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Role Playing (Games) Books Media Book Reviews

Legend of the Syndicate 138

Posted by Zonk
from the guild-is-life-guild-is-death dept.
In the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Games, guilds live and die like generations of fruit flies. In the time it takes you to read this review, another group of friends will probably have decided to go their separate ways. Due to what is commonly referred to as 'drama', and the nature of the currently most popular online game, the modern MMOG guild tends to be a short-lived affair. A book published about a single guild, then, has to be discussing a singular organization. And indeed, The Syndicate has lasted for over a decade. Well known in both Ultima Online and EverQuest, and going strong into the days of World of Warcraft, they've had numerous public successes and some notorious failures. Their tale is a strange, and utterly personal view of the history of Massive games. It's also highly self-aggrandizing and probably contentious, but that's to be expected. Legend of the Syndicate is a publication worth reading by anyone interested in the history of the Massive genre, or the future of social networks online.
Legend of the Syndicate
author Sean Stalzer
pages 224
publisher Avari Press
rating 6/10
reviewer Zonk
ISBN 978-1-933770-02-4
summary A concise history of one of the longest-lived guilds in gaming.
To hear Sean Stalzer tell it, The Syndicate is the noblest, most amazing online community ever formed. Guildleader of the organization, founder, and head of the guild's social network via a 'benevolent dictatorship', Stalzer is also the author of this title. The book primarily consists of written descriptions of the guild's history interspersed with fictionalized accounts of in-game events. On the page, guild actions become larger than life; at over 500 members, the guild itself seems the same way.

At first blush, it's hard not to see the whole thing as a little silly. Massive games are an incredibly important part of the future of gaming. Outside of guilds who compete in pro gaming events, though, I think most gamers see guilds as a convenient way to make friends and play the game. Organizations to be taken seriously, for sure, but not something you really consider being a part of your life ten years from now.

The Syndicate, just the same, is a very different outfit. What Stalzer has set up, and what the book is 'selling', is a group hundreds strong that operates under the slogan "In Friendship We Conquer." Over the years the organization has trademarked its name and logo, has beta tested over a dozen Massively Multiplayer games, and consults with a game guide publisher. The Syndicate now seems as much a business arrangement, or fraternal organization, as a gaming guild. They have a yearly conference that regularly draws more than hundred people, with game company representatives attending to brief them on in-development titles.

As a history of the guild, it actually works very well as a reflection of the Massively Multiplayer genre. The group moves with the trials and tribulations of Ultima Online, through to EverQuest, and then on to World of Warcraft, as I imagine many other individual players and guilds have done. By examining and discussing the guild's successes as an organization, Seltzer does a surprisingly insightful job of highlighting their good points. Though they've been decried as elitist and single-minded, The Syndicate can honestly make many claims to success.

What marrs the good story (the fictional one) and the inspiring tale (of real-life camaraderie) is the propagandist tone of the work. It is to be expected that Seltzer would feel pride at what he's put together, but likely as a result of this being a first published offering the book sometimes reads a lot like a recruiting pamphlet. Another 'first effort' sign is the lack of polish in phrasing and (unfortunately), spelling. The list of games that they've tested is riddled with errors. Further runs of the book, one would hope, will correct these fundamental errors.

Ultimately the audience for this book is somewhat narrow; folks interested in the history of the Massive genre will find this interesting, and avid players of EverQuest or UO have probably at least heard of the guild. Certainly, for members of The Syndicate, they now have something guaranteed to wig out their family members. "There's a book about your little club?" Outside of novelty value, I'm not sure there's a lot of other people who might find this text enlightening. For those few, though, a peak behind the curtain at The Syndicate will be fascinating. Propaganda aside, you have to hand it to a group that's kept it together for over a decade. The chance to see how that worked out is a unique one, and well worth taking.

If you're in any way interested in the book, Gamasutra has a full chapter of the book available online. The offered text, Chapter One in the book, takes a look at the guild's formation.


