Nine Candles on the Cake

Posted: October 11, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, Out of Character

Member of the Legion of the White Rose

All attacks will be countered by myself or another member of my guild.  Multi-attacks or pillages will result in guild retaliation.  You have been warned.

-Original description for Legion of the White Rose members, Archmage, Server I 


I didn’t say anything here last week, but my guild quietly passed its ninth anniversary on October 4.  It’s a pretty big milestone for any organization, but for an online gaming guild, I find it particularly impressive.

It also speaks to the concepts I often raise regarding gaming guilds, particularly when I point out how many of my current members have either -A- been with the guild for multiple years (not just months or a year, but years – plural) or -B- left the guild at some point only to return to us at a much later date. 

In fact, in a bit of a fanciful twist of fate, one of our former officers and raid leaders who had left us just prior to Echoes of Faydwer’s launch, logged back in on October 4th to ask to be readmitted to the guild.  It was a nice surprise for many of our veterans to see an old friend return to us after a year away. 

But that’s the draw of a good guild, isn’t it…

My own guild, the “Legion of the White Rose”, was launched on October 4, 1998, by myself and 5 friends.  We were playing the beta for a new online game at the time named “Archmage: Reincarnation from the Hell”.  Aside from the happy-go-lucky title, the game itself wasn’t actually all that evil or really all that “archmagey”, really.  It was a text based, turn based, web browser based (cgi/perl…*shudders*) online strategy game which pitted the aforementioned “archmagi” against each other in a 100% pvp world where players assumed the title roles and summoned massive magical armies to protect and destroy kingdoms of varying virtual sizes.  The goal of the game was power acquisition, through researching higher magicks, summoning larger armies, acquiring more land, building more infrastructure, and maintaining higher populations (and thus, higher taxation rates). 

In short, it was a blast.  The game lent itself well to guilds, because solo players were at a severe disadvantage within the game, due to the 100% PVP environment (show up without allies, and you’re basically just there to be farmed by everyone else). 

The Legion started small, as I mentioned, but quickly grew to just over 100 active members within our first few months.  At the time, we had no website (few guilds did, actually), but we maintained a mailing list (…which later became…which later became Yahoo groups), and communicated attacks through the list, to better coordinate defenses. 

Soon after, we discovered the joys of IRC and ICQ, and soon became able to set up coordinate attacks upon particular kingdoms using chat rooms and offline messages. 

It wasn’t long before we picked up a rudimentary website and basic message board system where we began to track any and all attacks against our members, so we could not only coordinate responses – but also track patterns (Someone targetting our members?  What types of armies did they use?  How were their armies set up?  What spells and items did they tend to use during attacks?).  Long before there was anything like “fansites” for online games, we were already using our own guild forums to archive and utilize data. 

Once we became good at utilizing this information, we began to really work up a reputation as a competent war guild.  It didn’t hurt that my online persona (ya know…”Kendricke”?) began to really evolve into a self-righteous, arrogant windbag so we were constantly at war. 😉

This actually worked greatly to our advantage as we were able to pick up a few powerful allies and new members who were attracted both to our strength and organization as a guild, but also to the strength and conviction of the ideals we portrayed.  In short, we weren’t just a group of gamers working together, but we actually had built up a bit of a unique internal culture which kept our bonds a bit closer than the average guild.  To this day, I still speak with members I’ve never actually met who haven’t carried our guild tag in 6 or 7 years…but who still proudly refer to themselves as Legionnaires online. 

It’s that culture which keeps us going, I think.  We’re not just another family guild, even though there’s a lot of comraderie within the ranks.  We’re certainly not a hard core guild, even though we take our gaming pretty seriously.  No, we’re only really competing against our own ideals – everyone else be damned!

And I think it’s that concept – that “we’re in this together” concept which really drives the culture behind the guild.  After all, if we were only together because of the games, I wouldn’t still be initiating returning members several times each year that hadn’t been with us for most of a decade. 

We don’t play just for the loot or to be the best.  I think that’s a key factor, too.  It’s good to have goals for a guild, and we certainly have some, but once you get into an mode of competition against other guilds, you’re bound to lose members from time to time the moment a better opportunity arises for their personal desires.  If a guild is only offering loot or accomplishment as a draw, then I reckon the memberships tend to take on a mercenary atmosphere – and those members will only stay so long as your guild supplies the loot and accomplishment those members are looking for. 

Certainly we’ve lost our share of members over the years who were looking for something better for themselves.  Even then, I’m typically surprised by how many continue to come back to us, to see how we’re doing, or even to ask to rejoin once they’ve been elsewhere and done the things they wanted to do there.  If I had to guess, I’d venture to say it’s because once those desires were sated, those members would find that the new guilds often couldn’t supply other needs that those particular members wanted fulfilled.

And such is the ebb and flow of the Legion’s waters.  We’ve been watching these tides for most of the past decade now, and though we’ve certainly earned our share of wrinkles, I think there’s still years left in this old girl.  Rather than feeling our age, I think we’re just getting our stride, and I’m happy to see the recent upsurge in activity and excitement once more as we round the bend on this latest anniversary. 

I’m certainly not ashamed to say how proud I am to lead this guild, but more important than that, I’m just happy to be aboard.  It’s been a short nine years – it feels like only yesterday we were choosing names around the kitchen table – but I know it’s still an accomplishment most guilds may never know.  That makes me smile a bit more when I’m listening to guildmates chat in channel or on Teamspeak. 

It makes me smile a bit more as I wonder what the next nine years may hold for us.

  1. AverageJoe says:

    You are very lucky to have been able to keep that together for as long as you have. I, like you have I am sure, have heard the epic stories of former guilds do this and that, accomplish the unthinkable….always referred to as the “guild of the past”, you are very fortunate, and probably very good at doing what you do.

    Congrats man, that’s a great accomplishment I am not even sure how many can say this.

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