Friday, May 16, 2008

Phase shifting in the guild

It's just like in a boss fight. Suddenly the fight goes into a new phase and you must think in a new way, reposition and take control. Suddenly the guild goes into another phase.

The thought strikes me as I'm trying to put together a recruitment ad for my guild. We're going into a new phase and we should try to do it as quick as possible, because getting stuck in between won't be healthy, or at least will stop our progress.

We're currently raiding ZA on our own and 25-man instances in cooperation with another guild. The sign ups for the 25 man raids have become more and more crowded. We've only 10 spots available for our guild, while we've got at least 16 willing to go. And for Danish guild we're running with, the situation is even worse, even when they get 15 spots they've still got plenty of players left out. They've been recruiting pretty aggressively in general, apparently with some success. The other night they announced that they'll probably soon be able to do 25 man runs on their own. It's quite likely that we're going towards the end of an era. We must move on, trying to stand on our own feet. And for that we need about 15 more active players, else it will be hard to fill the raids, especially with summer season coming up.

Generally I think it's better for a guild to grow slowly, being able to incorporate new players into the guild body, make them adapt and feel at home. And I prefer recruiting by reputation and personal connections rather than by advertising. But now I think we must put those principles aside if we want to keep progressing in 25 man instances. We need some more people, pretty fast.

It's not an easy task. Being into PR and marketing in my RL profession, I still find it difficult. There are thousands and thousands of guilds at our level of progression out there. Why should anyone give special attention to us? How could I possibly describe the spirit of the guild, make the audience understand that this isn't just Any kind of guild, this is a Special Golden Guild, one of the Good ones, with great people who're fun to play and socialize with, skilled, generous and mature. It's a guild well worth a realm transfer. But how can I get through with the message? How can I make us stick out from the crowd? In marketing vocabulary: what's our USP, our unique selling point?

I got a letter from my blog friend Consentire the other day, who told me about an unusual strategy for recruiting. In order to make people notice their guild recruiting, they decided to attack the Hungarian population on their server. The Hungarians apparently are a nuisance at the moment, since many of them tend to fill general chat with rambling in their own language.

Now the guild stated in their ad that they refused to accept any Hungarian. Suddenly the realm forum was filled with angry letters, calling them racists. They had managed to make themselves noticed, and the applications started to drop in - 30 applications in a short time. What a success! Recruiting by provoking. It worked just as they planned, although it may seem a bit desperate.

So I guess we'll do it the traditional way. Advertising in the official realm forum, and in the major Swedish WoW forum. Writing messages in general a couple of times a day. Spreading the word to people we know on this and other servers. Maybe doing a bit more of PUG-ing, in order to get to know more people on the server, though it won't be an easy way to go since we want to keep the guild Swedish speaking. How many PUGs do I need to do before I meet a nice and skilled Swedish player in decent gear, looking for a new guild? The drop rate should be pretty low.
What else could we do to be noticed, to stick out from the crowd? Any ideas from the audience are gratefully accepted!

And if someone's curious about the guild, you'll find us at Be warned though, the website's all in Swedish.

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