A Guide for New Guilds to Successfully Recruit Cohesive Members

This post started as a reply to a post by Melanya on the Guild Relations Forum titled Advertising.

I believe the best thing you can do to promote your guild for the purpose of recruitment is entirely dependant on what you want your guild to be. So the first thing you need to do is identify Who We Want To Be and What We Need To Get There.

Who We Want To Be and What We Need To Get There.Edit

If you want to make a fun guild of friends who go beat up on mobs in 5-20 man instances you're going to have an entirely different recruitment processto a PvP or hardcore PvE guild. So the first thing you need to do is work out what you want your guild to turn into.

After you've identified Who We Want To Be you move onto the process of recruitment. At this point you should be able to work out what sort of people you want. It's important you don't just go recruiting anyone and everyone because you're trying to build a functional and cohesive guild. No matter what type of guild you want, you'll always want people to get along with a minimal amount of drama. If you're recruiting everyone, you'll soon end up having people with different goals and ideologies from your own. You also need to be aware of other recruitment issues which are going to save you having other problems down the track, as such I would suggest thinking about the following things:

What sort of people do we want in the guild:Edit

  • Hardcore 10 hour a day raiders?
  • Great community people who want to kick back and chat?
  • PvP players with a desire to hit HWL?
  • Casual raiders who can afford 10-15 hours a week?
  • ... or combination of the above.

How many people do we need:Edit

  • MC, BWL and AQ40 all require a minimum of 40 hardcore raiders to keep pushing content. 55 is usually considered optimum to give people time off.

The more casual your playerbase, the more people you need to get the minimum amount of people for an instance at any time. Casual guilds often run at 80-110 players for the above mentioned instances. Having more people requires training more people, so you'll generally progress slower with 80 people than 55 people.

Some guilds are small and full of friends and tap out around 10-30 people. They often join with other small guilds to run the 40 and 20 man instances. Also they often have a PvP focus.

There are also many Zerg Guilds out there, which have a huge amount of members (usually 200+) that somehow manage to keep together despite dramas. In a sense they reach a critical mass at which their recruitment sustains the losses they suffer from the inherant problems with that size. These guilds can actually be great fun and can allow exposure to a lot of players, but they can also be very hard to manage as a guild leader.

What class structure do we needEdit

For 40 man's you'll need at least 3 of everything. For 40 man raids many people suggest a minimum of 15 healers.

Some fights also are made a lot easier with a specific amount of certain classes. Some examples from the earlier endgame instances would be Garr and Moam (3-4 warlocks), Major Domo (3-4 mages) and many fights were 3+ tanks are needed like Hakkar and Tony the Tiger. So eventually instances you want to run will drive your recruitment.

Dedicated Main Tanks are important because having them equiped is going to make your life easier. You don't want fickle players as your main tanks if you want to make progress. You'll want atleast 3 good main tanks in the medium-term to deal with MC, ZG and AQ20. In BWL tanks suddenly have to really step up comparatively and this is a block for a lot of emerging guilds.

Always having enough heals is important. While some fights require certain amounts of other classes, every instance run needs its share of Priests, Druids, Shaman and Paladins. Especially priests. On that note be careful of the priests you recruit because it's a class (along with main tanks) that has high burnout.

You know you need more of a class when you don't have enough of them constantly signing up for raids. Even if you have 30 shaman, if only 2 are dedicated (or if 25 are alts) then you'll need to recruit more of them.

One skilled and dedicated player is worth his weight in gold. If you have a couple of these people you might be able to do without extras in that class.

As you gear up, your requirements in the lower endgame zones will become more fluid and there are always alternative strategies you can try to get past mobs you don't have the right class structure for. However it's worth noting that the common strategies are common because they're efficient, easy to learn and their effective. Don't make life too hard for yourself just because you're short a warlock.

What timezones and commitment do we need from membersEdit

You'd be surprised how many times I hear about guilds having a mass-exodus of players because the raids were starting to late or early for East Coast or West Coast players.

Will you recruit members from outside the USA? I'm from Australia and my guilds been very good about accomodating our times, but at the same time it's always been the case that the Aussies and South Africans in our guild have to do the most shuffling. If we don't like that, we need to find another guild.

Do you have a minimum amount of hours you want people to raid a week?

Are there times you need people available, like Friday nights, Sunday afternoons, or some weekday evenings?

