Greedy Goblin

Monday, September 14, 2009

The smell of the n00bs

My investment to a raiding guild was on a fence for 1-1.5 month. In July - early August we couldn't run U25 hard modes because there were not enough people online. Sometimes we had enough friends&family to have a normal run, sometimes raid canceled.

That made me not only log on every raid day, in the case that one more healer can save the day (no raid = people leave), but also to be more active on the recruitment forums. I did not really understand why so many applicants are turned down for minor problems, especially when we were struggling filling the ranks.

Of course I never meant to invite the guy who wrote into his application that "bc I wanna play with cool ppl XDDD" or the other one with spell penetration gems, nor the guy who put a red and yellow gem into red and yellow sockets but in the wrong order. I'm talking about the guy with an application written in cultured manner and either lower (ilvl 213-219) gear or sub-optimal talents/gems when the difference from optimal was in the 0.1-3% magnitude.

Considering that this is the guild who did Ulduar in blues, I don't think that anyone here would believe in the "you need BiS" nonsense. I recognized 2 patterns in the rejection. Reading lot of application forums of several world top 1000 guilds, I found that they are present in almost all topguilds.

I believe they are illogical, therefore perfect to make the non-elite upkeep the "elite is a bunch of jerks and you can't get in by skill, just by butkissing". If someone who highly outskills his friendly social guild ("we have tabberd, /w for inv") applies to a topguild, and get rejected for these nonsense reasons, he will believe that the social nonsense "we are good and helpful while they are evil and selfish" is true. He may forever give up hope or even the will to move up and keeps boosting the M&S, unleashing even more "LF2M tank and healer daily HC /w [epic]" idiots to the playerbase.

I don't believe I can change the thinking of any officer of topguild. I write this post to help applicants not to make those faux pases and get where they belong. For today I write about the "smell of the n00b" mistake, the "ungeared" will be tomorrow.

Look at these two talents at the healing priest discipline tree, tier2:
Which one is the correct? If we want to min-max, the second. However if we talk about 2200SP priests, it's about 2% (over)healing increase, doesn't really make or break a raid. Don't forget that a pair of 245 from 226 upgrade gives the same effect. On the other hand the first can save your butt (and therefore the whole raid) from a loose Snobold or Thorim add. Isn't it obviously better?

If we exclude Blue Ulduar (where the tank had much lower threat and needed much more healing), I pulled aggro 2 times since May: I pulled Tenebron on a Nightfall 1-tank-1-healer zerg, and I pulled Acidmaw on a hard mode beasts when Gormok was still alive when the jormungars arrived. 2 tank-threat error wipes among 1000+ other wipes.

In a topguild you don't need aggro reduction. The tanks don't make mistakes in significant numbers. If they do, it's a wipe anyway. If I reduce threat and some DPS gets Acidmaw, we won't have the DPS to get Icehowl before enrage.

On the other hand in a social guild, aggro reducing is a must-be. Tanks usually able to hold one target (or zero). If you pull aggro on a zombie chow and die: wipe. If some DPS pulls aggro, you'll 15 man it, like you always do.

In a social guild MP5 and spirit are much more important than intellect (the favorite stat of topguild-healers), because in a social guild 5 replenishment-capable DPS means 0 replenishment. Since shamans usually drop their own DPS totems (if any) and 3 paladins give 3 kings, you must handle your own mana, that means lot of mana-regen talents/glpyhs that are frowned upon in topguilds.

In a social guild a caster DPS needs 17% hit from talents and gear to be capped. In a horde topguild he needs 14%, in an alliance 13% (misery/imp faery fire, draenei). Poor "overcapped" DPS usually get a quick "denied for bad itemization".

The hate for these gems, talents, glyphs is mostly irrational, as their mathematical drawback is small and could be fixed in minute. This is a gut-hate. It comes from bitter memories. You know, we did not born in a topguild. We all had our share of raiding with jhonnyUKlol under the wise leadership of xXkillahXx in the mighty DaRkGnOmKiLeRs.

