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News & Features Discussion  » General: Book Overview: Legend of The Syndicate

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67 posts found
  lordsn0w

Novice Member

Joined: 7/18/07
Posts: 107

9/30/07 7:11:10 PM#41
Originally posted by Niamb

Not everyone is into the social aspect of MMORPGs.  For some, it is all about the pixels, getting the phat loots, and parading around the bank  in those awesome shoulders.  For that kind of player Nilhem or Death and Taxes are the ideal: a guild that is first through content.  If that is your definition of legendary when it comes to gaming guilds, no, The Syndicate is not on the leading edge of content.

What makes The Syndicate legendary is its longevity.  What other guild has been around for 12 years and is still a significant presence in one game, needless to say two?  I first became aware of The Syndicate when I was playing UO.  They played on a different shard (they are on Atlantic, I played on Cats), but I had still heard of them.  I guess I read a great deal of Stratics back in the day and they were always sponsoring an event: a fair, a crafting day, and event.  Still, unless you're one to read outside of the narrow field that defines your guild , your server, or even your game, it is not surprising many have not heard of them.

As it happened, I starting playing World of Warcraft on the same server as The Syndicate.  I guess I became aware of them from the server forums.  Everything I read said this was a sympatico guild for me, but they were Horde and my toons were Alliance.  So I just filed information about The Syndicate away.....till my long-standing guild fell on hard times.

I'm a mature, female player.  Not every teeny bop guild is going to be a good fit for me.  I wanted to raid end-game.  I wanted a mature, stable community.  Ultimately I decided to level up a horde toon and apply to The Syndicate.  A friend from my old guild was now a TS member and he urged me to apply.  I did.  I was accepted (not many make it over that hump) and today I am proud to be a member of one of the premier guilds in online gaming.

The Syndicate is not premier because they are on the cutting edge of end-game content.  They are premier because they comprise a mature, caring community, which enables people to form lasting friendships within the context of gaming.  Our guild master Dragons pours time and effort into this guild and it shows in a hundred ways.  He, along with our Squad Leaders and Raid Leaders, works hard to create a fun, fair and caring community in which to enjoy the virtual parts of our lives.  A core guild creed is Real Life Comes First.  How many hard-core raiding guilds have that as their keystone?  Maybe that's why they won't be here in a year or two, but The Syndicate will still be around.

I've been the guild master of a couple of guilds: The Village of Edinburgh in UO and in many ways defacto GM of The Defenders of Justice in World of Warcraft.  I am always amused when some young pup decides having their own guild will be fun.  Running a guild, or at least running it well, is work.  It is a lot of work and it is at its core often a thankless job.  Sean's book will give any nascent guild master insights into what it takes to run a successful guild, one that will live past the changes in the next expansion.  Besides that, as a long time games, it was a fun read: a real walk down memory lane.


I just  wanted to say that this is a very nice post.

  Yanen

Novice Member

Joined: 12/23/04
Posts: 73

9/30/07 7:40:13 PM#42

lol, members of an uber guild are developers?  no wonder we have the trend of zerg-based, item mongering, grind-to-the-endgame MMOs

  Pariahnine

Novice Member

Joined: 6/07/05
Posts: 3

"Now all you need is some Mandalorian Armor." -- My wife.

9/30/07 8:18:45 PM#43

Right, well, regardless of what Dragons posts on these boards to bolster his ego and engage in self-affirmation, the fact remains that those of us that remember LLTS (Long Live The Syndicate) from the Atlantic Shard in UO, have a far less flattering opinion of him and his organization.

The members of LLTS were notoriously obnoxious and over-zealous, frequently disruptive, and by no means as productive or contributory as Dragons has claimed in his post here, or as likely misrepresented in his book.  Yeah, they had a sizable presence on the server, with their little player-made town and numerous keeps and castles, they even had CS placed items; however, they were far from respected outside the scope of their proverbial circle-jerk. In essence, they were the nerd's nerd.  They were the folks that those of that were self-recognized gaming geeks snickered about and laughed at. 

