Recruitment. The word most Guild Masters/Officers dread hearing. Why? Well because of the sheer amount of work that comes with having to deal with recruitment as well as the frustration that arises because of it. Whenever a guild loses a person, it is usually a blow to the guild, unless no one liked the person who left in which case a party may be necessary to celebrate their departure. More often than not it isn't a party. For many guilds, when one person leaves the guild, the rest of the guild will have to work extra hard to make up for that person.
The majority of guilds are a house of cards. Each member being a card holding up another card holding up another card and so on, ultimately forming up a complete house. If you take one card away from anywhere in the house of cards, the other cards have to bear an uneven weight and the whole house may come crashing down. GM/Officers are tasked with maintaining the house and keeping it in order and stable. When one person leaves, they have to scramble to cover for that person, whether it's a raider, an RP'er, or PVP'er. The problem is that recruiting is a difficult and sometimes long process unless you get incredibly lucky and find a person right away. It seems that this expansion, recruitment has become more difficult. What am I basing this statement on? Well other than personal experience, there are other bloggers who have blogged about what a tough time they have been having with trying to find people for their guilds. Buckle up kids, because this is going to be a long block of rant that is hopefully tied together by a central topic. Of course knowing me...it'll just come off as random ramblings but if you're reading this than you clearly are ok with random randomness.
I run a casualcore 10 man guild. At our best we usually have enough people to run a 10 man raid but if someone isn't able to log on for a raid, we don't have a large list of replacements. If a guildee isn't available as a replacement, we either pug a person or don't raid. More often then not we will pull in someone's friend and absolute worst case scenario, I check out trade chat on our server and see if I can find us a semi competent person to raid with. Well it's just one person who missed one raid, why should you get all upset about it, you ask. Well one person missing a raid isn't the end of the world for us. It's when we have several people who stop showing up to raids that we run into trouble. When our raid drops below eight guildees and we are no longer running in a guild group, I see a problem. Well why don't I just recruit more people to the guild so we don't have that problem?
Well therein lies the problem. Finding one or two people to replace the people who have stopped logging on is easier said than done. My guild has two strikes against it right off the bat. First, we are on a PVP server and second we are a low population server. Those two things keep many people from wanting to transfer to our server to raid with us so recruiting from off-realm is difficult. We are therefore left with recruiting from our server. With a low population server, there is bound to be an imbalance to faction population and sadly the Horde is the dominant faction which reduces our pool of possible applicants even further. With the summer upon us, people seem to want to go outside and do other activities other then play WoW which reduces the amount of people playing. Blasphemous words, I know.
What options are left to me when it comes to filling my raid/guild?
Well we do pug people into our raids and we've made some connections with good players who want to raid but have no interest in leaving their current guild, which at least allows us to pull people into raids. When we raid and are looking for a person to fill a slot and none of those people are available...I die a little inside. I turn to trade chat. Trade chat has been kind and horrible to us when we have to fill a raid. Sometimes we get whispered from a nice person who is knowledgeable, has gear that is gemmed/enchanted/reforged, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the raid work; Sometimes we get whispers from people who are (1) wearing all ungemmed/unenchanted pvp gear, (2) are badly spec'ed, and (3) don't speak/type English so much as vomit out random letters that barely make a horrible IQ reducing sentence. I think we have all run across these people in randoms and just sighed, shaken our head in pity, and hoped we wouldn't have to carry them too much. There have been nights where the only whispers I received were from this type of person. It made me start drinking...well I was already drinking but it made me drink more a lot quicker.