We remember untanked adds killing healers one by one, followed by a "heal FFS".
We remember 20 min long 5-manned Heigans.
We remember being alone with consumables and enchants.
We remember damaging 3x more than jhonnyUKlol followed by him getting the BiS since xXkillahXx wisely pointed out that he needs more gear to damage as much as us.
We remember being kicked for linking a damage meter, for telling that X put a slime pack to the middle of the room again, for rolling against an officer, or for not boosting the officer's brother's 5th alt the 25th time.

I want to remember to learn from it and hopefully to share some insights with you on this blog.
Most people just want to forget these times.

If you arrive with threat reduction and mana regeneration talents, gems, enchants, or hit-overcapped, it's obvious that you use to raid with morons. Maybe you are not a moron yourself, but you definitely spend your time with them. You have the smell of the n00bs. Looking at your spec/gems recall all those bad feelings connected to bad memories.

You can do one thing: before application, root out these things from your spec/gear. Even if you must have them for your next badge run with jhonnyUKlol, take the time and respec before loging off. Writing in your apply that you would change this to a different immediately may help too. Read EJ and also check the armory of the targeted guild's players. Simply mirror their choices.

Or do the goblin thing and buy your way in. You can even keep improved tranquility!


Dan said...

Could the final reasons be why many of us who were late to TBC raiding were excluded from T6 and Sunwell guilds because we were geared in T4, arena and badge gear?

Anonymous said...

"If you pull aggro on a zombie chow and die: wipe."

Sigh. I've only literally just started raiding an OT in a hardcore casual raiding guild, and this was me last night.

Thing is, because I have the gold to equip BiS enchants/gems/almost gear, the guild master is happy for me to start coming on Uldaur runs because "I am geared". I haven't even done all of Naxx yet :p

I often think about your guilds blue run though Ulduar, especially when people start talking about gear in raid chat. I love your insights into hardcore raiding, and look forward to the time when I am raiding on my own merits and not being carried by more skillful players in my guild.

Anonymous said...

I thought the goblin way means you would have gone to another raiding guild by now. You are actually getting attached to your current guild.

Anonymous said...

A smart top guild will ask the right questions. A smart applicant, coming from a less progressed and/or social guild will explain their choices in detail in their application.

A guild that rejects applications without making suggestions to good but not perfect applicants first will not stay a top guild for long. An applicant that cannot/will not explain their somewhat questionable choices doesn't deserve to be in a top guild.

However, I understand where you are coming from and why you wrote this post. One cannot change other people so in order to achieve their goals, one must adopt to standards of those, he or she needs to reach that goal.

Anonymous said...

easy way for people to keep their 'raid with morons' gear and show off their 'if i was in a decent guild' set up is to go to and put together their spec and gems and such as they would should they be accepted. simply say i'm gemmed and enchanted to the needs of my current guild.

however, if i had the freedom to fully optimize myself here is what i would be wearing *link to chardev profile*. i've done this twice before and i get the feeling that had i not, i would have been rejected each time.

Sean said...

This is a great article. When I was in a weaker guild, I knew that I was sub-optimally gemmed/enchanted/talented. I was forced to do so because I frequently had to perform multiple roles for healing.

however, if i had the freedom to fully optimize myself here is what i would be wearing *link to chardev profile*. i've done this twice before and i get the feeling that had i not, i would have been rejected each time.

This is a great idea.

@Another anon:
"So, what you are doing is justifying the elitism that fosters M&S behaviors, because they had to learn it the hard way, barefoot in the snow uphill both ways... give me a break.

You state that your guild is having trouble filling runs, but you would rather read EJ forums than actually raid. You must be cool...

I'd rather recruit someone who can learn, than someone who can copy a cookie-cutter spec and not know why it is good. It doesn't take long to take a flyer on someone, have a class leader make some suggestions, and see what they do. If they can't learn, boot them."

I don't think you read the whole article correctly. Gevlon disagreed with the recruitment policy but shares why it happens. He gives advice how people applying to topguilds may avoid these 'mistakes'.

Jacob said...

You pulled aggro of Acidmaw due to no tank being available for tanking Acidmaw since we already had failed on Gormokk phase. It wouldn't have mattered how many threatreduction talents you might've had. You still would've pulled initial aggro. Oh well, I guess that if you had them, Acidmaw would've gone for another raidhealer.

