The guild that I'm a member of consists primarily of local people (living in or around Portland Oregon). In most cases when a guild is full of people who live near one another it's a case where people who worked together or knew each other in some way decided to form a guild. Ours is different in that we didn't know each other in the real world until after joining the guild.
Since we've formed we have had a couple of meet ups and each one has been great. Last night we met at a bar and spent several hours having refreshing face to face conversations in game. We've exchanged invitations to parties, offered assistance with babysitters, and even made plans to get together for dinner. After having experienced how great it is to be a part of a guild like this I don't think I could go back to anything else. There are some unique challenges in this type of situation though, the biggest at the moment is recruitment.
Being that we are a Portland WoW guild our recruitment options are limited in many ways. For instance while other guilds can just spam the trade channel and grab whoever responds, we can't. Our success would depend on whatever small amount of people on The Venture Co. server who happen to live in Portland being online and in the Horde trade chat. Our best bet is recruiting outside of the game, which can be difficult for a few reasons.
One of those reasons is the breakdown of an online persona. Everyone takes part in creating and acting out a version of themselves online that may not reflect the real world reality. Some people are very secure in their online identity and keep close to it, the thought of then being involved with people who they will most likely encounter in the real world can cause a bit of anxiety. The people who are most comfortable with this separation of the physical and meta worlds will not be very likely to join regardless of how much fun our BBQ's are. This doesn't only apply to people who are insecure for some reason or another but to people who are just jerks. If you've spent the majority of your time in game being an abrasive jerk, insulting people, and generally being a pain in the butt you may think twice about having to face people you play with face to face.
The second tallest hurdle appears to be the discomfort of starting a new character. A lot of people don't feel like spending the money to transfer a character to our server, some have only played Alliance and couldn't transfer if they wanted. This leaves their only option being to leave behind the progress they have made on their character, the gold they've save, the rare items they've obtained and starting out as a lowbie killing animals for various parts. I myself was wary of starting all over, but once I met everyone and had a good time it's become more than worth my time. For others it may just be too much "work".
Hopefully we'll come up with some solutions for these issues or at least a way to better target people who would be willing to join our guild.
Now I'm off to read patch notes and try logging in once again.