Sunday, 29 March 2009


Despite what you may have believed in the past, recruiting is easy. Recall that this blog is about managing a guild, not about getting people to join up. Keeping members in line is a hundred times harder than actually recruiting them. As a leader, you must be a master of social dynamics and the systems that make people tick. As a recruiter, all you have to do is publicise your guild, approach people directly and throw in some abstract adjectives to help sway their minds. There's not a lot to it once you've mastered the basics and you'll soon find recruiting to be a necessary chore, rather than something to dread outright.

The first thing to consider is what strategy you wish to apply. Recruiting en masse when starting up may seem like a good idea but it really comes down to the type of guild you're running. PVP generally doesn't require a huge amount of active, dedicated members. Usually a few, decently geared folks who can take orders and sign on every few days does the trick. With the advent of Wintergrasp, honour and rewards are common as mud. Still, you and your guildies can always bond over the love of slaughtering the other faction, right?

Oh look! The Horde has the WSG flag! What's new?

PVE guilds require people with high levels of natural talent and ability. Grabbing players right off the streets of Dalaran may not be the best way to ensure you get decent people. You'll generally find that unguilded people on your server are the ones with the least intelligence.

This is exactly the problem RP guilds have with drawing people in on a large scale. You don't want someone who can barely type English turning up to prestigious events filled with the great Stormwind cliques. Roleplayers are a culture built around literacy. Inviting people who can't keep up to the high standards expected of them is a fine way to get a bad reputation.

No comment.

Traditionally, I've formed 'event' guilds: We dabble in all sorts of business, from venturing into Naxxramas, to killing leaders of the Horde and jumping off the Twin Colossus in Feralas. The nature of my guilds allows just about anyone who has their head screwed on properly to join. That doesn't mean you should apply such a lax attitude when drawing in your own members, however. As always, diligence and patience are necessities when screening new folks, but that doesn't mean you can't attract interest on a wide scale.

Let's go through some basic methods of getting people interested:

  1. Message people off the street.

Do you know how those ridiculously crap guilds get so many members? Because their recruiters are brilliant. These people have absolutely no shame. They just whisper whoever is around and unguilded, and ask them to join up. They'll tell you that they get rejected most of the time, but they get a buzz from when someone does say yes. There are various ways of directly approaching people, from inviting them straight-up, to striking up a light conversation beforehand. Obviously the latter technique takes up more time, but has a far better success rate. In order to increase your chances, try going out and picking up people with a wingman. Hell, make a game out of getting more recruits than your mate. Just be warned that dragging in randomers means that they'll not hesitate to flake on you if they don't like the guild and even if they stick around there's a chance they'll be shit.

  1. Advertise on the realm forums.

This is something all new guilds should do, regardless of the playerbase they wish to attract. Create a short, concise post about the kind of players you need, what you do and what type of people are already in your guild. Then either forward people to your website or forum if they need to fill in an application, tell them to post on the thread if they're interested, or ask them to contact you in-game. You may feel that only a small percentage of the server's population reads the stuff on the realm forum, but be assured that these are probably the best and most well-connected players around.

  1. Send random people gifts with nice messages.

When farming for gold, or building up profession skills, you'll end up with a load of junk that you can't sell on the Auction House, even if you try to move it for exceptionally low prices. Instead of destroying this sort of stuff, /who low level players and send it off to them in the mail. Tell them you're the great spirit guide of Azeroth or something and the forty Solid Stone you just lumped them with will become vital in their future quest for glory. Then directly plug your guild or its website. A lot of people will take this in good humour, and may ask to join your guild. Even if you don't get a reply from any of the folks you send the 'gifts' to, be assured that you're helping build a fine, altruistic reputation for your guild.

  1. Create a trailer.

While I recommend commissioning a decent machinima studio to create one for you if you have the money, even videos that look like appalling AS Media projects can still be effective. Just be a little more novel than making a video of yourself PVPing with a trial of Fraps and before slapping the name of your guild on a title card at the end. Try to make your video seem as epic and professional as possible. Even if it turns out to be really corny, this technique is still better than not having any sort of video at all.

  1. Join a fairly successful guild, stage a coup and get the decent players to join a new guild - under your command.

I will never approve of purposely sabotaging other guilds just because you want to create your own, but sometimes this can happen naturally. If you ever find yourself in a fairly successful guild with great members but appalling leadership and think you can do better, then take a chance and speak your mind. It's likely that if you're not satisfied, then a few others won't be either. Identify and talk with these sorts of people. Make a judgement and decide if they're really willing to come with you to start a new, better establishment. When you have certified their loyalty, then pop out discreetly (wish the people who remain behind the best of luck; no need to be bitter/arrogant) and send the leader of the guild you leave a link to this website.


Sometimes just doing stuff and attaining positive publicity will cause players to come to you in a steady stream even if you're not actively recruiting. When this begins to happen, shift your focus away from attracting quantities of people to building on quality members. What's the point in having 300 characters in your guild if only 10 are online at a time and 5 actually participate in activities? Having some sort of screening process in place is important, whether it's simply an in-game interview, one on TeamSpeak, or an application on your website. Having potential new members jump through even the simplest of hoops makes sure they're ready to comply with your greater requests and are able to naturally motivate themselves.

To summarise:

  • Recruiting is easy. Approach people with open arms and an open mind and they'll return the favour.

  • There are many ways to advertise your guild. Experiment with which is the right one for you.

  • While drawing in the numbers is important at first, try to phase out the idiots over time.

[Image credits in no particular order: 1, 2, 3, 4]

If any of you need any macros or forum posts proof-reading, then feel free to e-mail me with them. Remember to leave your thoughts in the comments, people!

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