Beware!   37 comments

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.

The Beginning

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.

WTF

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?

Posted June 9, 2010 by Beruthiel in Guild leadership, Recruiting

37 responses to “Beware!

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  1. That really is annoying Beru! But, I wouldn’t worry too much about limiting your recruiting efforts, you shouldn’t hamper yourself just to avoid these idiots. Immoral and shady as it might be, it’s not like the would-be poachers will really have any effect, especially if they’re contacting officers (who I imagine are all like the EQ1 people in terms of loyalty, if not actually the EQ1 people themselves). It’s really just like spam whispers…receive the whisper, see the nonsense, /ignore.

    And honestly, anyone who gets tempted away by an “offer” like that…well, you’re probably better off without them anyways if that’s how loyal they are. (Not YOUR guild specifically, just in general I mean.)

    • I really do trust the members of my guild. But after surviving one guild rebuild, and knowing how painful it is, seeing someone who just so freely thinks nothing of tearing a guild apart really just pisses me off.

      I was just flat out shocked at the audacity it took!

  2. I’ve seen this happen from the “inside” – an officer is unhappy so instead of resigning his officership and looking for greener pastures, he uses his position as officer to solicit people to leave with him. But for an outsider to do the same takes real balls.

    • Thats actually exactly what happened with Monolith just before BC. in the 40man to 25man transition, the raid leader decided he wanted more power than Brade was willing to give, and for months and months ahead of time he built up, recruited, then gutted us. Mostly from within…

      That guild though died a month into Sunwell.

    • We actually had this happen to our guild back at the end of Vanilla. The rebuild took absolutely everything out of me, and I don’t think I could do it again. This is probably part of the reason that I’m so defensive about this.

      However…we came out of our rebuild a better guild. We took the opportunity to make some changes, and to clean house some. And I will 100% say that we are a far superior guild today than we were then. I might even go as far as to say those people leaving was one of the best things to happen to us, even if it didn’t seem like it at the time.

      But, I do have to agree, this guy had some brass kahones to approach us the way he did.

  3. The other day I had to pug a healer into my ICC10 raid, been actively recruiting for a healer, just haven’t had luck yet.

    Another member in my guild says, “You should see if you can get that healer to join us on a perm basis.”

    My response, “I don’t poach from other guilds. If he asks to join, thats one thing, but I don’t actively recruit people with a guild tag on their head.”

    “But you know they recruit from us, right?”

    Yeah … I know they do. But I hold myself to my own standard. Maybe some people don’t think its a big deal, but you know, if you poach someone and they _do_ end up joining you, you’ve just got a guild member who will leave to the next best offer. I’d rather get good people with goals that are similar to mine.

    • Great point. Just like the mistress who, when the cheating husband cheats on her with yet another mistress gets upset. What? You knew he was a cheater, what did you expect? Fidelity doesn’t come from people who allow themselves to be poached. Good for you for sticking to your standards.

      I wonder how the guild changes in Cataclysm will affect the way people recruit? Will it get worse or better or just different? Sorry, just thinking out loud.

      • You know, I don’t know what Cataclysm will do, but I suspect it will make it more difficult.

        Part of what makes it do difficult to recruit as a 25 man guild right now, at least in my opinion, is that there are so many smaller successful guilds, there are just fewer people looking for a new home.

        I can only imagine that this will be amplified with the homoginization that will be occuring in Cataclysm.

    • I feel a lot like you: if they are so quick to jump, what’s to keep them from jumping when the next best thing comes up?

      I’d much rather loyalty and a pleasant atmosphere over faster “progression” any day.

  4. People’ve tried to recruit me away (in one example, “want 2 transfer to my serve and run with my guild? were 4/12 ICC25 so weve gotten farther than urs!” /facepalm), but beyond suggesting a guild-merger, no one’s ever suggested recruiting me AND whoever else I can convince away from my current guild. That just sounds like desperation if they need THAT many people to the point that they aren’t picky about who a strange officer decides to bring along.

    I guess they’re just hopeful to find a guild on its last leg, about to fall apart, that they can absorb.

    • I know recruiting good players is hard. It stresses me out, and it’s only complicated further by the fact that *everyone* is recruiting.

      I have no problems seeking out an individual person that had posted they were looking for a guild, but never in my dreams would imagine approaching a guild the way this guy did.

      I can’t but help agree with you here, it seems fairly desperate, and while they are 11/12, I can’t but help wonder what their struggles are that they are looking for so many people and are trying to incorperate a large group.

  5. Nobody ever recruits me

  6. This brings up a subject which I believe is one of the biggest challenges to MMO guilds in the game today.

    How do you recruit talented players whose personality, goals and schedules fit those of your guild?

    I think what this guy has done is deplorable and wrong under any circumstances, but I think it is something we’ll see more and more of. In the business world, companies wouldn’t think twice about trying to recruit someone for a position that was working for someone else and unfortunately, the desperation of some guilds to recruit and progress is going to drive them to do this more and more.

