Edit: Just because I talk about 25-man progression guilds in this post doesn’t mean that at least some of what I’m talking about isn’t applicable to other guild environments. It’s just that 25-man progression guilds was what I felt I was qualified to talk about. If you follow this advice, regardless of the type of guild to which you want to apply, they will probably be very happy to see the effort you’ve put into your character.
Okay. It’s a little late in the expansion to talk about this, but I probably should have discussed it before.
Applying to a 25-man Progression Raiding Guild: Do You Have What it Takes?
First of all, I want to say that you should not be afraid to throw in an application to a guild you think would be a good fit for you just because of this post. This post is here to help you apply to a guild where you will not be a drag on your raid group if you get in. Also, it may help prevent your being laughed at, by virtue of helping you figure out how progressed you should be when applying to another guild.
Harsh? Yes. But honestly, sometimes, applicants who are that clueless do prompt much laughter.
While I’m not an officer in my current guild, we all get to see and comment on applications and I’ve been on the officer side enough to know what I personally look for in various applicants. Since I’ve gone through the application process a few times this expansion, I think I’m in a pretty good spot to give advice with regards to applying to a guild. So here’s a checklist to help you see if the guild you’re applying to is really within your reach and if you’re really ready to apply.
1) Are you at the same (or similar) level of progression? What this means is, if a guild is at 9/12 ICC 25 hard modes, are you at that level or ahead of them or no less than, say, 6-7/12 ICC 25 hard modes? In other words, are you no more than a couple of bosses behind and can you still be useful on what they’re working on?
If yes, continue to 2.
If no, please continue reading.
These are things you should consider, based on the above example:
– How far behind them are you exactly? You don’t want to be so far back that they are going to literally drag you through all the encounters they’ve already got on farm only to have you screw up on the encounters they have left.
– Have you done any hard modes, barring heroic Gunship? If not, you probably want to set your sights lower than our fictional guild in the example.
– Are you aware of the differences in mechanics from normal to heroic? (ie: Malleable Goo on heroic Festergut, Vengeful Shades on Lady Deathwhisper.)
What you can do to help your lack of progression not be a liability:
Study! Memorize the strats and videos at TankSpot.com. Do not say “yeah, I know the fights even if I’ve never done them”. Say something like this, instead, “While I’ve not yet done the heroic modes of some particular fights, I am well-acquainted with the strategies and videos at tankspot.com and know what each fight requires of me in my role. If the guild’s strategy requires something different of me, I will happily do what I am assigned to do.” Of course, if you have no idea what the strats are, do not say that you do. It is very easy for raiders to see which app lied about knowing the fights and it will likely end up in your application getting denied. Progression raiding guilds basically do not care that you forked over real money to transfer or faction change. If you applied under false pretenses, there will be no sympathy.
At this point in the expansion, many guilds are recruiting people who are not up to their level of progression because a lot of their members are burning out or bored or not enjoying the game right now. That means that even if the progression gap seems insurmountable, it is not going to rule you out entirely for the vast majority of guilds. Having said that, I would strongly recommend against applying to a guild that is farming heroic Lich King while working on heroic Halion when you haven’t cleared regular ICC yet.
2) Is your gear up to par? What this means is that your gear should be properly enchanted, gemmed and itemized for your particular class and spec. That means all epic-level gems and not the cheap enchants, unless the cheap enchants are best for your spec. (ie: holy paladins taking the cheap 16 intellect to bracers is GOOD, rather than taking 30 spellpower to bracers.)
Are you absolutely, 100% positive that you have done absolutely everything you can possibly do to improve your gear on your own?
If yes, are you SURE? You’ve checked with Elitist Jerks and various class-specific blogs?
If yes, continue to 3.
If no, please continue reading.
What I hate to see when looking at a new application is “I didn’t get the drops I needed”. The guild you’re applying to will not care about your bad luck or the horribly unfair loot system your previous guild used or anything of the sort. If you’re a holy paladin (for example) with under 500 haste, they’re going to throw out your application ASAP.
What you need to do is make sure that if you don’t have the specific piece you need, that you have the stats that are close to what the piece you need give you. Simple. Don’t blame bad luck if you can’t get a pair of pants that drop when the crafted pants, for example, can be had with a little time, effort and gold. If you think it’s “too much” to spend 8 Primordial Saronites on pants that are very well itemized for your class and spec, then chances are that your prospective guild won’t think that you’re worth “too much” effort on their part.
