Ember Guild Highlight w/ Sinbad
On the very first episode Phoenix Watch, Maezriel sits down with Sinbad of the guild Ember to talk about how this mammoth of a guild will be prepping for Ashes of Creation. Listen in on how they are ready to take on the world.
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Phoenix Watch is the show dedicated entirely to you, the awesome community that’s been building up around Ashes of Creation. Hosted by the one and only Maezriel who, with over 20 years of MMO and online gaming experience, dives into deep interviews and personal tales from those within and about the game to share their wonderful narratives with the world.
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Maezriel: Hello ladies and gentlemen I’m your host Maezriel and with the rest of the guys at Popped Off I’m super excited to welcome you to episode 1 of Phoenix Watch. A brand new show dedicated entirely to you, this awesome growing community that has been building up around Ashes of Creation. If you haven’t yet done so I strongly suggest you go back and listen to the trailer episode where I go into a bit more detail as to why we’re focusing on some guild highlights starting off and hopefully we can see this show grow up to be something so much more. Now assuming you have listened to that let’s just jump right into it with our first guest Sinbad, Guild Leader of Ember. Sinbad, how you doing today?
Sinbad: Hey, doing very well thank you for having me on. I’m glad to be
part of your first episode and hopefully we can make a great impression for you guys.
Maezriel: Yeah I’m excited. Thank you for coming down and before we dive into the guilds obviously that’s gonna be the main focus but you as a guild leader you’re going to be the predominant…because let’s be honest guilds are not a Democracy and as much as a lot of Verra a lot of the Nodes kind of want to be, at the end of the day it’s going to be a monarchy. So what is your experience running a guild and being a guild leader?
Sinbad: Yeah no you’re right. I mean it’s nice to try to have a council or try to have a voting system. But, when it comes to guilds that doesn’t work mostly because you have to deal with situations very quickly as they arise. Personally I’ve been leading guilds since 2004, when I first got into my first major MMO which was Star Wars Galaxies. That was actually quite a long time ago I was a little teenager back then. More recently we started our own guild for Ashes of Creation back at the Kickstarter. We’ve gone through a couple different names, a couple different variants of that guild but our core membership has been together with us since that day. So we’ve been around for about almost four years now as Ember. Something that we do every single day to make sure our guild is run correctly or sustainably is we focus first on making sure that our membership is happy and making sure that their voices are being heard. And we’re not just throwing dictates at them, but we’re actually taking into consideration what they want to do on a regular basis.
Maezriel: Nice yeah, I guess you’ve been together for four years. Does this mean you guys are playing a lot of other games together? Or is it mostly just hanging out in Discord?
Sinbad: Yes. We’re doing actually quite a bit of both so one of the major things that we were focused on early was getting into some type of game, some type of MMO to kind of cut our teeth on. Back when I was one of the co-leaders of another guild called Vengeance, which part of membership comes from, and we tried out games Bless Online things that more recently we’ve put a lot of time into a game called Archeage or Archeage Unchained. We actually spent more than a year or two at this point in that game. Only recently have we kind of stepped away from it just because of burnout and the whole pay-to-win aspect of it. Beyond MMOs though, we’ve also had a lot of focus on squad-based games.We don’t have to always play a massively multiplayer online game to get experience as a group. So games like Paladins which is free-to-play. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a very simple version of what essentially amounts to be Overwatch mixed with a MOBA like Smite for example. We play games like that, games like Starborn which is a strategy based game, it’s a PvX type game where you can basically take over an entire galaxy together based off against 4,000 of the players to do it. Things that do require coordination and teamwork is what we’ve been focused on so that’s really kind of allowed us to build more than just friendships in the Discord. So I just built a lot of teamwork.
Maezriel: So we’re definitely going to come back to exactly [that]…I want to dig more into that. But, before we do just one last question. As far as you as a guild leader obviously with Verra, being able to take over castles being able to rule not just one node but have an effect over all the neighboring nodes as well which is awesome mechanically but of course a little nerve-wracking for social and political reasons. Is that a goal of your guild? And if so are you going to be the one that’s kind of ruling over your little kingdom?
