Yesterday, I went off on this long wandering thing about how guilds recruit new members and all that sort of stuff.

And while it was true in it’s way, the perspective is all from someone that is in a fairly big guild that wants to add new members.

I liken it to joining the dating scene. You know you want to find that special someone, but you don’t really know where the magical place will be that you’ll find them.

Will I find Mr. Right in a PUG? In the official WoW Forums? As a friend of a friend?

Is it too forward of me to go to the WoW Forums and announce I’m looking for Mr. Right? Will I attract the wrong kind of player there?

Should I sit in a major city and announce my desperation to the entire server as I send out my recruiting cries to the Trade channel?

Hint: DON’T try in recruit in /2 Trade. It may seem quick and easy, but they won’t respect you in the morning.

Should I hit the PUG scene? Maybe I’ll find Mr. Right in a PUG of a hard instance, and he’ll be so impressed with my leet skillz he’ll want to follow me home to my guild!

Well, that’s all stressful enough, but there is a flip side to the issue that I didn’t talk about, and my friend Kestrel reminded me of that this morning.

Being the recruiter for a moderately large raiding guild that has Karazhan on farm and 3/5 Zul’aman is probably much like being a fine, hot mama looking for a man.

You aren’t worried about finding someone, because you know you can find someone at the drop of a hat. What you’re worried about is finding the right someone. And sometimes it seems like finding a nice, responsible, mature player that isn’t afraid of commitment is impossible amongst all the cast-off rejects all out on their own looking for new guilds to take advantage of.

But there is the other side of the story. What if you’re the nice young man, hoping you are smart enough, witty enough and fun enough to attract the attention of that exciting, intelligent lady, and it feels like none of them will even look in your direction much less stop to chat with you? 

It may take quite a while to build up the courage to approach a member of the guild you’re interested in. You’ve seen them around. You see their gear, you read the forum posts left by some of their more outgoing members (and even though they scare you, they still obviously know what they’re doing in a run), and it’s clear to you they’ve got a lot on the ball.

You think they’re just what you’re looking for. But when you do a /who of their guild in the Social tab, pick a member that isn’t in a instance run or raid, and whisper them timidly asking if they have the time to tell you who their guild recruiter is, you are told “Just go to our website and fill out an app.”

Feels like a brush off, doesn’t it? It feels like rejection?

Well, before your disappointment spirals down into the depths of self-pity, and you decide you didn’t really want to join them anyway, remind yourself of what it is you are trying to do.

What? No, the answer isn’t ‘score a hottie and dance like disco’, Matticus. Sheesh. 

You are looking to find a group of people that you will enjoy playing the game with, who will, at least part of the time, share the same goals you have in the game.

You want the perfect guild. yes you do.

But you are willing to settle for a guild that shares the same interests and is fun to be around. After all, not everyone can be lucky enough to find perfection.

Yes, we’re still talking about guilds!

The first rule of finding yourself a new guild is to engage in your own interest, spend time among other people who are also doing the same activity, get to know the community of folks who do it, and then talk to those people and get to know them.

If you want to join a guild in a social game, then you need to engage in social activities.

The more you actually DO the stuff you are interested in, the easier your search for new friends becomes.

If you enjoy raiding and running instances, then join a lot of Pick Up Groups. You will meet a lot of asshats, it is true. But believe it or not, you will also meet a lot of good, friendly, knowledgeable players that are suffering through the same crap you are, and are in the same position; they aren’t in raiding guilds either. These folks you meet casually may not be able to hook you up with a guild invite, but you will share the horror of asshats in PUGs, and you may find that whispering them to chuckle or wince over the latest bone-headed move by one of the other PUG assclowns will gain you a new friend in the game.

Make enough of those, and you’ve got a guild someday. And even if you don’t, every new friend is a new friend. How is that a bad thing?

Aside from lonely soloers like you, there are also a lot of ringers in PUGs. Many end-game guilds don’t organize anything other than raiding. Raids are put on a tight schedule, and if the individual players want to run heroics to farm badges, or are seeking a particular drop from an instance (like a rare enchant recipe, or that damn Hourglass of the Unraveller), they will likely find themselves in a PUG for it, since many of their other guildmates spend their non-raiding time farming money or mats for the consumables they need.

You do your personal best in the PUG, you don’t bitch or act like a princess, you do your best to be yourself, friendly, have fun, and kick ass, and these ringers will notice, and word will get around. You WANT that kind of word to get around. They may not personally ask you into their guild, but they may mention to a friend that they met this kick-ass mature, skilled Hunter in a PUG, and the guy was single! I mean guildless. Right, guildless, sorry.

