Tips for applying to a guild as we move towards Cataclysm

With a new expansion rolling around a lot of players out there are looking for new homes and putting in applications to new guilds in order to make a new start for themselves. As a guild we are also in a situation where the end of expansion burnout has claimed whomever it may, and we have strong plans (and a good core) to move forward. These two situations work well for each other because it creates this perfectly symbiotic relationship where we need each other.

Having read a number of applications over the past almost 6 years and having seen quite a variety when it comes to the detail level within said applications I feel like there’s a few things that need to be covered. I’m not going to sit here and be a preachy arse because I’m not that elitist, I’d rather focus on constructive thoughts and talk about what we (and many others) look for in an application.

Before we even get into content let’s talk about the basics.

Spelling – I’m not going to say that typos will get your application denied up front because we all make them and not all of them are caught with a spell checker (believe me I know this first hand from my blog). Keeping your application mostly clean means you took the time to write your response in software that has a spell checker and double/triple checked your work. Avoid using any net speak or childish abbreviations like “ur” (your) or “healz” (heals).

Links – Most applications will request some form of Armory link, UI screenshot and if available a World of Logs parse. Please double check the link supplied so there is no unnecessary confusion. I have seen youtube links where a character armory link was supposed to be and while I thought it was amusing at first it didn’t help the application any.

Format – Keep things clean and organized and while I’m very bad at this myself, add paragraph structure. Some questions require a lengthy answer with multiple sections (past guild history, raid experience, and class familiarity for starters) and need some structure to keep them readable.

Re-Read Every Question – Please read the questions carefully and make sure that you are giving the answer intended by the application. If a question asks you “Is there anyone on the server we can speak to that can vouch for your play abilities and character?” Don’t just answer that with “Yes”. Similarly don’t answer a question with “I don’t know what you’re referring to here”.

Now that we have the basics covered let’s move on to the technical questions.

Computer Specifications – I am the first to admit that I do not understand the difference at a glance between motherboards and CPU’s though I have a grasp on the relative strength of graphics card setups. What I do know is where to get this information, which is important for both supplying this information of a WoW guild app as well as any form of technical trouble shooting on your PC should the need arise. Become familiar with your System and Device Manager windows if you haven’t already.

Ventrilo/Microphone – These two requirements are self explanatory however I would recommend that if you have a microphone please be willing to use it. I know some people are shy about your voice and you may even sound like the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, but raiding requires communication and you need to be able to acknowledge on Vent or make calls as needed. What a microphone is not a license to do is be a blabbermouth (trust me, been there done that and its not a good idea).

UI Screenshot – If your UI is a giant cluster of poop that only you would know how to navigate with a map and compass then you will probably want to clean it up and turn off some addons before submitting a screenshot. People are going to be judgmental, it’s how it goes, so if it looks like you play in a mess of numbers and superfluous information then some might think a little less of you.

Keybinds/Keyboard Turning/Clicking – I’m not trying to sound like a WoW PSA but if you Keyboard Turn, DON’T. Or…at least don’t ever admit that you do it on an application. The same thing goes for being a clicker. You might very well be a savant and be able to click/KBT fast enough to hang with the big dogs but I guarantee you that to some players it makes you look like a special child on a short bus. I’m not trying to sound mean…its just that a lot of veteran PC gamers come from a long lineage of high intensity FPS twitch games and the thought of anything suboptimal for control will grind their gears. For that reason some applications WILL require you to clearly show your keybinds in your UI screenshot. You don’t have to be that player that keybinds every spell you will ever use in raiding, just have your core spells that you use often and anything emergency related. A red flag would be a mage who has all of their combat spells keybound but Iceblock is way over on the right action bar out of the way. I would recommend that you at least look into utilizing the following keys (not necessarily all of them): 1-5, Shift or Control + 1-5, Shift or Control + Left Mouse button, Mouse Buttons 4,5,6 if yours supports them, Q, E, R, Z, and X. I’m not saying I have all of these utilized at the moment but these are some solid examples of what you can map actions to.

Let’s talk about having a little Class! No not class mechanics but actual class.

Many applications will ask you a couple of straight forward personal background questions and give you some opportunities to express yourself as well. These questions include but are not limited to topics such as “Past Guild Experience” “Reason for leaving past guilds” “Prior PvE experience” “References” “What do you want from us as a guild?” “What do you bring to the table” “Tell us a little about yourself” and “Why did you choose us as a guild”

This is a category that I have no clear cut advice for and a lot of the onus is on the applicant. As far as guild history goes I know not everyone is an angel or perhaps you are a reformed player who had some rough patches in the past. If you did leave guilds in the past on poor terms just try to be honest about it or perhaps just list this grievance in a very formal and nondescript manner. Your application is all about putting your best foot forward and that best foot might very well be a promise of reform. While not necessary references are extremely useful so please pick and choose them carefully. While it hasn’t happened recently there have been times where someone uses a reference who was less than ideal and actually gave a bad recommendation. The more open ended questions that have to do with what you’re looking for and a self description serve multiple purposes. Generally a guild is looking at whether or not you’re a troublemaker, lootwhore, or entitled casual as well as using it as a literacy and English language check. If English isn’t your first language (and I know it isn’t for many WoW players on American servers) please have your proficiency at a level where you can interact with your guild (should English be their primary language) on all levels, be it boss strategy, calling out information on Vent, or written discourse without someone having to translate for you.

