BurningSoul [WoWLands]: There are many ways to formulate group
identity for guilds, is their any reason your guild is called what it is?
The Syndicate, besides being old and large, is also a very secretive guild.
We don’t participate in public flame wars. We don’t wave our
banner in everyone’s face. We don’t brag about what we do and how “uber”
we are. We handle any issues that arise (which are few and far
between these days) internally. We keep all our plans private.
We keep our forums private. And we have a large and active intelligence
network. If we feel someone is a threat to us, we know all there
is to know about them from the inside. All of that combined needs a name
for the group that implies both power (as we are a huge and very
experienced guild) and secrecy. It should imply that we see most
everything that goes on, that is of concern to us, and we influence most
of it one way or another. Hence The Syndicate was chosen. When
the guild first formed it was merely a vision. That vision has become a
reality so the name is very applicable still today. We operate
outside the limelight. We don’t flame. We don’t posture and threaten on
the boards. We strike hard and fast, at our enemies, without warning both
from the outside and inside of their guilds. And we have a vast amount of
muscle and experience to back that up.
BurningSoul: How long as your organization been in existents?
The Syndicate has existed since early 1996. We were formed before
the Pre-Alpha test of UO and were the first guild to be involved
in that game. Literally tens of thousands of guilds have come and
gone since then and the past, nearly 8 years, have been filled
with challenges and opportunities for us. It has been interesting
to watch the 200+ guilds that are created (and that fail) every
single day come and go. With the life expectancy of an online gaming
guild measured in single digit months, more than half a million
guilds have come and gone in that time yet The Syndicate persists and
has only become stronger with time..
BurningSoul: What’s the gaming level of your guild, in maturity and experience?
The Syndicate is composed of mostly adult members with years of
gaming experience. Our average age is 29.3+ years old and we all
have years of gaming experience. Many of our members go back to
the days of MuD’s and Moo’s. Some go back even further to the early
BBS days. All of our members are veteran gamers. And we seek only
to recruit mature, team focused, friendly people to our guild.
So overall you find us to be a very mature and very experienced
BurningSoul: Is your guild exclusive to World or Warcraft or has
it progressed to WOW from another game? If so what games has your
guild been part of?
Dragons: The Syndicate
has existed longer than any Warcraft games have existed much less
WoW. Our current primary games are Ultima Online and Everquest.
We have been involved in others and we have done, and continue
to do, extensive beta testing with our guild. Being a very large
guild that is very organized and very active, we are a natural
fit to beta test games and get many opportunities to have large
numbers of members participate in them by special invitation. We
do a very good job of testing the system, and in getting reports
on balance and bug issues sent in. And we also have the numbers
to volume test things like the guild system and grouping system
and raid level encounters in an organized, consistent, repeatable
BurningSoul: How many members play an “Active” role in your guild? How are these roles defined?
The Syndicate maintains a roster of about 525 adult, veteran gamers
with around 75% of them having been members for 1-6 years. We receive
about 4,000 applications to join each year but only accept a small
fraction of them to fill spots of those who have retired from online
gaming or left us. We lose only about 2% of the guild to other
groups and of them, the bulk of them wish to rejoin later. But,
unfortunately for them, we don’t allow rejoins for those few who
do leave for other guilds. You get one shot at membership here
and if you blow it, that is the only shot you were going to get.
BurningSoul: With faction will your guild represent in the World
of Warcraft? How did you make that decision?
We have not picked a faction yet. If Blizzard doesn’t allow a guild
to have members from both factions, in my opinion, that will explode
into a major issue for them. If that is the case, we will maintain
a guild in both factions using our chatzone and our private IRC
server to coordinate. We will have 1 faction that we primarily
focus on and the other will merely be a place for optional secondary
chars. We will wait until the beta is well underway or nearly over
to pick a faction.
BurningSoul: If Blizzard plans to create PvP servers in addition
to normal servers... Would your guild consider this? Why or why
Dragons: We will exist on the
regular servers but will participate in the pvp options offered
on those servers. We are not a guild that exists solely to pvp.
Only a very small percentage of gamers all into that category (less
than 10%) but they are very vocal and tend to complain loudly so
it makes it seem like it is a larger percentage than it really
is. In reality, more than 90% of gamers don’t have that play style
so it is no wonder that it is a low priority for Blizzard and most
other developers to put up such a server. If they do decide to
do so, we will exist on one of the main servers and not that one.
BurningSoul: If you were to describe your guild in one phrase, what would it be and why?