Sinbad: So it is a goal of ours I don’t think if you’re if you’re trying to be anything other than a casual guild your goal is going to be to try to control or influence a node or influence a castle. At least if you’re not aiming for that you’re definitely more along the lines of a casual group or a very specifically focused group one that’s doing raids on a consistent basis or something like that. That’s their whole purpose as a PvX. Skill though for us that is kind of everything. Making sure that you have your name kind of implanted on this world. So yeah, we are going to try to control the node that we’re in. We realize that we can’t do that alone you have upwards of 2500 players in a node, potentially, so for a guild that you could basically get one guild size in game at least you can get up to 300 players you’re gonna have to work with other guilds or you’re gonna have to create multiple sub guilds as well. We’re kind of going the route of creating multiple sub guilds, so we’re going to be fairly large at launch and we’re also looking at allying with some strategic partners. We don’t have who those would be yet obviously. We haven’t had a chance to really play with any other guild so we’re gonna wait until probably Alpha Two, probably closer to the Betas, before we start locking who we’re gonna ally with. But, the goal is to basically influence everything that goes on in that node so everything from making sure we understand what the defenses are, making sure we understand what our economic outreach and capabilities are, as a node. Especially the economy that’s going to be super important for getting our members geared getting them to a place where they’re competitive and then of course the castle. That’s gonna be a full-time job just considering that it is sieged on a regular basis so we’ll probably have a team that would control the castle and consistently keep it updated.
Maezriel: So speaking of economy. Is an economic node going to be your goal for your big max level node? Or are you looking at something like PvP where you might be able to kind of set a team? Because I know that’s kind of a big worry.
Sinbad: So right now we don’t have a lot of information yet on the divine type or military type nodes, but with the information that we do have we’re leaning towards an economic node. Just based on the fact that crafted gear is going to be super strong. It’s going to be very important to have and having the money to be able to buy the best gear is going to be basically everything. If you have the best gear in the game you’re going to have a significant advantage over those who don’t. So for us the economy is going to be really important to make sure people have the goal to buy that stuff. So we’ll probably aim for an economic node in that case and then one of our goals is to have a sub guild that would be purely economic focused that would help support the main guild.
Maezriel: love, hearing about how intricate the logistics of this can be. So I’m really looking forward to seeing how how in detail people get because I remember some really big guilds back in the day were just massive for the sake of being massive. But there was no real getting into the actual logistics of it and what people have done recently even the last 10 years with guilds online has just blown me away. I’m really excited for it. It sounds like you guys have a good plan going forward.
Sinbad: We do, we have, spent a lot of hours mulling over the best possible structures, for the guild the best possible ways to kind of train people up, the best
possible ways to get them working together so we’ve put a lot of hours into it.
Maezriel:I know we’ve talked about your experience in other games so far, obviously your focus PvX and for you guys you feel the end game is taking that castle.
Now, does that also mean “All right we have a dungeon right here,” are you going to be sieging yourself with one of your sister guilds or letting another guild come take you over so you can go take over another castle? so you can come get that dungeon that’s there or do you see that that may be happening in your future?
Sinbad: So basically kind of manipulating the map in a sense?
Maezriel: yeah so are you gonna do that? Or are you gonna be more focused on making a home? So let’s take a casual player who might not want to feel uprooted every six months or so might just hang out at your nodes.
Sinbad: To be honest I think what we would want to do is have our node be something more permanent. I think that when you put so much time, so much effort, into creating that node getting leveled up you’re one of the first people to get a house in there so now you have a mansion. I don’t think we’d want to tear that down even if it means not unlocking a smaller dungeon or something. If there is a raid that we find out is possible to unlock by de-leveling our node, at that point we might consider it but not for a dungeon. Also you have to consider the fact that there is the reliquary. Steven’s mentioned that before which is basically all the achievements that your node has accomplished it’s basically in this giant vault. You have legendary items that can be potentially included in that so that way you have to kind of consider that cost equation. Is it worth losing all those things to basically just unlock a new raid? For me personally, I’m not sure if it would be and I think it would be something we have to kind of consider more thoroughly before we actually make a choice on that.
Maezriel: Okay so for the less adventurous types it sounds if not Ember the guild, then at least the nodes ruled by Ember might be a good place to try to put down some roots.
Sinbad: Yeah I mean at the end of the day it’s one of those things that can be very difficult to kind of consider because you have so much value that you’ve put into this place and for us it’s a lot more fun to tear down other people’s things where we tend to be a very chaotic of force in the world. So for us we want to basically go to war with other places, tear them down, build them up. A new place somewhere else that way we can get those dungeons, those raids unlocked. But for our own stuff we want to be a pillar in that sense we want to have it there for people to kind of see that we have accomplished this.
Maezriel: Okay, so the Holy Roman Empire of Ember I like that. I like that a lot.
Maezriel: Do you have a specific…so we’ve seen the map. I know we don’t have a lot of details yet, but we do seem to have some basic biomes. Do you have a specific one that you’re looking at high mountains? Or just kind of waiting to see what the node spread out is?
