Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.
I have to admit it: as someone who has been guilded in WoW for nine+ years, and who plays on a decidedly Horde-light server, it hasn't been until the past few months that I realized what a damn nuisance these addons are.
I've been playing alts lately, trying to decide what class and spec I want to raid with in Warlords of Draenor. (I'm currently a feral druid, which I may stick with.) Since I'm out of character slots on my home realm, and I've never really played Alliance, I decided to roll some Alliance characters on a realm with a healthy Alliance pop.
I didn't know anyone on the realm. And I didn't really want to join a guild, since I wasn't sure how much I would play those toons yet.
I had no idea what I was in for.
I was assaulted with guild invites from all sides. I thought perhaps they would slow down if I clicked "decline" enough. They didn't. I thought perhaps once I leveled past a certain threshold, they would stop. They didn't. I blocked invites, but the whispers kept coming.
For those of you who use these addons, I understand it can be difficult to get players on your roster. But this is not the right way to do it. Here are five reasons to avoid invite addons:
1. They give new players a bad impression of guilds. Most players aren't ready to leap into the guild experience right away. That's especially true if this is their first taste of an MMO. Guild invites are invasive. The whisper is one thing. The big button popping up along with a startling out-of-nowhere sound effect is the in-game equivalent of someone sneaking up and tazing you. New players don't know that they can block invites via the interface menu. If you harass these players to join up, they're going to resent this intrusion and have a negative opinion of guilds from Day 1.
2. They give veteran players a bad impression of your guild. Spam invites are good for one thing only: filling up the roster. A bigger roster means faster leveling for the guild and earning more gold once Cash Flow is unlocked. It also means a roster full of random players who haven't been vetted as members. No one wants to be in a guild who will accept anyone willing to click yes on a spam invite. Veterans will make a note of which guilds are spamming them and avoid those guilds in the future. Your guild's reputation will suffer on your realm and you'll have a harder time recruiting good members.
3. Players will put you on their ignore lists. I assume that people who spam invites do it from an alt, but if you're actually using your main toon, prepare for that toon to be on many, many ignore lists. That's going to hamper your ability to interact with the community on your realm, which is one of an officers' most important functions.
4. You risk suspension. If enough players report you for spamming, a GM could suspend your account. Recruiting is a lot more difficult when you can't even log in.
5. Your guild is far more likely to fail. If you need to resort to addons to recruit, you're doing something wrong. Maybe your guild has a bad reputation (possibly from addon spam). Maybe it doesn't have enough to offer the average player. Maybe you're not properly leveraging what makes your guild unique. (It's also possible you're just stuck on a low-pop faction in a low-pop realm, but Blizzard should get around to connecting you eventually.) Whatever the reason, your guild will be better served when the officers are doing more to make the guild itself appealing instead of dumping unknown recruits into the roster day after day.
It's a tempting shortcut, I know. As an officer with limited time, the path of least resistance has a strong gravity to it. But in this case, I would urge you to find other, more selective ways to recruit.
Instead of automating the process, get your hands dirty. Talk to players. Meet players. Help players. Host events that make your realm a fun place to play. Be part of your realm, not just your guild.
In the long run, your guild will be better off. And so will the WoW community.
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.