- Condemned – Galactic Republic Guild
No trick, even if a little late, but we have a treat in this week’s Guild Checkpoint. We take a look at the guild Condemned, a hardcore guild. Let’s get ready to learn more about this guild that has won many accolades and rankings in several MMOs. With these credentials, how are they gearing up for Star Wars: The Old Republic? Get yourself a piece of Halloween candy and sit back as we get the coordinates set for the Jump.
More information on Condemned in our Q&A after the Jump…
- Guild Q&A
Condemned had an interesting beginning. Is it true the guild got its start in Vanguard with two groups of opposing factions sharing a mutual respect? Can you elaborate how this come about to form the guild as it is today?
We initially started off as two opposing guilds on the Varking server – a server that utilized, similar to The Old Republic, a two-faction PVP rule set. After months of fighting each other over the course of the game, our two guilds, <Dominion> and <True Chaos>, established a shared respect and scheduled PvP events so that we could compete against one another. After launch, when the PVP servers were condensed into a single server that offered a free-for-all ruleset, we began having discussions about a merger that would leave the two guilds under one tag. When the server merge occurred, we created <Havoc> – run by the leaders from both original guilds.
Following the end of our tenure in Vanguard, many of our members dispersed to other games, though we all still kept in contact – that is, until the announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Upon hearing the news, we knew immediately that this was the game we had been waiting for, and we reformed the guild as <Condemned> – with many of our original members returning. We didn’t anticipate the length of time it would take between the announcement of The Old Republic and its release, but since then we’ve been participating in many MMOs – Aion, Warhammer, and RIFT among them.
Condemned is known for PVP, I find it safe to say you all will be playing on a PVP server correct? What faction?
Absolutely, but first off, Jason, let me thank you for featuring us – we’re longtime fans of CRR, dating back to when Carla and Kathy broadcast their first show.
To answer your question: we’re slated to play on a PVP server on the EST time zone. While there were certainly some of our members that wanted to roll a Bounty Hunter or Inquisitor, we’ve landed firmly in the Republic faction. In past games – most recently RIFT – we tried early to get a sense as to what faction would offer us the most thrilling competition and changed factions as a result. With Star Wars: The Old Republic, we took a census early and saw that Sith PVP guilds outnumbered Republic PVP guilds in terms of membership by nearly 3:1 odds. The challenge of overcoming that is immensely appealing to us, and so you’ll find <Condemned> wielding the blue lightsabers rather than the red.
As the guild prepares for Star Wars: The Old Republic, which of the PVP forms in the game is Condemned most eager to try?
We’ve always felt that open world PVP, particularly objective-based RVR play, was the most thrilling and competitive in past games, though we’re no strangers to instance-based PVP either. (We count dozens of Warcraft Gladiators among our ranks, for example, including the former World Rank #1 hunter, Jhazzy.)
That being said, the large-scale, tactical and team-based play that RVR objectives require is truly our forte – and while it is still a bit too early to say how fully Bioware will embrace the PVP-stylings of their sister-studio Mythic, we have high hopes.
The guild’s “forte” is the team-based and large scale Open World style PVP found in Warhammer. Does this have the guild excited about the Ilum Open World PVP area or at least excited about what it might be or could be? How does having a developer like Gabe Amatangelo, also associated with Warhammer, behind the endgame content and PVP feel?
We’ve got a lot of respect for Gabe from a lot of his design work on Warhammer, and the initial reports of PVP warzones – including your own review at the Fan Site Summit – have been mostly glowing. As such, we’re truly looking forward to spending quite a bit of time on the wastes of Ilum. It’s still too early to say just how appealing this PVP lake will be, though we’ve been impressed with the footage they’ve shown so far. While it may not make it for launch, all of us at <Condemned> are hoping that Open World PVP will remain one of Gabe’s major priorities, and that in the coming months we’ll begin to see not only far more worlds with PVP lakes, but also meta-systems of guild or faction territorial control.
Given Gabe’s resume, we know he has the chops to pull it off.
Condemned has many accolades in PVE progression with other MMOs, with SWTOR not launching with server firsts, how does the guild feel about this? Will Condemned still focus on PVE goals or work more towards being at the top of PVP?
