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Seri sez: How to apply to a raid guild without looking like an idiot. — WotLK Edition

March 19, 2009

As an officer of my guild, I’m pretty actively involved in recruitment. Not only do I canvas the ‘net looking for candidates when we need them, it’s also my job to review the applications that come in and mark them up with my little red pen. Although sometimes even the ones that look good on paper don’t work out, if you have a bad application you’re not going to get a second glance.

You may not be applying to my guild (if you want to, e-mail me an armory link–ha!) but every guild has a gatekeeper; if you want the keys to the kingdom, you need to put your best face forward. Don’t worry, gentle reader, I’m here to tell you how.

Before you apply…

1. Do your homework.

How much do you know about the guild you’re applying to? Do you know the GM’s name? WowArmory will tell you that. Do you know how they rank on their server for progression? How far into current raid content are they? How long has it been since they had a new boss kill? Have they completed Sarth 3D? WowJutsu will tell you that. How long have they been around? WarcraftRealms will tell you that. Do they have a good reputation on their server? Make a level 1 alt and ask around.

This is more than just peace of mind when it comes to applying to a raid guild. Raid guilds have big egos, and if you can subtly stroke their ego by saying you’ve heard good things about them (assuming you have) or are impressed by their level of progression (assuming there is something to be impressed about) you’ll make a good impression. However, with that said… don’t go overboard. Most reviewers won’t be snowballed by vigorous blatant brown-nosing.

2. Dress to impress.

First, evaluate your gear. Is it on par with the level of content the guild is running, or are you a bit behind? Before you rush to the head of the line do whatever you can to improve your gear.

Sadly, Holy Priests cannot really use PvP/Arena gear to fill in gaps the way other classes/roles can because it is so weak when it comes to mana regen. Badge gear, however, is awesome and having even a few pieces of it if not all of it demonstrates to the review team that you’ve put considerable time into gearing up and are dedicated to improving your gear outside of raids.

Once your gear is in order it’s time to give it a little polish. You should have good enchants for your helm, shoulders, cloak, chest, bracers, gloves, pants, boots and weapon. Jov posted a great guide to enchants here: Jov sez: You’ve got the gear, now what? (Part 2)

When it comes to gems, use the best quality gems available. Right now, that means blue-quality gems. Do not ever apply to a raid guild with uncommon-quality (green) gems or empty sockets.

Jov posted a great guide for gems too! You can find it here: Jov sez: You’ve got the gear, now what?

3. Spec for PvE.

Don’t apply to a raid guild with a PvP spec. Talents like Martyrdom, Improved Mana Burn, Blessed Recovery/Resilience and Spell Warding really don’t belong in a raiding build.

If you routinely swap between specs for PvP, Raiding and Questing/Farming/Dailies, try to stick to your Raiding spec for at least a day or two after you submit your application. Alternately, instead of (or in addition to) linking directly to your armory profile, provide a link to your preferred raiding spec in the Talent Calculator of your choice.

With the advent of dual spec, if you frequently swap between specs you should definitely consider sending a link to a talent calculator build. Maybe even one for each spec in your arsenal!

When you apply…

1. Write a good application.

Answer questions as completely as you can. Use punctuation/capitalization. Avoid “133t speak.” Use carriage returns. Format your response so it is easy to distinguish your answers from the questions; don’t just put a space after the question and start typing your answer unless you’re going to use color tags to make your reply distinct.

Be sure you read through your answers after you are finished. Run it through a spell-checker. Make sure you didn’t skip any questions while you’re at it!

Don’t be afraid to toot your horn a little bit, but try not to come off as overly boastful/arrogant. Your application may be the only chance you have to sell yourself, so make it count.

Last, but not least, let your personality shine. Most guilds are looking for more than skill and gear; they also want to know if you will be a good fit for their guild culture.

2. Don’t pad your resume.

Most reviewers can smell bullshit a mile away. When listing your raid experience, don’t pretend you have more than you do. Avoid making blanket statements for instances you haven’t cleared–don’t claim “Naxx” if you PUG’d the spider wing once, or if your previous/current guild couldn’t get past Sapphiron. Reviewers appreciate your honesty and candor, so try to be specific. It’s also important to make a distinction between your 10-man raid experience and your 25-man raid experience.

