Guild Chat: Climbing the guild rank ladder in MMORPG raiding
Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column in which both reader and writer alike join forces to help someone in need handle his or her guild-related query or question. This time around, reader Trent wants some help is changing the long-standing grouping and hierarchy in his guild because he feels as though he is being constantly overlooked at this point in his MMO career despite his being unfalteringly loyal to his guild and having turned down positions in other guilds to stay with his team.
Trent has been raiding with his World of Warcraft guild for one and a half years now and has never been promoted from the C-team, but he believes that he has done more than enough to prove his worth to his guild leader in stepping up to fill slots for other higher-achieving raiding teams whenever an A or B-Team raider needs to miss a session and showing obvious signs of improvement on his initial performances that saw him placed on the lowest achieving squad his guild fields.
See below for Trent’s full submission and my advice to him, not forgetting to add your two cents to the comments as well.
I have been raiding in WoW for about eighteen months with the same guild and don’t feel as though I have much to show for it. I started playing the game with a friend in the guild two years ago and casually worked my way up to level cap and geared up my first character. I didn’t know as much about raiding as I should have and I admit that now but I tried out for a raiding spot too soon and got placed on the C-team even though I could do better than everyone else on the squad after a couple weeks with minimal effort. I’ve always felt that if I had prepared better for trying out that I would have made one of the two joint B-teams if not the A-team. I know that is my fault but I feel that I have since proven myself more capable than the lowest raiding rank but am being overlooked by the leader who didn’t forget my lack of effort.
The reasons for thinking I’m better than C is because I fill slacker spots on the A-team and B-teams when people don’t show up and have never shown myself up as a worse player in those raids. I don’t know what more I can do to show them that I’m a decent raider but I really want better progression for my time put in and deserve a promotion. The teams get reformed with every new raid and sometimes in between if something isn’t working or the top group gets a full clear and rotates in B-teamers to up their progression but I have never been promoted. Help me work out a strategy to fix it for next time before I leave the guild for better chances elsewhere.
Trent, I can see that not making the cut time and time again is really wearing you down; it seeps into your tone, and I can totally sense and understand your frustration at being seemingly sidelined for so long. Having said that, I’m going to be brutally honest with you and admit that I’m left wondering what came first in this chicken-and-egg scenario: Is your position in the guild what it is because you come across as a little bit entitled to your guild leader and it rubs him or her the wrong way, or has the bitterness been built up over a period of undeserved suppression that has no justification?
While I deeply suspect I’ll never know the full answer to that question, your admission that you didn’t prepare properly for try-outs makes me feel that you might perhaps feel a little bit too secure in your abilities and the fact that cream always rises to the top. Being great at raiding (heck, being great at MMOs in general) is usually a matter of refinement, learning, teamwork, communication, and perseverance, and I can see why a leader would place you on a lower team if you didn’t display that you could learn, refine, and stick with the team during try-outs. Attitude is everything when working in a team, my friend, so remember to keep it cute at all times and pull your weight at every instance for the best chances of success in future.
Having said that, it’s all too easy for a leader to very quickly pigeonhole a player into a box and then never reevaluate that opinion, and I’ve certainly been guilty of overlooking excellent raiders over the years because I boxed them into a certain ability bracket without giving them room to grow and prove me wrong. Another angle that you may not have considered is that your leader actually does value your skill, which could be why he or she has you fill higher slots when available, and keeps you in the C-team in order to help improve the team’s performance as a whole. I like to spread my talent around multiple groups when I run them so that every team has some source of experience and solid leadership within it. You don’t mention whether you ever tackled the topic with your leader or have ever been given any justification as to why you are in the group you’re in, so perhaps you’re seeing the negative side when your leader is actually confident in your ability to develop the squad.
Sometimes raiders get trapped in a vicious cycle of being placed in a lower band than they’d like initially and then ending up stuck because they don’t have the best credentials or gear in their guild and consistently shape up worse than their higher-achieving guildmates on paper. Encourage your leader to even the playing field each time a group is modified and you might wake him or her up to the fact that progression and the fruit of that labour is an inherently weighted metric when the roster is divided into ranked raid groups that have different expectations in terms of progression.
Do your best to ensure you read and follow build guides for all classes you raid with and befriend players who use your preferred classes in higher raid groups who can help you drill your rotation and max it out where possible. It’s amazing how some small tweaks can make a world of difference to your output, so don’t stop remastering what you know just because you feel more confident as a player and raider than you did eighteen months ago. Showing an interest in your own improvement can only be a positive thing: Not only will you continually remain on top of your game and might even find yourself in a position to give advice to raiders on a higher team if you stay more current than they do, but this extra effort and refocus on development will get back to your leader.
Don’t expect your leader to mind-read the fact that you want more from your raiding hours, especially when he or she is managing at least four raiding teams going by your descriptions. Go to the leader directly and ask to make a development plan with them, explaining that you’re willing to work doubly hard to make a B-team in the next reshuffle. Perhaps show the leader some boss tactic summaries you’ve come up with on your own, or put plenty of time into achieving better-than-expected results with the C-team to really catch his or her attention. There’s a lot to be said for someone who isn’t just a fantastic raider in his or her own right, but who can also bring out the best in the entire team and is happy to develop weaker members into better raiders too.
You don’t mention your progression, but if you expect your leader to take a punt on you, then you should model that behaviour in your squad and place your everything into developing your team to be the best regardless of the letter placed before it. Making B-team becomes rather irrelevant if you and your team work your behinds off to match and exceed the progression shown by that team, so if you’re not going to be given the opportunity to rank up then do it for yourself and your crew with some hard work and extra hours smashing against your current progression wall.
If all else fails and being positive and proactive doesn’t help, leaving the guild will give you a clean slate and an opportunity to fit into a slot that you find more fulfilling. Remember that a C-team is better than no team, though, so don’t jump ship until you’ve secured a great new home for your characters with a ready-made spot for them to fill. Don’t forget to pencil in a tryout if one is needed before leaving your current guild to ensure that you meet the mark for the new team before taking such drastic action. Leave on a positive note and offer to leave a character free to fill your old spot until your leader can fill it.
Just in case you need it, some general advice for guild applications is to always be polite and positive, keep all answers brief and honest, and focus on what you hope to achieve rather than any shortcomings you’ve faced along the road so far. It might be a good idea to prepare a short raid showreel or screenshot library if you naturally keep such things, pointing out where your tactics were on point or where you might have improved. I would be blown away by that and it’s actually an easy thing to prepare if you have the footage or screenshots anyway. Whatever you do next, I hope that your satisfaction levels increase and you can continue to love the game you’ve put so much time into.
Over to you!
Have you ever felt that you weren’t being sufficiently appreciated in your guild? Did you tackle this head on or did you let your results do the speaking for you? Have you any additional or entirely different advice for Trent? If so, drop a comment below with your take on the situation.