I am disgusted. Absolutely disgusted.
After 5 years of this game, I thought that I had seen the worst that WoW had to offer. I had seen the seamy underbelly, the lows that sometimes people go to in this game. But I was wrong. Never before had I seen such disgusting behavior as I saw last night. And the worst part of it? Apparently it was some of our own innocent efforts that brought this deplorable behavior to our front door!
Ok, I am probably losing people. Perhaps, I should back up a bit here and start my story from the beginning. Yes, I think I probably should do just that.
This all started a couple of weeks ago, I think. When we decided that we needed to replace a few folks on our roster and opened up recruitment. Not massive recruitment, just a few people to bolster our roster. A Holy Paladin and a couple ranged DPS. We were looking at adding maybe 3 or 4 people to our fairly healthy roster. We our roster was sitting at about 30 active people, and we prefer a little more wiggle room than that (especially during the summer months!), usually hosting 33-34 progression raiders. This helps us to make sure everyone gets ample raid time, but also gives us the leeway to have a handful of people out without being a detriment to our raids.
Once the decision was made to bolster the roster some, the usual recruiting posts went up. Our realm forums, EJ, and the WoW Recruitment forums. I made my usual cry to ask people to help me bump the recruitment threads, because they drop off the front page so quickly. Through our efforts, we received a number of applicants that we have been sorting through, interviewing; and we have offered out a couple of invites.
We are somewhat selective with our applicants, because it is important to us that someone is going to be a good fit for our guild, not just performance wise, but personality wise as well. As a result, it sometimes takes us awhile to finish our recruiting efforts. It’s not because we aren’t getting applicants, per se, it’s largely because we don’t always think the applicants that we do get will be a good fit for our guild.
All in all, we are a fairly healthy and very well established guild on our server. Sure, during holiday weekends and as summer kicks in, we have a raid here and there we are short handed, and we deal with it (hello “Been waiting a long time for this” with 23 people!). We try to mind our own business and meet the progression goals that we, as a guild, have set for ourselves. We might not be the fastest at getting things done, but I’ll be damned if we don’t get them done.
The Deplorable Act
Last night, Brade and I decided to largely take off. No alt runs, and maybe no WoW. I had stopped on the way home to pick up some steaks and corn on the cob for some summer grilling (and a very tasty dinner!). We popped onto WoW while the corn was soaking, and in the short period of time that we were on, Brade, on an alt, received a tell from a level 1 shaman named “Cnoctem” asking for an officer. As we were advertising an opening for an elemental shaman, we really thought nothing of it, and Brade asked if he could help him.
At this time, the shaman again said he wanted to speak with an officer, to which Brade indicated that he was an officer and happy to chat with him. And here is where it starts to get interesting. This shaman indicates that he is the guild master of a guild named Cárpe Noctem on the Sen’jin server and that they saw our recruitment post on the recruitment forums and figured we must be having attendance problems and he wanted to know if the officers would be interested in leaving our guild and bringing our top few players over to Sen’jin to join them.
Now, I wouldn’t normally call someone, or an entire guild, out by name here on my blog. But the actions that are being taken disgust me so much that I feel justified in identifying those that are taking them.
Ok Mr. Cnoctem, let me see if I have got this right: You saw our recruitment post on the official forums (oh look 9/12 HM, they must be geared and have some skilled members?), and you thought it was an acceptable and honorable act to contact the leadership of a guild and ask them to cherry pick their top players and tear their guild apart and come and join you? Seriously? This doesn’t bother you? Even just a little bit? And you would seriously want people who were OK with doing such as members of your guild?
Not only are you trying to poach players from another guild that aren’t actively seeking to leave, and haven’t applied to your guild, but you are actively seeking out guild leadership that would scoop up their top players and just abandon ship? Are you fucking kidding me? How is this even a sensible practice in your mind?!
And wait! It gets better! At this point, Brade identifies himself as the Guild Master. Indicates that we’ve been a guild on the Llane server for FIVE YEARS, and really have zero interest in leaving. That the foundations of our guild go back to EQ1, and that some of our players have been involved with gaming together for A DECADE! We indicated that we really weren’t interested in his great “proposition”. Not only that, but while we are a progression guild, our members generally tend to enjoy our guild for the environment that we provide and our flexibility.
What kills me about this, is that ALL of this information is in our recruitment post! It very clearly states our history as a guild. It states our goals and objectives, including our philosophy on progression. A philosophy that is discussed in depth with any new recruit, and we make sure that they are OK with it before extending an invite. And if this guy had actually read our recruitment post past 9/12 HM LFM, perhaps he would have thought twice about approaching us for his poaching attempts.
