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Officers' Quarters: How different is too different?

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Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

One of the most important things you can do when you start a new guild is to differentiate your community from other guilds on the server. When you offer a different experience or a different set of expectations from the typical guild, no matter how slight, you increase your chances of garnering attention and, thus, recruiting players who are attracted to those differences. It's a concept I've mentioned in a number of columns over the years.

But is there such a thing as differentiating too much? One guild leader wants to know:
Hello,

I'm Emir Ergenç from Turkey, i read your wowinsider column for a long time. And i really enjoy your writings.

Me and my girlfriend found a new guild named "Efsane" (meaning Legend in English) in our realm (Wildhammer-EU), i'm telling this to you for checking us :). Our website is efsane.guildomatic.com (although its Turkish). My characters are Alhara, Faelha, Eladia on guild. My girlfriend is guild leader and Shehrazad.

Together we wanted to form a Turkish speaking Rated Battleground guild. Our aim is to have about 14-20 members (we do not aim to be a big guild, but time will tell) and get high ratings (read: hardcore) in rated battlegrounds as Turkish people.

This is a very specific aim, thats where i started having some issues.
These are not huge issues really, but i need some of your insights . . .

We effectively recruited one member whose a good person and likes to play with us but that's it. When i write our message in general city chat, Turkish people asks which level we are (1), how many people we have (5, but 2 inactive members), how much rating we have (none) and become disappointed. I tell them we are new and we are trying our best but that didn't help since.

I believe in my guild, and i'm working hard to recruit. We made some rules, shared our insights about the guild in our site (in Turkish :) ). But limiting our aim (pvp) and audiance (only Turkish people) made recruiting very hard.

Now i see myself having 4 decisions.
  1. Keep our aim, audiance as it is and continue to find members like this and hope our new member doesn't leave us.
  2. Change our audiance, become international. (need to change guild names and write policies in English, thats not a problem. But i really believe a good communication in battlegrounds leads to victory, and its sometimes hard to communicate other than your native language with people)
  3. Change our aim. (i don't want to be another Turkish raiding guild, there are enough of them in our server. if i would like to do pve then i'll join one of them.)
  4. Change both of aim and audiance (no :) )

As i made my comments in parantheses doesn't mean that i'm a blind follower of decision number one. I just wanted share my feelings.

Thanks for replies in advance

Hi, Emir.

By creating a guild for Turkish PVP players, you've certainly achieved the goal of offering a different experience than what's typical. However, it may be that you've specialized so much that you've eliminated too many potential recruits. After all, the farther you deviate from the norm, the fewer candidates for membership you are likely to find.

So it is certainly possible to differentiate your guild too much. It sounds like this might be the case here. If you had a stronger base to build from initially, it would be easier to pull off. Unfortunately, you don't have that luxury in this case.

Build a base

For now, I'd recommend relaxing your restrictions. We need to find a middle ground between a guild that's too typical and one that's so unique that no one wants to join. In this case, I'd recommend option 2.

That doesn't mean you have to give up on the goal. It's possible that you'll be able to evolve the guild into exactly what you want it to be in the future. However, you won't have a future without a base to build on.

I would recommend changing the idea of your guild from "Turkish only" to "Turkish-friendly." Believe it or not, there's a huge difference between those two phrases. "Only" is exclusive, but "friendly" is inclusive. "Only" pushes people away, while "friendly" draws them in. "Only" has the ring of elitism -- even prejudice in this case, if someone chooses to see it that way -- whereas "friendly" means just what it says.

Yes, you'll be recruiting some non-Turkish players, but in the long run, you'll attract more Turkish than you would otherwise. Plus, if a non-Turkish player can't handle the Turkish spin of the guild, they can't say they weren't warned.

A final word on recruiting

Successful recruitment tends to build on itself. Each player you bring in has the potential to bring in friends. Sometimes all it takes is to generate the interest of a single person who brings in enough other people to open the floodgates.

Remind people who question the guild's track record that you are a brand new community. Don't speak of that aspect as a drawback. Don't apologize for it. Talk about it as an opportunity for players who are looking for a fresh start in a guild without established cliques, favoritism, or jaded/absentee officers.

Be persistent in getting the word out about your guild, and be patient. Eventually, you will find the players you need.

/salute

Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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