Our guild has always been small. Since the start people prefered a small guild where everybody knew each other and could playing in good company. Keeping a friendly and nice atmosphere was the key.
This also was the guild's weakest point. Replacing people who stopped playing or moved to other more active guilds was always hard. And when we thought we had some good people they either got tired of the game or worse: once they got enough epics hopped to other guilds, where they wouldn't be accepted unless they had that gear. So tired of being a trampoline for guild-hoppers we decided to shut down recruiting.
Also allying ourselves with other guilds didn't went well. Our alliance with Sempher Fi was good, but once they did a very active recruit campaign no longer needed our help (and also most of the active raiders moved there too. Even I was wondering to move at least one char there at the begining of Wrath). We tried with other guilds during TBC and things were horrible. First runs were great, then suddenly started sending unprepared people, alts lacking gear... so relation was cut.
All of this made us shun the idea of recruiting openly, but the guild was really dying. When you don't even have enough people online to make a full-guild dungeon run, you're in trouble. Action was needed, action that required to take risks and face again possible guild-hoppers or getting troublesome members. With the implantation of the Looking For Guild tool we decided to give it a shoot and test our luck.
I wasn't expecting much from this. First because our reputation as a solid raiding guild was gone and I didn't know if the reputation of a nice guild to stay was still up, since old players in Hellscream are longer gone or already settled in their guilds. We had a decent guild level (15 when we started the LFG experience, 16 right now and soon 17) so this was a good point for us, but I also thought it could bring more bad experiences than good ones, since all unguilded people would be looking for the highest level guild possible just for the perks. So I was expecting to get a lot of low level chars petitions, just for the perks.
So far I'm surprised the exprience has been very positive. Yes, most of the people requesting an invitation are low-mid level. But we've had several requests from 70+ and 80+ players. And the best thing is that people invited is behaving well (so far!). A good portion of them are either alts of experienced players, who are trying a new class or old time players that have returned to WoW and felt lost in a world that has changed completely, not only physically, but also the char specs, the guilds they knew... everything. While most of them are very silent (usually they say hi when logging in and few words more), others have started being very active, talking to old guild members, bringing other alts, running battlegrounds and dungeons. The Guild breathes again, with new blood pumping through its veins, and it's very refreshing to log in and see more than the 3 or 4 habitual players you could find before. It's very nice to see now more than 10 people online at the same time, even if only 3 or 4 are 85s. It's just a matter of time to get enough people ready for high-end instances... and who knows, even raids again.
So thumbs up for the LFG tool. But it still needs several improvements imho. Some of them may be achieved right now by using a plugin called Recruitment Enhancement, but they should be implemented by Blizz:
- Show if the petitioner is online or not. This is very important. I'm tired of going through the list of requesters, clicking the Invite button just to get the message "char not found".
- Add checkboxes to perform mass invitations. Select the desired players and click Invite. Voilà!
- Add a button to send a mail to the character. The Send a Message only sends a whisper, and if the player isn't online (something you don't know unless you check it previously) it's useless.
- Add filters to recruitment, like minimum level, specific achievements, minimum gear level, specific spec (i.e: you need a disco healer, a blood dk, a survival hunter, etc), minimum resilience or honor points, etc. This will help hardcore guilds who look for specfic and experienced players.
I'm sure we'll see some improvements like these soon.
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