Oct 212013
 

Community Checkpoint title box

Highlighted Guild

  • The Exiled Hand – Sith Empire

What happens when a couple of Star Wars fans, who were tired of the typical guilds they were a part of in other games decide to create their own guild…the way they wanted? You get today’s guild, The Exiled Hand. So, what makes this guild different? I will save most of that for the Q&A section, but this guild values their friendship, having fun and creating a sense of community, ahead of class builds, rotations etc. They are a great bunch of gamers; and who doesn’t like a guild that has an operation run called, “Maltheus’ Happy Hour Raid.” Funny enough The Exiled Hand is like one long “Happy Hour” and sometimes we all need a little bit more “happy” in our games.

Let’s stop into The Exiled Hand’s Cantina & get to know them after the Jump…

 

 

 

 

 

  • Guild Q&A

How long has The Exiled Hand been a guild? How did the guild get started?

The Exiled Hand “officially” formed on March 10th, 2011 using BioWare’s pre-release Guild Headquarters system, but our guild website launched on December 5th, 2011, so we consider that our real anniversary.  Originally, we were known as “The Emperor’s Hand” and were deployed to the Anchorhead server, but after the first wave of server merges, we ended up on Prophecy of the Five and were faced with a guild rename.  We decided to go with the name “The Exiled Hand” not only because it tied into K.O.T.O.R. lore (Meetra Surik), but it also suggested that we could be a good home for displaced players after the merges.  Added bonus: It also meant we didn’t need to change our guild site’s domain name!

EH’s creation was the culmination of a couple of “real-life” friends who are Star Wars superfans with too much time on their hands.  After nearly 6 years of roaming around the plains of Azeroth, the Outlands, and Northrend together in one form or another, we became jaded with the types of guilds that littered the landscape of World of Warcraft — guilds that were so entirely focused on build, rotation, and damage output that they forgot about the person behind the avatar.  When we created The Exiled Hand, we wanted to foster a sense of community, which is the reasoning behind launching our site as The Exiled Hand Cantina (EH Cantina); we want our members to feel like they can come on in, sit down and grab a drink or a bite to eat, and just hang out with some friends.  Nearly two years later, I think we nailed it — we have members from all over the U.S. and Canada, and I think that the community feeling is still very strong.

Pull up a seat, this round is on the house!

ehcantina_banner

 

Are there other games, besides SWTOR, the guild plays?

A few of our members have tried out a number of games over the last year, such as “Marvel Heroes” and “Neverwinter” to see if they’d could offer some of the same experiences that we’ve come to love, but nothing has had the same fit as SW:ToR.  Right now, a couple of us are beta testing some new games (sssssssh!) that may provide a new landscape to expand into, but right now our home is firmly set in a galaxy far, far away.

 

What faction and server are currently associated with The Exiled Hand?

We’re primarily a Sith Empire guild on Prophecy of the Five.  However, we have also set up a Republic counterpart, “Exiled Hand” (we got really lucky and only had to drop ‘The’), on the same server to make it easier for us to stick together if/when we want to see how the other half lives.  Because our mains are Imperial, that is where we spend all of our raiding time, but we do occasionally hop the fence for cross-faction quest-lines like HK-51, and galaxy-sprawling events like Bounty Week.

 

What is the guild’s primary focus in SWTOR? Along those lines, how far has the guild progressed with the current content available?

I think that the first paragraph from our guild charter says it best:

“The Exiled Hand (EH) was formed for people looking for a relaxed, mature gaming experience where they can build friendly, social relationships in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Having the right attitude is more important to us than character build, level, or gear, and we strive to recruit members who want to play together in group situation and are able to have a good time. This guild is not, however, for people whose primary goal is racing to reach the level cap and running constant Operations to gain epic gear. “

That says it all — our primary focus is, and always will be, having fun!  We enjoy each other’s company and would rather find activities to do together rather than by ourselves or with random people.  Do we want to progress through challenging raid content?…of course.  But, we advance at a slower pace than many other guilds out there because we make sure to do other group activities that don’t focus only on progression.  This includes running story modes for commendations, daily questing together, or leveling alts.   Sometimes we just like getting everyone in the guild together for “Maltheus’ Happy Hour Raid Night” (named after one of our Council Members) where we all get our favorite alcoholic beverages and setup some free-form group content that typically ends when we start having a hard time understanding each other’s slurred speech over Mumble. (For what it’s worth, these nights have been the most fun I’ve had in any game I’ve played in my 15 year MMO career!)

As far as the guild’s PvE progression, we have cleared all story mode operations (usually within the first week of release), every World Boss (including the event bosses from the Rakghoul Plague and Gree events), and typically try to flex our muscles in at least an attempt (if not a clear) at a weekly hard mode.  Our current plan is to hit both Dread Fortress and Dread Palace hard modes in the coming weeks.  Although we did check out Nefra in hard mode on the first day of release, he proved to be a little more than we were ready for at that time.

