This week we visit with an RP guild of tenacious PVPers on The Ebon Hawk who have a guild leader who composes their very own songs and dresses up in hood, mask and glasses for his guild when called upon. They are also a rare case in this series as they are a guild that doesn’t have an age restriction for prospective applicants.
Guild type: RP, RP-PVP
Server: Now Ebonhawk via Lord Adraas (previously Shien)
Empire or Republic? Republic
Founded date: March 10th, 2011 (the day after the pre-launch guild program was announced.)
Guild leader(s) forum name: CODENAME:NILE
No. of Members: Approx. 17 (not including inactive)
What prompted the formation of your guild?
Well, BioWare announced the pre-launch guild program and I immediately started looking for a guild to join. I wanted something that would feel like a real part of the TOR universe, but I didn’t want to restrict myself by joining a Jedi themed guild or military themed guild. There’s nothing wrong with guilds like that, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. The problem was that there were already thousands of pre-launch guilds. I decided I’d try and start my own since I could always join another in-game if I didn’t meet the minimum import requirements. I’ve been in a few guilds in my days playing SWG and WoW, but in all that time I never achieved any position higher than a basic member. So I thought to myself “if you’re ever going to have a shot at your own guild, it’s now or never.”
How did you pick the name?
I first heard it in the sci-fi TV show “V,” in which the fifth column was the name of an alien-human rebel group. At first I just liked it because it sounded cool, but then I started researching it. “Fifth column” is actually a term dating back to the Siege of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War. The nationalist general said, “the four columns of my army will be supported by a fifth column of my supporters inside the city.” So a fifth column is a group that tries to infiltrate and bring down a nation or institution from within, but it can also be loosely applied to any clandestine organization. Our structure and IC identity is largely based on that understanding of “fifth column.” Our republic characters strike Imperial targets to cause mayhem while our Imp alts engage in espionage, sabotage, assassination, and other fifth column stuff.
How many members are you strong? How many are active?
30 still on Shien and 16 in our new guild on Lord Adraas. Only about 4 or 5 of the LA guildies are people who have moved from Shien. A few are waiting for the character transfers, and the rest are probably inactive. That gives us about 15-20 active members across the board.
What is unique about your guild?
Like I said, I wanted to be in a guild that makes sense in the TOR universe. The Fifth Column has become that and more. The guild is set up to be suitable for almost any type of character. We fight for the free people of the Republic, but the both the Republic and Empire has a bounty on us because we violate the Treaty of Coruscant. So all our members serve in secret. This is great for characters on both sides of the law, and it explains why no one in your class story ever talks about your guild. We get light-siders that want to save the galaxy. We get dark-siders that want revenge on the Empire. I always love to see all these different types of characters that people create and how those characters interact and with each other in-game and on our forums.
We also have a VERY unorthodox open-world pvp strategy that worked well for us on Shien, and we can’t wait to try it on Lord Adraas. I call it “the Brams maneuver.” Hypothetically, we are a group of level 10-20s against a group of level 50s. Most people would rage-quit in that situation, but not us. Our recruitment messages often say “we don’t fear death,” and we mean that literally. We just keep attacking and respawning until we can lure the enemy into some kind of trap or until they just give up and leave. It sounds tedious, but it can actually a lot of fun when we’re doing it with friends. And there’s nothing like the feeling you get when the other guy is shouting “DON’T YOU EVER QUIT!?” That’s when I put on my Trollface.
What hours of the day is the guild most active?
A lot of us are doing things during the day. So we’re most active from 9pm to 12am EST. A few others and I usually play during afternoons, but I try to get in some evenings as long as I’m not too tired. We seem to get around half a dozen people online for any given night.
Silly question but if you were to choose a theme song for your guild, what would it be?
Well there’s always the Fifth Column theme song that I wrote, but barring that… “The Catalyst” by Linkin Park or “Hero” by Skillet.
Wait, you composed a theme song?
I’ve composed four songs for the guild so far. The first was is “Called to Arms.” But that one wasn’t dark enough to reflect the rogue streak that The 5fth Column has. I made a more cinematic version that I named “Alpha At War.” That might end up becoming the opening theme for the guild-machinima, but it still wasn’t quite what I wanted for a theme song. I decided to try my hand at dubstep, and I came up with “The Column.”
I wanted to make a more cinematic version of that one. So I came up with “The Column Lives On.” I’m not gonna lie, I was partially inspired by TRON: Legacy and Inception for this one.
Most impressive! What else does your guild do in terms of art, creation and web design?
So far I’ve been doing all the website, artwork, video, and pretty much everything else. But the other guildies are anxious to pitch in. Lairiton has been working on a flash database for us since pre-launch. Shira is interested in doing artwork in the future. And everyone seems to be excited about the guild-themed machinima that we’re planning.
You can also see this video in Holovid Heroes – The 5th Colum and learn that it was Kreight himself who dressed up in mask, hood and glasses to provide the footage for the secretive character CODENAME:NILE.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a new guild starting up?
Find out if there is an an alliance on your server for RP, PVP, or Raiding. Building friendships and coordinating activities with other guilds can help you find exciting opportunities for your members even if you are a small guild. It’s also a great way to find a place in your community and build a reputation.
What, in your opinion, are the most common reasons for a guild to break up and do you have plans to avoid that?
Miscommunication and hurt feelings that result in more of the same. Our code of conduct states that all members must behave like mature adults (out-of-character, since some of our characters are complete jerks). That said, we don’t have an age policy since some people over eighteen are pretty immature. (And there’s also the little fact that I was seventeen when I created the guild, so and 18+ policy would seem hypocritical). Our code of conduct also quotes from the rules of the Internet which states “there will be trolls and griefers.” We tell our members to give everyone the utmost respect, especially when they don’t deserve it. Promoting a friendly and understanding community has served us very well so far. We’ve never had to kick anyone for misbehaving, and I hope we’ll never have to.
