Launching a recruitment platform for Classic guilds

For two years, I’ve been the leader of a 40-man Classic WoW guild. Classic is the reissue of the original version of World of Warcraft. Released in 2004, it is the game that defined the MMORPG genre. You got it, WoW’s a pretty big deal.

A community-based game

Now why would one play the 15-year old version of it? Mainly because of its community aspect. Everything prompts you to interact with others — enemies are too strong for 1 player, some items can only be crafted every 3 days, and resources are limited.

End game content is even more challenging. End-game dungeons require 40 people — a raid — to be beaten. Forty. That’s a lot of people. To beat the hardest content, you canot group up with 39 random players. A good raid requires a well thought-out mix of the 8 character classes with similar in-game progression.

Screenshot of players fighting against Onyxia, a WoW raid boss
Players fighting the first 40-man raid boss, Onyxia.

You think that is constraining? Oh. Hang on.

To progress, the 40 people need to agree on a defined schedule to meet and play. While the best guilds clear the dungeons in one night, some need several play sessions to do it — if they even manage to. Because rewards are limited, only 25% of the raid will receive something for their participation. The rest will have to pray the gods of RNG for one more week. Yes, raid dungeons are on a weekly reset.

Guild leader... or recruiter?

Now you have the big picture. Organizing a 40-man raid is a real management challenge. And because it’s, after all, a game, people will leave for a variety of reasons. Sometimes real life priorities will catch them. Sometimes it will be because they didn’t get that shiny, lightning-sparkling, sword. Either way, recruitment never stops.

Okay. So how do you efficiently recruit people? Well, you don’t. I mean, unless you’re the best guild on your server. Or you’re promoting your exceptional leading skills by running successful pick-up (ie. non-guild) raids. If that’s not your case, you’re pretty much left to spamming. Whether you choose to do it in game, on Discord, or on the official forums, the results are pretty much the same. Too much noise. Too much competition.

Screenshot from Blizzard’s official forums
On the official forums, a full-height screen does not even show posts older than 45 minutes.

You must be thinking, “Surely those nerds must have built some platform to help people recruit.” Well, some tried. But most platforms are a side-product of a media and do not think all recruitment use cases through. Because of poor user experience, it’s often hard for players to find their dream guild.

The biggest issue of the existing platforms is often simpler; the content is outdated. Outdated information discourage players from using these platforms. And because guilds receive so little applications via these channels, they often neglect updating their openings. It’s a vicious circle.

A dedicated platform for guild recruitment

I wanted to tackle these issues and help recruiters achieve better results. So I decided to help the moderators from my server community to build a new tool for recruiting. The core concept is simple; the ranking algorithm prioritizes the guilds that regularly refresh their profile. The ones that don’t will automatically lose ranking until they eventually disappear.

About page from the guilds portal website
Introducing the Sulfuron guilds portal (Translate the live page for English version.)

The goal is to bring the most value to players looking for a guild. If it does, the players will adopt it and the platform will become valuable for the recruiters in return. We recently launched a beta to receive feedback from guild leaders. The platform will soon be available for all players to access. Take a look here:

PS. My Classic guild was Astral. I'm now playing with The Last Dance.

PPS. June 2022 — The platform has been successfully running for 1.5 years now. 🎉

I'm an engineer & writer who loves video games. Follow @StriftCodes on Twitter for more tech & esports-related content!

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Last updated on March 11, 2021.