And the friend will keep that in mind. Out of the blue, you may find yourself asked one day if you can fill in for someone on a Karazhan run, by someone you don’t know.

Word to the wise… if this happens, don’t worry about the loot. Your concern about whether or not you will be allowed to roll on loot in someone elses’ run is understandable, since you haven’t ever been to the raid before, you’re excited, and you are afraid to commit your time for nothing to what is essentially a PUG.

But if they are whispering you, and they are in a reputable guild, then they are most likely asking you along because they heard you were smart and cool and fun to play with and could do your job. They probably do Karazhan often, and aren’t that worried about loot. What they are worried about is whether or not you can put enjoying new things and having fun above loot. It’s a character and personality test. Remember, they are the hot chick. They are the ones that can have any old player, but they don’t want any old player. They want a long term relationship. They’re looking for the kind of character that suggests you may be capable of commitment. And they do NOT want to worry about having a messy breakup further on down the road. 

If there is a guild you see around, or that you have PUGed with that impressed you, don’t forget to check them out, too. In a world where we Google dates to find out what skeletons are lurking in their backgrounds (They were arrested in Tijuana for WHAT!?!), don’t hesitate to go to the official WoW Forums for your particular realm. In most cases, there should be a sticky thread listing guilds on both Horde and Alliance sides, and most guilds will make sure a link to their guild website is in there.

Visit their website. Read whatever they have available to the general public, open forums, Guild charter, Application Form, etc. If they do have an open forum section, hey, this is a friendly game. If you are there because you enjoyed a PUG with some of their members, or if you’ve been impressed with the mature and friendly way some of their members treat others, hey, why not say so?

And I recommend doing that even if you are not looking for a guild, or are already in a solid guild.

Make a post in their forum just saying “Hi, played recently with such and such in a such and such run, and had a great time. Thanks for making a PUG fun, appreciate it, take care and peace out. You guys rock. Keep it up, I appreciate it.”

If you are there because of something like that, why not say so? Letting people know you appreciate what they do, the effort they put into being good plaeyrs, is NEVER out of style.

In the end, my biggest advice to you is; if you want to meet someone, you are not going to do it by solo questing. You are going to have to get out there and actually meet and greet, do what it is you are interested in, and chat with the other people who are doing the same.

It can be scary, I know.  

In the past, I have been in the position of wanting to have enough friends to run the 5 man instances, wanting to be in a guild that raided the 10 mans, and wishing I knew where to go to find one. 

But my mistake was that I did not enter the instances on my own. I didn’t take the initiative to go PUGing. I waited to be invited into a guild, expecting to then start doing a lot more group activity.

And the truth is, the core problem I had was that I was intimidated by doing the instance. The time I expected it to take, knowing that I was going to be committing myself to be in a single run lasting an hour and a half, with other people depending on me not to screw up, was a big looming scary wall.

What if my son needed me and I had to bail and disappoint people while dealing with things at home? What if I screwed up and wiped the run and everyone called me an asshat noob? Worse yet, what if I deserved to be called one?

Somehow, looking at that wall, I decided that if I were facing it with friends who would be more forgiving of my potential screw ups, it would be easier to face.

But when you are in a guild, the pressure is greater, not less. Instead of screwing up in front of a random grouping of strangers, you have the potential of screwing up in front of the people you are planning on spending the rest of your life… um, I mean the majority of your game time with.

So the wall doesn’t go away, it just gets higher.

You need to take action now. Face your fear of instances, or of participating in the PvP community or the twink chat, and get out there are do some group playing. Be yourself, do your best, be patient with asshats but don’t take their shit, and you WILL become known.

And someone like me will see you, and say to the other Officers, “Omigawd, Irv, let me tell you about this Warlock I met the other day when I was doing the Consortium daily… you would not BELIEVE the damage he was putting out, and he never pulled aggro… oh, I thought I was going to die, he was so hawt.”

And Irv will say, “Oh sexy… was he guilded?”

14 Responses to “Looking for players in all the wrong places”
  1. Steve says:

    Again, this is spot on. Good post, it honestly pertains to me right now. Leaving my guild of almost 2 years. Unfortuntaly I am in Iraq right now so the chances of me puggin with some of the guild that I am looking to join is slim to none, but my wife will be out there doing it!

