Frequently Asked Questions

You trademarked your guild name? Can we use it for our guild too?
Do you have an age limit to join your guild?
What do you look for in new members?
Do I NEED A Referral To Join Or Are Exceptions Made?
What about joining and then quitting and then rejoining?
When you say you are anti-pk does that mean you dont pvp at all?
If I join, will you make me an officer? I'm a really good leader!
Do you have a public posting forum I can go read?
How do you communicate within the guild?
What is this "World Conference" I read about on your history page?
You don't share alot of information about your internal workings on the web. Why is that?
How is the guild organized and led?
The Syndicate is HUGE! Am I just a number on a roster?
Just how low is your turnover?
I applied but I heard nothing back. Why is that?
Isn't your strict application process kind of elitist?
Are you a powergamer guild?
I heard you had developers in your guild. Is that accurate?
What is this I hear about you getting into lots of betas?
I heard you write Strategy Guides. What is that all about?
You have a book? Tell me more..
What is this that I hear about you doing consulting work too?

1) You trademarked your guild name? Can we use it for our guild too?
Yes, we did Trademark our guild name and our logo and our motto. We own the rights to those things within the online gaming universe. We do not allow for our mark to be used by any other online gaming entity. Our marks read as follows: Entertainment services, namely, an online gaming guild providing in game opportunities for proliferating game expertise and camaraderie among gamers supported by a web site featuring multimedia materials. While the trademarking of a guild name is not widespread in the gaming world, we believe that it is an important step toward creating a persistent community of gamers. Continuity of this sort is a positive development for developers and should improve customer retention by improving the online communities that do Trademark their names. We have already coordinated with a number of game developers to enforce our marks. You can read more about the specifics of our Trademark here.

2) Do you have an age limit to join your guild?
The Syndicate generally recruits only those who are 18 years and older.  Regardless of age we do expect a certain level of maturity and professionalism in all members. Kiddies, morons, self centered people, immature people etc.. do not have a place in this guild and either will fail to complete the application process or be removed soon after joining

3) What do you look for in new members?
We expect all members to exemplify the values of our guild. We are team focused ("Guild First!" is our core rule). We are friend focused. We never backstab each other. We aren't anti-social players. We are always unified. Always working in the best interest of the team. And looking to have a good time. In addition, we expect new members to achieve some level of competence in the games we play. That competency varies from game to game. Personality wise and play style wise, we look for people that match ourselves. If your style or your personality or your way of doing things dont complement ours then membership here won't be fun for you or for us and therefore it does neither of us any good to recruit you.

4) Do I NEED A Referral To Join Or Are Exceptions Made?
No exceptions are made to our requirement to have a referral to join. We only accept people we know, like and get along with. Requiring a referral gives us a chance to get to know you and you a chance to get to know us. We seek members of similar personalities, values and gaming goals to our own and the referral part of the process aids in finding the right members. We do have a process whereby SOME people who lack a referral can be assigned a recruiter to get to know members more. So it is possible, if you dont already know members, that we can assign a recruiter to you and you can work through them to meet members and get to know us.

5) What about joining and then quitting and then rejoining?
We strongly feel The Syndicate offers far more than other guilds do. That belief is reinforced that roughly 93% of all people who have ever quit us to join another guild have sought to rejoin us at a later date citing their experience here was far superior to those offered in other guilds. Also, roughly 95% of those who quit us for other guilds, end up quitting the game they are playing within 2-3 months since the grass isnt greener elsewhere. As a result, our policy on rejoins is very strict. If you join and quit, in almost every case there will be no chance to ever rejoin again. We offer recruits one shot only. The only exception we make to that is if a member has to quit online gaming for real life reasons (medical, work, school etc..) and later rejoins online gaming and wishes to rejoin the guild. If they were in good standing before they left, there is a chance they can rejoin when they return to online gaming.

6) When you say you are anti-pk does that mean you dont pvp at all?
No, it doesnt. We have entire sections of the guild which greatly enjoy pvp and participate in it often. We also have members who dont pvp. We dont force members to pvp but we do offer support for those who do wish to pvp in an organized, team oriented manner.

7) If I join, will you make me an officer? I'm a really good leader!
The Syndicate is a very old and very well established guild. We never recruit someone into an officer role. We always promote from within the guild based on a number of factors including time in guild, demonstrated leadership ability and related qualities. If you MUST have a leadership role to be happy, then this probably isn't the guild for you, and your personality probably won't match with our guild's. We are composed of "winners" who excel in everything they do but who also arent glory hounds and must have promotions and leadership in order to be happy and inflate their egos.

8) Do you have a public posting forum I can go read?
No. The Syndicate does not maintain a public posting forum. We do have a comprehensive and extremely active private guild posting forum that all members have access to.

9) How do you communicate within the guild?
Currently we are using Discord for both voice and text in addition to the private forum mentioned in question #8.