Your gear will usually betray you if you embellish, and We do not appreciate it.

After you apply…

1. Log out in your PvE/Healing gear.

Once you’ve submitted your application, make sure you log out in your healing gear while your application is pending. Reviewers will be accessing the armory to look you up, probably several times, and they don’t really care about your DPS/PvP set or your RP clothes.

If you want to cover your bases, you can always use a tool like CharDev or WarCrafter to save a gear profile you can link to in your application.

2. Follow up, but don’t turn into a stalker.

Don't be a stalker!Different guilds have different review processes, but if you don’t hear anything at all for 3+ days after you submit your application you’ll probably want to follow up. The best way to do this is in-game via whisper to an Officer or via Private Message on the guild forums. Do not whisper an Officer or the GM during a raid! If you can’t seem to catch them outside raids, then PM (or even in-game mail) is probably the better way to go. When you do talk to them, see if you can find out how long the process usually takes and when you can expect to hear back. Beyond that, try not to make a nuisance of yourself after going through all the effort to make a good impression. These things do take time, and if you feel it is taking too much time (or if a better offer comes along) you can always retract your application.

Bonus points!

Ok, so now you know what you can do to avoid looking like an idiot on your next raid application. You might be wondering what you can do to stand out from the pack–trust me, if you do all of these things (or even most of them) you WILL stand out. However, for the over-achievers among us, here is a brief list of things that will win you bonus points with reviewers of the T7+ variety:

  • Exalted with Sons of Hodir.
  • Possession of a 2m PvP trinket. (No, you need not log out in it, just mention it on your app somewhere.)
  • Possession of a (maxed) crafting skill that gives you a significant stat bonus for raiding. (Inscription, Jewelcrafting, Enchanting and Tailoring all have self-only perks that are pretty spiffy.)
  • Honesty. Got a weak spot in your gear? Own up to it, and say what you are doing to fix it.

Have any other tips to add? Horror (or success) stories to share? I’d love to hear them!

(Big thanks go out to all of the folks who commented on the original draft of this article back in TBC. Your feedback helped me to improve this version while I was updating it for Wrath!)

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18 comments

  1. Thanks, i think about to translate it into german and stick it in my application-forum ^^


  2. Really sound advice. I was in a raid guild for a year and we all saw every app that came in. 90% didn’t get through the door. It has as much to do with the app’s attitude as it does gear and what the guild needs.

    If the guild doesn’t need anyone, you are probably SOL. We denied dozens of great people just because we had full rosters. So do your homework there.

    If you have a bad attitide, forget it (this shows up when people ask questions about your spec and gear. Always say “I did X because I think Y, but I’ll try what you said and see if that works better” (and then do that)).

    If its a guild on-server, you are best off doing PUGs, forming friends, getting to know people in good guilds. What really stands out is when a guildie said “i puged X with them and they were pretty good”. If you had an off-night, they are going to use that judgement and say “don’t take this guy”.

    The more I get into the real world the more i see how getting into a guild is alot like getting a job, its a relationship with the guild but you also get in 80% of the time through knowing someone.

    Most importantly, make sure you and the guild are a good fit. That’s a huge part of the application. In my guild, we tend to make off-color jokes (not racist or anything, just dirty i guess you could say). That’s how the guild is, and if you are easily offended, you just not going to fit in.

    Make sure you can raid when they say they are raiding. If you can’t do the 3 nights a week they are raiding, why are you bothering to apply?

    Also if you are looking for a top guild, make sure like Seri said that your gear matches their progression. People who are doing T8 raids are not going to want to have you come in heroic gear, your dps will be half of what it should be. Run Naxx PUGs, even if they are painful, get that gear. Run Vault when you can. Run the daily heroic. As dps it’s hard to get gear, but its doable.

    Top guilds make you burn through money like crazy. You are expected to flask on everything, even naxx10. Bring consumables, etc, basically everything you can to increase your performance. Everyone else is doing int, why shouldn’t you. Don’t expect the guild to fund anything for you. In my old guild we had 30k in funds, but it was deemed that the raiders needed to farm for their own consumables.

