The Guild Sphere: Aureus Knights

It’s the first day after the end of the last Beta session of Star Wars: The old republic. I hope you all had as much fun as I did. 
In today’s column The Aureus Knights took the time to answer our questions. Aureus Knights are a world wide community of online gamers. Although many members are MMO veterans from the early UO, EQ and MUD days, the members span all demographics and play styles. The guild strive for a fun, laid back and social gaming environment that anyone can feel welcome in and enjoy. read more after the jump. 

Where did your guilds name come from?
Aureus is latin for Gold. So our name means Golden Knights. The guilds founders were sitting in EQ2 (the game where our guild was first formally created) and we wanted to create a name involving Knights but we didn’t want to be one of the million other guilds with XYZ Knights out there. So we tried to find something unique.

Can you give me a quick 2-3 sentence description of your guild?
We are a multi-game MMO community built around the idea of building long term friendships and connections that span many games and many years. Our focus is on providing a fun experience in every game we play by having a well run guild where people feel welcome and comfortable. We target mature gamers, but we do not have any age requirements, just look for people of any age who are willing to be positive members of our community.

How did your guild come about?
A group of friends who had been gaming together since Ultima Online had had enough of jumping from guild to guild in every MMO they played. We found that every new guild we joined up with was either poorly run or ended up bogged down in drama or cliques. We set out to run a guild that was straight forward, fun, well run and drama free.

What is your guild set up? How do you run your guild?
We try and keep things as simple as possible, that is a very basic rule and question we ask ourselves when making any leadership decision. Our goal has always been to maintain as flat a structure as possible and it has evolved quite a bit over the years. Currently we have two layers of leadership within the guild: Community Leadership and Chapter Officers. Community Leadership Team members are responsible for making sure that the whole guild adheres to our Charter (the document that guides who we are and what we are about). The CLT makes sure that our Guild Chapters (our guilds in specific games) live up to our high standard and that everyone within the guild is having fun and getting the most out of the guild. The Chapter Officer Team is a group specifically focused on the guild in one game. These guys run our events, make sure we recruiting games and focus on delivering a fun experience.

Regardless of these layers though we don’t view any position in the guild be it member or Community Leadership Team above or below anyone else. We are all Knights, and its a community of equals.

How serious do you play and/or run the guild?
Running a community of a diverse range of mature gamers is very interesting. We have grandparents who are extremely casual, you know play on weekends and occasionally when they get time during the week. But than we also have the college student who has the time to min/max and play games pretty hardcore. It’s a really interesting mix of play styles that come together.

So in terms of our membership the “seriousness” varies. When it comes to end game raiding and more “serious” content though our goal is to be progression minded. We are dedicated to offering an experience for our more hardcore members. The social events we host are for our less serious and casual gamers. We really do try and offer a little bit of everything to appeal to our whole community.

In terms of the seriousness of running our guild, I personally take it very seriously and so does our entire Community Leadership Team. I always tell new officers this guild is a drama free and fun place but when you become an officer you agree to give a little bit of that up yourself so that you everyone else in the guild doesn’t have to worry about the drama and things required to run a guild. I personally dedicate many hours a month to make sure that guild is well run. It’s very important to us that we have a strong brand and we have a community our members can be proud of.

Do you have ranks or a certain hierarchy in your guild?
In games it is kept very straight forward. Officers, Members and Recruits. Each chapter has its own Chapter Sponsor and that is a senior officer/community leader who is responsible with making sure the chapter continues to grow and continues to be fun. But within the game that person is just marked as an officer. Like I said before, our goal is to be as flat and straight forward as possible. No power trips.

Why did you choose the Republic / the sith empire?
We are rolling on BOTH SIDES in TOR! We have a pretty large community (around 80 or so interested in SWTOR in the very early stages, by launch that could be well over 100) and sometimes getting everyone to agree to a faction is pretty tough, but we manage it. But this is Star Wars! Since childhood people have held strong opinions on the Republic and Imperials/Empire/Sith. Who the heck am I to mess with people’s childhoods?!?

Another key factor in our decision to roll with both factions is the importance of story in the game. Look, if you are going to fall in love with SWTOR it is going to be through the lens of your character! So taking 4 stories off the table for our members was a non-starter. We had to find a way to open it up so our members could experience whatever story they wanted within the game.