10) What is this "World Conference" I read about on your history page?
Once a year, large numbers of Syndicate members from all over the world, gather together for a multi-day guild conference. It is the largest single guild gathering in the history of online gaming and it a very good time is had by all who attend. We highly encourage all members who can possibly attend to do so. Its well worth the investment and many lifelong friendships are formed and much guild business and planning takes place there. The conference is regularly attended by developers so members get a chance to learn about upcoming games or give feedback and ideas about existing ones. Members develop friendships with many dozens of guildmates that are a major part of what separates us from other guilds. We are not an online gaming guild. We are not a guild that exists for any game. We are an online gaming community, that uses MMO games as a tool to further our friendships. Online Games are a tool to achieve our end goal, not an end goal in and of themselves.

11) You don't share much information about your internal workings on the web. Why is that?
The Syndicate is a private guild. We do not feel the need to brag about ourselves on public message boards (i.e. you will not see our members bragging or engaging in flame wars on any public message board nor will we wave our guild banner all over the place in our public signatures). We dont feel the need to share private guild information with the public. But there have been a number of interviews and articles written about us that will give you more insight into our inner workings.  We also have our book, Legend of The Syndicate which serves as a good guide on our method for creating a very large and very stable guild.

12) How is the guild organized and led?
We term our guild structure a 'benevolent dictatorship'. Said another way, there is one GM (Dragons) who is the final decision maker on all things guild related. There are a number of guild advisers (Grif and Dargus) that work with Dragons to help come up with the correct global guild policies. There are a number of Squad Leaders within each game that we play that help create and offer feedback for game specific policies.

13) The Syndicate is HUGE! Am I just a number on a roster? I am really looking for a family type guild and im not sure if I can get that in The Syndicate. Can I?
Yes, The Syndicate is a huge guild. One of the largest in online gaming. However, the primary reason that we can be so huge yet have VERY low turnover of members and very high unity and team focus is that we are a family type guild. We are all friends. Everyone tends to know everyone else in the games they play. We joke around. We have alot of fun together. And we have a firm belief that every member is important. Our years of existence and very low turnover, we feel, are proof enough that we achieve that goal.

14) Just how low is your turnover?
The Syndicate averages 4-5 people leaving us each calendar year for other guilds. Of those, most attempt to rejoin at a later date so one could argue that stat is really lower since they regret leaving and want to rejoin (but are not permitted to do so). We do have members retire from the game they are currently playing but they remain active in the guild waiting on our next big game to come along. And, while real life circumstances (such as health or job status) do force some people to quit gaming entirely, we lose almost no-one due to unhappiness and wanting to join another group. Joining The Syndicate tends to be a decision nearly everyone is happy with for their entire gaming career. Nearly the entire guild has been a member for many years.

One of the more amusing aspects of being a private guild is to watch morons and kiddies on public boards claim to "know" that our turnover is huge. They infer that because their guild has high turnover or because some xmember with a chip on their shoulder told them so. The reality is that our recruiting is very focused on only adding people with compatible values, goals, play styles and personalities that we know very well and that we feel will be here long term. By being that selective in our recruiting, we really do lose very few people. We do lose a few but we currently average less than .5 people leaving a month to join another guild (i.e. they are unhappy here). It is also funny to see people claim to be old members from years ago (back in the 90s when we freely admit we had very poor recruiting practices and had turnover that matched those poor practices) assuming that since things were fast and loose in the 90s that we didn't learn the lesson that strong recruiting = a stable and fun guild. It is unfortunate they live in the past but we definitely do not. The Syndicate of today is a far cry more mature, stable and successful than The Syndicate of the 90s.

15) I applied but I heard nothing back. Why is that?
ALL applications are replied to in one form or another within 24hours. If you didnt hear back from us, it is because an internet or email glitch occurred. Please either resubmit your application OR email the application information. Make sure you include a valid email address so we can reply back to you.

16) Isn't your strict application process kind of elitist?
We do not feel that elitist properly describes our strict application process. The dictionary definition of elitist is: The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources. That doesnt match our recruiting processes. Said in the simplest terms: We recruit people that we get along with and are friends with. There is no overt or covert value judgment made as to being superior to anyone else. We simply seek people we are friends with.

It wouldn't do the new recruit any good if we recruited someone with gaming goals that our guild didnt afford them. They would be bored and thus we would fail them, as a guild. It is, after all, a two way relationship with the guild offering value to the member and the member adding value back into the team. It wouldn't do anyone any good to recruit them if their personality wasnt compatible with those in the guild. That would just lead to tension and fights and 'cliques' forming which isolated people and ultimately led to them quitting. So our process is best summed up as: seeking people we are friends with. That is, after all, the essence of our guild: A team of friends.

17) Are you a powergamer guild?
No. We are not a powergamer (PG) guild. We do defeat the end game content in the games that we play but we do not powergame to achieve it. Whereas a commonly accepted definition of a PG guild is one that spends most nights of the week, and all weekend, raiding nonstop and will throw dozens of attempts at an encounter in a very short period of time, that is not us. We do have extremely skilled raiders in the guild and do defeat the end game content in games that we play but we do not raid every night therefore we will take more calendar time to defeat some encounters than a PG guild does. Conversely, nearly every PG guild eventually implodes and ceases to exist and we have been around since 1996 and will continue to be around for many years more. So you gain stability and membership in a guild where you matter and are important and are a friend and not just a piece of meat to be used for the guilds goals (while you strive to use the guild for your own before they kick you out or you burn out). So in a word: No. We are not a powergamer guild and we are very proud of that fact and that we still do defeat the end game content in the games that we play, yet dont lose sight of what is really important, to us: our members and our friendships.

