Friday, February 28, 2014

3 tips for finding the right guild

The first attempt at compiling these tips turned into a completely different post where I reminisced about joining my first guild. It wasn't a thoughtful decision, but I lucked out and found a cool group of people. That guild dissolved during the Burning Crusade, and I've since been through several pretty significant guild transitions. These tips are geared towards newer players and those who don't have much familiarity with guilds; perhaps veteran readers can share some tips of their own.

Here are some things I've learned that I felt were worth sharing.

Define what it is you want & how you'll get there

What is most important to you? Is it the PvP experience? Do you like to roleplay? Perhaps it's end-game raiding, or something as simple as banding together with a group of like-minded gamers for any and all of the content. Do you not care if your guild chat mirrors Trade on the average day, or is that precisely why you've been hesitant to join up with one? You could prefer a massive, super-active guild with lots of people on, or maybe you'd rather be a big fish in a smaller pond.

The starting point when seeking a guild is to define what makes you happy, what you most enjoy getting out of the game. WoW is an MMO, and though over the years it has become more easily digestible by the solo player, I firmly believe a player's time spent will be incredibly more rich when experiencing the game with a guild they actually want to a part of.

How far are you willing to go to get there? As you begin your search for a guild, it's important to determine how wide a net you'll be casting---and what you're potentially willing to sacrifice. With the advent and continuation of connected realms, many players will have a greater amount of guild options to choose from without involving cost. While I enjoy playing my Alliance shaman, I will never take my main or stable of Horde alts to the other side---but I know that about myself. Well, I learned it the hard way. But are you willing to spend real dollars to find the right guild, since server and faction transfers are viable options?

Depending on how you answer those questions will often dictate where and how you look. 

In my opinion, guilds that aren't people-focused---even when there are lofty goals involved---tend to have a high amount of turnover and drama. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be in an adult guild where chat regularly features NSFW language, the regular use of innuendo, or an "anything-goes" type of philosophy---that's your choice. However, if that's not your thing, don't assume what you're looking for isn't out there. Whatever kind of environment you are seeking, it exists---sometimes it just takes a while before you find it. 

Seek it relentlessly

Don't settle---ever. Especially if there's money involved. But since you've defined what it is you're looking for, you should stick to that criteria. When my life schedule changed during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, I knew I wanted to start raiding, but at the same time, my availability was limited to weekend mornings---I know, a weird time. I scoured the official forums and found plenty of AM raiding guilds during the week, but that just wouldn't jive with my nine-to-five job. 

After a month-long search, I found a small, tight-knit guild on another server that was recruiting while working through Ulduar hardmodes, this being a few weeks before Trial of the Crusader's release. By that point, I'd already known transferring was something I was willing to do for the right fit. In the end, the experiences I shared with that group turned out to be the best in nearly nine years of playing this game. Though we slowly began to deteriorate as a guild after our leader left for college, I still count several of those members among my current guildies, and many of those who have since left the game I count as friends and speak with now and then.

The trick is, once you've found a guild that seems to be offering what you're looking for, make sure your ideas and theirs match. For instance, the guild I'm in offers a casual PvE experience featuring a 1-night-per-week progression raid. If you're a player looking for a fun bunch of adults and would like to raid, on the surface we'd seem like a good fit. However, if that setting fits you but you'd prefer to raid two or three nights per week, we're no longer such a good fit. It's important to not just identify the guild, but make sure your goals and expectations truly match what they're offering.

When it comes to seeking the right fit, you have many resources:

Server forums: For me, this has always been the place to go when I wasn't interested in moving off-server. 

Guild Recruitment Forums: This will by default provide you with a greater number of options; I found the AM raiding guild by using the search functionality, which ended up dredging up an older thread that hadn't been bumped in a while. 

Group Content: Did you enjoy the company of a particular player when you were running a dungeon or a battleground? Talk to them! Our guild often gains new members this way. 

Web & Social Media: I've found an incredibly active, wonderful community on Twitter, but these types of communities can be found everywhere: Google+, Facebook, Reddit---you name it. 

Trade Chat: Results may vary.

Test the waters

It's never a bad idea to check out a guild before you join. Granted, certain guilds may not allow this---it's all or nothing in some cases. Still, if possible you may want to consider creating a fresh character (if you're spending cash) or first join on an alt to hang with the guild for a bit---just to get a feel for the environment. If a guild really wants you there, this shouldn't be a problem, unless of course they're relying on you to fill a key spot on one of their teams with your main character. 

I don't think the stigma associated with guild hopping is as strong as it was in the past, but your goal is to find a stable environment where you can enjoy this game---and to be fair, the guild that's recruiting you is looking for players who will contribute to the type of community they're meaning to build.¹

And sometimes, when you just can't seem to find the type of guild you want to be in, you might want to ask yourself: am I willing to create that which I desire? But that's probably a subject for another post.

Is there anything else you'd add to these tips?
¹ Shameless plug time: the guild I'm in on Horde-side Emerald Dream is recruiting, if indeed you're looking for a new home.


  1. Have your cake and eat it too. With openraid becoming more popular, why not stay in your family mom and pop guild, but join a cross server raid group/pvp group? Just a thought.

  2. Absolutely!

    Blizzard realizes this, too, as we're seeing with the increase in cross-server functionality. It all depends on what you're looking for, and the playerbase has more choices than ever before. For me, I'm more old-fashioned and like when everything's in one place. Something about seeing everyone's guild tag being the same after that boss kill just warms my heart. Plus, when you have a consistent type of group, it's easier to control for undesirable scenarios (in my experience).

    Thanks for the comment :)