You can purchase Legend of the Syndicate from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Legend of the Syndicate

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  • I guess they didn't last too long, after all.
    • Guilds are a fascinating part of this genre of game. They provide a foundation for friendship and teamwork that provides a big part of the fun for many of those involved. I was on WoW and played in (and founded) guilds. At their best, the provide a set of shared values that helps the members find relationships they may otherwise not have.
      One of the big issues that no one talks about is how guilds provide places for people to hook up for on-line flirting, relationships and keyboard sex. I remember two peop
  • That people self organize and play games together is interesting, but it hasn't happened on a grand scale yet. When political candidates are wooing votes with their stances on virtual property or virtual crime, then MMORPGs will be seen for what they are... vast playgrounds full of like minded people who are relatively inexpensive to reach en masse. I dread that day. I get enough spam in trade chat now from gold farmers.
  • I've played all three of those games and never heard of this guild.
    • by rkcallaghan (858110) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:11PM (#19652759)
      rbanzai wrote:

      I've played all three of those games and never heard of this guild.
      I was a member of a very top end guild in EverQuest (still #1 today); up until I quit about a year and a half ago. There was a small handful of guilds that were in serious running for the "top 5"; with many expansion races being decided by a matter of minutes for the first 3 finishers.

      I've heard of the Syndicate, but they were always in that "tier 2" level of guilds. The kind of guild that the top guilds usually recruited from. They were good, but they didn't usually finish expansions before the release of the next one, and that left them behind in the second wave of finishers.

      ~Rebecca
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lgw (121541)
        Some guilds care about in-game achievement. Some guilds care about social success. A guild that survives across multiple games and many years is interesting from a social networks point of view for just that reason.

        I'm part of a guild that is, as far as I can determine, the oldest MMO guild still active, and is interesting as a social network for other reasons: we have families with members of three generations in the guild, for example. Occasionally we do something impressive in one of the games that th
        • by jjgm (663044)
          I guarantee that if you call yourself a guild, you're not the oldest. What's all the fuss anyway? I've been in online multiplayer gaming organisations for twenty years. Two of them are still going after all that time. This book sounds like self-aggrandizing tosh.
          • by lgw (121541)
            The term "guild" may be newer than the organization, but the organization is older than internet gaming. There are very few guilds these days that pre-date the internet, or for that matter UO. Guilds that date back to BBS gaming--and are still going--are an interesting social dynamic, as they've found a cure for "drama" (which the evidence would suggest is rare indeed). One could learn a lot about self-organizing social systems from such guilds.
      • by sohare (1032056)
        Sure, if finishing expansions is your main criterion for classifying guilds.

        You'll see this too in MUDs, which I am more familiar with. You have some people who've usually been playing for 3-5 years that have awesome equipment, are the highest level, have amassed a fortune, yet anyone who's been around for a bit longer pays them no heed. They'll probably be gone in a short while anyway. What they are primarily lacking, in a MUD, is character development. Most of the real "legends" are not high level
      • by demachina (71715)
        "I've heard of the Syndicate, but they were always in that "tier 2" level of guilds."

        Soooo...you are one of those elitist bastards....bastardettes....that 99% of the people in MMORPG's love to hate and not so secretly envy? Or maybe you just play one on Slashdot?

        Not sure being in a top end guild in a game that has been dieing ever since WoW and EQ II came is exactly something to gloat about. EQ I deserved to die for no other reason than absence of instances and the absolute horror of people fighting over
    • by vertinox (846076)
      I've played all three of those games and never heard of this guild.

      If my memory serves me correct, LLTS or the Syndicate was an Atlantic shard which I played on a lot back in 1997 to 2000.

      I wasn't a member, but I PK'd a few of them and vice versa during some major guild wars. Of course seeing they just about let anyone join their guild and were the biggest guild on Atlantic and it was hard not to miss them.

      Of course with a guild that big, it their structure was kind of diluted and we even had a few guild me
    • by deviceb (958415)
      me neither, but perhaps they were not on my server. All i know is Malus Imperium is/was the phucking shit on EQ.
    • I've played all three of those games and never heard of this guild.
      Same here, I have been playing MMO's for 5-6 years and have never heard of this guild.
  • by stinkbomb (238228) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:07PM (#19652697)
    The Syndicate has been trying for years to make itself out to be some kind of mythic uber-guild, largely by spinning tales about how big of an influence they've had on the MMO genre. To hear them talk, you'd think it would be impossible to create an MMO these days without letting them test it early on.

