It’s while ago already that Thror and myself applied to a guild with our EU characters. This guild was looking for a tank and since Thror tanks, we figured we would apply. At that point we weren’t even level 80 yet, so we didn’t really expect anything of it, but figured we would offer anyways.
Naturally the guild said no, they needed a tank now, and we just weren't ready. Also Thror and myself are a package deal, and they just didn’t have space for a pallie tank and disc priest. Fair enough. I replied back that I completely understood, and that if they did get space for pallie/priest combo that they could look us up in the future. I never expected to hear back from them.
But surprise, surprise, last week I got an email, saying that they would now have space for a pallie/priest combo, but that Thror would have to go ret. The recruiting officer had armoried him and had seen that he was ret, if this was a problem.
Well, no, not to Thror and me, this definitely wasn’t a problem. However, what was a problem was that this guild was expecting recruits to already be geared before they would even get into the guild. I sent a message back explaining that we weren’t in a raiding guild, and that all the gear we had came from some pug runs.
They had no space for us. Oh well, understandable, they had no time to gear up people, we simply didn’t have the gear they needed on characters.
It continued with me suggesting that it would be cool however to already join the guild so that we could get to know people a little, maybe run some heroics. Not actively raiding would be fine with us.And then in the future we might actually be able to help out. After all we both do have the skill for these fights, well the fights they were on and more I must say even.
The answer I got back amazed me.
They didn’t have players for ‘social reasons’.
When I read that I think I just sat there for a while, speechless, looking at my screen if this was really like this in the reply. I could just not imagine guilds who aren’t being paid for raiding (so yes, the actual business guilds, like Ensidia, where you get paid to play) not having any players who are just there to socialize.
Promoting Guild Hopping
One the one side I can totally understand this guild’s stance. They’re at a certain point in their progression, and it wouldn't be happy times for them if they would have to take a step back and gear up two new people. It would maybe cost them a whole extra week to get these people up to a point where they would be valid raiders.
On the other side, this way of thinking is costing them players. They expect recruits to have geared up elsewhere, dump the guild that helped them gear up, and then come join them. With this they are teaching their players that it is perfectly alright to gear up in one guild, then jump ship and go to a further progressed guild. It’s no wonder that a lot of guilds constantly have to recruit new people if this is the technique they’re using.
Plus, I cannot believe that these tactics are actually helping a guild to progress faster in content. Yes, if you go about it a bit more social you would actually have to gear up a new person every now and then, but you might lose less players to further advanced guilds.
And really, even if people have the gear, what is to say they have the skill? Taking new recruits on lower end raids first is a really good way to see what these people can actually do.
In my view the glue that holds a guild together is not how many bosses you’ve downed. It’s how much fun you’ve had while downing them. Social players are the glue that keep a guild from falling apart.
My guild is not the furthest progressed guild on the server, but we do exist for over 10 years already, and have always raided high end content, and often you can say within FP, once a loon, always a loon.
In fact, we’ve had people leaving us in the past, thinking they had to find greener grounds to play in (ie guilds who were further up the ladder in the progression), but many times these people have come back to FP.
And yes, it has happened that people left FP. But looking back to these situations, this was often because these people never really fit into the group anyway. Not that they were bad people or anything, no, they just weren’t FP material.
Either way we don't recruit at all, people come to us to get guild invites, and we often have to disappoint them, because we recruit based on sponsorship. A new recruit can come into our guild but only if sponsored by a full guild member, and only under certain conditions. This way we assure that we get people who fit in, and we'll care about the raiding aspect later. We also don't really have to recruit. We have a very steady group of people who are always around somehow.
Quality vs Quantity
When you’ve been a guild for this long, and you play together with the same people for this amount of time, it seem you need less time to progress. So while we only raid for 2 sessions of 4 hours per week with our 10 man, we are only 2 achievements away from our rusted proto drake.
Yah yah, I know there are many guilds who have gotten their drakes already. But how many hours per week do they raid?
I see a lot of guilds raiding 3 or 4 evenings per week for 3 or 4 hours. My 10man raids a total of about 8 hours per week. In that time we clear ToC10 normal, Ulduar10, get ourselves a black drake in OS+3, and normally close off with some hard mode ToC10. And yes, we still have time to chat and have fun in the middle.
Because as players we know exactly what we can expect of each other, when we can expect it, and can trust the people in the group to do what needs doing, we can just go about it, and enjoy the company in the meantime.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the other method. But I can simply not imagine that if all players had a choice, this was the way they would go about it. I can only think that there must be a lot of players who would love to have a social guild and still be able to raid high end content. In fact, through the Pugtastic raids I lead every week, I KNOW there are many players out there who love the social happenings and raid at the same time.
One or the Other
No, it really doesn’t have to be one or the other. All that needs to happen is for people to realize that this is supposed to be a fun leisure activity. Something you do to have fun in your free time. Not something that you make a living with (at least not for most of us). And the other thing that people need to keep in mind is that the goal of the game is not to down those bosses. It’s to have fun, downing boss is a side activity.
Sure, it’s a whole lot more fun to be successful, but I promise, if you start with working on the social aspect of the game (like helping those players who really want to improve, but don’t know where to start), downing those bosses will follow.
And yaknow what, my experience is that it’s pretty rewarding to build friendships in the game that last longer than the content. Why on earth would you want to spend like 20 hours per week with people who you might not even like, just to progress in the game?
Not a Job
In the long run, guilds that are treated as a job, without the actual payment that comes with a job, are going to fail. This is not a job, and players are not employees. You can apply many management techniques in raiding guilds, and I swear by leading a guild you do learn a lot, but in the end you have to accept that these people have no other incentive or motivation to play then their own enjoyment.
This might even be the reason that you see so many people burn out after having reached the highest raiding guilds. They realize that there's no other reward then pride and bragging rights, and in the long run this is just not rewarding enough for a leisure activity. And to top that, even raiding the high end content will become every day normal stuff if you do it enough.
I know that this may sound incredulous if you're not at that point and are looking up at the people who are, but it's true. And as a raider if you do get to that point you better have options to fall back on, and having fun with your social guildmates is a pretty good thing to fall back on.
Icecrown looks to be the last raid instance for this expansion. Once the highend guilds have this on farm, you'll see the number of people who stop playing rise up again. And many guilds will start falling apart because there's nothing left to raid, and no bragging rights to earn anymore.
Though these guilds may be back, and some guilds may survive, I'm very glad that I won't be part of that drama.