We've all been there before: you've been playing a certain
game for several years, and you've either blown through all the
content, or aren't interested in pursuing Publisher X's idea of an
end-game. Yes, in the ideal world, it would be the actual game
experience itself that keeps you coming back, but in reality, this
tends to not be the case. We've all found ourselves here: a time and
place in which the zeroes, ones, and pixels just aren't giving you the
same level as gratification as they used to. When this happens, all
that's left is the people.
The guilds that we find ourselves falling in with do a great
deal to enhance a game's experience, as well as prolong its longevity.
Personally, I haven't been a hardcore guild player until recently,
instead having aligned myself with smaller groups, more often than not
connected to each other in real life. It's a more organic and personal
environment, and while you may not have as many opportunities to see
all the cool endgame stuff with such a guild, in contrast, it requires
much less of a commitment on your part.
On the other end of the spectrum are guilds of such enormous
magnitude that their influence starts to extend outside of the virtual
worlds they inhabit. You may have heard of The Syndicate. If you
haven't, it's one of the player organizations responsible for providing
the template for what guilds resemble to this day. The Syndicate, run
by a player named "Dragons," celebrated its 10 year anniversary this
month. First operating in Ultima Online
, the guild has maintained a presence in most of the big name games of the past 10 years. Today, it operates exclusively in WoW
, with a roster of over 550 players, annual real-life guild conventions, and even a corporate sponsorship.
In order to achieve a better understanding of what it's like to run an
organization of that magnitude, I spoke with Dragons, whom, despite all
his responsibilities as guild master of a group this large -- not to
mention the amount of time it takes to actually play
these games -- maintains a full time job. Think about that next time
you're thinking about flaking on a guild raid because you have work the
"Running The Syndicate is tantamount to a second job. I spend
six or so hours a day on 'paperwork' to keep the guild moving ever
forward. My personal time, besides in-game things like leading events
and raids, is invested in answering 200-250 member emails a day...
answering posts, resolving issues, helping members, planning events,
interfacing with developers, and things of that nature," Dragons said.
"It is a pretty big effort to lead a team of 550+ members." It sure
sounds like it. It would seem that his role as GM provides him with
enough work for it to justify it being a full-time job, though that
isn't the case. "I do have a job that pays the bills and a couple of
kids (although there has been a rumor for years that I'm really a 12
year old girl), so the guild is something I do on top of all that," he