Guild Poaching: Have They No Shame?
Poaching. It can mean a form of hunting, or style of egg. In Azeroth, its the action of traveling to established guilds to try and take players away from their guild, in order to join theirs (usually boasting farther progression or better pvp orientation than the current guild the player is in). It seems that this time of the expansion the envoys of guilds looking to persuade people away are out and in full force. I am not at all flattered or allured by the message sent to me recently by one of those people, and as someone who has recently been the target of one of these attempts and also someone who watched his own guild back in BC suffer the effects of poaching, I would like to share my viewpoint on both fronts of the matter. I will start with my experience with poaching as a guild leader:
Serpentshrine Cavern/Tempest Keep/Hyjal Past – Circa 2008
Through my travels in Burning Crusade I spent most of my time with the guild Cross of Vengeance over the course of two stints, first as an officer, second as GM, my other guild was Crusaders of Aegwynn. The events talked about occurred over my second stint. Upon moving back up to an officer in CoV, we were having struggles in both SSC with Lady Vashj and TK with Kael’thas Sunstrider. Our GM was looking for ideas that would motivate people to step their play up to clear the final hurdle and down those bosses, and ultimately came up short every time. One night, our GM, I will call him Rentob, and both of his close friend officers were out of town and could not make raid, leaving the keys to me to see what we could accomplish in their absence. I left it up to the guild to decide where we went, ultimately going to TK. Despite having a skeleton crew of 24 people, we managed to down both Void Reaver and A’lar with a few wipes to each. As we continued to attempt to kill Astromancer Solarian, we kept wiping to the detonation mechanic, and morale continued to plummet as a result. Feeling some general animosity between members due to wiping, I decided an impromptu town hall style of meeting was in order for people to clear the air and get their frustrations out, as well as listen to any an all ideas people had to defeating the boss. After a 20 minute recess, we came back and on the second pull killed her to end the raid on a high note. After raid, I collectively asked everyone if they wanted to continue to have those kind of rally meetings where people could express themselves when our GM came back from his trip (we did have a few, but they didn’t stay sustained).
Enter the GM - Upon telling our GM what transpired in his absence and how the guild felt it collectively wanted to move going forward, shock and awe is the only thing I could describe what he felt as he suddenly left the guild and went to another guild and took his officer friends and a few others with him, leaving the guild crippled and with a roster of about 14 people left for a 25 man. In about 3 months time, and with the help of some truly exceptional people and players the guild grew back to being the second best guild on the server and defeated both Vashj and Kael before their 2.2 nerfs. I can remember vividly, promising the guild that if they managed to kill Kael and get into Hyjal/BT before the nerfs, that I would sing karaoke over Vent to them, any song they chose (and I absolutely did!). And at that time, the guild had bloomed into having >>38<< raiders online ready to go into BT! One day, our old GM came back and had seen that we had indeed moved forward instead of falling apart, and asked if he could come back to be a part of the guild. I obliged, and being naive, I also moved him back to being an officer, as he still had a lot of people who knew and looked up to him, in the guild. One day, he took exception to what one of the guild members was doing and attempted to discipline him his way, the old way, to which I quickly pulled the chain on him, reminding him that he was no longer the person to do that. This set off a chain of events, and public forum posts which ended in personal attacks and all around ugliness. In the end, he left the guild again, this time for good, and this time, the deviant plan went into motion. He began talking to people in the guild, either slandering my name, or offering promises of better <insert value here> if that player went to his new or other guild. He ultimately succeeded in doing that because of the reputation of the guild on the server being generally disliked from his prior leadership and as well as my reckless and sometimes very ill-advised practices on running the guild. (I was 20, when I was leading the guild, I was very naive and made a lot of forgettable mistakes.) The guild ultimately crumbled, and our last raid was in 2010, killing Maly10 and Sarth10. The guild my ex-GM went to? Folded up shop in 2009, even with the members they took away with promises of better tidings.
Being Targetted By Another Guild (2011 & 2013):
Earlier this week, and in one instance in years past, I was sent an in-game mail by a recruiter that their guild was actively seeking shadow priests to progress through content and fill out their raiding roster. They boasted a strong resume, stating that they had Cleared 6/6H MSV, 5/6H HoF and 3/4H ToTES, a very impressive resume indeed. This left me at a quandary, was I really going to dump 3 years of time and friendship with a lot of people for 7 extra bosses killed? For the allure of pixels which may make my toon better? Absolutely not. While its nice to be held in high reverence by other people who are e-scouting your toon on the armory, it doesn’t show much about one’s character if they are so easily persuaded away from any establishment, for just a few more pixelated drops or rewards if its a pvp-based guild. I do not know what the social structure is of guilds that are top 50, or even top 25 in the world, and I would like to think they all are similar to Apotheosis, but I know that’s wishful thinking, only because guilds like No Chicks Allowed (Yes, it is a real guild, and yes they are top 50 in the US, and YES, if you are a female, they will not let you in period, no matter your credentials.) exist.
Here is my bottom line on poaching, in a brutally honest perspective: If your the kind of person who will leave their guild due to a poacher and is looking for a guild where you can find permanence, do not expect to be taken seriously, as their is a good chance the turnover rate is high due to burnout or people not making the cut. And in the same vein, if your a guild looking to bolster your ranks through poaching standout players from guilds that are not as progressed as you, remember, you pulled them away with promises of better loot/content/what have you, who is to say that someone else wont come along and do the same thing to that person from your guild. Btoom line: Poaching lacks any type of intestinal fortitude and integrity, and you wont find a quality, lasting player through it at all. Don’t do it. Work with the talent you have.