Guild Chat: Trying out for a hardcore MMORPG guild

Welcome along to another advice-filled edition of Guild Chat, the column dedicated to helping readers solve their guild-related dilemmas with both my help and that of the comment section. Together we’ve dealt with issues ranging from setting up a strong guild roster to how to use VOIP without causing your guildmates to head-plant their keyboards in frustration, but today’s issue is quite unique in that our reader-in-need is in a desirable guild, and said guild is welcoming, well-organised, active — and hardcore.

The reason for Jay’s submission is that he has managed to get himself into this “hardcore,” well-managed guild because a close friend vouched for his ability and natural aptitude for high-end MMO play, but Jay is now starting to feel the pressure as he gets closer to the level cap and will soon be expected to prove his worth to his new guild. His friend might have overstated Jay’s experience level in his excitement at Jay actually joining him in an MMO, and in actuality, this will be the first time Jay has ever reached an MMO level cap and he has never experienced endgame content himself.  Jay is wondering whether to be honest with his guild before he reaches the cap and is expected to step up to the plate but must consider how that would impact on his friend who recommended him in the first place.See below for Jay’s full submission and don’t forget to pop your thoughts on the matter in a comment.

“Everything is good in my MMO guild except for me, so my request is a little weird compared to your usual article topics. What happened is not the fault of the guild and is my fault and my friend’s fault because he lied about how good I am at MMOs to get me in, and I didn’t correct the guild leader before accepting a spot. This isn’t my first MMO, but it is the first one I will reach the level cap in. I have no intention of leaving this game and am happy playing with my friend when he is free, but I am worried about what will be expected of me being too difficult for a noob. Usually people don’t level in my guild; instead people just apply to us when a spot is available in a PvP or raid team.

My friend is a PvP officer and got me a guild invite when I started to play by saying to the leader that I have hardcore raiding and PvP experience from other MMOs, which is a lie. I didn’t know he had lied until I’d gotten in, and then I didn’t set the record straight so he wouldn’t get in trouble. Now I don’t know what to do because I will hit the level cap this week and then they will help gear me for try outs. I’m not worried about PvP because I’m naturally good and my friend will be doing the try outs for that, but I have been given an indication that I will be given a spot in a power group to rush me up to the current guild bosses so I can raid with my friend in the B group. How do I cover for the lie my friend told or explain why I’m not as good as he said?”

–Jay

Oh Jay, if I had a pretty penny for every time I heard a similar tale of falsifying MMO achievements to get into a top guild, I’d be a rather rich lady. You’re certainly not the first player to get caught up in a lil ol’ porky pie, and you surely won’t be the last. Although I do have some useful advice for this scenario that will preserve your lies for the sake of your friend, I’d urge you to simply come clean if at all possible to save you some significant work, especially if you would like them to view your skills in the right context instead of believing that your newbie performances are those of a seasoned MMO player.

guild-chat-00-1Coming clean is your best out

This will sound bananas to you right now, but telling the truth(ish) might just be the best way to save face for both you and your friend. Consider this: Should you perform poorly, which is very likely if it’s your first time experiencing endgame MMO content, and your new guild believes that you’re an experienced player, how will this reflect on you both? Your friend is an officer who has enough sway to encourage your leader to make exceptions based on his recommendation: How much damage would a poor performance on your part do to his perceived judgement in the eyes of the leader? If those judging you believe that you are a veteran MMO player, they’ll consider your tryout efforts to be close to the maximum output you will have, whereas if they had the correct context they could be pleasantly surprised by your output and comfort levels despite being so new.

If you haven’t explicitly confirmed yourself that you have the experience your friend says you have, perhaps the best thing would be to correct the “assumption” whenever it’s mentioned in front of you. If the leader says that the tryouts won’t be too challenging for a seasoned player, for example, you could use that opportunity to ask how they’d be for someone new to the genre. You can put the difference down to crossed wires instead of calling out your friend if you’re careful in your phrasing, but focus on what you can do to learn more efficiently and make up for the oversight rather than the fact that you’re there under false pretenses.

Once the truth is out there, ask the guild leader what measures you should take to get yourself ready for blending in with the roster. I’d expect that your tryouts will be shelved and that you might have to work with another guild to gain some entry-level experience before you’ll be considered again, but this is only fair given that the guild you’re a part of values high-end achievement and has set clear hardcore goals for its members. Don’t make a fuss if this does turn out to be the case: You two are the ones at fault here because you attempted to bypass the requirements and it has backfired.