    Like most close-knit online communities, there's a tendency to see your community as far more important and influential than it actually is (see: bloggers). This is just another example of a group with a charismatic leader believing its own hype.
    • by aichpvee (631243)
      I don't know how well your analogy works there, since I can't think of any MMO guilds that actually matter. But with bloggers there are a few who actually are influential. It's just that all the rest of them seem to think that because they blog they're also influential, which they're not. But they also have a lot of people (cable news and what not) telling them that they're influential and important. I'm pretty sure these guys in these guilds are just being told to clean their room and get a job (mostly
    • by Hays (409837)
      I played EQ and I play WoW and I've never heard of them either. I've also been in the same guild for 7 years, and the guild has existed for more than a decade. So do I need to write a book now?
      • Yea. my guild has been around in EQ alone since June of 1999. 8 years.

        Never heard of syndicate. Cool they are published tho.
    • by Himring (646324)
      Like most close-knit online communities, there's a tendency to see your community as far more important and influential than it actually is (see: bloggers). This is just another example of a group with a charismatic leader believing its own hype.

      Kinda like that one fat chick who hangs out with the hot chicks, and, therefore, over-estimates her own hotness....

      • by Kadin2048 (468275)
        It's more like a whole group of fat chicks who only hang out with each other, and due to their lack of perspective and self-imposed isolation, think they're a lot hotter than they actually are.

        (The difference from your example being that there are no 'hot chicks' here; it's all trivialities.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Himring (646324)
          I must admit sir, you have improved upon my "fat chick" analogy and/or logic set....

    • by sxltrex (198448)
      How do you kill that which has no life?
  • by ShrapnelFace (1001368) <shrever@neuraldisruption.com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:07PM (#19652717)
    Sean needs a psychiatrist- and that is the end of it.

    Who in the hell would buy a book written by the founder of an online club? And lets face it, its a club- like the 4H Club.

    This is about profit and money for himself, and over the years, you can see a Sean emerge from ultra-paranoid and stealth identity, to a person who has taken extra steps to thrust himself into the public eye.

    My own experiences in this guild as an adult member of 3+ years says this:

    The size of this is grossly exaggerated- their registry of members never changes

    The roster also is full of duplicated members- so if you are a member and playing 5 games, you have five alias, and thus those 5 names count as "membership"

    There is an "elite" group within the organization that simply dont pay for their resources, thanks in part to the fair number of members that are minors who are willing to pay "dues" so that the elite group can be paid.

    The list goes on- but so freakin what.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:08PM (#19652721) Journal
    Seriously - Clans have often formed and vanished before they'd even played their first match. Some have lasted as long as a specific MOD have, while others have spanned many a game, and continue to this day (though not as many as there once were, IIRC).

    Just like MMPORG's, some groups were casual (they did it more as a social event than anything competitive or rather, 'striving to be the best'). Others have members that perhaps loathe each other, but at the same time they're such good players, they stick together for the success rate.

    Drama and BS aside (which happens quite often), once in awhile you simply fall into a pile of friends you meet at a server and everyone just clicks. It doesn't matter what game it is, you simply hang out and enjoy the hell out of each other as much as you enjoy the game. (I'll happily spare the planet a long boring tale of how many an odd night was spent while the ex was at work, and I was playing on an old Quake2 Weapons Factory server. Suffice it to say that many of the players on that old TCA-owned box had come to recognize each other as friends. It was also kinda funny to have someone in spec reading poetry over chat, while we were killing each other repeatedly. Crap - too late. Sorry 'bout that).

    IMHO, nothing really changed from the days when everyone was an LPB and everyone played something that didn't require much thought beyond (maybe) what the other team might be doing to steal your flag.

    /P

    • Sorry... meant "High-Pinged Bastard" up there.

      /P

    • Some guilds make their mark. I haven't heard of Syndicate.

      I hadn't heard of m0o either when I joined eve, however that clan is instrumental in across the board structural changes to how Eve is played purely by how they played the game.
    • by X3J11 (791922)
      Damn you to hell Penguinisto! Make me go all soft and reminiscy... I miss Weapons Factory, and find it a rare thing to see someone else who played.
    • by Psmylie (169236) *
      Excuse me while I wax nostalgic for a few moments... This post will be of no value to anyone, but what the hell, I have karma to burn :)

      I remember, back in the original counterstrike days, my group of real-life pals decided that we would just invent a clan for ourselves (which is how they all start, anyway). We called ourselves "The Men Who Would Be Kings" (or, TMWWBK), because we had all just recently seen that movie (good movie, check it out). Anyway, we all named ourselves after characters in the film,

  • Leadership is key (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sciros (986030) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:10PM (#19652739) Journal
    I've been an officer in a high-profile GW guild in the past, and currently lead my own guild. The former was the first-ever GW guild, and is still doing very well. Mine as well. Yet, in the time I've played the game, I have seen MANY guilds fall apart, even those that seemed like they'd go on forever. And every single time, it has come down to a question of leadership. "Drama" is always waiting to happen, and good guild leaders (and officer groups) will either prevent it before it does, or handle it swiftly and decisively *if* it does. Those that don't will eventually lose their guild.