    -steve

  2. Kestrel says:

    What a great article, B3! And the analogy is perfect. Glad I could help trigger the muse for you. :)

  3. Bellwether says:

    We’ve met a bunch of sexy unguilded (and guilded but unhappy) players by including an occasional PuG or two in our Kara runs. We bring them into Vent, we joke with them, and if they’re doing a good job we tell them so. In this way we’ve gotten an amazing prot paladin and many others, as well as forming alliances and making friends.

    There’s nothing better, imo.

  4. Toroous says:

    Another great post.

    As a new recruiter for my guild which is in that rut of having 20 good raiders just needing that last little bump to be doing the 25 mans on a consistent basis your post hits too close to home. :D

  5. Irv says:

    <3 wind nice post btw

  6. Rohan says:

    This post was superb. Very well done.

  7. Lennie says:

    As usual you approached a timely topic for me. I am still undecided about continuing with a raiding guild, because frankly I am not that good at it, and I made stupid mistakes. You are correct that it boils down to the fear of the instance. I am the solitary quester and I like pvp and battlegrounds. But I would also like to have the fun of raiding with a like minded group of individuals and it is hard to find. You are also right about the bar being higher with people that you know. Now I am finding solace in alts, but your blog gave me something to think about. Thanks.

  8. Kikidas says:

    I love PuG’s. Some of my BEST FRIENDS (insert girly squeal here) came from PuG’s.

    1: Sometimes you can find cool people in PuG’s and have exactly what you described happen to you.
    2: Sometimes you find someone of the same class better than you and you can get pointers.
    3: Sometimes you’re out DPSing everyone by 20% and you get a little self-esteem boost (oh yeah, I’m hot, that’s right)
    4: Sometimes you crack a joke in /p and suddenly you’ve got your new best friend cracking jokes back at you in /t. (Give me my hand back!)
    5: Sometimes, you find someone of the same class worse than you are and you can GIVE pointers.

    <3 PuG’s.

  9. BigRed says:

    Oi,

    I enjoy your writing a lot, and I know the adage about common sense being rather uncommon

    but

    shouldn’t all of what you wrote here rather apparent for the smarter WOWler? I’ve never understood the PUG-fear that seems to infect many players, and word-of-mouth always works best, in RL as well as in WOW…

  10. Ratshag says:

    @BigRed-

    Gots to respectfully disagrees. If a person’s first few pugs all turn out to be with time-wasting morons, it’s pretty easy to get discouraged and stop doing them. Got nothing to do with common sense or intelligence. Which be why it’s needed fer peoples like BBBBBBB to point out the why you should keep on keeping on.

    Is dang fine article, imo. Entertainings, too.

  11. Sedna says:

    I linkhopped over here from Ratshag’s place- wanted to compliment you on this piece. Really nicely done! I kind of came from the opposite side of the issue on this one- was in a guild I really enjoyed last summer, when I PUGed Shadow Labs with a couple of random folks. Two of em were from the same guild and really impressed me- solid players who had a great attitude (during what was a long and frustrating run) and were obviously having a blast. When my guild imploded in the fall, I remembered those two guys, looked up their guild website, and applied. It’s one of the best group of people I’ve ever met. (And if you’re Horde-side on Trollbane, look up Nuclear Launch Detected; we have chili made from Gruul.)
    And BigRed: true- all of this is apparent if you think about it, but it never hurts to restate the obvious now and again. That’s how advice columnists earn their money.

  12. Magpie says:

    Every once in a long while, after a guild is absolutely torn to shreds, they may resort to trade chat. You can find good people there (we’ve found a few) but you’re just as likely to get the total awful ones as well.

    It’s a crapshoot, our guild uses it some just because our server is so tiny, and members are tough to find. However, anyone recruited that way is getting a long interview to see what kind of person they are, and possibly a heroic run. :)

    Everyone gets interviewed naturally, just… they get longer ones…

  13. Hexapuma says:

    Great post! It almost felt you were writing the article directly to me =)

  14. Dechion says:

    Hmmmm, never thought much about pugs. I suppose that is becaude I first leveled a hunter to 70 and got tired of not getting the time of day. Hunters have such a bad rep for being a$$hats that can’t play I couldn’t find a group outside of my guild. Even had trouble pug runs as a member of a raiding guild.
    Then again I recently finished leveling a priest to 70 on a different server, I am already guilded but I think I will try a pug or 3 and see if I can add to my friends list. Hopefully a holy priest can find a group a bit easier.

    lastly Nicely done on the site, followed a link here from world of matticus.

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