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General: Book Overview: Legend of The Syndicate

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Today, Jon Wood takes a quick look at a recently released book detailing the history of The Syndicate, a large guild with a presence in the classic Ultima Online and the juggernaut World of Warcraft.

It isn’t often that we present an article about a book here at MMORPG.com. Frankly, there really haven’t been that many written on the subject of MMORPGs, so you can imagine my reaction when a copy of “Legend of the Syndicate” made its way to my door for review.

Legend of the Syndicate’s sub title is “A History of Online Gaming’s Premier Guild (yes, I know that there would be a number of guilds that would probably dispute that, but it’s the title of the book). The book is written by Sean Stalzer (“Dragons” to anyone who might be familiar with The Syndicate), the guild leader.

Read it all here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • ValanceValance Beavercreek, OHPosts: 189Member

    This is odd. I've never even heard of this guild. When you look at who has the various world first raid kills in WoW, this guild never came up. I didn't play UO, but has anyone out there actually heard of this guild?

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,180Member Uncommon

    Well I played UO and was a head counselor there for some time, never heard of them and there were some very good guilds on some of the UO shards.

    Not demeaning the book, nice that he wrote it, but he has delusions of grandeur if he thinks that is a premier guild lol.

  • KeoghKeogh Los Angeles, CAPosts: 1,099Member

     

    Originally posted by Valance


    This is odd. I've never even heard of this guild. When you look at who has the various world first raid kills in WoW, this guild never came up. I didn't play UO, but has anyone out there actually heard of this guild?

     

     

    Yes, I've heard of them.

    Apparently, they were recently, very involved with Prima Games and Turbine. They contributed to the LotRO Official Game Guide.

     

    "Don't corpse-camp that idea. Its never gonna rez"
    Bladezz (The Guild)

  • draco823draco823 Flushing, NYPosts: 16Member

    I was part of SiN (The Syndicate) for a very short while on the great lakes shard in Ultima Online. They are by far the biggest and most persistant guild id ever seen in UO at that time. At one point they even tried to tax people to get into moonglow (a town) by blocking every entrance and waging war on every other guild there. Eventually I ended up against them in an opposing guild but man were the wars some of the best.

  • DameonkDameonk Ewa Beach, HIPosts: 1,914Member

    I've only heard of the guild in passing, just like 100s of other guilds.

    Honestly, if you didn't play on a server that they were on, why would you have heard of them?

    "There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer."

  • Rayx0rRayx0r melbourne, FLPosts: 2,902Member

    I belonged to a guild called "Raven Syndicate".  No.. not the guild in this article but im getting to that

    These guys had the audacity to threaten our guild leader with legal actions for using the word "syndicate" in our guild name.  This guild pressued our leader to change the name of our guild or he would get his lawyers involved.  The person who contacted us claimed they had specific rights to the name "Syndicate"

    This guilds leader seems to be extremely egotistacal.  Not just for trying to lay claims on a very generic word such as "Syndicate", but to go out and write a novel calling themselves Legend and trying to promote this as some sort of guild/clan cookbook is ridiculous.

    Oh, our leader insisted the leader of The Syndicate get his lawyers involved.  Nothing ever came of the matter except an empty threat.

    image

    “"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a robot foot stomping on a human face -- forever."
  • I remember them in UO on the final week of beta at the forge passing out gold while everyone pked eachother.  Other than that never saw them again.

  • JadetoothJadetooth SlagelsePosts: 372Member Uncommon

    "The Syndicate"? ... never heard of them, ever.. not even once. now, Nihilum, there's a WoW guild most people know.. they should write a book instead >_>

    ------------------------------

  • PaksPaks No Where, OHPosts: 263Member

    Seriously, wth?

  • draco823draco823 Flushing, NYPosts: 16Member

    I dunno, i guess when you know them you realize why they were so famous. However, on our shard, they were very short lived. Did a lot in a little bit of time and then I believe they all took leave to another shard. In my eyes they live up to the word "legend" but no more then many other of the guilds that were there

  • ABRaquelABRaquel Minneapolis, MNPosts: 541Member Uncommon

    If the book was more about Guilds in general, it would even be interesting, but the fact that this so called "leader" names his guild something that its not.