"You can do one thing: before application, root out these things from your spec/gear. Even if you must have them for your next badge run with jhonnyUKlol, take the time and respec before loging off. Read EJ and also check the armory of the targeted guild's players. Simply mirror their choices."

Don't just go for a cookiecutter spec, instead, be prepared to explain your talentchoices, especially if it's an unusual specc that you will get asked about.

Bernard said...

*Enter Captain Obvious*

Whilst HM-raiding guilds care about gear and talent choices, as you said, recruiters have all been in a lameguild.

We're primarily looking for players that (implicitly) say that they read EJ, come prepared to fights and don't stand in the fire.

Anything extra is a bonus.

Ayonel said...

There you go giving away the secrets again. But this is another classic RL M&S thing. Research the company before going for the interview. I can't tell you how many times I have interviewed people who knew nothing about the firm they were interviewing with, or the type of job they were applying for. They just knew that their Dad/Uncle/Friend got them an interview with a big financial company so that must mean a big salary, so they want to work here. I'm sure the analogy is clear...

I got to be as good as I am(or think I am) by researching my class, building my toon correctly, and, when I run OS or VoA with a 'lock who has the audacity to out-dps me, I look them up and see what's different, compare recount/WWS data, etc.

If you want to run with the best, act like you're one of them.(Note: this doesn't mean be a jerk; though chances are you are one.)


This post almost sounds like you are trying to help people...are you feeling ok today? ;p

Gevlon said...

@Ayonel: there is a saying "I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals but because I hate plants".

Every player accepted to a raiding guild is a player who is not boosting M&S in Naxx-siege-ToC10-badgefarm5mans.

KimmoKM said...

When I joined to a top guild (world #16 when I quit, according to rankings in, the requirements were very strict. Not so much about gear but very much about mentality and knowledge. I had an interview in Ventrilo with the guild master and he asked questions about my motivation, availability, ability to concentrate and so on.

I also was asked questions about why I gear/gem/talent the way I do. That is just a way to find out the player knows what he is doing. I must admit I did have an actual mistake in my talents, I only had 3/5 gift of the earth mother believing I was haste softcapped and I had a lengthy conversation with one of their druids about that. It turned out I indeed had calculated required haste wrong (I tend to calculate such things myself, though at time elitistjerks had flawed calculation as well), but because such mistake was easily fixed (raiding guild isn't a math class after all) and I was able to tell clearly why I had made such talent choices, it didn't eventually matter.

As Anonymous stated, "A smart top guild will ask the right questions. A smart applicant, coming from a less progressed and/or social guild will explain their choices in detail in their application." If you can't, you either have selected talents by random or copied some cookiecutter spec without knowledge how it works out in certain situations. And being able to play in the best way in certain situation is pretty much what you call "skill".

scrusi said...

In my experience as an officer of a somewhat hardcore guild (nothing fancy, mind you), unexplained errors (i.e. wrong spec) make for bad impressions. We don't turn people away on just a bad talent or gem choice, but it is a factor that is taken into consideration. I know I have personally rejected various paladin tanks that didn't spec into PoJ even though they could have. In each of the cases there were other negative factors too - but they might have made it if they had specced correctly.

There are various reasons to spec differently as you point out, but if you are the kind of quality player we are looking for you will know that your choices are suboptimal and will explain that in your application.

I suppose this whole choice really depends on the level you are playing at. If you are a top guild you are not looking for a player that is coming right out of a noob guild with no experience. You want someone that has played on your level or a step below, but not someone from the lower end of the ladder.
My guild can't be as restrictive, but we still prefer our players to have decent raiding experience and have enough applications to be able to afford that attitude.
If you are a medium raiding guild, the stars of the noob guilds will be what you need to find and nurture. Turning away a good player on technicalities would be irresponsible there.

The advice in the above comments is absolutely spot on - research the guild you are applying to and make sure they know that you know what you are doing. If you are specced for tanking heroics, mention that and add a link to your raiding build. If you are running 16% spellhit - explain why and tell them how you mean to change that once you join.

Tonus said...

