Second Skin - The Movie
In early 2007, The Syndicate was approached by the team at Pure West Media. They were doing a documentary about the MMO genre and were filming a host of different pieces and parts of that massive community. One of the things they were looking for was a "Legendary" guild that was very organized and very structured and that mass migrated from game to game and had a story to tell. Needless to say, hundreds of guilds applied but none of them really had "it" to the point that section of the movie was doubtful to continue forward. Then PWM and The Syndicate crossed paths and instantly they knew we were the group for them. From there, interviews with Dragons and with members took place. Filming at guild dinners, our lan parties and our confernences occurred. And the end result was some outstanding footage to help make the Second Skin film even stronger. Below are some exerpts from their site about the film and about us:

Second Skin is a documentary exploring the recent emergence of online virtual worlds in our society. A new genre of computer games, Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) allow users to create a character and then enter a synthetic world alongside thousands of other user-controlled characters. In essence, each player is an inhabitant in a brave new world.

Second Skin asks, how does a burgeoning society deal with economy, government, identity, power and sex? Especially in a world that doesn't quite exist?

Here is the news blurb about Second Skin meeting up with us: While the day-to-day goings on here at Pure West Studios have been of the monotonous importing/editing kind, exciting news is brewing in my gmail account.

Sean “Dragons” Stalzer contacted me about a week ago. He saw our many requests for a legendary guild, and introduced me to the Syndicate. I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s a guild that’s been around eleven years, has over 500 members, is having a book written about their storied past, and has corporate sponsorship! More exciting, on the cinematic side of things, they hold monthly dinners (small-scale) and annual meetings (large-scale). The fact that he sent me a packet with Syndicate-branded pens, medallions and a bottle opener didn’t hurt either.

In any event, as soon as we emerge from this monotonous cocoon of an office, our eyes are looking Southward as we explore The Syndicate and its mantra, “In Friendship We Conquer.” Hopefully we can interview Dragons and a few key members (Debby Dietrich, a 57 year old female member, emailed us as well, and sounds like a great interview) then follow it up by visiting a few monthly meetings and cap it off with the annual. Can you tell I’m excited?

And here is a blurb after their trip to interview Dragons: A hell of a beginning to the New Year! Because we’re trying to finish a twenty minute chunk of the documentary within the month, this past weekend was the only time we could afford to go interviewing… and interview we did.

Our first stop was at Dragons’ house (The House of Dragons? The Lair of Dragons?) to interview the Guildmaster of the longest-lasting guild in MMO history. With 600 members and an eleven year history, The Syndicate has been a huge MMO presence since the days before MMOs. Dragons has been leading it since day one, back in 1996.

Dragons was not what we expected in the least. Well, maybe somewhat. It would take a highly charismatic, incredibly organized, amazingly fast talker to efficiently lead such an enormous guild. However, had I met him outside of the documentary, I wouldn’t have even thought him to be a gamer! It’s great- he’s got the whole alter ego thing going for him. By day he works in IT, is a father and a husband. By night he’s Dragons. And he tries not to blur the line at all, which was the fascinating part. His co-workers, even those who play WoW and have mentioned The Syndicate to him, don’t know who he is… in Azeroth.

Anyhow, he gave us the epic history of forming the guild and maintaining it through the years. The success of The Syndicate seems to lie entirely in the fact that he always puts friendship over gaming. It’s never about who-gets-what-dropped-item, or hardcore raiding, or hardcore competition. It’s about fostering an enormous online family. They trust each other. They have each other’s backs. Hell, they hang out together, some have fallen in love, met and married… its rife with stories. They send care packages to Iraq and fund raise for charities. They help Prima Games write their game guides. The list goes on…

Getting in is next to impossible- they get an average of 4,000 applications a year, and accept less than a hundredth of that. Yet Dragons maintains that it’s not about being exclusive, it’s about only allowing in those who have other member’s trust, and who uphold the same core values as the guild.

In any event, Dragons is giving us a lot of access, and I can’t wait to delve farther into the guild and explore what it’s all about. The fact that they have monthly dinners and an annual conference means a real cinematic element to the whole thing… We were buzzing with excitement the whole ride home.

And finally here is the blurb about Dragons that was included on the main page of the site:

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