In my mind, and in the mind of many, I'm sure, LLTS will be long remembered as a socially-inept group of folks with a highly exaggerated sense of self-importance.

As for the claim to the namesake 'The Syndicate', there was a long lived guild by the name of 'The Syndicate' on a MUD by the name of Chomestru, which shut down long before UO and well before Dragons' claim to fame.  I'm sure there were many other organizations, guilds, etc... that had utilized the name in the past; Dragons was simply the first lacking enough in self-respect to trademark his lack of originality.

And as someone else pointed out, the fact he noted his one big endorsement as coming from Mr. Smedley, a quintessential minion and representation of SOE and its complete lack of integrity, entitles him to a great big ole':

 

YOU FAIL.

  Jadetooth

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/13/04
Posts: 372

9/30/07 9:40:28 PM#44

Yea, you'd think someone who's been "in the game" since UO would know not to quote Mr. Smedley.. :P

------------------------------

  ABRaquel

Tipster

Joined: 1/19/04
Posts: 541

The air feels damp and oppressive, like a wet nun.

9/30/07 10:08:40 PM#45

Originally posted by Niamb

What makes The Syndicate legendary is its longevity.  What other guild has been around for 12 years and is still a significant presence in one game, needless to say two?  I first became aware of The Syndicate when I was playing UO.  They played on a different shard (they are on Atlantic, I played on Cats), but I had still heard of them.  I guess I read a great deal of Stratics back in the day and they were always sponsoring an event: a fair, a crafting day, or other activity.  Still, unless you're one to read outside of the narrow field that defines your guild , your server, or even your game, it is not surprising many have not heard of them.


There are other guilds that have survived for 12 years since UO came to existence, Lost Order of Akalabeth is one of them.

 

  vaelyn

Novice Member

Joined: 8/03/06
Posts: 18

9/30/07 11:20:18 PM#46

Wow this forum has some of the most negative people who loves to put down others accomplishments... doesnt matter if other ancient old guilds don't write a book about themselves, does not mean that other older guilds cant do the same!

 

  Namaste103

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/01/07
Posts: 1

10/01/07 9:25:15 AM#47


Despite my doubts, I did end up buying the book since a friend of mine read it and liked it. While the author clearly has delusions of grandeur, I must admit that it was a great read.

I especially liked, as a computer programmer involved in game design, the trip down memory lane where the author gives a history of how online gaming has evolved - it's so interesting to read how games (and technology) have taken shape and changed over the years.

After reading all these posts here, it got me thinking....are there really any other guilds that could have written such a book? Let's pick apart their contention...

They obviously have no life, but they DO have a point - regardless of what you think of someone writing a book about their success (biographies sometimes offend me because they are always written by people who assume you care about their life and we often don't), I have been trying to think of a guild that matches what they have done.

They have been in existence for 12 years without interruption. They have beta tested dozens of games and developers of games consult them on a regular basis. They have co-written game manuals that are sold at BestBuy. They meet regularly at conventions all across the country. They have hundreds of members. They have an organizational structure (if what they write is true) that rivals most well-established companies. (If I were a guild leader, I would buy this book simply to learn how to manage a guild). They are, basically, one big family of people who are all committed to the same purpose. It's kinda hard to argue with their success even if the author is on a huge ego trip.

I guess, as someone else commented on, it depends on what you think of guilds. If you think they're important, then having a 12 year relationship with one where you build really close friendships and a dynamic community is a big deal. If you think guilds are silly, then basically you are left with the thought of how egotisical it is to write a book about yourself running a guild.

Frankly, I am somewhere in the middle. If you are looking for an academic analysis of game design, this book is not worth it.  But, I think the book is an interesting read for those of us who enjoy gaming and seeing how a particular community evolved within such a changing environment.

 

Namaste

  Bountytaker

Novice Member

Joined: 1/09/07
Posts: 323

10/01/07 10:49:49 AM#48

This thread continues to make me chuckle

 

Man, I wonder where all these supportive, "first and second post members" are coming from?