    I almost think that Blizzard needs some kind of in-game recruiting tool for guilds so that prospective guilds and players looking for guilds can hook up more easily. The community forums have degraded into a mess and are unusable for almost any serious issues.

    How many players do you think are in guilds that are frustrated and would like to move to a better guild, but just don’t have the time or knowledge to do a good search? I can envision a website in the future like monster.com for MMO players and guilds to hook up more easily.

    • I would love something like Monster for WoW! Part of what makes recruitment so hard is simply that the tools that are available are largely terrible. Recruitment posts drop from the front page of the official forums within minutes. They don’t seperate LFM from those looking for a guild. It’s largely a disorganized and cluttered mess.

      Now, while I would agree that in the business world, competitors would wine and dine the competition, largely those people have put out feelers via a headhunter or discreetly posting up their resume. Although, I am aware that it’s not unheard of for companies to try to recruit away talent with promises of grander things…

    • If I recall correctly, EQ2 has guild info and recruiting status as part of their standard UI. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to request something similar (but superior!) from Blizzard. Alternately, this could probably be handled with an add-on.

  7. I really can’t get too worked up over the guy. The fact is, most guilds aren’t as awesome as yours. And at this stage of the game, a lot of guilds are dying. My previous guild was dying, so I (and other core raiders) suggested the 3 officers find a guild to merge with. Instead they started ineffectually recruiting, somehow thinking they were going to lure anyone after having fallen to the 30th ranked guild on the server. We had about 5-8 hard mode worthy players at the time (but were only 8/12 and 11/12 normal) and taking them into a larger guild and disbanding the rest would have been a perfect option if our officers could have gotten over their egos.

    So I left and joined a nice, relaxed, lower-ranked guild and ended up getting kingslayer with them a week or two later. After a couple of us left the first guild, there was a flood, and now there are few names I even recognize in the guild besides the officers. This wasn’t a guild that engendered much loyalty, even though I stayed with them for months longer than I should have myself.

    I’m guessing your recruiter dude was probably sleazy, yes. But guild merger solicitation is a two way street. An officer in a guild can proposition all the higher ranked guilds on the server, but maybe they don’t have spots for your core. And where do you go off server? That’s a wide net. So bigger guilds can see recruitment posts and go hunting.

    Ideally, the conversation is something like, “Hi, I see you’re recruiting. Some guilds aren’t having luck with that, so instead of completely disbanding I’m out looking to see if they’d like to join us instead. Not interested? Fair enough, good luck and have a nice day.” But since most players seem to be 12, we’ll never see something like that.

    The bottom line is, people on both ends do benefit and, at least in my case, those that wouldn’t have made the ride wouldn’t have lost anything, cuz the guild died anyway.

    • Discussing a “guild merger” is one thing. Asking an officer team to take a handful of their best players and just leave is quite another.

      Making the assumption that a guild is dying because they are recruiting a few players is just asinine.

      Forgive me for being defensive here, but I love my guild and work very hard to keep it going. There is NOTHING that is ok about what this guy did, on any level.

      • And even someone suggesting a guild merger can be suspect. That is exactly how my first guild deconstructed. An officer was approached by another GM, ostensibly to discuss joint raiding or even a guild merger, and arranged a meeting with our officers and our GM – who had to miss the meeting due to work. Then, at the meeting, this other GM simply head-hunted for his new 25-man team – no joint raids, no guild merger, just hey you raiders, you’ll get bigger shinies in a 25 man than in your lousy 10-man.

  8. On another note, your guild isn’t sacred just because it’s been around forever. In wrath I joined a guild that had been around since Vanilla, and last month it merged with another guild and made a third guild. Now, the guild it merged with was originally an offshoot of the first guild, with a healthy mix of drama llama and some recruitment in between, but there’s definitely a loss of identity in there.

    There’s no reason to get indignant and worked up about getting recruited for a merger. Just tell them you’re Fantastic and go about your day. :)

    • But we weren’t getting recruited for a merger. We were asked to leave our guild, and hand pick 3 or 4 of our best to go with us.

      HUGE difference.

      They didn’t want our guild, they just wanted our best players. That isn’t “merging”.

      And I will assume you didn’t mean to be as offensive as you came you came off with your first comment. I am damn proud of our guild, its history, and what we’ve survived as a guild. It is part of our history. I don’t think it makes us “sacred”, but rather it makes us survivors.

      I will also state there is a lot to be said for a guild that has been successful over two expansions…and two MMOs.

      • Many apologies for sound rude, I promise. I’d already written a wall of text and thought it was time to just post the damn comment as it had already gotten out of hand. Whenever I comment in people’s blog I suddenly see how BigBearButt ends up writing such huge walls of text.

        TBH I’m quite jealous of your guild; I haven’t seen anything like it yet in Azeroth, though I hear about cool guilds from various bloggers. I was thinking about applying, actually, but I’ve probably doomed myself already. :)

        I’ve hopped through a dozen guilds in wrath on different toons and few of them encouraged any loyalty on my part. I just hung around until they pissed me off and I took off. Reading the realm forums, I can’t say I’m interested in any of the top guilds on my server.

