It isn’t difficult to find information and advice about how to run a guild, find a guild, participate in a guild, leave a guild or anything else – so long as you’re level 80. Given that by far the majority of non-leveling-based activities within WoW really take off at level 80, that’s completely understandable. However, I find there’s a rather gaping hole in terms of information for what could be called ‘midbies’ – that is, no longer below level 20 and trying to work out what ‘DPS’ stands for, but not yet having reached level 80 either.
I have no intention of trying to completely fill that gap, since I’m still too squarely in the middle of it myself. I have found myself thinking, though, about how a character can contribute to a guild before level 80 – and what a guild should do to nurture those little people who will hopefully grow up to become its core raiders/PvPers/socialisers/whateverers. It is oh, so easy to lose them – or to get lost – in the shuffle. This list does presuppose that the player concerned has found a guild they like and are willing to put some effort into, since much of it is irrelevant if not.
A player can…
- Be sociable. You don’t have to be level 80 to chat (though, depending on your guild, they might be slow to warm up to new players, especially if they’ve been burned before). If you’ve been able to get to know the other members, the guild is more likely to feel like home and less likely to feel like being at the ‘uncool’ lunch table at school.
- Be (relatively) independent. If the level 80s are bored and want to run you through instances, great – but don’t constantly ask for instance runs or equipment. Most especially, don’t ask for gold, and never ninja things from the guild bank. This is common sense, of course, but it’s amazing how often it gets forgotten. Rise to the challenge of working your way up without hanging onto anyone else’s coattails - it can be remarkably entertaining, even when it isn’t the first time through!
- Be creative. Consider a gathering profession – if you have level 80s who decide they want to change from one crafting profession to another, you may be in a far better position to conveniently farm (for example) tin or liferoot than they are. They may not pay as much as that lucky sale on the AH, but it’s likely to be a more consistent market, and you get all that bonus goodwill thrown in.
- Be a team player. If you’re in the guild at level 20 (or 45, or 70), chances are you aren’t the only character who isn’t level capped. In-guild dungeon runs can be fun and profitable, even if it’s only Gnomeregan – and you’re less likely to encounter complete idiots or gear ninjas than you are with the dungeon finder.
A guild can…
- Be clear. Is this a guild who wants sub-level 80s in the ranks or not? If not, it might be smart to say that at the outset, rather than letting people in ‘to be nice’ and then basically ignoring them until they hit that magic 8-0 achievement. I’m absolutely not advocating holding peoples’ hands and boosting them to level cap, but if no one has any interest in interacting with people who can’t run heroics or get to Dalaran, maybe setting a minimum entry level of 70 would be worth considering – even if you are a casual/social guild.
- Be patient. A lot of non-80s are new or newish players who are likely to ask basic questions on gchat and/or do stupid things in dungeon runs (Tiganza would never make such elementary mistakes, though I am quite likely to). Many of these players are not unintelligent or naturally bad at gaming, but it might require some tolerance until they work out that high DPS is only helpful if the tank also puts out high threat. Look for signs of a good attitude and willingness to learn, rather than uber l33t skillz, from the first day. (Of course, if they’ve been with you for two years and still can’t define ‘threat’, it may be time to rethink). On the other hand…
- Be discerning. Just because it’s nice to be patient with new players doesn’t mean that beggars, jerks and other highly unpleasant people should be tolerated because they’re low level. In no way is this post a plea for universal acceptance of bad behaviour!
- Be inclusive. Doubtless many of the guild’s level 80s have lower level alts, whether in the guild or not – try to keep them on the radar when interacting with your lower level members. Could you log on that resto shaman you’ve been meaning to level and run through SM with those two guildies who are talking about it on gchat? In many ways, this is often preferable to just taking a portal from Dalaran and boosting said guildies through the instance, since everyone (maybe even you! *gasp*) is likely to get more out of it.
- Be actively non-clique-ish. (That is absolutely a word). While it might be easier to talk to your fellow 80s who you’ve known for months or years, your guild is presumably recruiting because it wants to bring in new people. Try to avoid the syndrome of four 80s yakking away on gchat who completely ignore the tentative attempts of a level 53 to join the conversation. Someday, that 53 will be an 80…and who knows, they might be the perfect 5th person for that heroic? Of course, humans by nature tend to form cliques (or, more benignly, groups of friends), and it can sometimes take a real effort to break out of the habit…but hey, it may well be worth it.
Having now been in a number of guilds on various servers, I can safely say that this is written from the point of view not of a guild officer (or even of an 80), but only from that of a leveling member. With that in mind, there may be biases – but the above are some things I have seen done both well and badly (by myself, others, and the guilds concerned) over time. Certainly it gives me some starting points from which to work on my own levels of participation…