Monolith is now exactly one month into our 25 man progression raiding. In that time we’ve done really great things, including killing all 12 normal mode encounters and seeing our first hard mode at 9%. For a guild with our focus, I happen to think that’s pretty good. However, like just about every guild out there, we are also recruiting to fill open raid slots.
Now, one of the things I’ve always been pretty pleased with is that we have fairly low member turnover – and rarely does someone ask to drop off of our raiding roster for anything other than real life conflicting with raiding. And 95% of the time, those that do move away from our raiding ranks continue to spend their time in WoW in our guild. However, with this expansion, I have found recruiting to fill those few spots we have open even more tedious and troublesome that I had previously.
The first problem that I’ve faced is quite frankly the quality of the applicants. To be fair, we aren’t snobs when it comes to looking for new talent to add to our ranks, but we also are looking for someone who is ready to step up to the plate with little coaching and be able to at least hit a double. The second problem is finding applicants who want to truly commit the time it takes for progression level raiding (yes, even though we aren’t pushing for rankings it is still a commitment). I can’t even begin to tell you the number of applications we get where people apply indicating that they can only make half of our raid times at best.
And that doesn’t even address the biggest challenge, which is being on a mid/full population release server with average progression. Trying to recruit on server only just isn’t an option, because the talent on the server is very tapped. Yet trying to get server transfer applicants (or any applicant, to be honest) to submit a parse of their performance is almost impossible. Which in turn makes trying to evaluate the skill of an applicant a game of Russian Roulette. Hell, I even added a “How to make your own WOL parse” into our application to see if it increases the number of parses we receive.
As I have been dwelling on recruiting for some time now, and I’ve seen the slews of other guilds – both 10 and 25 – also having difficulty filling their gaps, I started to wonder if my recruitment woes were only a symptom and not the problem.
What do I mean by that? Well, I can’t help but wonder if the true crux of the recruitment problem is that there are too many guilds. I know that people felt it was bad back in Vanilla that if you wanted to raid you basically had limited options on where you could do so, and often times that meant playing with people that you just couldn’t stand. Many times there were just too few options to chose from when it came to guild matters.
This problem was alleviated somewhat when with the release of TBC and raids being culled back to a 25 man size. Guilds split, other guilds formed, and the net result was that even though your choices were still somewhat limited – you nonetheless had more of them. When Wrath of the Lich King released, offering a 10 man raid offering for every zone, many guilds felt some strain on recruitment as many players opted to just stick with a 10 man raid setting. This started to decrease the available pool of applicants that were looking for a guild, putting more strain on finding quality applicants to fill open raid positions. While I believe this may have been felt more by 10 man guilds in this expansion, 25 man guilds were not without their struggles as well.
Enter Cataclysm, and Blizzard’s plan to equalize raiding between the two class sizes. I do not think I am wrong when I state that the start of this expansion saw even more 10 man guilds spring up than in Wrath of the Lich King. In fact, I’d almost go as far as to say that the number of 10 man guilds on my server doubled, and that might be an understatement. So where there were once maybe 20 guilds actively raiding – there are now 40+. And while I think that it is fantastic so many people are now into the raid game, I can’t help but wonder if having so many guilds isn’t an overall detriment to raiding as a whole.
Where in Vanilla, you could say that guilds were too thick and not plentiful enough, I can’t help but wonder if in Cataclysm guilds are too bountiful and the player base as a whole has spread themselves too thin. There are a finite number of players on each server, and in the game. This also means that there are a finite number of players to fill open raiding positions. And while the number of players subscribed to WoW did not drastically change with Cataclysm, the number of guilds that are raiding – and subsequently recruiting – did increase significantly.
So now what I ponder is what happens when you can’t recruit to fill your open positions? I would think that a 25 man guild has a little more leeway in this, being able to host a slightly larger roster than a 10 man, but the end result is the same, if you can’t recruit, you can’t raid. And that is likely going to destroy a lot of guilds – and believe me when I tell you that recruiting is the hardest boss you will find in WoW.
What I see as the problem, is that there are too many guilds and all of them are looking for more players to fill their ranks. I don’t think anyone can deny that it was a lot easier to fill your ranks when there were only a dozen or so guilds on your sever competing for progress. Players who wanted to raid when look at those guilds and fill the ranks accordingly. But what happens to this process when there are 40 guilds, all looking to bolster their ranks?
Not only is that a problem, but you also now have your talent very thinly spread between a larger number of guilds. All guilds have their “superstars”, and what makes “royalty” guilds unique is that every player on their roster is a superstar. Ideally, the more equal the player base of your progression roster is, the easier you will work through content together. When you look at your logs you want to see a giant block of DPS and heals – not staircases when you can clearly differentiate skill drop offs. And let’s be honest here – no one sets out to recruit the guy that can’t out DPS your tank. But when the community and player base as a whole has spread themselves increasingly thinner, doesn’t that skill get increasingly spread out as well?
I honestly don’t think that recruitment is any easier or harder between the two guild sizes, I think that recruitment in general is just very difficult for everyone right now. And I tend to think that the heart of the problem lies in the fact that there are just too many guilds. Personally I don’t find that having too many guilds is any better than having too few guilds was. No, I think it is likely equally as bad if not worse.
So that brings us to our next question, how do we work around the too many guilds problem? And sadly, I’m not really sure I have an answer. I suppose one very Darwinian answer is to hope that your guild can outlast others so that you then have the potential to try and absorb some of the talent that was just released by a guild without the same fortitude that yours has. Of course, I’m not really sure that “hope” is a strategy that I want to rely upon. I’m more of a “you make your own destiny” type of person. But I honestly don’t know that I have a good solution to the problem. I suppose we will just try to recruit vigorously to continue to fill our roster.
What do you think? Are there now too many guilds? Do you feel that too many guilds causes problems? Do you disagree with my assessment that too many guilds is even an issue in the context of recruitment or otherwise?
P.S. Oh, and by the way, I would probably be remiss if I didn’t mention somewhere that we are currently looking to supplement our raiding roster with 1 Holy Paladin, 1 Ranged DPS and 1 Melee DPS. http://www.monolithwow.com