Seri sez: How to Apply to a Raid Guild Without Looking Like an Idiot

September 19, 2008

(An updated version of this article for WotLK can be found here.)

As the Priest Class Lead for 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 Sunwell are they? How long has it been since they had a new boss kill? Have they completed the ZA timed event? 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 or are impressed by their level of progression you’ll make a good impression.

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 T4 Priest that desperately wants to see Sunwell before Wrath? With the expansion looming on the horizon, a lot of folks are trying to get into current “end game” content before everyone moves on to Northrend. 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. The 2.4 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.

Do not ever, under any circumstances, apply to a T6 raid guild wearing the 3-piece Primal Mooncloth set.

Once your gear is in order it’s time to give it a little polish. You should have the following enchants for your helm, shoulders, cloak, chest, bracers, gloves, pants, boots and weapon:

  • Helm: Thrallmar/Honor Hold Healing Glyph (Revered Reputation required.)
  • Shoulders: Aldor/Scryer Shoulder Inscription (Bonus points for the Exalted version.)
  • Cloak: Subtlety
  • Chest: +15 Spirit
  • Bracers: +30 Healing
  • Gloves: +35 Healing
  • Pants: Golden Spellthread (+66 Healing & +20 Stamina)
  • Boots: Boar’s Speed
  • Weapon: +81 Healing

When it comes to gems, use the best quality gems that you can afford. If you have badges to spare (or a trust fund to tap), socket epic-quality (purple) gems. Otherwise, use rare-quality (blue) gems. Do not ever apply to a raid guild with uncommon-quality (green) gems or empty sockets.

Pre-Sunwell, there are really only 3 stats that Priests need to worry about when it comes to gems: Spirit, Healing & Intellect. Intellect is a somewhat distant third; the only time you want to consider socketing an Intellect gem is for a set bonus. (Usually an orange Healing/Intellect gem for a yellow socket.) Do not socket mp5.

Did you catch that? Allow me to repeat: Do not socket mp5.

If you have any mp5 gems leftover from pre-2.4, you should replace them. 2.4 went live in March, you’ve had plenty of time! Slacker.

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.

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.

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 “MH” if you PUG’d a Rage kill once, or if your previous/current guild couldn’t get past Archimonde. Reviewers appreciate your honesty and candor, so try to be specific. Your reputation with associated factions will usually betray you if you embellish, and We do not appreciate it.

Caught ya!

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 (and un-equip your Riding Crop!) 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 T6 variety:

  • Exalted with Cenarion Expedition, Sha’tar & Aldor/Scryer. (Also desirable for T5.)
  • Possession of a 2m PvP trinket. (No, you need not log out in it, just mention it on your app somewhere.)
  • Completion of the old BT attunement chain for your Shadow Resist necklace.
  • Possession of Shadow Resist gear or materials (with or without Hearts of Darkness) to craft it.

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


  1. I love this post. I really, really do. It’s so… hot looking! Keep writing. Seriously. If you don’t, I’ll keep pointing traffic at your OLD posts to motivate you to write NEW ones.

    I’m partial to cookies when people apply. Its how I fast track certain players over others. But that’s just me.

  2. Great post. ^_^

    While I think this post is really aimed towards applying to higher end guilds, a lot of these points can be useful for applying to any guild… armor as buffed as possible, good grammar and information on the application, don’t lie (it becomes really obvious when you lie…)

    Another blog on my must-read list. ^_^

  3. Hey, not really about this post, though I am in the middle of apping myself out. I just have enjoyed this blog so far and wanted to congratulate you guys on getting it going, and wish you luck.

  4. Nice job, good blog

  5. Love it. Going to link it on our applications forum. I have lost count of the number of times I have said ‘you seem to have mainly pvp gear, whats your pve gear like’ or ‘i notice you are shadowstep atm what pve build do you have gear for’.

    Can I add one thing – know your stats and caps. If you apply to a t6 raiding guild as a warlock with 10 spell hit questions are going to be asked. State what your hit etc are and if its not capped you want to explain why and what you are doing about it.

  6. Hooray for your blog! Also, now I can finally apply to the big-boy guilds for raiding!

    Wait, you want me to raid _how_ often? Doh. Ok, well, I’ll enjoy the lovely blog anyway.

  7. @ Matticus — Thank you, sir! Even were I not a big WoM fan, your feedback has been invaluable to us both. 🙂

    @ Crutchx — True, that. But we may take our game a little more seriously than others. 😉

    @ Frazzle — Good luck with your guild search, there are a lot of great ones out there.

    @ Hippocratic — Thank you!

    @ Akandra — Link away, and you’re absolutely right. Good catch!

  8. @ Nim — Well, you can’t fault a girl for trying. Thanks, Nimmy!

  9. I think your post is very helpful, but I do have one criticism.

    My guild is a firm believer in skill > gear and so it has been known to take people in greens because they impressed a guild member in a heroic or what have you. For high-end guilds, gearing someone up really isn’t a difficult process, so I strongly disagree that someone shouldn’t try apping in the primal mooncloth set. As long as it’s enchanted and gemmed in a way that shows knowledge of the class and has a well-written app to go with it, there is rarely harm to giving it a try and apping anyway.

  10. @ Ava — A valid point. There are exceptions to every rule, but IMO the time you spend farming mats and cooldowns for PMC is much better spent grinding badges for the Gown of Spiritual Wonder. But even then… yes, exceptions. I’m willing to grant them. When I was writing this post, I was thinking more of folks that hold on to PMC way too long. Every now and then, though, you’ll come across a diamond in the rough. Thanks for your input!

