Feabhra (February) 2013 Edition
Cead Mile Failte!
Hail and well met! What a month has it been. We've seen a lot of movement on the future titles our family may be a part of in some way, and have seen some changes in the titles we call home today. The news that broke this month is phenomenal. Both in the highs and the lows there was a lot to digest. Let me take a moment to quickly go through some of the biggest news.
There's a lot of action on the horizon and I will be spending a lot of time in the coming months working with game developers on making the best possible product and evaluating titles for growth potential.
February 2nd 2013
Join The Gaiscioch Family For One Of Our Monthly Meetings
This month we will be holding 4 meetings on Saturday, February 2nd. These meetings include:
12PM PST: Gaiscioch Community Open Discussion - Open to all members to discuss the contents of this newsletter at length and to get your burning questions and ideas out in front of the family.
1PM PST: Gaiscioch Warlord Meeting - Open to all Rank 5 Warlords (Fhiaigh or Raven), this meeting is for us to discuss events and planning.
2PM PST: Gaiscioch Elder Meeting - Open to all elders of the family, this meeting allows us to report on the information we've gathered over the past month and update the team on current events.
6PM PST: The Gaiscioch Family Summit - This part of the event is open to public and covers most of the topics in this newsletter. This part of the event is recorded and distributed through our podcast.
Changes Coming To RIFT
Foghladha Bowing Out of RIFT March 1st 2013
I wanted to take a moment to explain the changes that are going to be hitting our family in RIFT. I will be stepping out of RIFT to begin foundation research and investigation on chapter 5. I will not have the time to keep a foot in 3 worlds at the same time so I will be stepping out of RIFT and turning the keys over to our eldership team.
In doing this, the Gaiscioch will become known as Saighdear on March 1st 2013. A Saighdear branch is a division of the family without a Ceannard. Being we do not have the PR, Marketing, & business relationship representation that falls on my shoulders, we rename the branch to preserve the brand reputation and public image.
RIFT will function just as it has in the past. Leonar has been nominated to help organize the Draios and maintain the family in my place. You will still be able to post events, claim participation, use the marketplace just as you always have. We will be removing the ability to donate items to the family directly and opt for a donate as demanded system like we have in Guild Wars 2. Keep an eye on the marketplace for orders for materials to earn those contribution points. This will reduce the workflow required to maintain by the elder team and free them up to focus on more enjoyable activities.
The biggest thing that is changing is the name of the family in RIFT. Our family will continue holding a presence in RIFT as Saighdear for as long as the elders continue to push forward. Your elder team is: Leonar, Bloodymaw, Red, Berga, Hosfi, Selrina, Belonia, Seacoral, Naay, and Eeers. They will continue pushing forward and keep the family active and healthy in RIFT.
The Past, Present, and The Road Ahead
I want to share a moment of honesty with everyone. I believe being honest, even if it hurts, is only fair. The Gaiscioch Family began as a RvR family. In DAOC almost all of our activities were in the frontier. In Warhammer all of our activities were focused on RvR. We were well known for our siege warfare and players from far and wide joined us because of it.
At the final days of Warhammer we witnessed a game developer self destructing. Developers were laid off, moved to new departments, and resigned from their positions. What was left was a skeleton crew that could not hold the bar as high as the veterans that created the game. The end result was a continuous demise of Warhammer Online. When we saw this happen we created a team to investigate other games to be a potential home. Oldroar was assigned to Guild Wars 2, while I investigated RIFT.
At the Time RIFT boasted of the war between the Guardians and Defiants and how territories would be capturable and the siege of Port Scion would be the climax of the war between the realms. The idea of sieging our way into Port Scion and dominating the battlefield excited a lot of us. So much that we got into alpha, then beta, and with things looking promising we made the decision to transition our family into RIFT with the hopes that siege warfare would be added after the first patch.
When pulled out of Warhammer, we completely removed all 1,700 characters from the guild and closed it entirely. This created a lot of friction and hurt feelings. There weren't a whole lot of active players left in Warhammer at the time but those that were there probably remember the last days before we pulled the plug on our 4 guilds.
