Mar 22 2011

Raid Recruiting Challenges [in the New Guild System]

As Tier 11 raiding rolls along in the new Cataclysm expansion, it has been noted by many players and guilds that recruiting is becoming an increasing challenge, more than ever in the past. Although well-known, highly successful, and/or very large guilds might not face this issue, the average small guild is struggling to stay afloat. Although multiple factors are surely at play, I think the biggest culprit is the [otherwise-awesome] new guild system.

When the new system was announced and Cataclysm dropped, players scampered to create new guilds or align themselves with an existing one in order to take advantage of the new advantages. However, this may have been done haphazardly, because the landscape now looks like there are too many guilds with too few players. Instead of a hypothetical fifty guilds with solid rosters of active players, most servers ended up with a hundred guilds that all needed additional members to succeed in their goals. In an ideal world, or at least one without repercussions for moving guilds, this probably would correct itself in time as players who wanted to raid but couldn’t with their current guild would shift allegiances, and failing guilds would collapse or merge into others to create a sustainable amount of guilds that matched the demand of the players who wanted to raid.

However, this is complicated by the second major factor: Guild Reputation. With the new guild system providing lots of minor perks, rewards and advantages to players, Blizzard also introduced guild reputation to require individual contribution and to encourage guild loyalty. Unfortunately, what “encourages loyalty” also discourages moving on when appropriate. Players who might have otherwise been more open to seeking other opportunities and investigating new guilds now feel locked into their current one because they will lose their reputation level, which took months to earn. While there are probably far less fickle guild hoppers out there, there are now also swarms of people who feel pressured to remain in guilds that are not a good fit for them or that they have little personal attachment to (or are even downright unhappy with) or guilds that simply don’t have enough members to raid successfully.

This makes recruiting extremely difficult for these guilds. Guilds are petitioning players who don’t want to leave their existing guild because they will lose their reputation and potentially many of their perks and rewards. These recruits take a big risk to surrender all of these things for a new guild that might not even work out for them long-term. And if existing, established guilds who actually have things to offer new members struggle to be appealing enough to justify this risk, then for new guilds looking to start from the ground up it is arguably impossible to recruit. On top of all of these roadblocks, all these guilds are recruiting against dozens and dozens of other guilds in the exact same situation

A year ago, I would have told a good guild struggling to fill their ranks to keep trying. Today, I am not so sure this is good advice. All around me, I see guilds full of awesome people and great players who were extremely successful in prior expansions but are unable to even get a raid off the ground now. These are the kinds of guilds that would have been swimming in recruits before but now are only stagnant or worse.

So what can guilds do? Unfortunately, although there are some options, there are no easy solutions.

First, both guilds and individual players need to really heavily consider if what they have is worth hanging on to. A lot of players are so enamored with their reputation, guild levels and perks that they haven’t considered what they are giving up to keep them. Are they worth never being able to field raid? Are they worth being grouped with players you don’t get along with? Are they worth an empty, inactive guild?

Second, I think a recruiting paradigm shift is needed. Guilds to stop recruiting players and start recruiting other guilds. There are tons of guilds out there who are dying because they don’t have enough players. The remaining players may want to stick together, and they may be enticed by the opportunity to merge with a similar guild, especially if the immediate results are enough people to be raid viable. If you can find a like-minded guild or two, sit down with your remaining players and work out a position for absorbing new groups into your ranks, and how you will handle bank permissions and leadership. It won’t be easy, but it may be necessary for your survival.

If a merger isn’t appropriate for your guild for whatever reason, consider forming a guild alliance.  Approach other small guilds who are trying to recruit and see if you can combine forces to make raiding progress together.  Although your guilds will not be “credited” with achievements with less than 80% attendance, this can actually be an excellent way for smaller guilds to stay in the raiding game.  A shared chat channel and standardised rules and loot policy can help pave the way for a smooth allegiance.

Good luck to all those out there fighting to keep their place in the game world!

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  1. I Have It Set To Muffins » Forming A Guild Alliance: How & Why — April 7 2011 @ 15:49

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