Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Guild Recruiting Helped My Career

I just hired my first employee.

The experience was a little nerve wracking; Would they like the job? Are they going to accept the salary? Will they fit in with my team? I didn't realize how similar it is to guild recruiting until after the experience.

In February 2009, I was promoted to my first supervisor position which included several management duties including some human resources tasks, hiring being one. I was extremely nervous during the search for a replacement for one of my employees who had decided to leave the company. This wasn't a game; I had full control over who would get the job and who would not, which meant I got to decide who would be on our payroll. This was real.

How did being my guild's recruiter help me with my employment practices? I had aligned our guild with real-life day-to-day practices and viewed our in-game goals and tasks as being similar to real life situation as you would run an organization. This made it easy for me to make allusions to situations I would encounter during my work day. Here's how guild recruitment aligned with how I played out the hiring:

1. Screening the Applicants

We expect our guildies to apply to the guild via our forums. They must state experiences, skills, previous guilds, etc. Effectively, this creates a raiding "résumé" that we use to screen potential recruits before offering them an interview for a potential raiding position.

I have become a pro at screening applications to our guild and this skill has helped me in screening the applicants to the position I was hiring for at my work. Being able to scan through a multitude of curriculum vitae, picking up on highlights and skills that would be a good fit for the position is a must. Going through hundreds of apps over the years, has help tremendously.

2. Interviewing

My biggest fear during raider interviews is that once they get the inside scoop of how we run things, they won't want to join. This goes back to what I was very nerve wracked for during the interview process I just went through. Would they like the job? Are they going to accept the salary? Will they fit in with my team?

The criteria for joining my guild are not necessarily being the best player in the world. We have brought in players who we knew at the time weren't the greatest but were incredibly eager to learn and we saw potential in them. Team players are a must and they best fit in with the personality of our guild to be up for consideration. The "salary" is our ability to clear the content and the raiding spot we offer; are they willing to put in the work to get the raid spot?

Since the job opening that I had to offer was an entry-level position, I wasn't necessarily looking for someone who had tons of experience. Someone who has done the job before would have been nice, as there wouldn't have been such a learning curve. But, an eager fresh out of school worker, willing to learn and put in the effort to do their best was all I was looking for. Since we work in teams it was important for me to find someone who would work well within our work environment.

Since I have already gone through the interviewing process with my guild and expectations for the position I had to offer were not a big stretch from the game, it was surprisingly easy to make the jump from play to reality.

3. The Formalities

Bringing players into the guild, advising them of the raiding schedule, asking them to adhere to the rules and having them sign up for the website are all normal things that I ask/tell my guildies upon joining.

Formalities in every organization are the norm. As in work, the guild has a structure in order for things to work smoothly. The basic information I supply or collect from my guildies allows me to manage my resources better.

Upon hiring the new employee, I had already made a mental note of what I needed them to submit for the position. I just assumed that there was info like SIN numbers, start date, blank cheque etc. which were asked of me on my first day in the office needed. Knowing that I myself had to be prepared within the structure of my workplace for things to run smoothly, as in my guild, I scored brownie points when my superiors asked if I made sure the new employee would be bringing the items of info they needed.

In the end, the whole experience was a positive one. Something I attribute from having so much experience with various types of personalities during interviews in game. I am quite looking forward to doing my next one and perhaps fusing more tips and tricks from the game into my workplace.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I know this is a shameless plug but I figured it's my blog what the hey!

After Midnight is recruiting dedicated, mature and talented raiders for their raiding roster. We currently have a good amount of healer, dps spots open as well as one tank spot. While some guilds might have seen a slump in the Summer months in their attendance, we are anticipating the reverse come the school year as many of our players have school-aged children who need attending to during the week.

If you think you would be a good fit for our raiding roster please do not hesitate to contact myself, Dovizioso or Gedoraf in game on the US-Uldaman Server.

Our website is should you wish to apply outright.

Hope to hear from some of you soon!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gear>Progression or Progression>Gear?

That is the question.

Everyone loves getting a fresh shiny new piece of gear. The joy of upping your stats making your toon hit (able to be hit) harder or heal better is very satisfying. But at what point is getting more gear moot for progression in the current content?

This is the issue that the new raid lockout extension has brought about. For example, After Midnight is able to clear Ulduar right through to Yogg-Saron now within 2 raid days should we stay focused and not run anything else such as VoA or ToC to interrupt our timelines. As long as everyone is able to stay on track and we don't have to switch people in an out this is not a problem. However, we still haven't downed Yogg yet, something I attribute to never having the same team of players each night and having to re-teach the encounter constantly. The majority of the guild would like to see the SOB go down, turned on his back floating in his own filth no matter how many times we attempt it.

