Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Age Issue

Its not uncommon to see high-end guilds only recruiting people aged 18 and over. Why is this? Well the general consensus within the community currently is that kids are more likely to misbehave. This is especially true on the Internet, as they enjoy a level of anonymity that is only found online. Furthermore, it's reasonable to claim you don't want guild members alt-tabbing in the middle of raids to watch Thomas The Tank Engine episodes. Even grouping casually with youngsters can be a pain, as demonstrated in this WoW.com article.

Is demonising younger players right? Possibly. Although I provide a steadfast opinion on many of the subjects covered in this blog, this one is fairly controversial. No right-minded guild leader wants to be branded as an arrogant ageist, but what can we do when most teenagers (and younger people too) act like idiots? Things are further complicated if your guild isn't doing too well. There will be occasions where employing an age limit seems like a brilliant idea. What better way to attract smart, reliable and like-minded members? There are many things you may have overlooked when considering this policy, the foremost being that you're dealing with adults. With any luck these ladies and gentlemen will already have loves and lives of their own. They may be willing to join your guild, but that doesn't mean they'll have time to raid. More problems may arise if you play on a server with low population, as it's likely older, more capable players will have already been snatched up by those establishments which have been around for quite a while.

Ageism is a form of prejudice. It may only take common sense to justify why, but some people view an age restriction policy in a negative light. Try not to shout about how great it is from the rooftops otherwise you may warrant some strange looks. Also try to bare in mind that these people grow up. I began playing WoW 4 years ago. Despite being in many late teens, I was a stubborn little twat. At the time I was a competent strategist and able player, but unfortunately I was too silly to improve myself in more productive ways. Thankfully I was taken under the wing of an intelligent and likeable guild leader who spelt out the way to behave appropriately. It was his guidance that I became a decent leader in my own right. I was 17 at the time; if his guild had followed an 18+ policy I would have never been taught all this great information by my impromptu tutor and you would have never had the opportunity to read this blog.

Many of you have a natural flair for teaching so consider not alienating younger players and instead take them along for your amazing adventures so they can learn from you. It takes a lot of patience but why are you leading a guild if you can't afford to put in a little time and effort into developing a potentially awesome friendship?

Some argue that it's our duty as guild leaders to aid those who need it. However, if you're a progress guild, then its definitely acceptable that you don't want to waste time chasing after annoying children. Just don't go yelling about how stupid you think younger people are - they could be potential members in the future.

In summary:
  • Only you can decide if your guild is ready for an age limit.

  • If you're a small and ineffective guild already, then recruiting youngsters could be a good direction.

  • Just remember to screen folks rigorously if you're a serious guild.

[Image credits go to this site, these guys, here and heeeeere!]

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