Issue #2: Guild Spotlight, Part 1
Some say that one of the key pillars of a positive MMO experience is being a part of a player organization or guild. Working together towards a common goal, making friends along the way is the main reason many play MMOs year after year. Though Ashes of Creation is two years from release, many like-minded players have formed guilds in anticipation of release. The focus of this issue’s spotlight is a few of those guilds. Anthology’s own Makinoji took some time sit down with several guild leaders in the community in order to talk about their particular guilds. The response was so overwhelming to his request that it’s been split into two parts! Without further ado, let’s get on with it.
Guild: Cynical Gaming / Leader: Tirithel
The first guild leader in this issue’s spotlight is Tirithel, one of the founders of Cynical Gaming and leader of the Ashes of Creation chapter. Cynical Gaming is a highly PvP focused community that aims to be a top tier competitive guild in Ashes. One of their main goals is to own one of the five castles on their respective server. When asked if PvP will be the only focus of the guild and if there will be accommodation for those interested in PvE/crafting, Tirithel explains that most of Cynical Gaming’s community shares similar ideals that would allow them to thrive as a PvP oriented group. While these non-PvP elements will of course be a part of the guild, they will be a means to an end. The focus will remain on PvP content.
One of the core tasks of a guild leadership team, especially at this stage of an MMO’s development, is to keep their membership engaged. One of the key ways Cynical Gaming is doing this is through their other various chapters which allow members to stay involved in the community. As Ashes heads into alpha and beta phases, the plan is to host bi-weekly and eventually weekly meetings sharing game information so that the entire community around Ashes will be well prepared for release.
As far as guild hierarchical organization is concerned, Cynical Gaming’s Ashes chapter leadership has been mostly selected from current cross-gaming leadership, however there may still be some opportunities for those within the Ashes chapter to earn additional leading roles. They have a tested template for leadership organization that they have also used in Archeage, but Tirithel isn’t too concerned about the organization at this moment since the game does have two years of development and testing to work through still. Tirithel prefers to be the main point of contact for his guild at the moment, so if interested, you can reach out to him.
When asked why he chose to be a guild leader and why he believes people should follow him, he has a very succinct response. “I've been in leadership positions of successful guilds that have [completed] server firsts for approximately five years now. My experience working with people and organizing large scale groups makes me an invaluable asset to my community.” When probed further for a more informal response on what separates him from another community officer, his answer is even simpler. “Memes. If [you] like memes look no further.” Wrapping up the interview, Tirithel thanked his fellow Cynical Gaming members for making his community a reality. Though “it can be stressful at times…it’s all worth it.”
You can learn more about Cynical Gaming on their official forums post. Their guild website is a work in progress at this time.
Guild: Adventurers Without Borders / Leader: Devorandom
The guild leader of Adventurers Without Borders (or AWB), Devorandom, started his gaming life at the age of 6 or 7 years old with the first person shooter, Halo. He cites that it as the game that kick-started his passion. From that point he mostly turned to the RPG genre even though he cut his teeth on the FPS one - though he loved Halo, he still has a soft spot for RPGs over shooters. When he was in elementary school, his best friend introduced him to World of Warcraft and he was instantly hooked, playing it off and on even to this day. He’s broadened his gaming portfolio since WoW with other mainstream MMOs from Guild Wars2 to Elder Scrolls Online and FF14. As a player, he would usually dive into these games pretty heavily to get to the “end” game but lost interest when there were gaps in release of new content. However, with Ashes, he wanted to change this pattern. This time he’s trying his hand at guild leadership and so far he’s really enjoying it.
The main differentiator of AWB versus other guilds is that their focus would be more on the exploration aspect of the game that has been teased by Steven and the development team. Like many other Ashes guilds that have been formed, AWB has built a foundation behind a PvX style game because it seems to him to be the most optimal way to play given what we know of the game so far. “While we would like to have that emphasis on exploration, I don’t think anyone would want to or may be able to not participate in the PvE and PvP activities [Ashes] will be presenting us. Although, we will most likely focusing on the PvE aspect over the PvP.”
When discussing how Devorandom and AWB will be keeping members engaged, he did note that this was a challenge with the current wait time to launch. Some members have already invested in games while they wait (and are reluctant to move to another before Ashes) and others don’t feel it’s worth sinking their teeth into another MMO or multiplayer game prior to release of Ashes. However, the guild was able to select a few games to play together: Warframe, Destiny 2, Stellaris to name a few. The guild has also implemented a merit system that rewards members for participation in guild events, which is a great idea to keep members interested.
Devorandom became a guild leader as a reaction to his negative guild experiences in the past. “I just didn’t like the guilds I wound up joining in previous games.” He decided he would helm a guild rather than looking for one in Ashes. His goal is to create an environment of like-minded people to enjoy world of Verra as a team. He believes people should follow him as he is completely for creating a meritocracy for the guild. One of the main reasons he enjoys gaming is the meritocratic aspect and he hopes to create an extension of that in AWB. “If this is something that interests you, then it should be pretty easy to rise and earn yourself a good place and lots of loot…” Not a bad deal at all!
Devorandom closed the interview with this a few final words of guidance to those looking for a guild for Ashes. “If you are looking for a guild or clan, take your time. There is such a long time before even the first alpha…you have time to find a guild that interests you on the discord or the forum or even just wait until there is more of the game available so the community has more to form around.” If all else fails, Devorandom advises players to try their hand at forming their own guild. He stresses it’s important to be a part of a guild that really suits your play style.
