Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Curse of the Little Guild - Cherry Picking

Cherry Picking is defined as 'selecting the best or most desirable'.

In terms of WoW, and I did look, it isn't listed anywhere as being done by or to guilds. Yet everyone knows what I mean when I say 'a guild is cherrypicking'.

By this I mean that a guild, be it that they know of a good player, or know of a good guild, will target the top level players of that guild and try to recruit them to their guild.

There are a few ways of doing this. Most commonly, it's done when a well known guild has a breakup or drama. This happened to Tranquility. When Tranquility/Innovation broke up, you'd log in and start getting sympathetic /tells from people, 'Oh, I heard the bad news. So sorry about your guild. Need a new home?'.

The other way of doing it is when a few people leave Guild A to go to Guild B. Then some unspecified time later, ex-Guild A people start to give /tells to their friends in Guild A.
'Oh, we're having a great time raiding! What are you guys still doing? Oh. You're still doing Kara. Well, we downed Vashj the other day and we had to shard the awesome piece that dropped. Too bad you weren't there.'

And so on and so on and so on. Maybe Guild B will let GuildieA into one of their raids, so that they can see how awesome they are! 'Wow, you're a really good player, GuildieA. Your gear is so neat too! ... You're still doing Kara? That's a shame.'

Eventually, said person from Guild A may defect to Guild B, wanting what has been teased before them. Which, as I've said repeatedly.. is fine. It's their 15 bucks a month. It's their game too. They can go forward if they want to go forward with bigger and better things.

And keep in mind, one of the hardships of getting through Kara and moving onto ZA or other raids is this very hemorrhage that is occurring by cherry picking. If our best players keep getting sniped... we wind up back in Kara s'more.

The guild being cherry-picked will ask, "Why are you leaving us?" and how can we respond to the accusation of 'I want to see more end-game stuff!'. We aren't there. (We can't get there if everyone keeps leaving, either.) We aren't doing mass-invites, because we have something special with the atmosphere of our guild and we don't want to lose that by simply inviting every tom-dick-and-harry that needs a casual-raiding guild.

What hurts most to the little guilds is that we play together and have what we believe to be friendships. Now. It's a game. I understand that. You understand that. And sometimes the game takes us away from our friends for various things. I did it with Kikidas. She's in a raiding guild. True, I only raid with her on Saturdays and it's always Mags and Gruuls, but there she is. I've seen SSC. I've seen TK. I haven't seen BT. I haven't seen the Sunwell. But I'm still friends with KoU (c'mon, I'm one of their officers.). I don't try to get our top raiders to join Resolve. I don't really ever bring it up. If someone ASKED me if they could get into Resolve, maybe that would be different. But I don't volunteer. I don't say 'Wow, I'm decked out in MADPHATEPIX, why aren't you? You should come play with Resolve!'

I was originally cherry-picked from KoU as Kikidas by Tranquility. At the time, I didn't realize that's what it was. I'm a wiser person today. Would I still have gone? Possibly... I got experience I wouldn't have otherwise gotten. I also realized how much of a drain a high end raiding guild can be on your time and your life. Will I still go if Resolve says 'Hey, Kik, this Saturday we're going to hit a few TK bosses, wanna come?'... YES. But I'm happy with Resolve. I can go on raids if I want to go on raids. They know my name. I can bring other people if spots are available. And they didn't cherry-pick me. I chose them.

As you all know from the previous drama about KoU, we lost a few people to two raiding guilds on our server. And since then, we've had a very slow bleed of people who leave the guild to go elsewhere. Curiously enough, even new people we've recruited and who didn't know the people who left for the two raiding guilds... when they leave... guess where they wind up? Curiously enough, occasionally we'll see our ex-guildies on our ventrilo server, talking to people. Just saying hi? We were friends, after all... or is it something else?

Maybe it's my warlock-paranoia spiking, but I don't think it's mere coincidence that we keep losing players to these guilds. And for people who say that they're our friends, it hurts. Not that people are leaving to go to bigger and better things, or that they say 'I want to see bigger and better things, let me see if the guild where a lot of my friends are in has room.'. It's that they just LEAVE. No words. No 'hey guys, I'm going.'. You just log in and they're gone. And that hurts.

My only hope is that it isn't a deliberate act of cherry picking. Because that would hurt worse.

However, our recent loss of a player that used to say they'd never leave, especially to go to THAT guild... and then they leave without a word to anyone and wind up in THAT guild... ? And then said person gives us one story when we press him by saying, 'Hey, what's up, man? You okay?', and then when repercussions of this latest sniping are felt (by the kicking of all ex-guildies alts from our guild) and we start getting /tells from them along the lines of 'what's going on?'... and we get a whole different story from them than we got from our recent ex-patriate?

The thing is.. if we were a huge guild where people are shuffling in and out all the time... the loss of one or two players wouldn't be a huge deal. However, we're a small, tight-knit guild. When one of our members ups and leaves without a WORD... it hurts. It doesn't merely hurt us as a GUILD, but it hurts us as people. We knew this man. We knew his name, we know that he has kids, that he has dogs, that he has a new puppy, that he has a wife who cooks so awesomely that when he describes the food on ventrilo people start drooling and we had to enact a law that he can't talk about his wife's cooking during raids. And he leaves without a word. And it hurts.

If it's a matter of our raid times are inconvenient... okay, no worries, have fun. But say something. And don't go to a guild that two weeks ago you were saying you'd never join because of how they've cherry-picked people from us in the past. Insult to injury. Salt on the wound. And a dagger to the heart.

Maybe it's melodramatic of me to put it in those terms... but that's what it feels like. All it would have taken ... is a simple, 'Hey guys...'. And it isn't a matter of 'well, no one was on when I left.', people were 1: on, and 2: we have forums where it can be posted privately or publically. The last time this person left to go to a raiding guild, he posted it on the forums so there would be no doubt. No drama. No misunderstandings.

I suppose this is more of a griping/venting blog rather than a blog about the joys of cherry-picking. But it's my blog. I can bitch if I want to.

1 comment:

  1. Wish I'd have had time and been online this week... hopefully tonight.

    I need some fun. Seriously.