I have a thought for you: What if the leader already suspects or knows that you’re not the experienced player your friend claimed you were? This will sound strange to you because you haven’t played MMOs much before this one, but seasoned players can sometimes spot those who are totally new to the genre by the questions they ask while learning the ropes. Unless you filtered all of your teething problems and early questions through your friend, the chances are that at least a handful of people might have picked up on the truth. If you’re still in the guild anyway, perhaps the leader is willing to take the time to develop your skills and invest in you as a person despite your lack of experience: After all, he or she has already taken a leap of faith by letting you in knowing that you’re new to the MMO anyway.

guild-chat-02-1If you can’t tell the truth, get practicing

If you truly believe that both you and your friend’s characters will become homeless should you tell the truth, know that you have your work cut out for you when it comes to fooling hardcore veterans that you’re comfortable with MMO endgame content. I highly recommend finding out as much as you can about the tryouts and what content is used to test new hopefuls before you hit the level cap. It doesn’t seem as though the leader minds how long it takes you to level provided you are willing to commit as soon as he or she slots you into a PvP or raiding team, so use that freedom to learn all you can before the pressure is on.

Without knowing what MMO you all play, the best advice I have is to start with gearing, skilling, and combat guides before moving on to raiding or PvP descriptions. This is where most leaders can draw a definite line between newbies and veterans, so do pay attention to your build and get frequent advice to ensure your choices are current. You’ll want to ensure that you understand the builds that your guild need you to use and you’ll also want to be comfortable with what each type of number or ability does in the context of your chosen class, weapon set, or whatever other defining factors your MMO of choice uses. Practice the recommended rotations both organically as you level and on a practice dummy if available to learn how you can maximise your output.

guild-chat-01-1Read, absorb, reflect

Once you have the basics down, start reading or watching everything you can about the content you want to play at endgame. Pay particular attention to how you engage with that content (you don’t want to show up at the wrong location or miss a group invite because you didn’t do your homework), what you should bring with you (most MMOs have food or other performance-enhancing items that are taken to high-end content runs to maximise damage output), and how you should fit into a team based on your chosen class. Ask your friend plenty of questions and don’t let him employ the same “just wing it” mentality to your progress as he did to getting you into the guild.

I’ll outline an example of thorough raid preparation to give you an idea of the steps that might be required. Raider A wants to take down Boss 1, so she watches some tactical videos and reads boss guides to get the key information. Once she has done that, A then considers her character and compares her to any prerequisite builds or group composition notes in the guides, ensuring that her build, gear, skill rotation, and chosen enhancements match those that are recommended. A also confirms with her leader what role her character will fill during the encounter to ensure she learns the mechanics from the correct perspective and has prepared her character properly. Should she be unfamiliar with the optimum build that has been recommended, A tests the setup as much as possible to increase her fluency before attempting Boss 1.  A notes any particular weaknesses, resistances, or special abilities of Boss 1 that could alter her usual playstyle, paying attention to recommended adaptations for her particular class. Finally, A asks her guildmates for advice on preparation in case her guild applies some sort of adapted squad setup or tactical difference to the usual methods found online to better suit the particular members, and she adapts her build to suit.

You can see that there’s plenty to think about before you even set foot in a raiding environment in most MMOs, so don’t skip the preparation in the hope that raw talent or a heavy dose of carrying will get you through. Even well-prepared, seasoned teams take multiple attempts to down bosses successfully, so no amount of preparatory work on your part will be seen as overkill. A particularly helpful tip is to focus on the jargon and terminology that is likely to be thrown at you in a raid and internalise any word you aren’t familiar with: The leader will likely use voice chat to talk you through the tryout, and you won’t have time to ask for clarification in the middle of the raid and will be expected to react quickly to instructions. Listen intently, react as quickly as possible, and learn from every wipe your group faces, asking what you could improve on when you can.

This tryout won’t be easy, Jay, but with enough care, you will greatly improve your chances of ending the experience without having egg on your face.

Over to you!

What would you do in Jay’s shoes? I recommend telling the truth and having your performance assessed as a newcomer rather than as a seasoned player, but perhaps you have a different take on things. Let Jay know in the comments below.

Many thanks for this submission, Jay! If you have a guild-related issue that needs some attention, email me your submission for consideration.

MOP’s Tina Lauro is on-hand to deal with all of your guild-related questions, queries, and drama in Guild Chat. Whatever your guild issue, she’s sure to have a witty yet sympathetic response. If there’s a specific topic you’d like to see dissected, drop Tina a comment or send an email to tina@massivelyop.com.
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