But that’s not even the end of it. From what this guy had communicated to Brade, it seems that he has been trolling the official recruitment forums, not for individuals that are seeking a new guild, but for well progressed guilds that are looking for more people. It seems that he is using the assumption that these guilds are having attendance issues, and that he can entice people in their leadership away with their 11/12 HM progress. (Hi! If you are having trouble getting folks to show up for HM LK attempts, perhaps try engaging your guild in other ways?!).
So here are guilds, like mine, that are earnestly placing adverts on the guild recruitment forums, such as I did, and in addition to getting potential applicants we are becoming the target of poachers. And this behavior wasn’t a one off, limited to just us, this guy indicated to Brade that if we weren’t interested he was going to “talk to other guilds with the offer” and “search elsewhere”.
So has it come to the point where posting your recruitment needs on the recruitment forums is more of a detriment than an asset?
I get that the combination of summer + expansion is hard. I really do, and no guild is immune from it. Look at the recruitment forums and you will see hundreds, if not thousands, of guilds looking to pick up a person here and there to battle the summer sun and cataclysmic burnout. Even we are looking to beef up a few to ensure that we have continued raid progress and meet our goals this expansion (HM Putricide at 13% that sucker is going down!).
But I’m sorry, this isn’t the way to recruit. Leaving other guilds in a lurch just to try and prevent your progression stymie is flat out wrong.
If this is the kind of behavior guilds are turning to in order to fill their roster, I can’t help but wonder if actually advertising that you are recruiting may potentially be causing more harm than good. I trust my guild mates. I try to stay in tune with them. I try to know what they are pleased with and what they are unhappy with. And I trust that if we aren’t offering them what they need, they will tell us. I trust that if they feel they need to move on to get what they need from their gaming, they will let us know. But that doesn’t mean that things like this don’t worry me, and put up my radar. And I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make me protective of my guild. The guild that cost my blood and tears to build.
And you know what, Fuck You Cnoctem. Trying to poach leadership, or have guilds cherry pick their “top” members and then recruit them away is just flat out disgusting behavior and you should be ashamed to be partaking in it. To build a guild on the destruction of another is an awful practice. Guilds are built from the foundations up, and if you are building your foundations on greed and disloyalty, I think that says a lot about what kind of guild you are building.
When I was discussing this with another member of our guild, I learned that just a few days before he had been approached by a complete stranger trying to recruit him. This guy comes to him with a story of how their GM finished his Shadowmourne and then bailed on the guild and they are reforming, and looking for people that might be interested in joining them. Now…he happened to approach a member of our guild that was one of those EQ1 players that I was talking about earlier. A person that has been associated with this guild for 10 years. A person that I am 100% confident wouldn’t be seeking or applying for a new guild. Boy did he pick the wrong person to try and recruit away.
But again, here it was. Someone openly trying to recruit people away from established guilds. I have to say that the poaching attempts absolutely disgust me.
Maybe it’s because we have always very firmly believed that we will only recruit people actively seeking a guild. Unless you app, are unguilded, or have requested information regarding joining our guild, we aren’t going to try to recruit you. We do not approach people who aren’t looking for a guild and try and entice them away into ours. It’s dishonest, it’s dirty, and it’s just downright deplorable.
Maybe it’s because even when we have someone that applies from another guild and that we end up recruiting, I feel bad. Guilty about taking them, even though they sought us out, and applied indicating they were unhappy in their current home and seeking a new one. Maybe it’s because I have standards and morals, even though “it’s just a game”.
Just when I thought I’d seen the lowest of the low…
I always knew that poaching members from other guilds occurred, even if it wasn’t a practice that we took part in. But I have to say, I have never seen it to this extent. And I’ll be honest, behavior like this makes me sick. I have always tried to do the right thing, even though I knew others took shortcuts. But I have to ask? Have we gotten to a point where this kind of thing is acceptable?
I certainly hope not.
Regardless, I wanted to warn those of you out there trying to recruiting honestly, and trying to keep your ranks plush for summer: There are people out there like this, that have become desperate enough to take actions like this. People that are trolling your recruitment posts, not looking for a new guild, but looking to see if they think you are ripe for poaching.
What I do know is that it’s made me wary of the official WoW recruitment forums, as I can only imagine that this type of deplorable behavior will get worse as summer wears on and Cataclysm grows nearer.
Has anyone else experienced this yet?