I originally wrote this guide for my blog on Tankspot.com almost exactly a year ago, but I wanted to share it here as well!
With the raiding scene becoming easier, people are getting more and more opportunities to experience end-game and to join better, more progressed guilds. Are you less experienced, but you know your class, and want to join a guild a little more progressed? You might think to yourself, well, I’m at a disadvantage; there are those more geared and experienced than I competing for the same spot, although I probably am a better player than they! How do you make your application stand out more?
What They Want To See
As a the recruiting officer of a raiding guild, I’ve probably seen entirely too many applications. And truth be told, people are horrible at applications. You can be exceptionally geared and/or skilled, but if it doesn’t look like you took your application seriously, people won’t take you seriously. In most situations, raiding guilds probably want someone they don’t have to spare time gearing up. But most people have the mentality that gear and progression can be easily obtained, good attitudes and intelligence cannot. When looking at applicants, people generally place effort and attitude at the top of their list. Understand that most of these people have never played with you and know little about you. Your application is the only information they have, and if you want to be accepted, it’s your job to give them the right impression of you.
Before You Apply
Read those stickies! Nearly all application forums will have one or more stickied thread explaining the guild rules, raid times, loot procedures, and application guidelines and format. Read all of it! Know what you’re getting into, and make sure this guild is what you want in a guild. Follow the directions given in the guidelines. There’s probably nothing more unattractive in an application than somebody not following directions. The stickies are there for a reason; read them.
Also, make sure you are ready to raid. No amount of intelligence is going to convince a bleeding-edge progression guild to pick up a person in all blues, or even worse, greens. Like I said before, you can’t expect them to take you seriously if you don’t don’t take yourself seriously. Grind that rep, do those heroics, do everything possible to get the best possible gear available to you. You may not have been farming the top instances for months, but that does not excuse you from having bad gear. It’s very easy to get good gear these days, so take advantage of it. Also, make you sure you have at the very least blue level gems in your gear- epic level once the new epic gems are finally available. Enchant everything that can be enchanted, and do make sure your enchants are appropriate to your class/spec. And don’t be cheap! If you can’t afford to enchant your gear with the best-of-the-best enchants, how can a guild expect you to be able to pay for repairs on new content?
And branching off from the above paragraph, have realistic expectations. A good attitude and a lot of effort will get you far, but know a guild that’s working on the newest released content probably not going to bring a person with 10-man level gear immediately in to raid. Know which goals are achievable, and which are not.
Like I said before, your application is the only impression they have of you. They probably have never done any instances or raiding with you, and this time in the game, it’s very easy for people to get well geared without having skill. This is where knowing how to present yourself comes in. As in all applications, video game or job, you want to bring all your positive qualities to light. How are these people supposed to know you aren’t immature and loot-centric? True, you can tell pretty lies on your application, but generally, people are quicker to recruit the person who tells them they’re positive, punctual, prepared, and skilled before someone who merely links their armory.
You need to ask yourself how you are an asset to this guild. Why should this guild recruit you over others, especially if you’re lesser geared and experienced than other applicants? Are you reliable, responsible, mature? Are you active and social beyond raids? Do you take criticism well? Do you listen to instructions well? Are you vocal in fights where communication is necessary? Do you think you’re a perfect player, that this game requires no skill, or are you the type who always watches for mistakes and is always striving for personal improvement? Is your situational awareness good? Are you motivated, a hard-worker, and enthusiastic? These are the sort of things they want to know about you. These things set you apart from other applications, so forget modesty, sell yourself!
Don’t be afraid to make things lengthy. Few people will ever respond “tl;dr!” to detailed, well written applications. In fact, the more informative, the better. Try to keep things relevant, but don’t be afraid to elaborate on why you chose your current talent build, why you itemize a certain way, what resist sets you have, that you have a good mic, or show off your theorycrafting skills a bit.
Go That Extra Mile
If your previous guild used WWS, provide a parse even if the application didn’t ask for it. Take a screenshot of your UI, even if the application doesn’t ask for it, and rationalize your mod and keybinding set-up. Be prepared to go the extra mile, it will encourage them to think you will go the extra mile as a raider as well (which you should!)
If you’re a transfer applicant, mention several ways to get in touch with you- email, instant messengers, or mention you’ll consistently check the forums for private messages. If they want you badly enough, they might make a level one on your server to chat, but giving them other means of communication shows initiative and makes things easier for them.
Make sure you log out with your raiding gear on. If you do not have a raiding spec, link the build you would use to raid with. Nothing is quicker to show a lack of preparation than an application applying to a raiding guild not ready to raid. How are they supposed to judge if you meet their standards if you’re in pvp gear?
Be sure to also plainly state you know the raid times and are not only available to make them, but you’re able to show up at least 15 minutes early for invites, and sometimes stay a little longer on progression nights if needed. Here is also the spot to mention any conflicts you will have with the schedule. Be thorough! It’s not wise to wait until after you’ve been recruited to mention you have to work on Tuesday nights.