We are also going to continue to put together weekly 16-person runs of Terror From Beyond and Scum & Villainy to build up those ever-important Ultimate commendations.  So, there’s always something to do!

 

How would the guild rate SWTOR’s PVE content? What areas of the game need improvement and/or what are a couple things SWTOR would benefit in offering?

At least once a week we joke, “Wait … are you saying there are bugs in this game?!” because, let’s be honest, sometimes things get out of sorts.  But, I think that the content that has been coming out of BioWare since the launch of free-to-play has been engaging, somewhat challenging, and overall very fun.

When “Rise of the Hutt Cartel” launched in April 2013, we had a guild contest to see who could reach level cap the fastest (the winner was our Raid Leader, Aetherian – coming in at just under 8 hours to level from 50 to 55).  After our members made their way through the many mesas of Makeb, the general consensus was that it was fairly short on playtime, however some of the questlines (the Macrobinoculars and Seeker Droid quests, specifically) were a very nice addition to the game.  The new daily areas and operations have consistently gotten better and are introducing new mechanics that make encounters more tactics based instead of tank-and-spank — these are great advancements over the original release of the game!

eh_czerka_meltdown

 

As a self-proclaimed event junkie (I also have a problem with achievements, titles, and collecting pets and vehicles, but I’ve been going to meetings for this), I’d love to see even more dynamic events make it into the game.  I think BioWare is on to something with the recurring Gree and Bounty Week events, but getting some new event (not necessarily tied to real-world holiday celebrations) every couple of months on a quasi-annual rotation would be a welcomed addition to the game.

 

The Exiled Hand is primarily focused on PVE, could this slightly shift with the upcoming new expansion Galactic Starfighter recently announced? How has the guild membership reacted to the announcement about the new expansion?

The news of any new content is received with cheers from the crowd!  It’s our feeling that the more stuff to do in SW:ToR, the more we have a chance to get out there and have a good time, and our feelings about Galactic Starfighter are no different!  Although we primarily focus on PvE content, we have a few members that are frothing at the mouth for some quality space PvP (myself included).  Based off of what we’ve seen, Galactic Starfighter is going to add an entirely new dynamic to what we can tackle as a group, and we’re very much looking forward to it.

 

On the guild’s website, there is a section concerning membership ranks, is this still being used and can you explain the different levels in the ranking system? How does the system help the guild?

Membership is a tough thing for any guild to get right.  How many ranks to include?  What access levels/permissions should be granted?  How do you qualify for promotions?  And the thing is, every successful guild has their own “special” way of making everything run smoothly.  Since we’re a very social guild with a very large spectrum of gaming experience — one of our Council Members, Banshie, has never played an MMO before SW:ToR, and another, Aetherian, was previously part of a top-ranked WoW raiding guild — we needed something that focused more on the dedication to the guild and the personality of the person instead of how much DPS/HPS/TPS they can put out.

The membership ranking system described in our Guild Charter has been used since day one, and has changed only very slightly since its inception.  When SW:ToR launched the Free-to-Play subscription option, we made sure to revamp our rankings to account for these changes.  As a guild focused on its members, we knew we wanted to stand out and be Free-to-Play friendly, so we added a special rank for the veteran members that ended up dropping their subscription to play for free.  This makes it easy to see who is F2P, but doesn’t take away their access to guild resources.

Our ranking system is setup in a way that lets new recruits get to know the guild’s members and how it is run, as well as giving our current members the chance to get to know the new guys to make sure they’re a natural fit for our community.  The middle tier of ranks is awarded to players that show dedication to the guild, which allows elevated access to guild resources.  The highest ranks are reserved for Council members — these are the people who govern the guild’s direction and policy.  Council membership ranks are awarded to the members that have been with the guild for a long time and have gone above-and-beyond in a specific area (membership and recruitment, bank management, and raid organization/leadership) to help the guild grow, succeed, and flourish.

One of the major sticking points for me when we created The Exiled Hand was that it was not going to be a dictatorship.  As our Guild Charter points out, the rank of “Guild Leader” is only listed as a matter of necessity in order to manage guild ranks and bank permissions.  All decisions concerning the appointment of new Council members, change in policy, and (if necessary) disciplinary actions are only made with the input of all Council members.

So far this system has worked extremely well, and we’ve maintained the membership of nearly every person that has made it past recruit rank over the last two years.  The ones that have left the guild either were looking for a more “hardcore” raiding guild, or stopped playing SW:ToR entirely, but they still remain on our Friend lists and get invited to events if there are open spots.  We like to keep these positive relationships strong so that people know they are always welcomed to come back to the fold.