In RIFT we waited and waited for RvR to make it's birth and it never really came. Our RvR focused family changed in RIFT. Those PvP Focused players ended up leaving and waited for the launch of Guild Wars 2, while those of us that held out kept things alive in RIFT while we waited for our RvR home to be known. In the process we found a PvE side to our family which we never had up until RIFT. We began to grow as a social community into frontiers we never explored. Raiding was never a part of our family before, but now it's become an essential staple of our Gaiscioch lifestyle. The Raiding side of our family thrives in RIFT. While we never intended to become a PvE Centric family, we were pleasantly surprised to see this side of our family grow. We have met so many wonderful people through this adventure and I do not regret our coming to RIFT. Even if it wasn't the home we expected it became an unexpected home.
When Guild Wars 2 launched our RvR players flocked to it and filled the family with former glory and siege warfare. Still improving, Guild Wars 2 has given us the siege warfare we knew and loved in Warhammer Online.
We now have 2 halves of our family. The PvE Centric in RIFT and RvR Centric in Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 does not have a strong PvE Centric focus, while RIFT does not have any Siege Warfare. Thus we are split into two halves of our whole family.
From the get go, our family has been searching for a home where all 5 styles of players can coexist in harmony. Where we can focus 100% on a title and make all sides of our family thrive. There are 2 games on the horizon (Elders Scrolls Online & ArcheAge) that might be suitable homes but for them to be named Chapter 5 we will be sending them through a rigorous test to make 100% certain they are the right fit.
Does this mean we're pulling out of Guild Wars 2 or RIFT when chapter 5 comes out? Not at all. What it does mean is that if one of these possesses the ability to house all sides of our family we will devote our efforts towards that game while continuing to support those chapters we previously started through our eldership team.
I want to avoid up and pulling the plug like we did in Warhammer. There were too many hurt feelings and we feel that if the Eldership team is willing to keep it going while I'm away let's let them keep it going as long as they can. If you enjoy playing RIFT, continue playing RIFT and our family will be here to support you in your journeys.
If I step away from a game it will simply become a Saighdear but you will still be able to do what you've always done with the people you've always done it with. Our Elders will keep the family house open as long as there is interest among the community to be there. Now that said, for Saighdear branches of our house, I will not be devoting time to building new features exclusively for these branches. We will not be building extra tools into the website for these Saighdear branches. However tools that are already plugged in will remain plugged in.
I know this may not be the easiest to hear, but I believe that I'd rather have you know what my intentions are up front. I personally will not be leaving Guild Wars 2 for quite a while. It's a personal place for me being Oldroar was like a dad to me. I can't just walk away from something he poured his heart and final days into. Even if we do move our efforts to a new title down the road I will still maintain some kind of presence in Guild Wars 2. I wouldn't be a very good friend otherwise.
To put it all simply, my role in this family is find a home that can sustain both halves of our family in one title where we can put forth everything that makes Gaiscioch special to a single title. Until we find "That" game we will have a bit of uncertainty in the air and I apologize for that. Unfortunately that utopia has yet to be seen.
I would like to request you not to focus on "the end" yet focus on the memories in our history.
In Warhammer we saw battles in the 600 player range on a single battlefield. We survived waves of zergs smashing against our keep even when they outnumbered us 4 to 1. We flipped an entire tier blue in under 10 minutes. We sieged Tier 4, captured a castle, wiped a destruction zerg and locked a zone, with tier 2 characters. We celebrated 3 seasons of Battle for Badlands which drew attention globally from media and even game developers. And we lead hundreds if not thousands of people on search to find the needle in the stable’s haystack.
In RIFT we sieged Meridian and killed all of the leaders of the enemy realm, we defeated every boss they put into the game, cleared every raid, and slew every beast. We turned crafting into a social event series. We hosted the Telara Saga for the world to see for 2 seasons. We developed close relationships with Trion's developers and were invited to participate in special opportunities. We managed to drop an entire battlegroup at our finale of season 1's Telara Saga from putting too many people in the same zone. We participated in the ExtraLife Charity Event and raised over $17,000 for the Children's Miracle Network. Our family grew to exceed 4,000 members most of which I managed to lead off a cliff at one time or another.
At the end of the day it's not the beginning or the end, it's the journey in between that defines us. Enjoy your time in these games and know that once you’re Gaiscioch, you're always Gaiscioch and no matter where we go, you always have a home filled with memories and adventure with us.
