Archive for Guilds

Guilds 103: Trial, Objection, Irrelevant!

Posted in Guides, PvP, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest, Theory with tags , on May 25, 2010 by Natarumah

You have succesfully passed any application forms, made your way through an interview and/or trial run with your new guild, and have been accepted as a trialist. This stage is usually found only in Raiding and PvP guilds, and it is a time of anxiety for more than a few people. I know from experience that the first few days can be a bit unsure, as you know few people and a lot is expected of you.

What is a trialist?

A trialist is a new member who has not achieved the full “member” status in a guild. Usually this is done to gauge your performance and how you act in the guild. Not unlike the trial period in real-life work contracts, it allows both parties to say goodbye to each other if things don’t turn out the way that was expected.

Trialists usually have a more strict requirement on signing up for raids or PvP battles, in order to be able to see what they can do. Likewise, they have a more restricted access to the guild bank (to prevent people who came in just to swipe the GB from having their way).

What can I do as trialist?

The simplest answer to this is to be yourself.

There’s nothing to be gained from being especially nice, since doing this will only lead to raised eyebrows once you show your true colors, after you became a member. It also does not allow for the guild to accept you as you really are, which is the core of being in a guild in the first place.

It is important, however, to participate in guild activities. Don’t be shy and join their heroic runs, random raids, and spontaneous Wintergrasp events. If none are happening, try to get one going if you like. This shows your interest, and is a good way to get to know your fellow guildies.

For raids, it is good to be on time and prepared, as usual. It is even more important because you will be watched, and being “the new guy who keeps standing in fires and mooching flasks” is not a great way to leave an impression. Do your best, but if things do go wrong, don’t go on the defensive too much. Raids and Arenas are all about synergy, and it takes a bit of time to get in the same flow as the rest. Be patient, accept honest criticism, and remain yourself at all times.

Mentors

Some guilds place you under the wing of a mentor, usually a more experienced member of your class and often the class leader. This person’s role is to explain you any things that are guild-specific, or special tactics used by the guild. He also monitors your skill, and will give pointers and advice where needed. In turn, you can always turn to this person for help if you need it.

This helps to make sure that your questions are answered by someone who’s “in the know”, and that you get a quick answer to any questions. Remember to also ask about anything you are unsure of, or which confuses you. Knowledge is power, and being quick on the uptake and willing to learn endears you with the rest of your team.

What is that irrelevance thing in the title?

It’s about gear and experience, to be honest. As an example, when I joined Unity I had Naxx gear and experience but joined an Ulduar progression community. I was there when Unity had their first kills on the watchers, even though I was lagging behind in DPS and had never seen the fights before. I had only read about them and watched a few videos.

Key here is that if you can follow commands, be as prepared as you can be, and stay out of the fire, you will do fine. Don’t be nervous when your performance seems lower than that of the rest at first (they often have more gear and experience with the fights) because the people who will judging your performance will keep this into account if they are fair.

This also goes in reverse: your gear and experience are irrelevant if you don’t make use of it. Being underperforming even though you claim to have a lot of experience (and have good gear for the instance/arenas) will mean you will have a hard time convincing the guild that you are an asset, no matter how nice you are.

Welcome to the club

After some time, usually a month or in some cases up to three months, you will be promoted to a full member. This means you have earned the guild’s trust, that your performance is adequate, and that you are now part of the team. Good job!

Now is the time to continue on as you’ve been doing, and not slack because you “made it”. If you were being yourself throughout the trial period, this shouldn’t be too hard. Just remember to talk to your class/raid/guild leader if you have any issues, avoid making conflicts worse (there will always be a conflict somewhere, it’s Human nature) and have a good time!

Of course, there’s always the chance that during the trial period you will be asked to leave. It could be your performance, not meshing with the team, or you might have actually been naughty and broken a rule or two. Take it with pride, and don’t start making a fuss about it. Thank the people involved for their effort, and start your search again for a guild to fit in with. The same goes if you feel the guild is not your place to be, be honest and open about it, and it will cause the least amount of friction on either side.

Guilds 102: A job like any other

Posted in Guides, PvP, Raids and Instances, Theory with tags , on May 19, 2010 by Natarumah

Guilds that lean heavily on group activity and success (such as raiding and PvP guilds) rely on a system of requirements and trials to make sure that those who join their team have the skill and experience required to contribute to their success, rather than depriving it.