This is an interesting point, but I think that many top guilds do two things to avoid this. One, they typically are looking for people who are progressing, and if you've spent your time in a low-end guild full of bad people, then you probably passed up chances to move on to better guilds. Which means you want to jump from a bad guild to the best of the best. That could indicate a lack of ambition or drive, the type of player who will spend two weeks with you and then tell you that he "didn't realize it would be this intense" and goes back to ~DaRkGnOmKiLeRz~.

The other thing a good high-end guild will do is properly interview a prospective member. They ask why he is gemmed the way he is, they ask him to explain his talent choices, and what changes he thinks he should make. They take him along for a few farm runs on lesser content to see how well he reacts and plays with others, and so on.

Then again, most guilds have some mix of hardcore and social in their makeup. Many top-end guilds will ask social questions, such as what is your favorite song or movie, or whether or not you can handle profanity and crude language in chat or vent. None of those make you a better raider. They are entirely social in nature. Is it any surprise that they miss small but vital details when considering a prospective member?

Nils said...

When i started to raid with my arcane mage i didn't have the -40% aggro skilled.
As you can see it wasn't a top guild, because don't bother with arcane prior to 3.2.2.

My argument was that my dps obviously waould be sub-par, because I wasn't equipped.

The very first raid I died 4 times. I watched almost ALL boss fights while dead.

I can tell you:
The second the raid was over I jumped to the trainer and got those -40%, which mean that I now have to dps 67% more to produce the same aggro as before.

In 5-mans I now just start to arcane blast spam, - in raids my first spell is on the boss before the tank has even hit. And it works.

There is no better dps-talent for me than the -40% aggro.

Anonymous said...

@Nils: I think its different with -threat talents for dps than for a healer.

Fawr said...

healers generally don't have agro problems, good dps will (at least some of the time).

If a dps applicant says that they never run into agro problems then that says something about their dps...

Wooly said...

Damn, what a good post. I can't agree more and that's coming from someone who likes to disagree :)

Title literally cracked me up and the content comes to a close description of how I have experienced wow in the beginning.

I'm still in two guilds. My main is in a raiding guild and my alts are in a small self-proclaimed social guild. The social guild isn't really as social as they think, because most of the time they're acting like Statlers and Waldorfs bitching about (who they think are) elitists and morons all together: nobody is good enough. The members are all good players, who either had some bad experiences with members from top guilds, or simply suffer from some kind of inferiority complex.

Your reasoning about why good social-guild players think top raiding guilds consist of elitist jerks is spot on. It's exactly the things I see in /g. I've tried to convince them otherwise, but I noticed I risked becoming a pariah in a group of outcasts :)

The raiding guild I'm in right now isn't as good as I hoped they were, they used to be in the servers top, but that's clearly the past. Still I can see the elitist behavior in some of the members. I know there are players out there that would be a real asset, but one pvp piece in their gear and it's over for some. Never wondering if the guy simply never had a better PvE drop and made this choice logically.

Unknown said...


Theres always a better PvE piece thats stupidly easy to get, even if its blue. Unless you are a druid tank. Thats why high end guilds reject people with PvP gear because its incredibly suboptimal for PvE.

Unknown said...

@ Chris

That's simply not true. The PvP gear is categorically better than any blue at this point. The current season's weapons especially while not 100% optimized are definite upgrades from anything but the highest end PvE options.

I agree that a full PvP suit is sub-optimal for raiding, but a ring or bracers or something from PvP shouldn't disqualify someone from acceptance to a guild. It's not as if someone can will an upgrade into dropping.

In 2 weeks I aim to have Relentless Gladiator's Salvation. 701 SP and a socket. There's better-itemized weapons available in H ToC, but you can bet I'm gonna be rocking that PvP weapon for awhile.

Anonymous said...

@ Chris
drops off Koralon the Flame Watcher.

current piece

Elemental shaman with horrible rng luck. At the gear stage where haste rating is most definitely better then crit , but extra spell power still makes your spells hit harder. Hit rating cloaks are not an option, as shaman is hit capped without gemming or enchanting for it. And spirit is even less useful then resilience rating.

Tell me again that there's better pve piece that's stupidly easy to get and is an upgrade?

However, intelligent applicant would know that pvp piece can be a red flag and will explain their choice in their initial application.

ZachPruckowski said...

