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SWTOR Guild Watch: The Black Empire

Discussion in 'The OMG Archives' started by Gwynne, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Gwynne

    Gwynne Interplanetary Baron

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    [​IMG]



    Welcome to the fourth installment of FOTOR's Guild Watch!


    Ki's been busy as of late, so he asked me to fill in for him. This time, we sat down with Lydeck, Jen'Ari of the Sith guild, The Black Empire [TBE]. We'd originally arranged to interview him and a few others, but due to circumstances beyond our control, were unable to do so. However, we were still able to go ahead with the interview - many thanks to Lydeck for continuing, despite the change of plans!


    To make up for the delay, this interview's a little bit longer than usual. =P


    Enjoy!!


    -------


    FOTOR


    So, welcome to Guild Watch!! Mind introducing yourself and your role in the guild for our readers?


    Lydeck


    Thank you for having me here today Chloe, it's a pleasure.


    My name is Brahlis Lydeck, and I am the Jen'Ari of the Black Empire. Jen'Ari refers, in the Sith language, to the "Dark Lord" of the Sith. As Jen'Ari, I am tasked with overseeing all aspects of the TOR Chapter of the guild.


    FOTOR


    I was looking around on your site, and I noticed you've got a few other roles, such as the Hand of the Emperor and Academy Proctor. Would you mind elaborating on your guild's hierarchy?


    Lydeck


    I'd be more than happy to!


    As readers may or may not know, the Black Empire is a multi-game currently involved in TOR and EVE Online. So, from here on our when I refer to "Chapters", I'm referring to the Black Empire's presence in each game.


    The Hierarchy that we have established is one of the things that I'm most proud of about our Empire. When I was given command of the Chapter, I was granted the ability to give it a complete rework. Using this opportunity, I made it much more structured. I must warn reads, though, as this will be long winded. We have a very in-depth hierarchy that borrows heavily from the Sith Empire's seen throughout Star Wars. So, without wasting any more space, I'll get into it.


    First, the actual 'Hand of the Emperor' position is a position that is outside of the Chapter. The Hand assists the Emperor and advises him on decisions along with the Chapter leaders. Currently, we do not have a Hand.


    At the top of the TOR Hierarchy is the Emperor himself. The Emperor is the leader of the entire Black Empire (overseeing both Chapters). As far as the roleplaying that goes on on our forums, he is a rather discreet person. This is, in fact, by design as it gives him a mystique amongst members.


    Below the Emperor is myself, the Jen'Ari. The Jen'Ari, acts as a figurehead for the Emperor. He or she oversees all aspects of the guild and is the final sign off for senior promotions. Currently, that is my position. I also have an apprentice, named the 'Shadow Hand'. Is a member of my council. He or she is personally chosen by me and is one of the first people I look to in the decision making process. I'd like to add that my current Shadow Hand, Vakar Sadarii, is one of the most skilled roleplayers in our guild.


    Below myself it breaks off into each division of the Empire. There's the Empire Academy, the Army, and the Temple. Each of these divisions has a leader. These leaders, the Academy Commander, the General of the Army, and the Temple Lord are responsible for all aspects of their divisions and are tasks with running them with excellence. These leaders make up my "Council", and they advise me on any decisions I may make on the Empire.


    So, I'll go ahead and break down each division, and organize it so it's easier to keep track of for readers:


    The Academy:


    The Academy is the place where all prospective members must go. If you are accepted into the Black Empire you become a recruit and must undergo a two week probation period where you roleplay in our Academy. There, our Academy Staff will put you through a specific set of tasks designed to evaluate your roleplaying ability and knowledge of the Empire and the Sith.


    The Academy Proctor is directly below the Academy Command. He or she is responsible for overseeing the training regimen that the other Academy Staff puts the recruits through, and is tasked with advising on who passes or fails probation, as well as actively recruiting members.


    The main staff of the Temple is the Academy Knights and Sergeants. Each of these trainers (usually one of each) has their own training chamber (RP thread) that they train recruits. Their sole responsibility is to train recruits and recruit prospective members.


    The Army:


    The Army is made up of all of the non-force using members that we have. This includes bounty hunters and any other non-force class that gets announced. The Army of our Empire uses a structure that mimics that of a real life army (in respect to our member base) I'll actually start from the bottom so it's easier to understand.


    At the bottom of it is a Squad that is made up of five soldiers. Leading that squad is a Sergeant. Two of these squads make up a company, which is led by a Captain. Currently, we have two companies and four squadrons. We very much hope that more non-force members will join and fill out our ranks. A diagram of the army can be seen below:

    [​IMG]


    The Temple:


    The Temple is the place where all of our force users are placed. We made sure to incorporate the Apprentice system, since it's a great way to encourage RP and is great for member interaction.