When you seek to join a guild like this, there are a few hurdles to take, and sometimes things you will have to do or achieve in order to make it in. This post takes a closer look at some of these hurdles, and how to overcome them.

Guild Requirements and Manifesto

Guilds who advertise on trade or the realm forum for members usually include their website. This has a few reasons besides showing to the public what they have achieved. It also allows for them to explain their rules and expectations to prospective members before they seek to apply, meaning less administration.

Usually called “raiding requirements”, “about us” or “what we expect of you”, these kinds of posts explain to you beforehand what the guild expects of you in terms of experience, conduct and gear. It usually also details if there are any required programs or addons (like DBM, Proximo or Ventrilo) you will need, what times the raids will be run, as well as an overview of their loot system.

Go over this information carefully, make sure you understand it and can agree with it. Nothing hurts you and your credibility more than applying without knowing the rules, arguing about the rules with the guild management, or breaking these rules after reaching member status. It may sound simple, but many applicants never read it, and proceed to make a fool out of themselves.

Application

Applications are like applying for a job interview, and you have to make the most out of it. That’s also why WoWinsider, HDO, and Hots&Dots all supply great tips when filling in your application, with a view from both sides of the fence.

Is it really that important?

Well, if you make an application with spelling errors, l33t speak, rants or even blatant lies you are not likely to be accepted. But you will also lose credibility with the people who read your application (at least guild members, but many guilds’ application area is public) and may get called out on the forums.

Like with the news, good news you never hear of but bad news makes the front page. Don’t be bad news.

This is also a great opportunity to ask questions. If something’s not clear in the guild charter or raiding requirements, ask it. This does not only give you the information you need, it also shows you pay attention and have read them. I know guilds who place a grievous, terrible sentence in the middle of their guild charter, and ask in the application form whether they have read the charter. Everyone says yes, but when that particular error comes up, they draw a blank.

The Interview

Usually when your application appeals to people, you will be contacted by an officer or class leader of said guild to have a chat. This could be through email, ventrilo or in-game, it matters little for the actual content. This is where the people of your prospective guild try and get a measure of you, how you think and what kind of person you are. Not only to filter out the lolbois, GBthieves and Recount/loot whores, but also because when you join a cooperative team effort like raiding or PvP you have to work as a team, and having an incompatible or disruptive person in the team can spell danger for the continued existence of the guild.

Think I am kidding?

Guilds have fallen because of minor arguments, single loot incidents or differences in philosophy. It takes an alert and diplomatic team of officers to successfully run a guild, it’s really a work of art to see it in motion. People have arguments, or differences of opinion, which is quite alright. But when people start holding grudges, fail to communicate or start cutting the guild up in cliques, it becomes an uphill battle. It has happened before, and it will happen again.

What does this mean?

Raiders and PvP guilds are not just looking at your achievements, gear and Arena Rating. They want to know whether you will mesh in with the team they already have. This is why your reputation is quite important, as a bad rep makes it harder and harder to get into the guilds you want. If an officer has to make a choice between you and the team, you will have to go (or at least, won’t be coming in).

Likewise, this is the chance for you speak of what you like, and what you wish to achieve. Purposeful guilds require motivated, hungry people to gain greater success, and members who are motivated to achieve what they want are worth their weight in gold.

It is also the chance to determine for yourself whether you would mesh in with the guild, and can be happy playing and raiding or PvPing with these people. Don’t feel bad if you decide that the guild does not happen to be what you were looking for, or feel pressured to join anyway. Simply state your decision in a polite and respectful manner, and there will be no hard feelings. You are then free to move on in search of what you look for, while the guild has avoided unnecessary drama down the line.

For those who do decide to join, remember that there is always the trial period to confirm whether this is the place for you.

Conclusion

Make sure your application is correct and well-written. Have it proof-read by a friend, or leave it for a day or two and then read it to yourself again. Be polite, but firm about what you want, and make sure you will mesh with the guild you wish to join. Remember that your reputation precedes you, and that if you’ve done bad things, people will have heard. Do not ever lie when applying or in an interview – you will be declined and your reputation will be all the worse for it.

Next post will be about Trial runs and the period as a trialist in a competitive guild.

Guilds 101: Foundation and types

Posted in Guides, PvP, Raids and Instances, Theory with tags , on May 18, 2010 by Natarumah

Many people in World of Warcraft join guilds, and often without actually having knowledge of what a guild actually is, or what this means to them. Common reasons for wanting a guild is because people wish to be involved in a social group, want to achieve goals parallel to a guild’s goals, or because having a guild tag above your head makes you more respected.

