Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Culling of (my) Time.

I'm an officer in my guild. We are a small guild, dedicated to 10-man content, not because we want to, but because our server is something of a hell-hole. Recruitment is practically impossible - there are half a million guilds out there, two thirds of which are approximately our size and strive to achieve approximately the same thing. There are, of course, alliances and communities (not unlike the days of "LF39M Mölten Cöre"), but these have a tendency to A) fall apart, B) branch out, or C) outgrow themselves and suddenly become a guild - which again leave the small guilds stripped of their most prized assets (not unusually a tank, 20k combined DPS and three healers).

So in what position does that put me? First of all, it makes recruitment a pure, living nightmare. Our guild have a website with a proper URL, no WoWstead-nonsense, we've been raiding with the same core since TBC and we've achieved enough (Champion of the Naaru, Undying, a various amount of speedkills) to raise us up from the "average" branch. But we're still drowning in a sea of similar-sized guilds that can, and will, spam your post you to death every time you advertise your recruitment status in chat, on the official forums or wherever. It's a hard life, and it's not uncommon to have your polite, precise and informative advert drowned by "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD ARE RECRUITING! NEED ANYTHING FOR RAIDS!". It kind of draws more attention than "We're looking for a moonkin and an MM hunter, but need most classes." Then again, that IS what we get for playing on a server at the bottom of the ladder. We ARE aware of this.

What is worse, is when bigger guilds "tap up" smaller ones for quality - by actively placing alts in lesser guilds to investigate who's good enough, or by simply going through the friend channels and "poach" players they need. As Larísa points out today, there is a certain etiquette involved in changing your guild. Your guild has geared you up, learned you the encounters and let you train over and over at things YOU get, but those around you struggle with. It's maybe not something you think about all that often, but the reason you're the player you are, are as much yourself as those around you. No one soloes Ulduar. When you change your guild, you are not only leaving behind a void in a roster, you're taking with you someone elses investment in you, be it time, gold, consumables, gems or enchanting materials. On the other hand, when your guild do not progress at the rate you want and wish, it can be both tempting, rewarding or even right to move - as long as you're honest about it. Sometimes it's even necessary, for whatever reason.

Which brings us back to the role of the officer, and my time. Filling the void is a job I have to do, not only for myself, but for the entire guild. At the end of TBC, we lost a resto druid and a tank in less than a week. We were left by almost a month without raiding, simply because no one would bother gearing up an alt ("it's 3.0 soon anyway"), and no one bothered much about going back to ZA every so often ("it's 3.0 soon anyway"). For this month, however, myself and three others worked tirelessly for several hours every day, talking to guildless players in PuGs, checking the official forums, advertising the official forums, surveilling chat channels for hours to end. We spent a lot of time looking for people, finding the wrong people, and arranging raids that ended at the summoning stone when we still hadn't an offtank 45 minutes past raid start. Which is exactly where a few weeks ago as well. And then, something interesting happened.

I was talking to an applicant, whose armory and application were something we'd accept pretty much on the spot - a player that would easily join our roster from day one. From I received the application till I talked to the player, I invested a good 30 minutes in him, checking his armory, taking notes of things to ask him, looking up his be.imba-score, checking achievement dates and so forth. It's what I expect of myself as an officer. What I don't expect, however, is the following answer when interviewing the applicant:

[Barricade] After talking to you, I'm happy to offer you a trial with us.
[Applicant] Thanks, but I'm gonna wait it out a bit.


[Applicant] I've applied to like eight guilds, and you guys aren't my number one choice.

I'm not sure what went through my head at that moment. Apart from a massively hurt pride, a strong feeling of deception and a grieveous annoyance at having wasted time on this kind of player. It made all those hours back in 2.4.3 feel worth it - at least I was idling in officer chat back then. Just to rub it in, an applicant that we'd decided to turn down after the same amount of work in advance, had already joined another guild as we seemed "too advanced" for him. Which is fair, but why apply in the first place? Our goals are very clearly stated on our website, aren't they?

Long story short: filling a roster these days is hard work, especially on a mediocre server. If it wasn't for Pete, Liz, Anna, Rachel, Kjersti, Dave, Luke, Jim and all the others, I would probably have left. But as you can see from the selection of characters I've namedropped: It's worth the struggle. The crew oneshotting Anub'arak without a single death the first time we were ever at him were were 40% the same as our first Malchezaar kill. And that thought alone makes all those wasted hours working to keep this train rolling more than worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine how much hard work there is in running a guild. And so ungrateful. I think that many non-officers don't realize it. To me it sounds as if you should consider a server transfer. But I guess you have your reasons for staying.