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Officers QuartersJun 24, 2015 1:00 pm CT

Officers’ Quarters: Guild recruitment

Tauren pointing

One question has come up over and over again this year in one form or another. From doozercavin:

Any ideas on the best ways to recruit for your guild?

With the release of patch 6.2 yesterday, there will be no better time to do guild recruitment for a long while. So here it is: all my best recruiting advice in one column.

Trade chat and beyond

Trade chat ads are the first thing most officers think of when they need to add people to the roster. If you’re going to make use of this method, you need to think like an advertiser. I’m not arguing for deception, mind you, but creativity. An advertisement has to grab attention in a positive way. It has to say what’s unique or worthwhile about your product (your guild) in a few short words. Try to inject your guild’s personality into the message so that it might resonate with players who have a similar personality.

Also, tailor the information to the audience you hope to reach. If you’re a progression raiding guild, by all means, show off your progression. If you’re a social raiding guild, however, your progression is far less important. If you focus on progression in your ad, you may mislead people into thinking you’re a progression guild with mediocre progression, which is not what you want to say.

Your ad should be brief. Let players ask questions instead of giving them every piece of info. If they ask questions, then you can start a dialogue about your guild and convey your enthusiasm to them.

Keep in mind that trade chat ads are extremely limited in scope and effectiveness. You’re only advertising on your own realm, and only to part of that realm (Horde or Alliance), and only to players who happen to be in the trade channel at the time, and only to those who are paying attention to it. At the same time, someone in your guild has to be actively online, in the trade channel, spamming the message. Its reward-to-investment ratio is way off. It’s not wrong to advertise here, but you’ll have to do much more than that to find players.

That’s why it’s better to use other methods of communication for advertising. Website forums and social media are places where you can reach across faction and realm to players who never had a chance of seeing one of your trade chat ads. Plus, your message there will endure far beyond the few seconds that a trade chat ad is visible.

You are more likely to successfully recruit someone from your own realm, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ignore the rest of the community. The game has millions of players, after all, the vast majority of whom don’t play on your realm. I believe there’s a perfect match of guild and player for everybody, because there are so many different guilds. But the players who are looking for exactly what your guild offers won’t even know you exist unless you make yourself known beyond your own realm.

At the same time, you need to take advantage of the opposite situation: ads from players who want to join guilds. This process is kind of like online dating: it’s often tedious and time-consuming, and you’ll have to sift through a lot of players who just aren’t right for your guild. When you find that one person who’s perfect, though, the effort is worth it in the end.

Being active

Active guilds with active officers recruit more players than those who aren’t. There are two ways to be active: on your realm and within the Blizzard or gaming community.

Being active on your realm means so many things:

  • Helping players that you encounter out in the world or who ask for help in chat channels
  • Participating in constructive discussions in chat channels
  • Inviting players to join you when you’re doing something that is made easier with more players, such as Warlords‘ rep grinds, trapping animals for the barn, world PvP, etc. Sure, you could use the Group Finder for these things, too, but asking your realm first is more likely to land you precious recruits.
  • Running events on your realm such as raids/PvP, world bosses, achievement groups, contests, roleplaying, etc.

Any time you interact with someone on your realm in a positive way, it increases the reputation of your guild on the realm. It makes more players aware that you exist and that you have an organization worth joining.

Being active in the Blizzard or gaming community is a bit different, but includes

  • Posting constructive messages in forums and commenting on articles (such as this one)
  • Engaging with podcasts, YouTube channels, and streamers by asking questions, listening and commenting live, etc.
  • Creating your own content
  • Going to in-person events such as BlizzCon and other conventions, Hearthstone gatherings, local gaming meetups, etc.

Officers have recruited players in the comments of Officers’ Quarters. I love that. It’s a good example of how being active in the greater WoW community pays dividends for your guild.


When people tell me that their guild is in trouble, that they desperately need more players, I tell them that it will take more than a lone recruiting officer to save their guild. They need an “all hands on deck” strategy that asks every single guild member to reach out to people they know. Networking is always more effective when you have more players doing it.

You shouldn’t network only during periods of crisis, however. It’s always a viable strategy, especially when you add new players. Every new player has personal access to many other players that your guild has had no contact with. Don’t be shy to ask them if they know anyone else who might want to join. They’re usually happy to help in this way, because it means more friendly faces on the roster. If you can turn one recruit into two or three, that’s a huge bonus.

Develop your own players

Many players attempt to join guilds that are beyond their own experience, ilevel, or progression. Most guilds reject these players because someone in the guild will have to help them become a better or more geared player before they can make a meaningful contribution. Consider this, however: Is it more work to train or gear up a player you have, or to find a player you don’t have who already possesses the skills and equipment that you want? Increasingly, the former is becoming less work.

The player you develop is also more likely to stay loyal to the guild that gave them a chance when no one else would. The competent player you recruited is more likely to jump ship the moment the guild springs a leak.

Sometimes the player cannot be trained to do what you need them to do, so there’s an inherent risk with this strategy. But they could also become exactly what you need. It’s also good for the game as a whole to increase the number of people who are good at WoW and invested in it.

The 365 recruiting cycle

In this era of WoW, recruiting has never been more difficult. The population is down, and competition among guilds is fierce. You can no longer recruit only when you need to fill a gap in your roster. You need to recruit all the time so that the gap never exists. Players may quit your guild if you don’t, and then you’ll have more gaps, and more players will quit. It’s a death spiral from that point. Be proactive instead.

All guilds should have a dedicated recruiting officer to coordinate efforts, but it often takes more than one person to find the right players. All officers should pitch in when they can, and you should lean on your members too. Encourage everyone to be active in the community and to be on the lookout for potential recruits, all the time.

Gaps in rosters often occur because of gaps in content between patches and expansions. We know that these gaps are coming. Blizzard has done everything they can to avoid them lately, but somehow we’re still experiencing them. It’s ten times as difficult to recruit during one of these gaps. It’s easier and safer to recruit before the gaps happen. During a gap, you never know who among your members will leave WoW and for how long. Bringing in as many players as you can increases the odds that you’ll have enough people to help your guild survive each content gap.

Granted, it is possible to overrecruit. Having more than 30 active raiders, for example, is probably too many. But it’s a good problem to have — and far better than the opposite. Good luck!


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