    Why? The answer is simple -- people really only care about *playing the game,* and of course they see drama as a hindrance in that regard. Once they see that they spend less time playing the game and more time worrying about "what will happen to the guild," they want out.

    The guilds that survive for extended periods of time are laid-back ones that put the goal of just playing the game first, and make it a point to ignore or avoid all of the surrounding personal issues that come up.
    • That has been my experience in GW as well. My guild is really small (~6), but since we're all friends in RL, we're more interested in playing the game rather than becoming some 'uber-guild'. We've been around since Prophecies, and we'll probably be in GW2 (assuming the guild system gets ported over).
    • by The-Ixian (168184)
      Or perhaps there is a critical mass after which point it doesn't matter how much drama there is since there are so many people in the guild that you would just be shooting yourself in the foot by leaving for a potentially smaller guild.

      The word "Massive" in the context of MMOG is a finite number which is usually two thousand or so on a single server cluster.

      This means that if your guild is a good fraction of that population then you will be able to prosper due to the fact that you can easily
      • by Sciros (986030)
        That "finite number" of 2000 you mentioned might apply to some MMOs, but it most certainly doesn't to Guild Wars. In that game, the servers are: North America, Europe, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan. So, unless your guild is like 200,000 people (max guild size is 100 btw), you won't be able to control the high-level content much, hehe.

        Actually given the number of active accounts in WoW, I doubt 2000 is the number one's looking for there, either. It's probaby a couple of orders of magnitude larger.
      • Or perhaps there is a critical mass after which point it doesn't matter how much drama there is since there are so many people in the guild that you would just be shooting yourself in the foot by leaving for a potentially smaller guild.

        No, that's when a guild fractures. With enough people, there are large chunks that are never able to group or raid (and hence bond) with the core group. Those people - the second or third raiding groups - can easily break away to form their own core. Alternatively, the cor
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bcharr2 (1046322)
      The ironic thing when it comes to many MMO guilds and "leadership" is that the individuals often viewed as great leaders in MMOs are the same individuals who would probably be viewed as completely lacking leadership qualities in real life.

      This is because in MMOs, the main criteria for "leadership" is often simply the sum of hours one is willing to commit to pursuing goals in a video game, with other leadership qualities becoming secondary considerations. Oftentimes the sheer willingness to dedicate inhum
      • by Sciros (986030)
        Those leaders are the ones that lose their guilds real fast if they have to actually provide some real leadership, though. They're the ones that lead the hundreds of guilds that come and go on a whim.

        I for one, and the successful guild leaders I've known, are very far from playing the game much. I log onto Guild Wars for at most 1 hr per evening, mostly to check up on people, say hi to everyone, and possibly help someone out on a quick quest or participate in a player-vs-player battle. Most of my work as le
        • by Endo13 (1000782)
          The key difference here is that you're the leader of a Guild Wars guild. I've played many many hours of both Guild Wars and World of Warcraft, and I can assure you that a laid-back approach to leading a guild in WoW won't be getting you a guild of any size any time soon. At the end of the day when you're running a large (as in 50-2000+ members) guild, most of the players really just want to get something done in the game. That's too many people for them to really get personal with everyone in the guild. And
          • by Sciros (986030)
            That makes sense... I guess WoW is by design something that forces guild leaders into being obsessed or at least a bit too dedicated to the game. Well, makes me glad I play GW instead :-)
    • /wave

      How's ZoS going these days? I don't play GW anymore, but good to see old faces. Stop by the AB forums some time :)
  • This Is Spinal Tap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Himring (646324) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:12PM (#19652777) Homepage Journal
    Spinal Tap was a movie making fun of bands who take themselves waaay too seriously. It's funny. We laughed at it.

    So, let me get this straight: this is a serious book -- autobiographical no less -- about a bunch of adults who take themselves seriously as game players?

    This is like irony folding time....

