This week we visit a guild of dualities under the guidance of their current guild leader, Exile. Divine Retribution on The Red Eclipse Server takes it very seriously when they say real life comes before gaming and have structured their raiding around that concept. More Eternity Vault perhaps but the pay off in terms of bonding is significant and avoids entirely the risk of an Ops clique.
Additionally Exile and Divine Retribution offers an excellent plea for BioWare to do more with the allies and adversaries system we saw before launch. Read on!
Guild type: PvE.
Server: The Red Eclipse.
Founded date: October 2011.
Guild leader(s) forum name: ExiledMessenger.
No. of Members: 65.
What prompted the formation of your guild?
Our founders, Jenx and Blade, are life-long friends who had been gaming together for years and were interested in playing SWTOR. They had some real life concerns that meant they couldn’t necessarily devote as much time to the game and a traditional guild as they would like. So, they started Divine Retribution with the intention that everyone who joined would play when they were available with no repercussions if they couldn’t make it to every operation. They started out by inviting friends of Blade’s from the MRA gaming community and then recruited like-minded people on the pre-launch official forums. When we first started hearing about Patch 1.2 and realized our members might start leveling some Empire alts, I started our Empire guild so we could have a place to socialize on the dark side. Our members are free to choose another guild if they intend to do end-game content on their Empire characters, but for those that just want to see the story and get the legacy perks, we’ve got a place for them.
How did you pick the name?
Jenx and Blade decided they would devise a two-word name for the guild with each of them picking a word. Blade was inclined towards the Republic and chose “Divine.” Jenx had the harder job of coming up with a word that would go well with “Divine” and also represent his leanings toward the dark side. For our Empire guild, I was looking for words that would mean the opposite of Divine Retribution, while maintaining the “DR” initials. “Redemption” isn’t necessarily the opposite of “Retribution” but it seemed to carry across the duality of our light side/dark side Republic guild name.
How many members are you strong? How many are active?
This graph (see above) is a couple weeks old, but is fairly representative of our current numbers. The retired members are those that have stopped playing SWTOR and were removed from the guild so we can more easily maintain our roster. While no one likes to kick people, we unfortunately had a couple of instances right after launch that required our Guild Council to step in and remove some members. The awaiting number represents someone that has an approved app, but hasn’t linked up with a Guild Council member in-game for an invite yet. We’ve got a lot more charts in our forums that show the nationality and age of our members plus level and advanced classes of our characters. I guess I’m a bit anal when it comes to statistics, but I’m fascinated with tracking how the guild changes over time.
What is unique about your guild?
I think the biggest thing that makes us unique is our tolerance for people’s real life concerns. Our motto is RL > Game and we stand by that completely. While we do have policies in place regarding no shows, we understand that some people can only sign up every once in a while, so we try to make sure everyone who wants to do end-game operations gets a chance to play. Of course, that means everyone has to have a lot of patience. We’ve probably run Eternity Vault and Karagga’s Palace Story Mode more than the average guild, but I think it pays off for our members in the long run. We do not have a dedicated operations team, though we do have some people who have more free time and tend to run ops more frequently. Our Ops Leader spends a lot of time working out a schedule that allows everyone an equal opportunity to progress. This also means you can’t really wait until the last minute to sign up. We usually post our line up around 24 hours before the op so everyone can plan their night in advance.
What hours of the day is the guild most active?
Since the great majority of us either have full-time jobs or are in school, our guild is busiest on week nights from 1800 – 2400 European time or weekends. We do occasionally have people on early in the morning, like my younger brother who is joining us from the States.
Silly question but if you were to choose a theme song for your guild, what would it be?
We had to request submissions and do a poll for this one. “Heart of Courage” by Two Steps from Hell won out. We’ve had a lot of turnover in our few short months, so we haven’t really solidified as a social group with a lot of good memories. Hopefully, that will change in the next few months, especially since we are working on a real life meeting in conjunction with Eurogamer Expo in late September. I’ll have to remember to bring an iPod with this song on it since we voted it in.
