Fitting Into a New Guild

"Céad míle fáilte" - Irish Gaelic greeting
Imagine being invited to a party and walking into a room full of people you've never met before who are chatting amongst themselves as if they have known each other their whole lives, but the person who invited you is no where to be found. Finding oneself in a new social setting can, for a lot of people, be one of the most intimidating social nightmares possible.

Well, you know that new druid in the questing greens and blues that just joined your guild? That's what he's going through right now. He is the WoW equivalent of the guy standing in the corner of your guild's party trying to pretend he's interested in the photo of your Great Aunt Olga that's hanging on the wall. Which, depending on the expression on his face, can be extremely uncomfortable for everyone involved.

I started this article while dealing with helping new recruits fit into a very old, established guild as part of my role as the recruiter. Ironically, I now find myself in a new guild as well, trying to make new friends and fit in. In this article, I'm going to talk about this topic from both perspectives.

Or, Making Friends for Fun and Purples
"If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair." - Samuel Johnson
Join the Right Guild in the First Place

The first step to fitting into a new guild is to make sure that you are compatible with each other. Sadly, while Blizzard has added a lot of new functionality to make finding a guild easier there is no such thing as eHarmony for guilds, so finding a good match takes a bit of work.

Before joining up with that guild with the cool name that you've been eyeing up, do a little research to find out what they're all about. Whisper one of their members and ask what type of guild they are. Do they PVP, Raid, or just sit around in Guild Chat telling dirty jokes in character? No one is going to think less of you for asking questions about their guild, and they are likely going to be asking some questions about you as well. It's important stuff to know, because joining up with a guild that doesn't do what you're looking at doing is just a waste of everyone's time.

Blizzard's new Guild Finder tool is decent, but doesn't really tell a potential recruit much about the inner workings of a guild, and certainly won't help you determine if you'll fit into their culture. By all means, send in a Guild Request using it, but follow that up with a PM or in-game mail to the recruitment contact of that guild and ask them some questions. If nothing else, it shows that you are genuinely interested and not just clicking the Apply button randomly.

Don't Join a Guild Hoping it Will Change
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Leo Tolstoy
A player that is mismatched to the guild they're in is an unhappy player who is unlikely to stick around. A guild with unhappy players is an unhappy and drama-filled guild. The best and happiest guilds are the ones which have a membership that is all on the same page as to what they want to do in-game.

As a potential recruit, make sure that the guild you are looking at joining is doing the things that you want to be doing before you join, and don't expect the guild to change just because you show up with different plans. A casual guild will always be casual, a PVP-oriented guild will always want to eat the opposing faction's faces, and coming into that type of guild with a different mindset will eventually cause problems.

Be Social!

As a recruiter, nothing annoyed me more than inviting someone to the guild and then have them remain stone-cold silent in Guild Chat only to quit the guild the next day. Going back to the party metaphor, if someone walks into a room full of people and then doesn't make any attempt at all to interact with the other guests... well, it's kinda creepy.

What I always want to see is a new recruit start interacting in Guild Chat immediately, even if it's just something simple as introducing themselves or asking more questions about the guild and how things are done. It's very hard to jump into a new social group and instantly be the life of the party, and no one expects anyone to do that, but the only way to begin to fit into a new guild is to start talking to people.

I think that the internet has skewed normal social rules to a degree, and it's become normal when going into a new social situation (forums, for instance) to lurk for a while to get a feel for the culture. Imagine yourself back at that party and the new guy is hiding behind a potted plant listening to your conversation: what would be considered strange and abnormal behaviour in the context of normal, face-to-face social rules is now the norm on the Internet. I understand the desire not to jump into a social scenario until you understand the dynamics, but Lurkers in a new guild tend to forget one, simple and important fact:

These people wouldn't have let you join if they didn't want to talk to you.

So talk to them! Ask questions about the guild, or about their Raiding or PVP habits. Tell them a little about yourself. Ask them if they like kittens or puppies or My Little Pony. Jump into a conversation with a joke or an observation. Just say something so that you're not just another anonymous and silent name in the guild roster.


Virtually every guild has a webpage with forums, and every guild that has forums complains that their members don't use them enough. 

If you must Lurk or feel more comfortable getting the lay of the land before jumping into a conversation, the Guild Forums are a great way to get an idea of your new guild's personality without having to actually communicate with them. The variety of posts will tell a new recruit whether the guild is serious and business-like or whimsical and fun-loving. Most times the forums will also let you in on a lot of the inside jokes and past accomplishments of a guild, helping a new recruit feel more a part of it.

The forums are also a great place to post an introduction to yourself so that the guild can get to know you. Oftentimes it is easier and far less intimidating to post something like that rather than typing it in Guild Chat or saying it in Voice Chat. If your new guild has an introduction thread that other people have used, so much the better, as the previous posts will give you a good idea who these people that you've signed up with are, and what they would like to know about you in your own introduction post.


Of course, the best way to get to know people in a game is to play together. There are many different ways to group up with your guildies: Dungeons, Raids, Battlegrounds, Arenas or questing, among others.