What you can do to keep your gear from being a liability:
Explain your gear choices in the application. Describe exactly what drops you’re looking for and why those pieces are better for you than others. Explain why you currently have X and Y equipped. Do your research; does your class and spec want its T10 two-piece bonus? Four-piece bonus? You can get your 2/4 pieces all on your own through dailies, VOA and pugs. Make sure you have those pieces, even at the 251 level, before applying.
Do not talk about your gear score. No one cares and you’re just going to make everyone think you subscribe to the notion that gear score means something. (It does not.)
3) Are your talent points distributed properly in your main spec and do you have the proper glyphs? Nothing drives me crazier than seeing someone who doesn’t know how to spec. With a poorly-chosen spec, right off the bat, you will announce to your prospective guild that you have no idea what you’re doing and that you have not done the proper research on your class and spec. Seeing a holy paladin gemmed full intellect but specced 18 points into Retribution makes me want to cry. Make absolutely certain you have a good raiding spec before you apply. Make sure you understand WHY you have that spec. The same can be said for glyphs. Make sure you know what glyphs are best for you to use and get them.
If yes, continue to 4.
If no, please continue reading.
Okay, so you’re not sure that your spec (or glyph choice) is valid or proper or any number of things. Go to Elitist Jerks. Go to Forums. Select your class. Let us pick, for example, Priests. You will see two threads: WotLK Healing Compendium v3.3.5 and Shadowpriest Theorycraft 3.3 Edition.
The first post in these threads will be chock-full of useful information. That’s the case with most of the class/spec threads. That includes gem and enchant tips as well as spec and glyph advice. Use these specs. Understand WHY you are using these specs and glyphs. Read the tooltips on your talents. Play extensively with a talent calculator.
What you can do to keep your spec or glyph choice from being a liability:
Respec and reglyph. If you’re a disc priest without everything in the lower half of your tree and without Glyph of Power Word: Shield, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re a resto druid without 3/3 Celestial Focus in balance without the haste to compensate, you’re doing it wrong. These builds have been theorycrafted for you — someone out there is flat-out saying “Hey. This is the best spec for this class under the vast majority of raiding conditions.” Why not take advantage of them doing the number crunching for you?
But I’m a pretty snowflake and am unique in my style!
No. You are not a snowflake. You are not unique. As soon as you apply to a progression raiding guild, you become theirs. Your spec and style become theirs. You should always endeavour to do anything you can do for the betterment of your raid group. If that means that you are told to stop direct healing tanks as a disc priest and learn to bubble spam the raid, you do it. If that means that you are told to switch from Survival to Marksmanship to eke out just a little more DPS, as the raid has enough Replenishment providers, that means that you read up on Marks and do it.
If you are unwilling to change your spec to what other people of your class and spec have determined is the best for you under the majority of all raiding circumstances, then you probably do not belong in a progression raiding guild. Sorry.
4) Do they need you? Do you fulfill the raid requirements? Related to the above, many guilds will advertise open spots for a variety of classes and specs and then say that any outstanding applicant will be considered. Do not be fooled. This is almost certainly not going to be you if your progression, gear and spec are not amazing or if you cannot make the majority of their raids. Be aware of their requirements: do they require 75% attendence? 100%? No attendence requirement?
If yes, continue to 5.
If no, please continue reading.
The question you should ask yourself is how you can be of use to the guild if they’re not actively looking for your class and spec of toon or if you cannot meet all the raid requirements they ask.
For example, if they are not looking for a shadow priest but they are looking for a moonkin, a shadow priest does bring Misery to the raid, which does the same thing as Improved Faerie Fire. Similarly, a Marksmanship Hunter brings Trueshot Aura which can also be provided by an Enhancement Shaman’s Unleashed Rage or a Blood Death Knight’s Abomination’s Might. Be aware of what buffs they might be looking for that are similar to your own. Be aware of what buffs you bring. If you don’t bring anything to the table that they don’t already have, you might be better off if you keep looking for a new guild.