  • at you or with you? Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference in the Irony Folding Zone.
  • by drukawski (1083675)
    Apparently uncontent with endlessly spamming trade chat with "Now Recruiting" messages, Syndicate is now resorting to spamming the shelves of your local Barnes and Noble. gg, syndicate... gg
  • Good job Zonk. Way to go botching the guys name throughout the entire last half of your review.
  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:23PM (#19652943)
    Seriously, just do a quick Googling for Avari Press. Gaze upon the bare-bones website, and the less-than-professional cover shot of another one of (and quite possibly only other one of) their books. Marvel at their head office in the middle of nowhere, where you can personally mail your manuscript to them, no literary agent required!

    If this had been published by an outfit like Baen (or, Jesus, like Prima for that matter), it might have been worthy of comment or review. The fact that these jokers can't even be arsed to do proofreading and spell-checking speaks volumes of their professionalism.

    • by ffrinch (586802)
      a) Baen publishes terrible military science fiction and fantasy, not non-fiction.
      b) Baen also accepts unsolicited manuscripts, no literary agent required.
      c) They'd have published the book with a hilariously bad pulp cover of a well-muscled barbarian posing with anatomically unlikely slave girls and a blurb of dubious accuracy.
    • Even funnier - check out the avari wikipedia page [wikipedia.org].

      A vanity wiki page for a vanity publisher!
    • by Stormie (708)

      The fact that these jokers can't even be arsed to do proofreading and spell-checking speaks volumes of their professionalism

      I'm sure you have to pay them extra to read your manuscript before they publish it.

  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:24PM (#19652957) Homepage
    I got on the online gaming bandwagon during WarCraft 2 on Kali and since then, I have played with the same group of friends, in some capacity or another, under the same clan/team/guild name, ever since. We transcended WarCraft 2 and remained in contact as good friends ever since. It had nothing to do with loyalty to the name or game, just the people you are playing with. Not everyone played every game with the group and the group did not expand into every game. People do their own thing if they want, but they are not cast out or not longer considered part of the group. We are friends first, teammates, clan mates, guild mates, second. Hell, in the early days of WoW we all played under one tag, but eventually one group went another way and had a rival guild in the same server. Sure there were some heated moments, but sure enough, nobody was cast out and we played the next game together.

    I do not believe in a group having a legacy for influencing this or doing that. At the end of the day, the only thing that counts are the friendships your forged and ended up valuing more than a great record, an epic item, or prestigious rank/title. I would boost the accomplishments of my group of friends to be far and above more impressive than any accomplishments an 'entity' has achieved.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Esteban (54212)
      You had a clan/team/guild with the same members and name on more than one MMORPG? This might be your lucky day: I hear there's a publisher interested in stories like yours.
    • by Reapy (688651)
      Hey, just chiming in when I hear war 2 and kali in the same sentence (reg #10024!!). I've found I have similar experiences to yours, less so in a clan but more so with the friendships over games.

      I still game with guys I met on kali playing war 2 back then. Usually when a new game comes out that has some passing interest we all ping each other back and forth over icq or something and get together gaming.

      Not to put this group down but it's not really anything special. Most of the "old school" gamers as we are
      • It was, it was! Our group is actually much like you described. The core group travels from game to game, picking up people in that game if it ever comes to that point. In wow, of course, we had a majority of people that were not part of the core group. Occasionally, we will adopt a 'random' from a game into the fold, but in all honestly, it is pretty rare. I would say we add one or two people from a game we played for over a year. It is a sort of a big deal to get invited honestly. Not because we are elitis
    • by curtisk (191737)
      Just an aside, KALI actually still will honor your membership, so you could go to their site and download the latest version of their client. http://www.kali.net/ [kali.net]

      This is pretty cool, I don't recall my user ID off the top of my head, but I remember I had to CALL them on the phone to give them my CC info, lol

      That was fun times back then, I did some War2, but I was mainly a Duke3D / Cases' Ladder competitive kinda guy, still good stuff!

  • Another 'first effort' sign is the lack of polish in phrasing and (unfortunately), spelling. ... Further runs of the book, one would hope, will correct these fundamental errors.
    Probably not. Zonk's been posting stuff for a couple years now and still hasn't figured it out.
  • The largest and most influential guild I've ever heard of would have to be Goonswarm / Goonfleet, the Eve Online alliance of players from the Something Awful forums. They have over 2000 characters, and even with alt accounts there are over a thousand members. They've taken on some of the most powerful forces in the game, even the developers themselves, and had a drastic influence on the course of the universe. But they're still not godlike, they're subject to drama, and they're unified at least in part b
    • by demachina (71715)
      "The largest and most influential guild I've ever heard of would have to be Goonswarm / Goonfleet"

      Let me guess....you're a member Goonswarm/Goonsfleet.....right?