Sharing an activity is the easiest and most comfortable method - in game or out - to get to know someone. It gives everyone involved something in common to talk about which, given time, will allow openings into other, non-activity related conversation topics. And if nothing else, grouping with your new guildies and sharing a gameplay activity will show them what kind of a player you are, even if nothing is said.

It's unlikely, depending on the guild and how friendly and welcoming they are, that a new recruit will be swamped with group invites upon joining. In my experience, most guilds are friendly to new people but don't go out of their way to try to immediately include them in spontaneous guild activities, and it's left up to the recruit to find a way in. This really is a horrible way to welcome a new member into your social group and in my opinion, the worst mistake that most guilds make with their new recruits.

The best way that I've found to get involved in your guild is to simply ask. Let people know what you're doing and ask if anyone wants to join you. Or, if someone is organizing a group for something, offer to join in. I feel that a brand new recruit in guild is still queuing for Random Dungeons or Battlegrounds by themselves without at least asking for company in Guild Chat is not doing themselves any favours - both in terms of fitting in socially and showing the guild that they are a team player.

Remember, if you've done your homework right and are in a guild with compatible goals to your own then there should always be people willing to join you in doing whatever it is you want to do. All you need to do is ask.

Voice Chat

Ahh, Voice Chat. For a person who is nervous or uncomfortable in new and unfamiliar social situations, chatting in Ventrilo or Mumble can produce a lot of anxiety. Who do you talk to? Which channel? Is it okay to listen into a conversation in a channel, or will you be thought of as that creepy guy behind the ficus tree again? Is it okay to jump into a conversation between two people? Oh god, oh god what the hell do you say?!?

Every guild will have a different culture when it comes to Voice Chat, and it's a lot harder to generalize than Guild Chat. Some guilds will use it only for organized guild activities such as Raiding or PVP, others will use it as the primary means of communication, with a dead silent Guild Chat and a buzzing, lively Voice Chat server.

Everyone knows that Guild Chat is public and available to anyone in the guild to see and therefore the rules are understood to everyone without being spoken. Voice Chat can seem like it's completely different, but it really isn't. Here are some basic things to keep in mind:

Get in there and start chatting! It's surprising how much of some guild's social interaction goes on in Ventrilo or Mumble. If your guild is like this then get in the channel and jump into a conversation!

Voice Channels are public forums unless they are marked private in some way. Normally, as a member of a guild you will have every right to join any of the public channels in your voice chat server. Any channel that you're not supposed to be in will be marked Private or password protected. These are normally reserved for Officers or specific functions, but often there will be specially marked channels for people who want to have a private conversation.

If you interrupt or join a private conversation, the people involved will either stop talking, find somewhere else to chat or ask you to leave. It's important to remember that this doesn't mean that they're anti-social or that they don't like you, it simply means that they are talking about something that should have been done in a private channel. You had every right to be in the channel, but out of respect for the people involved it's best to say sorry and find a different channel. In this scenario, don't worry about it if they're a little rude asking you to leave; you don't know whether or not they are talking about something personally upsetting.

There's no point to being in Voice Chat if you don't talk. If you're in Voice Chat, by all means, say something. Even if you just break in now and then to offer a comment on what other people are talking about. Talking to someone is the best way to get to know each them, and they you.

Don't worry about it. Seriously, there is nothing that anyone can say to you in Voice Chat (or Guild Chat for that matter) that will change who you are. If someone is saying or joking about something that you don't like, simply leave the channel. If you say something stupid that you immediately wish you could take back, don't worry about it - ignore it or make a joke about it or apologize then move on. I guarantee you that everyone you're talking to has said something completely asinine themselves at one point or another.

Surviving the Trial Period

Most guilds will have a Trial or assessment period of some sort, and all of them will have different rules on how they run it. It's a good idea to know about these before you join, or at least ask about them after.

Offering specific advice on how to survive the trial period is impossible because each guild is looking for something different. A Raiding Guild will evaluate you based on raid performance while a PVP Guild will rate you based on how proficient you are at melting Horde faces. Study up on your class, Enchant and Gem your gear the best you can and play as well as you are able is about all you can do.

Outside of game performance, however, there are things you can do to make yourself stand out, and a lot of it is simply following the advice I've detailed above. Be friendly, have a great attitude and play your best. Regardless of performance, it's much harder to kick a friend out of a guild. It may not help you get your raid spot, but a good, friendly attitude will never ever hurt your chances.

Or, How Not to be a Dick to the New Guy
"Ah, beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one's own past failings." - Cary Grant
As an established member or officer of a guild, there are a lot of things you can do to help a new recruit feel at home. Most of them are common sense and blindingly obvious, but rarely done. I can't even count the number of times that I've invited a new person to a guild only to have Guild Chat remain frustratingly silent and unwelcoming.

Include the New Guy

Assuming the goal of guild recruiting is to create stable, happy, long-term members, the most important thing that a guild can do to make their new members feel at home is to actively go out of their way to include them in guild activities. A new recruit that is invited to a Raid, or a Rated Battleground or even a simple Random Dungeon will immediately feel more comfortable and have a much greater likelihood of sticking around than if they were left to their own devices. Think of it as offering to get that new person at your house party a drink when they arrive instead of just pointing them in the general direction of the fridge and telling them to figure it out for themselves.

