End of an Era

Posted: August 30, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, Guilds

All things must change to something new, to something strange.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

It’s been a little over three years since my guild, the Legion of the White Rose,  founded a chapter in Everquest II.  Those of us in Beta were spending more and more time in the Shattered Lands and less and less time in the old world of Norrath.  Though we’d been grouping for weeks, we had enough of our officers in Beta to officially take the time to form up the guild. 

From that point till now, we’ve only allowed the 16 different “good” classes into the guild’s Everquest II chapter.  Every group, every hunt,  and every raid have been performed without the benefit of brigands, defilers, necromancers, or any other class which starts in Freeport or Neriak.  We’ve proudly displayed ourselves publically as a Qeynos only guild, and actually considered it a huge event when we finally allowed Kelethin citizens to join us.  For over three years we’ve stuck to this tradition. 

…till tonight. 

For some time now, we’ve been discussing whether or not we should continue this specific tradition or finally take the plunge and allow evils to join our ranks.  Though in the past the votes have been fairly divided and the discussions have sometimes been heated, this latest round of talks have resulted in a fairly united consensus that it’s time for a change.

For those of you still wondering how or rather why a guild would voluntarily choose to hold themselves to only 2/3 of the available classes, I should probably shed a little light on the background for you.

You see, when Everquest II was first being discussed, then Community Manager Steve “Moorgard” Danuser made it clear that there would be a robust iPVP system based heavily around the simmering conflict between Antonia Bayle’s Qeynos and Lucan DeLere’s Freeport.  Originally, as it was explained in late 2003 and early 2004, there would be city faction systems set up which would actually greatly benefit guilds which completely consisted of citizens from one city or the other. 

The original guild status systems were based around patrons as well. 
And in fact, most of the original rewards for the guild level system were only available for purchase by guild patrons.  Yet, even while this system was being set up to illustrate the importance of being a patron within a guild, the patron title itself was only available to citizens of a guild’s patron city.  If you were a paladin in a Freeport guild, you could never become a patron – never contribute status to your guild, and never buy guild rewards, either.

Some of the ideas being floated around were quite in-depth, and spoke of guild halls, guild ships, and additional events being designed to truly advance the idea of a post-apocalyptic world caught between two warring factions.

In truth, this never actually came to pass.  Shortly before beta ended, the decision was made to allow non-citizens in a guild to become patrons and the much discussed faction system was never truly explored in the way it was described early on.  The iPVP system was never really fleshed out, and allowed to wither and die shortly after release (the sabotage missions were the closest thing we ever saw of this). 

Yet, we’d already spent nearly a year pre-release setting ourselves up as a Qeynos restricted guild.  Even though the ideas for future rewards weren’t truly being set up as we’d originally thought, we stuck to the plan taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach.  By the time we realized the system we were sold on was not the system we had bought, we already had several members well into their 30’s and we made the decision to simply keep up the tradition to set ourselves apart.

After a year or so, we started to really try out raiding, and though it was made more difficult by our lack of certain classes, we stuck it out and learned how to make up for our deficiencies.  Eventually, we managed to figure out new tactics and strategies which other, more cutting edge guilds never had to worry about.  For most of us, it was fun and exciting.  It was also a bit of a point of pride that we were hitting the targets we were without access to certain classes. 

But it’s been three years. 

Now, I’ve been leading this guild for nine years come October.  We’ve held chapters in four previous games to this one, and in each instance, we held no restrictions on membership.  We’d always accepted every race and every class, taking it as a point of pride that we never limited our memberships. 

We only changed originally due to the statements of developers which pointed out how a one-city guild would be given more bonuses and able to achieve more than mixed city guilds.  We stuck to that alteration due to comfort and a sense of differention more than anything.  After three years, it no longer has that feeling of setting us apart – at least not so much as it does the feeling of holding us back.

