Guild Poaching

We recently had one of our raiders leave us for another guild. Nothing new there, it happens to every guild now and then – especially one that’s not at the upper ends of the raiding scale. You’ll find yourself as the stepping stone for someone gearing up to get into the guilds further ahead. I can deal with that, it’s just how things work. (And to be fair, we’ve had very little of it the past couple of years.)

This time it was a bit different though. This raider didn’t go out and look for another guild, but another guild looked them up. Told them how they were much further ahead than us (not a lie), and what they could offer that we could not. While all of this is true, I will admit that I find the practice of approaching members of other guilds a bit icky. It’s one thing if they come to you, but to actually chat them up; poaching them… It’s not something I think a respectable guild should do.

Obviously, a raider has to allow themselves to be poached in the first place. So I’m not saying that someone who’s poached wouldn’t have left you eventually anyway. There’s just something about actually approaching another guild’s members that doesn’t sit right with me. I’d never do it myself, even if I desperately needed new members. At most we’ve approached other low-attendance guilds with questions about teaming up to get raids going.

I don’t think this particular guild have problems with attendance though, they seem to be doing fairly well on their progress. And even if they were having attendance problems, I still don’t think it’s a fair thing to approach players already in guilds (unless they contact them first). There are so many ways to find recruits; forums, general chat, recruitment sites…

What’s your experience with poaching? Does your guild do it? Are you against it? I’m interested to hear what other people think about the subject.


Comments

Guild Poaching — 12 Comments

  1. We haven’t had a problem with it for several years, but we’re one of the most-progressed Alliance guilds on our server. Back in BC, when I was leading a much smaller guild, poaching was rampant. Once someone even whispered me about it, obviously not bothering to do his research and discover that I was the GM.
    I think a big part of the poaching in BC was because of the game’s design back then; there were no catch-up mechanics, so guilds raided all tiers of content. What happened to many, though, was that as members got better gear they went and joined more progressed guilds that wouldn’t have to work through the next level of raids from the start, leading to the cycle beginning again. We spent a long time in SSC/TK because of this.

    • Yeah, we haven’t had much issues with it lately either. As you’re saying, it was the most obvious in TBC. We often found ourselves as a stepping stone for players to get into the higher end guilds. We’ve always been pretty much smack in the middle of the raiding scale.

      Someone mentioned on Twitter that we may see more of it as the next expansion comes around. And they may have a point. There’s possibly a lot of 10 man heroic guilds who will want to switch to 20 man mythic for the expansion. Which means they’re going to have to find new raiders somewhere. (The smartest thing would be, imo, to merge two 10m heroic guilds into one mythic.. but merging is a difficult thing to pull off of course.)

  2. In Burning Crusade, as Malon mentions, poaching was pretty rampant. Throughout Cataclysm, while I was the GM of my guild, a few of my top-performing raiders (people who would consistently rank in the top 1-20 ranks on various modes of content) would occasionally be approached by other guilds. Most of the players we lost in Cata were lost to “real-life” happenings and not other guilds, although some did move on from our guild. I don’t think anyone was poached.

    BC left a bad taste in my mouth about poaching, so I’m personally not someone who has ever poached anyone, remembering the struggles we had in Vanilla and especially BC, but I can see why highly-progressed guilds would take that route. In a sense, it’s people doing what they think they need to do for their guild to succeed and I can’t altogther blame them for it. On the other hand, I think there ought to be limits to what you do in the name of your guild… but then I’m not the GM of all these other guilds and the only one I could ever control was my own.

    • I think part of the reason for the poaching is that they’re a fairly new guild, and we’re on a server that’s not exactly full of raiders. Medium population, not overly high on the progression charts overall. I can see why guilds would end up poaching, because they’re looking to their own guild’s survival first and foremost. It’s just a shame that it has to come to that. But of course the players have to allow themselves to be poached, so I can’t entirely place the blame on the poaching guild either. It’s a grey area in general, and I don’t think there’s right or wrong. Just some things I personally find more questionable than others. As you say though, you can only ever control yourself (and your guild if you’re in a position of power).

      • Oh wow, someone on your own SERVER did that? Uncool, IMHO, very uncool. I think going out and trying to attract new talent to the server is the way to improve the raiding situation on any given server. Poaching what little talent exists on a smaller, less-progresssed server helps NO ONE except the poachers and certainly doesn’t help the community. Totally uncool. Back in BC, we had a guild on our server that poached pretty much its entire 25+ man roster from a variety of other guilds on our server. I think the ENTIRE SERVER cheered when they imploded six months later.

