Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
Bleak is the word I would use to describe the current situation for raiding guilds. For many guilds, activity and recruitment are at all-time lows. It's becoming harder and harder to cobble together enough people to run anything these days. Must we simply endure? Is there no hope for us until Wrath launches? Will we officers respond to this crisis with moral fortitude -- or weakness? Will I actually use boldface to call out our officer community on their behavior? Find out after the break! But first, the author of this week's e-mail relates his own guild's experiences.
My name is Dmitry. [My guild is] a casual raiding guild made up mostly of people over 20, who either go to school, or work, or both, many of whom have kids. This is all taken into account and we have a very strong RL-before-WoW stance.
Unfortunately the past month or two has been really hard for us. Our MT was gone for 3 weeks because of a new job, lots of people went on vacation because of the summer, others stopped playing as much to spend more time with their kids, etc. After having guild firsts on Mag, Hydross, and Lurker in 3 weeks in June our guild has started to go backwards, having trouble taking down Gruul some nights.
Because of this many people have left for other hardcore guilds but left alts in our guild. We tried getting new recruits, but as soon as they got their T4 shoulders and pants for minimal or 0 DKP (since no one else needed them) they gquit for other guild which had better progression.
Slowly but surely we are becoming a friendly alt guild that has trouble getting more than 1 Kara group going.
How do we go about recruiting people that aren't fresh 70s, that will understand that come late August we'll be up and running and should be able to clear SSC and TK within a month as long as people sign up for raids and actually show up?
I have good news and bad news for you, Dmitry. The bad news is that you're going to have a tough time recruiting unless you can actually make some raids happen. Players with raiding experience won't join a guild that isn't raiding, unless they've given up on raiding for the time being -- and if so they won't be any help to you.
The good news (for you at least) is that even hardcore raiding guilds are having trouble filling their raids in some cases. They are able to recruit based on their progress, but many of their best and brightest have decided farming gear from zones they've seen a hundred times isn't enough to keep them playing until the expansion. Their members who were raiding Black Temple when it first opened, who have seen the Sunwell and decided they've seen enough of it, are just going inactive to PvP or level alts, or quitting the game altogether for a few months.
So for hardcore guilds, turnover can be very high right now. That means those zones they've had on farm may not be on farm anymore. The frustration of that reality can cause even more of their best members to hang up the sword or the wand for a while.
Some of those players who left your casual raiding guild may quickly find themselves begging you to let them return when they encounter the same problems they had before in a much less friendly environment than the one they left behind. So you'll have to decide whether or not you want to take them back.
However -- is this poaching and reverse poaching, this guild cannibalism, really getting anybody anywhere these days? It seems to me that all it's doing is creating a lot of hard feelings and not a lot of successful raiding environments.
So what I propose, to all the officers out there running raiding guilds, however serious or casual you happen to be, is this: Stop stealing players from each other and work together.
Times are tough for all of us. Let's make it easier on each other, rather than harder. Think about it: Loot is virtually meaningless right now. The people who are actively raiding at this point in Warcraft's life cycle are doing it first and foremost because they like raiding. They have fun raiding and want to keep doing it, regardless of any rewards. So instead of recruiting from another guild's roster, why not work together with that guild?
Stop making enemies and start forming alliances. Let's all get back to the basics of raiding, which is bringing players together to see content and enjoy it. That is my advice for Dmitry and for any other guilds out there faced with a slowdown or a complete stoppage in their raiding schedules.
The enemies that your guild makes now will in all likelihood continue to be your enemies in the future. But the friends that your guild makes now will probably be your friends in the future, and that may prove valuable down the road. So what is better for your members? What is better for the community?
I'm not ranting about this because I'm bitter -- just the opposite. I'm writing this because it's working for my guild, and I want to see it work for yours, too.
If you are not an officer in your guild, think about this before you decide to gquit. If you like your guild but it's going nowhere, before you give up on it, push your officers to start reaching out to other guilds on your server. Odds are that guild you're sizing up to join is also struggling in some way. You may end up in the same position you've tried to escape, except you've burned some bridges in the process.
Officers, before you accept a whole slew of applicants from another guild, think about the long term. Do you want to keep these players, with all their needs and issues, throughout the expansion? Or are you just using them to plug some holes in the dam before your serious raiders return?
Wouldn't it be better to partner up with that guild instead? You'll have access to all those players and more, but you won't have to deal with the baggage that would come from assimilating them into your membership (or, even worse, potentially telling them down the line that there's no place for them in your Wrath raids).
How a community responds to hardship defines that community. Will we get all Lord of the Flies on each other? Or will we lift each other out of the raiding gutter we're in and move forward together? As officers, we are the leaders of this online community, so no matter what the raiding community does, it reflects on us first and foremost. Keep that in mind as the agonizing wait for Wrath drags on!