Guilds Paying for Server Transfers… Good News or Bad News?

On Twitter the other night, Vidyala mentioned noticing a guild shopper requesting that the guild recruiting him pay for his server transfer.


Now, guilds paying for server transfers are pretty common. In case you haven’t been hanging around the recruitment forums lately, I took a screenshot for you. If you want to see for yourself, go to the forums, type in “pay for server transfer” in the search bar and that’s what you’ll get. Note from the dates on the results (I didn’t sort them by date) that this phenomenon didn’t start last week either.

What worried Vidyala, and would worry me too if I were a guild recruiter, was players coming to expect prospective guilds paying for their transfers.

Kurn then thought of the question of, well, should guilds pay for players’ transfers back if they fail their trial period?

Me, the Future Guild Shopper

I’m moving across the country in July, from Middle-of-the-Atlantic-Ocean to Alberta. We’re talking 4 timezones, or 3.5 hours difference. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m going from having to get up early in the morning to will be working until 9pm Mountain Time some nights.

I left my last serious raiding guild in early January, two raids before their Cho’gall kill. As a result, not only will I need a late-but-not-too-late raiding guild, but I need a guild who’ll accept me in my stalled at 9/12 for the past 4 months state.

I miss serious and 25 man raiding a lot. My current guilds (I divide my time between two guilds now!) are both lovely, but I’m aching for hard modes. I’m aching for being able to yell at people who screw up, I’m aching for being yelled at for screwing up, I’m aching for fast run-backs after wipes, I’m aching for long strategy discussions on guild forums.

I know that most guilds don’t mind recruiting from lower down, but the kind of raiding I want to get back into is way, way out of my gear and experience’s league. I don’t mind playing the bench and alt runs until I’m deemed capable of the guild’s content (I would rather that than having to guild-hop my way up), but I dare you to convince a guild of that.

Then, if I weren’t demanding enough, I want a guild with a certain level of class. Not too politically correct (I’m too mouthy for politically correct guilds), but I don’t want flashbacks of my elementary schoolbus rides either.

So I’m quite happy to see that guilds are pretty damn desperate these days. Maybe they’ll be desperate enough to take me and accommodate all my specific requirements.

But I wouldn’t want a guild to pay for my transfer.

You read that right.

As much as I complain about money, poor starving student that I am, I don’t want a guild to pay for my server transfer. Nor would I want for them to pay for my transfer away if things don’t work out.

I want a guild to take me despite my lack of gear and experience. But I don’t want a guild so desperate that they’re willing to pay 25$ per applicant. See, I’m confident in my healing ability, despite my gear and experience. They have nothing to lose by taking me, except maybe 10 minutes of their time if I wipe the raid. And I’m confident that I’ll blow their minds with what my blue gear pieces can do. If they pay me to come over, then they’re risking far more than 10 minutes of their time. They must be in pretty bad shape to be willing to risk that much. I don’t want a guild in bad shape.

As for paying for the transfer away if things don’t work out, I don’t like that either. When I make the decision to hit “accept” on a guild invite, I want it to be meaningful. I don’t make commitments often (how many years have I been single, now? 4? 5?), but when I do, I Commit with a capital C. Entering a new environment, hearing new voices on vent, seeing unknown names in guild chat, getting used to a new guild culture… It’s hard for me. Not something I want to do often. Same goes for leaving a guild.

So no, I don’t want to join a guild where the message is “it’s ok, if we don’t like each other, we’ll make it cheap for you to leave“.

I want to be sure of myself before I join a new guild and a new server. And I want that guild to be sure of me before I make that step.

I know that for so many players, playing musical chairs with guilds isn’t a big deal. But for me it is. And I find that having my transfers paid for would trivialize my commitment.

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19 Comments on “Guilds Paying for Server Transfers… Good News or Bad News?”