    I'm in one of the oldest guilds out there and like so many other older guilds (and more interesting ones), we don't prance around like we are god almighty.

    Its a book that I will avoid.

    image

  • PariahninePariahnine Mt. Pleasant, MIPosts: 3Member

    They existed primarily on the Atlantic shard.  I interacted with them on a regular basis.  Not very impressive in terms of players. Very egotistical, take their gaming entirely too seriously.  The kind of folks that make me want to smack them in the mouth when I encounter them in the real world.  Large guild, yeah... Premier guild, not so much.

  • berdoinggberdoingg lancsPosts: 3Member

    I've never heard of them either. I guess that makes the book awful. I prefer reading and re-reading the thousands of books written by people who've led guilds I've heard of, been a member of, and really respect. Jeez.

  • ImpyrielImpyriel Atermis Tau Cluster, ILPosts: 711Member

    $11.16 that could be better spent on just about anything else in the entire world.

  • PrinnySquadPrinnySquad Etna''s Entourage, CAPosts: 90Member

    Noisome unwarranted hubris.

  • SorninSornin Richmond, BCPosts: 1,133Member

    A mediocre guild who trademarked their name releasing a book...talk about being conceited. Most gamers never have heard of this guild as it has not had any real influence in the MMORPG world, except for the trademarking shenanigan.

    It is difficult to not write this book off as an attempt to further inflate their already monumental ego.

    image

  • TambourineTambourine kyle, TXPosts: 181Member
    Originally posted by Rayx0r


    I belonged to a guild called "Raven Syndicate".  No.. not the guild in this article but im getting to that
    These guys had the audacity to threaten our guild leader with legal actions for using the word "syndicate" in our guild name.  This guild pressued our leader to change the name of our guild or he would get his lawyers involved.  The person who contacted us claimed they had specific rights to the name "Syndicate"
    This guilds leader seems to be extremely egotistacal.  Not just for trying to lay claims on a very generic word such as "Syndicate", but to go out and write a novel calling themselves Legend and trying to promote this as some sort of guild/clan cookbook is ridiculous.
    Oh, our leader insisted the leader of The Syndicate get his lawyers involved.  Nothing ever came of the matter except an empty threat.



    Wow... just wow. That's utterly ridiculous.

    image
  • ormstungaormstunga sthlmPosts: 736Member

    Originally posted by Tambourine

    Originally posted by Rayx0r


    I belonged to a guild called "Raven Syndicate".  No.. not the guild in this article but im getting to that
    These guys had the audacity to threaten our guild leader with legal actions for using the word "syndicate" in our guild name.  This guild pressued our leader to change the name of our guild or he would get his lawyers involved.  The person who contacted us claimed they had specific rights to the name "Syndicate"
    This guilds leader seems to be extremely egotistacal.  Not just for trying to lay claims on a very generic word such as "Syndicate", but to go out and write a novel calling themselves Legend and trying to promote this as some sort of guild/clan cookbook is ridiculous.
    Oh, our leader insisted the leader of The Syndicate get his lawyers involved.  Nothing ever came of the matter except an empty threat.



    Wow... just wow. That's utterly ridiculous.


    Not the first I've heard about this. These guys (or at least the guildmaster afaik) are the joke of the gaming world. Trademarking 'Syndicate' and threatening guilds with legal action... just mind boggling. Talk about 15minutes of quasi-fame. Who in their right mind would buy this book except maybe members of 'The Syndicate'.

    I wouldnt go down so hard on em if this was infact a nice guild with some kind of influence on the community in a good way... but it's just a bunch of mediocre gamers jerking ppl around with a large guild to back them up. Thinking a book like this is of any interest to anyone except your own guildies shows a slight touch of megalomania.  

  • FlummoxedFlummoxed San Jose, CAPosts: 591Member
    Originally posted by Valance


    This is odd. I've never even heard of this guild. When you look at who has the various world first raid kills in WoW, this guild never came up. I didn't play UO, but has anyone out there actually heard of this guild?