If there are times you and your core members play alot, that's a good time to be looking for members to recruit. If you're on holiday and playing during the early morning regularly for a week, don't recruit the people who are only on between 1am and 3am unless they understand your guilds raid times.

Do you have an age requirementEdit

Do you talk smack over forums and ventrilo? If so then you need to consider the ages you're recruiting. Mommy's going to pull the plug on little Timmy if he starts talking about how Razorgores a real arsehat.

Times people can play are influenced by their age too. School holidays see's recruitment go up and Finals see's guilds dropping in size. Also people who work 7am-9pm at tough jobs are going to be more likely to burnout if there's a weekday commitment in your raid times.


After you've thought about all that junk you'll probably start realizing what the best way is to go about recruiting people. For example a zerg guild doesn't have to be fussy about who it takes, so methods like spamming ingame channels, allowing a lot of your member invite people and posting recruitment messages on the forums are valid methods. If you did the same thing while wanting you make an elite PvP force, you'd have many members quitting within a week, undermining your recruitment.

Getting to RecruitingEdit

So finally we come to the advice about things you can do to get more members. Everything here is tempered by the ideas above. For the most part though I think these are pretty inclusive ideas about how to get more people. Just remember while reading these that it all comes down to

Word of MouthEdit

In WoW there is a limit to the amount and type of advertising you can do for your guild. Because the realms are big and there's always some guild that someone else thinks is better (many of these people are more than happy to inform you of their opinions) your guild can easily go unrecognised through-out the community. What you can do is get the word out there about who you are and what you are about. People will come to you if they think your goals and their needs can work together.

Retaining MembersEdit

Getting people to signup is relatively easy. Making people stay is another thing entirely. If you recruit people under false assumptions about your guild, they'll drop you faster than you can say "We're using ZeroSum DKP."

Practical Advice for RecruitmentEdit

Here's my list of things you can do to generate more interest in your guild and recruit the right people to make a succesful guild. Please remember that not all of these things apply to all the guilds out there. Most of this is aimed at newer guilds trying to compete on well established servers with existing guild structures. So take it all with a good dose of criticism and use what you want to make your own decisions about how to start making teh ub3r guild!

Be seen in the gameEdit

People can only join a guild they know about. Obviously if you're around more and your current members are more active then you'll be exposing your guild name to more people. More than this though, try to be where the sorts of players you want to recruit are likely to be. Be active in the activities on the realm which are services by those players.

Be a voice on the forums and in chat but always keep to your primary guild ethos and character. If you're into raiding, then chat about raiding with people. If you're a PvP guild, then be talking smack with the other PvP people. It doesn't matter if the people you talk with are guilded, this is about generating interest in You and The Guilds.

Always remember: People will judge the guild you are in by the actions you take.

Play with the type of player you want to recruitEdit

If you want to start a new guild from scratch with mostly new-to-60 players then you should be hitting up Dire Maul, Lower and Upper Black Rock Spire, Stratholme, Scholomance and Black Rock Depths. If you're PvP based then spend as much time as possible in battlegrounds. If you're end-game based then head to Silithus and meet the people who are grinding for rep there.

Always be looking for people to group with, guilded or not, to generate more positive word of mouth. Generating a reputation as being good at what you do goes a long way to getting people to come to you. When people know what you're about as a guild then they'll be more likely to come to you seeking a guild with shared values.

This also means you need to be available. If you're in a battleground and someone asks you to come on a run with some potential new recruits and you're guild has a PvE focus, then get you need to leave battlegrounds and join the group. Meeting people is half the battle.

Get a support teamEdit

Appoint some people to become recruitment officers. You don't need to define the position if you don't want too but you do need to get people actively performing this function. The amount of people you give invite priviledges too is going to be variable with the type of guild you are and the people you have in your support team. Whatever you do make sure you've got some people who you trust around you to help you make decisions and to help you recruit.

You can't be everywhere in WoW and, as I said above, you need to get your name out there. Recruitment officers (or whatever you want to call them) can help you spread your influence. You want motivated people who are enthusiastic about the Who We Want To Be element of your guild in these roles.

Additionally these people can help you setup things like websites, ventrilo, looting systems and all that other stuff that guilds do. Remember that recruitment is an active process when you startup your guild. It requires time and energy to get to the point where you don't need to advertise anymore for potential recruits. The more like-minded and suitable people actively persuing that goal, the more success you'll have getting there.