There is no real differentiation in Everquest II.  After all this time, there really can’t be.  Every race can be every class, and there’s less distinction between races (and even classes) than in virtually any other MMO on the market.  More than any other game, Everquest II has the feeling of different flavored sameness wherever you turn. 

Yet, that said, it’s still our home for now.  It has some of the most robust guild tools of any game, and allows for some fairly diverse playstyles to coexist within the same system.  The mechanics aren’t overly complicated and gameplay isn’t overly time required.  For a group of relatively serious, yet time limited gamers, it’s a good setting for us to hang our hats. 

But we’ve decided to give up on the idea of differentiating ourselves through restrictions based on class.  There’s really no point any longer.  The game’s been slowly weeding out anything which smacks of city based differentiation for some time now, and it simply makes little to no sense to keep ourselves limited to one faction.  At this point, the design team really couldn’t do anything to increase bring back any of the city specific rewards, since more than 99% of all guilds are mixed citizenship anyway.  outside of PVP servers, I wouldn’t bet on more than a handful of city specific guilds with more than 10 members.  Even on the PVP servers, I’d be amazed to hear of more than a handful of city specific guilds which actually raid consistently.

No, in Everquest II, there are far more faults than strengths to be found in a city specific guild.  To limit yourself to one faction over the other has no real game purpose.  Even the game’s much vaunted overarching storyline seems to support this.

So, tonight we bring in the first wave of evils.  We’d had them sitting out in a little guild we’d called the Legion of the Black Rose (original, eh?).  A few of our members are talking about betrayal.  We’ll go through a period of adjustment as we get used to the new dynamics in groups and raids.  For most of us, this is a bit exciting and confusing – certainly something that’s revitalizing interest in the game a bit more.  I’m actually looking forward to it, for the most part.

Of course, there’s still a part of me that will miss that tradition, useless as it was.  Though it gave us no benefit to be called a Qeynos-only guild, I can’t help but feel a small pang of loss when I realize we will no longer be the only Qeynos-only guild on Guk server. 

Oh well, time to level up that Assassin.  And mind the dust, will ya.  I think some of it got into my eyes…  😉

  1. Zyrtilg says:

    That’s a shame that you guys are giving that up, but I understand too. We’re an evil guild, but we do it for RP reason (Antonia Bayle server, yes RP does take place there 🙂 )

  2. Rotacidare says:

    Long live the queen!

    That’s awesome you guys have held out as Qeynos only for so long. Of course on our guild on Nagafen, we will always be Qeynos only, because it’s not possible to have evil characters in our guild (nor would we take them). I’m sure you will enjoy the new abilities the other classes will bring to the table.

  3. kendricke says:

    We had a bit of fun with the first night of integration last night. We essentially set up MOTD’s in both guilds indicating that the Black Rose had been compromised by Lucan’s spies and several agents had already been taken in for “questioning”. We set up an extraction point in the Commonlands and had several officers simply standing there by the Freeport Docks griffin tower waiting to invite Black Rose members who needed help getting out of the city.

    It was corny, but a lot of fun.

  4. Loralor says:

    We did indeed acomplish alot of things under our self-imposed restriction. I doubt there are more than a handful of good-only Guilds gamewide that can pride themselves on having Tarinax and Clockwork Menace on farm status, and to be 2 mobs short of clearing all KoS instances (Curor because we tried him only once, and Venekor).

    Can’t wait to see what a powerful Brigand and an intelligent Coercer can bring to our raidforce.

  5. Cordanim says:

    It’s sad since there was such a history there, but we did the same thing when EQ2 launched…we were Symphony of the Night, and we all decided on evil races and classes (all of us coming over from EQ1 at the time). We eventually started a Symphony of the Light (also orginal, now that I see yours LOL) that was Qeynos-based, but alas, over time, SOE decided that the cities mattered less and less (more dumbing down of the game IMHO) and so they eventually amalgamated.

    I have since changed servers since the guild has changed dramatically since my days in EQ and early EQ2.

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