Raiding 101: Social, Casual, and Friend-of-Friend Members

In our Raiding 101 series, we discuss tips and tricks for various aspects of running a guild, which can range from guild leadership duties, to raid leading, to growing as a player.

As your guild grows and begins to meet its goals, whether those are raid-related or more socially-focused, you may find that you generate a good deal of interest among like-minded players. Having social members and friend-of-friend or word-of-mouth recruits interested in joining your guild is a great problem to have! This means your community is successful and welcoming enough that people are telling their friends, word is getting around in other communities and Discords, and your recruitment materials are drumming up interest. Growing your guild also means you’re able to continue building a successful community outside of just your raid team.

As with all things in guild leadership, it’s helpful to have some guidelines in place before you start facing the eventuality of new members. Whether the newest applicant is looking to be a social member, a weekend raider “for now,” or is hoping to score a main raid spot thanks to a vouch from another raider, you’ll want to be able to clearly communicate the guild’s rules and expectations for newcomers.

Table of Contents

The Questions

Preparing for further interest in and applications to your guild can raise some questions and concerns you may want to ponder before the floodgates open:

Key Considerations

  • How can we be welcoming to new members without being taken advantage of?

  • If casual community members want to join the main raid team, are they afforded different treatment than outside applicants?

  • Do friend-of-friend or word-of-mouth raid team applicants have different application and trial procedures than other applicants?

These are great questions to discuss with your officer team, or even pose to your entire community. You may find it particularly helpful to ask your guild members how they felt about their first few months in the community; this discussion can be so enlightening when you’re considering how to tailor the new member experience while also maintaining a haven for your existing members.

New Members

Social members are the backbone of the vast majority of guilds, even serious raiding guilds, so if a healthy community outside of the raid team is important to you, you should aim to protect the guild’s social vibes while also creating a fun and welcoming experience for new people.

REMEMBER: It’s important to consider the relative experience level of your guild versus that of any new members; sometimes brand new players may find a more advanced guild intimidating, or may not be ready yet for the guild’s activities. There are a million guilds tailored towards all kinds of players, so don’t try to force a fit that doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t feel great to turn away a potential member, but helping someone find a guild that properly fits their playstyle and experience level is going to give that player a much better experience than trying to fit them into a community that doesn’t seem quite right.


What does “protecting your community” actually mean in the context of incoming members?

A guild’s relationship with its members should not ever be strictly transactional, but guild leadership should also be aware of situations in which members are taking more material support (like gold and guild bank mats) or asking for more time (in terms of emotional support or ongoing complaints, consistent requests for individualized assistance, etc.) than they are giving back to the community. MMO guilds are intended, by the very nature of the game genre, to be active and helpful places, but players who are consistently leaning on their guilds for help with every aspect of their gameplay can burn out the other members of a community. There should be give and take on both sides.

Typically, it’s not difficult to identify a problematic new member, as discussed in Raiding 101: Conflict Management - Part 1. We all hope to catch these players before they make it into the guild, but that’s not always possible. It may be even more difficult to determine when a member is causing tension or frustration rather than being outright rude. If you are noticing guilt trips, passive aggressive comments, trauma-dumping, or repeated begging for help from a member to other players, plan to step in and address this situation before the member causes irreparable damage to their relationship with the guild. Do remember, though, that people who struggle to recognize social cues may be completely unaware of the way they’re coming off to others; be kind and understanding when addressing these issues.

At the end of the day, a social community is meant to be a fun and comfortable place to play the game together with friends. If guild members are made to feel pressured, or stressed or uncomfortable by the presence of a newcomer, you have done your community a disservice by not protecting its environment for all members. Welcoming new people should be a fun experience, not a source of stress for established members!


Utilize some guidelines or expectations to help shape the way you’d like members to interact with and make use of your community in a few key ways:

Example: New Member Rules

  • Bank access – Unfortunately, bad actors abound in the broader WoW community, and there are still many people who guild-hop just to exploit guild banks. Consider limiting new member access to your important guild bank materials for a certain amount of time.

  • Guild rules and Code of Conduct – Of course, you should always ensure your guild rules are clear and accessible for all members. Set your new guildies up for success by helping them understand your guild’s social climate and social values before they begin interacting.

  • Social rules – If you have additional rules or requirements for certain Discord channels or guild activities, display them clearly in the appropriate places. While you may not need to provide exact requirements for social interactions, it’s important to give new members the appropriate contexts and tools they may need to make friends and integrate seamlessly.


Whether you have been working within your community space since its beginnings and have had a hand in developing the Discord, or joined after the guild’s formation, you probably feel completely comfortable operating in your guild spaces by now! However, take a look at your Discord with an outsider’s eye. I know my guild’s Discord probably seems very overwhelming and intimidating; we have a million channels, all kinds of ranks, memes-turned-emotes, silly channel names, and random conversations…it probably feels daunting to approach that and try to find a space to belong as a newcomer.

Think about working to establish low-stakes channels in which new members can easily begin to interact. Here are just a few channel ideas you may consider in order to encourage low-pressure interactions:

  • Introductions – Obviously, this is a very easy space for new members to join in on the discussion and share a bit about themselves. I think most of my community members leave this channel unmuted so they can see new introductions and dive right in to be welcoming and friendly, which is what we love to see!
  • Pets – I firmly believe that every pet owner softens when they’re asked about their furry friends, and I think this is a first-stop channel for many new people.
  • IRL – I can’t remember why we originally created this channel for my Discord, but it’s become a catch-all for IRL pictures, work rants, silly videos taken at work, etc. One guildie posts his goofy work TikToks and weird customer stories, another shares his fresh new haircuts, and we’ve had an influx of holiday photos with our members’ cute kids and beautiful trees! Even if new members don’t post here, an IRL channel is a fun way for them to start to get to know people.
  • Food – Food is a great way for people to bond! You could invite new members to share their favorite recipes or discuss something like, “the ideal holiday meal plate.” We’ve had some amazingly insightful discussions about cultural and family recipes, too. There’s much to be learned about someone from their food preferences.
  • LFG – Consider this as an intermediate space where new members can begin to watch how your guild interacts with each other, how they form groups, and what kind of content they’re doing together. We have a ping-able Mythic+ role for our LFG channel that encourages guild members to play together, which not only helps new members join in, but also encourages members from all facets of the guild, from the weekend raiders, social members, and Mythic raiders, to play together.