Be honest with peopleEdit

If someone asks about joining your guild, make sure they know what they're getting into. If you have a lot of people join your guild under the pretense of you having a 200 man ventrilo server and a website with a bazillion features and you then fail to deliver on them, you're making backwards progress.

You can't have a functional and cohesive guild without players who share goals with you. Make sure that when someone asks you about the guild you let them know politely what your guild is about so that they can decide if the guild is right for them. If they don't make the right decision about that they won't be around for long and they may generate a lot of drama and bad feelings when they leave, not to mention they may take other members with them.

Be picky about who you recruit Edit

The people you recruit are going to be representing your guild. They're going to be the people that advertise your guild for you. If you've got a bunch of knobjockey's who can't speak english without inserting random numbers and capitolizing every second vowel, then you're advertising yourself as a guild of 13 year olds who ZOmGPwN7 in pvp.

Satisfy yourself that the people you recruit meet the standards for the guild you want to create but also be flexible and not to quick to judge. If you only have 2 priests and just can't seem to get anymore, then it might be worth leveling, gearing and training up some level 56 shadow priest who at least seems to know how to play.

Some of the best recruits might seem wrong at first. You can always run a recruitment trial with them before inviting them. Many guilds have an On Trial membership position to give people a shot and work out if that two-way relationship between Guild and Member fulfills the needs of both people.

Even if you're a zerg guild and will take basically anyone you need to be careful about who you tag. If you sell your guild to a group of raiders and they join your zerg guild on the assumption you're running BWL 15 hours a week, when you're not, you might be in for a big spam of hate in the forums and on the channels in game. Weigh the risks when recruiting people and keep everything on the plate so people know what they're getting into and you shouldn't avoid most of those problems.

Always remember that first decision you made: Who We Want To Be! Don't be afraid to change and mutate you guild over time but make sure your members will be able to deal with these changes, otherwise it's exodus time again with all that negative karma-drama. All that gets spread by word of mouth too.

Let it be known you're recruiting Edit

Most people will be more likely to approach you if they think you will consider their application. Be careful about how you let people know that you're recruiting because people can easilly get the wrong impression. Raiding players often won't want to join Zerg Guilds. With that in mind, if you're a raiding guild you don't want to be using: /1 Incredible Guild of Power is now recruiting all races and classes! PST for invite! as a recruitment method because that's just going to turn off the people you want to recruit.

Most newly formed guilds will recruit from the people they play with. If you run an instance with someone and they seem a great person, then tell them that if they're looking for a guild you'd love them to join. Be on the lookout for players who fit your guilds style and talk to them. Tell them to mention you to any like minded friends they have who are looking for a new guild.

You can post on realm forums and in public channels as well as IRC and other public boards but remember to define Who We Want To Be and not mislead people. Consider saying how many people you're looking for and of what class in such posts. Include information your guild, this stops you wasting your time from applicants who don't fit your style and they time for applying to a guild which doesn't suit them. Here are 2 example forum posts to demonstrate the difference:

Forum Post 1:

Subject: Incredible Guild of Power is Recruiting!
Incredible Guild of Power is now recruiting all classes. We're a fun guild who wants to do endgame instances.
Send a message to an IGoP officer ingame for more details!

Forum Post 2:

Subject: IGoP: Limited Recruitment for EndGame Raiding
Incredible Guild of Power is looking to recruit 5 Priests and 3 Paladins to help us progress further in Molten Core. We also currently have limited recruitment open for other classes, my contact details are below if you'd like to enquire further.
IGoP is looking for people who can raid for around 2-4 times a week for 5 hours, mostly on the weekend but with some weekday raids. We'd like experienced players but what we need the most are people commited to help us progress into new content.
Our guild has a great website with forums, profiles and eqdkp. We use ventrilo and can help you set it up (Mac's too!), you don't need a mic but we will require you to listen in during raids. For loot we're using a zerosum DKP system. You can see the website for more details.
If you would like to apply please visit our webpage. If you have any questions you can whisper or message Icon ingame. Feel free to enquire in this thread as well as I'll be keeping my eye on it.
Thanks for your time,
IPoG Recruitment Officer
Contact Info
Ingame Recruitment: Icon, Fred, Jane, Eris
website: email:
aim: IconFromIGoP icq: 37645972525

The second forum post is going to get you more accurate responses from people. It demonstrates who the guild is, what it's looking for and tells you alot about the character of the guild. You can feel free to use the basics of that if you like or you can craft something more suited to your own guilds style. The point to take from this is that the second example communicates the guild's ethos strongly and isn't likely to just be passed over as guildspam.