Announce in Trade chat that we are recruiting
I do this whenever I am in a major city and there isn't a wave of gold sellers or obnoxious troll spammers hitting trade. Of course as soon as I hit my recruitment macro, waves of other guilds do their recruitment messages and bury my message. I don't do this as often as I would like as I don't want my message to be seen as spam by hopeful recruits. I am wary of this and if I'm in a main city I'll give it a few minutes before I hit the message macro again. Now I have gotten a few hits from interested people when I do this but sadly most of them just want an automatic guild invite and when I tell them that they have to fill out an application on our site they are put off. I guess they see applications are pointless and not worth their time. I see our application as the first step to proving that you belong in my guild. If you can't be bothered to fill out a quick application, which is a simple cut and paste of the template into a new thread and doesn't require you to register on the forum, then you clearly have no interest in being a part of the guild.
Why bother having people apply to join the guild? Well because I've seen what happens when you have a mass invite type of guild. You end up with all sorts of people in your guild that may not mesh with everyone else as well as people that will give your guild a bad name on the server. My guild just celebrated our fifth anniversary last month and in that five years I've seen a lot of mass invite type guilds come and go. Some were huge and did decent in PVE/PVP but inevitably they all crashed and burned because they invited anyone and everyone who wanted to join them. When you do that, you are asking for trouble as some of those people just want to join a guild and cause trouble. Some folks want to join a guild only to further themselves and will do nothing to contribute to the wellbeing of the guild and when you have enough of those people in a guild it will explode. I would prefer that this NOT happen to my guild so I will keep my application process the same that it's been since I started it.
We are not the biggest or most progressed guild on our server so my message in trade doesn't hold as much weight with some people compared to a recruitment message from the top alliance guild on the server. All I can say in my message is that we are stable, not morons, and value people for how they act then how great they are at the game and hope that I get a response from at least one person.
Use the ingame Looking For Guild tool
I listed my guild the first day that I could...and it was very buggy then as it unlisted the guild every time that I logged off my mage, who is the GM. So my guild had to be listed every single time I logged on. Eventually this was fixed and my guild has been listed on the LFGuild listing for the server. I have gotten a few interested people who click that they want to apply to the guild and maybe 2 of them have actually gone through the process and joined the guild. Most of the people just click to join the guild and then either stop logging on or log on for brief periods of time so I can't whisper them and ask them please apply on our site, even though it says to apply on our site in our description. I get the feeling that the people who apply to join guilds through the LFGuild tool just apply to numerous guilds and hope that at least one of them invites them in with little to no hassle. I appreciate the thought and effort the Developers put into adding the LFGuild tool but it just isn't that useful, at least to me anyway.
I can sit around and just cancel the raid. This one is unacceptable. I have had to do this on occasion when I've spent almost two hours trying to fill the raid and I really hate to do this. It kills me to do it. Sad Jed is Sad.
Use the recruitment forums/official forums
I've done this and had no luck at all. People say they want a casual guild or a raiding guild but they don't want to move to a low pop server to join a guild. Also the official WoW forums are horrible for posting a recruitment thread as everyone and their mother is also posting there and your message gets lost in a wave of people bumping their posts to keep them on the first page.
Hope Blizzard decides to take Cross Realm Real ID grouping a step further
This one is a pipe dream but man would it be great if they expanded on the real ID grouping to include raids. If I was short something for a raid, I could turn to my real ID friends list and see if anyone was available! This would make things much easier for me but I very much doubt that it will happen.
I am sure that there are other alternatives open to me but if I kept listing stuff this post would turn into a super long wall of text as opposed to the large wall of text it currently is.
What will I do?
All in all I will keep on keeping on when it comes to raiding because that's the kind of guy that I am. I'm a stubborn bastard who refuses to admit defeat! I'll get my guild into raids and down bosses if I have to start multiboxing characters to fill raids! Recruitment frustrates me but I love my guild and its just one thing I have to do to make sure my guild continues. I'll pug, and friend people, and call in favors, and promise carnal pleasures but damn it, we will go on! Or maybe I'll break and go insane and proceed to go on a mass wedgie spree! I know that this post started out a little like a whiny/emo qq post but I have had these thoughts just bouncing around in my head and I needed to get them out. Recruitment is tough right now for many people and I am sure there are at least a few people who are in the same boat as I am.