    Once you pass your probationary period you are placed in the temple as an Acolyte. Above the Acolyte is the Sith Knight, but in order for an Acolyte to be promoted to a Sith Knight they must undergo training by one of our Sith Masters. the Sith Knight is the actual "full membership" status for our force users, so typically Knight will be the greatest populated rank in our organization.


    In order for a Sith Knight to be promoted to a Sith Master, they must become the apprentice of the Sith Lord. In this respect, it is hard to become a Sith Master and you must prove yourself worthy. It's all a good system of checks and balances.


    Now, I know that may have been confusing for some, so I believe a visual diagram may be in order. I created this diagram specifically to easily lay out the Hierarchy for members. A diagram, with descriptions, can be seen below.

    [​IMG]


    Lydeck


    Whew, that was a mouthful.


    FOTOR


    Yes, it was. XD Worth it, though; you've done a very good job at setting it out. =P


    Lydeck


    Thank you very much. I try. :p


    FOTOR


    So, judging from that, can I safely assume that you're very much a RP-oriented guild..?


    Lydeck


    Indeed we are. We are a staunch PVP / RP guild. It (RP) is one of the most important aspects of the guild.


    FOTOR


    I see. Just out of curiousity, are you planning to follow the storyline included in your RPing, or are you mainly going to focus on other things?


    Lydeck


    We'll do our best in that regard. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the game, each person wouldn't be able to incorporate it too much because of the storyline being the same for each class, except for decisions. Eventually, you'd have people with multiple stories.


    To elaborate, until we know more on the mechanics of the game, our Guild RP's will mainly be used to establish backstories for our characters, develop storylines and relationships (not the romantic kind, mind you) between our characters, as well as a story to go along with the guild itself.


    FOTOR


    I see. That makes sense. Speaking of backstories... how'd this guild start? How long has the Black Empire been around?


    Lydeck


    The Black Empire has been around since March of 2009. So, we are in fact a rather young guild. The guild was founded by our current Emperor, Galaksi. He was a part of a guild, and broke away to create his own. The guild has come a long way since then, if I do say so myself. I was not a founding member of the guild. I joined after the guild had been a few months established, and worked my way up for a mere soldier. Such is example of the opportunity members have in our Empire.


    FOTOR


    Opportunity..? From what I saw, there were a limited amount of roles/places available.


    Lydeck


    An excellent observation. However, new members need not fear of that, our promotion system is based on performance.


    FOTOR


    Would you mind elaborating? How do you guys keep positions open?


    Lydeck


    It would be my pleasure.


    The Black Empire incorporates a cut-throat promotion system. Meaning, that positions are granted to people based off their performance (Both RP ability as well as how active, helpful, and useful they are on the forums). To take it further, if you're a person who performs outstandingly, gets a position, and proceeds to not do much after that, you will not keep your position. To be it simply: If someone outperforms you, they'll take your job.


    That's why that new members need not be afraid if positions are filled. If they come in and prove themselves more capable and worthy than the individual in the current position, then they'll be given the opportunity. Our guild does not take high priority on when a certain member had joined, it's all about how you perform. Having a stagnant leadership scale full of leaders who don't put full effort because they know they're keeping their position no matter what is extremely bad. We don't want to fall into that trap, and won't.


    FOTOR


    That sounds like a great system. I'm impressed.


    Lydeck


    Thank you. We're very proud of the systems we have in place. Competition breeds excellence.


    FOTOR


    How many active members do you have in your guild currently?


    Lydeck


    I would put that number at about 35-40 members. We used to have a lot more than that, but members who join and go inactive or simply disappear are removed. We're dedicated to keeping a tight knit community made of elite gamers, all of whom know and are familiar with each other. I guess in a way, we like to think of ourselves as one big Sith family. (Do Sith have families? :p )


    FOTOR


    (I wouldn't have a clue. XD Perhaps.)


    Does your guild focus on any other games apart from SWTOR?


    Lydeck


    Glad you mentioned that. As previously mentioned, our guild has two Chapters. The SWTOR Chapter and the EVE Online Chapter. EVE is the only other game that our Guild officially sponsors. However, members do enjoy a wide variety of games other than those two.


    FOTOR


    Fair enough. =]


    If you could create the perfect guild applicant, what qualities would he/she have? What would you be looking for?


    Lydeck


    First and foremost I would look for maturity. One of the core values we want for our members is maturity. We are a mature community of gamers, and want to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals. We also seek honest people. We have dismissed a few people already for a multitude of lies. We don't ask for much, character wise, other than maturity and honesty when dealing with the guild and our members.


