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.