Great post Gevlon. Should be required reading for applying to guilds (and the main points apply well to almost any sort of application).

On DPSers and threat, I just want to throw in that it varies from class to class. Warlocks have larger threat problems than rogues do, damage-for-damage, for instance. And for some classes, the -threat% talents are easier to come by. My (elemental shaman) threat-reduction talent is the same as my +hit talent, so I'm obviously taking it. I get a 30% reduction, while mages can get 40%, and warlocks only get like 10%. So threat issues vary class-to-class.

As for healer threat-reduction, I find myself wondering if that really ever saves people regardless of group skill level. I mean, my experience suggests that healers get aggro when (1) the tank fails to pick up the add altogether, or (2) the tank thinks Consecrating once is enough to hold the mob. In the case of (1), generating any non-zero amount of threat gets the mob on you, whether it's 500 threat or 750 threat. In the case of (2), I've found Blizzarding mages (and other AoEing DPS) tend to pull the mob first. It seems healer threat reduction, even in scrub guilds, only makes sense in certain gimmick scenarios (Gluth zombie chow, maybe "ranged tank"ing Mimiron's head)

Wooly said...


"Stupidly easy", "incredibly suboptimal".

Overly strong statements without proof to back them up have in my experience always been based upon false believes rather than actual facts. And I doubt that any intelligent person will ever be convinced merely by strong words. The two posters after you have already shown some good examples that disprove what you're saying, but I still would like to know upon what facts you're ideas are based.

While I agree that PvP items will most likely never be as good as similar ilvl PvE items for raiding, they're just losing a few itemization points to resilience. I hold a simple rule for myself that PvP gear is more or less equal to PvE gear of one tier lower.

So, personally, I would never turn down anyone for just that reason. You can also see it as a good thing that someone used all available resources to gear himself up to the best of his capabilities, instead of keeping a strict PvE diet that made him end up with lesser gear. If it's the best item you've been able to acquire at some point, you should use it, not hide it because some overblown prejudices of some have turned a dispreference into a deadly sin.

Lee Quillen said...


Take this for what it is worth (tip from an anonymous poster on the internet), but consider looking at other raiding guilds. You are paying a lot, regardless of the reason at this point, because you want to be able to say you saw and defeated the toughest content.

Top end Raiding guilds are not cancelling raids because of attendance. Poor attendance is right there with all other M&S behavior you have mentioned previously. A top end raiding guild will know who is attending, and be able to plan for alternates in case of emergencies (which should be rare). Applicants should be in guild standing by waiting for a shot to prove themselves in the raiding environment. There should never be a reason to cancel a scheduled raid barring the very rare circumstance. Yes, applicants end up raiding the toughest content with you before you actually let them know they are accepted... as even the best application and best performance in earlier content could mask that a particular person just can't cut it.

Honestly sounds like there are better oppurtunities out there for you to do and see what you wish to do and see. Cancelling raids because people couldn't show up is absolutely not an acceptable behavior when looking for a top end raiding guild. Applicants should be knocking at the door, and if the guild would rather wait for their standard of perfection than continuing raids while evaluating applicants then there is an issue.

Anonymous said...

Sry for the offtopic, but what does BiS stand for? Cant figure it out -.-

P.s.: Great blog, always makes my day a bit more interesting.

Rohan said...

BiS = Best in Slot.

Pypsi said...

I know all of these scenarios either from personal experience or from word of mouth, but I can say that I never suffered any of them more than once. Why people let other guilds walk all over them like this, I've never understood. Maybe I've been spoiled by usually having guilds comprised of mostly competent people, but most of these just seem ridiculous.

Unknown said...

"we did not born in a topguild."
We were not born in a topguild.

Daavos said...

Sometimes the M&S are the very officers in charge of recuiting and afraid of being replaced by less geared but better skilled players.

Bernard said...

@Lee Q


If Gevlon's guild are unable to fill 25man runs, it's a sign to move on.

What has kept you? Loyalty? Friendship? ;)

Anonymous said...

What about all those applicants that think they are snoop dog for some insane reason?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone reads Plusheal...

Anonymous said...

Hehe, I saw a "the Smell of n00bs" on here and thought "is that blog on here, too?"

( - very funny)