After a nice long weekend of birthday celebrations, I am back at work and back on Avenging Wrathy. As I stepped away from my computer for the weekend and did not log on to talk to my guildies, I was quite out of the loop when it came to our problem of the month, attendance. As the days grow shorter, and excuses approach, each guild is faced with the same problems: lack of people. This is only compounded by blizzards newest and greatest instance, the Trial of the Crusade! As much as I would like to blame the kids going back to school as the excuse for our recent abysmal turn out, I truly believe that there are more sinister demons in our closet so to speak.
The advent of the totally worthless instance is upon us. Throughout all of the first two instances of this expansion pack, I was in the top three on wow-heroes.com for most geared tank on our server. However, now with the fact that you can purchase end game gear with badges that you can get from heroic dailies, everyone and their mother is in amazing gear, yet their skill levels have not increased at all. The surplus of guilds that can clear all of the content available to them is skyrocketing and the gear is falling from the heavens, yet so many guilds are struggling to fill raid spots in 25 man raids. So, how do you as a guild recruit people and at the same time weed out the baddies from the people that will ultimately make up part of your core team. I have a few theories on why we are in this current situation and what you can do to stop the hemorrhaging.
The difficulty level of Trial of the Crusader
As I do appreciate the fact that the difficulty level of trial of the crusader has allowed so many more guilds to experience end game raiding, it has also truly homogenized the guilds of our server, and more than likely your server as well. We now have 12 horde guilds that have killed hard modes in Ulduar on our server. That is a significant amount of talent that is distributed very evenly across a lot of guilds. The fact that you can pug the end game server right now makes it so that someone who thought they may have a chance at end game in a progression guild can stay contently where they are and earn free loot with their friends. As the loot begins to fall from the heavens with item level 245 stamped all over it, guilds gear levels are getting higher and the difficulty of the Hard Mode achievements in Ulduar is diminishing as the weeks pass.
So how do you deal with a guild that is losing its players to real life, other guilds, “casualitis”, and plain boredom from ToTC?
There are a few things that you have to keep in the back of your mind if you are an officer or raider in a guild that is suffering through a numbers drought. First, this is the natural progression of guilds, people come and people go, and it is your duty to keep the guild together by filling the gaps that have been left by the departed. How you fill those gaps is completely up to you, but there are some ways that are more effective than others. Moreover, you have to remember that, if we are lucky, in two weeks all of these problems will be solved by a nice fat brick wall called Hard Mode Northrend Beasts. Nothing stops the general homogenization of server talent like a big fat raid boss stomping your ass into the ground. At this point the cream will rise to the top and you can look for those people that no longer have a home to bolster your ranks.
With that being said, you should be prepared to face that brick wall head on and understand what it is that you have to offer to the players of your server that is unique and appealing. From my guilds perspective, the officers have focused on one thing that separates us from the rest of the guilds that are waiting for a challenge, the race back to server firsts, and the elite ranks: our schedule. Our leadership is well aware that we have a unique service that we can provide to the masses of our server, and the lucky ones that would like to share in our success will come forward and apply when they are tired of wiping. We offer the same progression as every other guild on our server save one, in half the time. We raid 2 nights a week and clear the same amount of content.
That is our pitch, our slogan, our appeal. What is yours?
Once you have that unique identity that you can offer, and understand what your demographic is for prospective applicants, you still have to understand that it is no longer just as easy as looking at someone’s gear and achievements and knowing that they are a good player. You need to be more cautious when it comes to recruitment and guild invites. Our guild has a few policies in place that weed out the initial round of poor players. We require a guild sponsor, someone that is a current raider in our guild to recommend the recruit and vouch for their competence and ability to adapt to our system of play. Secondly, we have a 1 month trial period where each individual recruit is tested in the progression raid environment to see what they can contribute to our guild. The combination of the guild vouch and the trial period serve as a very significant filter to keep the caliber of player in our guild at the level we are accustomed to. What about the people that don’t make the cut? well that is what the gkick function is for.
How do you get those people to come to you?
This is another difficult decision that your guild has to make. Do you want to advertise on the over trolled and under utilized world of warcraft server forums, spam trade chat, go to specific sites such as maintankadin and post, or do you have more subtle tactics. Our guilds recruitment is strictly by word of mouth and raider referrals. If we have issues with filling a certain class, we tell our raiders to look out for a player that fits the role of what we are looking for during their day to day playing. We don’t recommend poaching by any means, and we do not actively participate in trying to take people away from competing guilds, however if we can offer them a step up in the raiding experience and they are willing, we give them the chance to prove to us that they can hang.
In the end, people come and people go, but you have to actively work to keep your guild full and successful if you want to enjoy the content that is considered end game. Understanding what makes your guild unique is the most important first step in getting those people that you need to fill spots. Remember that every guild is full of fun loving, chill atmospheres where “we plow through content and dont stress about it.” you have to find that thing that ONLY your guild has to offer, and market it to your advantage.