Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Time is Now, Part Two: Finding a Guild

The Time is Now is a five-part series on joining a raiding guild before the expansion. Part One covers reasons that now is the best time to join. Part Two details how to go about finding what you’re looking for in a raiding guild. Part Three describes how to get noticed by and join your chosen guild. Part Four goes into further detail of the pros and cons of joining a guild pre-expansion. Part Five is a cheat-sheet summary with final thoughts and response to any reader commentary or questions.

So, you’ve decided you want to join a 25-man raiding guild before the expansion, but you’re not sure how to go about it. You’ve geared yourself up as best you can with badge gear, content available to you, rep grinds and crafting. You know your class and how to play it, you just need the guild to get you into content. You have several resources available to you on your quest.

Realm Forums
Yes, a majority of the players avoid the official WoW forums like the plague due to the high percentage of trolling, nonsense, drama and keyloggers. However, it is one of the most valuable assets in your search for a guild.

Most servers have a Guild Progression thread, and they’re generally well-maintained by the player who starts them. They can detail everything from simply progression to also listing guild leaders of the main guilds and websites in which to contact them. This is the simplest, most straight-forward description of a guild. It doesn’t tell you much about a guild past how far they’ve been able to come pre-expansion, but that’s a great place to start.

After that, check the rest of the forum. Look at @ threads (like @playername and @guildname) about the guilds in the area you’re looking for. Take what people say with a grain of salt, but look at how the members of various guilds conduct themselves. Do they respond to abuse in a way you agree with? Do they make abuse threads? What are players in the same tier of progression saying about guilds and members of those guilds they’re not in? Basically, do you want to be associated with a guild or players that has stigma or creates stigma?

Most importantly, check who is recruiting. If they’re not recruiting, you need to look elsewhere.

It’s your choice, of course, and different people look for different things. But it’s important research, if you’re able to stomach the forums for that long.

Guild Recruitment Forums
If you’re on a low pop server, or are willing to transfer, the guild recruitment (Alliance and Horde) forums is also a good place to find a guild in your range. If you’re unwilling to do the work to read all the posts (and there are quite a lot), you can often post your own character and what you expect from a guild (raiding times, nights, attendance requirements, loot system, raiding expectations for WotLK, etc.) and guild leaders/recruitment officers will often reply.

However, don’t expect many personalized responses, as the guild recruitment forums is too big and there are too many hopefuls for a player to use their time to personally respond to everyone. However, they will leave form descriptions and contact information so you can check them out on your own time.

If you find some you like, check out their realm forums. Do the same search within theirs you did on your own. It’s perhaps even more crucial to check their server size and how many guilds of the appropriate level there are available on that server. If you end up transferring but not liking your guild, it’s good to know what other options are open to you.

The Level One Alt
Whether you’re looking at a new server or scoping out your own, creating a level one alt and heading to a main city can be helpful. Once you’re in a main city, ask in trade (the most commonly spammed and open channel) questions about the raiding guilds on the server. Anything from questions about progression, to who is the best-geared rogue, if anyone has the legendary bow, who is recruiting, or who is breaking up.

The responses you get will be interesting. Some will be ridiculous, like the level 45 rogue claiming to be the best-geared on the server. However, you’ll see how members of various guilds talk about themselves and others, and you’ll get a general feel for a new server. Do you want to be in a guild that openly trashes other guilds, or who doesn’t defend itself in trade, or who does defend itself? Do you want one that doesn’t have the best geared (insert your class here) so you can be of a more comparable level or do you want one with the best geared (your class here) so you have less loot competition?

If you’re so inclined, take notes. Who has a trash mouth, who spams trade, who provides helpful information, and who talks completely different to an anonymous level one alt than they do to you on your 70 may be important to remember. Note what guilds they’re in. You may notice a trend, or you may find that a guild has a wide variety of attitudes within it. No matter who you prefer to raid with, you should find a group of people who suit your attitude.

While you’re in trade, take note of the high level crafters and what guilds they’re in, as well as who is selling bear mounts, Hearts of Darkness, Marks of the Illidari, Sunmotes and epic boe patterns. It’s nice to be in a guild that has enough HoD’s to get you your SR set right off, and who have enough people with the epic patterns that they’re able to sell them. Most high level guilds have a crafter with everything you need, but it’s good to know who is actively in the market. Guilds selling bear mounts can generally blow through ZA with no problem, and may be willing to take you in for your own (and gear upgrades, where applicable).

Your Friends
Ask around your circle of friends on your server. You can often find out more “insider” information about various guilds and players in guilds. This way you can find out who had to bug out Archimonde to get their kills (and haven’t killed him since the fix) or what bosses a guild is stuck on. You can find out things like their loot policies and flubs, how DKP is accumulated or who is on the loot council. Perhaps a known Skettis Tree ninja is in one guild, or in another guild is the only crafter of such-and-such an epic item. Maybe every member of X guild is on every Horde guild KOS list.

Though your friends and other players can be perhaps the best sources of information outside of being in the guild itself, they can also be biased (perhaps Friend Y got kicked out of Guild Z), have misinformation, or be blowing things out of proportion. They may also simply be passing on second-hand information and not actually know what they’re talking about.