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..................................

 

 

OK, serious for a second:  My suggestion to the Syndicate folks who might be listening would be:  You need a better PR department.  Folks who have interacted with you say you're "arrogant", folks who have read your book say the same thing, and, your posts here come off just as bad.

 

I've never interacted with any of you, don't run a guild, and don't even play most of the games your in, so I have no personal stake in this.  Take this as an outsiders perspective:  you're finding ways to rub people the wrong way.  A PR change may be in order.

 

Thanks all for the continued chuckles.

 

 

 

 

 

  Dracus

Novice Member

Joined: 7/14/04
Posts: 1451

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
- Brian Littrell

10/01/07 6:15:29 PM#49
Originally posted by Terranah

So let me get this straight, you are the guys responsible for all the cookie cutter mmo's and lack of imagination and innovation?   ...

And you think Smedley is someone that is going to validate you're worth?  ...

 

Touche

And that is why...

Conservatives' pessimism is conducive to their happiness in three ways. First, they are rarely surprised -- they are right more often than not about the course of events. Second, when they are wrong they are happy to be so. Third, because pessimistic conservatives put not their faith in princes -- government -- they accept that happiness is a function of fending for oneself. They believe that happiness is an activity -- it is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness.

  Isane

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/24/06
Posts: 2698

"Some do , Some don''t , Others just cry"

Jean Sali

10/02/07 1:13:10 PM#50

 

Originally posted by Bountytaker

This thread continues to make me chuckle

 

Man, I wonder where all these supportive, "first and second post members" are coming from?

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..................................

 

 

OK, serious for a second:  My suggestion to the Syndicate folks who might be listening would be:  You need a better PR department.  Folks who have interacted with you say you're "arrogant", folks who have read your book say the same thing, and, your posts here come off just as bad.

 

I've never interacted with any of you, don't run a guild, and don't even play most of the games your in, so I have no personal stake in this.  Take this as an outsiders perspective:  you're finding ways to rub people the wrong way.  A PR change may be in order.

 

Thanks all for the continued chuckles.

 

 

 

 

 

Bounty.. you sound as if the intelectual majority reside here they don't. You know what i have never heard of this guild but for all intents they are big contributors. MMORPG.com put the article up and I am not sure if they begged to be put on show here or not from what I have heard over the last few days... My view is that they fall under the not category.

 

I say good luck to them and feel sad that you need to belittle, I would be interested to understand your first hand experience of this group ? oh none you stated it above. I wouldn't know if they are good bad or indifferent. But I applaud them for producing the book.... What have you done lately to contribute to the genre i could guess but i won't, the book is a contribution which you can take or leave as you see fit.

These guys don't have the attitude of loosers and have a reputation with the Games developers and that says a lot, 12 years and never heard of think about it.!!!!

Now to go out buy that book i'm intrigued now 

________________________________________________________
SWTOR and COS games that could deliver !!

  Panilope

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/02/07
Posts: 4

10/02/07 4:32:07 PM#51

I have waited until the frenzy died down before making my post.  I don't feel like getting into a war of hate mails in my work account that loudly wonder how I could support The Syndicate but not your guild so I will post this under my pseudonym.

 

My company is one of those that works with The Syndicate and we do so for a variety of reasons. I am aware of some other companies that do as well and their reasons are similar to ours.  From my days on the community side of the farm, I dealt with literally thousands of guilds on a recurring basis.  While some of them are also well run groups that present themselves in a professional manner we have found that The Syndicate gave us several things we had a hard time finding in other groups.  They have longevity and within that longevity they have stability.  By the time I began working with them under my new developer hat, they already had a proven track record of quality work that they done without leaks on forums and with a consistent group of people.  That was important to me when I managed projects with them because if I have to issue fifty accounts and the group I give them to can't keep the same people for months at a time, then I have a nightmare for me with the potential loss of control over information and access that is not yet ready for public consumption.  I can avoid that issue by working with a guild that all but guarantees me a stable, hard working, professionally acting team.  Also important to me was that if I gave out assignments and had deliverables I needed back, I needed to be assured of getting them back on time and complete.  If an assignment stretched over several months in a game that is not yet completed it is hard to be sure the players will stay involved and complete their work and it is hard to ensure the guild itself will not close its doors due to some internal turmoil or a change in its focus. 

