War Heralds Journal   (Dec 2002):
Throughout the end of 2002, The Syndicate participated heavily in the Shadowbane Beta. They were no stranger to sieging cities and guild warfare. Afterall, that is what Shadowbane is all about. Wandering the land were Heralds who would keep war journals of sieges. For example they were there when The Syndicate crushed Nevah, major city of the Purity Council in a build during late November. They were there when the capital city of Haven fell to Syndicate (called Arx or Arx Draconis in the beta), LT and other forces. Since the NDA was still in place, only limited information was released publically on various battles but here is one such article from the SB site

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SB Stratics Interview   (Oct 2002):
Rage, of Shadowbane Stratics, did an interview with Dragons probing into some areas other interviews have left unasked. Here is an exerpt from that interview:

Dragons, Guild Master of The Syndicate, has been gracious enough to take time out for an interview with Shadowbane Stratics.

For those who are not familiar with this guild, The Syndicate is arguably one of the oldest and largest official MMORPG guilds around. With roots dating back to March of 1996, this guild has been a strong fixture within Ultima Online and Everquest. Organizations such as The Syndicate add great depth to the gaming environment, likes of which cannot be delivered by the original game development team. Now with the up and coming release of Shadowbane, Dragons and his group look to take another step towards further expansion.

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UbiSoft Article on 2002 Synd. Conference   (Sept 2002):
In Sept of 2002, The Syndicate held its World Conference in Washington DC. Vosx from Ubisoft was the guest speaker. After the conference an article about it was placed on Ubisoft's site. Here is an exerpt from it: The Syndicate is one of the oldest and largest guilds in online gaming today, with over 550 members worldwide. Last weekend, The Syndicate held it's annual World Conference in Washington D.C. and invited Vosx to come and talk to the assembled members about Shadowbane.

Vosx started by shouting the guild's slogan "Long live The Syndicate!" and proceeded to give a two hour lecture to a room of nearly 100 Syndicate members, with several dozen more listening via a conference call. He discussed the finer points and philosophies about Shadowbane's design and aspirations in the MMO genre.

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Warcry Article on 2002 Synd. Conference   (Sept 2002):
In Sept of 2002, The Syndicate held its World Conference in Washington DC. Almost 100 members attended and another 50+ were on conference calls for the meetings. That was monumental because its the largest single guild gathering, by far, in the history of gaming, at that time. They had a guest speaker, Vosx of Ubisoft there to talk about Shadowbane which was still in a private beta stage. Warcry asked for some details and since they asked, they were given the exclusive article with unknown information at that time. Here is an exerpt from it: On his way to Austin, Vosx stopped in the Washington, D.C. area this weekend, and stopped at the World Conference player gathering organized by the mega-guild, LLTS. By request, LLTS guild leader Dragons filed this report on Vosx's presentation. Dragons got all the hot points you can name: items, leveling, PvP/PvM, sieging, NPCs, potions (!), dungeons, and...

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Whiners and Kiddies   (Sept 2002):
Any time any group gets something good, there are those in the gaming community who throw a temper tantrum and whine. This is doubly true with the Syndicate since we are one of the most visible guilds being so large, old and active. In this case some kiddies had a heart attack when we received beta accts as a guild. Ubisoft and the news media were quick to put them in their place though siting many reasons why it was not favoritism or the wrong thing to do. One article by Sachant at SB Vault sums up what many were saying. Here is an exerpt:

I hate to blow away the cries of "conspiracy" or "unfair" here. If anything, the Syndicate should be saying "It's about time." The other guilds should now be saying "Where's ours? Screw the people that were promised betas at GenCon.. We were first!" Though many of them have also given up all hope that what was promised to them will never come to be and have been playing other games to pass the time.

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The Trip Results   (Aug 2002):
When Faust returned from Westwood, he wrote an article for Earth and Beyond Portal about the trip. Here is an exerpt from his article: Why ask guilds to check it out? E&B will soon add Guilds. As each members gains experience the guild will get some too. This can be applied to special features which membership in that particular guild will allow. Guild Decals on the side of ships, even hull upgrades or rocket boosters for membership. We were asked what other things would be nice. My hand constantly shot up with regard to collection and distribution of stuff between guildmates. My wife spends an hour or two each night organizing, collecting, and distributing spells/gems in EQ… she doesn’t complain (much) but that kinda stuff can’t be fun. Westwood also showed us their In-Game browsers, which will show guild rosters and tradesmen abilities and all kinds of neat stuff.

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Virtues Interview   (July 2002):
Nobile from the Virtues gaming news network approached us about doing an interview in July of 2002. He had questions that were different than many of the commonly asked ones which made this one an interesting one to do. Here is an exerpt from it: I came across this guild by looking at top veteran member rankings at the UO community Site where they are at the top with 417 members listed.

It's certainly a very well marketed and successful guild. Wherever you run a UO related search, The Syndicate always shows up in a lot of the search result annotations.