18) I heard you had developers in your guild. Is that accurate?
Yes. We do have a large number of developers of MMOs and other game types in our guild. There is a group that is from MMO developers both large and small and a number of major label PC and console game makers are represented in our team. Some of them are openly known to members and some prefer a more covert existence so as to not have claims of conflict of interest. While we are indeed honored to have a good number of developers in our guild, we view them as any other member and friend. It does give us an opportunity to share feedback and know that it has been heard. It doesn't always get implemented but at least it has been heard and we have a chance to make a positive impact on the gaming world for all players. Many of the most popular MMOs and a number of popular PC games, we feel, have been influenced in a positive way, for the betterment of the gaming community, due to having developers as members.

19) What is this I hear about you getting into lots of betas?
Since we have been around since 1996, and because we have a very large and very stable membership base, we have developed strong relationships with most large and small MMO developers. We pride ourselves on being able to test a game and not only track down bugs but also provide valuable comments on balancing and on features needed to help the game be a success. We have a proven track record spanning almost every major and minor MMO that has been created. We have entered into formal arrangements with some developers to test their games with dozens or hundreds of members at once. We have done small scale testing of specific components. We participate in round table discussions and get asked to do writeups/critiques on design plans. They Syndicate has developed a relationship with a book publisher to write a book about The Syndicate. We maintain a relationship with a major print publisher of strategy guides to do contract work for the writing of MMO guides. We are very engaged in the entire lifecycle of MMO gaming. We have written articles and chapters in development books about making successful MMOs that have been widely read. We strive to do the best job we can to benefit the entire MMO community. Playing the game is only one small aspect of what we do in the MMO world.

20) I heard you write Strategy Guides. What is that all about?
In 2006, The Syndicate joined forced with Prima Games (the industry leaders in print media strategy guides) to help usher in a new era of MMO guides. Historically MMO guides were of limited use since they included only the basics of the game itself and often the player's experience quickly relegated them to collecting dust on the shelf. The Syndicate, working with Prima, provides Expert Strategy Content for many MMO guides. Typically you will find Class Guides, Crafting Guides, PvP Guides and things of that nature that are written by our members. You can most often tell guides we have worked on by our logo being on the cover. One of the guides we did major work on (the Lord of the Rings Online guide) made it to #3 on the best seller list for Internet Gaming related products. The SWTOR Atlas was even more successful and although Prima chose to release only an Atlas, FAR more content was created for the book which, ironically, was the exact contact some players complained should have been released in place of the Atlas. The Syndicate also works directly with game developers to write strategy content for them.

21) You have a book? Tell me more..
We actually have two books. The first is entitled Legend of The Syndicate and the second edition printing can be found at LuLu. The book is described as: Embark on a fascinating look at the history of online gaming through the eyes of The Syndicate, one of the most successful online organizations in the history of gaming. Discover the origins of online role-playing fantasy games, such as Everquest and World of Warcraft, that have captivated more than 8 million people worldwide. Relive the challenges and triumphs, and journey into distant lands of magic and mystery where every turn is fraught with danger and every decision could spell the end of years of hard work. Follow The Syndicate as they navigate the ever-changing online world and develop into an unstoppable juggernaut that shaped the future of the virtual world. The book itself has been critically acclaimed by such legends of the gaming industry as John Smedly, President of Sony Online Entertainment. We strongly encourage you to check it out. Thousands of copies have been sold and it has received numerous rave reviews from independent news sources.

Our second book is entitled Beyond The Legend and covers the next 5 years of the guild's existence. It also adds a large section detailing one formula to create a successful guild. And there is a large section talking about the future of MMO's (as seen through the eyes of gamers in 2011) and what developers need to be addressing to keep players engaged. The Forewords of the book are written by Curt Schilling and John Smedley.

22) What is this that I hear about you doing consulting work too?
Over the years, The Syndicate has built a track record of being able to provide quality feedback on game design; systems design; class balance; end-game content and much more. We have built personal relationships with most game developers that led to getting an opportunity to both demonstrate those skills and also demonstrate we can meet deadlines and then not name-drop on the forums (or leak any information what so ever). It is because of those high quality results; on schedule; on budget and with the upmost degree of confidentiality, that The Syndicate has been able to branch into doing a great deal of consulting work. We take our roles very seriously. We put our best people on those projects. We produce excellent results. And we don't "kiss and tell" and have never had a leak of any information from one of those projects. This enables even the most security focused development team to engage us very early in the process and receive the very valuable 'player perspective' early enough in the design phase to affect change before systems are locked in place and changes become exceedingly expensive.
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