        I miss the days when server reputation really mattered, where you knew which guilds were upstanding and which guilds were filled with trolls, which individuals were trustworthy and which were not.

        • It was such a different thing back then. Server reputation meant a great deal to guilds, now… No one really seems to care. I remember how guilds generally didn’t poach (while I’m sure it happened), but not only did they not poach – they’d often contact each other when someone from one guild applied to another. A polite heads up that hey your guy is applying to us. And if someone had left a guild and was applying to yours, you knew you could check with the former guild what had happened/was the player worth your time.

          That just doesn’t happen anymore. Partly I guess because there are so many more guilds now.

          I think what I’m most interested to see at this point actually.. is whether or not this particular recruit will make it with the new guild. We’re on the more casual side, and we let things slide that I suspect a Heroic guild won’t. I’m curious to see if the recruit suddenly shapes up, or if he’s about to find out that taking unannounced breaks during raids isn’t popular ;)

          • YES. The sense of community around apps. I remember getting a couple of notes from GMs saying “uh, hey… this person just applied…” and I certainly did the same. Same for references. I really miss that, too.

            I’m guilty of watching to see if someone will fail or not with their new guilds, or if their new guilds do as well as mine or not (or, I guess, better)… It’s my less-mature side and sometimes, it just feels good to see that X person who wasn’t happy with us ends up in a less “successful” atmosphere — or gets thrown out. Oh, people… Even with a sociology degree, I don’t understand them. Or even me. :)

  3. I have a hard time with the topic on several levels. On the one hand there are questions of honor and integrity that poaching (or “aggressive recruiting”) violate; using a guild as a stepping stone to another also doesn’t sit right with me. Being an officer in a guild that has seen both happen since Vanilla, it never sits right; these people were allegedly friends. That’s the deal. That’s what it says on our tin. Social first, raiding second.

    But they will respond, “it wasn’t personal – it was business”. And I can sorta see that, if that’s how you view your interactions with people in this game, that poaching might be seen as just your basic business transaction.

    In a limited and completely detached way, I can see the poachers’ point of view – they don’t care about more social guilds’ feelings because “if those guilds really wanted to be respected, they’d try harder” (in the poachers’ mind).

    But in a general and humanistic way, I dislike both. I don’t like poachers. And I don’t like people that “use” our guild to climb the ladder. Neither is an honest way to approach matters, and it may be “just business”, but this isn’t a job, and I’m not a corporation.

    • It’s why I find it such an interesting topic. There’s really no right or wrong in the end. Because there are a lot of people who play WoW to get to the top, and I can’t fault them for wanting that. Just because I play the game differently doesn’t mean that everyone will. We all have different goals. Mine is to have fun with friends and to me that’s more important than progress. If I wanted to, I’m sure I could have joined a Heroic guild and gotten a lot further, but I rather stay in my current one and progress slower.

      I can see why people use guilds as stepping stones. I can see why some guilds end up poaching from other guilds (especially when the pool of players is small).

      But for me personally.. I don’t really like it. I can’t do anything about it, but I think I’m allowed my opinion :) Just as people who may think poaching is the way to go are allowed theirs. We all just have to make the best that we can and try to make it the game we want to play.

  4. You also have to think about the guild leveling and achievements, Back in BC and post-bc then after it was already implemented to do so, members becoming more active to do it. But i agree a lot of players now adays doesn’t care. They can just hop into different guilds anytime as they progressed and geared well.

    I just dont agree with members that was helped to geared up and start them and then when they are done they leave instead of just sticking out to also help out the guild. and yes, players come and go sadly.

    Anyway, Good Luck Miss Saga! wish you all the best in your guild as well.

    • Players definitely come and go, and I can see why some guilds resort to poaching. I was just rather surprised this time because it’s not really happened to us since TBC *lol* Obviously we’ve lost people, but mainly to real life. I’m not overly surprised though. Most of the people in our guild are a nice fit and get along well. And while this member wasn’t at odds with anyone, he also wasn’t overly friendly with anyone either outside of raids.

  5. It depends. I might ask people I already know and try to get them to join us, but not complete strangers. Back when we looked for players to our guild, we usually just checked and contacted players looking for a guild on wowprogress and the forums. We also posted a macro in the trade chat.

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