Friday, 3 April 2009


Recruiting is easy. Provided you follow one of the many recommended techniques in my article and use your own skills effectively, the people that you want to join should come flooding in. It's a simple process and this explains why the shittest guild on your server is still able to get members. The most difficult task you’ll face with new recruits is trying to get them to form an attachment to the guild. When people have a connection to a cause they feel strongly about, or a group of people who are worth caring for, they are more likely to contribute and fight for that particular set of ideas. Attachment has been used as a technique to secure bonds between people for thousands of years, and still applies to family units today – right from birth. One of the key ideas behind a child establishing such a connection with a mother is that the former can provide for the latter during her old age. With the advent of retirement homes, this relationship has really turned into a one-way street, namely with the mother caring for the child during the early years of its life, without any real return later on.

Should you expect some sort of material payback from members once a connection has been established? That’s up to how you feel. Depending on how nice they are, you may receive gifts of gold and a selection of valuable items. Then again, most members will do nothing more to show their appreciation than occasionally speak in guild chat and show up for raids or other events. You must understand that, although you’ll try to create positive feelings between everyone in the guild, all members will react differently. Some people will perceive themselves worth more than they actually are, and consider simply logging on each day to be a privilege to you. Others will see being in the guild as a great pleasure, freely giving up their time and gold at any opportunity to help you out. Usually, if people have not had to go through some sort of application process, they’ll act the first way. Consider that you’ll get stubborn or more willing people no matter where you go. Even if you’re in the strictest and elitist guild on the server, be assured that there’s likely to be a few kind-hearted souls in there, but also some people who will turn up just for raiding. People like to think they’re unique and display behaviour that hopefully make us believe that they are. Despite this, there are still some strategies you can apply to get everyone involved and rooting for the guild.

Not sure what this picture has to do with anything, but I thought LAG needed some more sex.

The first step is getting members to relate to you. When they join, it’s likely they’ll have just been forced into a new community they know nothing about. Their only friends in this brave, new world will either be their referees and friends already in the guild, or you. Building a connection immediately is essential, as it's within the first few days of joining that they’ll build their impression of the guild, and decide if they wish to stay or not. If you are not clear on the goals of your guild when initially recruiting, it is likely that new members will find themselves joining under incorrect perceptions. When finding that they want something from the game that you can’t offer as a guild, they will quit regardless of how deep the connection you build with them is. Prevent this from running by the main points of your guild’s overall plan to any new members.

'Right folks, we attack Durotar from here, here and here.'
'Sir, that's a picture of England and France.'

Don’t be afraid to approach people individually. This attribute will prove it's worth when it comes to actually applying the following steps, but always bear in mind that it’s better to approach people separately, in private, than within full view of everyone else. Not everyone is as confident as yourself and bringing unnecessary attention to people who don’t really like it will annoy them. Discretion is always important. Whether you’re disciplining someone, or giving them praise, there is no reason to make it a huge thing that involves all of guild chat. Certainly, it’s one thing to make an example out of a situation, but it;s another to go through the process every time someone pisses you off, or does the opposite. Embarrassing someone in front of the guild, no matter what the reason, will bring negative results.

Making large gestures of love to all new guildies may seem like a good idea, but sometimes a more subtle approach is needed. Try some of the following strategies and see how they work out for you.

  1. Send them gifts.

When someone is performing well in a guild, or simply seems to have settled down well, it's good to send them gifts. Don't shower them like they're the son of God, but sometimes an appropriate, charming item in the mail will really cheer them up. Yeah, they can probably use the guild bank to draw something out at their convenience, but giving them something directly with no need for any implied repayment helps reach out and connect with good members.

  1. Cut down on ‘grats’ spam.

Initially, wishing someone congratulations when they level or gain an achievement will seem like a great way to promote positivity. Too much can cause the opposite effect, however. Some people don't like to be embarrassed by people commenting on every little thing they achieve and others may find it annoying that someone is praised for reaching level 10 on their alt. You may not totally condemn such behaviour, but I'd definitely promote cutting down on it.

  1. Don’t be afraid to make nicknames.

Avoid patronising nicknames, like calling someone of a low-level 'n00bie' or 'lower' or something. For your officers, maybe even branch out into calling them based off their playing style, personality and class. 'Snake' would fit really well with someone who is sly and manipulative, or just likes Metal Gear Solid. 'Lion' for a natural leader who displays loyalty to the guild, or they may even just have bushy hair. You can read as far into this as you wish. In the end, giving nicknames make you seem playful and helps your members simply like you more. Just draw a line if people start calling each other negative names with no real explanation.

Remember that the ultimate goal of all this is to build up an open, community atmosphere from the word 'go', without having to reduce yourselves to team-building activities (a la Severance). I encourage you to try all of the techniques listed, but sometimes a member will simply not catch on and invest themselves back into the guild. I guess the best you can hope for in this situation, is that they eventually change their minds over time and fall in love with the guild naturally. Just bare in mind Eleanor Roosevelt's famous line, 'Don't spend major time with minor people'. Learn to judge if people can be bribed into being committed to your guild and leave them alone if they can't.

The final tip in this section is about what you should be feeling. Although a good guild leader will go to just about any lengths to get their members friendly with one another, it is important he or she never becomes too attached to one particular individual. Think of this mindset as the 'Nursing Home Manager' complex. Pretend you're actually running a centre for the very elderly or terminally ill. Yes, make their time as thoroughly enjoyable and comfortable as possible, but always remember that they can be taken away at any moment, either through their own choice or powers beyond their control. You should always mourn the passing of an officer or active member (and even ask them why they left), but learn to simply not worry if a randomer leaves and refuses to comment on exactly why. Sometimes people are just arseholes. Do worry if people begin leaving in their droves. You should actively seek out the problem and find a solution immediately if this occurs.

Never react in a way that could potentially harm the reputation of your guild further. If you take some time to gather your thoughts and approach the leaver with respect and compassion, its worth the delay. However, if your blood just boils in the time between them leaving and you questioning them, then I encourage you to make any post-guild conversation as brief as possible, or don't have one at all. Sometimes it's better to simply let go than to satisfy your curiosity. Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.

To summarise:

  • Creating some sort of relationship with all guild members is essential if your guild hopes to survive in the long run.

  • Approaching people to get them involved on a personal level is more effective than constantly broadcasting the need to communicate with each other in guild chat.

  • Shitty gifts are better than no gifts!

  • Shitty nicknames are not better than no nicknames!

  • Pointless 'grats' spam is not really that productive.

  • Have your members be attached to you, but remember the 'Nursing Home Complex'; they could be taken away at any time.

  • As we've seen in the 'Professionalism' article, being indifferent is better than being a flaming ball of rage.

[Now for where I got my madd pixx from. Here, here, here, here and here.]

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