A lot also choose to remain unguilded, sometimes because they are intimidated by the idea of being part of a guild, or out of anxiety of interacting with people they don’t know. I decided to dedicate a few posts on guilds and guild matters. For additional advice on building and maintaining a guild and resolving dilemmas and conflicts, I refer to the excellent guides over at World of Matticus.

What is a guild?

A guild is a group of people with common goals who gather together, sharing a single guild name, under the leadership of a single Guild Leader. The Guild Leader often has trusted people who assist in keeping the guild running smoothly, called Officers.

How to join a guild

Guild invites can be done by the Guild Leader, and anyone who has been given invitation rights by the Guild Lader, often the officers. Joining one can be simple or complicated, depending on the type of guild you wish to join. Raiding and Roleplaying guilds are typified by stringent entry requirements and interviews, with an invite after successfully passing this stage. Other guilds invite anyone who wishes to join.

Finding information on guilds on your server is usually very easy. The realm forums generally have messages or stickied posts detailing the various guilds that are open to recruiting, while the guild recruitment and trade channels are usually full of people spamming recruitment messages, detailing the kind of guild they represent and what they are looking for in players.

Guild types

There are many kinds of guilds, catering to the different needs of their members. Make sure that you join a guild that has common goals with what you like to do ingame, or you might face serious disappointment later on.

Social Guild
A social guild is primarily centered around hanging out together and being friends. While they can PvP, raid or run heroics, the focus of the group as a whole is enjoying their time together. Usually such guilds don’t advertize much, relying on people to bring in people they have met and whom they enjoyed playing with. You will find many people in these guilds are groups of real-life friends as well.

A subtype of this kind of guilds is the National guild, which functions the same way but restricts who can join based on their nationality/language. This happens most often on English EU realms, where people from France, the Netherlands and certain Scandinavian or Balkan countries band together so they can speak their native language in /guild. I imagine that on US servers something similar would happen with Spanish-speaking guilds.

Raiding Guild
One of the most famous kinds of guilds is the Raiding Guild, focusing on doing content at the highest level available. Some focus on 10- or 25man specifically, while others will raid both. Expect this kind of guild to put some demands on your gear and quality of play, as well as requirements on attending raids, learning tactics and having signup and loot distribution systems.

PvP Guild
These guilds focus on Battlegrounds, Arenas, raiding enemy capital cities and/or world PvP combat. Gear requirements here will be present, but skill is generally counted higher. Like raiding guilds, there will most likely be an interview and some sort of test in a PvP environment to gauge your skill. Depending on the leadership, this guild could be a competitive hierarchy or a helpful group of PvP specialists.

Leveling Guild
These guilds are always in flux, as they consist of characters of all level ranges assisting each other with dungeons and quests, or questing together in areas. Most people who join such guilds linger some time after reaching 80, but most often will “graduate” to one of the other guild types soon after.

Roleplaying Guild
On RP servers, you will find many of these guilds, usually arranged around a common theme. Such themes may include playing a group of Scarlet Convertors, a band of thieves or guardsmen, a clan of Magi or an order of Paladins. If you have a character that matches the guild’s story and you enjoy RP, joining a guild like this can be a great experience. Note that most of these guilds require you to have at least some knowledge on roleplaying, and willingness to stay in character. Invites are usually out-of-character, but interviews and any form of initiation or promotion in the guild will most likely be in-character.

Banking Guilds
A specific kind of guild usually run by one or a handful of players to take advantage of extra bank space offered by having a guild bank. These guilds normally do not have invitations, and usually provide no service other than storage. The reason I include it here is mainly because many people like the guild name and ask to join, and then are insulted that they are replied with “this is a banking guild, we do not invite”.

Conclusion

Know you know what kinds of guilds there are, try and see what kind of guild fits best with your way of playing the game. Check the realm forums and friends you have online what guilds there are within that category, and see if (and how) they are recruiting new players.

Next post will discuss applying to a guild with entry requirements (such as Raiding or PvP guilds) and a rough overview of a guild’s social dynamics. I will also make a comparison with similar games who have guild structures, and try and point out the differences (positive and negative) compared to World of Warcraft.

Any questions, ponderings and feedback are greatly appreciated to increase the quality of this post, and flesh out what is yet to come!

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