    Yes during UO Beta I remember searching for guilds online and even then they were a large group.

  • SyndicateSyndicate Wash DC, DCPosts: 20Member

    While normally The Syndicate does not post publically, since this is a site we are frequent readers of  we felt a reply to clear up a few inaccuracies by some posters was in order. 

    A) In reference to comments similar to "I remember them from years ago and they were mean.. they sucked.. they were this.. they were that.." there are two relevant facts to consider.  First, a number of guild's have used our name over the years.  We were the first guild to use the name and we rapidly grew very large and were visible in a community that was much smaller than it is today.  Before too long, copycat guilds began to pop up using the name and in some cases they even pretended to be us on other servers or in other games.  As such, the vast majority of the time posts get made about 'bad' things we do, they are actually referring to other groups.  One such example is that in this thread there is a post talking about SiN which is not us. 

    The second is that as Jon points out in his review, we openly discuss mistakes that we made in our early years.  Building a successful virtual community that is going on 12 years old is not done without making some mistakes and learning from them.  We are up front about those in the book in and effort to both honestly portray our history and to help other groups achieve a long term stable guild as well.  One of our core beliefs is that a strong gaming community benefits everyone and that stable guilds help build a strong community and our book, among other things, is a case study of one model of guild that has proven successful.  There are other models for success and there are other definitions of what success means.  Ours is one time tested story of success and currently its the only one published.  There will be others in the future and readers can chose the method that suits them and their guild the best or develop an entirely new one and write their own book.

    B) The Syndicate is composed of a wide variety of people from across the world and from backgrounds of all shapes and sizes.  One of the little known facts about the guild is that members of almost every well known MMO development team are members of The Syndicate.  Staff from a number of the major fan sites are members of The Syndicate.  Developers and publishers of many popular non-MMO games are members of The Syndicate.   As such, over time, we have developed a number of very strong relationships with various companies that manifest in the form of things like consulting relationships, focus groups, content design meetings, formalized systems testing, private internal alpha and beta testing etc...  We don't openly brag about the specifics of what we have done or influenced but the vast majority of the readers of this article are playing or have played a game that we have had far more positive impact on than is publically known.  So, implicitly by playing the games and enjoying this feature or that boss or this rule set you are enjoying the results our efforts and are enjoying hard work that we put in to make the community a stronger place.  So we don't really take offense when someone posts says negative things because we do realize they are likely enjoying some aspect of some game that we as a guild or members of ours as developers had direct and significant impact in molding or creating.  We use our core ideals and values to work very hard to make gaming a little bit better for everyone but we don't create a massive bragging list "yep.. we designed X and our member created Y and they were producer for game Z" since that isn't our goal.  Our goal is to make gaming better both for our members and for the whole community.

    C) In response to the question that was asked: "who would buy the book other than members?" .. well..  Thousands of copies have already been sold to players all across the world.  It has received many positive reviews from readers, from news sites and from members of the gaming industry.  One of my personal favorite quotes is from John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, who wrote in his personal blog: "I have to say this is by far the best book about online gaming I’ve ever read. Once I got it, I couldn’t put it down and just read it straight through. The overall sense I got from reading the book was something that I’ve personally felt for a very long time – online gaming can lead to making lifelong friends. You spend a lot of time playing with people, and over that time these bonds can be just as powerful as friends you met back in school. I strongly believe that’s the biggest reason people like to play online games in the first place. It may not be what brings them in, but it is certainly one of the biggest drivers of what keeps them playing."  It is only natural that we would think very highly of ourselves.  That is human nature.  We also think very highly of a number of other successful players, guilds and companies.  But there is a large volume of independent media that have reviewed and evaluated both our book and our guild that have reached the same conclusion.  You are more than welcome to review their thoughts yourself and here is a cataloged link to many of them: http://www.llts.org/articles/  



    Thanks again to Jon and MMORPG.COM for taking the time to review our book.  We do feel it is a worthwhile read to just about anyone into MMO gaming.  And if you seek to learn more about us without reading the book, please feel free to visit us at our website (www.LLTS.org). 