Sinbad: So considering that there is something like 108 node locations in the world most of the map will have a node present in it we’ve kind of done a lot of research on this as well. If the map stays the same, so they don’t make any major changes to it, it basically is the same geographical layout and if Steven’s decision to keep the world flat remains the same as well. We have a very specific spot that we’ve picked out: it bisects basically about five different biomes and so we figured that those different biomes will give different resources available to us and it also has a major choke point for any kind of trade that’s going through on the ocean and on land. So for us we want to go steal other people’s stuff. It’s going to be part of it for us. We definitely want to have that PvP mindset of your things that can become our things if we beat you. So choking off trade is going to be a huge portion of that. It’s gonna be a lot of fun for us. Many hours will be spent pirating or many hours will be spent protecting caravans that people pay us to protect. So that’s something that we’ll be actively doing. It’s kind of one of the choices we’re putting into where we’re selecting our biome. But it is intersecting about five different biomes, two different types of forests, a rainforest, desert biome, and a snow mountain biome.
Maezriel: Yeah. Nice, so it sounds like you guys have your kingdom already well plotted out which, and you kind of touched on it, brings me to my next question. Player services. So you had already said that you’re willing, you’re definitely, for hire to be to protect caravans and I’m sure somebody says hey this is a caravan for your node you would go help protect that. Is there any other kind of player services you’re looking to offer to maybe creative ways that people can help interact with not just the world but your guild as well?
Sinbad: Yeah, beyond just the obvious stuff like economic services and protection details for caravans what we are looking at is potentially locking down different dungeons, different raids, and selling access to that. It’s a completely open world game and a lot of value comes from what you can get in a dungeon considering that dungeons are open world you can definitely lock down rooms lock down the entrance and unless you’re one of our allies or someone that we’re currently working with we would expect you to basically pay for entrance. I think that would benefit our guild quite a lot. It also benefits our specific region so our node if someone else is coming from another nearby node to come to this dungeon we don’t want that other node becoming stronger than ours so by controlling access we can keep our nodes stronger.
Maezriel: Yeah right on. For other things of course if you said that you PvP are you guys going to be hired bounty hunters as well?
Sinbad: Yes quite a bit. Anything to do with PvP we’re gonna be involved. Personally, I love every aspect of player versus player combat just because it’s so unpredictable and there’s such a high level of skill that’s required for it.
So something that we want to do is bounty hunting. We’re going to be putting out bounties if we get the Mayor of our node considering that the Mayor can place a bounty on enemy nodes members. So we’ll be doing that. We’ll be having people out in the kind of like roaming bands of mercenaries just going out and killing people that aren’t part of our node just for fun. , making sure that they understand this is a clear boundary of where you can or can’t enter. So yeah we’ll be involved.
Maezriel: Awesome. I’m very very excited to see that and I know you said that…so one you have some fantastic aspiration but you also said that you’re looking at possibly nested guilds which I can understand that player…player alliances being what they are, like real life alliances, are fickle enough. Now add anonymity to that it’s real tricky to keep that long term.
Maezriel: What would you say would start to be the breaking point, how big would your guild have to get to really start stretching and so what’s your goal size?
Sinbad: So for us we’ve known for a while now that the biggest impact to how large you can grow is how good your leadership is and your structure inside the guild. Once you start getting to a point where your leadership is over taxed that there’s not someone on at all times to make a decision then the guild starts to falter. Especially if people are starting to get at each other’s throats because they’re stressed, because there’s not leadership, they’re not there’s no direction…then that guild will start to fold on itself. Currently we’ve been growing a little bit slower because we’re wanting to make sure we have the best people in leadership before we continue to expand and it’s not really a huge need for us to kind of get massive right now. We have basically about 200 members at the moment.
Maezriel: I would say for a pre-alpha game 200 members is still pretty massive. it’s impressive.
Sinbad: There’s…So ultimately our structure we’ve kind of based off of the success of some other guilds that we’ve seen and how they do it. So we’ve shamelessly stolen some ideas from them to kind of emulate in that sense right. We want to basically take what works and then use it for us. So guilds like Imperium for example where they go about Legacy now we’ve known them forever we’ve seen what they do it works and so some of the aspects that they have we’ve also borrowed. Part of that being getting the squad structure right. So squads being basically a five-man group you have a squad leader and then over them you’d have basically a couple officers to help coordinate them for specific purposes such as PvP…PvE intel. Things like that…stuff like that. We basically take you into modified for our own purposes and then we’re basically putting that to work for us. We are pretty confident that’s gonna allow us to always have an officer available, to always have someone in leadership available, to always have someone to make a choice
available and that will allow us to continue to grow past 200. I think our upper limit is going to be probably about 1200 members if we can grow that large. At launch we’re hoping for about 300 to 500 people.