    As far as actual skills or ability, first and foremost we look for roleplaying ability. Because we're such a heavy RP guild, we want all applicants to possess a good command of the English language and writing. Though, I'd like to note that people shouldn't be intimidated because of this, because we don't cut people for that alone. That Academy helps people build up RP abilities. But, honestly, above all else, we want the two character traits listed before this. Everything else can be taught or acquired.


    FOTOR


    What would you define as mature?


    Lydeck


    Mature in two ways. First, we have a guild age requirement of 18. HOWEVER, we will make exceptions on that rule if a potential member under the age limit impresses us enough with their application.


    Secondly, they must possess a mature attitude. Members must be reasonable individuals, dependable, intelligent, and be personable with other people. Obviously, people shouldn't take themselves too seriously, but we expect everyone to be respectful of one another, and if arguments arise talk them out like adults instead of fighting like children.


    FOTOR


    That sounds reasonable enough to me.


    Would I be right in assuming this is partially the point of the Academy? To see whether recruits are mature enough to join? [Note: If you’re wondering what I’m going on about here, refer to the hierarchy. =P]


    Lydeck


    Indeed it is. The Academy tests all aspects of recruits, including the traits they possess. A two week "probationary" period is required of all recruits. At the end of that week, a "Graduation Ceremony" takes place where the Academy Commander announces who has passed to full membership status and who has been denied membership. If someone does not demonstrate abilities and traits we seek, they will fail.


    FOTOR


    Can failed recruits apply again?


    Lydeck


    No, they can not apply again if they fail.


    FOTOR


    I see. Well, I have to say I'm pretty impressed by how your guild's set up. You seem to have a way to combat all the usual problems... inactivity, bad recruits, etc etc. And your site's gorgeous as well.


    Lydeck


    Thank you very much. When thinking up the concepts and systems for the guild, we aimed at combating those problems. Also, thanks for the kind words on our website, we're very proud of that as well.


    FOTOR


    Mm, I can see why. =P


    Regarding combating common problems, though... with the release of SWTOR so far away, how do you guys keep up activity?


    Lydeck


    Well, as previously mentioned we always have a good roleplay going on on our forums. I'm actually proud of our members because even outside of roleplays we have plenty of activity on the forums. Plus, all of our members are always on XFire and constantly talking with one another, because we really are like a family. Outside of those things, many members play other games for the time being with one another, or participate in our EVE Chapter.


    FOTOR


    Haha, fair enough. Sounds great. =]


    Just a quick question – I’m not sure whether to include this or not - but where'd you get the art on your site from?


    Lydeck


    OH! We should include it! Definitely! I forgot all about that.


    FOTOR


    Oh? Alright, I'll put it in.


    Lydeck


    It's from an honorary member of our guild. It's all CUSTOM art by him.


    FOTOR


    Seriously?


    Lydeck


    Seriously. In fact, he's finishing up a guild portrait. I can't remember if I showed you.


    FOTOR


    You didn't. =P


    Lydeck


    Hold on…


    This is at 1/2 size or so (it's going to be as big as the ones on the website), and the shadow outlines of the characters are not the actual outlines, and are just placeholders

    [​IMG]


    That was a few weeks ago


    He's finished 10 characters and should show us a finished product later this week or next week.


    FOTOR


    Wow... that's fantastic. It’s going to look brilliant when it’s done.


    Lydeck


    Here's his deviantart: http://kromnz.deviantart.com/


    Very skilled guy. :)


    FOTOR


    Mm, he is!


    Alright, I might wrap up now. Anything else you want to say before I do?


    Lydeck


    Well, I'd just like to thank you for this wonderful opportunity to tell people about our guild. And, I like to encourage all players interested in playing on the Sith side to check out our guild! Don't be intimidated by the RP enviroment or our standards, they're actually very easy to follow. We encourage everyone to at least apply. :)


    FOTOR


    It was my pleasure to have you. On behalf of FOTOR, thank you very much for your time!!


    Lydeck


    No, thank you! It was my pleasure. :)


    --------


    If you've got any comments or suggestions for either FOTOR or TBE, feel free to reply to this thread!! You can stop by TBE's official site, here.


    Many thanks to Sovereign002, MyNameDidntFit and ArchAngel who helped me organise this . Couldn't have done it without you guys. <3
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2009
  2. TeHpUmKinKiNg

    TeHpUmKinKiNg OMG Member

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    Very, very, very good interview, Gwynne! Way to dig deep, and get out some good info about TBE!
     
  3. Sindorin

    Sindorin People Know Me

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    Excellent interview, and a fine choice!
     
  4. Tracyn Kurs

    Tracyn Kurs Galactic Fetus

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    Just read through it. Quite the interview!


    Very impressive. And Kromnz is an excellent choice as an artist ;)
     
  5. Kaj

    Kaj Galactic Fetus

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    Nice Lydeck, doing a good job representing the guild ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2009
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