    Know what you are getting into. Top guilds run 3, 4 raids a week, 3-4 hours each. That’s all that plus your dailies to bring in enough revenue to cover repairs and consumables. When you get a piece of gear, people are gonna want to see you get it gemmed and enchanted with the best enchant asap. Don’t be stingy on epic gear, it really shows your attitude.

    Speaking of attidue, lastly don’t be intimidated by the guild’s attidude. So what if it’s the best guild on the server. They have bad nights. The thing about top guilds is that they are willing to spend weeks in game and out learning strats, memorizing, gearing up their char as much as possible, so that you get to the raid, everyone is on top of their game, and your performance is maximal.

    If you are in a point of your life where you can’t devote all this time to raid, don’t apply to a hard-core progression guild. They are going to want 3-4 hours 3-4 nights a week, un-interrupted. Sure, stuff happens but generally if you are in the raid team but not raiding, then you are taking up a slot for people who can raid and are willing to do all of that.

    We never used to kick people because they couldn’t show up, but often people were alted if they only make 1 raid in 5 (for example if 26 people showed up, the alt would have less priority). We only kicked people on the spot if they were a poor match for the guild ideals and doing asshat behavior. If they turned out to be true idiots then they were benched. This happens alot. I heard it over and over ‘players who don’t perform will be benched’. This has as much to do with not dying than what your dps actually is.


  3. You definitely have to make an effort on your application. We had someone apply with something very similar to “I’m a rogue, I’ve done Naxx, armory page here, lol.” When he whispered an officer two or three days later to find out why no one had responded to him the officer told him that they were putting as much effort into his app as he did. He withdrew later that night and we’re a-ok with that.


  4. @ jedimax – That’s fine with me, as long as you credit it as my work. :)

    @ Rob – Great supplemental info, thank you!

    @ Dueg – Hah, that’s awesome.. I’ll have to remember that one.


  5. Hmm, just had an apply like that a day or 2 ago.
    “I’m a mage, 17 year old boy, I’ve done naxx, and I’d like to get into Ulduar.”
    Errr… Ok, but not with us you wont, I told him he has a change to clean up his apply otherwise he’ll be declined (he will be anyways but hey xD).


  6. Oh but causing a wipe becuase you whispered the already easily distractable recruitment officer just as they pull 4H is FUN and a GREAT way to be recruited!

    (Yes, that did happen and yes, I recruited him anyway. :P)


  7. Pointing out an alternative here, but if I were in a raiding guild, one of the things I’d look for if someone wasn’t exalted with Sons of Hodir would be if they’re a scribe – Inscription’s shoulder enchants are way better, and Sons of Hodir isn’t necessary to be at max.


  8. One thing I’d like to point out is the advent of achievements. Pre-BC and during BC, someone could certainly say they were one of the (unfortunately) many people who raided as a casual member of another guild in respectable content, and never received much in the way of gear on-par with the content they were doing. In LK, you have a few options in this case.
    A.) Speak with their former guild, ask or validation.
    B.) Give them the benefit of the doubt.
    or
    C.) Take advantage of LK’s new developments! Check their achievements, see if they have credit for the content they’ve claimed.
    An added bonus to the achievement addition is the fact that guild ranking is no longer dependent on gear (and WoWJutsu is now unreliable because of that), but rather achievements held by the majority of your guild. On my server, one of our top guilds (cleared 25m 3D OS) is ranked 3 spots behind one of our friend-guilds that hasn’t cleared 25m Naxx or 25m Maly as a guild, but the members do have gear from some of those fights due to PUGs or guilds they were previously in. The alternative: Wowprogress.com, achievement-based ranking. Enjoy.

