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Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy

The Syndicate Celebrates 10 Years
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Posted on Monday, February 6, 2006, 8:56 PM EST by Lady Beth (CommunityNews)
Feb 2006, The Syndicate celebrates 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).

Other MMO guilds began to pop up and recruiting standards for most of us, at the time, 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. We 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. We list ourselves as "Online Gaming's Premier Guild" and that slogan catches us flak from some gamers and praise from others. The most common piece of flak that we take is "you dont kill XXXX end game boss as fast as YYYY powergamer guild does so you suxorZ!". That simply illustrates that our definition of Premier isnt in line with that one. We define our success by measuring some factors that we feel actually really matter, in the long term, of being an online gaming entity such as:

* The biggest single reason is.. we are here, after 10 years. Very few groups in gaming can claim as much and 99.999% of all guilds in existance today will never reach that goal. That is one of the sad truisms about online gaming. The average lifespan of a guild is six months and 99.999% of guilds fail before even reaching halfway to our lifespan. There are many reasons for that but being a stable guild of more than 550 members for 10 years is a unique achievement in the gaming world that no one else can claim.

* We are in our 5th year of hosting the largest (by a large amount) single guild conference in the history of gaming. Our yearly confernces are larger than some MMOs player gatherings and major events. We are quite proud of those events and are grateful to all of the developers that attend to support us.

* We have an exceptionally low turnover rate. More than 80% of our guild has been with us for more than a year and up to 10 years. That percentage moves up each month. We lose, on average, a half a person a month who feels another guild is more to their taste. More people have to retire from gaming and our guild for medical, family or work reasons than leave for other guilds.

* We have achieved a number of 'firsts' in the gaming world like being the first MMO guild to receive a corporate sponsor.. being the first to trademark our guild name and slogan and logo.. and a couple more 'firsts' that are in the works right now.

We are very proud of our 10 years as a guild and as a supporter of the MMO community. We have overcome many challenges and achieved many great successes. So HAPPY ANNIVERSARY SYNDICATE!!! It has been a long road to get here but well worth the journey.

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