Take all the information in, keep a grain of salt handy, and learn all you can.

Guild Websites
If you’ve found a guild or two you wish to join, check their guild websites. Read their charters (if they have one), see their loot system, check their roster (especially those members who are your same class and spec), and look over their forums. If you have access, look at their sign-ups. It may be important to check how much of a waitlist they have for raids and which ones have the best turn-out. It’s good to know, also, which raids are required and which have no penalty for absence. It can also be helpful to know how long the guild has been around to check for stability. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to survive the expansion, it won’t be worth your time.

Read whatever part of the forums you can access. See what threads are available, what people talk about, and how the guild interacts on its website. Also check which forums and threads are locked from your view. What the guild chooses to share about itself and what it keeps from the public can be very telling.

Whether or not you’re ready to apply to a guild, check their application forums, if they have one. Check how active it is, what classes and specs they’re recruiting, if it is well-maintained, frequently updated, and if applications are responded to promptly. If they have a denied/accepted applications forum, read it. This is a gold mine. You can see who was accepted and who was denied. If it’s not stated why they were denied, check them out and see how you’re different from the applicant, and if you can spot any potential problems with their application.

It seems like a lot of work, but not everything is necessary to find a good guild. However, a combination of these tactics should work to give you some options to find your guild.


Anonymous said...

We use

to rank the guilds on a server. It's impartial and
ranks guilds by scanning the toons for the drops
they got.

Bell said...

@anonymous - I've used wowjutsu before, but sometimes if the guild in question doesn't actively update it, it doesn't show an accurate ranking. My old guild, Sunder, which never got past Council or Illidan, was often ranked ahead of Sunwell guilds simply because we went in and queue'd our raiders so their new drops would register. So, though a great resource, it can be a bit off. :) Thanks for the suggestion!

Cdin said...

"Most importantly, check who is recruiting. If they’re not recruiting, you need to look elsewhere."

I disagree with this. Recruitment thread let you evaluate your chances of getting an invite, but they are by no means a guarrentee or a wall to getting into a guild.

My perspective may be out of the norm since I play a moonkin, but I have two examples of why you shouldn't pay 100% attention to classes a guild is recruiting.

1) My first 25 man raiding guild wasn't recruiting a moonkin. I apped because a friend had just joined them. They weren't actively looking for a moonkin but they were interested in giving one a shot. I got in and raided with them for almost a year.

2) My new guild actively recruited a moonkin. I apped and got invited quickly. I was also told that I would be the only raiding moonkin in guild. I took a look at one of the recruiting thread they have up and it says they are still recruiting a moonkin. Maybe I should be worried, but the more likely explanation is that they didn't update the class recruitment.

When it comes down to it you should find a guild that best suits your needs, and app. Most guilds will make an exception for high quality applications. Plus you don't know what the situation is in the guild. Maybe one of the resto druids wants to go feral. Maybe they have a player that is a real pain in the ass, but they can't actively recruit in an attempt to keep the peace. Maybe they had someone leave suddenly. You never know.

Whats the worse that can happen? They turn you down and you go on to the next one.

Jeremy Rowland said...

I recently joined up with a 2/6 Sunwell guild even though my gear and BC raiding experience was a little underwhelming (I was an active raider pre-BC). A few things to add...

* Top progression guilds are almost always recruiting, even when they aren't, if you catch my drift. People come and go, issues come up in real life and players have to take a break from raiding. The best guilds on any server often get enough applicants without asking that they can simply bring someone in. Sometimes they keep an eye on the horizon and will recruit and gear up players (via farm bosses) they see as being at the top of their class, even if there's not a current spot for them on the progression bosses.

* Since this post seems directed to undergeared players with higher aspirations, it's important to stress any past experience you have at playing at the level they will be expecting. Progression guilds aren't about farming loot, they're about wiping endlessly on frustrating bosses night after night, and they don't want to bring you in just to find out you're a loot whore who only shows up on farm boss nights. But also be a little realistic, you're not gonna be useful even in Black Temple with only Kara gear and blues, and chances are guilds aren't gonna believe you've got what it takes anyway if that's the best you've done so far by now, in the era of "welfare epics".

* Be at the top of your game when you get a trial run invitation...I got a guild invite when they were impressed that I was outhealing the tier 6 players in my tier 4/5 and badge gear. It might not be fair, but a stupid mistake or two could cost you an invitation into the guild, so focus and make it the best raid you've ever done. Also, be sure to show up to at least 80-90% of raids for at least the first month and at least 60% for the first 3 months or so, to show you're serious about the commitment.

* Figure out what's really important to you. Do you want to be in the furthest progress guild on the server and top 50 in the world if it means a psychotic raid leader screaming and swearing at you every night? I chose my guild because it was the only top 5 guild on the server whose raid times I could reliably meet, but I was also ready to leave (and have before, from a guild at similar level, in the past) if it simply wasn't the place for me (fortunately they turned out to be a fantastic bunch). In the end, it's just a game, and there are other great guilds out there!!!