One of the most intimidating things that a new member of a guild has to do is ask to be included in group activities. Since a recruit doesn't really know who any of the people in the new guild are, running a dungeon or a battleground with a guild group is not a whole lot different than a PUG. And while it's in the recruit's best interests to be sociable and start or ask to be included in groups, it's much friendlier if the guild offers and attempts to make the recruit feel welcome and included.

Engage Them Socially

What is a recruit to think when the rousing and encouraging chorus of "Welcome!" that he gets in Guild Chat when joining is followed by nothing but intimidating, icy silence? Just as with grouping, starting a conversation with a new group of people is intimidating as the new person. It's much more natural and comfortable if the established members of the guild take the initiative and try to get to know the new recruit. Even simple questions like, "Where are you from?" or "How long have you been playing?" will go a long way to breaking the ice and help the recruit feel more comfortable.

This is especially important in guilds that are old and established or composed primarily of real life friends. Guilds like these are very hard to fit into successfully for a new person. Inside jokes fly around constantly, leaving the new recruit on the outside with no idea what anyone is talking about. Large guilds that have been around for a long time also tend to have cliques - groups of people who primarily talk within their own group - which are extremely hard to break into as a new recruit. If a guild like this doesn't make an effort to include the new recruit in some way or give him some kind of acknowledgement that his input and participation is desired, the odds of him sticking around and making the large effort required to be accepted by these groups on his own is slim.

Tell Them How Things Work

You've been a great host at your party so far, you've pulled the new guy away from starting at Aunt Olga and introduced him to a few of your guests and they're chatting away like old friends and getting to know one another. But then you make a mistake and say something like, "Help yourself to a drink in the cooler, but don't take one of Jack's or he'll rip your teeth out with a Yellowstone National Park commemorative spoon". Great advice, unless you neglect to mention which drinks are Jack's.

Having a new recruit that is fitting in but that doesn't know the rules or how things work in your guild is asking for trouble. Let them know the things that they need to know. Are there any restrictions on using the Voice Chat server? What are the Guild Bank rules and does the recruit even have access? If not, when will he? How do the promotions work? How does one sign up for raids? Is there something to never bring up around Jack lest he go postal on your bicuspids? Whatever taboos or unusual policies your guild has should be communicated to a new recruit. Most guilds will have a post on their forums detailing a lot of this stuff, so make sure that the recruit knows where that post is.


The guests have left, your house is a mess and your liquor cabinet was emptied around 2am to create a "Super Cocktail" in your dearly departed mother's favourite fruit bowl, but the party was a rousing success. Judging from the fact that one is passed out in the corner with a lampshade on his head and drooling into the azaleas, the recruits fit in fantastically, had a great time and left Aunt Olga's picture unmolested.

Fitting into a new guild, or helping a new recruit get comfortable in an existing guild really just boils down to commonsense and friendliness. The best way to get accepted by any new group is to simply be social, and conversely, the best way to make someone feel accepted is to talk to them and include them in activities. Remember that the people on the other side of the computer screen have the same fears and insecurities that you do. Being friendly and open will, in the long run, make everyone feel that the guild is a safe, comfortable home that they would be crazy to leave.


  1. I think this is great advice, generally speaking. I am well aware that my experience is not "the norm", but it has become apparent over the past few months that my experience is more common than people realize. So I would like to throw something out there.

    Some people CANNOT make themselves do anything other than lurk for a little while. I left a guild once because I saw the number of people saying "Welcome!" all at once and just freaked out. Obviously, I wasn't ready to be in a guild at all then. But I've come a long way from there and don't freak out quite that easily anymore. If someone can say hello when they first join, if they can politely turn down offers to run things in a group during those first few days, I would caution guilds to watch and see. In a few days, they may warm up more. It may just be that what is normal socialization for others is "too much, too soon" for them, and trying too hard to make sure they know they are more than welcome in the group can actually chase them away. After the first week, though, I'd say an officer or someone may want to speak privately with them about why they are so quiet and stand-offish. Find out what's going on, and if this can somehow be improved.

    Incidentally, I can't use Vent because I have mild hearing loss. I depend very heavily on the combination of watching someone's face and hearing their voice to know what they've said. My social anxiety just makes it very difficult for me to tell anyone that. It feels like one more thing to make me seem "different" when all I want to do is blend in.

  2. We introduced you to Nano right away. I think we should do that to all new people - throw them in a channel with a drunk Nano and let him tell stories.

    This is obviously a great idea :D

  3. Very good post, and some great advice offered. There are some great tips, but I think the biggest thing that any new recruit should do is be sincere and be themself.

    If you have to change who you are and your personality for how a guild works, there's a very good chance that it's not the right guild.

  4. Great post!

    Must-read for all guild leaders, or even everyone!

    Really like the quotes added in.

    - Jamin

  5. I think there should be an eharmony or match.com for guilds, that would be very beneficial, hmmm...

  6. What a great post. We have a "introduce yourself" post on our guild forums. It's a nice quiet way to get to know your team mates without bombarding the heck out of them in /gchat.