What impressed me the most is how it looks on paper:

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Visiting Westwood   (July 2002):
Westwood Studios is famous for such games as Command and Conquer and Nox. The C&C line is an immensely popular line that a great many online gamers also enjoyed. They are branching out into the MMORPG world with their offering known as Earth And Beyond. This scifi MMORPG was in beta over the summer of 2002. The Syndicate received an invitation to be brought out to Westwood's headquarters to have a 1:1 chat with the developers to discuss guild management in MMORPGs and our ideas and suggestions to improve the system. Being the largest guild, by far, in online gaming and having survived for 6+ years (at the time of the invite) The Syndicate had vast experience in what works and what doesnt in guild management. Hundreds of thousands of other guilds had risen and fallen during that same time, many due to poor management. We gladly accepted Westwoods offer and participated in discussions with them on that topic as well as exploring how it would work in their current beta build. In taking this approach of soliciting feedback on guild management by talking to one of the oldest and most successful gaming guilds, Westwood took a revolutionary approach to gaming development that, to date, hadnt been tried.

Joining Player Panel   (July 2002):
Icanmonkey is a company that specializes in gaming publications ranging from manuals to strategy guides to books and magazines on gaming. Working closely with game developers they are one of the top companies in the industry having done manuals and publications for UO, EQ, DAOC, AC, AO and more. Taking an industry leading approach, they put together a panel of elite players who offer feedback and insight and other assistance as requested to the development of gaming material. Specific work done is confidential but needless to say, it is a rare honor to be part of the team and the Syndicate was proud to be asked to be on that panel. Incanmonkey produces works that nearly every MMORPG gamer and developer has read and used so to be part of that process and able to give back to the gaming community is something we are happy to do.

MMORPG Magazine Article   (June 2002):
Icanmonkey is a company that specializes in gaming publications ranging from manuals to strategy guides to books and magazines on gaming. Their mid2002 project was to create a new print magazine about MMORPG gaming. As part of their lead edition (that hit stores in Sept 2002), a writeup on The Syndicate was featured. Here is an exerpt from it: The Syndicate (www.llts.org) is among the oldest guilds in online gaming. Founded in early 1996 and setting the standard for future MMORPG guilds, The Syndicate heavily influenced the development of other gaming groups, particularly those in Ultima Online. Guildmaster Dragons founded the guild with the concept that it should be made up of a team of mature, team-focused, friendly, and fun-loving friends. The Syndicate does not believe in player killing (“pking”), cheating, or exploiting the game code and guild members have helped locate and report numerous bugs within games. In UO, The Syndicate has also been a leader in the ongoing war with the murderous and despised "PKs.”

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T^4 Interview   (May 2002):
Ions of UnknownPlayer was doing a feature called the Tag Team Tournament series of guild interviews. Attached is the one done on The Syndicate. Here is an exerpt:

The Syndicate has had it shares of challenges. Perhaps the most misunderstood one is our recruiting policy. Since we play on the side of "good" in games we play (i.e. we believe in honorable play. We don't cheat or pkill. And we tend to fight against those who do) we have made our share of enemies among kiddies in the gaming world. We get along well with mature players on the side of "evil" since they realize its a fun game with two sides but kiddies tend to base their self worth on pixels and who can press the macro button the fastest. As such, we have our detractors in that community. One of the most common things they say is that we are "newbies" because we will accept anyone which they assume since we are large. In reality, we get more than 4,000 applications to join every year and nearly all of them are rejected. We only take mature, team focused, friendly gamers that we know, have adventured with and like. Getting into the Syndicate is not an easy process. One might think so because we are large but we are large, not because its easy to get in, but because once in, members have found a guild for life and very few of them wish to leave. You wont get in overnight but if you do get accepted you will be part of a huge, very organized, very loyal and friendly team that you will likely wish to remain in for years to come.

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Interview with Dragons of the Syndicate   (Jan 2002):
The SB Vault was doing a series where they picked key guilds and interviewed them on their plans for Shadowbane. Here is an exerpt:

Have you decided on what kind of government system you would like to run?

Dragons - The Syndicate itself is structured most closely with the SB monarchy system. As guildmaster im ultimately responsible for decisions made and once made, they are "final" (until/unless circumstances dictate a revision). Under me I have several advisors. We have a cadre of squad leaders under them with each squad having a purpose. Lts, Sgt etc.. all exist within the squads.

The Syndicate is a very old guild and also incredibly large. In order to become "old" and remain large, a very structured guild setup has to exist. Otherwise things become chaotic, the guild ceases to be unified and it falls apart. More than 100 (closer to 200 now) guilds are created each day and an equal number fail. The average guild life expectancy is under 3months with under 20 members. So just about any guild out there that exceeds those thresholds has a structure that works for them of some sort. In our case it most closely aligns with the monarchy style in Shadowbane and that will likely be the choice made there.

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