Here's where the lockout extension comes in; we can now have those multiple attempts past the original lockout to work on Yogg WITHOUT having to re-clear the instance. This means more nights to work on him, more nights to get his health percentage lower and lower and less chance the guild will get rusty as time passes between attempts. Locking out may mean that a progression kill may be had with the little extra time we were able to get but it also means that it is a whole week without new gear drops. Something which excites most guildies who are progression minded and upsets those that lose out on a week to get a potential upgrade.

According to our guildies have the necessary stats/gear to down any encounter in Ulduar, and although having best-in-slot everywhere sure adds a slight pack to the punch, we should be able to easily down the Yogg-Saron encounter in our current situation. Yet, some players still argue that if we had more gear we would down it. The complaining from a vocal few (very few) makes me believe that they would rather have those grapey goodness drop like candy from the sky rather than spend the time for the thrill of a first kill.

This leads us back to our first question, what is more important for a raiding guild, encounter progression or gear progression?

In my honest opinion, and according to the goals listed in our guild rules, it is to see the content and conquer it no matter what the stakes. Having a gear level appropriate for the content is key, surpassing it is not necessary. I think the raid lockout is a great way for a guild on the cusp on downing a new boss to have the extra time to do so before a raid week reset. There is so much content in the game now that the guild can be doing to still receive their new upgrades; through the heroic 5 mans and 10 man instances. Badges are acquirable anywhere, from any instance, the heroic dailies now even spew forth the new Emblems of Triumph should you pick up the required quest first.

My advice to players upset with guilds extending raid lockouts for an additional week in the name of progress is the same to anyone who is not happy with their current guild; if the grass is greener elsewhere, no one is going to hold it against you if you go. Think about your priorities in game and find a place that is appropriate to them and stick with it. Most Guild Masters' are happy to accommodate their players as much as they can, but if a player's personal goal or ambition varies greatly from that of the guild's manifesto, it may be time to look for another guild lest your Guild Master asks you first.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thrown Into the Driver’s Seat: Haphazardly Acquiring a Raiding Guild

During a dedicated Warcraft player’s gaming “career”, one sometimes gets thrown a couple of curveballs along the long strange road of progression. Especially being an officer in a guild, dealing with the day to day challenges that arise within the game whether it is your guildies’ personalities, intra-guild relations or random players in general, looting, scheduling and everything in between; things do not always turn out the way we like. However, nothing is more daunting than suddenly finding yourself at the helm of a guild when your GM decides that either leading is not for him, quits the game altogether or just has the need to move onto different waters.

How would you deal with it? Would you excel and thrive at the job maintaining the raiding level of the guild or bettering it? Or would you crack under the pressure?

The following dialogue is the story of one player/officer named “Arkness” of The Wrath of Medivh on the US-Uldaman Server. I had the chance to chat with Arkness recently about his sudden “acquisition” of the WoM one of Uldaman’s progression guilds and with his permission am posting the interview below.


Napaeae: So Arkness, how about we start with an introduction, can you please let us know a bit about yourself, your toon and your current position in The Wrath of Medivh?

Arkness: Ok so my name is Andrew, most of the guild knows me by 'Drew" or by ' Ark' my toon is a Human Protection Paladin, and currently I am GM, Raid Leader and Main Tank of The Wrath of Medivh

Napaeae: Wow that's a lot to have on your plate, did you have the raid lead and Main Tank responsibilities before you became GM?

Arkness: Yes I was Raid Leader and Main Tank before being GM, one of my raiders said last week that they had been in the guild for about a year and "Ark has always been the voice of WoM on vent. Every raid he was the one that lead it."

Napaeae: Obviously you since you had the Raid Leader role before becoming GM, it must have been a natural transition into this new leadership role. But how did you suddenly become GM in the first place?

Arkness: LOL So one night after a raid, we (the GM at the time, another officer, and me) are sitting in the officer channel of vent discussing various items and as with all guilds one of those topics was those members that have questions/comments/complaints/QQ to coin a game phrase. We were discussing some of the ‘QQ’ that I had heard throughout that evening’s raid and part of it was in relation to the GM’s acceptance or un-acceptance as the case was this time of another healers input into a situation during the raid. Apparently hearing this was the straw that broke the camel’s back to coin a phrase and he started messing with the guild rankings some. At first I thought he was messing around as he promoted me to Exec. Officer then back to Officer. Then after that he promoted me to GM and /gquit. He then proceeded to log in all of his alts and /gquit on them as well and that’s how I became GM.

