’s Not Enough for Kara. Much less anything else. You have to get bigger – now what?
There are a few options available, and I’m going to discuss some of them. (And hope others will mention the ones I miss.) Now I’m going to mention and dismiss “give up” in it’s variety of forms. Sure, you could consider yourself capped and just do 5-man from here to eternity, or you could disband and everybody find their own guild. But both of those are, well, unpalatable for a variety of reasons. Let’s look at a few options that let you keep progressing while staying with your friends.
The first, easiest, and in many ways most difficult option in the long run is some form of merger. Whether it’s join with another small guild or become a part of a larger guild, the basic concept is the same. You find another guild that’s at about your level of progression, ask if they’re interested, start the negotiations that include how much of what you do already stays (as opposed to what they do that’s different) and where you both compromise, and… oh, wait. I just glossed over what is undoubtedly the hardest part. “[F]ind another guild that’s at about your level of progression…”
There’s the classic way – asking in trade or general chat. “Any small level 70 guilds interested in merger for Kara, PST.” It… can work, but yech. You can do similar by posting on the official forums for your realm — and if you’re going this route that’s my personal recommendation. You can also check out pug members – that is, when you run a pick up group instance and one of the members does a decent job but belongs to another guild, take a moment to check out that guild. Maybe ask that member the name of the guild’s leader.
An option – but you’ll be junior partner – is to see the guild ranking list for your realm at wowjutsu.com and talk to the ‘bottom’ of the lists. Now the downside here is that the lists only include the groups who’ve passed about half-way through Kara, which means they have “enough” regular members to do well. (A side note. According to the notes, a guild has to have over 20 points to be ‘published’. However, the ‘last’ shows that the bottom is now 10 points. For reference, this means a guild has done 2-4 bosses in Kara. Oh, a point of clarification. 2-4 bosses could be 2-4 downings of Attumen, and only Attumen.)
I recommend if you’re going the merger route that you hesitate to consider a guild that’s past Kara on a regular basis. Let me put it in context… Assume you’re a guild doing Heroics. And you get asked by a guild if they can merge with you. Oh – their highest level characters are in the 40s. Which means no help for your stuff for a while, and a period where much of your actions are “run me through…” Even if the other guild is full of GREAT players, absolutely wonderful people, this is going to be NOT FUN. Picture captured? great. Let’s go on to the other big option – recruiting.
If you’re not merging, you have to recruit. There are several ways to do this, and I recommend ALL of them. Seriously, do not stop with just one. Put an advertisment (post) in the official forum. Have a once-per-hour or so general spam. Pug, and look at the good players. Ask other guilds with whom you’ve got good relations to mention yours when people come looking but don’t fit them. In all cases, though, remember to be clear on what you’re seeking – and make it clear to prospective members. “We’re skilled and geared enough we think we can do Kara and onward, but we need more members. You’ve got to be sufficiently geared and skilled, and you’ve got to commit to our raiding plan.” Oh – be sure YOU know your raiding plan – whether it’s twice a week or six days a week or whatever.
But don’t just take anybody. Instead… I’m going to recommend you do three things for EVERY player you consider.
First, go to warcraftrealms.com and search the character for his or her history. Heh – scary time. Go check it out yourself. On the site, find the Realm Data, and choose Char Hist from the dropdown menu. Go ahead, I’ll wait. [pause] Scary, right? And at the same time… you can now see how fast they progressed, and probably more important what other guilds they were in. Now, ask the guild leaders about this character. Warning – take a grain of salt to everything they say. Remember, you’re only hearing one side of the story. Which takes us to your second thing to do…
Interview. The questions to ask are going to differ. Remember that what you’re looking for is someone that FITS – that you’ll not spend hours every week coping with Guild Drama directly due to this individual. My personal taste is to ask why they left their prior guilds – and mismatches with what those guild leaders say is cause to ask more probing questions – and then some questions about what they’re expecting in terms of frequency of play and rate of progression. Oh, and just how much gear they’re expecting, and at what speed they expect to get it. As an aside – this process alone justifies the annoyance of the Voice Chat. Now I recommend you invest in a Ventrilo or TeamSpeak account if you intend to grow, but you don’t HAVE to thanks to this. Anyway, you now have both sides of the story, and you’ve some feel for how the player says he’ll behave, and so far so good. So, it’s off to the last recommendation.
Take the candidate for a test drive. Pick an instance with which you’re familiar that you think will test THAT PLAYER’s skill. Use your guild’s loot rules with the assumption (for this run) that he’s a full member – and make sure he knows the rules being used. The other four members are his judges. Run the instance, and thank him and tell him you’ll get back to him in a certain amount of time. And then… those four discuss and decide. Whether its a vote or it’s “three advisers and the decision-maker” is up to you and your guild’s design, but those are the four who can contribute.
It’s my blog, I get to be personal here…. Look, folks. For the sake of fun, stick to quality over quantity. Don’t grab the ones that “might” work. Back in that test run? I recommend that if even one of the four says “no”, you don’t. Heck, I’d recommend you allow three voting options – yes, no, and maybe, and the WORST ACCEPTABLE is 3Y 1M 0N. Because if one of your regulars that you trust enough to run a test has problems with that player… Guild Drama is guaranteed. More importantly, if you build for quality your reputation will get you the quantity down the road if and when you need it.
But accept or reject, be professional – get back to the individual in the designated time, regardless of acceptance or rejection. If it’s rejection, you’ll quite possibly be asked why. Decide up front if you’re going to explain or not – and be prepared to live with the complaints and badmouthing on the server either way. You’ll help yourself if you learn “corporate-speak” – “I’m sorry but you’re not quite what we’re looking for at this time. Good luck.” But if you’re willing to take the heat… “I’m sorry, but you were identified as the cause of a guild split by XXX and YYY guild leaders, and we can’t have that here.” Or whatever the reason was…
Remember, the game is for fun. Don’t lose track of the important things.