World of Warcraft has an in game guild search/recruitment tool. To use this tool you need to not be part of a guild. Open the guild interface (default hotkey is “I”) and you will be prompted to search for a guild. Click the “Find a Guild” button and that will open up a basic search function.
What we are offered is a simplistic compartmentalizing of our potential new social groups. We check the type of play that we are interested in, our availability and role. Then we click the Browse Guilds button and are faced with a list of hundreds of guilds to sort through. Honestly, who has time for that?
While this may be an adequate system for those not looking to get invested in their guild (or this game for that matter), this is not a great way to narrow down your pool of potential guilds. I really hope Blizzard makes this a focus in the future since I know if I have a hard time finding a guild that fits how I like to play, I typically leave a game after a month or so.
Fix #1: Allow characters currently in a guild to use the recruitment tool. If I’m browsing for a new guild, I’m not usually going to leave my current one before I have a new one lined up. Compare this to job hunting. Does everyone only look for a new job when they don’t currently have one? Of course not. That would be an absurd criteria to fulfill in order to interview for a new company (sorry we only are considering unemployed applicants), so why is being unguided a requirement to use the guild finder interface in our game?
Fix #2: Add more robust search criteria. The search criteria is entirely too broad and on my server if I select one interest it narrows down my search to at least several hundred guilds to scroll through. I would probably guess that most people that use this tool wind up not finding a great fit due to the large volume of guilds they have to spend time sorting through and end up finding a guild through other methods, be it the forums or the dozens of other sites that try to create a solution for this problem in the game.
- Schedules: Allow for guilds to put in their exact schedule via a drop down for each day of the week. And also allow players to do the same with their availability. For ease of use, include timezone so that players don’t need to try to figure out what time a guild plays in their own local time zone.
- Search Key Words: If you want a guild that is currently raiding or new player friendly that should be an option to search in this interface. We shouldn’t be limited by 5 check boxes, the results end up being overwhelming to search through.
- Location: Allow a checkbox to include different realms, a specific realm or any realms and also the option to include different factions. A lot of players are willing to pay blizzard to transfer a character. Why not make it easy for them to do so!?
Fix #3: Allow players to be contacted by guilds. I see so many posts on the guild recruitment forums from players that say “this is what I’m looking for, post your guild info in the thread”. Wouldn’t it be a great option if a player can flag themselves in game as “looking for guild”? In my experience a player doesn’t like doing a ton of work to play a game. Make it easier for them!
Fix #4: Request to Talk…in addition to request to join So many of us out there want to speak to someone who would be a future member. I remember before joining my raiding guild in Cataclysm times, I spent over 2 hours chatting with the GM before I was extended an invite. And while that was a bit excessive, I want to be able to say to recruits – “Hey! This is our plan for the guild, this is what we expect of you, and do you have any questions for me?”
- Discussion Interface: Attach a chat interface specific to each potential recruit tied to their request for more information. Allow all of the officer rank members in guild to view these questions and respond to create a sort of chat log that can be checked on and responded too – even if the player is offline.
As a guild leader, I spend more time than I would like trying to find and communicate with potential recruits for my guild. I would rather be spending my time actually playing the game instead of working extra hard due to having poor tools that are supposed to help me. I spent 5 hours last weekend posting to player’s recruitment forum posts, adding their battle tags only to have none of them add me back and it felt like a whole lot of wasted time with no progress made towards finding people for my guild.
There are a lot of players out there that play MMOs and crave that social aspect of existing in a virtual world. I know that this is very much a quality of life improvement but it is my belief that as WoWs player get older and as we have jobs, kids and other real life obligations in our life, we will gravitate towards games with systems that make the overwhelming task of finding people to play with less time consuming. I know that I personally want to play games with cool people, help me find them!