A beginner's guide to finding a guild that is right for you in Splinterlands
In any game with a social aspect, one of the most important decisions you make is who you play with. A lot of games try and facilitate this by nudging people into well-defined groups via mechanisms like guilds. Splinterlands is no different, and in many ways, is an even more important than the decision in other games like MMOs. Because of how important this decision is, I thought I would write a quick guide of some of the more important factors and things you should consider when joining, as well as how different players with different goals in this game might have different priorities. I'll also highlight for each how I used these to help land in the guild I'm currently in (YGG Niflheim).
The benefits of a guild
First, I wanted to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the benefits of a guild. What does being in a guild get you?
Based on the level of your Lodge, which is determined by the your Guild Hall and Members' activity, you will get up to 20% bonus reward shares for every match you play. This can add up and lead to significant rewards in your every day playing.
Every five days or so a brawl cycle will commence, having guilds face off in a series of matches across their members. The rewards for this are threefold: crowns (to upgrade guild buildings), merits (to buy gladius packs, account bound cards which can be used only in brawls), and now SPS. These aren't hugely financially impactful, but are a ton of fun, and add cohesiveness to the guilds.
Although not a formal benefit, being in a guild often gives access to a community of like-minded individuals. Having a group to run your crazy gameplay strategy by vs. the very-busy main splinterlands discord can be a really good way to get feedback on your ideas. Or just having a group to chat about the latest goings-on with. I've generally found I've wanted to be in a guild because of the formal benefits, and stayed because of the community.
The considerations for finding the perfect guild
My department manager has a saying he beats to death. "The five most important things in our department are people, people, people, people, and our product." This is true in work, and it's true for guilds. Even if a guild checks every box for what you want in terms of power level, competitiveness, etc., if you don't like the people, it'll be a bad fit.
My usual approach to this (and is reciprocated by most well-run guilds), is to have an initial chat with the guild's recruiter or leadership. You'll usually get a pretty good feel for their attitude, and them for you. If the guild has a discord (and it should), you can hopefully peek around there to see the kinds of conversations they're having. Crucially for me, I get turned off by ghost discords that are only there for announcements. I want to see people who are engaged in the game. I've generally found that guilds which combine a few guilds in discords and have >50 members in the discord to hit a nice sweet spot for regular, but not overwhelming, chatting. This is the case in my current guild, YGG Niflheim, which is part of the YGG Umbrella, and so our discord is the home for like 5 guilds.
The approach to filling brawls
From the list of benefits above, one of the biggest reasons people join guilds (and what first got me interested) is brawls. The biggest issue is that the number of people who can be in a brawl each cycle is typically fewer than the number of members a guild can hold. So if a guild is full, not all members can participate in a brawl. To be successful, guilds need a formalized way to determine who can participate in each brawl.
The type of guild you want to avoid (in my opinion) is the one that treats it as a free-for-all first-come-first-served. This inevitably leads to feeling left out and resentment among the community. If you find a guild doing this, I suggest finding somewhere else.
The guilds I've been in that have done it successfully have had one of two methods. The first is top-down: the guild leadership parses out who is best in what frays, and assigns people accordingly. This works, but is significantly time consuming for guild leadership, and I think only leads to marginal improvements.
The second is bottom-up: people can join whatever fray they like, with some restrictions. The guild I'm currently in, YGG Niflheim, does this. Each brawl cycle, the X players with the worst win rates the previous cycle rotate out, and everyone else takes whatever fray they like, and can move around a bit based on how much they've donated. This takes much less overhead on the leadership, leads to more people being happy about where they are, and I think only has a minimal cost to win rates at the end of the day.
Regardless, the manner of filling frays can give a good idea of how the guild is run and how on top of things guild leadership is. Checking the discord to see if there is contention around fray placement can often be helpful as you're scouting out a new guild.
If you go to the guild page in splinterlands, you'll see that guilds are ordered based on total added ranking across all their members. So generally, guild that are higher up on this list 1) are higher level, older, guilds and can hold more people and 2) have members who are competing at the higher leagues with better cards.
This sets something of a self-reinforcing cycle on guilds. Guilds at the top want to stay there and will only look for new members who will improve their roster in some way. So as one looks for guilds, you should look for guilds with members at an average ranking similar to yours. You probably don't want to be the best or the worst player in your guild.
For me, this meant searching for guilds as I was solidly in Gold league and looking to pick up some cards and max my deck to move to diamond and champ. This meant looking at guilds outside the top 10, which almost entirely comprise entrenched, long-term players with the best decks. Once you get below those 10 (and even within in some cases), spots are open in guilds with players who were very similar to me. I ended up in my current guild (YGG Niflheim), as I was right around the same spot as many members of the guild and would feel right at home there.
Conclusion and a Plug for YGG
Those are the three main features I consider when deciding what guild to choose. Of course, this may vary from person to person (a person not wanting to brawl may not care about #2), but in general, these are the kinds of things you'll want to focus on.
I will also conclude with a brief plug for my guild and the broader YGG community. I was really happy to find the guild I did (YGG Niflheim), and have been really happy since I did. It checks all my boxes, and has a number of other guilds within the YGG umbrella which can fit a variety of people. If you're looking for a guild, I recommend giving YGG a look and see if one of our guilds is right for you.
Interested in splinterlands? Want to get in on the fun of joining a guild in this game? Use my referal link below and let me know! I'll send you some cards and DEC to get started!