If you can’t make all the raids required of you, one way you can be extra useful is if you’re more advanced than the rest of the guild in terms of progression or gear. If that’s the case, you can let them know that you’ll be happy to share strategies with them or help troubleshoot the raid group using World of Logs (or whatever parser they use). That way, you can at least be useful to the group while not actually being there 100% of the time.
If you’re not awesomely geared and experienced and you can’t make every raid or they’re not looking for your class, then you might be better off looking elsewhere.
Of course, if you’re a tank and they’re looking for a tank, or a healer and they’re looking for a healer, your chances are better at getting in even if they’re not looking for your particular class, unless they already have two or more of that class in that role. (Or, for example, if they’re looking for a raid healer and you’re a paladin.)
5) Are your goals and ideals compatible with those of your prospective guild? One of the easier things to overlook is whether or not you’re going to be compatible. Do you want to get your drake for Glory of the Icecrown Raider or do you just want Arthas dead on heroic? Do you care about heroic Halion? How about Algalon or heroic Anub’arak? How does your guild feel about these goals?
If yes, please go to Conclusion.
If not, please continue reading.
Basically, even if a guild is otherwise perfect for you on all other counts, you will probably be miserable if your goals and ideals aren’t compatible.
When I joined my previous guild, the one with my RL friend the Resto Druid in it, I knew what I was getting into. I was joining a guild where the leadership was apathetic in terms of morale, where the leadership was insulting and abusive and where I would be held to a very high standard of play with a steep learning curve and a very different raiding schedule.
I knew this. This is basically the opposite of everything I had ever experienced. But I had my RL friend with me as my healing lead and so I figured I could do this. And I did, for nine months. Ultimately, towards the end, I was so frustrated and aggravated and angry with the guild that I had no choice but to leave.
I joined my current guild which is, in a word, awesome. My GM kicks ass. People joke around without being offensive. People tease others because they love them. And yet we can pull it together and get stuff done. My goal was to end Wrath of the Lich King with a guild that is respectful of its members while raiding 25-man ICC/Ruby Sanctum. I don’t actually much care what we do within those instances — I care more about being part of a team. Their goal is primarily to get their 25-man drakes, which means cleaning out all the wings of ICC on heroic and doing a few achievements.
I am content with this because the environment is kind of awesome and I will raid until the release of Cataclysm to help them achieve their goals.
There’s no way around it, though — if you and your guild are not on the same page, don’t apply. Run away. Go elsewhere.
Applying to a 25-man progression raiding guild is like applying for a job. No, really. It is. Make sure your toon is in tip-top shape. Log out wearing your proper gear in your proper spec. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make the most of it. Do not say in your application “I plan to upgrade this enchant tomorrow.” Enchant it now, or tomorrow, and then apply.
Fill out the application forms precisely. Spend time on it. If your application form is more than five questions and you don’t spend a good 20-30 minutes on it, spend some more time on it. Check for grammar mistakes, check for spelling errors. Make sure you’re answering the questions they’re asking and do not give more information than they asked. (Feel free to be detailed in what they ARE asking, however.)
Is this post elitist? Is it snobbish? Does it discriminate? Probably. However, to do heroic 25-man ICC encounters, even with the 30% buff, you have to do things in a way that emphasizes coordination and throughput (either damage, healing or threat) and that starts with relying on your raiders to bring their best to every single raid. If you don’t have the experience, the gear, the desire and the availability, it becomes difficult to justify your presence in the raid.
What brought about this post? An applicant to my current guild who claimed to be 11/12 ICC (is actually 10/12 ICC 10 and 5/12 ICC 25), who was apping as a resto druid or as a moonkin. He was claiming that all he had to do in terms of gear was regem to swap to or from moonkin and use basically all the same gear he does as resto. Including his restoration tier 10. (Right, because you cast Wild Growth all the time as a moonkin and have no use for extra damage…) His claim was that he did “amazing” DPS, but had no logs or parses to back him up.
Upon reading his application, the question I asked myself was, “How on earth does this guy think he even has a shot at getting into a 9/12 HM ICC 25 guild?”
So these were my thoughts about how you can go about figuring out what sorts of guilds are realistically available to you and how you can improve your chances for applying to a guild that has caught your eye. Hope it’s somewhat useful. :)