  1. Zinn Says:

    I see your point, but you’re assuming that paying for a transfer equals desperation. Normally I would agree, because to me 25 dollars are loads of money and nothing I’d give out to just anyone. Still, it’s not impossible that these guilds are just /shrug about it, we don’t know. I don’t think a paying guild has to be a desperate one, but it sure says something about them in any case.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah, I guess there’s always the offchance that the GM is a millionaire with money to throw around. I actually wouldn’t mind that. He could totally bring the whole guild to Blizzcon and I’m all for GMs bringing their guilds to Blizzcon.

      But on a more serious note, I wouldn’t be comfortable joining a guild willing to pay for their applicants, regardless if its out of desperation or out of having too much money to throw around. Joining a guild is a really personal thing for me and being payed to do it just doesn’t feel right.

      • Zinn Says:

        Amen to that. I wouldn’t do it because somehow I would feel obliged to stick with them, if you know what I mean. I’d feel totally bad if they paid my transfer, turn out to not be my kind of guild and I leave. I could always repay them, but the hassle… And also, I could imagine not feeling like I’m any other guy in the guild because somehow I’d always be “the dude we paid to get here”, so I’m special. And not nececssarily in a good way. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be very happy if I paid my own transfer, found out I didn’t like the guild and felt I had wasted the money ;S

  2. Kurn Says:

    I think that the circumstances of my (fairly poorly thought-out idea of) paying for someone to leave if things don’t work out would be in rare circumstances:

    – Passes the trial in terms of skill, but there is a personality conflict that is not going to work out

    – Is an awesome person who fits in very well with the guild, but is not a strong player with good skills

    – If they’re not outstanding either as a player or a person and they don’t pass their trial, they wouldn’t get anything.

    Meh. It’s a tough thing to think about doing, but it’s more like “You know, take the chance on us, spend that money on us, because if things don’t work out, you haven’t lost anything but some time”, you know? Sort of a money-back guarantee (where some rules and restrictions apply).

    I don’t see ever doing either of those things, but if I WERE to do one, it would be the “here’s $25, now GTFO” option. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Ophelie Says:

      I saw it more as you asking the question, not necessarily endorsing the idea.

      I can only really see it from a personal perspective, where I’m overconfident about my mad social and healing skillz ;D. From a recruiter or a less secure player’s perspective, I think “money-back guarantee” would be a very interesting incentive. Yet, at the same time, I wonder if it would make players more careless about jumping into a guild without doing their research as to the guild culture and performance expectations.

  3. Kesith Says:

    I am not sure I agree that paying guilds are desperate. As Zinn said, 25 dollars can mean different things to different people. However, what does speak volumes is when an individual player demands money for a server transfer. It’s a cocky attitude which right away suggests the player is putting their abilities above the guild as a whole. It almost seems like demanding payment to allow the guild to bask in the awesomeness of this cocky applicant.

    • Ophelie Says:

      It’s not 25$, it’s 25$ per applicant from another server. I can’t see how anyone can offer that and not be desperate. I mean, if your guild is awesome, people should WANT to play with you, not be paid to.

      And yeah, it is disturbing that players are starting to demand that guilds pay for them.

  4. Cynwise Says:

    When real money changes hands, the whole dynamic changes. Perhaps it’s my professional work ethic kicking in, but if I’ve been paid to come over to do something, then I’m going to feel obligated to do it.

    And I would rather raid, or not raid, because I felt like it, not because I felt a professional obligation to do so.

  5. Saunder Says:

    TL:DR, I can’t see why (particularly in a casual raiding guild) that paid transfers would be a good idea for guild or applicant.

    …But you knew there was more to it than that, didn’t you ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Jen Says:

    I agree with you and Cynwise. If I knew someone was paying $25 just to have me, I’d feel an obligation to always be there for the guild. That’s not my idea of fun in WoW… I already feel the “pressure” as an officer, knowing that a person paid real money for me would probably send me into guilt trips every time I go on holiday.

  7. Oestrus Says:

    See, I worry about the opposite end of things and people taking the “It’s not my money, so what do I care” approach.