        It’s the bias of my perspective, but most guilds seem to be a ruthless means to a higher gearscore. If they want to go at it like wolves, so be it.

        You have a special island, so just toughen up that bark and /ignore the teenagers who come recruiting. If they poach some of your raiders, you probably didn’t want them anyway. Don’t get offended by what the kids do.

      • I think Beru has sworn off recruiting kids anymore hehe.

      • Ha. I suppose I deserve that.

  9. When our guild was crumbling last year, we had people poached by a particular guild. Our RL left and went to them first, then he basically told them who the good people were in our guild. They tried to convince me to come over (for weeks), which was partly flattering, but mostly infuriating, because I was fiercely loyal to my guild, and was constantly wondering how many other of my guildmates were being coaxed from under me.

    Unfortunately it is a very common thing, I’m surprised you’ve never encountered it before.

    • Wow…that sounds just awful!

      We’ve never encountered it before, or if we have none of our members have brought it up. It’s too bad that people think it’s an OK thing to do :(

  10. Yeah that’s sleazy. I’ve had players approached from recruitment officers for offserver guilds because of how well they were placing on World of Logs. The individual I’m thinking of thankfully didn’t go (although he quit for school about a month later) but I think the only reason he didn’t is because he joined us with a group of his friends that he’d played with for a couple years. It’s ridiculous that you need to be careful about what you have publicly available about your guild and your members because of such behaviour.

    I really wish that Blizzard would come up with a better way for guilds to recruit. It just seems like making changes to that aspect of the forums is so far down on their priority list that it’s not even a consideration. Horde Recruitment and Alliance Recruitment is outdated and basically useless. It’s not quite as bad as the single recruitment forum from back in the day, but it’s not much better.

    • They really do need to improve the guild recruitment system. It’s very lackluster and difficult to use/get results from.

      Man…you’ve now get me wondering if I want to move our WoL private! I can understand wanting to recruit talent but c’mon.

  11. When something like that happened on our server (Dragonmaw EU), there was drama. OH BOY DRAMA.

    Long story short – leaders of Pacifism (alliance guild, top 100, recently transferred to Dragonmaw) contacted leaders of Fused has Fans (horde guild, relatively recent on Dmaw, also around top 100) and asked them to do just that – pick 15-20 best players and faction change.

    And they did! And destroyed an established, long running guild that has survived server transfers, few years of summer slumps and such.

    You should have seen the DRAMA! The fireworks! The accusations! What I didn’t understand is the motive – both of those guilds were really well progressed, so it was like – wtf?

    But, Dragonmaw has always been a destroyer of guilds – none of the progressed guilds that came to Dramamaw ever survived. Now we are waiting to see Pacifism go up in flames.

    • Eep! Two guilds on the same server. I could see how that would be ripe with drama!

      I guess I just don’t understand the *huge* push for progression. What use is there to say “I got there first!”. As long as you get there, I think I’d much rather take the journey with like minded people that I enjoy playing with :)

  12. God almighty. That’s an immensly shitty thing to do – to say nothing of blitheringly *stupid* becuase how on earth would he expect to form a successful raiding team from a guild already foundering (since they are trying to recuit not individuals but the officer core of *other guilds) and the sort of soul-less immoral fuckwits who would cherry pick from their old guild in order to team up with a new one.

    GAH!

    • I am still a bit fired up at the audacity it takes a person to do it! And I couldn’t agree more, if your foundations are built on dis-loyalty…not exactly sure what you expect!

  13. As a resident of the Sen’jin server Alliance side, I find this disgusting behavior from any guild regardless of faction. Considering their status on the server I don’t see why they even need to poach people from other guilds/servers. That’s almost as bad as the guilds we’ve heard about paying a player with the Kingslayer title to transfer and join them just so they can do hard mode ICC and then try to claim bragging rights that they are in hardmode.

    My guild may not be #1 on the server, but all our achievements are of our own hard work and we are a crazy band of misfits that struggled to fill our 25 mans and now carry a roster of about 28-30 and are now 9/12 (regular mode). But we got there on our own efforts as a team.

    Seems Mr Cnoctem there doesn’t know the meaning of the word team or the true sense of the word guild if he’s looking to tear good ones apart.

    • Well, the only thing that I can think of is that they are trying to push HM LK and perhaps are pushing a bit hard and attendance is drooping from that. As I understand it, that is happening to a lot of guilds right now that are in that position.

      However, while I empathize with the position that they may be in, I can’t condone their recruiting methods.

      Oddly enough, I believe I know exactly which guild you are referring to in first paragraph ;)

  14. That guy was a dirtbag looking for fellow dirtbags IMO. It’s a sad and hateful thing.

  15. While this kind of thing can get to be a pain. The only reproachable side to the story, is how he went about it. This kind of recruitment has been happening since long before any video game, and is, for some, the only way to get the kind of experienced members they’re looking for.

    You might say its a underhanded thing to do, but only because you have yet to have to do it. Its the players choice, has not a thing to do with indecency or disloyalty, if the players don’t want to go, they wont. If they do, they will.

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