While <Condemned> is often seen as only a PVP guild, based off our past reputation and the fact that we’re one of the few PVP guilds with a decent roster for the Republic faction, this is far from correct – we’ve always split our energies toward both PVP and PVE content, and believe that great players will be great – or will become great – at both. In our most recent game, RIFT, we achieved World Rank 6 and Server First for all of the raid content until our departure, and we currently have a PVE officer team that is planning furiously for the launch of the game. Our aim is to be very competitive in the world, US, and server rankings.
It will be interesting to see exactly how Bioware’s achievement system works. Daniel Erickson noted that achievements will be available for some PVE content – like killing all the world bosses, and we imagine they’ll put in achievements for completion of the various Operation difficulty modes as well. As for the developers not including particular “first” achievements, we haven’t seen that particular carrot (an in-game title or achievement) as changing our goals and strategy in the slightest. As you all at CRR can attest, the community always finds a way – when ranking guilds, we’re confident they’ll find a way as well. In past games, screenshots with timestamps have often been used as the standard form of submission, when internal achievements haven’t existed.
Currently for Huttball, you are unable to join as a full team. Is this cause for concern or something you and the guild would like to see changed?
Absolutely, a recent developer interview hinted at ranked, full-group warzones arriving post-launch, and so we’re excited to see what Bioware comes up with for their system. As it currently stands, however, we’ll confess to being a bit disappointed at the lack of a full-team option, since that’s a necessity at taking instanced PVP from a fun excursion to a serious and competitive game system.
Condemned has many high ranks in PVP throughout several games. Could you tell us a few of the bigger PVP accomplishments and tournament wins the guild and its members have achieved?
PVP, particularly open world PVP, is notoriously harder to rank in most games than PVE achievements, though we’ve certainly netted these where they’ve been available. In Vanguard, our guild – then known as Havoc – participated in Sony’s “Best of the Best” PVP competition, and our members ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd across multiple classes. In AION, PVP prowess was generally measured through a system – an imperfect one – known as Abyss Points (AP). During our tenure, we were the dominant guild on our faction, and ranked second for AP points.
More of your readers will most likely be more familiar with RIFT, but aside from our Youtube videos and anecdotes it is difficult to capture our accomplishments in the game. To paint a picture for you: our server, Deepstrike, was among the most competitive of PVP servers offered by the game. During our tenure, we established ourselves as the most dominant PVP guild on the server – going up against the likes of some guilds you may be familiar with, Jason: PirateLords, Malevolence, Vendetta, and Lords of the Dead. When it became apparent that in each individual skirmish that was held, <Condemned> emerged victorious, the aforementioned guilds formed a PVP alliance in an attempt to take us down – a valiant effort, but one that didn’t work. The subsequent decimation of that alliance is a victory badge that we’re truly proud of.
Our hope is that in narrating these accomplishments that we don’t come off as ego-maniacal. We’re certainly proud of our track record of accomplishments in past games, but we also don’t think that anything we do is different from what great organizations in the real world do: they find and keep great people, they build a vision and a strategy that people rally behind, and then they execute. We invest heavily in our members – each one is linked with a class coach that assists them in fine tuning their play, and we have a strong corps of officers that regularly plans, reflects on, and makes adjustments to our strategy in both PVE and PVP. That’s led to results.
After discussing some of these great rankings, what type of tournaments, arenas and/or ranking systems would you and the guild like to see in SWTOR after launch?
I hinted at this before, but we’re mostly interested – and hopeful – for the implementation of a world PVP system with actual goals and consequences. This could mean server-wide buffs for the dominant faction, persistent territorial control, guild control of objectives such as keeps – or whatever the Star Warsian equivalent would be. This, to us, is what will put the WARS in STAR WARS and keep hundreds of thousands of players engaged while they’re working on new content.
As for instanced PVP, we’d certainly like to see ranked systems for warzones, and even potentially an arena system of small-team PVP, though we hope that these implementations fall secondary to meaningful world PVP – there’s simply nothing as satisfying in an MMO as participating in a battle with hundreds of players.
Condemned is very focused on PVE progression and PVP rankings, is the guild finding Bioware’s story pillar, in SWTOR, interesting and worthwhile or a stepping stone to get to endgame operations and PVP?
We’ve all played through most of the Bioware canon multiple times, and personally, I find that Bioware’s storytelling – the opening scene of Mass Effect; the last encounter with Morrigan in Dragon Age – to be as fine as any HBO drama. This isn’t to say that we don’t have a collection of players who would sit in a corner of Tython, camping Flesh Raiders if it were the most exp-efficient route to progression, but there’s also a number of us who won’t be touching the spacebar during the cinematic conversations. One of our PVP officers is even a regular LARPer – be sure to send Krazer “a tell” in game and tease him about that if you happen to land on the same server as us.