 

There are other good players and other good groups out there.  However, with The Syndicate having so many years of consistent existence and a resume of successful projects helps to build a trusting relationship with them.  When you receive emails from hundreds or thousands of guilds all claiming to be the best out there, having years of a proven track record that I can validate by talking to my peers that they have worked with sets them apart.

 

From a purely work relationship standpoint, The Syndicate has delivered on its projects with us.  They are a very professional, organized and mature group to work with.  I have nothing but good things to say about them.  I am sure there are other great groups out there but building that trusting relationship with them is a high risk proposition given the high failure rate of guilds when I already have a proven success story in my back pocket that has not let me down yet.  

 

  _Seeker

Novice Member

Joined: 7/28/04
Posts: 178

What? Me worry?

10/03/07 12:04:49 AM#52

Intresting read this thread. I think it all basically comes down to the fact that mmo's are a reflection of society. Because they exist in it.

Ive never been in a player group for more than a month, and some of them have been around 12 years. Thats commitment.

Maybe ill buy the book when im playing in a game that I cant get enough of.

  Mordoth

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/04
Posts: 65

10/03/07 7:57:49 AM#53

I really can't believe that this book was published.  As other posters have stated, it sounds like someone stroking their own ego.  I've never heard of them, although I didn't play UO, I have played WoW.

  Pariahnine

Novice Member

Joined: 6/07/05
Posts: 3

"Now all you need is some Mandalorian Armor." -- My wife.

10/03/07 9:17:27 AM#54

So an anonymous somebody from an anonymous company creates an account here for the specific purpose of defending the honor of The Syndicate?

Right, GTFO.

I find it curious that this post is riddled with the same poorly contructed grammar found in a few of the excerpts, from the book, I've found online.

Now THAT is class.

  windstrike1

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/03/07
Posts: 566

Hegelian dialectic, Reichstag fire, Federal Reserve.
Look those 3 things up and set your mind free.

10/03/07 11:15:24 PM#55
Originally posted by Pariahnine

So an anonymous somebody from an anonymous company creates an account here for the specific purpose of defending the honor of The Syndicate?

Right, GTFO.

I find it curious that this post is riddled with the same poorly contructed grammar found in a few of the excerpts, from the book, I've found online.

Now THAT is class.

LOL yeah.  Thats pretty sad.  You syndicate guys really need to get a life.  I heard McDonalds is hiring. 

  Bountytaker

Novice Member

Joined: 1/09/07
Posts: 323

10/04/07 11:00:55 PM#56

 

Originally posted by Panilope

I have waited until the frenzy died down before making my post.  I don't feel like getting into a war of hate mails in my work account that loudly wonder how I could support The Syndicate but not your guild so I will post this under my pseudonym.

 

My company is one of those that works with The Syndicate and we do so for a variety of reasons. I am aware of some other companies that do as well and their reasons are similar to ours.  From my days on the community side of the farm, I dealt with literally thousands of guilds on a recurring basis.  While some of them are also well run groups that present themselves in a professional manner we have found that The Syndicate gave us several things we had a hard time finding in other groups.  They have longevity and within that longevity they have stability.  By the time I began working with them under my new developer hat, they already had a proven track record of quality work that they done without leaks on forums and with a consistent group of people.  That was important to me when I managed projects with them because if I have to issue fifty accounts and the group I give them to can't keep the same people for months at a time, then I have a nightmare for me with the potential loss of control over information and access that is not yet ready for public consumption.  I can avoid that issue by working with a guild that all but guarantees me a stable, hard working, professionally acting team.  Also important to me was that if I gave out assignments and had deliverables I needed back, I needed to be assured of getting them back on time and complete.  If an assignment stretched over several months in a game that is not yet completed it is hard to be sure the players will stay involved and complete their work and it is hard to ensure the guild itself will not close its doors due to some internal turmoil or a change in its focus. 