Class is the hardest metric to evaluate and different guilds have varying thresholds they are willing to tolerate. My guild for example tries to put class as an exceptionally high priority. We try not to allow anyone in that trolls in any fashion or has been known to cause unnecessary friction in public groups/events (if we can help it of course). I know we are not alone in this mentality though as many other guilds out there feel the same way. If you are horrendously foul mouthed, sexist, and love to troll and make others in WoW feel awkward or insecure then some guilds will not be for you. Be aware of the mentality of the guild you are applying to and make sure your sense of humor is going to work. If you have had a sordid history of trade chat trolling (or other grievances) of the Nth degree and plan on reforming your ways I highly recommend that you say so lest it be held against you further.

Knowing your role.

Provided you pass all of the other hurdles and answer each question correctly, ultimately you will be heavily judged on the class familiarity questions which tell the guild a lot about how you play. These questions vary from guild to guild but often you will be asked some if not all of them so lets run down a checklist of sorts.

Please describe your rotation(s) and when they are applicable – You are expected to know if your class has a unique play style or rotation for multiple scenarios. You should be able to clearly outline what you do, when you do it, and most importantly why you do it. For DPS this could be as straight forward as “This is my single target boss rotation” and “This is my multitarget or trash rotation”. For healers this is a much more weighted question and it delves into your awareness-level and how you adjust your healing to suit the encounter. As a healer be prepared to talk about your spell choices at a very detailed level. There is no metric to evaluate a healer as healing meters are largely irrelevant, as such guilds will rely on your spell choices and logic to understand your inner workings.

How do you keep up to date on the mechanics of your class? – Again this is a weighted question. There are two pitfall answers in my opinion, the first being “I read up on MMO-Champion” and the second is “I read the EJ Forums”. While there is a massive amount of theory on the EJ forums and it is indeed a fantastic think tank it should not be the be all and end all of your class understanding. There are so many resources out there and fantastic blogs/community sites that offer very real and very useful information and should not be ignored. Show that you have a desire to really get into the meat and potatoes of your class and pull your research from multiple sources.

What do you feel you bring to the raid as your class/spec? – This is more of a flavor question than anything else. Understand the strengths of your class and in what situations you shine the most. On a fundamental level you should also know what raid buffs you bring and what classes that they double up with. As a balance druid for example you might want to talk about your understanding of how to incorporate Typhoon into raid encounters such as Saurfang or Lich King as well as the strategic use of Cyclone in raid encounters. Perhaps you might discuss the usefulness of Starfall at grabbing some initial snap aggro on multiple add spawns such as Vile spirits. These are just some very quick examples and I think you’d probably want to think about it more yourself but always make sure your answer is intelligent and to the point.

Why did you choose your spec? Why did you talent the way you did? – Be willing to defend your talent point choices. If you made some outside of the box decisions you probably want to go through them point by point and discuss the benefits versus tradeoffs that come with. Talk about the usefulness of each major decision that you made and in what aspect of the game they will help you. A completely fictitious example would be something akin to “I chose to take this talent over this other one because I felt that X% of single target sustained damage outweighed Y% of multitarget damage”. Often times this question is just checking that your mentality suits the class/spec that you chose and that should your spec differ slightly from a cookie cutter build you have good reason for doing so. Including something akin to “Well, my old guild needed a healer so I re-rolled and I’ve been stuck that way ever since” doesn’t scream “I love healing and I will be a kick-ass healer for you!”.

In the end…

A guild application doesn’t need to be as serious business as a job application. We are all gamers and we all are just looking to have a good time. Look at your application as a way to introduce yourself and tell the guild about you. You want to come off as someone who is familiar with the game, intelligent, coherent, literate, and fun to hang out with. In the end it is a social experience that is guided by how well you get along with your peers and how successful you are at taking on content. Be reasonable with yourself about your level of play and expectations. If you are applying to a hardcore top 100 raiding guild make sure you can handle the stress and the schedule. Every player needs to find a guild that really suits their play style as ultimately that is what you are looking for.


So, good luck and stay classy! *wink*



3 responses to “Tips for applying to a guild as we move towards Cataclysm

  1. We have a very detailed, and somewhat lengthy application for our guild, and part of our evaluation process is quite frankly if the applicant took the time to thoughtfully craft responses to all of the questions, or just started phoning answers in towards the end.

    I can’t tell you how many applications don’t ever make it past the “initial” review stage and into the guild review simply because people don’t want to be bothered to take the time to fill it out properly. And, frankly, that says a whole heck of a lot about a person in my opinion!

    All of that being said, I actually may steal a question or two that I read here and went “oh man…that’s a pretty good question!”.

    • Heh thanks i’m glad I could help. I’m 100% in agreement with you though on simply filling out the application as a whole. The motto that my guild mates often use is: “We’ll put as much effort into reviewing your application as you put in filling it out”

  2. Pingback: Special Delivery: Roundup Of This Week’s Best WoW Posts | World of Matticus

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