Keep your current members happy and enthusiasticEdit

If you lose the members you've just recruited, or the ones you've had since the beginning, then you're losing the recruitment game. Every member of your guild is an asset not only for raiding but also for recruiting. They wear your guilds name like a walking billboard.

You need to keep making progress even if recruitment is slow, if that's what your guild expects. In the early stages of raiding life you might need to try organise something with another small guild to get some more momentum in zones like ZG, AQ20 and MC. Keep working on getting out there into the game and having fun through whatever means you find. It's vitally important.

A happy and enthusiastic guild, even a small one, is in a prime position to expand their numbers. If you're guild members are meh about the current state of affairs they're not going to be putting in 110% effort to improving the guild. They're bad billboards and other people will notice and be turned off.

Conclusion Edit

So that's it. Way more than I originally intended to post but then again, I think it's mostly relevant. As you can probably tell I think your best shot is to just go out there and play the game and be active in the community.

People in MMO's who are likely to join guilds go out and look for guilds to join. They are presented with a multitude of options and one of them, that a lot of people enjoy, is being there to help build a guild up from its roots. Those are the first sorts of people i'd be targeting and trying to recruit. Many hands make light work as they say.

Good luck with your guild recruitment.


Some links that may help you in making the right decisions for recruitment.


Recruiting ToolsEdit

Guild Recruitment - Alliance Forum Guild Recruitment - Horde Forum Located on Blizzard's official World of Warcraft website this is a decent place to see and post guild applications. As an alternative you can visit your particular Realm Forum. For those a bit slow off the mark, you can navigate your way there using the forum menu system.

Warcraft Realms Character History Search Engine From Aleksandar: "I only recruit guildless people that I come across in-game. Before I even say anything to them though, I'll run their name through [the search engine]. This shows their history in regards to what guilds they've been in. If I see that they in a different guild every other week, I won't even bother talking to them."

World of Raids Recruitment A well-done service provided by World of raids, focused on helping match raiders to raiding guilds that are recruiting.

Looking for Guild

Recruit Gamers

Wow Matcher

Wow Lemmings

Wow Headhunter

Recruiting AdviceEdit

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App

World of Warcraft Recruitment: How to Get Good Results

Additional Advice and CommentsEdit

Don't Oversell or Be Pushy Cordella: "Another piece of advice might be to avoid overselling- there are lots of players who will become hostile to a guild just because they tell you all too often that they're recruiting. You don't want to annoy potential recruits, you should, like you mentioned in your guide, be focused on playing with them and showing them your stuff in action."

Poaching and Recruitment On Servers With Stable Populations Angela contacted me via email with some specific questions that came as a result of being on a server where it was very hard to recruit people. Specifically she wanted to know how to get more people interested in her guild without poaching them, and how to convince the non-guilded people to give her guild a go when they seemed to be waiting for entry into a servers uber-guild. Our dialogue is linked in this forum.

This is a copy of some correspondence between Angela and myself regarding this document. She had some specific questions which I think might be useful to other people, especially those who are having a hard time recruiting on older server.

Everything is used with permission.

Question: Small guilds want to stay small-guilds, and almost every 50+ is dedicated to these small guilds. No one wants a merger, and the alliance that we are working on is somewhat inactive. I don't want to poach people from other guilds, but it appears that's the ONLY way people can possibly get larger guilds.

