I was inspired by WoW Insider’s recent Encrypted Text and Spiritual Guidance articles on how to apply to a guild as a rogue and priest, respectively. Both are excellent articles with advice that applies to everyone, not just those classes. I recommend anyone who’s looking for a new raiding guild to read them.
Here are my own recommendations for guild applications, from general use to bears and cats.
Your guild application is your first and likely your only chance to make a good impression. Do not waste the opportunity. With the right application, you can get a main tanking spot in a guild with heroic raid progression when you’ve done nothing more than five man dungeons (well, at least I did). With the wrong app, you can get ignored or silently ridiculed behind your back.
General Application Guidelines
Error on the side of saying too much.
Talk about your role as much as you can. Show off how much you know, how much effort you put into your class, and how eager you are to play with the guild you are applying to. Answer application questions with more than one word. Most guild’s don’t ask questions looking for just “yes” or “no”, they want insight into your play style. (The exception to this is a question like “Do you own an authenticator?” The right answer to that is always “yes”, and you don’t need to wax poetical on it.)
For example, take the question “What prime glyphs do you use?” Don’t answer with simply: “Glyph of Mangle, Glyph of Lacerate, Glyph of Berserk.” Explain why you use those glyphs. This question, and others like it, is a huge opportunity to show off your class knowledge. Instead, your answer should look something like this:
Glyph of Mangle, because this glyph increases the damage and threat of my hardest hitting ability. Most of my damage and threat comes from Mangle, which makes this a very strong glyph.
p class=”blue-post”>Glyph of Lacerate, because this glyph gives me a minor threat increase and in addition to increasing my chance to proc Savage Defense (bear’s blocking ability) by 2.5% whenever I use Lacerate.
Glyph of Berserk, because initial threat is always a struggle, adding a few extra Mangles at the beginning might be make the difference between a solid threat lead and the fury warrior pulling aggro. It is also a strong dps glyph, should I have the opportunity to use cat form in a fight.”
I know, I just told you to error on the side of saying too much! However, there is an art to saying everything you need to say in a clean, concise manner. Once you get all of your knowledge out there in print, work on saying it in the most efficient way possible. Overlong descriptions will bore your reader, and keeping your reader’s attention is important if you want to impress them.
Spend time on your application.
A well written application will stand out. Use proper URL links when you can. If possible, use Wowhead links to reference spells. Most people don’t know the specifics of your class, but they will still be expected to judge your app. Help them out by giving them a reference to what you’re talking about. Never abbreviate spell and talent names. If the guild officers don’t know what “SD” stands for, how can they make an accurate assessment to your skill? You could just be making words up for all they know.
Coloring text is optional and should not be overdone, but if you use calm, neutral colors to differentiate between questions and answers, your app will look that much cleaner. Don’t use bright colors like lime green or yellow; they hurt your readers’ eyes (and kind of piss them off, which is bad!). I typically use baby blue for questions and the default text color (usually black) for answers. Think about using bold, underline, or italic formatting. Whatever you do, do not overdue it.
Break your answers up into paragraphs. People have an easier time reading small, short paragraphs than giant walls of text, so they’re more likely to stay engaged and read everything you have to say.
Write a rough draft, walk away for a few hours (or better yet, sleep on it), then return to make changes. This is just a good rule for writing in general, and it helps you catch small mistakes or sentences that might not make sense. Reading long answers aloud will also help you find the rough patches in your app.
Use proper grammar and punctuation.
Most guilds don’t expect perfection, but using your best English will make you look far more intelligent and show that you are taking this app seriously. If English isn’t your first language, say that at the beginning of your app. People are very forgiving of English-as-a-second (or third, or forth)-language folks, as long as they know that’s the case. This rule goes hand-in-hand with spending time on your application; I know it takes a few extra micro seconds to hold down shift, but that extra effort pays off.
Every question is a trick question.
Not that the guild you’re interested in is trying to trap you, but you need to approach every question with the thought “what kind of answer do they expect from me?” Like the authenticator from a few paragraphs ago (the right answer is always “yes”, the wrong answer is “no, I never get hacked”), there are some questions that are loaded. Guilds expect certain answers, and your chance of success drops if you miss the point.
If they ask you about an encounter you have not completed, do research and give them the best answer you can.
They’ve already seen your armory, they know you haven’t killed Heroic Maloriak yet. They want to see how well you can research and plan ahead. They want to see if you will contribute to progression fights in the future or if you show up to encounters without learning the boss’s name. Hell, you can get this question horribly wrong as long as you show there’s a working brain behind the keyboard.
Be open minded.
They might criticize your gear or gemming choices. Hopefully they do it in a constructive manner, but I’m not making any promises. If you disagree with their judgement, say so and give a good explanation as to why, but admit that you do not know everything.
Under no circumstances should you say something like “I have a life so I don’t have time to do theorycraft research.” That answer both insults the people who are looking at your application and flat out tells them you don’t give a damn. If free time really is an issue, there is a better way to word it, such as “I don’t have a huge amount of free time, so I could easily have missed some news on my class. Can you point me in the right direction?”
Ask for ways to improve your play.
