Filling the ranks

Recruitment is one of the biggest part of running a guild, especially if your goals involve scheduled play where you need a dozen or more players to even participate.  We are currently in the ramp up stage of recruiting which is a place that I’ve been in a few times when jumping into a new game.  I marinated on bring the guild into WoW for a few weeks to see if the itch to jump back into it all would pass, it didn’t.  First I reached out to all the people that I played with previously including a friend who normally filled the officer role.  This brought back some familiar faces and ramped up the excitement for the new game we were playing.  Next I start to look for the best way to find our ideal candidate and I’m overwhelmed by the amount of different platforms that seem to be everywhere for WoW.  I update our guild’s profile on a variety of platforms and sites and while having this information out there and up to date will be useful in the future, it was not bringing us very many players.

There are a few recruitment methods that I’m considering:

  • Spamming – quick way to get bodies into your guild and great for groups with a focus on general activity.  Most likely you will not get the exact type of player you want by announcing “message me for a guild invite!”  By opening the flood gates, you could be setting yourself up for headaches in the future.
  • Targeted recruitment – What I mean by targeted recruitment is finding the specific qualities that I want in a player and pursuing them.  I both sell our brand and share our goals.  If we both want the same thing then I speak to each candidate in person and offer them a trial position in the guild.
  • Partnering with another guild – This will most likely get you the most members for the least amount of time investment.  A lot of the time partnering with another guild requires compromise and changing your vision for the guild, allowing new leadership to take charge or become officers.
  • Community interactions – one way to grown in a semi-organic way is through making your presence know through community interactions.  This is a slow process but I have found some great friends this way.  Being active on a forum talking about things that I’m interested in has found me some allies.  This is more of an indirect way to find new friends and guildies.
  • WoW Communities – this is a new social platform in wow that allows you to join a group without leaving your current guild.  I’m currently experimenting with a “I want to raid eventually” type of community.  I don’t expect it to take off until the beginning of the new expansion when a lot of players return.  I’m hoping to drum up a sort of larger guild type community with more relaxed standards for membership than what will be required in our raid groups.

The raider is a fickle creature, easily spooked by unrest and sometimes difficult to reassure.  I’ve seen it before where a guild with the best of intention winds up not being a great fit for a small group of its members, who eventually leave.  I don’t want that to happen, so I make it clear what the goals of the guild are and reinforce that message periodically.  Ideally I like to recruit enough people around to run a small bench to ensure that we are not short on our raid nights.

For those out there who have participated in the guild recruitment process, both recruiting and being recruited.  How did you find a guild?  Did they reach out to you, or did you find them?  What did you like/dislike about the experience of being courted.  I need to know!  Help me be better at this 😀


Keeping your players engaged

Burnout and boredom are real killers in a game.  I once tracked our member turnover and found in the worst of times that we would lose about 20% of our members per month.  There were a lot of things working against us.  The raid content was completed and most of the members have done the fights at least 30 times, some of them had done it a lot more than that on alternate or alt characters.  We were a guild primarily focused on raiding which are large group content and normally the hardest group content in MMOs.  When the raids stopped being exciting we had to find ways to keep our guild members happy and engaged.

Good ol’ raid/character progression is one of my favorite ways to play a game and keep everyone engaged.  We were rewarded with better armor and weapons each time we killed the bosses, which also made the fights easier. Every week we get a little bit better through repetition and we complete things a little bit quicker.  This allows time to learn the new encounters and eventually we experienced the thrill of a fresh kill.  Of course this only occurs in a time with new content that we haven’t completed.

Sometimes I didn’t have to do much to keep players engaged because everyone would self entertain.  We always played with competitive people that wanted to do the best that they could and beat the next best player on those damage meters.  For those not familiar with damage meters it is a ranking of who does the best on any given fight.  This would lead to individuals spending their time researching ways to better play their class, grind for that item that would result in a small increase in productivity and lastly taking more risks in a fight to squeeze out that extra small amount of damage.  Sometimes all that stood between you and the next person was one more spell being completed.

In the weeks prior to a big game release we once had A Great Level One Race, which was a type of event that I always remember fondly.  We all create brand new characters and gather together in a giant group.  We had everyone start in one place and gave them a finish line. We offered up a pretty substantial prize for the winner, so even if you had no interest in playing the silly game that we created, that prize encouraged you to give it a try.  We all twittered on our voice chat while we raced for the prize.  There was only a little bit of cheating.  It was a great time.

Testing the new content before it was released to the public was another great way for us to bond.  If there was new large scale content available for the players to try out I made sure that we were there.  I would send messages to the developers and offer up our services for testing to make sure that if they needed people to test, that our names would come up. It was such a thrill to be part of an exclusive group that got to check out content and offer our opinions and expertise as gamers to the creators of the games that we loved.

This week we decided to do a little extra tracking as we worked through a raid that we have just completed the week before.  It took us a total of 4.7 hours to complete the whole thing, this week we decided to use that as a bench mark and work on shaving minutes off of that time.  I had this plan to do things differently.  Maybe clear non boss mobs more quickly, time before a boss encounter could be shaved down to 5 seconds from 10. When we can see ourselves improving each week it keep us motivated to keep the momentum going.

Guild Meetings are one of my favorite ways to keep up with players, especially if you are planning on playing something that has yet to launch.  I don’t schedule our meetings past 30 minutes.  The goal is to get people talking to eachother and hopefully creating friendships and bonds with others in the group. After all we are here to have fun.

What activities keeps you playing with your guild?

Start at the beginning

My first soiree into guild leadership happened in an explosion of drama, which I somehow became the catalyst.  “We are supposed to be a hard core guild,” I said “You can’t cancel a raid just because you can’t make it!!”  Our argument was a whirl of purple text from our in game whispers, which were anything but quiet.  Our guild was named Nox, which means night or something like that and we had a great start as a guild.  We were wracking up the accomplishments and able to brag that we were 4/5 in bosses defeated.  Only one more to go…and the Guild Leader was CANCELING!  “I won’t have it!”  I fumed, “this is not how this works!”

Cali has been removed from the guild

Kicked.  How can he kick me?  I wasn’t the problem.  From there I can only describe what came next as a scheme.  Like any respectable guild at the time we had a website where we all communicated daily and on this website I still had access.  I began my plea in a forum private mesage (PM) to all of my guildmates asking them to to reject the bad leadership and join me on a new adventure.  And join me they did!

I stood in our main city hub, staring at a blank text box asking me to name the guild.  I’m terrible at naming things.  I typed in some text and created the guild.  I knew that everyone would get a kick out of this temporary name that I picked and make me change it in a week.

You have joined Cali Killed Nox

Little did I know that we would play under that guild name for the next 4 years…