- Among the Shadows – Galactic Republic
This week was almost about the article that nearly wasn’t. I deal with real guilds made up of real people and things happen like in all our lives. So at the last minute I was scrambling to find a guild. I came across a few guilds in recruitment forums and had a few replies. Today we will meet the first and over the next few weeks we will meet the others.
The first guild to reply was Among the Shadows. It is a larger guild with 100+ members and is also a multi-game guild. A guild like this has to have very good leadership to keep the guild running smoothly. We will meet the guild leader, Ohnoto in the Q&A section. He is a really great guy who definitely fits the bill as a good leader. He is organized, efficient, quick responding, tells it like it is and helps the guild feel like home.
Let’s learn more about Among the Shadows after the Jump…
- Guild Q&A
How did the guild get started?
The guild was established in July, 2011, by me and a close gaming friend, known online as Ahti. The guild was established for The Old Republic. I’ve ran guilds in various games for around 8 years now, so I knew what type of rules we would have and what has worked in the past for us.
Here is a video of Among the Shadows and others taking down SD-0, the World Boss on Coruscant. Even though the one filming died quickly, it is a really nice battle scene.
From your website, it appears your guild has a presence in several games. How did the guild decide on SWTOR? Have recent changes and upcoming Free-to-Play etc. changed any attitudes of guild members?
SWTOR was the original, so to reverse part of your question, I’ll let you know how we decided on the other games. It was several months ago, many of our members either felt burned out from the game, the endgame of The Old Republic did not live up to their expectations, or they would only log in for Operations. These things are typical of every MMO I have been in, so I started seeing what games other members were playing, and even found myself playing other games on the side.
A big thing for me was that we have always a great core group of members and I did not want to see them drift away as I have seen happen over many years, so I started opening up the guild into other games. As an example, Ahti now runs our Guild Wars 2 division. Karigan and Aviea, two of our original core Operation members, are running our Secret World division.
As for The Old Republic announcing its going Free to Play, there have been some mixed reactions. A couple members feel that a gaming going from subscription to Free-to-Play is a step backwards. There is also some concern about that option opening up the game for more gold spammers to harass players.
Among the Shadows seems to be very organized with many easy to find links about guild policies. Has this help the guild run smoother? How does the guild go about addressing and creating rules?
One thing that I’ve always made sure of with the design of our guild website is that we are open and we don’t try to hide anything. If a potential member bypasses the page for The Old Republic, those same side links are on the page of our application, so it would be near impossible to not at least see those links and pages.
All of our rules were established on day one of the guilds creation. In that time we have not had any major incidents that I can recall, and we have only amended one of our rules in that time…that rule, being our 18 year old rule. When we started it was a flat 18 years or older, but since then we adjusted it to state that children of members are welcome also, under our Family and Friends rule. When we did adjust this rule, it was done by talking with the officers and the decision was made in less than 5 minutes.
Here is a quote from Flora, about why they chose Among the Shadows as their guild:
“Nyra and I joined Shadows for the first time in SWTOR (the guild has a presence in several other MMOs) shortly after hitting level 50 on our main characters. We knew a few other players who had been pick-ups in some of their Operation runs, and one night we joined them for a trip to visit Karagga. We joined for a hard mode operation (our first HM and our first visit to the Palace) and after clearing it, we knew we found a new home.”
What faction and server can Among the Shadows associated with? Has the Legacy system and news of the HK-51 quest had the guild form a guild on the opposing faction? Do you think this helps the game or does it put a strain on guilds?
We’re located on the Canderous Ordo server, on the Republic faction. We haven’t formed a guild on the Empire side, nor do we plan to do so. We have a close alliance with a guild on our side that does have an Empire side and they have welcomed our members with Empire characters to join their Empire guild. Many of our members do have characters on both sides, but keep their mains on the Republic.
The Legacy system was sold to the game population as the core part of the game, so massive that the game had to launch without it, while it was finalized. We have seen from the Legacy system that the developers have built this game with the intention that players will level up several other classes outside their first character.
While I don’t think this puts a strain on guilds in general, because most guilds have a voice system and communicate regularly on and off that, I do think it puts a strain on those players that do not like to level up other characters. The Legacy system was sold to players as being flexible to those that liked to play other characters as well as those that only liked to play one character.
My personal opinion is that I think that major things like the HK-51 companion should be flexible to both types of play styles. This is a new system for The Old Republic, and if the past is anything we can learn from, we will see more of these types of things added to the game in the future.
The guild has a system of awards and rankings. Can you explain how these work? How has this system helped Among the Shadows? Do these awards extend beyond the gaming world?
Our ranking system is kept simple. We have the administrator of the community, officer(s) of divisions, and then members. We do have some alliance members, but those are still there from the alliance system The Old Republic had prior to its launch. What we want for our community is for all members to feel like they are part of it and not jump through hoops to know where their status is in it. I think this simple system of, if you are joined to our community, you are a member, helps that.
Our award system is there to display achievements of members within the community. The most common one that we use is for those that participate in our events and help progress the community. For The Old Republic, we awarded members with the Eternity Vault and Karagga’s Palace awards for assisting in progression of our guild through those Operations. Once Explosive Conflict was released, we stopped awarding those ones, and will do the same when Terror from Beyond is released.
Our award system is not limited to just assisting the guild in the game. Our most prestigious award we give is our Military Member award, for those that have served or are currently serving in their country’s military. To them we salute. We also have others for time within the community, assisting with starting a new division, recruiting and donating to the community.
If you could pick one element in SWTOR you would make sure all future MMOs had what would it be? Now, what is one element you wish SWTOR had or would eliminate from the game as it is now?
