How To Make Friends and Recruit People, Part I

Posted: June 27, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, General Game Concepts, Guilds

The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.

-Tony Blair  

I’ve lead my guild for over more than 8 years now.  Through that time, over 3,000 players have called the Legion of the White Rose “home”. 

That’s a lot of recruiting. 

To be fair, I never realized how much time and effort recruiting can take when I founded my guild back in October of ’98.  We were just 6 friends looking for a way to form up in the beta version of an early web based MMO called “Archmage:  Reincarnation from the Hell” (now defunct). 

We sat around my living room coming up with names and eventually landed on one that no one in the room outright hated.  We threw down some quick guild rules, and damn near drew straws to determine who would be the leader.  I honestly think I won out because I seemed to care more about it – everyone else just wanted to play and not worry about administration.

So, there we were, six players on a server of 8,000.  We had a name.  We had a rough idea of what our rules and organization were.  So, now what?

It’s now nearly 9 years later.  The games these days are much more sophisticated, as are the machines used to run them.  Games now have some basic built in guild support, and most have automated guild creation systems of some kind.  You generally get together with 5-10 other people and figure out a name.  You hash out a general set of rules and organization.  So… now what?

Most young guildmasters love the idea of leading guilds, but often times have little idea for what the road ahead really has in store.  For those of you currently leading or assisting someone in leading a guild, this post is for you.

First, let me offer you my most heartfelt congratulations.  You’re leading a guild.  When you think of the millions of players in most MMO’s these days, how many do you think actually take the additional step to lead a guild?  I’ve seen no studies on the subject, but in my experience, I’d say that, at best, maybe 1 in 20 players will ever know what it’s like to lead a guild of 10 or more players for at least 3 months.  Fewer still will know what it’s like to lead a guild for a year or more. 

So, again, welcome to the ranks of one of the hardest working classes in any game – “Guildmaster”. 

Now, get to work.

Now, in my experience, the hardest duty for any guildmaster to take seriously (or at least seriously enough) is recruiting.  You’ve got this new guild, probably full of some idealistic folks who are all excited about the fact that you’re all in this new guild.  In many ways, this is very similar to a new start up company.  Lots of ideas and ambitions, but not so many thoughts as to how to attain those goals.

Before you start going nuts trying to recruit everyone and everything you can find, ask yourself these things:

  1.   How many members does my guild need online nightly to have in order to accomplish the goals I’d like?  Do we really need to be a large guild?  Would we be fine with just a couple groups of members online? 
  2.   How hard are our goals?  Are we hoping to raid high end targets 5 nights a week?  Are we hoping to just raid relatively casually 2-3 nights a week?  Are we really just looking for a way to find groups and complete quests?
  3.   What type of members do we want?  Does it matter what time zone people are in?  Are we looking for serious competition-minded players or just some other fun-loving folks?  Do we have standards regarding family-friendly chat, or does anything go?

If you don’t have an immediate answer, ask your other officers for their input.  Ask your founding guildmembers what they think.  Come to a consensus early on regarding these basic questions, because the success (or failure) of your guild is going to heavily rely upon whether or not you and the rest of your starting guild agree on some basic answers to the above concerns.

Once you figure out who you are and what you’re looking for, you can start recruiting.  …and recruit you shall.

Depending on the answers to the above questions, you might want a large guild with few standards for membership, or you might want a smaller guild with high standards.  You might want some strange mix of members.  Whatever the case, no matter how small you envision your guild, you’ll never – never stop recruiting. 

If you’re not growing, you’re dead.

You should be constantly growing as a guild.  You should be always on the lookout for new potential members.  You should be prepared to talk about your guild at every chance. 

This doesn’t mean spamming channels and forums, but it does mean constantly looking for new ways to bolster your guild’s ranks.  Because even the best lead, most stable guilds will experience turnover.  People you think will never leave…will leave.  Players you trust completely…will go to another guild.  Members you’ve come to rely on nightly…will quit the game. 

These are the realities of online gaming.  Hell, these are the realities of life.  It’s not cynical or pessimistic, but it is realistic.  As a leader, you have to accept these eventualities and plan for them as such, or else you’ll find yourself continually caught off-guard when these players leave (and they will leave).

I’m not asking you to stop trusting people.  I’m asking you to trust that people are people, though.  Human nature is inherently self-serving.  People are paying money to play a game online.  Sometimes, that game interferes with their life, and they have to quit.  Othertimes, they find out that the guild they’re in isn’t quite what they’re looking for – even if they’ve been there for years.  Othertimes, people just get bored or burned out.  whatever the reason, accept it.  Don’t fight with people who want to leave your guild, and don’t try to keep them around. 

Accept that people will leave.  As a good leader, you have to accept their reasoning as completely valid and leave it at that.  Besides, as a good leader, you’ve got to remember the members who are still in your guild, and work for their benefit.  Spend your resources where you can do the most good, and ignore areas where your efforts will be largely wasted. 

Which brings us, again, to recruiting.

In Part II of this article, we’ll explore some of the actual recruiting methods I’ve seen used over the years.  Which methods bring in the most response?  Which ones bring in the best recruits?  Which ones lead to the most problems?

  1. brackishwater says:

    definately looking forward to Part II.

  2. Kilanna says:

    I am also looking forward to Part II

    I see some of these attributes showing through in the leader of Kilanna’s current guild. He seems keen not to loose focus on some of the elements of the “guild charter” if you will, and for that I have a great deal of respect.

  3. Gninja says:

    This definitely one way to lead a guild but there are other ways. I myself have been a guild leader for around 7 years now. but depending on the caliber people you have in your guild and the goals you ultimately want reached it can be done while still keeping the workload low and the fun factor high.

    I love my guild and it is likely the least maintenance guild I have ever been in we don’t traditionally recruit yet we do grab members as we hang out with them. We have gone for periods as long as 9 months without a new members so I don’t really agree with the “if you’re not growing you’re dead” theory.

    All in all though an interesting read Ken.

  4. […] promised, here is the second part to my thoughts regarding guild recruiting.  In the first part of this series, I discussed the basics which need to be regarded before a single recruiting effort should be made. […]

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