Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Art of Leaving Gracefully, Guild Recruitment - How to Do it on a Dying Server, and Other Subjects

When pre-writing blog posts in word, be sure to hit save every now and again….

On Monday I had this fairly long and rich "rage post" nearly written out when the program crashed. Without having saved anything about an hour worth of angry typing was washed down the virtual pipes. But perhaps that’s not a too terrible thing. Like any girl, my emotions have flipped and I’ve been fairly upbeat the last two days. But things have also been looking up.

As a snippet. October 11, 2009 I wrote: “But the Alliance is dying slowly and I can’t expect my officers to want to play this forever.” – Be careful what you say, because it might actually come true.

Yesterday my right hand man and friend returned to the game. Maaaaybe because one of the agitators finally left the guild. (cough) – Might be a trend actually. He will stay if I can get rid of the people he hates.

I’d not been doing it because I’d not had the strength or opportunity to do it. As it turns out he did it on his own. I don’t know the full reasons why the kid left, but he did say “I’m taking my toons out of guild now since they’ll be kicked in a month.” So either he’s planning to stop a while or he’s apping to another guild or something. Who knows. But he left on the coat tails of one of other agitators who had been actively trash talking about the officers and laughing at us.

He re-apped to raid with us after I told him it wasn’t likely he’d get to raid for a while. And so I pulled him into vent and explained why without the nice answers and non-confronting attitude I’d been holding. No bars held, I told him how I’d heard what he’d said about the officers and the guild. I told him we knew his DCs in early ulduar were faked and that when he stopped raiding with the excuse he had school and couldn’t play much was bogus because he’d been in vent during raids playing and talking with social members. Also, I told him we were aware he’d been mocking us in vent, saying how badly we needed him and how geared he was etc. I told him we didn’t think he respected authority or us and we didn’t want him raiding with us again and that we even only let him stay in guild was because he still had friends here. He didn’t deny anything and left vent. He took his app down almost immediately and then took his characters out of the guild with a “/wave goodbye friends” comment.

The final agitator, perhaps in light of the rage rained down on two members who were caught apping to another guild without saying anything, whispered me telling me he’d be apping to another guild in two days or so. I appreciated this since I’d just told the guild the other day, I understood moving on and that if they could just let me know, it would be all I’d ask of them.

After all, I don’t mind if folks move on… when I’m given notice. It shows they appreciated the time with the guild. It shows they understand maybe the things the guild has given and done for them.

How Should You Leave a Guild

Really, its impossible to avoid all hard feelings. But you can limit those feelings with showing some appreciation. This doesn’t mean paying them off with donations to the bank.

1. Give them heads up you’re leaving.
Like the work environment in the real world, giving heads up is showing understanding and respect when leaving. It shows consideration. Because if you’re a raider, you’re a member of a team that works together. Letting them know you’re going to be leaving or applying elsewhere, allows them to start looking for someone to replace you. It gives them a chance to keep themselves running when you’re gone. It shows you like and valued them enough to not leave them with their pants around their ankles.

2. Give them thanks
Don’t just leave without a word! Write something or talk to them. Let them know that you valued your time with them and explain your reasons. Thank them for all the time you’ve shared in the guild with them. If you want to keep up good terms with them, let them know! Ask about leaving an alt and show you have an interest in the guild and the team there.

Just two easy steps. And generally, your leaving will be received much more graciously and if you ever find yourself having a desire or need to go back, you likely still have an open door with them to get back in with.

I had two members on Monday around 3:00 AM put in apps with another raiding guild on the server. One I had spent a lot of time talking to the O’s about to get him to at least a standby as he’d taken a large break before and had done it without saying anything to us. He’d given assurance he’d stick around and prove himself. He had even gone so far as to tell me he was interested in being an officer in the guild. But either because I’d denied him that leadership or because he was simply standby and not as happy with that as he’d said – he applied without saying anything. Just hours after a guild meeting in which I’d asked guild members to let me know if they were going to move on.