 

What is Raid Etiquette 101 and what prerequisites and needed to take this course? Personally, I loved the class idea, are there some other “subjects” that could be made into courses? Do you have some general advice to help people and increase their enjoyment in an MMO?

I’m sorry, the enrollment period for this class is over.  Would you like to be placed on the waiting list? Hehe…

This was something that was intended as a joke; however I posted it to bring to light some of the things that any group is faced with on raid night:

– Showing up to raid on-time
– Making sure you have everything you need to be ready to go, and
– Excessive AFK breaks

 

As I mentioned earlier, we’re a guild that tries to get as many members as possible together to do something fun as a group.  If one or two people are late, not ready to go, or need to constantly take a break, it ruins the fun for the rest of the people who made the necessary arrangements to be able to participate.  As most of our members are married/in long-term relationships and/or have children, sometimes these arrangements can be cumbersome to make.  If, for example, a raid night doesn’t go off as planned, those people may feel jipped.  I used the analogy that our group is like a sports team that counts on all the players to play in order to compete.  I think that really got the point across.

Ideas for future “classes” could include:

– Survival 101: Don’t Stand in Sh*t!
– Cartography 101: How to Read Your Minimap to Find the Purple People

In our time together, I think that every member of The Exiled Hand would say that the best advice we can offer is to remember that this is just a game; it’s meant to be fun, not a job!  But from a Guild Leader perspective, I try to remind everyone that we aren’t paying anyone else’s subscription, so while we may offer helpful advice on builds and rotations, we’re not in the business of demanding people to play how/what we want.

 

Is The Exiled Hand currently recruiting? Are the specific classes/advance classes the guild is recruiting? What steps does a player need to follow to join the guild?

We are always accepting new members.  We’re honored that Corellian Run Radio approached us for this interview and are hoping that any of your readers who feel The Exiled Hand would be a good fit will get in touch with us and come along on an adventure.

I hate to admit this, but a while back there was a period of about a week when we tried to spam recruitment messages, but we felt dirty about it and refused to go down that path ever again.  Nowadays, we recruit people that have run with us and have had a good time.

Currently we’re very melee heavy on our raid nights, so a few ranged DPS and some extra healers would be great, but we’re not turning people away based on something as trivial as build/class.  All a person needs to do to become a member is get in touch with us and come along on some group runs (this includes low-level flashpoints since we all have a few alts sitting around collecting dust).

 

What is the best way to contact someone in the guild for joining or finding out more information concerning The Exiled Hand?

We strive to make it easy for people to get in touch with us, so there are a lot of options for people to contact us:

– Guild Website: http://www.ehcantina.com

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/EH-Cantina/489238134470171

– Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100318973869420672352

– E-Mail: EHGuildLeader@gmail.com– In-Game: Send a message to any of our Council Members (Kalyce, Banshie, Aetherian, or Maltheus)

Our most active members are on during the evening times (9pm-1am ET), but all members above recruit have the ability to invite, so if you see someone with a <The Exiled Hand> tag above their head, chat them up – any one of our members can help you out!

 

Bonus question: With Galactic Starfighter and free-form space combat on the horizon, would the guild Capitol Ships, if only a launching/landing & guild hang-out, be something The Exiled Hand would like to see?

swtor republic capitol shipWait … what?!

Confirmed?

What’s your source?

::sqweeeeeeee::

Hehe…

From the moment that Capitol Ships were mentioned as something on the developer’s “Wall-of-Crazy” in 2011, a few of us have been anxiously waiting for some sort of announcement.  In all honesty, I was hoping that these would be part of the Super Secret Space Project, but now that we know that SSSP is Galactic Starfighter, we’ll just wait longer.  If this is something that makes it in-game, the galaxy can sleep soundly knowing that The Exiled Hand will have one!  What’s better than a Cantina that offers free drinks?!  That’s right, a Cantina that offers free drinks AND travels to your hometown!

 

Again, thanks for the chance to showcase The Exiled Hand.  I’m very proud of what we’ve built and the real life friendships that we’ve made over the last two years.  It’s been a lot of fun, and like a great Membrosia, it’s only gets better with age!  May the Force be with you.

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That’s it for this week’s Community Checkpoint. I want to thank the founder and the guild’s leader, Kalyce, for all his help. He really went out of his way to help with this article. Also, special thanks to all the members that make up The Exiled Hand guild community. It is great to see players enjoy PVE progression, while remembering to have plenty of fun through their “cantina” style gaming atmosphere! If you are on the Prophecy of the Five server with a character in the Sith Empire, why not contact The Exiled Hand guild.

If you would like to possibly have your guild, like The Exiled Hand, highlighted on Community Checkpoint…all you need to do is submit your guild/group’s website and some basic information in an email to me at, jason@corellianrun.com. We love to highlight members in the SWTOR community, from guilds to the many people working to plan events, contest, etc. We look forward to hearing from you! Thanks and see you next week!

 

 

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