“Selling yourself” works two ways ..

Alternative Chat made a blog post recently that was a bit of a departure from her usual posts, in that it was a request for readers to “sell” their guilds to her, in the hope that she would join them.

Which is fine, but I did wonder if perhaps she was selling herself short in the process (or perhaps failing to sell herself properly!).

When you’re looking for a guild, you’re basically looking for a new home whilst you’re in-game – people will spend hours playing and the guild you’re in, the people you interact with, can make a huge difference to how you perceive and enjoy – or not – the game itself.

In order to find a guild that enhances your gaming experience, you need to find one that “matches” your personality and play style.  There is really no point being in a casual guild that fishes for fun if your passion is PvP or raiding.

One thing that didn’t sit right with me on that post was firstly the overall feel that she felt she would be a “catch” for any guild – that guilds should be falling over themselves to have her join them.  Yet she said virtually nothing about what sort of guild she was looking for.

So take note … guild leaders and those recruiting for guilds are, usually, not just looking for warm bodies to fill the guild – they’re looking for people who have the same general outlook and enjoy similar things to current guild members; the same approach to the game.  And to ascertain this, they need information from the potential recruit.  A little bit about your real-life situation, how it may affect your time in game, whether you’re a focussed individual who has specific goals in-game or is just happy to dabble in various aspects; what times you normally play and how regularly; if you want to join in events, what days/times you’d be available.

The other thing that would ring alarm bells with a recruiter are saying things like “I’m in a dead guild, and it’s my fault”, “I don’t make friends easily” and “I have a L100 character who’s gear isn’t useless”.

The fact that there is also a proviso to her joining any guild, that she will write blog posts about it too, would also be off-putting for many.  I’ve seen her posts and, although they’re entertaining and often to the point, they’re also often a bit on the negative side.  Which I understand in a way – after all, people more often tend to write about things that annoys them, than stuff that doesn’t – and that type of post is more likely to gets responses. So the assumption is that the majority of blog posts regarding any guild she joined would be negative – and very few people enjoy bad press.

So I’m hoping Ms. Chat finds somewhere to hang her WoW hat and call home – somewhere she is comfortable, can let her hair down and be herself, with people who can accept what she is and what she has to offer (whatever that may be).

For others considering looking for a (new) guild, I’d say the following:

Be honest with yourself first and foremost.  Know what you want, what you enjoy and what sort of guild will suit that.  If you cannot work that out, you’re going to be exceedingly lucky to find a suitable guild straight away – and the more you “hop” from guild to guild, the less attractive as a guild member you’re going to be.

I do the majority of the recruitment for our guild and the first thing I’m looking for is an open and honest application.  Sometimes I can simply tell, from the amount and content on the application, if people are going to fit with us.  There is a specific demographic that has a much higher chance of “fitting” with us.  That’s not to say that those outside of the demographic will not fit .. but just that there is less likelihood.  And that’s not saying anything negative about them – it says something about us.

I’ve found that a much higher proportion of younger applicants tend to lie or mislead on their application forms – either by omission, misunderstanding or simply because they think the information being asked for is irrelevant.

A lot of questions we ask during the application process are solely to understand the person applying (and we always base our decisions on how we feel an individual will fit in .. it’s nothing to do with the character you join with – the character does not interact with others, it’s the person behind the character that does that).  One way we understand people is by doing an honesty check .. if you can’t be honest on your application, when you’re supposed to be showing yourself off in the best light, then you’re not going to be honest in the guild.

Now .. I’m not expecting anyone to come online and blurt out everything that happened that day, or tell everyone their deepest darkest secrets.  I’m just checking to make sure people are able to be honest WHEN IT COUNTS.  For example when we organise raids, we expect people to self monitor and be honest if they muck up – it’s much easier (and causes less drama) if we know why a wipe, for example, happened – because then we can work on it, try alternatives, try to avoid it happening again.  If there is a disagreement in guild, that people can be honest with themselves and each other – dishonesty leads to exacerbation of problems and drama – which we don’t like.

Once the honesty hurdle has been overcome, it is simply a matter of assessing if the person applying would fit.

Sometimes it’s an obvious rejection – we’ve had people apply from the wrong realm or faction (with no intention of moving), we’ve had people applying who are looking for a raiding environment we’re unable to provide – we’ve even had one person apply to join for a completely different GAME!  Other than the fact that quite obviously these people had not researched us properly before applying (and the first page of our website would provide all of the information these people needed to realise we were NOT the place for them), of course they were rejected because we were the wrong place for them.

Other times decisions take longer .. during which time I research their previous guilds, what sort of guild environment they were used to; their achievements – what they enjoy doing in-game and, sometimes, speak to previous guilds to find out more.

So all of that is worth bearing in mind.  Not all guilds will go to that trouble – some will do no research, some will do more – some will require voice chat interviews and “trials” before they will accept you.

This leads me to the second thing you should be doing if you’re looking for a new guild: research.

Once you have established what you want out of the game, what you have to offer, and what you’re looking for – you need to research guilds.  Don’t just accept the first offer that comes your way in trade chat – do a bit of homework.  It will save you time, effort and possibly upset in the long run by knowing what you are looking for, and then actually LOOKING for it, rather than keeping your fingers crossed and jumping from guild to guild.

The resources I would recommend are the Blizzard forums – check out both your realm and the “Looking for Players” forums.

If you’re interested in raiding, check out the Wowprogress website – for realms that are suitable for you, then the guilds suitable for you – often guilds will have recruitment posts describing themselves and links to their websites.

Take your time – watch trade chat, watch who talks on it, who advertises, what those adverts say.  Shift-click on character names in chat to see their guild name and then do a /who for that guild name to see how many are online – if there are only one or two online at a peak time for you, then it’s not the guild for you.

Have a look at the in-game guild finder (type /gf in the chat pane) and take note of guilds that look suitable.  Again do a /who for those guilds during your peak times.

Any that still seem suitable – search for them in your browser (use the guild and realm name) – you may come across websites for them and more information about them.

If they’re still suitable, speak to one of them in-game (check first to make sure they’re not in a raid or dungeon).

Make sure you find out all you need to know before you start an application process, whether that be filling in an application form or simply contacting someone in-game.