Remember that people may interact with a new community in all kinds of different ways, and that everyone will integrate into a group at their own speed. If you’re expecting some sort of “standard” socialization or interaction benchmarks from your members, you may be unintentionally excluding neurodivergent, anxious or shy guildies. Try to avoid setting very defined expectations here, but instead allow your members to integrate at their own speed and in their own ways.

While communication is extremely important in a raiding environment, or in higher Mythic+ keys, I try to ensure that I am not judging new members based on their social interactions, especially in voice chat, outside of those few important situations. There are many, many reasons people may feel uncomfortable communicating in voice chat or even guild chat, so don’t force this issue with them. Everyone opens up in their own time.

The Social to Raider Pipeline

Whether you have a fun, casual weekend raid team or simply offer a friendly space for social members to hang out, you will likely encounter this situation at least once: A previously casual member wants to raid, and wants to do so on your team. This is fabulous! Interest in the team is great! But, ensure that you have already set expectations about how guild members can join the raid team so you are not faced with any awkward or surprising interactions when you face this situation.

I would generally advise that you maintain the same application and trial process for everyone, including current guild members. Setting a precedent that guild members are entitled to a raid spot and can “skip the line” can establish an environment that feels like favoritism for incoming applicants who aren’t already social members of the guild, which makes integration and the sense of a fair trial process feel much more difficult. We have found some amazing talent in our social raids, and there’s nothing wrong with tapping your casual guildie population for new raid team talent, but ensure that you are doing so within your applicant guidelines.


As we all know, it typically doesn’t feel great to have to turn an applicant away, especially when you’re just rocking a full roster or aren’t looking for their particular class or spec. But no situation feels more awkward than the “Eventually” Applicant. This is a person who really wants to join your team, and is willing to wait for an eventual spot. They say they’ll hang out and do Mythic+ until a spot opens up, or apply next tier, or do casual raids with the guild until you have room for them on the main team.

This may seem like a convenient situation for both of you, but be very careful with this type of applicant. Often, someone who has found your team when looking for a raiding guild really does want to be raiding, not waiting, so their timeline may be much faster than you are expecting or are prepared for. They may become impatient or disappointed when there isn’t immediately a spot available for them, which can generate a great deal of tension between this member and your raiders, and put you in a stressful or awkward spot.

Ultimately, the “eventually” applicant would generally be happier raiding NOW with a team similar to yours, rather than waiting around for an uncertain spot on your roster. Guilds do not have to be forever, so perhaps in the future, the timing can work out differently and you may see them again. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with maintaining a close relationship with those applicants who seem promising but aren’t quite the right fit immediately, or need a little bit more experience before joining your team. Networking makes all the difference in an MMO, so make use of Discord and Battlenet friends lists to keep tabs on the players you might like to bring back in the future!

If you do choose to bring an “Eventually” Applicant aboard, communicate your boundaries and requirements very clearly, in writing, to avoid any real or feigned misunderstandings later on.

The Word-of-Mouth Recruit

I absolutely LOVE friend-of-friend or word-of-mouth applicants! Nothing feels more rewarding than realizing that members of your guild are happy enough to tell their friends what a great community you’re running. However, these applicants can also come with their own set of difficulties: are they expecting preferential treatment because someone already vouched for them? Did someone really vouch for them? Are they a suitable social and performance fit for your guild?

Before you proceed with a word-of-mouth application, double-check that the raider they name-drop is actually willing to vouch, and ensure that the current or previous raider who has given the vouch is in good standing with the guild. Always do your due diligence to your raid team!

Your expectations should be the same for these trials as for all others. These players should prepare to undergo the same application process as anyone else would, whether that’s filling out an application or having an interview with leadership before joining the team. A vouch from a current raider may help get their foot in the door, but don’t allow them to breeze on through without following the same process as everyone else. Knowing a current raider is an awesome way for these players to hear about an amazing community, but they should not feel entitled to skip ahead.

Key Takeaways

Embrace your new applicants, whether they’re casual or social members just hoping to come along for the ride in a nice community, or word-of-mouth trials who have heard what an amazing raid team you’re running. Though an influx of new interest may feel overwhelming at first, recognize that these people are flocking to you because you’re doing a great job! Just remember, as with all things in guild leadership: Have a plan in place ahead of time. Set expectations for how new members interact with and make use of the community. Ensure you have rules that dictate how a casual guild member can join the raid team. Know what you’d like your trial process to look like for friend-of-friend applicants. Thinking about these boundaries before you need to enact them will help you integrate new members and continue to grow a helpful, successful community.


About the Author

Gogogadgetkat has been playing WoW since late BC, and has been the GM of her guild Propaganda since its creation in 2014. As a career healer, Kat has a number of CEs and old-school heroic kills under her belt, all on a variety of healing classes and specs—she’s a serial altoholic! In addition to Mythic raiding and a little Mythic+, creating safe, inclusive spaces in gaming is her longtime passion; Kat has been an admin for the Perky Pugs community since late BfA, and is also a founding council member and the community manager for the DEIBAJ initiative Liquid Women in Warcraft. She is excited to bring her wealth of experience and love of writing to the Raider.IO team.