Napaeae: Wow that is sudden! How did you react at that time when you became GM?

Arkness: Well honest initial reaction was "Oh Shit, What's going on?" I felt a bit overwhelmed and taken aback by the situation. I honestly figured that he was just pissed off and would be back on one of the following days. It was quite a sudden shock.

Napaeae: Obviously, once everyone realized that he was not coming back, and it sunk in you were the new GM, how did your guildies react?

Arkness: Generalized reactions at first varied from: 'omgwtf' to 'what the hell just happened' to 'Oh shit, Ark's GM we're all going to die'. Most however already trusted me as a leader, so other than the initial shock weren't too worried about it. I even got quite a few "I got you back, bro." from some of the long standing members.

Napaeae: That's great that you received so much support. It must have felt good!

Arkness: It did, I have a very close network of friends within the guild. We talk outside of WoW and their support has been great as well.

Napaeae: What was your first act as GM? What did you change? What did you keep the same?

Arkness: Well official first act as GM, was that evening in calming the masses. Naturally the guild members had tons of questions after the former GM quit and I was promoted. I made an announcement in guild chat, “That the old GM most likely had several reasons for doing what he did. He didn't share these with me. However, everyone needed to remain calm and the situation would be addressed by the officers and those former officers and former GM's (2 former GM's were on RL breaks and have since quit playing WoW as well.) and that I would hold be the GM for as long as they wanted/allowed me to do it. “ No it probably wasn't that nicely worded that night, but that's the basics of it.

The second and my actual first act as GM was to keep the 'status quo' at the time. One of the former GM's (one of the ones on RL break) suggested in the officer's forum to "I guess we should cancel tonight's raid and have a vent meeting to work out what's going on from here." and my response was, “Hell No, I refuse to cancel that evening's raid… That’s just not the message I want to send right now."

Honestly I haven't changed much. I did start enforcing more of our standards. Raiding had became rather lax during Naxx. Trash was easy, bosses were easy, and people were coming unprepared, unread on strats, or just not attending raids as much at all. So I started making sure consumables were used, people had read up on strats, that they were focused, and that they truly wanted to be there with us. WoM has a great history and a great background to it. Not much needed changing except our attitude towards raiding.

The biggest change I made was to fully open recruiting, this accomplished two things: One, it let everyone know that we ARE a raiding guild. Their positions as raiders was not set in stone and it stopped the preconceived notion by many applicants, that they would have a hard time finding a position within our team.

Napaeae: Seems like you handled the situation rather well and quickly! How did the guild react to the changes that you did make (i.e., opening up recruiting, etc.)?

Arkness: They reacted fairly well overall, attendance is up, performance is up, and generally attitudes are much better. That combined with several new members that are wonderful people and players have helped get things back on track after the summer slump.

Napaeae: And how about you? Have you become more comfortable with the idea of being GM? What do you like and/or dislike about it?

Arkness: I love being GM, but it does have its moments and yes I have more gray hairs now. The best part of being GM is the pride that comes when the team goes out there and does well. Just last week when we went to the Crusader's Coliseum, we went in and one-shot the Northrend Beasts encounter. It was awesome fun and one hell of the morale booster and there is a certain level of pride knowing that I helped lead them to that.

What do I dislike? Mostly just those that do seem to be 'me' centered. Every guild has them, those people that are more 'phat lootz' oriented then helping the team and guild progressed. I also dislike the fact that hiding when I need quiet time is more difficult now days.

Napaeae: Haha, you'll get used to the lack of privacy/"me time", I lost mine about 4 years ago.

Arkness: Rofl, I thought it was bad having kids! Now I have a whole guild that likes to track me down!

Napaeae: After going through this experience yourself, what advice would you give to those suddenly finding themselves in your shoes?

Arkness: Take it slow and easy, surround yourself with good friends that are like minded and guild focused, talk to everyone (even the quiet guy that's just a 'friends and family' member has great input), don't beat yourself up too hard when something doesn't go exactly as planned, and most of all to have some fun with it otherwise being GM can become one of those dreaded "J O B" scenarios real quick.

Napaeae: Great advice! Anything else you'd like to add?

Arkness: Yup one more quote I'm stealing... “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” - John Buchan

Napaeae: Isn't that the truth... Great quote. Thank you, Ark, for spending some time talking with me this afternoon about your experiences.

