A Response to Tobold: Another Guild Recruitment Perspective

Image courtesy of Avolore

I read a great piece by renowned WoW blogger Tobold about guild recruitment and how they don’t look to hire players, they hire avatars. He writes that high end guilds don’t care much about the character of the person who is behind the avatar and that jumping guilds is almost expected in order to progress.

First, I’d like you to read what he has to say before you come back and read my responses and explanations behind how my Guild operates.



The Professional Style

Another follow up post courtesy of Two and a Half Orcs nailed it perfectly when it was written that we take two extremely different approaches to Guild progression and to raiding.

Now, a Guild is an organized group of people. I think we can all agree on that definition. What separates Guilds from other Guilds is the reason why the Guild is formed in the first place. Loyalty is an integral part of any kind of organization be it sports teams, businesses, or what not.

Refer back to Tobold’s blog for a moment and you’ll see an example of a typical Guild ad. In fact, if you browse the Guild recruitment forums right now, you’ll find any number of ads that have the same elements like:

  1. Scheduled raiding days and times
  2. Progression information
  3. Contact information
  4. Class openings

Tobold writes that these ads "do not mention people" and that these upper tier Guilds, such as the one I’m in, "don’t hire players, they hire avatars".

And he’s absolutely right.

Because those are the spots that we have available for raiding.

As a recruiting officer, I have no reason to mention that Carnage is looking for "friendly, intelligent, respectable players". Attributes like that are a given. As a student, when I browse job boards for part time openings, I never see companies advertise looking for "friendly, nice candidate with people skills" because it’s expected.


In this case, being available from Wednesday to Friday nights 8 PM – 12 PM server time is more important.


Because you can be the nicest and generous guy in the world. But if you can’t raid on our raiding days, then there’s is absolutely no point at all for us to bring you to our raids.

Am I being an ass with this kind of thinking? No, I’m being realistic. I’m saving time for both my Guild and for you, the player.

The Recruiting Process

In any case, the truth is, the recruiting process is much more refined and filtered than that. I obviously can’t speak for other Guild officers but I personally check out applicant’s as much as possible especially if they’re from another server. Cross server applicants are scrutinized as much as possible. Just like the actual job hunting process, if we find a player that we’re interested in that can handle the basic criteria of availability, class, and gear, then we have a brief interview with that player. I’ve been a carnie for about 3 years, so let’s just assume that I can tell what kind of a personality a player has 9 times out of 10. I like to conduct interviews over vent because their voice can tell me a lot of information that in game chat just can’t do.

Assuming they pass that stage, it’s not quite over yet.

They undergo a trial by fire where we assess their abilities in game. We’re not talking a couple of heroics or some PvP. In my Guild, our business is raiding. So if we want to evaluate a raider, we check them out in raids. What the hell’s the point of putting a recruit through a 5 man if we want to see how he is in a 25 man, right?

Image courtesy of BluStu

Accountability goes up

The release of Burning Crusade didn’t fix a lot of issues that plagued guilds during the vanilla era. Back then, there was a progression problem where it seemed only a select few of players could advance. For example, each boss in Molten Core dropped 2-3 items. Raids consisted of 40 players. Assuming you were able to pull off a full clear and that each player wanted to overhaul their gear with epics, this meant each player needed 8 pieces of loot. 40 players multiplied by 8 items is 320 items. As you can see, that’s a lot of gear that needs to be passed around and this is assuming that each boss drops the gear that players need. While it’s true that Burning Crusade did not fix problems of officers and leaders ricing themselves up and leaving, BC made it much easier to spread the loot around and progress Guild members at a steadier and more consistent rate.

By reducing the players required to raid, it increased the overall accountability of each player raiding. Each player has more responsibility and can be scrutinized even more. It allowed Guilds to be a lot more picky and for players to be more competitive. There’s a lot of hockey teams in the NHL but there’s only so many roster slots available. Raid size reduction made it easier for Guild Leaders to find players who fit the mentality of the Guild.