And then along with him was one of our best geared members. A rogue had been brought up carefully under the tutelage of our best dps’r and rogue. He’d gotten loot because my officer rogue had passed numerous items to him. And had given him a lot to help him.

Both had their ranks removed when the applications were found. The DK left after I confronted him and the other left when I wasn’t online. I received an in game mail telling me how he wanted to keep moving and that he’d noticed we’d seen his app since he’d been demoted. The lack of loyalty in people is frustrating.

However, I had members whisper me afterwards. They told me that these kind of things actually encouraged them to get things going again even more. A rebellion against those who would say we’re not going anywhere.

Recruitment is actually going pretty well. Outside of pausing to talk to people who are asking what happened to the guild (There have been rumors of most of the members going horde, or some major drama bomb) and fielding questions about ‘would we like to merge guilds’ – I’ve almost got all the positions we’d lost filled.

Also, like I said earlier (briefly) our priest came back! Unfortunately, I’ve been in survival mode and replaced the healing position, but he seems excited at the idea of being our new Shadow Priest. And maybe it is something he would have liked all along. Certainly he won’t have that stress the healers face of keeping the raid and tanks up and the idea of ‘if I die, the raid will die.” The guild moral rose noticeable as well with his return and folks seem very happy to have him back.

Remember what I said earlier too about leaving? He’s the only officer to have left a note to the guild telling them he was going on a break or possibly leaving forever. He’s the only officer to have thanked everyone and tried to leave under the best light as possible. And I think it’s a reason why so many of them have been so willing to see him back with us. Because he cared enough to say goodbye and thank everyone.

If the other officers were to try to return I severely doubt they would be received well. It would be like our former GM when she had come back from vanishing for three weeks. Basically coming in charging and claiming she was going to get the guild straightened up and lead the guild. Meanwhile the officers had all been leading and trying to help the guild and even paying for things out of their own pockets when the guild controls hadn’t been left to allow for things during the vanishing.


People have been asking for this for a bit. They start off with a sexy Draenei chick and then over the year of play time they start downing savory delights and nogginfoggers for something different. Not only this, but for the serious gamers, it’s a question of racials.

Racials are that something special in a class that makes them unique to other classes. For some gamers, they’ll take the racial over a preferred look of a character. Many racials are incredible and a few are so noticeable that its almost considered required for elements of play.

With the coming of the race change, MANY people will changing to new races who perhaps started this game with a race because they thought it looked cool. Or sometimes it was because they originally had a very strong and good racial. Blizz of course took that away.

I’ve played a Draenei on alliance for over two years. And when I logged in to find this, I was ecstatic. In 20 min I was a chunky human. Not nearly as sexy, but the racial and reputation bonuses far outweighed the visual appeal of the race I had played for so long. I estimate about a third of my guild got this race change as well.

Good money for blizzard when they’re charging 25 bucks for it. And it can be done every three days. So if you don’t think about the money you’re spending, you could be changing race every week if you can’t find yourself happy with what you’re doing.

How might this affect things negatively? Well, it will limit the individuality of people. Even with the multiple haircuts, you’re going to see more and more people who are alike. Some races will provide raid wide buffs that may now no longer be present because of the change. Case in point: I think almost all our Draenei with their hit buff are gone. (Unless you count our Draenei shaman.) So if I wanted our casters to all have the buff now, I’ll have to spread out my shaman. Not terrible. But a minor inconvenience.

I don’t think this is as crushing as faction changes however. And in a way it may stop some people who might change factions for buffs. Ie: a Draenei warrior might not go to undead horde for the racial when he could now just as easy go human.

Faction Transfers : The Fall of the Alliance or a Changing of the Guard? A Return Look

Last night I was whispered by EH’s GM about trying to do some joint things together. His guild and mine. Operation Flaming Hour! It had a catchy title and I laughed a bit at it. And we got to talking. They’re not going anywhere, but he’s got people willing to do anything and like the guild and want to stay. Pretty much like ours. We got to swapping stories and comments about people and life. And its really alike.

