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Officers QuartersAug 26, 2015 3:00 pm CT

Officers’ Quarters: Managing Legion’s population spike

demon hunters

With the release of Warlords we saw one of the game’s most dramatic boom-and-bust cycles for recruiting. The expansion launch brought 3 million players back to WoW, nudging the total above 10 million for the first time since 2012. That 3 million left WoW after a single quarter and then the next quarter the game lost 2 million more. This week, Officers’ Quarters covers how guilds should best handle this population cycle in Legion.

Silverkeg asked
Many people left WoD for many reasons but I can imagine a lot of people returning to give Legion a chance. I leveled my main and my 2 primary alts up to max and then basically quit WoD (no flying and garrisons). When Legion finally drops, I’ll probably buy it and come back to play but I know that my characters are going to be woefully undergeared.

I think a question guilds might want to start thinking about is “How to recruit & absorb all the players who are going to come back to WoW once Legion is released?”

Officers will be wise to make a big push at the beginning of Legion when you’re likely to have the most players available for recruitment at all levels of experience with the game. Many officers tend to get reluctant to bring in too many people at that point. They don’t want to swell their roster beyond what they consider a manageable size. They especially tend to think in terms of diversity. They try not to overcommit to too many of a certain role, too many of a given class, too many of a certain armor type, or too many classes for a single tier token.

They make the faulty assumption that most of their “committed” members won’t disappear off the face of Azeroth in the coming weeks or months. If your roster reflects the game’s overall population, however, you can expect to lose about 30% of your roster in the first few months, and then about half of your players between the beginning of Legion and the expansion after that. Half is a huge number.


Playing the odds

So much depends on the specific circumstances of your players during the expansion, so you could lose no one or everyone. But the fact is, many players are going to lose interest not long after Legion’s launch, and officers have to account for that going forward. It’s the reality of WoW in 2015. Maybe it will change next time, but you can’t count on that.

Even if you lose one or two people because you brought in too many players, you’re far ahead of the game compared to a guild that stopped recruiting because they thought they had “enough.” Your foresight should pay off in the long run as guilds start bleeding players after launch. At that point, you won’t care how many players are rolling on Conqueror tokens. You’ll just want enough bodies to kill Gul’dan.

Make time around launch

The beginning of an expansion is a hectic time for officers. You’ll have endless questions about what the guild is planning to do at max level. You’ll have to figure that out and communicate it. You might have to set up a new loot system or come up with a different way of determining who can attend raids and who can’t. Through it all, you’ll be trying to level up your characters and gear yourself for the content ahead.

It’s not easy to carve out time to recruit while you’re handling all that. But it’s time well spent. It will be exponentially easier to get players around launch than at any other time. So think of it as an investment — to spend time now will save twice or three times as much time in the future to achieve the same goal.

Even so, you can minimize the time you’ll need to spend during the first weeks after launch by recruiting aggressively in the build-up to the expansion. The 6.0 system changes and pre-expansion event are bound to bring people back to the game or at least get them thinking about it. Meanwhile, you won’t have much you can do to prepare your characters in that final month or so of Warlords, so spend some of your game time recruiting instead of doing those worn-out Apexis dailies!

Reach out to former guildmates who quit the game to see if you can convince them to return. It might be hard for them to say no when you say, “We want you to come back and hunt demons for us.”

Artwork from Legion

Ask for re-rolls

One strategy to absorb the most possible players at Legion’s launch will require some sacrifice from your current roster: ask your tanks and melee if they’d consider re-rolling to healing or ranged DPS. The biggest influx of players is likely to be Demon Hunters, possibly with a dash of Survival Hunters. You’ll have an easier time recruiting and managing them if they have less competition on the roster.

It might not be realistic to expect too many members to follow through with this, and you wouldn’t want everyone to re-roll, but it doesn’t hurt to ask and see who’s willing. Some players want to try out a different class or a different spec, but they feel obligated to stick with what they know and what the guild expects of them. They might be thrilled at the opportunity to try something new.

Don’t compromise your standards

Even with the “gold rush” of fresh players, I don’t recommend compromising your guild’s standards for new recruits. Bringing in every person who applies no matter what is a bad strategy. It’s one thing to bring in some less experienced raiders or PVP players and train them up — that’s awesome if you can do it. But if you’re inviting players who don’t feel like they have the right attitude for your guild, whether they’re too gung-ho or not gung-ho enough, then you’re also inviting trouble down the road.

Whatever happens, Legion’s launch is bound to be an exciting time for everyone! It can’t get here soon enough.

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