Something that I read with regularity is advice on how to successfully complete a guild application. You know the things that you should, and should not, put in your application to give you a better chance at successfully earning a trial spot with a guild. However, I don’t often see any feedback on what you should do once you have made it past the first step (applying) and are actually in the guild.
Since (like all guilds) we’ve had our fair share of trial members this expansion, some who worked out well and some who didn’t, I thought that maybe I would offer some feedback on things that people look at when evaluating a trial in an effort to perhaps help people avoid some of the pitfalls that trials make.
Things that are Important
One of the things that our guild, and I imagine many others, puts a huge weight on is if you fit in well with our raid team and guild. You could be the best player in the world, but if you don’t mesh well with the other players in the guild chances are good that you aren’t going to make it. It’s always going to be hard, and a little bit nerve-wracking, to come into a group of strangers who may have known each other for years. It’s never any fun to be “the new guy”. But there are a few things that will certainly help you along the way:
- Know the environment you are going into and adapt accordingly. If the guild advertises that they are largely working adults who want to have fun in a relaxed environment, and you pop into guild chat and acting like their 10 year old kid who had a case of mountain dew for breakfast it’s probalby not going to make the best impression.
- Take some time to observe. Everyone will always have different mechanisms for dealing with being uncomfortable, and frequently being overly chatty is one of them. Be an active observer and see how other people in the guild interact with each other.
- Introduce yourself and your personality, but don’t try too hard. Make an (appropriate) joke if you see something funny. Add your thoughts to a topic of conversation in guild chat or class channels. But don’t make conversations all about you. Keep in mind that until people get to know you off color or ambitious commentary may not be interpreted the way that you meant it.
Take the time once you are guilded to ask questions on things that you don’t understand. Whether it’s a certain guild policy or raid strategy for encounters that you haven’t seen before or used a different strategy with another guild. Leaders like to see trials be proactive about understanding things better. It’s far better to see if someone has a few minutes to talk to you so that you can ask “how do you guys do this” than to wipe a raid because you didn’t know and didn’t ask!
First impressions are important. Being prepared with knowledge and consumables are important! Your actions will often speak louder than your words, and if you show up without a flask or proper potions it’s not likely to impress anyone! If you arrive at a raid and say “I’ve never seen this before, what do I do here?” people are going to wonder why you didn’t take at least a little bit of time to either a) educate yourself and b) ask questions outside of raid times to make sure that you were ready!
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
During your application process there is a lot of “selling yourself” as a player. You study up on your class. You know all of the changes. You never stand in the bad. You are very competitive in your role. But in the end, once a guild has decided to take a chance on you, you’ve got to be able to back up all that talk with performance. When you are in raids, focus on your performance (which includes far more than just putting up big numbers!). Because in the end that is ultimately what you will be evaluated on.
Own Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen. We aren’t robots, nobody is perfect. However, how a person handles a mistake will say a lot more about them than the mistake itself. Admit that you made a mistake. Communicate what that mistake was, and how you are going to fix it going forward. And then, of course, fix the mistake! Actions will always speak louder than words, and not repeating the same mistake will mean a lot more than repeatedly making the mistake and promising to fix it.
Pitfalls to Avoid
With all of the things that are completely nerve-wracking about joining a new guild, there are some pretty easy pitfalls that you can avoid!
It’s Not All About You!
When you are having a conversation with someone, especially in a new environment, remember it’s not always all about you. It’s completely OK not to have anything to add to a conversation! Don’t feel the need to pipe in just because you think you should. If you don’t have anything to contribute, it’s more than OK to just sit back and listen!
Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick
If you’ve been extended a guild invite, chances are good that you’ve already sold yourself. There is no need to advertise to the guild how awesome you are. We will see it soon enough. The more you try to convince us that you are the most awesome thing in WoW with your words, the more likely we are to question why you are trying so hard to prove yourself with talk. Generally this will not do you any favors!
If you are on time, you are late!
This little phrase was heralded to me as I was growing up. But it’s served me well in life! Be sure that you aren’t late to raids! And if you are late, be sure to let someone know why. Just not being online at raid invite time, with no other explanation, leaves people just scratching their heads wondering what’s going on and doesn’t make a good impression on your reliability in the long run.
Know your Audience
There is nothing worse than telling a joke and finding out that you are the only one laughing. Until you know where the lines are drawn in your new home, you should be extra careful not to cross them. inadvertently offending someone isn’t going to change the fact that you offended them and will likely not leave a positive impression on the person that you offended.
Make the Most of the Raid Time you See
As a trial, you may not get 100% raid time. This is probably fairly common. Your new teammates want to see how you are going to perform, but on some high-pressure encounters they may not be quite comfortable enough with your as a player yet to have you participate. Alternatively, on a boss that they just started killing, they may not want to ask full members – who put in all of the work to learn the boss – to sit out until they get the opportunity to see a few kills and reap the rewards. It doesn’t mean that the guild hates you! Or thinks that you are doing a bad job! However, be weary about complaining about the raid time that you see in your trial period. Trust that your time will come, or privately talk to your raid leader about getting a chance to show you can handle “boss x”. Being flexible and a team player is equally as important as any other aspect of your trial!
Loot is Fluid and Infinite
There will always be more loot. If it drops once, it will drop again. I can think of no way to show yourself to the door faster than to complain that you didn’t receive loot. Especially as a trial! It is quite common for trials to be ineligible, or have limited eligibility, for loot during their trial period. Guilds want to grow as a team, and want to know that each of their players will be respectful of each other, especially with something as trivial as loot is concerned. A trial who openly gripes over loot in their trial period isn’t likely to make a good impression on many people.
I cannot stress this one enough. You will be most natural if you just be yourself. Don’t try to be what you think the guild wants, just be who you are. In the end it will be easier for you to integrate into a new group of people if you are comfortable. The best way to be comfortable is to just be you. In the end, if it turns out that person and the guild don’t mix, it’s fine! But it would be better to learn that during your trial period than 6 months down the road.
Finding your place in a new home is hard. It’s how you deal with the challenges that face you that will always define you as a person. Hopefully you will find some of these tips helpful! And if you are part of the recruiting process for your team, and look at different things, feel free to add more!