This may just be my own thing but I have found my enjoyment of WoW is largely based on what guild I am, how they operate and how I sync in with them. This makes sense to a large degree because a lot of the attraction of WoW is the interaction with other players of the game. Normal RPGs (such as Oblivion) usually get boring for me fairly quickly. One notable exception was Fallout 3… love that game.

Since the group you play with has such a large impact on your enjoyment of the game, I figured I would share some thoughts on things to think about in deciding what sort of group to play with. The amount of benefit you will get from being in a guild is directly proportional to how much time you spend with them and how long you have been with them. Thus, it is very worthwhile to find one you enjoy and stick with it.

That being said, I have not found it valuable to stick in a guild when it has stopped being fun for me. There are many factors that can cause a group to stop being fun for you. Don’t be afraid that you will loose friends (real friends won’t care) or not be able to find another guild just as good, if not better.

What are your goals for the game – current and future?

This is the primary question to ask because your choice of guild should support your own wishes. There are many different aspects of the game:

  • 10/25 man raid content
  • PVP
  • Leveling … either as alts or as a main
  • Social – hanging out with friends and family
  • Role Playing – I would assume these types of guilds exist on the RP servers

A guild will choose to emphasize certain of these factors over others but will usually have one stated focus that contains one or two of these factors as what they are trying to achieve as a goal. I would rate the importance of these factors for yourself and find a guild that appears to have a similar level of importance in each area.

For instance, my first guild was a levelling guild. It was during the first few months of the game and there were not a lot of 60s around. As I approached 60, I realized that raid content was what I wanted to focus on and switched to guilds that had that focus. I have never been much of a PVPer but social aspects are important to me. I want to be around people that make me feel good.

From my own experience, I can speak about the mechanics that I have found favorable in managing PVE raiding within a guild. I can not give such detail about PVP or more social guilds as I have not spent as much time in them.

Advice for selecting a PVE raiding guild

I would put PVE raiding guilds into three main categories, which are really just points on a spectrum and most guilds will be somewhere between these.

  • Hard core – These guilds are machines. Their goal is to be the first to down that boss, get that hard mode achievement, etc. They will optimize as heavily as they need to for this.
  • Medium – These guilds are interested in progression through PVE content but also interested in fairness to less skilled/geared members.
  • Casual – These guilds are more of a social gathering place than players that have any focus on trying to organize raids against progression content.

Any guild is going to be somewhere on the spectrum from hard core to casual. I think a lot of players would immediately look at this and say ‘Oh, I want to be in a Hard Core guild! Where do I sign up?’

The short answer is you usually will have to post an application to that guild’s web site. The best source of data on what guilds are looking for new members will be the Forum Boards for your server:

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/child-forum.html?forumId=11119&sid=1

The fact that you are submitting an application to a guild which will usually ask for specifics about your character and you in detail should alert you to the fact that your ability to join a hard core guild will be based on your level of gear and skill as well as their need for someone like you to fill a slot. The more hard core a guild, the harder it is going to be selected. If you do have this goal, realize that you are going to have to build up to it by increasing your knowledge of your preferred role, your class and getting more gear.

Well, how do you that if you aren’t a member of a guild? There are a lot of people always looking to do 5 man content or even quite a bit of 10/25 content that will be announcing this in general or trade chat. There is also the LFG/LFM interface. You will be able to do a certain amount of content through these methods without being in a guild and get gear and experience that will make you a more attractive member for a guild interested in PVE progression.

I do not recommend trying to join a guild just for the sake of getting geared up so that you can hop to a more advanced guild as soon as you are able to. Most guilds are alert for this and will see the signs either in your application or in your behavoir in the guild. Also, usually there are systems for awarding gear and raid spots that prevent someone from abusing this. In my opinion, trying to do this is going to be counter-productive for a lot of reasons, one of which is that it is just a dick move.

What this means is that you should be looking for a good guild that looks solid which is willing to accept someone like you. Most guilds are very explicit about what they are currently looking for in regards to class, spec and level of gear. In general, I would err on the side of applying to a guild if you see what you want rather than assuming you won’t make the cut.

What characteristics to look for in a PVE guild

How are they progressing through content?
This is all about how far into the set of end-game 10/25 raid instances they are regularly killing bosses. There are many source of comparative data on how guilds are doing in making it through content. One site I found very useful for this is

http://www.wowprogress.com/pve/

You should be able to easily look up the rankings of the guilds on your server. These ratings are done by the relative time that guilds have completed raid achievements. I personally feel this is one of the best ways to get an overall sense of the depth of ability in their raiding team. For instance, here are the ratings for my server:

http://www.wowprogress.com/pve/us/destromath

My guild is ranked 23rd overall and 9th on Alliance. Definitely not the best progressed but a level where I don’t feel that I am loosing out on experiencing content.

Would I be able to raid with them?
It is very important to understand what their raid schedule is on any given week and see how that fits your schedule. Obviously, you will not benefit from the guild as much and vice versa if you are not around for main activities.

Loot policies
Loot may or may not be a driving factor in why you play the game. However, the more serious you are about progressing through PVE content, the more I feel loot becomes compensation for your efforts in progressing the team. Loot can cause a lot of drama if there is not a system that enforces fairness by default. If there is any sort of choice of who gets what other than a well defined DKP system, you open a huge can of worms. There are arguments that it can be good to default gear to main tanks and things like that, especially for guilds that are trying to get a quick start. I personally feel the potential for drama is too great to justify the benefit.

This may not seem to be a factor for you personally. However, you would definitely be impacted if raids were disrupted or groups fell apart over arguments regarding loot so be aware of this factor regardless.

General Management Policies
There needs to be a certain level of organization and coordination in order for a guild to be able to hang together enough to consistently push through content. You should watch out for situations where that organization is not presented in a clear fashion, seems arbitrary, everything is done by only one person, etc.

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