  11. Pretty decent set of rules but 2 minor nitpicks:

    1.) When we look for applicants, it’s a mixture of gear AND skill AND personality. While you cover some things that are good – making sure that you’re honest, yourself and adequately try to explain your skill is also important. Skill/personality overrides gear as long as the gear they have shows a requisite understanding of their class. Same with spec. Intelligently explaining your choices on both fronts does well as well.

    2.) Big raiding guilds don’t always have egos and if someone posted an app with glowing praises, I’d smell bullshit.

  12. @ Aislinana — Agreed, personality is also a factor. However, all the personality in the world won’t make up for a lack of core class knowledge displayed in spec/gear/gem choices. Nonetheless, I have been known to be a little more forgiving to those who are personable and eager to learn, embracing my teachings as gospel. >.>

    In all seriousness… yah, I could have mentioned personality a bit more in the ‘write a good app’ section. Thanks for your input. 🙂

    As for raid guild egos, I respectfully disagree. All raid guilds have egos. All of them. Having an ego is not a bad thing; it’s about being proud of your accomplishments. Does that mean their reviewers will be snowballed by vigorous blatant brown-nosing? Heck, no. But a candidate that has done their research and can say ‘Hey, congrats on that recent guild first’ will always win more brownie points than the candidate that asks ‘So how far are you in Sunwell?’

  13. […] talking about instance trash. This is actually a bit of a tie-in with Seri’s post about apping to a raid guild. It was prompted by problems our guild has faced in the past with new recruits, so I wanted to […]

  14. […] Pretend You’re Applying For Real This means you need a good few things. Many of these I stole borrowed from Seri’s Guide to Applying: […]

  15. Just taking a look through the blog. Very nifty. ^^ Though I did have a couple questions about certain things, as I’ve been known to be a nitpicker once in a while:

    Enchant suggestions – Boots: Boar’s Speed
    Why Boar’s Speed? I understand Stamina is needed for some fights, but 12 Sta would be a more advantageous enchant if Stam is an issue, whereas the speed increase of Boar’s is negligible. IMO, Vitality is shmexy, and a Magister’s Armor Kit (LW) works well too. Granted, a healer need not gear for MP5, but I would think 3 or 4 MP5 would be more helpful than 9 or 12 stam and an unnecessary speed bonus.

    Spec for PVE: Do not have [list of PVP talents]
    99% of the time, true. Though if a guild is working on a caster boss with a raid-wide spell (i.e. Naj’entus; hey, we were all there at one point), it may not be a bad idea to keep Spell Warding in there. While my guild was breaking into T6 content, I tossed imp Renew and Healing Focus (although I doubt a healer would do exactly the same switch) in favor of Spell Warding. This meant I was only taking 7650 damage vs. the raid taking 8500, which could mean the difference between taking the extra time to heal me or throwing a spine a few seconds faster (saving HP regen on the boss). Additionally, and perhaps as/more important, Taking Spell Warding means SR gear need not be as strong. My SR gear with my buff adds up to 313, which is not the cap. But with Spell Warding, it’s equal to the cap. That’s a pair of pants I never had to buy/farm the mats for. And we all know how busy and broke raiders tend to be.

    I don’t mean to sound more knowledgeable by any means, so I do hope I didn’t give that impression. Just trying to offer other ideas on a couple things I noticed. Overall, you guys are now one of my home pages. 😀

  16. @ Ninaske – I’m not as fanatical about Boar’s Speed as other CLs I’ve worked with, but I can’t deny that for high mobility fights (things like Archimonde & Supremus) even the smallest of speed boosts can make quite a difference. Even when it comes to things like moving out of AOE (*cough* Council *cough*), a little extra speed is helpful. It won’t make up for poor reaction time or lack of situational awareness, but it will at least get you out of danger just a hair faster. I would never turn down an applicant or laugh at them if they didn’t have Boar’s Speed, but since we do require it for our raid group I would mention it in the interview and gauge their willingness to adjust.

    Regarding PVP talents… sure, there are always going to be exceptions. What I would expect is for a candidate to acknowledge in their application that they DO have some non-standard stuff in their spec and explain why. If they picked up Spell Warding for learning Naj… ok. That’s fine, but if I see Spell Warding in a spec I’m not going to assume it’s temporary due to raiding needs. I assume it’s a PVP spec, and get annoyed. This post is all about keeping your reviewer from getting annoyed and making the best impression you can.

    Thanks for your input! 🙂

  17. I may have simply missed this, but while doing your homework, make sure you carefully read any FAQ or similar page the guild publishes to the outside world. You will look less like a fool if you know what the folks from the guild are talking about.

    This is also true once you’ve gotten in as a recruit. You will most likely get access to more data from the guild. Please take the time to read anything you find: raid attendance, loot rules, boss strategies, etc. .. Don’t be that clueless person nobody wants along.

  18. @ Endas – Good catch! Your comment reminds me of a post I read a while back on Chick GM. Went through the archives and dug it up: http://www.chickgm.com/navigating-the-initiation-period

  19. […] I’m a lazy item enhancer.  Seriously, Seri wouldn’t approve my application.  Sure, I gem my gear, enchant my weapons…  I’m all for useful bonuses.  Cloaks, […]

  20. […] Although the degree of finesse you exercise in extracting yourself may seem less important if you plan to transfer servers, regardless of where your new guild is located making poor choices about how to handle the situation can come back to bite you in the ass later. After all, recruitment officers do research. […]

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