     

  • BaronJuJuBaronJuJu APO, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    I had to laugh when Amazon recommends the book Exploiting Online Games: Cheating Massively Distributed Systems (Addison-Wesley Software Security Series) as a good companion to the Syndicate book and offer a package deal for them.

    "If we don't attack them, they will attack us first. So we'd better retaliate before they have a chance to strike"

  • ormstungaormstunga sthlmPosts: 736Member

    Hey I'm no jerk I can understand that The Syndicate is not all bad ofc, making friends etc is a big part of playing MMOs I've always thought. Some aspects are abit over the edge (namechange threats etc) but anyways what I wanted to say was please for the luv of god dont quote John Smedley. There's got to be some guy who is more 'in touch' (or maybe 'in sync' is better suited) with the MMO community, giving this book props. Smedley lives in a mirror universe where SOE actually matters.

    Goodluck with the book, I probably wont read it but hey I wont be giving out a book of my own any time soon either haha 

  • chaintmchaintm Chicago, ILPosts: 972Member

    Syndicate is actually a title of a video game franchise, got me if they still own the rights to that cool game but alas, that's how I remember that name. In my  gulp!.. 25+ years of gaming sense MUDS, I don't remember these guys, but as many have stated in certain titles in the past, allot of different kins/clans/guilds have dominated different games etc. Planetside had the Enclave and WOW had TAO, Dragonchow for EQ and more, all of which are better known in my eyes then these guys. Thou others can come on here and say they never heard of any of these guilds/clans , there are just so many that come and go.

    It's cool that someone want's to make a book about MMO Guilds, thou I would have chosen a bit more of an open ended title and something that does not make it seem so self-promoting in the title. I might have just picked it up for curiosity sake, but because it seems to be more self-promotion then anything I will have to pass. Eh , it's published so someone thought it was something special I guess. Finally having one of it's members post here giving self cutos is just another reason not to get it. Talk delusions of grandeur ;P 

    "The monster created isn't by the company that makes the game, it's by the fans that make it something it never was"

  • BountytakerBountytaker Randolph, MAPosts: 323Member

     