We debated finding a partner guild but as we had the discussion more and more we realized we had enough of an officer base interested in both sides that we could build two chapters. One for Republic and one for Empire. Republic will be rolling under the Aureus Knights guild tag while the Empire will be rolling under the Aureus Empire guild tag! We have the guilds as advisories of each other and we will be rolling on a PVP server together. This is going to make for some great competitive play between the chapters. We are all really excited for it.

Why do you run a guild?
For me I just love seeing the results of bringing good people together. I worked for Stratics, Warcry and IGN in the earlier days of MMOs and buildings communities has always been of great personal interest to me. We started out with 6 members in the guild in EQ2, grew to 40 in Vanguard and now years later and many games later we have around 400 members (not all active, folks come and go). Building something and realizing that people really enjoy it and really use it as a platform to get more out of their gaming has really been rewarding.

How do you approach Raid Planning?
This summer the Community Leadership Team sat down and built a Raid Charter. This new document is a sort of guideline for how Aureus Knights raids in its chapters and its really cool. The reason we build these Charter documents and we spend the time to define things is that so when it comes time to play we have a game plan and it actually makes it so you as a guild leader can just pick it up and instantly you are in the action and not having to worry about as many things.

With raid planning we have a few sort of core beliefs that are defined in the charter.

  1. Raiding is a team sport. If you sign up for softball or soccer in your community you are agreeing that you will show up for most of the games (we are a guild who really balances real life and gaming – so we understand if you miss the occasional time) and that when you show up you’ll be dedicated to doing the best you can.
  2. Progression is our goal. Folks who raid with us have to understand that we are going to expect them to know their class and bring something to the table in the raid. WE ARE NEVER!!!! (NEVER!) going to kick anyone out of the guild for not being top DPS, but in the raid environment we have to deal with the reality of what is involved in clearing content.
  3. Loot should be as straight forward as possible. Need Before Greed in as fair a manner as possible should always be used.
  4. Raiding should be open to anyone in the guild who can agree to the above.
Are you always open for new recruits or do you want to keep a certain guild size?

We are always open to recruits. Fresh faces are the life blood of our community and our door is always open. This doesn’t mean we accept everyone though. If during a recruits two week trial we feel that someone isn’t a right fit for our community we will tell them. We’ll be honest, we’ll tell them why, but it is our belief that recruiting is never worth losing our already great established community.

Age Requirement?
Maturity requirement only! We have children of guild members (as young as 12) and as long as they are willing to act in a responsible manner within the guild they are welcome.

Guild size?
Our broader community is around 400 members, usually we have around 50-100 (depending on time of year, what games are out, etc) members active on our forums. It’s a great community honestly.

In SW:TOR we expect to start with 40-50 members on each side and we will be recruiting.

What makes your guild stand out from everyone else? What makes your guild unique?
Honestly it is about the lasting experience. Some people will join and they’ll say “I’m just here to raid with you guys” or “I’m just here because I like your Battleground event you do every week” What those people end up doing is staying for the next game, then the next one, then the next one and next thing you know they are always in our chat room, or hanging out in ventrilo making new friends. It really is a community. It’s not just about the games, it is about the people.

How do you spend your time until release? Do you know each other in real life or do you spend a lot of time on forums?
We have pockets of people who do know each in real life (many who lived in the same state and then met up in real life after meeting in the guild). Mostly we will be hanging out on our forums. Another great feature of the guild is we have a Casual Gaming Chapter within the guild. Every night we have at least a half dozen or more people playing League of Legends, Battlefield 3, we have a Minecraft server. We have a lot of things to pass the time. It is part of what keeps our members gaming together no matter what is happening on the MMO scene.

What Other Games are you currently playing as a guild?
We don’t have much in the way of MMO action at the moment. We had a strong presence in Rift but it has dwindled away. We have some people playing World of Warcraft together. At the moment our Casual Chapter is VERY busy. 6-12 people every night in Minecraft. Handful playing BF3. At least a full pre made (5) in League of Legends. A LOT of casual activity at the moment.

If somebody is interested now how and where can they apply for membership?
We’d love to have people drop by our website (www.aureusknights.com) to learn more about the guild, be sure to check out our charter! Joining the guild is very easy. All you have to do is post an introduction in our Introductions forum and that will start your trial process with us.

One last question, if there was one thing you could ask the Dev’s to include, what would it be?
A more fleshed out guild system! Probably one of our favourite things in Rift is that we were able to level our guild, do guild quests. It gives us great content to focus on as a group.

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