The original Wizardry series developed a cult following and, decades later, many fans still reminisce about and even play those age-old classics that Sir-Tech published so long ago. Wizardry Online brings them out of the woodwork and into Wizardry’s modern-day MMO incarnation, to once again face mortal dangers in search of fortune and renown.
One such group is Trebor’s Elite Guard, and we’ve tracked down the union’s mastermind, Mad Overlord (Riveran21 on the WO forums), to share with us a bit on the past, present and future of this focused, fan-based union.
WV: The idea for KoTEG was something you were putting together during beta, well before announcing it at release. What was the main reason for the wait?
In a word. Control.
As our site says, Trebor’s Elite Guard (TEG) was formed out of the ashes of the Beta’s. My buddy (Taragon PenDragn) and I pretty much worked together in the Beta’s and we had a 2-man union at the end of Open Beta. The reason we even started a Union in the Beta was so that we understood the basic mechanics.
- What was needed to start the Union?
- How many members?
- What “control” did we have within the Union?
Initially we were trying to get many of our friends and family to join with us in playing Wizardry Online. All of us had all grown up on the original Wizardry series started by Sir-Tech. But when we were not able to convince them to play, we knew that we were going to have to start looking within the game itself. We were pretty confident that we could get away with two of us for quite a few dungeons but felt that we were going to need a party of four to really try and progress through the game.
So between the end of Open Beta and the launch, I worked the forums very diligently to connect with “like-minded” individuals. It was very important to Taragon and I that initially the core group were all players of the original series. It didn’t take long before I connected with ‘razberryranid’ on the forums (Ranid in-game) who had a very similar background to our own. All-in-all we hooked up with a solid six guys, all with roots in the original Sir-Tech game.
Our Union name is “Trebor’s Elite Guard” but unfortunately we could not use that name for a couple of reasons. The first issue was with the in-game censors. The censors were displaying our name as “Trebor’s Elit* ***rd”. The second issue was that we were limited to 16 characters. Ultimately, what we had finally settled on was “Knight.of.Trebor” and the concept was that it was a “title” bestowed upon you and not the actual Union name. In this way, we were able to still tie everything back to our Web site, Trebor’s Elite Guard.
The core of our Union loved Wizardry growing up. The name has special meaning to us and we were all ecstatic at the idea that the legacy of the game, although not under the Sir-Tech umbrella, would continue. In my humble opinion, it would be amazing if future generations would be able to play a new version of Wizardry and say, “I played the **** out of that game when I was a kid!”
Now that you understand a bit of our history, back to your original question.
We weren’t as public as other Union’s initially because we weren’t exactly sure how big we wanted to go. Additionally, we had come up with a cool concept and didn’t want to risk someone else stealing our idea before we had a chance to secure the Union.
In a word. Control.
WV: Did you keep the team small or have you since opened up recruitment?
Once the Union was formed and we added our initial core of players, we quickly realized that our small group wasn’t going to be sufficient and that we needed to expand and do it quickly. We were having issues with forming parties due to different playing times and different levels of progression. You could sense the frustration from this aspect with some of our members. Also, we realized that in order to level the Union we were going to need a lot of Proof of Bonds and more members would help with that progression.
So we decided to start aggressively expanding. I decided to start trying to recruit on the forums in the “recruiting” section and started posting there. We received some initial hits but it wasn’t until a player of the game who had purchased a bunch of megaphones and was planning to quit the game offered for anyone to use them. So I took him up on the offer and he posted a message about our Union on Channel 1 during our playing hours.
We got a few sign ups from that megaphone and then I started walking around town with a comment above my head stating that we were recruiting members and to ask me how. It was important that when we opened up our doors that we managed the Union’s growth and personnel. We didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry of our Union. It’s my opinion that it’s this chemistry that keeps our members in our Union and keeps them coming back to the game!
What I understand about building teams is that it starts from the ground up. It’s not about Taragon, Ranid or I, but about the members. We “all” make up the base of the Union. If you build the Union on a shaky base, it eventually will crumble under the weight of all the members.
We’ve had a Union recently come to us about a potential merger. While we are intrigued about the concept, we didn’t just jump right into the idea. We are forming an alliance initially. We will use a member ring to communicate with each other and make it a point to party with them.
When both parties feel that we are a fit, we’ll discuss merger at that point. But until then we won’t chance disrupting our Union’s chemistry. Even if it means that it will take us an extra month to get our Union to Level 3.
WV: How many players are currently in KoTEG?
At my last count, we had 41 unique members in the Union. Of which, 27 of those members helped to level our union by contributing Proof of Bonds.
We added a few members near the end of leveling our Union that hadn’t had a chance to contribute a proof of bond but have done so since we got to level 2. Based on some attrition and looking at who’s on and contributing Proof of Bonds, I’d say we’re around 15-25 core active members that makeup the “chemistry” or “base” of our Union.
WV: On your union site, you mention helping others on raids. Can you share more about that?
Well the only reference to “raid” that I can think of on our site is an event that we held that we talked about “raiding” Chikor Castle. However, this wasn’t a “raid” in the sense that we were going to attack players within the dungeon as much as it was that we were going to go in with so many people into a single dungeon that it would appear as a “raid”.
“Storming” would probably have been a better word for it. Our actual intention for this event was simply to farm “soul material” in Chikor Castle. So we gathered about 10 different members and we simply “stormed” Chikor Castle and farmed “soul material” as a Union.