    Originally posted by Syndicate


    While normally The Syndicate does not post publically, since this is a site we are frequent readers of  we felt a reply to clear up a few inaccuracies by some posters was in order. 
    A) In reference to comments similar to "I remember them from years ago and they were mean.. they sucked.. they were this.. they were that.." there are two relevant facts to consider.  First, a number of guild's have used our name over the years.  We were the first guild to use the name and we rapidly grew very large and were visible in a community that was much smaller than it is today.  Before too long, copycat guilds began to pop up using the name and in some cases they even pretended to be us on other servers or in other games.  As such, the vast majority of the time posts get made about 'bad' things we do, they are actually referring to other groups.  One such example is that in this thread there is a post talking about SiN which is not us. 
    The second is that as Jon points out in his review, we openly discuss mistakes that we made in our early years.  Building a successful virtual community that is going on 12 years old is not done without making some mistakes and learning from them.  We are up front about those in the book in and effort to both honestly portray our history and to help other groups achieve a long term stable guild as well.  One of our core beliefs is that a strong gaming community benefits everyone and that stable guilds help build a strong community and our book, among other things, is a case study of one model of guild that has proven successful.  There are other models for success and there are other definitions of what success means.  Ours is one time tested story of success and currently its the only one published.  There will be others in the future and readers can chose the method that suits them and their guild the best or develop an entirely new one and write their own book.
    B) The Syndicate is composed of a wide variety of people from across the world and from backgrounds of all shapes and sizes.  One of the little known facts about the guild is that members of almost every well known MMO development team are members of The Syndicate.  Staff from a number of the major fan sites are members of The Syndicate.  Developers and publishers of many popular non-MMO games are members of The Syndicate.   As such, over time, we have developed a number of very strong relationships with various companies that manifest in the form of things like consulting relationships, focus groups, content design meetings, formalized systems testing, private internal alpha and beta testing etc...  We don't openly brag about the specifics of what we have done or influenced but the vast majority of the readers of this article are playing or have played a game that we have had far more positive impact on than is publically known.  So, implicitly by playing the games and enjoying this feature or that boss or this rule set you are enjoying the results our efforts and are enjoying hard work that we put in to make the community a stronger place.  So we don't really take offense when someone posts says negative things because we do realize they are likely enjoying some aspect of some game that we as a guild or members of ours as developers had direct and significant impact in molding or creating.  We use our core ideals and values to work very hard to make gaming a little bit better for everyone but we don't create a massive bragging list "yep.. we designed X and our member created Y and they were producer for game Z" since that isn't our goal.  Our goal is to make gaming better both for our members and for the whole community.
    C) In response to the question that was asked: "who would buy the book other than members?" .. well..  Thousands of copies have already been sold to players all across the world.  It has received many positive reviews from readers, from news sites and from members of the gaming industry.  One of my personal favorite quotes is from John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, who wrote in his personal blog: "I have to say this is by far the best book about online gaming I’ve ever read. Once I got it, I couldn’t put it down and just read it straight through. The overall sense I got from reading the book was something that I’ve personally felt for a very long time – online gaming can lead to making lifelong friends. You spend a lot of time playing with people, and over that time these bonds can be just as powerful as friends you met back in school. I strongly believe that’s the biggest reason people like to play online games in the first place. It may not be what brings them in, but it is certainly one of the biggest drivers of what keeps them playing."  It is only natural that we would think very highly of ourselves.  That is human nature.  We also think very highly of a number of other successful players, guilds and companies.  But there is a large volume of independent media that have reviewed and evaluated both our book and our guild that have reached the same conclusion.  You are more than welcome to review their thoughts yourself and here is a cataloged link to many of them: http://www.llts.org/articles/  


    Thanks again to Jon and MMORPG.COM for taking the time to review our book.  We do feel it is a worthwhile read to just about anyone into MMO gaming.  And if you seek to learn more about us without reading the book, please feel free to visit us at our website (www.LLTS.org). 


     



    Hilarious response!  Thanks for my first good chuckle of the day.

     

     

    For those that need help, here's a bit of a breakdown:

     

    A)  The Syndicate is all good.  Any negative interactions you've had with members were not with our group.  They were with our evil clones.  From the parallel, dark, mirror universe.  You know, just like us, but with goatees.  If you've ever interacted with a real member of our group, it's been all warm/fuzzies.  The bad stuff isn't us.

    B)  Even if you don't believe A, or are wary of large, game controlling guilds in general (those of the gold farming, clique making, game ruining variety), you have to like us because we've actually helped make your game more fun.  Yes, we were intergral in developing all the fun parts of mmo's....and have never once given advice or suggestions that have led to a bad play experience.  EVER!  If a boss you faced was fun, exciting, challenging, and all around great....your welcome.  If you went through a boring grindfest to get a weapon that couldn't compete with the guildraid weapons the game provides...not our fault (damn developers). 

    An easy way to remember all that is...the Syndicate = 100% fun gaming for all.  Direct any other complaints to the devs and our evil twins.

    C)  If you're wondering "who would buy such a book" then have I got the answer for you....the most divisive developer in all of online gaming LOVES our book.  He's a huge fan.  Big time.  That should really help our sales...since, attaching John Smedley's name to mmo's usually does WONDERS for those game's sales.  So, if you like your games Smedley style.....you'll love this book.  Be like Smed, and buy it today.

    To summarize:

    The Syndicate is always good...anything else was an evil twin

    We helped shape the innovative, challenging, and fun mmo's you have today (direct any complaints at developers)

    John Smedley is our buddy.

     

     

    Great start to my weekend guys....thanks.

  • chaintmchaintm Chicago, ILPosts: 972Member

    LOL Bountytaker :) nice post.

    "The monster created isn't by the company that makes the game, it's by the fans that make it something it never was"

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