When I raid, I want players who work hard, are situationally aware, don’t waste time, and willing to spend gold to make themselves the best they can absolutely be. Going from 40 – 25 players means I don’t have to find 15 additional players who fit that criteria.

"Guilds do not recruit nice people and then train them how to raid."
– Tobold

I don’t think that’s true. I would rewrite that statement so that it says "Guilds do not recruit nice people and then train them how to play their class".

Raiding requires certain strategies to pull off because these bosses have their own gimmicks and abilities. It takes an insane amount of effort and coordination to kill these bosses. There is an expectation that you have gotten to 70 on your own and that you have done 5 mans on your own and that you virtually know the ins and outs of your class. New raiders that join Carnage are given an overview of the boss and what their role is.

It’s simple logic. If a player doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s going to wipe the raid. Wiping the raid is not in the best interests of the raid therefore we make every effort to explain the encounter in detail and what their role is whether its to sheep a certain target, or heal a certain player, or move in a certain direction every 30 seconds because the main tank has to move him around.

It’s a gigantic waste of time to pick up a freshman hunter whose still learning the basics of the game like how to trap and misdirect. It holds up 24 other players who want to progress and you’re going to find an impatient player or 5 in any raiding Guild. We pull players out of other raiding Guilds that have disbanded and such because they’ve been proven that they know what to do. While we don’t know that for sure exactly, a quick inspection of loot can tell many things. If a Priest has a Band of Eternity, then we know he was a part of an organization that took down Kael and Vashj which require 25 players to actively take part in. So he knows what the heck he’s doing.


Assuming a player isn’t nice, polite and helpful, then he’s out of the Guild. The fact is, Guilds spend anywhere from 9 – 20 hours a week working on bosses. If a player isn’t any 3 of those, why would we want to subject ourselves to 15 hours of playing with that individual? Again, at a job, if an employee is rude, unhelpful, and callous with employees, he’s going to be given the pink slip.

The onus is on the player to prove their asset to the Guild. And what does the raiding Guild do in return? We offer them a chance to raid and tackle the hardest encounters and challenges that this game has to offer.

In closing


Hopefully the insight I’ve offered will be of value to other players who wonder how and why these Guilds operate. I want to stress that my Guild is not hardcore in the sense of time. We don’t throw ourselves at bosses for 5 hours every week night. We set our standards and expectations abysmally high to weed out the freeloaders.

Building up Guild camaraderie and morale is not a problem here. When you’ve been working on a boss for 3 weeks straight with the same 25 – 28 group of people and he goes down, there’s an immense feeling of pride. Because guess what? You were part of a kickass team of 25 players that were able to coordinate their efforts in beating the hardest boss in the game.

And nothing can beat the euphoria that follows.

Unless you win the Superbowl.

6 thoughts on “A Response to Tobold: Another Guild Recruitment Perspective”

  1. Both you and Tobold bring up very interesting points, each from their own perspective. From your own perspective, you all are completely right.

    There is a hole in between the two arguments, however.

    Your argument assumes that players know how to play their class IN A GROUP before reaching raiding. Tobold states that Blizzard designed WoW so too many people get to 70 without playing IN A GROUP, and thus not knowing how to do so.

    Both points are absolutely and completely correct.

    So what happens? Players have to learn to play their class in a group on their own. They have to put in effort to either find a social group (most of the time a guild, but not always) that will teach them, or they have to do outside the game research to learn.

    To misquote an old maxim, “The teacher will emerge when the student is ready.”

    Honestly, forcing characters to group, as Tobold recommends, in order to level will make them more likely to be ready for “end game” things once they reach 70. It will be helpful for those who *want* to learn, but for various reasons have a difficult time “finding the teacher.” But it will not make everyone ready for it, as we know there are way too many idiots playing WoW.

