A guild should accept a recruit as a body accepts a transplanted organ: Full rejection or full acceptance, becoming a contributing part of the whole
Hidden Hard Modes (HHM) is a series dedicated to those bosses you see outside of the game. The bosses you need to kill just to make it into an instance and before you even kill one boss. This feature will be archived in its own page for easy access after it runs its course. Previous entries: Attendancegut.
Recruitment is one of the most talked about and debated guild relations topics out there. Nearly every guild is recruiting someone. So if everyone is doing it, how do you stand out and/or be effective in pulling in quality players? Guides on the details of making an “effective recruitment post” are only useful to a certain point. Sure it’s always a good idea to present your guild information in an intelligible way and be truthful about your needs, but there are so many recruitment threads out there. When a recruit pulls up a realm forum or recruitment thread he’s looking at the following parameters:
- Minimum progression: Anyone that is looking to move to another raiding guild has some sense of where they want to be and what they’re capable of (if only subconsciously).
- Raid Times/Attendance Req’s: Does their availability match with yours?
- Potential Raiding Chances: What is the likelihood that they’ll get into raids?
- (On Server Only) Friends/Family: Often if a guild disbands or a player is looking to move, he’ll go to the guild where most of his on-server friends play. It doesn’t matter if the guild is at the top or bottom, they’re looking for a familiar place with familiar faces.
That’s it. Anything else like handing out free repair bills or double coupons up to $0.99 are just nice little perks. If the potential recruit does not think your guild can meet the above three parameters, it doesn’t matter.
This doesn’t just mean bumping recruitment posts and spamming trade chat, it also means properly managing your raid roster for various compositions and full tank/healer coverage. The night you can’t do Blood Queen because you have no +hit buff available is a wipe on Recruitmentface.
What does this all mean? Recruitment is an on-ongoing, continuous process. A guild may not be advertising that they are recruiting, but any smart group of officers will be constantly evaluating their roster to see if they are going to need to add bodies (there’s always the standard “Exceptional Players Always Wanted(tm)” clause).
The best source of new recruits is right in your backyard.
Come back to the keyboard, not that backyard, your server!. Cross-realm applicants are typically few and far between unless you establish yourself on the front end of the bell curve (~Top 200 US/Top 400 World). If you’re 6/12 in ICC25 now, it is by chance alone that a player from another server picks your guild.
Football teams keep depth charts to track how many backups they have in each position. They say that the more you can do, the more likely you are to get a roster spot on an NFL team. The same applies to raiding. Your recruitment and roster management strategy should reflect this philosophy.
Anyone that’s used the Looking For Group Tool more than once will tell you that DPS spots are not hard to fill. Some encounters will require utility (CC on Deathwhisper, Raid Buffs on Festergut/BQL, Stuns on Lich King), but that is generally only reserved for the hardest content (more on redundancy later). The areas where you need to ensure complete coverage is Tanking and Healing.
Blizzard has said numerous times that they don’t balance encounters around dual-spec being available. All they mean is that they don’t want an encounter that requires you to bring 6 tanks or 10 healers (Dreamwalker is cutting it close). This doesn’t mean ignore dual-spec. When comparing apps, or seeking a new recruit, make it known that having a capable dual-spec is a huge plus.
Take a look at your raiding roster. Considering main and off specs (and maybe alts), how many players do you have that are capable of tanking if you asked them to now. If that answer is less than 4 than don’t be surprised if you can’t field a raid when your main tank goes off to Cabo for Spring Break.
Likewise, your DPS hybrids should carry a healing offspec of some type. I’m not a fan of making people heal if they don’t like it, but if it means your raid goes or gets canceled then it’s pretty easy to convince them (but that’s a topic for another day). Roster management in this case is difficult because things like an Elemental Shaman being able to swap to Enhancement or a Feral Druid that can go Moonkin are rare, but useful.
Speaking of Moonkins and Elemental Shamans, here is a handy tool to evaluate the status of buff/debuff coverage for your raid:
You should have at least two raiders capable of providing each of these buffs. Some of them, like +3% Hit, are a little harder to come by than others (+% Spell Damage). Again, we’re veering off into the path of another boss with this discussion (Stratagosa), so we’ll keep it on topic.
Life Guard On Duty
Examine your pool. My pool is the Zul’jin[US] Realm, Alliance Side.