    Also, you are very valid in saying reviewers can smell BS a mile away. I recruited a guy about a week or so ago after he told me he’d cleared all available raid content, including 25m 3D Sartharion. Red flags came up during the course of the ensuing discussion, which I hope I haven’t been the first to notice with this player:
    1.) He spoke with great conviction that the 25m version of 3D Sartharion is the most difficult fight in the game. This is not true. The 10m version is more challenging, ask anyone who has had the experience of it.
    2.) He was in PVP gear every time I saw him around. And his spec had some (but not all) PVP talents. He explained to me that he doesn’t wear his raiding gear outside of raids, because “people try to ginvite me too much”. When I asked to see it, he linked me several items that did not bear enchants or gems. (Go Go Gadget AtlasLoot)
    3.) When I finally decided just to check his achievements (I’d been holding out, trying not to be too cynical until I had to be), I lolled. A lot. This guy hadn’t even cleared all LK instances, and had only 2 heroics under his belt.

    The verdict was obvious.


  9. Some Notes:

    -You rank gear very high
    -my experience tells me that understanding of the game mechanics, anticipation and all the stuff that passes as “skill” beats gear all the time
    -social / soft skills count even more
    -you hire the “player”, not the “toon/avatar/char”
    -you can gear someone up in no time, but you cant educate someone in 3 weeks
    -we once needed a shaman for our 25 man raid and decided to have a well known member (with a overabundand and at that point useless char) level one up and geared him INSTEAD of hiring someone


  10. @ Ganymeda – If I placed a lot of emphasis on gear, that is because it belongs there. What is the first thing that a reviewer is going to do when they’re finished reading your application? Look you up in the armory. Heck, some reviewers will do it before they finish the application. Or even before they *start* because they don’t want to waste time on someone with obvious indications of being a moron. Skill doesn’t excuse bad gear choices. In fact, bad gear choices are indications of *lack* of skill (or, at least, indications of lack of knowledge and/or dedication.)

    Is gear the only factor? Heck no. Is it a factor? Heck yes, especially if you are applying to a guild where no one can speak for your skill and/or integrity. You have to get your foot in the door, and gear is a very important factor.

    Might things be different for an in-house applicant? Sure. You can make a lot of exceptions if you’re dealing with a known entity.


  11. -Very- important. While the point is out there that gear doesn’t make the character, it certainly does, you know… help. Some guilds may be happy to take a player with a good attitude and solid skillset into their fold and help them grow gear-wise, but when we start talking about six-minute Maly, Immortal runs, or Sarth3D, that really isn’t an option.

    Especially if the person is a healer or tank.


  12. Gear surly is very important – the whole game revolves around gear -.
    I understand that “gear” ist the very important first impression but social skills are not to be left out.
    The first question i have in mind if someone who seems to be a) skilled and b) well geared is:
    Why the heck does he want to chance guilds? Is he a guild hopper? Did he buy the char of someone? Was the char powerleveled? Account stolen? Guild Drama?

    We once hired three guys from a different server, from where the willingly transfered. Two weeks later we had serious guild drama. The guys were very skilled and well equipt. And the wanted to take over our Guild in some way. The knew everything better or different and all the stuff.

    Well geared and skilled players with good social skills are so very rare on the “transfer market”, that you have to stick to applicants who are lacking in some department.
    All i wanted to say is: If you have to take players who are lacking in some area, take the ones who are lacking in gear.


  13. I don’t think ranking gear that high is unfair, though, and while it won’t tell you if the player is a social fit, it can say a lot about the player.

    I’ve seen people app with the highest level of gear with vendor bought gems, with the most basic of enchants (+5 health to bracers FTL), with no idea of how to gear their character or what upgrades are appropriate for them. Those same people are usually the same ones who show up without reading a strat, who lol die in a fire, and who usually have significant play style problems. Not all, and sometimes there is a logical story behind those things, but when you’re apping and haven’t put thought or care into the things the raiding guild will be looking at, it says something about you as a player. And not a good something.

    While gear isn’t everything, having taken my newly dinged 80 healing priest into Naxx 10 the other night with subpar gear (they were aware, but it was that or call the run), it was definitely a lot harder to do because my stats were low. Skill allowed for us to get through content most of that group hadn’t done – but gear would have made it a heckuva lot easier. My rosary got a work out on more than one fight.


  14. I wish everyone who App’d to my guild read this. Its not hard to show your semi serious about the game. It always makes me cringe when I see someone app with out gems/enchants, or has a horrible spec.


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