The SyndicateReturn to: Atlantic
ATLANTIC—The Syndicate (LLTS) is one of Ultima Online’s oldest and largest guilds. Founded in February 1996, this historic
At the time of its founding, the mission of The Syndicate was to establish a virtual community of friends – not an easy charter, considering the technological constraints of the mid-1990s.
“We played on 28.8 Kbps modems (unless you were really high tech and had a 32.2 Kbps modem),” Dragons said. “And in many ways, the whole community was a rookie at what it means to be an online gamer. So expectations were different and the methods to achieve them far less sophisticated. Saying something like, ‘We wanted a friend focused group that was loyal to each other and put a focus on
Elements of Success
Presently, the Syndicate is perhaps best known for its weekly “Craftsman Day,” during which the guild furnishes a variety of free crafting
Said Dragons, “while it would be ideal to say every bit of our success comes from careful planning and execution, it is more fair to say that
“Additionally, the drive to learn from mistakes and then not repeat them was a major player in our success. Creating a group of 625+ people, with dozens of game developers as members, contracts with development companies, our own studio with Prima Games
“And finally, I think perhaps the single biggest factor in our success is our membership. We recruit a certain type of person and that inherently means very few issues occur and there is a very high motivation level to support the team, and that those individuals
The growth and success of The Syndicate is evident. Less evident are the challenges that the guild has faced throughout the course of its development. According to Dragons, the guild’s biggest challenge at one time was a high turn-over rate. In response to this challenge,
“In our early years,” Dragons said, “we had a very open door policy. We had entire guilds merging into us. We accepted large numbers of people. Frankly, that is a dumb policy if the desire is to build sustainable, team focused, friend focused, drama free environments. That type of policy breeds issues and is a reason many guilds have ceased to exist, and why many groups have large turn-over rates. We
Ultima Online has changed a great deal over the past 14 years, as has the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing
“When we were founded, we were a guild that intended to play UO. Today, we are a virtual community with an
Beyond gaming, LLTS has involved itself in many real-world causes, including conducting charitable work, legally tradmarking and incorporating the guild, authoring books for publication by Prima Studios, hosting conferences for members and gaming industry professionals, serving as consultants for MMO development, and being featured in numerous articles, books, and documentaries.
“The primary difference,” said Dragons, “is that we are not an Atlantic or even a UO based guild. UO and the Atlantic shard are an integral part of our roots and our history, but long ago we moved from being a ‘guild’ that was on [the] Atlantic shard of UO into a virtual community spanning many worlds and reaching into the real world, and then finally morphing
Despite the guild’s ventures beyond the realm of Atlantic, Dragons affirms their steadfast commitment to the Atlantic community. In
“Longevity, Size, Leadership, Loyalty, Membership, Retention, Impact on Game Development, Industry Influence, Recognition – for virtually any meaningful metric of success, The Syndicate sets the standard,” Dragons said. “With 14 years under our belt, in many ways we are just getting started. New strategic partnerships continue to be forged that will result in continued positive impact on the future of MMO gaming. We are very excited about what the coming years hold, not only for us, but for the entire gaming community. Long Live The Syndicate!”
Dragons has played Ultima Online since its beta. His guild, The Syndicate, is celebrating its 14-year anniversary this month.
Last modified: September 10, 2011