I’ve just joined the Blog Azeroth (http://www.blogazeroth.com/) community, and have decided to jump on the shared topic train. Now, Winter Veil isn’t a big holiday for me, as I’m fairly well-off goldwise, with my far-too-many crafting alts pulling in several thousand each per day. I’ve actually spent silly amounts lately buying things like Brawler Guild invites and Vial of the Sands for pals.

However, there *IS* something I want Father Winter to bring me: fresh blood. As ruthless as that sounds, it’s not REALLY that violent. Well…it kinda is. See, I want more people to HELP ME KILL THINGS. My guild was formed at the end of Cata, and we’ve been slowly recruiting in new members, but we still have to struggle to build a full raid team some nights – and our eventual goal is 25 man raiding, so we have a ways to go to get there!

Now, while I’d love for a nice box o’ guildies to just appear in my mail, it seems that the more reasonable answer is for our recruiting to keep on keeping on. Thinking about this, I’ve pinpointed some tips from my MUDding days that carry over well to general game recruitment.

Now, from MUDs, one key thing I have noticed is that there are three main types of potential new members: 1) newbies, 2) hoppers and 3) atmospherists.

Newbies is pretty self-explanatory. These members are people who are generally new to the game itself. They are looking for their first guild and home. Some guilds don’t even want to bother with this sort of player, but if you have ANY sort of casual community, these members can turn out to be amazing diamonds in the rough. They may be new to WoW, but super experienced old hands from EverQuest, or they might be someone who’s always done solo-play and wants to give raiding a try. One of our highest DPS is technically a “newbie” in that he’s NEVER raided before…but he’s supremely competent and driven to gear himself up, and it’s clear that as a player, he’s very good. Back in MUDs, the userbase was far more limited, so us Guildmasters would actually actively hunt down people like these and poach them for our guilds, as they can end up being some of your strongest members down the line. In MMOs, obviously the playerbase is much larger and it’s harder to pinpoint who’s new or potentially looking, but you’d be surprised at the number of players you can recruit just from being social in random groups. I’ve snagged at least half a dozen awesome members (who became solid raiders/RBGers or just great pals) just by questing with random people, chatting about guilds during dungeon runs, or noticing people I keep ending up in battleground queues with. Now, with all that said, I’d advise AGAINST bringing in newer players if you are a hardcore guild with little casual/non-raid activity, as this type of environment won’t be fun for newer/non level-capped players and they will feel lonely.

Someday, this troll will be a Gladiator. You never know...

Someday, this troll will be a Gladiator. You never know…

Next we have hoppers. In MUDs, many times class skills are actually gated behind guild membership, so a large chunk of guild membership is based around who wants to play what class. You get a lot of new blood in your guild based around your class itself. I actually got a decent chunk of people interested in my guilds often just because I made the class LOOK AWESOME, either by going on a PvP rampage or pulling off a huge big steal (when I was a theif). In MMOs, this is obviously not the same, but there are similarities. Instead of class, think about what your guild is. Are you a social guild? PvP? If you raid, is there something that makes you stand out, like late night or weekend hours?

In my guild’s case, I realized last week that we offer a really unique opportunity for those who haven’t raided before: we DO NOT require past raid experience and we use a rotation system every hour/boss kill, to ensure that EVERYONE who shows up gets to participate. At the end of the night, the top performers stay in for final attempts against whichever boss we’re on, to ensure progression. We also run a SECOND raid with more strict requirements, over in Heart of Fear. The end result is that we are casual and newbie-friendly but also making decent progression, which is an awesome little niche! Thing is, we weren’t really playing that up until last week, when I went “Duh!” and started promoting that aspect…and we’ve gotten several new people already from that change in recruitment. Find out what type of “spin” you can put on your guild advertisement to highlight what makes you special – it will help you stand out AND ensure that new members know exactly what they are getting into…which means they will be a better fit when they join. Remember, there are a ton of generic “raiding” guilds – find what makes yours special and you’ll get people interested in trying out your flavor of it.

ALL BEARS ALL THE TIME is a perfectly legitimate guild niche.

ALL BEARS ALL THE TIME is a perfectly legitimate guild niche.

Now, atmospherists. This is a term I use to refer to people who like to focus on the social or roleplay aspects of the game. They aren’t too pick about what the guild’s focus is, but instead are looking for a good atmosphere. Lively activity is the big draw for them. A great way to get members like this – and make no mistake, these members are super important to have, as they bolster your ranks and make gametime more fun for everyone! – is to just DO STUFF. Not only do stuff, but be vocal about what you are doing. For a roleplay guild, share logs, be that on a guild website or realm forums. In MUDs, I’d post logs ALL THE TIME of guild events, and it made our numbers swell; people saw that we had active roleplay and community and they flocked to the guild. Yes, you might get some trolls or bitter people posting in reply out of jealousy or irritation (especially if you post a bunch), but you’ll get a ton of great members, which more than outweighs the negative remarks.

Another great (and easy) way to highlight what your guild is up to is to include a photo gallery and/or news feed on your guild’s site. Set permissions to allow any visitor to see this stuff, and people can browse through and check out old events (and silly hijinks!) with the click of a button.

All events are better with leper gnomes, amirite?

All events are better with leper gnomes, amirite?

You can also advertise your guild’s atmosphere just by bumping your own recruitment thread with descriptions of what you’ve been up to as a guild. “Bump” is a horridly boring reply (and technically against forum rules), but you are absolutely able to update your recruitment threads with information about what your guild’s been up to. You can also encourage other members to reply in the thread, either about their experiences or to engage in banter (all of which serve to help keep your thread updated and visible).

Holding realm events is another awesome way to meet new people for your guild. Host some old content runs, a world PvP event, or a fun contest like a transmog fashion show or a pet battle tournament. In MUDs, I’d hold quiz nights or roleplay talent shows, while in WoW you can consider something like a big Gurubashi arena brawl. All of these things get your name out there and invite others to experience what it’s like to hang out with your members!

So! Those are some ideas to boost recruitment, while also ensuring that you are getting the right TYPE of people for what your guild is. Writing this has actually helped me flesh out some ideas that were floating in the back of my mind, so I’m off to work on some more recruitment things…and here’s hoping Father Winter brings me a ton of great new members!

Edit: here is my guild’s link!