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Officers' Quarters: When your guild won't recruit

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.

While WoW continues to bleed subs, guild leaders and officers everywhere are having a tough time recruiting quality players. In this environment, guilds sometimes find themselves in a permanent state of open recruitment. This week, however, we're looking at the opposite problem: a guild that is permanently closed to new players. A concerned officer wants to know what he can do to change this mentality.
Hello Scott,

I hope you had a great holiday season. I am an officer in a small guild of around sixty people... Of the sixty members many are alts or inactive with only a handful of active people (around ten). I came to the guild looking for an escape from the sheer number of people I had to deal with in my last two guilds that had 400+ members.

For a while everything worked just fine, but in the last few weeks some members have began making requests for recruitment. With the small amount of active players being on at odd hours some new members feel a bit alone and put off and end up leaving. We have a strong desire to make a 10 man raid team but don't have enough geared/leveled/interested people. We are just short of the perfect storm needed to raid with our current members so recruitment seems to be the only answer. The issue is that while I may be all for it, the other active players have issues with recruitment.

Some feel that the guild will grow too large and it will lose the small family-like feeling it has now. Some people like the small size because they don't have to worry about many of the problems that some larger guilds do and don't want to risk spoiling their "utopian paradise". The guild leader says he wants to recruit, but he has a lot of real life obligations to fulfill and can't make the time commitment needed to recruit himself. I offered to take on that responsibility myself, but there always seems to be an excuse not to from other officers, or the GM himself.

The simple question everyone is going to ask is, "If you are unhappy then why not just leave?" The answer isn't as simple as the question itself. I have a strong loyalty to any guild I join. I don't leave just because I might be a little unhappy, or things might be a little hard. I feel that I am slightly obligated to stay based on my responsibility as an officer. I also feel that before I came along the guild didn't do anything other than dailies and after I drug the guild into dungeons with them kicking and screaming the whole way they discovered a new part of the game. I feel like I injected a little bit of life into a lethargic guild and if I were to leave I feel like it would cause the guild to collapse, the GM has told me the same exact thing. So I guess my question is how can I help the guild grow with all of these potential landmines? I like my guild and the friends I've made there, but I feel that there is so much potential that isn't going to be realized without some serious help.



Hi, Clueless.

I hear about it all the time in these situations: Change frightens people, and people in a group will often form a herd mentality to oppose it if they can, even if it's good for them. Like anything else, a specific change can be good or bad depending on how it plays out. Either way, you have to respect the opinions of those involved. It's their guild as much as yours.

Assess your roster

The first step I would recommend is to approach your guild leader about removing inactive toons from the roster. The guild will look and feel a lot smaller to the remaining players. The hope here is that it's a reality check for people when they see how few toons are actually left.

It's a good idea to do this regardless. Inactive accounts can get hacked and cause problems down the road. Also, it's always helpful to have an accurate idea of how many active players your guild actually has.

Guilds that never recruit eventually stagnate, wither, and die as people leave or quit the game. Fresh blood keeps them going. Once you've culled the inactive toons, make your case then. People may be more receptive when they see only 20 or so names in the guild window.

Raiding options

The way I see it, you have two options here. One is to campaign for organized guild raiding with the players you currently have. You managed to get them to run dungeons, so it's not unthinkable that you could sway them to give raiding a shot. Round up some people who are on the fence and give the Raid Finder a try. Maybe experiencing some of the bosses in Dragon Soul will convince them.

Or, a low-pressure approach would be to simply organize a Raid Finder night and take anyone who shows up for it. Hope that enough interest eventually builds up to form a guild raiding team.

Another option would be to assess exactly how many players you would need to field a raid team. If that number is two or three, it doesn't seem unreasonable to add that many players to the roster. Perhaps if you quantify it like that, you'll gain support from the other officers and the guild at large.

Make it clear that anyone you recruit would be added to the roster on a trial basis only. If they aren't a good fit for the guild, you won't keep them around.

Sometimes leaving is best

In the end, the guild leader and the majority of the guild may remain staunchly opposed to recruitment, and organized raiding will not be possible. If that's what you have your heart set on, there is no shame in leaving to pursue your preferred playstyle. Sometimes it's better to walk away than to change the guild you're in too much to suit your own preferences.


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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