 

There are other good players and other good groups out there.  However, with The Syndicate having so many years of consistent existence and a resume of successful projects helps to build a trusting relationship with them.  When you receive emails from hundreds or thousands of guilds all claiming to be the best out there, having years of a proven track record that I can validate by talking to my peers that they have worked with sets them apart.

 

From a purely work relationship standpoint, The Syndicate has delivered on its projects with us.  They are a very professional, organized and mature group to work with.  I have nothing but good things to say about them.  I am sure there are other great groups out there but building that trusting relationship with them is a high risk proposition given the high failure rate of guilds when I already have a proven success story in my back pocket that has not let me down yet.  

 

 

Okay, i'll bite:

You state that the main benefit of this group, from an advice standpoint, is their longevity.  They've been playing these games, as a group, longer than anyone, so that makes them more qualified to advise on the next set of games being developed.  Okay, I could see that point.

 

But, what about the opposing possibility?  Shouldn't there be concern around letting a well established, status quo guild advising what should be the next-gen, innovative titles in the genre.  After all, the current format of the games in this genre have worked out very well for this group.  Heck, you could argue they've "cornered the market" on the UO style game.  So, where's the motivation to give advice that would screw up their status quo?  How likely are they to push for innovative systems that go AGAINST their guild building ideals?  Would they recommend not having a guild system in the game you were developing, if it was truly the BEST suggestion they could make, but also meant they could not play it (and succeed) the way they like (ie, with guilds)?

 

Sure, it's great to have the experience.  Experience make companies, and products, much more efficient, and much more likable for the consumer.  But, this business (making mmo's), also happens to be one that should thrive on innovation.  And the two don't always equate.  Innovation often entails risk.  Experience often minimizes risk.  They aren't very easy to have coexisting.

 

I don't really need an answer on this.  I'm just summing up what I think others are hinting at in this thread...namely that suggesting one's longevitiy in anything directly translates into a better resulting product is NOT a given.  If this group, and their friends, would like to take credit for advising so many major companies, they also have to be ready to be questioned about whether that advice is contributing to the stagnation of the genre.

 

Enjoy.

  Panilope

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/02/07
Posts: 4

10/05/07 12:30:16 PM#57

Bountytaker, your observation is valid if all we did was work with one group and all decisions were based off of that one set of interactions.  My comments above were an explanation as to why we did work with The Syndicate but should not be taken as policy statement that the only thing we do is to work with them.  A book could be written entirely on the topic of how game concepts are created and fleshed out.  Myself and our entire team are all gamers the same as any other development team.  So a primary source for ideas is our own experience.  Many of us are in guilds.  A couple of my team are in The Syndicate but many more of us are in other guilds.  We discuss ideas with the people we know there and factor that in.  A common thing studios do is to run focus groups.  They are another source of input.  Sometimes marketing companies are engaged to do their own focus groups and research.  The big trump card is, of course, the actual beta test.  We do closed betas and internal betas and friends and family betas and guild betas and the like in order to get feedback.  My post above merely states why we do work with The Syndicate and what they bring to the table for us.  We do a great deal of other information collection and fleshing out of ideas from a variety of sources.

 

I am sure someone will point out that I didn't really mention forums as a source.  Every game has forums but there is a very low signal to noise ratio on them.  Too many complainers and whiners with incoherent thoughts.  Too many varying minority viewpoints that often conflict with each other.  What we use forums for is to look for constructive participants that we can then include in our focus groups and in our beta testing.  Those people don't have to agree with the majority, and it is often good if they don't, but we do not value or utilize flames and whining posts which often dominate forums.

 

The Syndicate is a group that we are glad to work with and have as a part of our process but it is not the only part of our process.  A fantastic amount of ideas go into designing a game and those come from a bunch of sources.