    On the other hand, cherry picking characters who have proven raiding experience for your guild does, in fact, limit the long-term growth of your guild by essentially limiting the raiding pool on the server. It is the old “I need a job to get experience, but can’t get experience because I don’t have a job” quandry. BUT… the bottom line is that this is a time-limited past time for raiders, and they *do* have to maximize their time investment. If the population was stable, you could afford to go think more long term. But this is a relatively transient game and that makes it more difficult.

    So where is the answer? I certainly do not know. But that is why we are all here on blogs discussing the questions. So that the people at Blizzard who I pay to come up with these answers (and Blizzard is by far the best company at tapping into the community to make things better) will have an idea sparked by what we discuss.

  2. Totally true, man.

    It’s why the American Olympic basketball team has gotten their asses kicked every year, it’s why companies can’t succeed on the strengths of a single executive, and it’s why a solid team will always beat star performers.

    Everybody’s got to be good; but everybody’s also got to be a team player.

    Not in the “We only want xyz roles and xyz players”. You’ve got to be serious about being a team, and being a good team means you take the time to really get to know and trust everybody on your team.

    Great post, Matt. I think you really captured the essence of it.

  3. You forgot one thing at the core issue of every guild matt; when does skill and value override glaring issues with an individual?

    Keeping with a sports analogy, when an MVP in any sport does something wrong, he gets a pass. Hell he doesn’t even go to jail sometimes if it’s a broken law he committed.

    There is a sickening double standard that exists in organized sports, gaming, business, anything. It’s human nature to give leniency to the best.

    So my point being in relation to this discussion: Good or great WoW players don’t have to be nice, courteous, or helpful, by virtue of their skill.

    This can be seen in any highly progressed guild. Like Blue Moon, they have several complete asshats lead by king crap on turd island (daara) and he’ll never be kicked because he’s a fantastic player.

    I think it speaks to the character of the guild when these individuals who continually cross the line, but are great players, are kicked anyway. Those are the kind of guilds I’d want to be in and most people should recognize as the reason to be in a guild. Not phat lootz.


  4. TJ, I don’t believe Matt missed the core issue you are referring to. Matt said the following, “What separates Guilds from other Guilds is the reason why the Guild is formed in the first place.”

    Many raiding guilds are set up for the sole purpose of raiding. They could care less about friendships and the social aspect of WoW. They’ve all been playing long enough that they probably have friends in other guilds that they talk to and do the odd jobs with. Remember why a guild is set up and if that’s what they want to do, fine, more power to them.

    Although “phat lootz” isn’t what I play for, it sure is a nice goal that I try to attain on the way. It’s the reason why I haven’t joined a hardcore raiding guild although I’ve had several offers and why I’m still raiding Kara. I don’t want to be told what, how, and when I can do something. I have a job and I don’t want to make WoW my second one. That said we can’t and shouldn’t expect others to “recognize [that] as the reason to be in a guild.”

  5. I agree with Matt in that a raiding guild was formed with the intention on raiding and can choose players according to that basis. For the people in these guilds, that enhances their gaming experience, and really, we’re all playing this game for that goal: to have fun. People with Tobold’s outlook may prefer a more social aspect of WoW, and others, like Matt mentioned, may have the most fun progressing through game content. Whatever the case, players aren’t going to jeopardize their “gaming experience,” whether it means kicking out a person with a nasty personality, or keeping him because despite his attitude, he plays well and helps progression.

    In my opinion, I really don’t think that a guild needs to take on the responsibility of training anyone they don’t want to. It’s their time, their money, and the truth of the matter is, you just can’t take care of everyone. And beyond being polite and supportive, I don’t really think you should have to; World of Warcraft is time intensive enough (not to mention mentally, having to navigate through all the personalities in your guild) without wondering whether or not it’s right to reject that nub hunter from your guild because he never had the chance to learn to play in a group – All this is only imho, though. : )

    :[ and why do you put the Pats up and say such mean things like win the super bowl….. ;.; that was a sad night I’d rather not remember…


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