Should a guild be open to all new recruits or should there be an application/interview for membership? I really was unsure if I wanted to cover this particular subject and where it should be at in the series. Looking back this is probably a topic that could have come slightly earlier in the series, but it is a topic that I have stronger feelings on and thus created the hesitation to include it in the series. So without further debate let's review this topic.
Should the guild be open to any new recruit?
Pros: By not having a particular requirement for joining the guild, you stand the potential to increase your numbers and not scare away good players who do not feel like dealing with all the formalities.
Cons: Run the potential of gaining all the "drama" recruits that other guilds do not want. This can destabilize the guild and bring others problems to your humble little guild.
Should the guild have an application that is required to be filled out?
Pros: By securing an application you can gain a great look at a character by having information supplied about the background of the player. This can include previous guilds, which will allow you to speak with members of that guild to get additional information on the individual applying.
Cons: There are so many guilds which spam for members that many people may elect a guild that is more open or has a presence on the trade channel, rather than having to go through filling out information on some "form".
Should the guild conduct interviews to all new/potential members?
Pros: By asking the right questions, there will be no way for anyone to prepare for the questions or create a fictional story. (This is true if you monitor the time that it takes to respond. Long pause would tend to indicate a long response or perhaps some information is about to be supplied that is not 100% true.)
Cons: Much the same as the application process, do players really feel like going through an interview to play a game? May lose some potential good players to a guild with no specific requirements.
So, having listed the pros and cons of each of these methods, what should you do? Well, to be honest, if you are going to do interviews then you will need officers on at all times to be available to conduct the interview and make a decision. The larger the guild grows, this may be possible, but somewhat unreliable. The application process will give great insight, but if you delay on reviewing the applications you run the risk of losing a good player. If you elect to leave the guild open then you have the ability for anyone to join the guild at any time. This is a great situation for pure numbers, but can lead to issues down the road. What we found to work within MAS is simply being open to new members. Anyone has the opportunity to join MAS, but we then ask our members to go to our website and review the information of the guild (rules and structure). After they complete this, we ask them to register at the guild forums. This let's us know a little about the skill and history of the player. From there it is up to the officer over their class to speak with them and get to know them.
In my opinion, this has combined the best of the three methods but helps to guard against the negatives. Is it 100% perfect? Not by a long shot. We have come to terms with a few members along the way that perhaps MAS is not the best fit for them. What the method does incorporate for us is the ability to allow people to join on the spot, but not give them full privileges until we have gotten to know a little more about them. Is this the best method to use? I can say that we have found it to work effectively for us and I would be willing to bet it would work well for any guild, but the other methods may prove more effective for where your guild is at. If you are a new guild, then taking anyone is going to be a good thing in most cases. If your guild is well established and a top guild on the server, then having a process to weed out the less desirable individuals is a good idea.