The guild I'm in was full of people under 50+ for 2 months too. We're not 250+ unique accounts and we're happy at that level, we hit 320 accounts at one point but we've shrunk since then to a size we find manageable.
I think what you need to focus on is working with what you have and making those people into the most enthusiastic, active and fun people you possibly can. Like I said in the guide, the best advertisement for new people are the members in your guild. I agree with your assessment of the situation when you say the only realistic way to get new members is to get them from other guilds. The sort of people who join guilds, well they do just that, they get in guilds! So on older servers it's not really surprising that targeting the unguilded members of the server isn't very rewarding.
However that doesn't mean there isn't a large portion of the population on your server who aren't in the *right* guild yet. People change guilds all the time and it has nothing to do with poaching. Poaching is the act of specifically trying to recruit people who are guilded. It's extremely different to what you need to be doing, which is being such a great group of people that when someone thinks "bah, i don't want to be in this guild anymore" they think about the times they've run zones with you and they decide to join your ranks. This is why I talk in my guide about making sure people know that you have do have some type of recruitment policy. I ran a zone the other day in a pug (pick up group - non-guild members) and 3 of the guys were from the same guild. During the run they told me if I ever wanted to join another guild they'd love me to consider them. I didn't feel poached. There was no active attempt to take me from somewhere I was happy, they were simply letting me know that I was the sort of person that they think fits into their guild.
So be open to the idea that most of your members in the future are going to have a background with another guild. Be open to the idea that you can be polite, inviting and open to taking those people without putting the shackles on them and tempting them to join your guild when they probably are happy where they are.
You just need to be available and desirable. :)

Question: Unguilded people all want to start their own guilds, or all want to join the 1 uber guild on the server. The uber guild is pretty much full, so they just sit around without a guild tag, waiting.


Again this is something I can agree with and understand your frustration at. However my suggestions above hold true here. It takes a lot of people a while to work out actually what it is they want in WoW, and what they want does change over time. If there are unguilded people who are sitting around waiting for the uberguild, they're being stupid. You don't get into the uberguild without experience and gear, that's how it works most of the time. Those people are going to start wanting to enjoy the game after a while. They're going to start wanting to hit new content. When they do, they go looking for a guild. If you have interesting, fun people and if your guild has a focus on the things they want to be doing, then they're going to want to join your guild and they're going to fit right in.
I guess I'm cautioning you to be patient in a way. It's better to have a guild of 20 people who really love playing with each other and share goals, than those same people being in a guild of 40 when the other 20 people aren't sure they really want to be there and have very different ideas about what a guild should do and what its focus should be.
If you're happy and you focus on hitting 60 and starting to run the high level zones and exploring the game, you're going to find that more people come to be in alignment with your goals. Be a good roleplaying guild, have a good sense of identity, but also play in the World of Warcraft where killing Ragnaros is an incredible goal for a new guild, that requires dedication and skill. That can be a part of every guilds eventual agenda and it's a great way to get people motivated to new things.

Question from Melusine: When recruiting, I think your guild's members are the best recruitment tool. However, rarely does anyone in my guild start groups or initiate recruitment. I'm the only one!


I think there is a difference between Officer members and the normal members. One of the things you may be looking for in Officers, if not all members, is a pro-active nature. If you're guild is being held together by your energy then without you, it will fall apart.
Try to talk to your members and officers about being pro-active. Make sure their not afraid of talking to people and making decisions. Get people attuned to the idea of going out on runs with new people if that's what you're looking for.
Always the first thing to do if you're looking to have your guild focus on something is to communicate with the movers and shakers who actually get things done.

Question: Some people join other guilds on big raids, which is fine- but in a way, it hurts our recruitment. "Um, sorry, our (keyholder/certain class that's needed) is in Zul Gurub right now.. I guess we'll just run Scholomance.." What sort of participation in our own guild activities should I expect? 1 raid a week? 2? Nothing?


As I mentioned in the main guide, setting your requirements and expectations of guild members is something you need to do early on.
It sounds like you're in a position where your guild members want to do a lot of PvE activities but you don't really have enough members to easily sustain the amount of raiding some members want to do. I think you might want to talk to your guild about re-prioritising. Try to make them enthusiastic about going out and hitting up the end game content. If you start encouraging people and they find that their efforts have some rewards, they'll soon begin to focus on your raids instead of other guilds.
You have members who have needs and you have a guild which needs direction. If you provide that direction by promoting and appointing some pro-active and motivated people to officers, talking to everyone about your short and medium term goals and start to shake things up so that people think "Right, lets do this!" then I think both of your above problems will begin to disappear.
Just be careful not to displace your more casual members. That's the fine line :D


This guide was developed entirely by Icon and the people credited within the post. This is a faithful reproduction of an 08/24/06 web page save of the original post, except for some minor formatting changes due to the requirements of the new forums. I deserve no credit for the creation of this guide.

Contributors Edit

  • Written by Icon - Bloodscalp Server
  • Contributing authors:
    • Anaea- Aerie Peak
    • Evol - Akama

Original Post: Guild Relations Forum