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Officers' Quarters: Guild transfer anxiety

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 from No Starch Press.

One of the biggest decisions a guild can make these days is whether to stay on a struggling server or transfer to a new realm. The risks are substantial, and the benefits aren't guaranteed. This week, one guild member is asking for advice about transfers and also about whether or not to accept a promotion to raid leader.

Hey Scott,

Recently our guild hit a fairly major bump and we're attempting to sort everything out. While I have no doubt that we as a guild will make it though and continue back to HM progression; its a excruciating slow process recruiting and we are losing players who are impatient to continue raiding the way they like . . .

It was decided that as we were not picking up recruits on our server, and that our guild had obtained a reputation as a guild that gears players for the top 200 guilds while just being short of it ourselves. While we know we would lose some of our good players who have ties to the server, it was decided mostly by top officers that our guild should server transfer to a higher populated realm. In addition from the enthusiasm of those same officers it seems as if this is something that will happen.

Hence my email, I foresee a couple problems with switching servers and was wondering if you had tips of your own to solve some. Namely, that switching servers won't bring in the players we need, the server isn't set in stone quite yet but I fear that switching to a new server might not resolve the core issue: our lack of players.

Secondly; because of my great performance and preparedness over the last few months, the officer core wants to promote me to a raid leading position. While they seem confident in my ability I find myself doubting if I can really step up to the position and accomplish everything that is required of a good raid leader. Especially leading the raid through the encounter and calling out abilities and cooldowns.

I appreciate any help or advice you can give,

Best Regards

One Incredibly Worried Mage

Hi, OIWM. A server switch is a big deal, no doubt about it. It's something that my own guild considered as recruiting slowed to a crawl a few months after Dragon Soul's release. We decided not to in the end -- transferring is a dicey process and has fewer benefits now than in the past.

Before you pull the trigger on it, consider the alternatives. You could try to form an alliance with another guild on your server. With the advent of cross-realm raiding, your guild's server isn't as crucial as it used to be. I'd recommend trying out a cross-realm raiding service such as OpenRaid. A few people in my guild have been making use of it to do hard modes from previous tiers -- quite successfully, I'll add.

The risks of transfers

If you do decide to switch, you will almost definitely lose a number of players, as you surmise. Players with friends and other long-term ties to the server may not want to leave.

Gaining players on the other end isn't a given. At first, you'll have no reputation on that server whatsoever. That could be good or bad. It all depends on how willing the players on that realm are to take a chance on an unknown.

The raiding guilds on that server won't welcome you with open arms; you'll be new and unwanted competition for them. The worst-case scenario is that the players who do make the switch decide that joining one of those established guilds is much easier than trying to rebuild your own.

The good news is, you could still raid cross-server with those who choose to stay on your original server, provided they are willing. In the best scenario, you retain their services while adding recruits from your destination realm.

Research and preparation

Before you make the jump, the officers need to talk to your players and get a sense for who would go and who would stay. They also need to determine the commitment of the players who would switch over and whether those who stay would agree to cross-realm raids. Overall, if more members are against it than in favor, they may want to reconsider.

I'd also recommend speaking with some of the players on the realm you're targeting. Ask them how they feel about that server's current and future raiding environment. Is it easy to find new raiders? Have any guilds recently transferred away? Is progression competitive with other realms? Do the guilds there often poach from each other? Are they stable and established, or are guilds collapsing and reforming every month?

You may not always get answers (or honest answers), but if you ask enough people, you'll eventually piece together what things are like. For such a big decision, it's worth taking the time to learn more. The better you prepare, the smoother the transfer will go.

Raid lead

You've been in enough raids by now, I would guess, to know pretty well what you'll be expected to do. Add to that some background work dealing with whispers from raiders, evaluating combat logs, and talking to the other officers about team members, and that's the job.

Raid leading can be very rewarding. When your team progresses through content and meets its goals, you'll feel like you were a big part of that. You'll feel pride, not just in your individual performance, but in how the team rose to the challenge and came together under your guidance. Ranged DPS classes like yours have the added benefit of being able to survey the field of battle and see who's in position and who's not, without the added worry of watching health bars.

If you have doubts, you have to figure out if those doubts are about questioning your ability to do the job or questioning your desire. If it's ability, then there's only one way to find out whether you can hack it, and that's to give it a shot. No one will expect you to be perfect immediately, and your raid team will help you with suggestions (whether you want them or not, usually). It won't be the end of the world if you find out that it's not for you.

If it's desire, however, then that's a more serious problem. Serving as raid leader could lead to burning yourself out quickly and needing a break from the game. That would leave your team lacking not just a raid leader but another raider too.

Search your feelings, as the jedi like to say, and you'll find the answer.


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

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