Tell us about your guild’s artwork and web design
The web design is a standard template from Enjin that Jenx chose. I created the logo and banner and modified the website format extensively since Jenx quit playing SWTOR. Drarak, our recruiter, is a master at getting the money shots and most of the ones in the gallery are his or our Ops Leader, Ormuzd’s. I’ve been working on a guild recruitment video for some time, but have discovered my talents lie with editing, not shooting.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a new guild starting up?
Take your time and choose quality over quantity. I know how exciting it is to get started, but take the time to do things right. Know what you want your focus to be and have a Guild Charter and Officer Responsibilities in hand before you start recruiting. Also, get to know people before you start promoting them. I can’t stress that enough. Having a good working relationship with your officer team is essential.
What, in your opinion, are the most common reasons for a guild to break up and do you have plans to avoid that?
Since this is only my second guild, I had to get advice from our Ops Leader, Ormuzd, on this one. He claims that stagnation and clique forming are the two most common reasons for a guild to break up. Since we are constantly running operations with different members, it is much more difficult for our guild to form cliques. We’ve made some good friends along the way, but we’re always willing to step aside to let another player get geared up if needed. While running EV and KP repeatedly can get quite boring, we’ve managed to find ways to keep the game fresh and interesting. For instance, we finished a +10 datacron run the other night and then went out to different planets to kill elites and get some screen shots. Random impromptu things like that keep us coming back.
What was the toughest hurdle for you and your guild to get over in the time you’ve spent together?
The Great Guild Member Depression. About three months after SWTOR launched, as people’s initial subscriptions ran out, we lost at least half of our members (and are down to less than five active pre-launch members). Our founders decided they didn’t want to run the guild anymore and we were really at risk of having to shut the guild down. Luckily, Drarak agreed to start recruiting and he’s done an absolutely fantastic job with picking up server transfers.
Are you looking for more members?
Of course. Due to the nature of our guild, there are weeks where we struggle to fill our ops team while others we have too many. I’d much rather add an operation during the week than have to cancel one so we’re always on the lookout for patient people that want to do ops but may not have the time to dedicate to a traditional guild.
What is the level breakdown now in your guild?
At least 75% of our members have at least one level 50, with the rest coming up pretty quickly. Most of our members have found that if you’re willing to level more than one character or are willing to respec as needed, you’re more likely to get to run an op on the day you are available. We do have a few altoholics (myself included). Most of our players tend to level their characters either very quickly or very slowly. We don’t have many that do several alts slowly at the same time, though I can think of one or two.
How is trade skilling and in guild trades handled?
We do not have any specific rules regarding trade skills and guild trades. I have all 16 crew skills maxed out, have purchased every schematic available from the trainers and am slowly working my way through reverse engineering. I’ll make anything for our members free of charge provided I have the mats or they can provide them. I’ve yet to see anyone ask a fellow guildie for credits to make something for them. We have a Guild Bank tab dedicated to mats and schematics that are free to whoever needs them.
When looking at prospective applicants and their applications, what is your pet peeve? Or what would you advise NOT to do?
We have a pretty extensive online application with a lot of questions. I know it frustrates some people to have to answer everything, but we don’t use any other means to determine whether you will make a good fit in our guild. We prefer that people take the time to answer each question honestly and accurately. I’m more inclined to like an app if you’ve got a bit of humour in it, but not if it’s at the expense of answering a simple question like “where you are from?” Our Ops Leader can’t stand elitist attitudes. We have a lot of ex-hard core raiders from other games and no one in our guild will ever look down on the new guy who had never raided before.
Do you have a naming policy and if so what is it?
No, other than following SWTOR’s EUALA. We’ve been fortunate not to have anyone name a character anything that I would shake my head at.
Do you do Operations? Where are you on that?
Absolutely, that’s what we are here for! We have completed Hard Mode Eternity Vault and Karagga’s Palace and are gearing up for Story Mode Explosive Conflict in the next week or so. We also continue to run Story Mode EV/KP as needed to get all of our members who want to run ops geared.
Have you decided on a loot division system?
