Today we stand at the precipice of a new era. In less than 24 hours, Mists of Pandaria will usher in what could be called the Fifth Age of WoW. The long wait through 2012 has been hard on guilds, but that time is now over.
If your guild has made it this far, you should be proud of that, but this is not a time to rest. This is a time to ensure that your guild will thrive. In this new era, the best method to recruit players will not change: finding ways to set your guild apart from the dozens of others on your server. Here are four ways to do just that -- but be warned! These are not for the faint of heart.
1. Offer tutorial runs of the new dungeons. Blizzard's new guild mentoring program is a great idea, but just because your guild wasn't selected doesn't mean you can't be a force for good on your server. This strategy requires patient guild members who have run the dungeons in beta or who get a lot of practice in the early weeks of the expansion.
Start an initiative on your server in which, one night a week, you offer to run players through dungeons while teaching them the boss mechanics. Players will very much appreciate the chance to learn the runs in a low-stress and constructive environment rather than the merciless meat-grinder boot camp of the dungeon finder.
This is not something that's only relevant in the first weeks of the expansion. As time goes by, the level of patience with players who are new to older content drops exponentially in DF groups. Of course, Blizzard will also add more dungeons to the expansion in future patches.
This idea works just as well with the raid finder, once it's available for the new raids.
2. Own a zone. If you're on a PvP server and you have a medium or large guild, the way to stand out is to make an impact that your server can't ignore. Pandaria has seven zones. Claim one.
Make a post on your server's forums telling the other faction that Krasarang Wilds, for example, belongs to your guild. Then cleanse it of enemy players and defend it at all costs. Encourage others on your faction to help. Coordinate patrols and troop movements to respond to enemy forces.
You can hold it for an evening or a weekend. You may succeed or you may not. The point isn't really to win -- it's to build a name for your guild, encourage more world PvP, and have fun in the process.
3. Create a brand new all-pandaren or all-monk guild. When founding a new guild, many officers think that bringing in as many people as possible is the right move. It can help you get going, but it can also bring in a lot of players who don't really fit with your guild's philosophy.
By limiting all of your members to pandaren or monks, players who make fun a priority will be drawn to your community. You will filter out players who take the game too seriously practically by default.
Reach out to players who are looking for a fresh start in Mists. It's always better to get a fresh start with others who are looking for the same, rather than jumping into an old guild full of cliques -- and possibly with an ugly past.
The best thing about the new monk class is that it fills all possible roles within a group. You won't have access to the array of buffs or utility spells that a diverse range of classes would bring, so this is definitely not a guild for min-maxers. But it will certainly be a lot of fun to challenge yourselves and beat encounters without those benefits.
This idea also has a roleplaying angle if you want to leverage that.
4. Run 25-man raids. It's sad but true: 25-man raiding is becoming extinct. Changes to raiding systems over the past two expansions have hammered the format. The shared loot tables and shared lockouts mean that very few incentives for officers and raid leaders remain to organize the larger raids. The developers have even admitted that they've miscalculated the ratio of logistical difficulty vs. player rewards.
However, those statements also hint that we could see more benefits to 25-man raiding in the near future. In that case, the guilds who are already raiding 25s will be in a much stronger position to take advantage.
Beyond that, however, many players out there still prefer the large raids. Some still don't see 10-man raiding as "legitimate." Some just think that the larger raids are more "epic." Those players have not disappeared, and it is becoming harder and harder for them to find a guild. Now that 10-mans are the status quo, a great way to differentiate your raiding guild is to go big.
Do you have a radical idea for promoting your guild in Mists? Share it below!
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.