Shadowbane... The Beta
The Syndicate was fortunate enough to receive 150 beta accounts from Ubisoft after they attended our 2002 World Conference. The nearly 100 members present all received an account and 50 more members did as well. Then later another 75 accounts were received pushing our numbers in the beta even higher. We were the single largest guild in the beta and we entered it with preexisting structures, organization, rules, policies and methods that served us very well. Initially we met a very nice group called Ama'Zeo. Since we entered the beta halfway through a build (only half a dozen members had been in the beta before that, far too few to host a city of our own) we were able to join into the Ama'Zeo city and quarter our troops there. That proved a very successful friendship that grew stronger and lasted from build to build.
The Syndicate fared very well in the beta. We took an active role in finding and reporting both bugs and balancing concerns with the game. We submitted lengthy reports to the dev. team on a regular basis and tried to think of each situation from a "what is best for the game" perspective. We'd like to think some of our suggestions and some of our bug findings did impact the overall success of Shadowbane in a positive manner.
A number of friends were made in the beta some of which were long term and carried forward through builds. Politics plays a big role in Shadowbane and we were very involved in that aspect of things. Guilds that just run around wacking on everyone they see dont last long and having friends and people you know wont attack you is a strong strategic position to be in for all involved.
As Vosx pointed out at our conference, Size matters and organization matters and The Syndicate has both of those. A very large and very organized team we were able to level fast and collect large amounts of resources to build fast and large and defend ourselves both at our town and by taking the fight to our attackers towns as needed. Our methods and procedures were refined to work within the world of Shadowbane and some "roleplay lore" was created to explain how we arrived in those lands. All in all the SB Beta was a very positive and successful experience for us and we'd like to thank Ubisoft for the chance to experience it as a team. We very much enjoyed working with a publisher that actively solicited and listed to its gamers feedback in an effort to make the game as strong as possible.
One of the most exciting aspects of the beta for us was the developers of the game also
had chars they played to test things out. They formed their own guild and went looking for a strong
nation to become a part of. A nation that could win and one that wasnt full of kiddies and whiners.
They picked The Syndicate and became a subguild of our nation. It adds a little spark to the game
when you know you are playing with the developers and it helps encourage feedback and bug reports
when people know they will get read and handled. Having some of the SB Dev's as part of The Syndicate
nation was definitely a high point of the beta.