Be prepared to explain your ability rotation, to elaborate on class specifics, or to answer several “what if?” scenarios people sometimes respond to your application asking.
And link that armory! You’d be surprised to know how many people think their name and server will suffice. Yes, it’s not that hard to open up a new window and search for you under the armory. By not linking your armory, though, you’re basically stating you’re lazy, loud and clear. That’s one of the easiest ways to get yourself denied right off.
Don’t Assume Anything
Another big mistake I see in applications is that people assume a lot. Assume nothing. Even if it’s common knowledge, you’re there not to test their knowledge of the game, but to prove yours. They don’t know you or anything about how you play. I can’t stress this enough! If you have to question yourself on whether or not to elaborate or justify your knowledge, go with your gut and go with the detail.
Appearance is just as vital as everything else provided in your application. If English isn’t your strong point- heck, even if it is– run a spell check. Try to use proper punctuation, capitalization, and full, coherent sentences. Well spoken and intelligent applications are rare, but valued just as much as your gear. It’s just another part of presenting a good image to them.
Make your application look pretty! Don’t leave anything blank, add spaces in between all the questions, pick a neutral color (something like blue, not.. pink), and make all your application questions that color and bold it. It organizes your application, making it much easier to read. It takes a lot of time, true, but believe me, it makes you look better.
If you’re on the same server, you’ll most likely be expected to name people who can vouch for your skill and credibility. Even if they don’t ask for references, it still makes you look better. Not all guilds research potential applicants, but some do, and some do it in depth. If you have a nasty background and it’s well known, you might as well be upfront about it in the application, although it’s recommended you not be flippant about it. “Yeah, I stole my guild bank before transferring. Those scrubs were totally mad, laaaaaawl. Anyhow, I can totally be trusted, so can I join your guild?” And while I’m on the subject, I would not condone lying about anything, end-game experience or guild history. There are ways to find out anything in this game, so be wary about being dishonest.
If you’re a transfer, you probably should still name a few references. In fact, it might be better if you do since it’s sort of impossible to do trial runs with an application before transferring. Word-of-mouth (or is it keyboard?) is the easiest way to get an idea of what sort of player you are without seeing you for themselves.
Show Some Personality!
And last, but not least, don’t be too serious! Show some personality. People want dedicated and reliable players, but they also want you to be fun. There’s a line between making a joke every other question, but don’t be afraid to throw in a humorous quip or two. They want to find people who will fit in with the other members of their guild, not some silent, bot-like player.
Questions You Should Be Prepared To Answer
I’ve prepared a list of common questions you might see in applications:
- What is your spec and what did you choose this particular build?
- What other builds have you played with? Why did you switch out of them?
- What are your general play times? Is there anything that would affect your availability and attentiveness during raids (work, family dinner, school, parents, etc)?
- Give us a detailed description of your computer’s specifications – CPU/RAM/GraphicsCard/Monitor, etc.
- What sort of internet connection do you have, and how stable is it?
- What do you think the strengths and weaknesses of your class are?
- What is your average hours played per week?
- Do you strafe, and in what situations would you strafe?
- Do you turn with your mouse or keyboard?
- Are you a clicker?
- What’s your previous guild history, and why did you leave those guilds?
- What’s your raid experience?
- What is your previous MMORPG gaming experience, if any?
- What can you offer us? (Or “Why should we recruit you?”)
- What rare patterns/recipes/plans do you have for your professions that may be helpful to the guild?
- What are you looking for in a guild?
- Do you have Ventrilo installed? Do you own a mic? Can you talk without horrible feedback? And will you talk if communication is necessary?
- What’s your favorite raiding encounter?
- What do you feel should/could be changed to improve your class/spec?
- What resist gear sets do you have? Are you willing to farm the mats for your own resist gear?
- How situationally aware are you?
- What’s the best wipe you’ve ever caused?
- Do you use consumables in raids, and if you do, which?
- Do you pvp any?
- What’s your role in the raid?
Before You Post That Thread…
Before you post that application, be sure to go through this check-list:
- Is all your gear enchanted and gemmed correctly?
- Are you in your raiding gear and raid spec’d?
- Do you understand the guild’s rules, and can comply with them, including raid times and DKP/loot systems?
- Did you follow the application procedure correctly?
- Are you available to raid/transfer immediately?
- Did you proofread your application?
- Is your armory linked?
- Is your application clean and easily readable?
- Did you answer all questions, leaving no questions blank?
- Did you provide WWS parses, UI screenshots, and references?
- Does your application show someone who puts effort into what they do?
In summary, if you’re a good player who has put a lot of effort into his/her gear and knowing his/her class, if you’re intelligent and mature, and you write a detailed, well-written application, your chances to be recruited will rise. It’s all about effort.
Good luck, everyone. Hopefully you’ll get the opportunity I had in the beginning of TBC, and get the chance to join a progressed guild regardless of gear or experience. I hope I helped you out. 🙂