I really enjoyed the decision system in the game, but at the same time I felt a bit let down because despite the choices you still followed the same linear path. I would have liked to have seen it lead to more obvious branch offs and sent players to completely separate areas or planets as decisions were made. But overall, I enjoyed having that choice in my story and it is something I would like to see more of in future MMOs.
What I would eliminate … Ship Droid anyone? I can’t tell you how many times that droid repainted my quarters or put new seats in my ship … what was wrong with the old ones?
Do you like SWTOR and do you consider it a successful game?
“For me a successful game doesn’t depend on numbers, but I have fun playing the game, and enjoy the content we have. The stories, flashpoints and operation ate dynamic, interesting and visually awesome.” - Kylon, a member of Among the Shadows guild
What type of guild would you classify Among the Shadows as? Along those lines would it be considered a hardcore or casual guild or perhaps somewhere in-between?
I would say that we are mixed and can appeal to both. We have several members that are online every night, in game and on vent doing Flashpoints, Warzones, and Operations. At the same time we have many that don’t and we are fine with that also. One rule is that once you are a member, you can stay a member for as long as you want to, pending that you don’t break any rules, but we’ve never had that issue.
We don’t require a person log in for events, though we do ask that if they do sign up, they make sure they are there since they have told the group they will be there. We don’t require that a person plays a certain amount of time, and if someone goes inactive, we plan to be here when they return.
Your guild has rules for raiding or Operations in the case of SWTOR. What are some of the major ones and how do they help the raid/operation run better?
A lot of our rules seem like common sense rules, things that most people already do anyways, but we have posted to let others know our expectations when they join us. Our raid rules also cover our Ventrilo rules, and for the most part they apply to every gaming division of the community.
One of our biggest rules is one I brought up with the last question, being that if someone signs up we ask that they show up on time and prepared to attend that event. If something comes up, we understand, but also ask to be informed so the event planners can adjust as needed.
Our biggest Ventrilo rule is that members need to be on it for Operations. We haven’t had any issues with our own members, but at times when we have had to find a couple from outside the community, we have had to remove them from Operation groups because they didn’t want to get on Ventrilo. While during that incident it took longer to get going, once we had found replacements that got on Ventrilo, we moved through the Operation quickly.
Along those lines, can you explain the guild’s view on loot and how it should be distributed? Has the companion system been an adjustment for looting in SWTOR? Do you think companion should have loot drops or maybe a scaling system as the player levels?
We try to not make loot a huge issue with our guild. We are more interested in the player behind the character than what gear or loot they have. When we do an Operation, we actually leave the loot open. One person will loot out items one at a time, so players are spammed with several things popping up to roll on. If a player needs the item, they can roll on it. If no one needs it, they roll greed.
Sometimes someone will bring up about wanting something for a companion, but it doesn’t happen too often. I noticed it happening more prior to Explosive Conflict coming out, when members had everything for their main characters. But we don’t have an issue on members rolling for companions, as long as a main character does not need it.
I don’t think that companions should have their own loot drops. I think that would bring unnecessary confusion and frustration to players. Not to mention when players were hoping for something to drop, only for a companion piece to drop that they can’t then use. In addition, you have some classes, like Troopers, who all their companions use the Aim stat, wouldn’t be able to use other pieces. And let’s not get into those droid parts.
As for a scaling, I think that could be interesting and could helpful for players that just have a bad case of RNG. As a Trooper, when I upgrade a piece of gear, I pass healing gear onto my primary companion, Elara, and DPS gear is passed down to Aric, then to Yuun, then to Tanno Vik. The lower companions are slower to get geared up, but at the same time, I don’t use them much. I prefer having my pocket healer around as my main companion over my DPS or Tanking companions.
Is Among the Shadows currently recruiting? If so are there specific needs the guild has for recruits?
We are definitely recruiting. We don’t really close the doors on recruiting and have a good welcoming group. Typically from week to week we are usually 1-2 players short, which is where our guild alliance comes in to help fill on those spots. It varies from week to week in what we need. Sometimes we need DPS, sometimes a Healer or Tank, sometimes a combination of those. Usually these variations come from college workloads, people out of town for business, someone got into a car accident.
One thing about our recruitment, since we are a multi-gaming guild, once joined you are joined to the full community. Members can join the guild in other games if they wish to, and we do have several that participate in 2 or 3 other divisions. We are also open for members to step up and want to start a division of their own. We fully support that and support our members in the community.
“I chose to join Among the Shadows after having been in a few failed guilds right from the launch of the game, I started looking around online and came across a well put together website and a promising looking guild. We are always recruiting and are hoping to gain enough members to start 16 man Ops.” – guild officer Firehawk
How is the best way for potential recruits get in contact with you or other officers? Are there specific steps they need to do before being allowed to join?
The best way to get in contact is through our website, whether posting in our public section, or submitting an application. Our officers are there often and are quick to reply back. As stated above, officers have multiple characters, some on both sides. I don’t know all of the names, so I wouldn’t want to give those out, but they would say the same thing of apply at our site. We are really big about utilizing our website and forums.
This was a mad sprint to get this week’s article done. It was worth it to meet the members of Among the Shadows. They really are a good bunch of people. They opened up their forums and made me feel right at home. I have to give a huge thank you to their leader Ohnoto for all of his help. There is no way it would have happened without him and all the members of Among the Shadows.
Are you in a guild or a leader in a guild and would like to share it with the community? If so please contact me and see if we can tell the community about your guild. Just submit your guild’s website and some basic information in an email to me at, firstname.lastname@example.org. Look forward to highlighting more guilds here at Corellian Run Radio. Thanks and see you next week!