2008 Syndicate World Conference
August 21st to 25th in Boston, MA was when the 2008 Syndicate World Conference was held. More than 140 members and family, along with more than a dozen developers, were present at this years event making it a huge success. VIP guests included 38 Studios, KingsIsle, Playxpert, Pure West Media (the makers of the Second Skin MMO Documentary), Turbine and Ten Ton Hammer. Members came from as far away as Germany to attend this event.
As in years past the weekend was jam packed with fun events from our annual Paintball game, to a guild meeting, to a private screening of the Second Skin documentary, to round tables with developers, to private meetings with several developers to explore how we can help them on their future gaming needs.
One of the larger highlights for the year was the screening of Second Skin. The Syndicate has a section devoted to us in the movie and we have a bunch of "talking head" moments where members pop up throughout the movie to comment on different aspects of gaming relevant to the overall storyline at that point. Juan, Victor and Peter (the core of the Pure West Media team) were on hand to show the movie and field questions afterwards.
A surprisingly popular aspect of the conference was Wizard 101. That is a game being created by KingsIsle with a target audiance of younger kids as a way to safely get them into MMOs without the risk from online predators and without a steep learning curve that is associated with more adult themed games. They presented to us since a number of Syndicate members have younger kids that might be interested. So 'family' oriented feedback was something The Syndicate could provide. We formed the core of their private beta testing and gave them a great deal of feedback during that time. They came to the conference to show where the game progressed to and to play test their prototype card game. Hours of play testing occurred and a huge amount of feedback was given. The card game, even in its prototype stage, was very fun and entertaining.
Another very cool part of the conference was having Playxpert present. They may an 'overlay' that sits on top of games you play (i.e. you can see its buttons inside the game you play) and gives you access to cool things like email, IM tools, a guild calendar etc.. We are partnering with them to develop a toolsuite that assists with Guild Management. The idea is that if the toolsuite works for The Syndicate, then a subset of it will work for almost any guild. In addition we gave them a couple of revenue generating ideas that they had not thought of. So all in all it was a very exciting series of meetings and demos with the Playxpert people.
As the 08 conference wound down the standard theme of "oh no! its over! when is the next one!" crept in. Commitments to attend the 2009 one were already pouring in and planning has already begun.