Our primary focus is, however, on endgame PVP and PVE and we find the stories that are created through those experiences – downing the boss that you’ve been wiping on for hours; pulling out a PVP victory over a nearly-impossible zerg – to be the storytelling that we’re most looking forward to.
So how long have you personally been playing MMOs? What do you find most intriguing in the new MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic?
A long, long time. I got my own start in online gaming back in the days of MUDs, when the most thrilling implementation of content was a programmer figuring out how to add ASCII colors to Zork-like room descriptions. Most of our members have been playing MMOs for around five years, if not more.
Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a game that we’ve been following closely since it was first announced. One of the most recognized and thrilling settings of any fiction; the best RPG developer in the history of the world; an impressive budget – this is absolutely a game that we consider to be a “best bet” in terms of its long-term success and capacity to produce content.
What class and advance class are you currently planning to play first?
I keep debating between a Gunslinger and a Sentinel, and it tends to change week to week. The wise-cracking smuggler and the cover system is such a refreshing change of pace, but in all of my playthroughs of KOTOR 1 and 2, I’ve always wound up as a dual-wielding Jedi, and that contributes to my internal debate.
What’s your take? I’m soliciting opinions.
Now that the community knows a bit more about Condemned, are you currently recruiting?
We are. Currently, we’re sitting at about seventy members, and have placed a hard cap on recruitment of 120 players for the time being, given that our overall strategy for PVP as well as the guild as a whole is one that places the emphasis on skilled, team-based play rather than the zerg mentality. Our recruitment efforts have been keeping a brisk pace ever since the announcement of pre-orders, but we’re encouraging all interested players to visit our website and drop in an application.
In the past, we’ve been told by players that they were thinking of applying but stopped when they saw the achievements we earned in past games, thinking that they wouldn’t be able to cut it. I want to again emphasize that while we do have a lengthy interview process, and attempt to bring in upper echelon players into our ranks, our success can mostly be attributed to the coaching and development, and feedback that we provide to our members as they play. That said, we urge people not to be intimidated – we’re a great group of individuals; we just also know how to get down to business.
Condemned is focused on team work and organization, how do you go about recruiting these qualities?
Much of our interview process is spent both looking for previous track records of success and achievement in other games that would be predictive of these qualities, but we also spend quite a bit of time in our interviews understanding how the applicant responds to feedback and works within a team-based setting.
Once a member is in the guild, they’ll participate in our weekly training sessions, which we run currently in Warhammer to both gain a sense of our players’ skillset, to provide feedback, and to perfect some of our PVP strategies. Once the game launches, they’ll be receiving regular and transparent feedback from their Class Lead. All that is to say that we do not think team work or organization are static qualities – rather, they’re things that need to grow over time.
What should people do that wish to join Condemned? Are there specific steps to join and what requirements are there to remain in the guild after being accepted?
Visit the Condemned website – take a look at our history and guild information, and if you like what you see, drop in an application. We respond to all “First Reviews” of applications within 24 hours, and schedule an interview time during our Wednesday or Sunday interview blocks.
In terms of continuation in the guild, we do not expect 100% attendance at our M-Th 9:00-12:00 events, but we do hold our members accountable for posting in advance to let us know if they’ll be missing. In addition, attitude and willingness to work in a team absolutely counts – we have very low tolerance for anything resembling drama, a poor attitude, or anything else that could splinter the team in any way. Alongside this, it’s important that our members interact well with the SWTOR community – we’re not a guild of trashtalkers, cheaters, or trolls, and we believe that each of our members must recognize that they are wearing the <Condemned> guild tag at all times. Check out the SWTOR Guild site and also the recruitment thread.
Finally, while our focus is on developing the skills of the players we bring in, there have been a few instances where after repeated attempts at coaching, a player has still performed exceptionally poorly, we’ll reach a decision that they’re no longer right for the guild.
As we wrap-up another Guild Checkpoint, I want to thank Condemned and also Falconer. Despite not getting this out to you, the community, sooner I hope you enjoyed this look into another great guild. If you tend to be more of the hardcore MMO player and planning to play Republic, I suggest giving Condemned some consideration. The guild, Condemned, has an excellent YouTube channel. It contains several different videos from several MMOs, and also a SWTOR recruitment video.