The focus of guild searches for the most part has been about writing the guild application. There’s some fantastic advice out there on how to fill in an application for the guild of your dreams, and how to make sure you avoid the faux-pas that can ruin your chances of an invite. The application is a very important part of the process and a lot of times it feels like once you’ve put in a successful application, you’re home free. While it is a big part of the process, it certainly isn’t the end of it.
The emphasis is usually on dealing with how the applicant is judged by the guild leadership on being a good fit, but it’s also important to remember that this is a two-way street. As much as it’s important that the applicant be a good fit, it’s also important for the applicant to make the effort to ensure that the guild/raid group is a good fit.
And that’s what today’s post is about: Things to evaluate after the guild application is done.
Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve done the guild search and filtered through pages and pages on the forums. You’ve looked through a dozen websites, talked to a dozen more people, and you’ve finally found a guild that stood out on paper. They seem to share what you’re looking for, and looked like you’d fit in great. You went ahead and applied, and you’re in.
I’m going to sound a lot like House now, but hey. Once you’re in the guild/raid group, you want to make sure that they are what they say they are. And here comes the House punch-line: because everybody lies. Especially on the internet.
Here are the things to evaluate your newly-found group on:
A big part of being part of a happy and successful group is making sure that everyone is on the same page. Seeing how the group works up close and personal is the best way to see whether they live up to their claims in the recruitment messages or not.
- Raiding style: Make sure that the team’s recruitment message and the reality of how things get executed match up. If they claim to be hardcore to semi-hardcore but show up to raid wearing inappropriate gear, that’s a big warning sign. The converse also holds – if you signed up to join a friendly group rather than a progression-oriented group, the group probably won’t be a good fit for you.
- Priorities: Different groups have different priorities in their raids. Some put attendance at a much higher standard than others, while others put performance etc. The key thing is to note what they value, make sure it lines up with yours, and then see if the group follows through. If attendance is deemed to be very important in the group yet you find people strolling in past raid time, or the raid is often waiting on people in the middle, then it’s worth asking yourself why the difference exists.
- Being “Casual”: I am always wary of this word because it tends to mean different things to different people depending on the convenience of the occasion. Make sure that it means the same thing to both you and your group by having clear expectations. The last place you want to end up is in a group that is, as the Drama Mamas put it, neither casual nor raiding.
Different groups have a different feel to them – one that doesn’t always come across well during recruitment and the application process. Some raid groups feel like no-nonsense well-oiled machines of precision, others can sound like a math conference on probability, some others feel like friends clinking martinis while raiding, and others can give off a boys’ club vibe from Hooters.
Atmosphere is not directly raid related but it has a huge effect on you since that’s where you will spend most of your quality time. Remember that it’s your leisure time too and it’s okay to be picky about what you want.
This ties into the expectations portion a little bit but it’s important enough that I felt the need to write it separately. Scott Andews of WoW Insider wrote an insightful post on 9 warning signs of bad raid leadership which I highly recommend looking through. The general leadership can make or break the success of the group. Here are few things to consider:
- Is the leadership receptive? It’s important to have clear communication between members and the leader. The leader’s willingness to talk about and explain issues, questions, clarifications and suggestions is a good sign of how the relationship will be in the future. If he/she isn’t easily available or doesn’t take questions very well, it’s a sign that things might not change very much in the future. Make sure you are happy with the explanations you receive – if the majority of them are “it’s because I said so” without any legitimate reason behind it, run for the hills.
- Are your issues addressed/resolved? Not all issues can ever be resolved, granted, but the important thing is to be able to voice your concerns if you have any, and see if any effort was made to alleviate them. If there is little regard for members and their concerns, it doesn’t bode well for the future.
- Are big decisions made without consulting the group? Big decisions that are made without members feedback and ends up effecting members negatively reeks of an “I am king” attitude. In most cases, it reflects the leadership putting their own desires above everybody else’s.
Alright I admit it – I’m nowhere near as cynical as House. And I sure don’t believe that everyone lies – but this is the internet, and every so often there will be the one who paints a very different picture from reality.
It’s so easy to forget when we get caught up in raiding, applying and recruiting and all of that, that sometimes we need a reminder of what’s important here.
This is your leisure time and you have a right to enjoy the game just as much as anyone else does. And for that, don’t be afraid to hold groups to a higher standard in your search, and make sure they fit your needs.