Yes. Ours is pretty simple. Need the item if you need it. Once you’ve won an item, you can only Greed on all subsequent items until all members of your class have received an item. If we find out you are skipping items you actually need to get the chance to roll on a “better” item later, we’ll consider you as having already won an item that op and you won’t be allowed to Need for the rest of the op. For lower tier gear, we ask if anyone can use the item for an off-spec, alt or companion. If not, the item goes into the Guild Bank or is sold and the funds deposited in the Guild Bank. You can Need any schematics you can actually learn and all mats are deposited into the Guild Bank, unless you specify you need an item.
What, if anything, do you consider griefing?
We do not tolerate disparaging remarks about a person’s gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religious preference, country of origin, ability to speak or write English, ability to game or anything else that someone would find seriously offensive. This includes in-game chat, on the website or voice comms. We’re a mature group that likes to joke around, but everyone knows not to take it too far and I’ve never met a group of people that is so willing to go out of their way to help others. I’m extremely proud of our members and will not allow anyone to upset the balance within our guild or tarnish our reputation with the general SWTOR community.
Do you PvP together in the guild? We do not schedule PvP, but some of our members do impromptu PvP runs together.
Guild amenities. What does your guild have to offer its members? Forum, Chat etc. How about a Vent or TS server? We have pretty extensive forums where we gather information from a lot of different SWTOR sites in one place plus web site chat and a 50-person Mumble server. We also use MRA’s TeamSpeak server to keep in touch with them.
What new guild features would you like to see?
I would really like to see SWTOR make use of the Enemies and Allies feature they had pre-launch. I realize they set that up to help them determine which servers to place guilds, but there is so much more they could do with it. They could encourage cooperative game play with our chosen Allies and competitions with our Enemies by introducing rewards or titles. I’d also like the ability to have a combined chat with our Empire alt guild and perhaps a guild visual roster. People have been asking to be able to add other people’s characters to their legacy for awhile (which I highly approve). They could take it one step further and have a legacy-type visual hierarchical guild roster.
Tell us about You. What draws you to SWTOR?
I have only been gaming for about three years now. I started with WoW and it took me more than a year to really get into end-game content. Since I didn’t start until after Wrath came out, I always felt like I had missed out on so much of the game. Soloing Molten Core really doesn’t have the same impact as doing it with a 40-man team. Our WoW guild was having some difficulty keeping a raiding team together, so when I heard about SWTOR, I was really excited. It meant I could get in on a game from the beginning and watch it grow and honestly, who doesn’t like Star Wars?
What class is your main?
Jedi Shadow, Balance spec (Arke). I played an Unholy Death Knight in WoW, so I was looking for a melee class that used DoTs. I also have an operations-level Smuggler Scoundrel healer to give me more flexibility when it comes to signing up for operations. I’m an altoholic, so I’m really hoping they give us more character slots. With my six Republic characters (need one for each of the crafting skills, I don’t have room to level all of the Empire classes.
What made you decide to run a guild?
Lol, I didn’t really decide to run the guild. It kind of dropped into my lap when Jenx and Blade decided they couldn’t continue running the guild and I’m too stubborn to quit. Honestly, there have been days I want to tear my hair out with frustration, but overall it’s been an enlightening and rewarding experience.
Anything else you’d like to add? Maybe a funny or awesome guild story to share with us?
Since we are constantly running SM EV and KP to gear up members, some of the more constant Operators have been in there a lot. One day, our former Ops Leader was going over the Bonethrasher fight for the umpteenth time and our healer decided he’d had enough. He silently Leroy Jenkins’d his way right through the cats into the green muck on the other side. For at least 5 seconds, the rest of the ops team just stared in amazement. Luckily, we were able to kill the cat and get him rezz’d (back when you could pull people out of the gunk before they died again) before Bonethrasher came out.
Thank you Exile, for showing us around Divine Retribution, I hope you guys pull off solidifying your community, it will carry you through several games then and the journey will be all you could ask for.
This week’s Galaxy of Guilds is brought to you by Enjin.com, where you can set up and host an epic guild page for free.
If you would like to submit your guild to the Galaxy of Guilds feature series please write to Kristen @ TORWars DOT com. Mark the email ‘Galaxy of Guilds – YOUR GUILD’ and tell me why you think your guild should be included in the series.