Vision: A vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation.
Niche: A place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing.
World of Warcraft is chock full of guilds, quite a few of them already established, which can make it very difficult to stand out from the crowd. Stand in any capital city and view trade chat and you will see very similar spam all day long:
“<>Some Cool Guild<> is a level 25 guild that loves to raid. Please join us!”
“**Some Other Cool Guild That Enjoys Bumping Other Guilds Recruitment Post Off The Screen** is looking to bolster our raid team! We are 0/7 Firelands but really want to be leet so join us today!”
So how can you compete?
Could you magically muster up 9 incredibly good raiders who just happened to leave “Uber Guild #8” and ride the skill to stardom and monster epeenhood? Sure! Good luck with that!
COULD YOU PUT MORE CAPITAL LETTERS IN YOUR RECRUITMENT POST AND PUT LOTS OF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? Sure! Good luck getting off of ignore lists later though.
Maybe the better question is “What makes raid teams different from each other?”
Some obvious differences would be:
- Raid Schedules
- Loot Systems
- Attendance Requirements
- Skill Requirements
- Set Roster vs Rotation.
Some less obvious differences would be:
- Maturity/Age Requirements (read: Raid Team Atmosphere)
- Guild Supplies (Feasts, Cauldrons, Repairs)
- Extra-Curricular Activities (PVP, Alt Raids, Old Content). Any and all of the items listed above can be used to help your team stand out from the rest.
So how can you decide what will define your raid team?
Come with me on a magical journey back in time to the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. I have always been on Kargath-US which happens to be an EST server so, understandably, most raiding guilds start raiding around 6:00pm EST and end around 10:00pm EST. The guild I was in was a typical EST guild and my real life schedule did not allow me to raid with them. Through most of Burning Crusade I ran a late night run that focused on KZ and ZA with a few other “Late Nighters” and some raider alts that would join us as soon as their raids ended. When Wrath landed, many of my best friends left that guild to form another…it really killed the feeling of that guild for me and left me thinking about starting my own guild. Wrath also introduced 10 man versions for every raid which meant that there was a possibility for me to start up a guild that raided later than the average EST guild and still have enough people to raid! We had found our niche!
About 5-6 people left the guild with me to form Sleep Walkers. We picked up a few real life friends as well as a few random people (one of which is still a member today!) and voila: the late night movement had started. I had many ideas of what I wanted our guild to look like and to stand for. After a few officer meetings we had come to the conclusion that we wanted to be a “Casual Guild” at heart but wanted to have our focus set on progression eventually. The vision was set!
Fast forward to the launch of ICC and we found ourselves with a complete 25 man team (with rotation) and ranking as high as 14th on the server before 4.0 hit. It was an amazing transformation that I honestly never saw coming. I spent a lot of time talking with members and asking them why they decided to become a Sleep Walker and why they stuck around. Answers varied but the most common answers were as follows: Your times work the best for me (that’s the niche talking), Everyone is so nice here (that’s the vision talking), You are a great guild leader (that made me blush and I am terrible at taking compliments), etc etc.
The fact is that the niche we had gone after (the Late Night crowd) turned out to be a very good niche. The vision that we had chosen also worked out better than we could have ever imagined. It just happened that many of the Late Night crowd turned out to be working adults who were married and put family above WoW. They were the type of people that very much appreciated the casual mature atmosphere of the guild. Call it dumb luck because I had never really thought about what type of player we would be attracting with our late night niche.
So Sleep Walkers has thrived due to our vision and niche. It allows us to stand out and compete against a very small segment on our server. It took a lot of forethought, planning and some good (dumb) luck and gambling (we honestly didn’t think we would ever be as successful as we are now due to a majority of our servers population going to bed as we get started).
A Guild Vision will always exist regardless and it is up to you to create one that is going to attract members that you are looking for (hopefully much like yourself). Putting time into your guild vision usually requires taking a deep look into yourself and figuring out what makes you YOU! Finding a niche is not always easy but it is just as important as a vision. A good combination of both vision and a niche create a very good foundation for a guild to grow on.