 

  Sornin

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/07
Posts: 1138

Too weird to live, and too rare to die

10/05/07 12:39:59 PM#58

Originally posted by Panilope

Bountytaker, your observation is valid if all we did was work with one group and all decisions were based off of that one set of interactions.  My comments above were an explanation as to why we did work with The Syndicate but should not be taken as policy statement that the only thing we do is to work with them.  A book could be written entirely on the topic of how game concepts are created and fleshed out.  Myself and our entire team are all gamers the same as any other development team.  So a primary source for ideas is our own experience.  Many of us are in guilds.  A couple of my team are in The Syndicate but many more of us are in other guilds.  We discuss ideas with the people we know there and factor that in.  A common thing studios do is to run focus groups.  They are another source of input.  Sometimes marketing companies are engaged to do their own focus groups and research.  The big trump card is, of course, the actual beta test.  We do closed betas and internal betas and friends and family betas and guild betas and the like in order to get feedback.  My post above merely states why we do work with The Syndicate and what they bring to the table for us.  We do a great deal of other information collection and fleshing out of ideas from a variety of sources.

 

I am sure someone will point out that I didn't really mention forums as a source.  Every game has forums but there is a very low signal to noise ratio on them.  Too many complainers and whiners with incoherent thoughts.  Too many varying minority viewpoints that often conflict with each other.  What we use forums for is to look for constructive participants that we can then include in our focus groups and in our beta testing.  Those people don't have to agree with the majority, and it is often good if they don't, but we do not value or utilize flames and whining posts which often dominate forums.

 

The Syndicate is a group that we are glad to work with and have as a part of our process but it is not the only part of our process.  A fantastic amount of ideas go into designing a game and those come from a bunch of sources.

 

What team, what company, what projects, what sources, what...validity?

Unless you can provide some information to substantiate these claims that you are someone in the industry who relies on this guild to test things, why should we believe you at all? You should have nothing to hide, and if you do, why say anything at all?

Until some real information comes forth, all you are is a poster who magically registered at a conspicuous time to validate a guild's worth without validating your own first. And that, of course, makes these posts about as useful as a poopy-flavoured lollipop, since they are mosty likely from a highly biased source associated with The Syndicate.

I would not put anything past a guild that trademarks a cliched name and writes a book about their cyber-history few care about. The website alone strokes the guild's own ego enough to get it aroused.

  Panilope

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/02/07
Posts: 4

10/05/07 2:33:33 PM#59

I don't recall asking you to convert to my viewpoint.  I don't recall requiring that you believe every word I say.  Frankly, I don't really care what you believe or don't believe.  There is plenty of typical forum trolling going on in this thread that I chose to offer a counter viewpoint based on our experience working with this guild.  If you don't like it or don't believe it or don't wish to accept the reality of it, that is your hangup, not mine.  I don't recall asking you to prove to me why I should give a hoot what you post or why anything you say should be any more relevant than anything anyone else says did I?  That is both the essence of what a forum means and it is also the primary reason forums are not used as a major source of gaming feedback.  They make people feel good because they get to post and let out their emotions but their actual value towards developing any meaningful content is nada.  But back to the topic you raised; I didn't ask you to prove you weren't a bully.  I just accepted that as fact.  You can either accept or dismiss my background but it doesn't really make a difference to me.  I am not here to convince you of my views.  I am simply here to share them, the same as you.  the difference is, I don't make global statements on behalf of all the other readers about what they should or shouldn't believe. Like I do in my day job, I make my case and let people decide what they will.   Since I don't think debating this with you will reach a conclusion you can accept, I do not see a reason to continue it.  I have said my piece.  You have said yours.  And with that, I wish you a good day and happy gaming.

  Omol

Novice Member

Joined: 7/10/03
Posts: 333

10/05/07 2:39:45 PM#60

 

They have been finding ways to rub people the wrong way for years.

----------------------------
Omol da'Ox

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