The Difference Between Recruiting On Server and Off Server


Mages. They used to be a dime a dozen. Our second highest level Mage is Stop (clocking in at a health level 4!)

There’s generally two places to recruit players from:

  • On server: This is the typical route most guilds will go through.
  • Off server: A little tougher and a little rarer. Players that transfer are generally a good breed.

I’ve delegated Sydera to the role of recruiting off server. So far, she’s done an excellent job scouting out players and prospects. She’s a lot more familiar with the process and the effort required with offserver players. When guilds recruit off server, it’s a big decision on the part of both the guild and the prospect. Server transfers aren’t free (usually) and it involves a big commitment. The process of speaking to a prospect and then transferring to join a guild could take days or even weeks at a time. But Syd has a good idea of knowing what I want and how to convey it. She represents the guild well in this regard. As a GM, I have to make sure that prospects know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. Things like my expectations, the way loot’s handled, raid times and so forth have to be said and sometimes repeated.

The worst feeling in the world is for a player to come over here only to find out this isn’t what they were looking for. That’s why I prefer vent interviews instead of in game. You can learn a lot about a person from the way they speak and their tone of voice. All our key indicators.

Coincidentally, most of the off server players who have applied read the blog. Go figure.

With regards to the on server recruits, my process isn’t as detailed or thorough. A simple trade chat macro with your guild, what your guild wants to do, raid days and times, along with classes preferred is generally a solid way to go. This way, players get all the basic information. The ones that are interested will message you for more details. The ones that aren’t interested won’t and you’ll end up not wasting time. I like to give players the option to come on vent if they want to discuss the guild more if they have any questions. I think it’s a good way to establish a dialog with them.

After that, I let them know that they’re a trial and they’ll be evaluated in the weeks ahead when we start raiding. Everyone’s performance will be analyzed and compared to see if anything can be tweaked or adjusted. It’ll continue to be an ongoing process. As much as I hate doing it, I’m going to have to make cuts in the future. I’m not sure if there’s a single GM out there that actually enjoys making cuts from their guild. It’s a dirty job but it has to be done at times.

But first thing’s first, I need to recruit.

The difference? One takes a lot more time and energy to invest in and has the possibility of not working out.

There’s enough of us at 80 now to step into Naxx and OS 10. We’ll be making a run on Saturday. The Monday following, I’m going to try and run a Naxx or OS 25 pickup group. There’s a smattering of guilds out there who have 80s but not enough in their own guild to run a 25 in house just yet. My goal is to work with a few of their players and my players and just get our feet wet so that everyone can benefit from the experience. I’m not sure if this is what Lume had in mind when he mentioned that a “GM should establish themselves and become a visual figure”.

Either way, it is a start. And it’s either going to work or fail horribly. We’ll find out!

Now, if I were a guildless Mage, where would I be…?

10 thoughts on “The Difference Between Recruiting On Server and Off Server”

  1. Nice post. I was charged with recruitment for the Late Night Team (LNT) of our last guild. I recruited both on our server and on others. Generally I felt because we were looking for people who could raid from 1am EST to 6am EST that I could post on other realm forums without too much backlash. I was wrong. Servers were not friendly about seeking people from their realm, even if it was at oddball hours. However I did end up with 13 awesome players from my efforts. Like you, we did vent interviews, and they rolled level 1 alts for two days to see how guild chat, runs, and whatnot functioned, before moving.

    Overall, I love this post. It will surely help those who are in need of a few more.

    AltoholicsAreUss last blog post..Moments of Asshattery

  2. Thank you for your article I am the recruitment officer for my guild (Aussie players that raid 3 days a week max) and have found your information to be quite good. Such that it is honest and to the point, I don’t have much time for waffles.

    Being a priest and the guild heal leader I have found a lot of your other articles quite informative as well. I am aspiring to be an expert in my role and also bring up my knowledge base of other heal classes that I haven’t played in the past.

  3. Good article.

    Off server recruitment though is a bit of a sore subject with me. Sadly, I just found in BC that many of the folks I ran into were much more mercenary than I like and didn’t really make an effort to enjoy or add to the culture.

    They can be used, but as you stated it is much more rigorous screening process (on both sides). You need to make sure they know all the things that could be an issue such as loot policy and raid invite priority. And, yes, a vent screen has to happen.

  4. I disagree about recruiting server transfers and think you should only do them if you absolutely have to. (for example if you have an unusual raid window).

    Pros: Wider recruit base

    Cons: You have no idea what you are getting into, a couple of conversations with someone is no substitution for being able to raid with them. You have no idea what their server reputation is (they could be a perpetual trade chat troll that will make your guild look bad, for example. They could be prone to the kind of interpersonal melodrama that makes it to wowinsider) They might be a guild vault ninja. You have no one you trust that can vouch for them.

    What about their actual raid performance? Well, you could use wow web stats, but the reduced availability of the free services has made this less and less useful for applications (because they are removed within two weeks of posting, if I remember correctly). More problematic is that they’ve made a bigger commitment to you than an on server recruit, even if their performance is subpar you might keep them on out of guilt that you convinced this person to move servers, ditchign them would be cruel.

    This is a social game, and they are willing to uproot their whole social wow lives and leave all their friends, for you, who they only know through an application process? This fact should make you nervous. Perhaps they have no friends despite playing the game 40 hours a week for the last three years. If thats the case you should be very nervous about introducing this person into your guild.

    I did recruitment for an early tier 6 guild on a great server this summer. Our problem wasnt’ that we lost our healers to other guilds, we just had several players go casual and thus developed an intense healer shortage almost over night. The amount of raiders on the server really decreased over the summer, but the amount of raiding guilds (being less elastic), didnt.

    This meant that every guild above us in raiding (there were I believe 15… Mannoroth is the top US raid server right now actually) was recruiting healers, so everyone in any kind of gear was being seduced by their progression, leaving us with a choice of gearing up a lot of people in kara gear or recruiting off server. We did a little of both.

    My story is about an applicant that had just server transferred with his friend from another server. He was a holy priest in full Tier 6 (he should have been apping to a sunwell guild with that gear) and something about “following his hunter friend” to our server didn’t make sense (they came from a vibrant server, Magtheridon, which doubled my suspicions). When asked for an officer reference (not something we normally do, but his story sounded wrong) he said “any officer in Guild X”.

    I made an alt on his old server to track down such an officer. He told me the priest had only been in his guild for three days, raided once. He said he wasn’t really fantastic, but not terrible either, and he’d been disappointed to lose a healing recruit (they were having our same no healer problem) to a middle of the night server transfer. He told me the name of the guys previous guild, Guild Y. I talked to the GM of Guild Y, and he told me that the toon had been sold “two weeks ago” by a dear IRL friend of his that was giving up the game, that it had been sold to a friend of the hunter.

    By his own declaration (I talked to the priest afterwards just to see what he’d say, not about the allegations, just to see how much he would lie to me) this priest had no other 70s (or 60s), so that means he spent hundreds of dollars on a raiding toon when he’d never raided!.

    I mostly just shared the story because I enjoyed being Nancy Drew for a day, but it serves as a good cautionary tale.


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