What was the toughest hurdle for you and your guild to get over in the time you’ve spent together?
I’d say the toughest hurdle is the one that we’re in the middle of right now, transferring from Shien to Lord Adraas. Shien has unfortunately become an RP server in name only. The vast majority of Shien’s players were non-RPers. And that was proving very difficult for us since we were competing with much larger and more prestigious RP guilds over and ever-shrinking recruitment pool. We talked with the other guilds that are essential to our guild lore, and we agreed that moving to Lord Adraas was less of a risk than staying on Shien. Most of us have started alts in our new guild on Lord Adraas (still called The Fifth Column) and we’re now waiting for the character transfer service so we can move our mains. But the future is looking very positive. Most of our active players right now are new recruits from Lord Adraas.
Of course since then the character transfers happened and both Lord Adraas and Shien were pooled onto The Ebon Hawk.
Are you looking for more members?
Oh yes! We are always looking to recruit new members. We don’t care if you are new to MMOs or RP as long as you are eager to learn. Long time RPers and MMO veterans are the core of our guild and we really want to expand that core by recruiting more experienced role-players as well as bringing new players up to speed so they can become experienced role-players. Most of all, we are simply looking for friendly people who love story. Because The Fifth Column is such a story-driven guild with all it’s lore and everyone’s characters that each have their own stories. And every new member adds their own stories to The Fifth Column.
What is the level breakdown now in your guild?
It’s really a mix. We have more low level characters now since we’re waiting to transfer our mains from Shien. Most people have at least one alt, but there are a few of us with just one character in the guild.
How is trade skilling and in guild trades handled?
If we find a schematic that we don’t have a skill for, we just give it one of our guildmates who has that skill. We also often craft stuff for each other free of charge, ’cause getting everyone better geared is always a good thing.
When looking at prospective applicants and their applications, what is your pet peeve? Or what would you advise NOT to do?
Don’t be specific if you mention your class story. I always *facepalm* when I see another “Commander of Havoc Squad” or a “Jedi that defeated the Emperor.” Just says that you’re in special forces, or that you’ve bested some of the most powerful Sith in the galaxy. It’s still true to your class story but it doesn’t contradict anyone else’s story. Or better yet, get a bit more creative than just drawing from the class story. For example my character, Kreight, was assumed KIA in the Sacking of Coruscant until he came back as the leader of The Fifth Column. He then reenlisted in the military under a false identity since The Fifth Column is officially illegal. NOTE: Kreight is also one of the few people who openly associate with The Fifth Column, hence the need for the false identity.
Do you have a naming policy and if so what is it?
We judge names on a case-by-case bases, but it needs to look and sound like it can be an actual name. 1337n00bs1ay3r would most definitely not work.
Do you do Operations? Where are you on that?
In the past we’ve mostly relied on coordinating with other guilds for joint Operations. We’d love to host our own Ops once we have enough active level 50s. The group finder in patch 1.3 will surely help us fill in the gaps.
Have you decided on a loot division system?
The need/greed/disassemble system seems to work just fine in my experience. As long as people actually use it correctly by not pressing “need” when they don’t actually need it, or by pressing “greed” when they need it.
What, if anything, do you consider griefing?
Spawn/corpse-camping. It’s actually kind of funny because the PVP strategy that I outlined above is like reverse griefing. Except that we don’t care how many times you kill us. That’s another advantage of the Brams maneuver. You can have fun in a situation that would otherwise be considered griefing.
Do you PVP together in the guild?
NOOOOOOOOOO… Yes, of course we do. We often group up for warzones and we can’t wait to organize some Dek strikes. That’s our name for our open-world pvp events.
Guild amenities. What does your guild have to offer its members? Forum, Chat etc. How about a Vent or TS server?
We have a website, forum, Facebook, wiki pages ect. We just recently got a Mumble server as well. That combined with taking down a world boss the day before has been making me start to think of us a legit guild.
What new guild features would you like to see?
Guild capital ships. A guild alliance system. A guild-war system where every member of the waring guilds can attack each other, although that probably wouldn’t effect pvp servers. In-game forums or a way to access our website in-game. An in-game guild directory. Event calendars. And an in-game recruiting/application system.
Tell us about You. What draws you to SWTOR?
I’ve been a Star Wars fanatic since the 4th or 5th grade. I’ve also been a BioWare fan since KOTOR. So the universe is just the perfect role-play environment for me because I just get so immersed in it. People always complain about not enough engage content and they ask “what am I supposed to do after I hit the level cap?” To me the answer is obvious, “Role-Play. Duh.” All the packaged content is even more delicious when smothered in a nice RP sauce. But the great thing about being in an RP guild like The Fifth Column is that you can make your own experience. I don’t need to wait for Bioware to release the next content patch, I just come up with content myself and with the guild. As long as SWTOR is still here, so will I be.
What class is your main?
Trooper Vanguard. I knew what I wanted to be as soon as I saw the Havoc troopers tackling Sith in the “Hope” trailer. I loved that way more than the big gun option.
What made you decide to run a guild?
The ability to keep creative control over the structure and story.
Anything else you’d like to add? Maybe an anecdote for readers to enjoy and identify with? Or a funny or awesome guild story to share with us?
There was this one time that I was having an epic stand-off with an Imperial Agent from a rival guild. (You need to know that Kreight never shaves). The agent’s name is Nithron Nalar, and he said, “Have you gotten that mop of a beard caught in a helmet yet?” And I replied, “I’ll use it to wipe the floor with you, Nithron.”
Thank you Kreight, for showing us around the secret base of The 5th Column. I wish you and your operatives many years together in the future.
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.