I find using your name works pretty well.Originally Posted by BilliardOne of the hardest things for a new PvP player to do is to become known and get recruited into an established guild. Just like a new product being introduced to the market, new players are unknown quantities that are competing with a large number of current products, both good and bad. As such, players have to market themselves in order to convince consumers (existing players and guilds) that they warrant being tried out. When Guild Wars 2 launches this will allow a lot of players to revisit how they market themselves within the new game. While some residual reputation effects will inevitably carry over from Guild Wars, there will be such a huge influx of players into Guild Wars 2 that most people will be able to reinvent their “brand” should they choose to do so. Three years ago I wrote this article for players who were trying to break into the PvP scene in Guild Wars. I figured it was probably time to bring up the topic again, and found that most of what I said before still carries much the same weight even as we head into the uncharted territory of Guild Wars 2 PvP.
First of all, it is important to understand what I mean about branding. When we commonly think of branding and brands, we think of products sold by companies such as Coke or Nike. Companies give their products a name, a logo, some shape, and some color scheme in order to help consumers differentiate their products from competitor's offerings. Big companies often spend millions of dollars a year on branding their products, and the top brands are worth billions of dollars. Branding usually provides some insight into the benefits and uses of the product, so that once consumers become familiar with the brand they instantly have some notion as to the quality, cost, and unique features of the product.
As a PvP player, you come into the community as an unbranded product. That is, no one knows much about you. As an unknown quantity, it's harder to get into established guilds and network with established players. So what can you do to become better known and build your brand? While some things might seem obvious, it does not seem to be the case for everyone:
Have a Consistent Name
It is easier to become known if you go by one recognizable name. First of all, this means you need to be somewhat familiar with the names of established players because if you try to use an existing brand, the community will often see you as attempting to counterfeit your way into respectability. After choosing a suitably unique brand name, you should make sure that any name you use in game, on forums, or on voice chat clients (Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, Mumble, etc.) contains the essence of your brand or at least some recognizable variant of it. In addition, you should try to use a consistent avatar, hopefully one that is easily identifiable with your name. For example, my main in game name for Guild Wars was Billiard The Bold, and my forum name is Billiard on all the gaming related forums I frequent, my Ventrilo /TeamSpeak/IRC names are all Billiard, and my AIM, MSN, and Xfire names are bi11iard (because Billiard was already taken - probably by me long ago). Further, when I wrote articles for ArenaNet, and when I went on a fansite visit to ArenaNet, I always used Billiard to identify my articles and writing. After using Billiard for so long, I eventually shortened some of my in game names to Bill, since most folks refer to me that way anyway. This worked for me though since I had already established the Billiard brand, and people just took Bill to be an extension of it.
Build A Consistent Image
In addition to being known, you also want to be known for something - usually something positive. Because you consistently use the same name everywhere, everything you do on forums or in game or in voice chat is going to be associated with your name. Part of consistency is cultivating expertise in a certain area, such as particular profession or role. Consistency in your role is good because one of the most important aspects of getting on a good team is having a good fit with the members on that team. By having a consistent role and image it is easier for teams to see the fit between you and themselves. By becoming an expert in a particular role, people will start to associate your name and a position, so that when they need someone to fill out a team you are more likely to come to mind.
Related to the point above, don't try to pretend to be something you are not. Whether it be talking in game, in voice chat, or posting up your opinions on forums, don't pretend to know something about a topic when you don't. There are always experts out there ready and waiting to publicly correct you when you are wrong. So if you don't know something, either don't comment on the topic, or admit you don't know and seek out expert advice as you post a question. Before you post a question though, make sure you have done your homework so you don't look like an idiot for asking a question with a pretty obvious answer.
While you don't have to be nice to everyone, as a minimum I think you should show respect for players, both on your team as well as the opposition. The PvP community is relatively small, so good juicy drama usually spreads pretty fast. As such, never do anything in any context that you don't want to reflect your image. If you want to be seen as a good player, don't say stupid stuff on forums or even in PMs, because it will only be quoted and screen shotted and passed around. What's more, teams usually don't want to associate themselves with players who are seen negatively by the community.
Getting involved in the PvP community, both in game and on forums, gives you exposure to many people and enhances the likelihood that other players will hear of you and get to know you. So many times you hear of top players who got their first breaks by playing with someone in a group. If you are online in game playing all the time, posting of PvP forums, or hanging around in shared Vents, people are going to notice you are around when they are and possibly ask you to come guest play for them. Once you show them you are a decent player, you'll continue to get invites, and what's more, you'll start to get referrals to other people who might be looking for guests.
Well that is some basic advice for folks trying to establish themselves in the PvP community. While you need to be skilled, knowing how to play is only half the battle. Do yourself a favor and make the rest of it as easy as possible on yourself.
Billiard is a long time PvP player and has mentored and trained hundreds of new Guild Wars PvPers. In real life Billiard works with start-ups as well as teaches marketing and entrepreneurship. Billiard can be contacted via private message at www.teamquitter.com. This article was originally copyrighted in 2008 and revised in 2011. Further distribution is allowed as long as the article and these notes are copied in their entirety.
Your mileage may vary.