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I've been informed that, after clearing out some inactive players, my company, TheEmpire, has some openings for new members.
Apart from obvious things (e.g., don't say things that would get you kicked from most companies or banned from most moderated forums), the main company rule is that you have to do company contributions every month--and donate a 5 point item four times. Don't donate 3 or 4 point items, ever, as that will make people very mad. You can only do four contributions per month, and if you do 3 point contributions, that means you can only contribute 12 points in a month, not 20.
Depending on what the contribution items are in a given month, this sometimes means nothing more than you meet a veteran player at a company shop, he hands you some items, and you donate the items to the company shop. At worst, you'd be expected to pay 2 million ducats or so to buy items and donate them--but only once per month. Newer players especially could get help with this, so even if veteran players are expected to track down items themselves, newbies probably won't be.
Company contributions reset on the 14th of every month. You're really only expected to make the required contributions before they reset again. So if you joined today, your first contribution would have to occur sometime between May 14 and June 14.
In particular, we don't require players to do particular things at particular items. We have players who do adventuring, trading, crafting, dungeons, sea battles, and piracy. You can pick the content you like and do it, and not do the content you don't like. If you need someone in the company to help you with something (e.g., craft some particular item), then we probably have someone who can do it. We have a number of members with levels in the 50s and 60s.
We do occasionally have company events that you can come to or not. Last weekend, some people got together to work on piracy. We also had a group get together to unlock Cuzco and Machu Picchu, the hardest landing points in the game to unlock.
If interested, you can apply at the company administration office in London. Our company recruiting message says that you need to be at least level 20 in either adventuring or maritime, but we can waive that. That's not an anti-newbie requirement. It's an anti-spy requirement, as you can see where everyone in your company is. We don't want pirates from other companies to have spies in our company feeding information back to other pirates about where our members are. If you've got dozens or hundreds of posts on this forum (meaning mmorpg.com, not just the UWO subforum) before this recruiting message, then it's extremely unlikely that you're a spy from some other company, so we can waive the level requirement and let you in even if your levels are only 6/4/4 or something very new like that.
You can contact me (Quizzical) in game. I can't accept you into TheEmpire, however. You'll need to get Kyley or Hiddenwolf to do that. It might help to mention that you saw my post on mmorpg.com, which is something that would-be spies usually won't see, as this isn't a major hangout for UWO players. Kyley will probably still try to figure out if you're a spy, though.
There is still the question of why you would want to join a company at all. So I'd like to explain some of the benefits of company membership, and why TheEmpire might be more beneficial to you than a lot of other companies.
First is the company shop. Most likely, you've got items that you'd like to sell to other players, because they're worth a lot more than an NPC vendor will pay. If you don't have any such items just yet, then you will, and very, very soon. You can start a bazaar and sit there, and someone who clicks on you to see what you're offering can choose to buy it or not. But they have to click on you in particular, and you have to be online in an area where people might find you and click on you.
A company shop lets you put three items in the company administration office at prices that you check. This lets players who are looking to buy something check on what many players are offering at once, rather than just one at a time. It also lets you sell stuff while you are offline, or sailing around actually playing the game.
Any company can offer you access to the company shop. But some companies can make your items more visible than others. Players checking a company shop often have to check one company at a time. You can only check companies in the city where you're at the administration office. And companies based in a given city are sorted by company contribution points. If you're in the company that has the most contribution points, then your items will be the first ones that people see when they check company shops. That gets your products more visibility than if you're in the 83rd ranked company and people don't see what you're selling until they've scrolled past 82 other companies.
Some cities also get you a lot more visibility than others. If you're in the #1 ranked company based in Tunis, hardly anyone will see your stuff, because hardly anyone checks in Tunis, as there's nothing there. Seville is probably the most popular city, but London is second. TheEmpire is typically in the top 10 in London. Last month, we finished #2 in London. (See the company rule about contributions.) If you're a newbie and want to apply to the #1 company in Seville, good luck. You're not going to be accepted.
A relative handful of companies also have a company house, which provides various benefits at random. For example, normally you have to pay 5% of an item's value in order to stash it in your bank vault. One month, we only had to pay 4% rather than 5%. The precise benefits seem to vary randomly by month. But TheEmpire does have a company house.
A company also serves as a chat channel. But that doesn't do much good if the company doesn't have people online much. Joining an established company such as TheEmpire means there will be people around for you to talk to.
UWO is a complicated, confusing game. You may sometimes want help from people who know what they're doing. Join a newbie company with a bunch of other newbies and you can ask questions of people who don't know any more about the game than you do. Join a company with a number of veteran players, and whatever it is you need to ask about, there's probably someone in the company who has done it.
Again, if you're interested in joining, you can contact me in-game if you like. You'd have to get Hiddenwolf or Kyley to let you into the company. You have to go to the company administration office in London to apply. Players of any nationality are welcome to join. If you didn't start as England or Netherlands, you'll need London port permits, which you can get by completing any intermediate school.