30/04/2018

Alive And Kicking

I've been with my guild, Twin Suns Squadron of Darth Malgus (formerly The Red Eclipse) for five and a half years now. I actually meant to make an anniversary video last November but lost steam before I got very far into it. Maybe I'll actually finish it once my sixth anniversary with the guild rolls around!


Twin Suns Squadron logo taken from Wookieepedia. Fun fact: I actually had no idea that this was an Expanded Universe reference when I joined the guild; I just thought that it was a cool name.

From what I hear from other people, being in the same guild for this long is rather unusual. Mind you, I'm not saying that I've actually been playing with the same people all this time. Apart from two or three individuals who have indeed been around for as long as I have, there's always been a certain degree of turnover. However, that hasn't prevented the stability of the guild as an institution from providing me with a comfortable social space to hang out. I've still valued the friendships that I made during those years too, even if most of them turned out to be transitory eventually. Not everyone can be a friend for life. My habit of recording and creating videos of guild achievements and funny moments has turned out to be handy in this context, as looking back at the older videos helps me remember the names of members long gone and the fun I had with them.

I've been thinking about all of this a lot lately because my guild had another very successful run at conquest this past week, hitting the medium yield target for the second time since the new system was implemented, and when I checked the scores more closely I noticed that ours was the second highest score of all Republic guilds across all three boards. The only ones who outdid us were Wardens of the Republic, and this was truly baffling to me mainly because I've always thought of Twin Suns as a fairly small-ish guild, and still do. Nominally our guild roster lists around 800 characters, but I'd estimate that about 50% of those are old members who've gone inactive and that we just never felt the need to remove, 45% are probably alts, and only about 5% are actual playing individuals.

We've always had ups and downs in terms of activity, but in recent months things have gotten interesting in a new way. It started with my pet tank, who is also the guild leader these days, declaring that we needed fresh blood and sending a newly minted officer out to recruit. Said officer took to this task with an almost shocking amount of zeal, spamming general chat on the starter planets and inviting anyone who replied. The results were kind of weirdly fascinating to me, because my own approach to recruiting had always been the opposite: being selective, requiring the completion of application forms etc. (usually with very limited results).

This sweeping recruitment certainly achieved two things: It made sure that we maintained the full XP and reputation bonus for our guild, and it made the guild look active on a superficial level, in the sense that you could log on at any time of day and see some people online. However, the vast majority of players recruited this way didn't actually end up engaging with the established core of the guild in any way. I think one or two stuck around, but most of them just continued to quietly do their own thing for a while and then stopped logging in or disappeared in some other manner, eventually causing the active member count to drop off again.

It was only fairly recently and after several such recruitment waves that our recruitment officer decided to change his tack and began talking to people who were already showing a clear interest in endgame activities and social interactions beforehand. And it worked! We gained a great bunch of new members this way. One of them, who plays a tank, was completely new to endgame and we've slowly been training him up from scratch. Hey, just because we've been running Eternity Vault for more than six years that doesn't mean that we aren't still happy to show a newbie the ropes.

More recently a guild with whom we'd been friendly for a long time also decided to merge into ours. It kind of took me back to when I had just joined myself, back when the game was contracting heavily in its first year and no less than three others guilds had only just merged into Twin Suns Squadron as well, making for a very... colourful environment. It led to me running my first 16-man operation ever and boy, was I excited! Comparatively, the first two days after the most recent merger actually made me feel a bit overwhelmed. So many new names! What are they all talking about? It made me want to hide for a little bit.

However, as things have started to settle down, I'm once again enjoying the process of getting to know the new faces and learning more about them both as people and as players. I'm not that worried about how good they are at the game - what's more important is that they are fun to hang out with, and so far we seem to be doing well, even if these things are never completely without friction.

It just amazes me that we are still going strong after all this time, and I hope that things will continue this way for years to come. I'm certainly trying to contribute in my own way: I know my pet tank for example probably would have drifted away from the game a long time ago if I wasn't so enamoured with it myself, with my presence keeping him around by extension. We all do our part, and long may it continue.

5 comments :

  1. The implosion of my launch-time guild in SWTOR certainly hampered my long-time engagement with the game. Great to hear yours is going strong still! Guilds or the random people in them do have such a strong influence on how we (or at least I) experience a given game.

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  2. I'm happy for you that you've found a guild that remains active to this day. I think the Alliance guild I was in is still alive under modified leadership, but that's the only one I've ever been in that has lasted without a major implosion.

    So here's to guildies!

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  3. Recently Youtube suggested one of your vey old videos to me, it was a Hutball with multiple premades. What struck me was in comms everyone was talking about Tasran and I thought I remember a Tasran he used to invite me into PVP groups when I played latenight PVP. Seems he also had a toon in my now essentially dead guild Disavowed, small world.

    I think a strong guild adds a lot to a MMO and the death of mine in the 3.0 to 4.0 time period is the main reason I drifted away from the game.

    First that video and now your post, both in the space of a week have really hit the nostalgia switch in me. So many good times, I wish I was more of a screenshot guy to help me remember.

    Happy conquesting.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, that's the same Tas-ran alright. :) He got around a lot, even transferred to Tomb of Freedon Nadd at one point, but then came back claiming that everyone playing there were jerks, haha! He was one of the rare people I've known who managed to combine being hardcore into PvP with having a heart of gold.

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    2. Looking back at my very first ops videos (see, I said they were useful for that), I also remember some other people from Disavowed joining us for the occasional 16-man raid when I had just joined Twin Suns. Did you know Amalka and Serinaa/Bloxie as well? :P

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