Check in To Remain Active Duty
45 Day Policy Reminder
Last month we announced we would be rolling over the 45 Day Inactivity policy across all games. This policy is based off of your Last Visit on the website so please be sure to log into the website at least once a month to remain on the active duty in game roster. If you do not you will be removed from the ingame roster until you return. For a reinvite just visit Gaiscioch.com and login then /join Tuatha and ask for an invite. We'll snag you as soon as we can. Being removed from active duty does not affect your standing in the family. We do this so that we can ensure that all members are keeping in the loop by visiting our family home.
First Public Community Event Launches
The Great Tyrian Adventure
The Great Tyrian Adventure was announced this last month with a breathtaking trailer to go with it. On February 5th 2013 we will kick off this public event series which will span 26-weeks. Through the adventure we will be conquering Zone Events, Meta-Events, Champions, Bosses, and even explore Dungeons.
This event series drew enough attention to get ArenaNet themselves to mention it on their Facebook and Twitter which lit a fire behind the event. We can expect overflow servers at this event so please try to be there early if you wish to attend.
Did I mention prizes? We be giving away 4 in-game Guild Wars Dragon Shirts, and 2 20-Slot bags each week during the event. At the end of each chapter we will be giving away 5 Exotic Items, and a 2000 Gem Card. At the completion of the event we will award 5 lucky participants with an additional character slot and a chance to win a Box of Exotic Armor.
To be eligible for prizes you will need to register at http://www.sanctumofrall.com/ and claim your participation during the event. You will need to be present and a resident of Sanctum of Rall to win. If you need the access code please login to the Gaiscioch site and it should be mentioned under the Sanctum of Rall discussion area on the homepage.
Learn more at:
January Patch Update
Culling Improvements and Foundation for Future Updates
The most significant improvement coming in January's patch was the update on Culling. Now when a mass amount of players get close, instead of magically appearing and vaporizing you, you will see a low res version of them with generic "cached" armor approaching in the distance. By using a templated "cached" character entity they can quickly call that image without overtaxing your video card thus allowing you to see the danger approaching rather than having it just appear after you die. For those of you that played WAR and RIFT you know how culling can make or break a battle. This has been an age old challenge and ArenaNet has thrown their hat into the arena of trying to defeat this technical challenge.
Be sure to check out the full patch notes at:
Growth, Events, and Server Transfers
Sanctum of Rall Continues To Grow As Does Gaiscioch
The Gaiscioch Family launched their 5th room of the house this month. After maxing out both of their other main rooms of the house we decided to launch our 5th and last room to allow for more members to join.
One of the key factors of our growth came from the announcement of server transfers becoming a paid service, immediately followed with ArenaNet announcing our Great Tyrian Adventure. While I admit the timing could have been better, we had this event planned to launch Feb 5th more than 2 months before they ever announced that server transfers would close. There was no way for us to predict that and I'm not about to reschedule an event that was pushed out to the press a month ago and have spent a ton of time scheduling and building promotional videos for.
The Guild Wars 2 side of the family is currently sitting at about 1,200 active members in the last 30 days. With guild caps being at 500 people it's making it increasingly difficult to keep communication channels flowing. We all will have to endure the communication hurdle. Unfortunately this limit causes us to require the 45 day policy and the 14 day policy for specialty guilds. I am really hoping alliances make their birth into game soon and will be doing what I can to apply additional pressure on ArenaNet to get these in game, in the form of at least a forced chat channel. When and IF they enter game the main rooms of the house will be Alliance chat only. I will be disabling Guild Chat and forcing all members to use the alliance chat so that we can bridge that communication hurdle.
Gaiscioch Late Night
ClubGaiscioch Brings an Influx of Late Night Players
When we launched ClubGaiscioch we started with about 10 people. Over the weeks it has grown in popularity and people from the server community have flocked to the event. ClubGaiscioch runs from 12-2AM server time on Saturday and Sunday mornings. In addition to growing in popularity we have also seen an influx of late night Gaiscioch players. The Oceanic Primetime player base has gone from one of our smallest to the third largest player base in our family close on the heels of Eastern US Primetime. A total of 235 active members of our family play between the hours of 9PM and 9AM. This number continues to grow each week.
If you're looking for something to do between 12 and 2AM on Saturday and Sunday morning and love dance, techno, trance, and some epic battles be sure to check out ClubGaiscioch.
