Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Man's Land

So, I have been guildless for all of five days. I have, within those five days, received two ninja guildinvites (as in they were popped on me without warning), two invites into guilds of my friends, and one invite from a level 51. Now I know why I saw a level 70 running around with the tag Stop Ginviting Me.

That being said, I've still been curious as to what sort of "market" is available for when I jump back into the game (i.e. when I have a set schedule to my life so I know what I can commit to). And I've discovered something very awkward.

There is a huge, expansive "No Man's Land" of recruitment. It seems to me that most guilds want either: Someone to help them start Karazhan, start a second Karazhan group, or head into Gruul's.

Or: Someone with Vashj and Kael experience to help progression through Hyjal, BT and then Sunwell.

And those that are recruiting for about my level or a bit above don't want my class.

My experience to date has been full clears of Karazhan, full Gruul's, full Mag, Lurker and ZA up to Dragonhawk. I don't know the Hydross fight, or Leo or Tidewalker, and I've never even seen Lootreaver. I'm not exactly "green" but I'm not ready to stroll into BT and wave at Illybeans, either.

Guilds look for some basic things when they want applicants. Besides maturity, playtimes, class, etc, it generally boils down to: Skill, Knowledge and Gear.

I can feel mildly confident in my skill. Though I'm newer to 25's, I've demonstrated my ability to think on my feet (except for a screw-up here and there) and to keep my groups alive, as well as myself.

However, that's only one third of the issue, isn't it?

My gear isn't bad. I have a couple green gems I have not replaced yet, as to me it's hard to justify spending 50g a pop for +2 healing and +1 spirit. I'm not exalted with the aldor, so I'm missing my very nice shoulder enchant. This is something that is difficult to excuse when applying for a guild as a healer. I have two pieces of PvP gear; this is often frowned upon. However, it was either those or a blue cloak and a green belt of +healing *shudder*. All of it is enchanted, and is the best I have been able to get so far. But, I don't have full tier 4. I haven't managed to break 1700 +healing yet (I could if I got exalted with Aldor, so that isn't a good excuse). I am, basically, not at the gear level people want.

Next is knowledge. I don't have it when it goes past Lurker. I can't come into a raid and expect them to explain all the bosses for me. I do read the WoWwiki articles and the strats, but there's a difference in reading strategies and hearing them from people who have actually been there and experiencing them for yourself. I don't have the experience, and it's unlikely I will get it unless a major guild on my server has a crisis moment and needs a stand-in healer.

I continue to do raids with the other guild my old guild had teamed up with, so if they ever traverse past Lurker I can get some more experience. I have another friend who has been trying to get me to group with the guild he raids with, but lately he's been rather unlucky in that he whispers me when I'm already in the middle of something.

My options are there, they're just much, much slimmer than anticipated. It seems they are:
  • Server transfer once I find a guild looking for someone my experience range.
  • Go back down to a Kara guild, raid Kara endlessly for badges, and either hope they progress or wait until I have enough badges to purchase every single set of druid gear.
  • Find a guild that likes me enough or needs me badly enough to power me through raids to get up to their level.

Of course, this all hinges on me getting a stable schedule over the summer, so who knows? This may not be anything to worry about at all, because I'll be too busy working.


Alyviel said...

I'm actually in a similar situation, although it's a small group of us instead of just me. Our guild has even backslid a little and are barely doing Karazhan. We're in a raiding group, but they're still doing Gruul and we're ready to move on.

Right now we're sticking it out and trying to help them get us and them to SSC.

I won't go look for something by myself because I don't want to leave those 5-6 people behind, but our schedules are fairly uncompromising (I'm on GMT but on a US server, so it's tough finding raids early enough).

There seem to be a LOT of people in this situation, where they don't need to do the tier 4 stuff, but can't find the right group to get to tier 5.

I imagine there might be this gap between tier 5 and 6 too, but I've not experienced it myself.

Nilianil said...

For the love of ... do the guilds think you need to be at 1700 healing to be heading into SSC and TK? Christ, I went in there probably below 1400.

Your gear is above and beyond fine for it. You might have wanted more regen before 2.4, but that's not the case anymore.

Honestly, if the guilds are needing their resto druids to be at that level of gear to get through those encounters, there's something wrong. I've been screwed on lots of loot, but in Hyjal/BT I've just hit over 1800 and am still a very effective healer.

It sounds like you need a chance to prove yourself - skill > gear, as we know. Unfortunately, it simply may not happen till a guild there needs a healer or two fr a night :/

sonvar said...

