10 Year Anniversary
The Syndicate® - Established Feb 1996
In Feb 2006, The Syndicate celebrated a DECADE of existance as a guild. The Syndicate formed in Feb of 1996. Ultima Online was a vague concept at the time. Meridian 59 was in beta. The Realm was in beta. Neverwinter Nights (the America Online version built off the old Pools of Radiance engine) was the closest thing to an MMO that you had and Gemstone was the pre-eminent subscription text RPG (and it was in partnership with AOL as well). Personal websites were very few and very far between. In fact our initial webspace was 5 megabytes in total storage and out initial webpages totaled 150kb. Netscape was around version 1.0. There was a very basic version of IE out that hardly anyone used. Windows had just launched WIN95 but Win 3.1 was the dominant version. Modems were 14.4 (soon to go 28.8 and if u were really the shizzle u could get 32.2 if your ISP supported it).
Guilds began to pop up and recruiting standards amounted to "d00d! you want in! We're gonna roxorZ!!! Ur in!!! btw, whats your name?" In our case we took over a number of smaller guilds and absorbed their members. Our roster quickly swelled to 200.. 300..400 people. Needless to say we were born under a lucky star or something to have survived butt-stupid recruiting practices such as those. And we paid a price for it. There were plays for power as we had people try to take squads and pull them from the guilds or to undermine Dragons, the guildmaster, and make the guild implode or even to take over. Clearly those things didn't really work or have any long term negative affect. While they sucked, at the time, they were a good thing in the overall guild history because they forced us to wake up and grow up. We were naive in those days. Size beget strength, we thought. We didn't realize that size, without standards and purpose and direction.. and without being composed of like minded people.. just led to infighting, high turnover and problem children. And we certainly had our share of morons and kiddies in the very early days.
Fortunately, we did learn. We did adapt. We did improve. We did set standards in place that we stuck to. We did put fair rules in place that we held to. We did establish core values that we hold everyone to. And because we learned, adapted and didn't give up, we thrived, overcame and turned into the juggernaut we are today. A focus on standards and QUALITY gave us size that was sustainable.. size where although we were large we were close and you knew any member in the guild would have your back.. and size that was all unified in our direction and purpose.
So looking back at our past there are alot of challenges.. but where those same challenges destroy nearly all other guilds, we took them as opportunities to improve. I feel we did make the most of those challenges and today we have a wonderful guild. Clear, common sense rules.. a membership of like minded, mature, fun loving people.. a great team atmosphere where all members matter.. and where our guild doesn't serve the game.. the games serve the guild's interests.
So here we sit.. Feb of 2006. Ten years have passed since the guild was formed. Lets take a moment to examine some cool facts about gaming, the guild etc.. to give you some perspective on what it really means to be standing here, in this moment of gaming history. Is it really historic? Is it really significant that we are even asking your time to think about this anniversary? We think it is.. and let me use a few numbers to show why:
Every day in the MMO world, we estimate that more than 400 guilds rise and fall. Think about it logically a second if you question the number. There are 30 UO and something like 50+ WoW servers alone. If 1 guild a day is created, per server, you are already at nearly 100 from those two games alone. Add EQ, EQ2, AC, SB, Horizons, AC2, DAOC, SWG, Eve, CoH and on and on and you can quickly see the number I estimate is probably low, not high. But lets go with that number for a second. That means that about 1.5 MILLION guilds have risen and fallen during our time in gaming. 1.5million groups of people, or more, have tried and failed to achieve what we are celebrating today with many of them trying numerous times over and never being able to find the right mix of people, values, goals, drive etc.. to reach even a fraction of the 10 years that you have. While some may read that statement as egotistical, the truth is that it is a huge accomplishment that nearly all other groups will never be able to claim.
The average lifespan of a guild is around 6months. I'm sure you can all think about it a second and remember guilds you knew that formed and were gone within a couple of months. You can also think about ones that lasted a year or two years or even three years and then imploded. Average them all together and on average its 6months. 99.999% will fail before 5 years. You have to add even more 9's to the end of that to talk about how many reach the 10 year mark. Out of the 1.5million+ guilds I can only think of a couple anywhere close (because you have to realize, for a guild to be this old, they had to come into existence back in the pre-UO days. There weren't many of us and we all knew who each other were).
I realize to even wrap one's mind around fractions of percentages like this is very hard but its almost akin to winning the lottery. And in a sense we did.. we won the lottery of gaming guilds by creating the guild that hasn't imploded and isn't going anywhere, that considers all of our members a friend and that is glad to have them as part of the team and was able to weather the storm of challenges and mistakes and learn from them and improve and thrive.
So HAPPY ANNIVERSARY SYNDICATE!!! It has been a long road to get here but well worth the journey.