Exploring New Titles
Elder Scrolls Online, ArcheAge Online, and More
2013 is shaping up to be a massive year for MMO's. We will see the launch of Neverwinter, Defiance, Elder Scrolls Online, ArcheAge, and the list goes on and on. While not all of these games will become a Gaiscioch branch, we plan to expand our Saighdear program to include some of these titles. What this means is that you will be able to find circles of Gaiscioch playing these games together. You may not be able to claim participation for playing over there or use the marketplace but if you enjoy playing a game at least you'll have the opportunity to play with friends.
I have tasked Connor with putting together an insertion and evaluation team for ArcheAge, a game he has been very passionate about for some time and a game that recently signed on board with Trion Worlds. Fortunately for us several of my remaining Trion contacts are working with this title. We hope to hear something as soon as this summer on a chance to get in and help make this game better. Those that chose to be a part of Connor’s team will be expected to make weekly meetings where they will discuss their likes & dislikes and document their findings to be submitted to the development team on a weekly basis. This is not a sneak preview or play for free before release team. That is what open beta is for.
Elder Scrolls Online
I will be heading up the Elder Scrolls Online insertion and evaluation team. If you wish to be a part of this team be sure to list Gaiscioch as your guild when filling out the Beta Application on http://www.elderscrollsonline.com/. By participating in the insertion team you will be expected to attend weekly meetings with the group we assign you to to document your likes & dislikes to provide the developers with a weekly report.
We will be examining both ArcheAge and Elder Scrolls Online for the possibility of becoming home to the Gaiscioch family for Chapter 5. Regardless of if either of these titles can hold the entire family under their roof we will be launching Saighdears in both. We will be much more critical of these 2 games than we have in the past. Things like limited guild rosters, no alliances, lack of RvR or PvE content, non casual friends, lack of roleplayability, lack of enjoyable crafting system, and most importantly small guild size limits are all going to be gamebreakers. The Guild management functions & tools need to support our family and allow us to automate a lot of the tedious tasks involved with running a 2,000 person community. The game will need to be responsive to the community and allow us to build business relationships with their community team.
The biggest thing we will be tracking is how long before the members in the insertion team start losing interest. Any lack of desire to play will be logged and reported to the game developer. If we get to level 40 and then just lose interest for whatever reason, we will share this with the developer so they can improve the gameplay in that area. These insertion teams will be expected to observe, report, and play the game regardless of if they find it enjoyable at the time. We have to make 100% certain that we do not expand into a game that can not support our family at launch. No more crossing fingers and hoping for alliance systems that never arrive or siege mechanics in a game without doors. It needs to feel like home and allow us to thrive out the gate.
Now that said, we plan on growing our Saighdear program to include all varieties of games. All it will take is a veteran member or higher who choses to take point on the division. These divisions won't have PR representation or a lot of the leadership support but will serve as beacons for other Gaiscioch to know that other kin are playing the game as well. This keeps our name clean regardless of the direction the Saighdear goes. We can't possibly control our reputation across every game or do what we do on that broad of a scale. We barely can pull off running in 2 games at once. This is why we are branding our unofficial expansions as Saighdear. It allows our members to play together without having to have someone do constant community relations, damage control, and public relations to keep our name clean.
We will be launching a Saighdear part of our site soon that will have basic information pages on each of the known saighdear programs. It will provide details on who's leading it, what server they can be found on and what platform they are playing on. It will also give you a discussion area to talk about the game among your fellow players. It's my hope that we can use the Saighdears to keep people connected to the community even when they aren't playing the official Gaiscioch titles.
Uncertain times aside, we are seeing wonderful growth and finding some real gems coming to our family. Now as always with an influx in population we will have our fair share of rough spots find their way in as well. If you see any rough spots please take screenshots and send them to one of our elder team so we can deal with it. Reputation management is very critical to our overall success and continued relationships with game development studios. The only way we can keep our nose clean is by knowing that theres a problem before it comes to a head.
I look forward to the coming adventures shaping up to launch this year. It should be a bit entertaining in the least. Whether we actually find a Chapter 5 at the end of this year or just a couple more Saighdears we know what to look for this time and what things are game breakers. As always the office in raidcall is always open to you if you want to stop by for a chat. Don't hesitate to come say hi if you need to talk. Take care everyone!
Slan Go Foill!
(Goodbye For Now)
Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley
Ceannard De Gaiscioch Treubh