You can find out more about AWB on the official forums.
Guild: Nexus / Leader: Zara
Nexus is next up in the guild spotlight and its guild leader, Zara, is happy to discuss the guild’s goal and core values to give prospective members a better idea of what her guild stands for. Nexus’ goal is to build and maintain leadership over the largest node on the server with “our queen sitting on the proverbial throne for the benefit of all citizens in our domain.” Zara explains that the core values revolve around five areas: Fun, Integrity, Reputation, Dedication and Teamwork. These values are best expressed in Zara’s own words below.
Fun: While this is a game and with our goals there will be structure and responsibilities, we must remember the point of the game is to enjoy the journey to our end-game without violating our other core values.
Integrity: Fear in the normal world is generally the best way to maintain control over a domain, however since this is a game – fear is not an effective method. Therefore, being respected and followed for our ability to interact with other citizens with honesty and maturity allows for the correct type of reputation needed to hold on to our castles with the support of supplemental citizen militias.
Reputation: Closely tied with honor, reputation is necessary and earned through propaganda of our achievements, a guild that is not loved or respected is a guild that is not supported in its time of need with regards to assaults, construction, and defense of our node.
Dedication: As a guild that is serious about achieving its goals, it is important for all players to be committed to their roles and ability to perform their duties timely, and accurately.
Teamwork: We play as a team, therefore this means no drama, no bullshit, and supporting each-other in completing milestones as set by leadership. This also means that leadership has an open door policy for feedback.
Nexus keeps their members engaged by offering several opportunities to connect: karaoke, movie nights and casual gaming get-togethers. Since Ashes isn’t out yet, their goal is to pass the time as fast as possible. Can’t argue with that philosophy! Along the way, the activity has been quite a good and fun way to keep the guild engaged and together as the community travels down the road to release.
Zara feels that a key factor in leadership is dedication. She’s worked hard on her guild ever since its inception. She cites her record for organization, event planning and recruitment push as the primary reasoning behind why she feels people should join her guild and follow her. She, however, is quick to point out that the credit isn’t all hers to take. She points out that many of her members and friends have inspired her to work that much harder to make Nexus a strong guild. When asked if there was anyone specific she’d like to thank, she responded with “Gosh yes, everyone. Legit everyone, the good...the bad… everyone has given me some sort of insight, the rights and the wrongs. It’s helped me so much, and I know Nexus is one of the best guilds around do to them.”
Guild: Heavenly Sword Gaming / Leader: Truth Eternal
For those of you not familiar with Truth Eternal, he is the voice behind Journal of Ashes a community driven storytelling series. He is also the leader of Heavenly Sword Gaming (HSG), an 18+ semi-hardcore group of players “looking for community in the truest sense.” Truth Eternal explains some of the key features and benefits of HSG being “events, a point system, in-guild challenge rankings, rank structure, big prizes…it’s all of the big, sponsored-community goodies without the massiveness.” The community itself is 250 members strong, which Truth Eternal feels is just about big enough that members aren’t lost in the crowd, allowing members to get to know each other more easily.
The main goal for HSG is to build a group of MMO players and focus them on Ashes as their sole MMO. Truth Eternal wants to enable success through his player base and that clearly requires the players to play Ashes! The focus of the guild is on the “trinity” as Truth Eternal calls it – PvE, PvP and crafting, in that order. He does make a point that many guilds promise fun, success and community but he urges those seeking guilds to look at HSG’s track record and talk to any member “to know we’re set to have all of that and make some great memories.”
HSG handles member engagement through daily events, private gaming servers, and member gaming events (5 supported games, 5 rotating games and a handful of other highly represented games). Truth Eternal insists “it’s rare to not find a place to fit in in HSG.” The membership is quite active in the Phoenix Initiative, PAX attendance and gathering the latest Ashes news/updates. They also keep busy on the Discord and official forums. They will be represented in every phase of testing and that is just the beginning.
Truth Eternal feel that the biggest reason anyone should lead is because they “think they can best serve their members.” That’s why he formed HSG along with the help from a lot of great community members. He doesn’t feel it’s important to “follow” a leader as much as it is to work side by side with a leader so that member needs are met. He thinks the only way to assess the leadership of an organization is to be a part of it and “recognize how much agency and say you have, and form a decision.” If this sounds like the kind of guild structure that appeals to you, Truth Eternal feels HSG is good place for you. He does provide some advice to those players still checking out guild opportunities, urging them to get to know the active players for the guilds that interest them – gather information through conversation with those members and then form an opinion. He recognizes there are plenty of choices out there but a player should make sure they are aligned in “culture, attitude and goals” with their guild selection. He does hope after reading this piece – even if you aren’t interested in HSG – you find a really good home that suits you. If HSG feels like a good fit, he’s happy to chat whatever the topic (the HSG community, Ashes, or anything else).
He did make a point of thanking the Herald for their work on this issue (You’re welcome, buddy!). He also wished to thank the members of HSG and the larger Ashes community for their excitement. He didn’t want to leave out Intrepid Studios either for their hard work on the game so far and “can’t wait to see what’s in store.”
You can find Heavenly Sword Gaming on their community site.
The Last Word
There you have it folks – the first part of our guild spotlight series! Stay tuned for the second half coming very soon. I echo the great advice from the guilds interviewed as part of this piece – get out there and get involved! There are some great options out there for you to connect with fellow Ashes fans!