The disgust at people fleeing to horde. The frustration that they do it without care for those who helped them. The total lack of loyalty. The conversation was pleasant and it was encouraging to find that I wasn’t alone in my nerd raging and that he’d been feeling just as down about the state of things as I was. Though he was of the mindset that there were no more alliance here to get.

So I went to thinking about our faction transferee. He left well enough. Told an officer he was leaving. Said nice goodbyes and asked to leave an alt in guild. And he pops into vent to talk to friends still here and in guild. He applied to the top horde guild and perhaps he’s applied to others. But he left us with the statement that he didn’t think our own guild would be seeing any Icecrown Citadel.

Now, as my guild looks at getting back into raiding 25s tomorrow, I look to him to see he’s pugging but guildless. I wonder – how many of our alliance who have transferred with their big dreams have found what they were looking for on the other side of the fence. Was that grass as green as they thought.

I took another look at the horde progression. They’ve got four guilds in hard mode progression and alliance has three. Are they really so much better still? Just because we don’t have a guild in the top three? We’ve got two horde guilds and one alliance guild at 4/5 hard mode progression. If the alliance guild downed Anub, would that suddenly make people wake up a bit and realize maybe the alliance isn’t as dead as they thought. Or would they turn to saying the guild is just zerging and years behind?

I was asked last night as well about if I’d join a vent to discuss a guild merger. I was stunned. Had rumors of the guild been such that people thought we were that far down? I told them that we weren’t interested in a merger, but that I was flattered that they should ask.

He was quick to inform me that they had fairly good gear scores and that they just wanted to raid and not change anything. But I stuck to my answer. They had about seven people who would have come over and honestly, I doubt they would have ALL been able to raid and there’s no way I’d bring them in under that light.

I’ve had similar whispers but from smaller groups though. More people coming to apply in groups rather than individuals. People who like playing together but don’t want to give up and move on. No money to transfer or no money to faction change.

Zerg/Absorption guilds are growing but I can’t imagine how they keep people happy and playing. And I cannot imagine the harsh competitive raid environment of one where people have to play well or get booted. But suppose it is a player mentality too. If you were willing to leave a guild for that, you get what you asked for.

Where does one look when recruiting people into progressive guilds on a dying faction?

Perhaps finding friends outside of the game that play? We’ve gotten a few good members that way. The easiest but probably the most loathsome way is being willing to take whomever you can get and train them.

Training new players is a bother – especially if you were in the top and suddenly have to stop and go back in content. You risk losing players because you take a step back. People have to be understanding and willing to work with you as you work with the new people. It truly becomes a team effort. It’s not bad, but its not something that is going to work for every guild because people in guilds are so different. Each guild unit is so unique. People tend to play with people who are like them.

If you’re going to be picky – be ready to put in the time and do whatever you can to find those people. In my case, it was sitting in trade 10 hours a day spamming a recruitment macro and talking to people. Unfortunately, we got only one person out of this. The rest were returning members, socials or friends of current members.

Another thing from that though!! Get your guild members involved. As a GM, I’m generally worn out. I want to use my free time to run through achievement things. I’m rarely running anything and I don’t know the people I once did when I was just an officer of the guild. But the members do!!! Many of them came from guilds and had friends there and they’ll know if that person is a good fit for the guild or not. And sometimes they can get those friends to come over to play with them.

One of our shaman had four friends come over to play with us (granted one was a 2’s partner of another member too) which actually REALLY filled a lot of the holes. I’m in talks with a mage who is friend of another member and we have a resto shaman coming in who was friends and taught one of our resto druids how to play.

Yeah, you might have to go and get friends gear but there is another bonus to all of this. The people who get their friends to stay are LOYAL. They are helping you rebuild. And are getting involved. They are making the guild more a part of them. And they will be even more likely to stay. And they are going to be happy and feel good because they’ve played a roll in helping the guild succeed.

So to wrap up quick. How can a guild on a dying alliance faction get back together?

1. Bring in Real Life friends
2. Recruit and train and gear people who may not have been someone you’d take before.
3. If not 2, be online a ton recruiting. Get recruitment pages on all available public recruitment forums.
4. Get guild members involved. They have friends who play too!


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