      So did you hurt your arm patting yourself on the back like that?

      "online game, including Second Life"

      I don't think Second Life really counts as a "game". It is an interesting experiment in virtual worlds...err wait its not really even interesting .... its an experiment in virtual worlds. The few hours I spent in it felt a lot more like "no life" ra
  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @02:45PM (#19653269)
    Many college fraternities have lasted since the early 19th century. Would you read a book by some fraternity president talking about how kick-ass his frat is?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dragonslicer (991472)
      That reminds me of the book award I got my senior year of high school. I got The Harvard Book. Yes, as the name might imply, it's just a book of essays by famous people saying how great Harvard is. The student that got the Yale book award got the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, and I got a doorstop. If they're really that good, why do they need a book that just talks about how good they are.
    • by writermike (57327)

      Many college fraternities have lasted since the early 19th century. Would you read a book by some fraternity president talking about how kick-ass his frat is?
      Welllll, you have a point, but you might have read such a book if fraternities, as a concept, were relatively new and not yet known to the general public.
  • From the beginning of this review:

    Legend of the Syndicate is a publication worth reading by anyone interested in the history of the Massive genre, or the future of social networks online.

    From the end of this review:

    Outside of novelty value, I'm not sure there's a lot of other people who might find this text enlightening

    Thanks buttnugget. You actually made me waste 3 minutes with that opening "future of social networks" line. waste.

  • "There's a book about your little club?"
    Nobody gives a shit.
  • I'd figure this would have been something better from FoH or Afterlife.
    Or even something about the old Mercs guild when this here interweb was still young to most of the public.

    Though I guess in the case of FoH this book was already written via their public forums.

    Still, I wouldn't consider the Syndicate to be *the Guild of Guilds* or anything so I find it somewhat odd that this was done, and that it made Slashdot.
  • A 300 page book for a target audience of people who "forget" to eat, sleep and/or see to their bodily functions.

    -Maybe- if they put it in game, as a quest, with a 1337 epic as a reward. Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • Man, I thought this was about the old Syndicate [wikipedia.org] computer games. Great game. :(
  • Literary tea-bagging. Who'da thunk?

  • "Well known in both Ultima Online "
    Off their own shard ("server" for non UO players) virtually no one has ever heard of them.

    Played UO for 9 years and only reason i have even heard of them is because i modded for a while one of larger UO forums there and even then had to think a bit until i remembered them

    It's a common thing in UO, guild thinks it is UBER and MASSIVE because on their shard a guild of 20 plus people is large when it is situated in the middle of an active server population that is only measur
    • by phildo420 (827619)
      I took pride in starting up a pretty massive "family" raiding guild in EQ (Semper Simul), but never thought about it as anything but large for the server it was on (Lanys) The guild lived on for years after I left, great group of people, but still...I never heard of Syndicate, and after having been in other competitive guilds, I would never consider one worth writing a book about.. Minium for life! -- Of course, no one here will likely know who that is either, being a smaller elite guild in the early WoW
  • Ultimately the audience for this book is somewhat narrow; folks interested in the history of the Massive genre will find this interesting, and avid players of EverQuest or UO have probably at least heard of the guild. Certainly, for members of The Syndicate, they now have something guaranteed to wig out their family members. "There's a book about your little club?" Outside of novelty value, I'm not sure there's a lot of other people who might find this text enlightening.

    Ah, but don't forget librarians [slashdot.org]

  • by biscon (942763)
    powergamers are such weird little self important creatures.

    I mean forging new friendships is great, but please, all you are achieving is changing numbers in a database somewhere.
    I'd never read a book about it...
  • People belong to their local chess/football/cricket/crafts/etc clubs for much longer than this. So what's new or special about this?

    Being a group of people who share a common interest but are separated by distance and communicate via distance-media tools, umm well that's been going on for some time too.

