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Officers' Quarters: Making the most of the guild finder

Scott Andrews

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, available now from No Starch Press.

A helpful feature for guild officers was added with patch 4.1, but I haven't seen many people talking about it yet. The guild finder isn't going to replace other recruiting techniques, but it can be a solid addition to your toolkit. For WoW, it represents a milestone: Players now have a viable method of searching for guilds within the game. In the past, looking for a guild usually meant whispering players you didn't know, combing through forums that often lack good search features, or -- worst of all -- asking in trade chat. (Yes, there is also a specific guild recruitment chat channel, but I've never heard of anyone using it.)

With the addition of the guild finder, players have a far better option, but only if guild leaders use it -- and use it wisely. I did a quick search for guilds on my own realm (Khadgar US). With apologies to the guild leaders there, I didn't see a single ad that took full advantage of what the finder can provide. Let's talk about how we can make the most of this new UI feature.

The guild finder UI is, ironically, a bit hard to locate. You have to bring up the guild window, click on the info tab at the bottom, and then within that tab, click on the recruitment tab at the top. You will see two main sections: a series of toggles to define your guild and a message window to type whatever you want.

Toggle tips

The toggles are, sadly, quite limited. So much crucial information could have been conveyed here, but instead we are left with categories for which 90% of guilds will check off just about everything. Even so, it's worth looking at them and choosing carefully.

For the guild interests toggles, the most important are PvP, raids, and roleplaying. (Just about everyone does questing and dungeons, so those aren't particularly relevant.) For the remaining three, you should toggle them only if your guild provides organized support for the activity. It doesn't have to be officer-led, but it should be an activity that someone in the guild actively coordinates.

The availability toggle is practically useless. Would it have been so difficult to actually provide seven toggles, one for each day of the week? Just check both unless your guild specifically avoids doing anything on weekends or weekdays.

For class roles, I'd recommend checking all of them, even if you're not actively looking for those roles at this moment. In the long run, it can only help you. For one thing, it means that everyone searching will see your guild and become aware of it. It's free advertising. They can follow up with you to see what you need, and maybe they'll consider switching roles. If not, you can contact them when and if you do wind up needing their preferred role.

The other reason to check all three is because a lot of players are getting burned out or bored right now. You never know when you might need a new tank or an extra DPSer. Patch 4.1 did virtually nothing to keep active raiders interested in the game, and tier 12 is going to be one of the smallest raiding tiers ever designed. Guilds are in for a rough ride in the next six months or so, especially since we're heading for summer, when attendance tends to bottom out. You may not think you need any more DPS at the moment, but you might soon find yourself wishing you had checked the little box under the red circle. Now is not the time to limit your recruiting options.

Finally, we've got the level toggles. There's no reason to limit yourself to one toggle or the other unless your guild is specifically a leveling guild or a guild that only accepts max-level players.

This part of the finder leaves much to be desired. Hopefully Blizzard will expand and refine it in future patches.

Focusing your message

That big, empty box at the bottom looks like it can convey all sorts of great information, but the window only allows you to enter 256 characters. Yep, that's characters, not words. In reality, it's worse than that: When you look at guilds' actual notices via the search tool, the ones that run long eventually get cut off, even though they were under the character limit (since you can't actually type beyond that). I couldn't find a way to read the entire message. If you've figured out how, let me know!

So, in less than 256 characters, you've got to sell someone on your guild. The limit is not ideal, but a brief, focused recruiting notice is always superior to a long, rambling one.

Here are some ways to make the most of your message:

  • Include your guild's specific activity schedule. It may feel like you are filtering out everyone who can't make those times, and in general, you are. However, someone who can make those times is going to be very interested in your community -- and those are the players you want to target anyway.
  • Provide your guild's website. No one on Khadgar had done this when I searched, and there were quite a few ads up -- I counted 24. Nothing is more crucial to convey here. When a player visits your site, they can find out much more about the guild and what it's all about than they ever could from the guild finder alone.
  • Set the hook. Briefly explain exactly what makes your guild unique. Talk about specific differentiators such as member demographics, raid size focus, policies about loot or attendance, type of roleplaying, special events that your guild hosts, and so on.
  • Toot your horn. You're running out of room now, so use whatever space you have left to list some of your guild's recent accomplishments. You could talk about raid progression, battleground rating, achievements, recipes and vanity items you've unlocked, and so on.
  • Don't write your guild's name, level, number of members, or achievement point total. That information will appear in your ad automatically.
  • Don't exaggerate. Recruits will find out the truth eventually, and you'll likely lose them when they do. It also reflects quite poorly on your guild's reputation.
When you're done, get on an unguilded character (or create one). Then search for and read through your ad. Make sure your message isn't getting cut off. Doublecheck for spelling or grammatical errors. If your message is riddled with typos, players will assume you put as little care in the running of the guild as you did in writing the message. That's not the kind of impression you want to make! If you're struggling with your message, you can also look at other guilds' notices for inspiration.

Once you've listed the notice by clicking on the button at the bottom of the pane, make sure to check the window frequently for membership requests. It's probably not a good idea to accept someone blindly, but you can contact them and begin your own application process. Note that you can remove the listing just as easily by clicking that same button.

Keep in mind that the finder can only be seen by players on your server within the same faction, so it's more limited than a forum post. It has the crucial advantage, however, of accessibility within the game 24 hours a day. I recommend that every guild leader take advantage of it during the difficult months ahead.


Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to

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