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Officers Quarters > WoWApr 23, 2019 2:00 pm CT

Guild leaders, poaching players is never a good recruitment option

It’s tough to run a guild now. The pool of available players is dwindling. I see this in my guild as we’ve had people announce they are taking breaks that they may not return from. Recruiting to keep up your numbers is hard, but — and I want to stress this — poaching is not something you should be doing, period.

This column came about because a guild member wanted my take on an incident which happened to her. She was running through a dungeon when a member of the group asked if she was happy in her current guild. A little startled, she said “absolutely” — but this person continued on to describe the benefits of their guild.

When she said she wasn’t interested — and noted this person wasn’t on a connected server, so there would be transfer fees — they mentioned they could probably get “some people” to help her move her character. “You’re really good. I know my guild would love to have you.”

She told me, “I told this person, several times, I wasn’t interested. It made the whole run awkward and I decided to quit running 5-mans until I could get a guild group because I didn’t want to accidentally run into these people again. What do you think of this?”

What is poaching?

Merriam-Webster defines poaching as follows:

To encroach upon especially for the purpose of taking something

In this case, the “something” is a player who is currently a member of a guild. I can speak directly to this issue as my guild has been the victim of poaching in the past. It happened way back during Wrath of the Lich King when we were doing runs with another guild of similar size in an effort to get raid content done. There were days when even 10-man was tough to fill.

I logged on after a particularly stellar Naxxramas run to see four raiders had left. They had done so in the middle of the night and told no one why. I was further shocked to see had been put on ignore by all of them and they were now members of the guild with whom we’d just completed Naxx. A month later, when one of these people asked to come back, I found out why they left: they were promised consistent raiding and spots. Neither of these materialized. In a strange twist of fate, we were actually doing better without these four than with them, so the request to come back was denied.

Why poaching from other guilds isn’t acceptable

Poaching sows seeds of discord within not one, but two guilds. If you promised new players a seat on your raiding team, are you bumping people for them? I know with flex raiding we don’t necessarily have that issue, but if you are replacing people from your guild with new people you’ve recruited, that can cause hurt feelings if not handled well. People who show up and give their all, even if they aren’t the highest DPS or HPS, won’t take kindly to being replaced by newcomers who haven’t put time in the guild. They don’t know the guild culture, yet they are suddenly on raid team. This exclusionary behavior isn’t a formula for cohesion — and it’s just one way poaching players could cause problems in your guild.

It can cause problems in the guild you’ve poached from, too. Players will wonder why they left. Is something wrong with the guild? Is there something going on behind the scenes the officers don’t want them to know? Should they leave too?

I was also accused of poaching during Wrath. Several members of another guild moved alts into my guild after a joint run because they liked our raiding style. Their guild leader was — understandably — upset. The move caused questions within her guild, which slowly imploded. Maybe it would have anyway, but I felt terrible for causing dissent within another guild.

Poaching players just causes problems for everyone.

Just don’t do it

As I stated above, recruiting for raiding teams is extremely tough right now. There are people on my friends list I haven’t seen online in months. Burn-out? Possibly. There’s also this thing called “real life.” With spring heading into summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the prospect of sitting behind a computer screen is less inviting than being somewhere else.

If you’re wanting to get content done before patch 8.2 drops and you’re having trouble filling roles, it can be tempting to try to recruit in 5-mans or LFR. “Looking for a new guild? Come join us!” I’m less opposed to a recruiting statement at the beginning of an LFR — although I think it’s in poor taste — than I am at the beginning of a 5-man. Most players just want to run Motherload and get it over with — they aren’t interested in whether you’re recruiting.

I draw the line when you do what happened to my guild member. It’s great to compliment a person’s skill set, which we don’t do enough in this game. But it’s not okay to follow that up with, “Are you happy in your current guild? Wouldn’t you like to be in a guild that values your contributions? My guild makes sure all our guild members are valued.”

I told my guild member what I would have done in her situation was say, “I’m very happy where I’m at.” If the questions continued, “I said I was happy. Stop.” And if that didn’t work, use the ignore button. You’re there to run content and not to listen to a sales pitch.

Bottom line: unless someone you group with says, “Gee, your guild sounds like fun!” headhunting them when they are in a guild because you need bodies to run content is rude, annoying, and wrong. There are plenty of ways to recruit — and most of them don’t cause the problems poaching can.

So, players, don’t poach.

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