Good luck with your search. I'd almost suggest AC but they have too many druids as it is anyways. I'm also not sure what the deal with having some PvP gear is. Granted its not the ideal gear to have going into raids but its better then alot of the pve blues out there if you haven't gotten other purple drops to replace it.

Oh and get your Aldor rep up.

Bell said...

@sonvar- a server transfer is a little extreme for me, and I know AC is only looking for pallies and locks. :) And I can't do anything about my Aldor rep for a few weeks, as all my rep items are going to a friend who needs them much more than I.

Ratshag said...

Is best of lucks to ya. Shall be keeping good hopes going what you'll find the right home.

I knows that the difference between a green gem and a blue gem isn't that much, but a blue gem can be paid for with only 4 or 5 dailies. Upgrading these would help say "I's investing in meself to help be the bests I can", which is always a good when ya needs to get a foot in the door.

And yeah, shoulder enchants is the same way. But I totally respects helping a friend first. Don't forget Aldor rep marks can be bought at the AH, which with dailies can be more time efficient than pure farming. Plus, there be the one SSO daily in HFP what rewards 5 marks.

Anonymous said...

Chin up, Bell!

I'm a recruiting officer for Collateral Damage of Vek'nilash a guild just finishing up SSC/TK (6/6 3/4) and I can say with confidence that if we were recruiting, we'd take someone at your level in a heartbeat. Now, it takes a guild with good organization to both gear someone up and teach them what to do in 25 man encounters that are new to them, but we do just that all the time. We have 5-6 new recruits right now, all "behind" our regular raiders in gear and experience. Our healer turnover is rather high, as is everyone's. It's probably because healers are, first of all, a rather rare personality type in game (nurturers), and they also tend to get a large share of the blame for anything that goes wrong. For some reason, the women healers on my team stick it out better than the men--perhaps that is my rampant feminist leadership? Or perhaps women are accustomed to thankless jobs. But for whatever reason, quality guilds are always looking for healers, and one thing I've learned from recruiting over the past two months is that a guild has to look for potential rather than achievement in a recruit. You can sell yourself on your application by being intelligent and informed. I know our guild has geared a resto druid from pre-Kara level to end-level T5 in about a month. It takes some doing, but with a competent guild, it's very possible.

Oh, and remember that turnover I talked about? CD will likely be recruiting healers again soon enough. If you ever feel like server-hopping, look me up on Vek :)

In all seriousness, when you do look for a guild I suggest the following steps.

1. If you want to stay on your own server, post in your server forum (on the official WoW forums) an intelligent little quip about yourself and see if anyone contacts you. Be prepared to weed out the Kara guilds. (If you want to leave the server, a post in the Guild Recruitment forum will net you 10-15 invitations to apply from all over everywhere).
2. Look at Wowjutsu rankings for your realm and identify 3-4 guilds at the progression level you're looking for. My advice is to look for someone who's 5/6 3/4, or, even better, a guild who's killed Vashj and not Kael so that you can avoid a guild whose inability to kill Vashj has stressed it to the brink of collapse. The sea-witch is a notorious guild-killer. What you want is an organization that's still farming T5 and will continue to do so for at least 3-4 weeks.
3. Apply to all appropriate-level guilds even if they're not recruiting. They may see a healer app and take a chance. Likely, a group of officers is going to debate your application, and with healer turnover what it typically is, someone may stick up for you and you may get a trial period.
4. Impress the hell out of your new guild in the trial period. I'm sure you will have no trouble; I've been reading your blog for a while and the posts are quite thoughtful. Here's what I would do to impress.
a) Flask for everything, even easy bosses in ZA. Our new priestly recruit did this and, well, I was floored. It goes without saying to always bring your own consumables--or at least it should. I keep 50 or so extra mana/health potions and a few elixirs all the time, and I tend to give out 10 of them or so every raid to folks who run out. And this is to regular raiders in addition to recruits!
b) Sign up for everything. Raid leaders tend to think well of people they can count on to fill rosters, particularly if the guild has no attendance requirement.
c) Show your personality at appropriate moments in raids. When it's ok to talk, as when the group is getting formed, socialize over vent. This may be a no-brainer, but some of our recruits have thought they needed to sit quietly, but I prefer the ones I get to know.

I am confident that when your schedule settles down, you will be able to find a guild home that lets you enjoy the game and do the content you like.

--Sydera of Vek'nilash