    Coming from someone who has done a lot of guild hopping in her day (and hopes to not have to do that anymore), I felt more inclined to perform and be good at what I do, because it was MY money that I was having to shell out each time I transferred/joined a new guild. I also knew that if things didn’t work out, it was MY money that was going to be spent to leave the situation and find a new home. That motivated me to give it my all.

    It’s sort of like kids who are spoiled and come to not appreciate anything they have, because they didn’t pay for it. If you are were the kid who had to do chores and earn an allowance and pay for your own toys/games, you would be so careful with those toys that you would make SURE they did not break or get left behind. The child who had everything paid for them would probably be more careless with the toy/game and probably wouldn’t even bat an eyelash if they broke it or would move on to another form of amusement more quickly.

    Do you see what I mean?

  8. TheGrumpyElf Says:

    I would never let anyone pay for me.

    However, if someone offered to pay for me, it would make me think they are serious about giving me a prime spot. Why else would they pay 25 bucks to get me there?

    So I can see a guild willing to pay being a guild that is serious and has done their research about me enough to be willing to invest in my services.

    I would then pay my own way.

    Same goes the other way for me. If I where in a top end guild (not even close) and I offered to pay for someone to transfer and they accepted, I would then decline them.

    My reasoning would be they are just looking for a free transfer. Any serious gamer would pay their own way for a chance at a guild where they are guaranteed a spot and some serious progression. At least in my opinion.

    The whole paying for the trip back thing is a non issue. You where paid to come over and help. If you need to go back, that means you did not help. Why should they pay for your way back, you already made them waste money getting you there for nothing.

  9. Stubborn Says:

    If I thought I was hot stuff, I could see me asking for someone to pay for a transfer. However, since I don’t (and can’t imagine I ever would), I totally agree that I wouldn’t want a new guild to start out a relationship with me being in their debt. First, either you stay with that guild long enough to make it worth their real world cash or, basicall, you’re a jerk. Second, if you’re indebted, they may be more likely to ask extra of you, above and beyond what you were expecting in the new guild.

    I’ve always thought the “signing bonus” idea seemed like a bad way to get someone into your company/guild/whatever. If they have to be bribed, are they really that interested? And how desperate does that make your organization look?

  10. Vidyala Says:

    I’m not sure if they are desperate or rich (or both), but it’s definitely heartening to read that the majority of people commenting here wouldn’t accept in any case. I think the kinds of players I’m looking for aren’t looking for a free ride – either monetary or guild-wise, and their actions speak accordingly.

    Maybe this has always gone on and I am only recently becoming aware of it! I just hadn’t seen it on the forums before.

  11. Phitom Says:

    Well, as far as you moving to a different timezone we do raid 11pm to 3 am friday and saturday nights EST. Only downside is that we are all poor and cant afford paying for you. ๐Ÿ˜›

    On a side note the whole its not my money thing does come into play a lot with guilds like this. I could see a compromise maybe like you stay for a while and the guild will refund half or more of your money. Yeah it sucks that you have to pay the full cost up front but if you prove to be a reliable raider then you can get some or all of your money back.

    • Ophelie Says:

      My character is already on your server silly ;D And I’m not taking her anywhere. Your uber late raid times will be lovely once I’m in Alberta, but even if they change, you guys will be my horde guild as long as you can put up with me.

      Having a money back if success system is interesting. It still doesn’t feel right to me though. A bit like Cynwise was saying, WoW is a hobby. As soon as real life money gets involved, the feeling changes and it’s not quite a game anymore.

      • Phitom Says:

        WoW is a cheap hobby though if you compare it to another TCG game or building models.

        • Ophelie Says:

          That’s not what I meant. It’s that being paid to play for a guild kind of kills the fun because it becomes more like work than a hobby.

          • Phitom Says:

            Ah yeah that’s true. But the way some people play its like having a second job as well.

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