Dragons: “Online Gaming’s Premier Guild”
There is no other guild in online gaming that has done as much nor
who offers as much to its members as The Syndicate has. We are
among the oldest guilds in gaming with only perhaps a dozen other
groups still around, in their original form (not resurrected after
years of downtime and GM changes etc..). We are among the largest
guilds in online gaming. We are the exception to the “rule” (or
at least what most gamers perceive as the rule) that a large guild
is unorganized, not unified and unable to last. We are incredibly
organized. We are extremely unified. And we have lasted longer
than 500,000+ other guilds. We are known all over the industry
and we set the standard that many other guilds wish to achieve.
We are heavily involved in the future of online gaming from having
direct involvement in development and testing of future games,
far more than any other guild. We hold the largest, single guild
conference in the history of gaming every year with 100+ people
(getting bigger each year) , all from our guild, in attendance.
We are involved in news sites. We offer many community events in
the games we play. We are even the first guild to receive formal
corporate sponsorship. Currently Thunderbox PC is sponsoring The Syndicate.
The Syndicate is THE “big dog” of the online gaming world. Jealous
players, or those who have fought against the huge armies of The
Syndicate, can call us any names they wish but the truth of the
matter is: No guild has achieved as much as we have and had as
big an impact on the gaming world as we have. Love us (as we fight
on the side of good, and don’t use bugs, exploits or cheats) or
hate us (kiddie pks who foolishly attacked us only to see dozens
of members swarm down on them and cry “unfair”.. err, then don’t
attack us in the first place!), there is no disputing we are the
Premier Online Gaming Guild.
BurningSoul: What do you look for in a person that applies to your
guild? And what should a new member expect from the guild?
The Syndicate only accepts mature, team focused, professionally
acting, friendly, veteran gamers. We only accept people we know
WELL (i.e. we have adventured with you for some time and know you
well). We get more than 4,000 apps to join each year and most get
rejected. So our standards are very high and we accept very few.
As a result we also have low turnover and many very long term members.
of our guild find themselves part of a HUGE team yet it feels like
they are part of a small team of friends. We have no infighting..
no backstabbing.. no kiddie morons as members. We have very clearly
defined rules and traditions. We have comprehensive and very solid
guild communications. We do many events within the games we play
and are extensively involved in beta testing future games and always
need members to help with that.
BurningSoul: World of Warcraft is a role-playing game. How important do you this aspect of the game is?
Our core belief is “Guild First”. That means “roleplaying” game
lore is much further down the list. Honestly, I don’t care if “King
So and So” is mad at “Queen So and So” from 1,000 years ago and
Joe The Uber Dragon is going to rise up if the 20 stones of power
aren’t assembled. That is fluff. Fluff is a waste of time for most
gamers (hence why, again, the bulk of gamers you speak to cant
tell you the core lore for the games they play). Developers love the
fluff but quiz your readers about the games they play and you will
find out most of them don’t know the detailed lore, nor do they
care. They don’t walk around in character. They don’t conform to
the lore and they really dislike it when developers force them
to. Gamers want to build chars, kill monsters, and collect “stuff”
in as freeform a way as the game allows. They don’t really care
that killed Uber Mob ABC is supposed to be them fulfilling some
long lost prophecy. They just care whether or not it was fun and
worthwhile to kill the monster. So roleplaying isnt a focus of
ours and it really isn’t for the bulk of gamers.
BurningSoul: What is the most important thing to you in World of Warcraft?
The single most important statement made about WoW, to me, was in an
interview the developers did a few months back. To paraphrase, they
said “We don’t want to tell you what we plan to do [and then fail
to meet your expectations if we don’t deliver], we want to tell
you what we have already done.” That says a lot to me and is different
from many other gaming companies who tend to promise many things
and always fail to deliver some before they go live. And if you
believe the quote they said, then that means everything we know
about WoW is done (or in the process of being done) and if you
look at just what we know so far, that is one impressive game they
are putting together. So you have to ask yourself, if that is what
they are for sure going to have, what ELSE is there? It is a different
mindset than you see other places where players typically have
to ask “what WONT make it into the final? What promises WILL be
broken?” and I have a lot of respect for this development team
for taking the stance that they did. Do great work. Tell us what
you have done. Don’t make promises and then fail to keep some.
Great business model and super development methodology and hopefully
it will restore some lost confidence players had in developers
as a general community.
BurningSoul: Anything you'd like to comment on, for any person reading this interview?
I think you covered most of the major areas. We are very much looking
forward to the WoW beta and to making new friends, and probably
a few new enemies (as we are anti-exploiter, anti-cheat, anti-kiddie/moron)/griefer)
in the WoW world.