Prior to storming Chikor Castle we stormed Channel 1 in town just so everyone could see our Union and all of our members. That whole marketing thing again.
As far as our stance on PKing and Raiding in the traditional sense, I think our “Code of Conduct” on our site covers it well when describing our Union’s “Primary Directive” where it specifically states:
“All other game activity and actions (PK, raiding, etc) will be driven by the “Guardians” inability to accomplish its primary directive.”
It’s not to say that we wouldn’t take part in a “raid” but we wouldn’t do it just to grief other players. There would have to be a ‘reason’ behind our actions. Our stance on ‘Reds’ is “you leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone”. We do our best to protect our members, especially the newbies.
WV: PK, PvP and Reds – What’s your stance?
My stance on PvP has actually been slightly modified since I started playing this game. Not all Reds are bad and as a non-criminal I feel that I represent the stance that not all “whites” arbitrarily just attack “Reds” because they are “red”.
In my opinion, there’s plenty of opportunity for “mutual PvP” then to have to rely on griefing players; in particular newbies. What the players of this game have to realize is that there’s a “symbiotic relationship”, if you will, between the success of this game and our enjoyment of all aspects of this game.
While I do not see it as a “rampant” issue, I do recognize that “griefing” newbies is counter-productive to building a player base for the game. The “walkthrough” of this game for newbies is bad enough then to have to deal with Reds or Whites killing and/or potentially perma-killing an SR2 player.
Recently, one of our members (Harland Campalot) got me hanging out a lot in Twilight Alley and I’ve come to understand the “Red” community so much better. I have no fear in walking around in Twilight Alley because I understand the game and the player base so much better today, than I did when I first started. This is in large part due to Harland opening my eyes on this subject.
One of the first times I was ever PK’ed was by Diablo as he was “coming up”. The first time I let him kill me just so I’d have him on my blacklist. I was killed two other times by him since then. Not once did he ever get any loot off of me but as I got to know more about Diablo over the past month I have come to respect his game and his position.
So much so, the other day I was hanging out with him at the AH just goofing off and asked him to tell me a bedtime story while my Porkul sat in his lap. It was very amusing and my Union-mates found it hilarious.
The only thing that I would ask “all players” to consider when taking any action in the game, is will my action be detrimental to the “game” itself? If you really didn’t like this game, I would imagine you’d find a better game to supplant it with. So I am going on the assumption that all players really do enjoy a good portion of this game. So I only ask that you be a “custodian” over the well being of this game.
WV: What is the ‘Squires of Trebor’?
As our Union started to grow rapidly we had to find a way to better manage our membership. So we opted to create a second union simply to give a home to our “alt” characters in the game.
We do not actively grow this Union or try to level this Union. We use a “member ring” to communicate between both Unions. In essence, if you see an in-game character with “Squire.of.Trebor” above their head, it simply means that they are on their “alt” character but make no mistake they are a member of “Trebor’s Elite Guard”.
We also created “Knight.of.Trebor” on the EU server but haven’t had the time to really build the Union there.
WV: What are some of the future plans for KoTEG?
We are looking to hold contests and in-game events for our members. Currently we have a 2nd Proof of Bond contest running for our members. It’s geared towards promoting continued donations to our Union.
We also have a “Raid Call” contest going on right now. It’s geared toward promoting the use of “Raid Call” (our voice server) while you are in-game.
Additionally, we will be holding “soul material” farming events and perhaps a “search and loot” event, as well.
Anything that keeps our members coming back.
Wow! Just one? I don’t think I could just choose one. There’s so much I loved about the original series.
When I asked Taragon this question, he said while he loves “Excalibur” he would rather see the weapon “Cane of Corpus” from Wizardry: Crusader’s of the Dark Savant. If you ever played this game, it was a weapon that could only be used by a “Faerie Ninja” but when wielded was probably made up the best Race/Class/Weapon combination in the game. Faerie Ninja’s were relatively useless otherwise but were deadly when armed with the “Cane of Corpus”.
When I posed the same question to Raz, aside from his desire to become a Ninja by the end of this year (or whenever the elite classes come out), he said that he would like to fight Orcs and Skeleton’s again. I think we’ve had our fill of Slimes.
I think I’d like to see more homage paid to the original series.
A hidden crystal battle against Werdna, the Dark Savant or Murphy’s Ghost perhaps. A tie-in with the story-line of this game to the original series would be a great way to draw original players back to this new game.
I think that the makers of this game should look to what they are doing with the Walking Dead TV series. They use a good core of material from the comic books while injecting new things that only appear in the TV series. It’s really been a fantastic mixture that has been extremely satisfying to those who were readers of the original comic book.
They’ve introduced enough new material and story-line divergence in the TV series to keep the readers of the comic book guessing and engaged as to what they will do next in the TV series.
Doing this with the Wizardry Series, blending the original content with the new content, would be amazing! When the current story arc of the game is complete, it would be awesome if it landed us on the doorstep of Llygamyn and it turned out that this arc was a “prequel” or something to that affect.
As a final word, I’d like to say that I think what I enjoy most about the game is the chemistry with our other union members and how we like to have fun with each other. Often at each other’s expense, as evident by some of these screenshots I’ve included.
Trebor’s Elite Guard
Union site: http://treborseliteguard.shivtr.com/