Zul’jin recruitment has always been about the same from patch to patch. On the Alliance side, in particular, the raiding force is made of a large number of smallish guilds (with one, maybe two exceptions). A strong core of raiders fuels each of these guilds, and most have been raiding together for a very long time. This means that most of the very good players (top 1%) are spread thinly across many guilds, with little to no chance of movement. Getting an excellent raider in top of the line gear with experience on nearly every fight might happen once or twice a year (if that). I look for drive and potential, not always a perfectly polished player right out of the box.
The new style of raiding that has emerged in Wrath of the Lich King has also played a factor in whether players move between guilds. The accessible normal modes coupled with optional hard modes means that players are not compelled to move away from close friends in a 25 man (or small 10 man) guild to see everything or get “good” gear.
So, with those two facts established about my potential pool of recruits, there are two times when recruitment is good:
Start of Content
Typically the guilds that are working near the front of their server will be ahead several bosses from the rest of the pack. This separation will attract raiders. Beware of guild hopping, but we’ll get to that (Edit: I’ll be covering this in an upcoming, non HHM,post).
This could also be called the “pre-nerf” factor. There is a point in every instance where most guilds will stall and not be able to move forward for a long time. In Ulduar it wasn’t until Yogg-Saron (and maybe even Mimiron Normal). ToC had no blocks, but ToGC was a significant jump up and many guilds did not even defeat the Northrend Beasts. Before the release of the 5% buff, I would place that line squarely on the end-of-wing bosses (Putricide, Blood Queen, Sindragosa).
Self-explanatory, a guild breaks up for whatever reason and now there are several raiders looking for a new home.
Outside of these events, recruitment is relatively stagnant for those of us in the middle. Some classes will always have a surplus of players (paladins, warriors, DK’s on our server), but that’s because those are generally the most popular choices. Shamans and Warlocks have traditionally been the hardest spots for me to fill.
Signs of Life
If you can get a recruit to click on your thread and get to your guild forums then you’ve won half the battle. Once they make it there, the personality of your guild should shine through. The front page where you post new boss kills should be updated, and your application forum should be up to date as much as possible.
The ubiquitous portions of every application forum are the current needs, the application itself, and maybe some details on your guild’s philosophy, loot system, and other details on the history/achievements of your raiding team.
The next step is your application. Write it in the form of a Direct Examination, not a Cross Examination. Avoid asking yes/no questions, and invite the applicant to write as much (or as little) as he/she chooses. I always ask about their previous guild (and why they left or aren’t there) and their raiding history (our full application form is here). We don’t ask that many questions (7 +4 bonus), but they will get me all of the information I need to determine if I should pursue the app further.
The bonus questions are my favorite, always have bonus/flavor questions. These will reveal one of the most important aspects of the person applying: their personality. Our one required “flavor” question is “Give 3 examples of a Pop Culture reference in WoW.” This question reveals more about a player than you might think.
Get out there! Walk among the people! Running PUGs of old content , PVP pre-made groups, or alt runs exposes the inner workings and personalities of your guild to the public. They’ll get a small sample of how your team works and will likely decide right there if your guild would ever be one that they would consider joining. If a player whispers you looking for help, always respond in as thoughtful a manner as possible (or direct them somewhere useful).
You’ve trolled the pool of applicants, tossed out your line, and got a few bites. The best way to get Recruitmentface on farm status is to be proactive. If you took my advice from Attendancegut, you should have knowledge of what holes you may need to fill in your roster in the near (or distant) future. Don’t wait until the semester rolls around to fill the void left by your shadow priest, go out and look for one now. Always recruit for depth. Raiders are never happy when they have to sit the bench, but your raiding team is much healthier with a bench than canceling raids due to lack of bodies.
Sewing It All Up
I chose the analogy of Festergut and Rotface to Recruitment/Attendance for a reason. Both are very closely related and must be completed in parallel to make progress. Your raid attendance gives you feedback on what you need to recruit, and the effectiveness of your recruitment will solve your attendance problems. These are the two pillars of every raiding force. Without players, raids go nowhere.
Turnover in WoW is very high. If a player stays with the guild and raids hardcore for more than 6 months, I consider that a huge win in the recruitment column. You are constantly needing to replace raiders that move on for real life or are no longer interested in the game or any number of other reasons.
Again, it can’t be said enough: Be proactive and never assume everything is “ok” when you have a poorly attended raid. Look to fix the problems before they snowball and suffocate your raid’s Morale.
Lord Morale-gar coming soon…“ssshhhhhhttiick arounnnnd!”…