They might suggest something as simple as reforging a piece of gear differently, or moving a talent point around. No one plays perfectly on the first try, so show that you are open to criticism. Show that you always want to improve your game.
It can be difficult to come out of an app with the right balance of confidence and humility. You need to know enough about your class to take care of yourself, but you need to prove you can work well with others and have room to expand.
Dress to impress.
Log out in your main spec gear so they can see it in the armory. Enchant and gem all your gear. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive enchant or gem, but just that little bit of effort shows your commitment. Most guilds understand that you don’t want to drop 3k gold on an enchant for a blue-quality chest, but for just a little gold you can get the cheap version and still show how much effort you put into your character. Be prepared to back up your gearing choices. If your class needs to hit a hit or expertise cap, do so without going over the hit cap by more than 1 or 2 points. If your class has important haste breakpoints, research what they are and meet them.
Additionally, log out as the spec you are applying as. Equip all of your normal glyphs.
Explain all configurations you might use.
If you sometimes swap out Glyph of Berserk for Glyph of Rip, let the guild know and explain the circumstances. Same goes for different talent configurations, trinkets, and consumables. Doing so shows that you are flexible and react to each fight differently, as well as proving you don’t blindly follow a cookie-cutter spec.
If they ask about your user interface, don’t just post a screenshot of the default UI.
They’re looking for your raid frames and keybindings. If you’re a healer, your raid frames need to be in an easy-to-click location, and large enough to see pretty much everything. It’s highly preferable to have a screenshot of your UI in combat, rather than just sitting around town. They are also checking to see if your UIExplain your important addons, what boss mod you use, how you’ve customized your UI to make you a better player. If they ask about your keybinds, you don’t need to list every single one, but you should talk about the reasoning behind how you bind your keys. Do you use “6” through “=”? Do you turn with your mouse or with your keys? Do you have important abilities bound to easily accessible keys?
Maximize your professions.
This isn’t important for some guilds, but there are many guilds out there that look down on an applicant who has gathering professions instead of crafting professions. Crafting professions typically provide better bonuses, so they see it as another way to maximize your potential. If you’re applying to a very serious guild, level up some crafting professions and get them high enough that you can take advantage of their bonuses.
Research the guild.
It’s always a good sign if a guild has been around since vanilla WoW. If they’re new, expect a little bit of unrest or instability, though new guilds can still be very strong guilds. Read all of the “About Us” info, read any threads that say “READ THIS BEFORE APPLYING!” My guild actually has a line in the READ THIS thread that asks the applicant to copy-paste something specific to their application, just to prove they read it. Watch out for stuff like that.
Look at other applications to that guild.
Especially look at how the guild responded to each one. Do they respond well to humor, or do they want an application to be completely serious? What kind of follow-up questions do they ask, if any? Are there any loaded questions? Why were some applications rejected?
Bear Specific Guidelines
Defend your agility set up.
I’ve heard a lot of players out there who think a bear is bad because she has low health, which we all know is just plain wrong. I don’t know how many guilds think that, but it’s always safe to supply proof. Link Reesi’s sticked bear guide in the official forms. Link spreadsheets and blog posts; prove that you aren’t the only one who gems agility and that it’s the right thing to do.
Get the Tol Barad trinket.
I made the mistake of ignoring this trinket when I applied, and it was probably the weakest part of my app. Do Tol Barad dailies and save up on currency for Mirror of Broken Images. Even with 4.2 coming soon, that trinket will be useful for the rest of the expansion. If you need to apply RIGHT NOW and don’t have time to farm the trinket, at least mention your progress and that you’re working on it.
Know how to kitty.
Most guilds expect a bear to go dps when they don’t need you as a tank for an encounter. Don’t be sad about it, it’s just another way to prove your usefulness! You don’t have to be the best cat ever, but you should have a basic knowledge of how to perform that role reasonably well.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to do kitty, know and have some gear for either resto or balance. A hybrid that can fill many roles is invaluable to a guild. It might not be what gets you in, but it will definitely keep you there.
Know how to plan your cooldowns.
You have Barkskin, Frenzied Regeneration, and Survival Instincts. If you have the Tol Barad trinket, that’s a fourth magical cooldown. Know how to use them and how to plan them. A strong tank always knows how they can use their cooldowns in a fight, be it either a pre-planned event like a dragon’s breath, or an “oh shit” moment.
Cat Specific Guidelines
Explain why you chose your secondary stats.
Current theorycrafting for cats suggests that all secondary stats are similar in value, and that the choice is largely up to you. Are you hit and expertise capped for a smoother rotation? Do you stack mastery to strengthen your bleeds on high movement fights? Do you stack haste to increase the number of shreds you can do in a stationary fight? There aren’t many wrong answers here, just be prepared to defend them.
Explain why you picked which talents.
The cat spec is extremely flexible, especially if you’re willing to drop a few minor dps talents. Are you specced into Thick Hide to increase your off-tank ability? Perseverance to increase your survival in any form? Think about what conditions would cause you to move some points around.
Know how to off-tank.
Similar to bears learning how to use cat form, cats should know the basic bear rotation and stat priority. It just makes you look good.