Arkness: No problem, I'm overly flattered that you asked me to come hang out and talk. Good luck in life and WoW. I'll see you around Uldaman.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Would you like your Guildies' sunny side up or poached, Sir?

I work in the advertising industry for my day job. This has helped me out countless times in guild recruitment. As all advertisers are, I am also quite eager to get our name out there in the hopes of catching that lead, that buy-in or that "customer" to join our guild. As guild leaders we all have something to "sell" it may be a raiding spot, a casual laid-back atmosphere or maybe even a little Role Play as suits your guilds needs. How do you go about getting the sign-ups you need to make your guild a successful one?

I have rarely come across a guild that had less than noble intentions in their recruitment practices. For the most part when someone has left our guild for possible greener pastures on their part the receiving guild was the one approached not the guild approaching the player.

What about those times when a guild actively recruits your players without prior inquiries?

I have experienced this about 3 times in my GM "career". Each time has been very different from the last. The first time was a very blatant attempt at poaching our core players with the promise of mounts, money, and dibs at loot. With the 2 following times were done more subtlety and were more effective.

Types of Poaches :

1. Green Eggs and Poach Approach

This is the type of poaching that is downright blatant. The Poacher may approach you outright in a capital city one day saying things to the effect of "Wow, your gear is great! Why are you running with THAT guild? We could offer you so much more." Or, after initial approach, outright offering gold, mounts, extra dkp etc as a "signing" bonus for leaving your current guild to join theirs.

How to deal as a player? This depends on what motivates you. If you are looking for a place that will provide you with bonuses upon joining and you don't particularly have any attachment to your current guild, then it's totally your choice whether you take up the offer. If you're not interested, you can let the inquiring party that you're quite happy with you guild and if you feel the need to advise your GM that you were approached in this manner, do so. Telling your GM, especially if they are down to earth and won't go overboard on the offending party, allows your guild to keep tabs on possible intra-guild issues.

How to deal as a GM? I'm a big fan of letting it go if I don't have prior relations with that particular guild. With that said, if I have had dealings with the guild's GM before I tend to contact them and let them know I know what has occurred and nothing more. Usually, if the poacher has an ethics they apologize right away.

2. Eggs Benedict and other Extravagant Poaches

This poacher may constantly talk you about their guild. They may never come out and outright ask you to leave your current guild but allusions to "Gee, I wish we had someone like you app to our guild," are in constant use. They may message you every time you log on to talk about how your guild is doing. They use any negative statement that you may make about your guild no matter how little ("OMG, we wiped on FL trash one night) and swear that kind of thing never happens in their guild. The Poacher will paint such a wonderful picture of their guild in the hopes to sway you in their direction. Once they feel that trust is gained they will outright ask you if you would like to join after hearing any minor complaints which they have blown up in their minds. (Wow your guild must be so horrible!)

How to deal as a player? Again, if the approaching guild entices you, you are more than welcome to join in hopes the pastures are greener. If you are not interested, for the most part this poacher can get pretty annoying and you may end up putting them on ignore or just appeasing them with one word answers after awhile. Being direct and telling them, "Thank you for letting me know how your guild runs things, but I think I will stick with my current position," usually stops the poacher in their tracks.

How to do deal as a GM? There is nothing much you can do other than trust that your guildies have faith and confidence in your guild and will stick around. If someone is unhappy they will leave anyways and there is not much you can do.

3. Sunny Side Up with Friends

This poacher may be a long time in-game or real-life friend of yours. They joined another guild and tell you about it all the time. They may be having a blast and want to share that with you too. Hey! Who wouldn't want to surround themselves with their friends right? So they contact their GM, they have a spot open just for you! What do you do?

How to deal as a player? Well, this one is a hard one, and totally a personal choice like the previous instances. It basically comes down to 2 choices, stay with you current guild that may be perfect strangers but probably works for you or join your friends guild and be with friends. Whatever you do choose don't ever feel bad for your decision.

How to deal as a GM? There is NOTHING you can do and NOTHING you should do. Who are you to limit friends playing with friends? This is what the game is about anyways, right?

All in all, finding out your players are being poached is quite the annoyance but there is not much you can do if someone has it set in their mind that they are going to leave the guild. Letting the poachers know delicately that you're aware of the situation may alleviate unwanted advances should your guildies complain, however for the most part let it go and have faith that your guildies have your back. Leading with confidence usually instills confidence in your players and is the cornerstone to a strong long living guild.