    Sorry, struggling to see the novelty in this..
    • by Vegeta99 (219501)
      I don't think it's worthy of a book either, but chess/football/cricket/crafts haven't changed much in the last few, well, multitude of decades. Is Ultima Online even still around?
  • It is only fitting that you misspelled "peek" in your review, soon after complaining about spelling issues in the book.
  • I for one.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Rogue974 (657982)
    I just read thier phamplet and..

    I for one would like to welcome our new Self important Goglike MMO Guild Overlords.

    Read the phamplet and you too will know of thier greatness and overall power in the gaming community! ;)

    I heard of them in DAOC, assuming it is the same group. They were a nice size and they were "evaluating" the games worthiness for thier guild. If they like it, the server would be filled with Syndicate members who would then rule the server. After that 30 minutes diatribe from them, I said
  • I think a more important aspect of this book to focus on is the colossal waste of time involved. Not only has the guy been wasting probably years worth of time playing online games but has now wasted who knows how much time putting together a book about it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy wasting time as much as the next guy but I think this Stalzer guy has taken it to a whole new level. I hope its at least written in 1337 speak and full of emoticons.
  • ... and wasn't even in the top 20 guilds, unless you go by sheer size of the guild. They epitomized the newbie zerg and were totally a stepping stone guild. Their guild leader was always pretty full of himself, but this is a new dimension of lameness.
  • I was in the syndicate in EQ for a short while, i had some interaction with dragons. He's one of the most insane, psycotic and weird people i have ever met online. And that's saying a lot since i post on realfek.com The only thing LLTS has going for them is that they spam invite any idiot who applies, and pretend it's an accomplisment they have over 500 members It really isn't. All their high and mighty talk and stats on their website are made up and in Everquest at least their guild was the running joke
  • Wow.... Im that dude Eli he's talking about :-) I cant believe it... man i love the internet..
  • Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by dctoastman (995251) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @07:50PM (#19657059) Homepage
    Just read the sample excerpts.
    That was the most self-serving, pompous piece of fluff I have ever laid eyes on. "The first kick of the baby in the womb"? Awkward metaphors ahoy.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      ""The first kick of the baby in the womb"? Awkward metaphors ahoy."

      Surely a geeky fan of fantasy games would know about the term "quickening [wikipedia.org]."
  • by Krater76 (810350)
    They trademarked their guildname. What an incredible way to waste money. Checking the armory for WoW I found that there were 61 guilds with the name 'The Syndicate'. So what was the point of the trademark?

    That aside, I read the first chapter and it's rather worthless. So some guy created a guild and that guild (or guild name I should say) has stuck around for a long time. Big deal.

    I wonder how much Slashdot got paid to main page this bit of tripe.
  • Nobody knows who they are because nobody cares and they haven't accomplished anything. Here is his Armory link: http://armory.worldofwarcraft.com/character-sheet. xml?r=Zul'jin&n=Dragons [worldofwarcraft.com]
  • I think communities like this are the future. I consider it part of the evolution of the early gamers getting into their 30's and 40's, having kids and jobs, but still wanting to game

    I am a member of a somewhat similar community, where the games played change over the years, but the community stays the same. We're not as old or as big as The Syndicate described here, but the story sounds very similar. We are celebrating our 5th anniversary this month with just over 300 members.
    The whole thing started as a s
  • One of the characteristics of The Syndicate is that we do not often post in public. Rare exceptions are made and given this unique opportunity from Slashdot, we wanted to take a moment to clarify some facts about The Syndicate, as it exists today. There are a great many personal opinions expressed here and none of those are being commented on since we do believe in everyone being entitled to an opinion. We did want to clarify some factual inaccuracies. A) The book is not about a 'guild.' It is about th
  • I was a member of The Syndicate way back in EQ days. I assume this is the same Syndicate with "Draagons" as the guild leader.

    LLTS! And so on and so forth.
  • If you are a virtual community and not a guild why is the title of your book Legend of the Syndicate: A History of Online Gaming's Premier Guild?
  • I honestly dont know the oldest guild still going today but the one im in has been around sence 1986 yes i said 1986 heres a bit about sunclan The Sun Clan was started by Grunge on the Islands of Kesmai on Compuserve in mid to late 1986. In 1988 Ruddy took over the leadership of the guild from Grunge and in due time passed it on to Cabal in 1990. These former GM's have passed into the great gaming beyond and we no longer have contact with them. Djikooda was our next GM and he took office in 1993. Du
  • I'm tempted to check this out; played EQ years ago...

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