Just like Ultima Online, EQ had a lengthy Beta. They ran their beta in a different way though.
Theirs was run in 4 phases. Phase 1 was very small and it grew to Phase 4 that was open
to the public. The Syndicates guildmaster Dragons, was one of the very first
people let into Phase 1.
The early beta was much different than the game today. Entire zones where you were
the only person in them. Monsters that fell from the skies. And GMs that would follow
you around and hunt with you in order to get things tested from the game. Slowly the
world filled up into what it is today. A web of servers with hundreds of people on each
one at any given time. But those early days were special and alot of fun. You could
explore the world unhindered and it was vast, open and unknown.
The beta ended and the final was released. A whole slew of servers went live and The
Syndicate had to pick one to go to. It was really an irrelevant decision which to
pick since all were located in the same spot in the U.S. and all went live at the
same time. We chose Tarew Marr.
As with UO, guilds were not implemented at first. We had to do all of our coordinating
via email and our chatzone. This made things difficult and it was nearly impossible to
get together for things. So we instead focused on getting our chars worked up.
Verant soon implemented guilds and The Syndicate was right there at the beginning of
the line. To get a guild you had to have 9 players, and the guildmaster mail Verant and the GM had
to submit certain pieces of information. If approved you owned that name
on ALL servers. You simply had to follow a schedule to meet the GM in charge of guilds
at a certain time to get it setup.
We set ourselves up on Tarew Marr. Dragons, being a WoodElf, was located in Greater Feydark then
as we all tried to level. The Syndicate used its squads concept in EQ and had squads based around
races. This meant that most SLs were over on Antonica and far away. Since you cannot
add members and officers unless you are in the same zone, and since you teleporters
were non-existant at that time, it was a bear to get everyone added.
The end result was Dragons taking the boat to Freeport and camping there for
several days while SLs took long and dangerous (for non teleporting lower level chars) across
entire continents to get added into the guild. Soon we had all the SLs added
and most members and we began to walk down our road to greatness in EQ.
Members gained levels, and we gained Teleporters. Once we had those (Landar and Ranco were
the first 2), we could begin to do guild events since we could move members around
easier. We began (and continue to this day) a series of guild events each month where
we gather together for hours at a time.
The Plane of Fear and Hate opened offering challenges to higher level characters and
Syndicate members became masters in smithing and jewelcraft and pottery and tailoring. Those
trade skills enabled us to provide members items for cost and get the entire guild outfitted
in decent armor and magical items.