Maezriel: Yeah hopefully something like this little podcast will help you guys out with that.
Sinbad: Yeah, yeah. I think it will and we also have a lot of other methods of recruitment. It’s just at the moment we’re waiting for alpha one alpha two and that’s when we’re really gonna push off with it.
Maezriel: Yeah I agree with you. I know for even my future content and trying to grow it’ll be closer to beta that’ll all probably happen. Yea and then of course so when discussing AoC specifically especially in this day and age [one of] the biggest elephant in the room, streamers. What is your personal take on them and then what will the guild’s rules be concerning streamers? I know i have seen some they’ll be no, others would be yes with limits so…yeah.
Sinbad: We actually support our streamers pretty heavily. We have content creators like it says they also have a couple others that are very big on YouTube that they’re waiting for Ashes to launch before they actually start really advertising the guild and that they have audiences of a few hundred thousand right. So we have a lot of people that we’re expecting to make content on a regular basis and we’re gonna help support them to do that. We do have some limitations on it obviously don’t film major guild events like caravan runs with hundreds of thousands of gold on the line for example. Things like, don’t film inner guild politics . Things that basically would compromise the guild in some way. But everything else is basically fine so if you want to film us going out and pirating that’s perfectly fine. If you want to film us running your own caravan that’s that’s also fine as well. We obviously know that with MMOs the average viewer is also a stream sniper and most guilds have people watching streams to basically gain intel so that’s something that we’re taking into consideration with how we’re going to stream and then a lot of content we’re going to put up we’re also going to cut and edit down for our own youtube channel and then for our own podcast as well we also have one of our members who is a writer who’s going to be doing kind of like a node newsletter basically everything that’s going on in the node they’ll be kind of journalizing it and posting it up on our website.
Maezriel: Awesome I’m excited to read that I know that’s…that’s what the intention of this little show to become is pretty much exactly that but for multiple different realms and of course as many notes as I can get my hands on so I’ll definitely talk to you later about that.
Maezriel: But yeah. It’s nice to see because I know especially with Ashes a lot of people are worried that a streamer will come in and completely dominate everything but like you said it’s I think for every streamer wanting to to be king of the world there’s going to be about twice as many as as they have viewers that want to be like that guy to take them down.
Sinbad: Yes that’s very true
Maezriel: I would be shocked if some of the top top sieges don’t have people with like five streams up on the second screen just trying to get a hold of everything so that’ll be, that’ll be, interesting for sure and I can’t wait to see it. I think around this time like do you have any other… so you said you already have some content creators i’m gonna grab those links i’ll make sure to put them in the transcription for this episode they’ll all be in there. I’ll just grab them from you if you don’t mind.
Sinbad: Sure I can send them over.
Maezriel: Yeah and then for your guild where can people usually find you? I know I did in the discord but where else would you say you normally posted?
Sinbad: So we’re on the forums so you can find us on there. We also have our own website which is ember e-m-b-r.gg as well we have our discord which is discord.eg embers e-m-b-e-r-s you can find us on any of those you can always also message me on discord I am sinbad9001 so I am over 9,000. Yeah you can reach out anytime we’re always available we have one of the friendliest communities one of the most
intertwined communities as well. We’re very focused on making people that join us feel like they’re at home so if you ever want to find a place that wants to be competitive realizes life comes first and that will actually make you feel like you’re a part of something not just another number come out and check us out. drop by our Discord.
Maezriel: Yeah I love to hear it and then and of course with everything that we have covered you it does sound like you guys have some very hardcore goals this is also a place where somebody who might want to just have a little house and go out and fish occasionally like on the Sundays. Is this a guild for them? or would you say you’re welcome into node but maybe not the guild for you.
Sinbad: You’re welcome in the node for us as a guild we have some pretty stringent requirements. We expect our members to be online about four to six hours a day on average. A lot of us have quite a lot of experience in MMOs.
We expect our members to come on board with the experience. If you have experience in games like MOBAs we’re willing to train you on an MMO just because MOBA typically translates fairly well. But most other games we’d have to kind of see that you’re capable right and unfortunately that’s just that’s just how it has to be for us. We have to kind of understand that we’re not going to be just carrying you, we want someone who’s going to contribute to the guild just as much as we will.
Maezriel: Yeah I do hope and I’m obviously we’re all waiting for the alpha very excitedly for that. I really want to see how this hybrid combat system works. I know I’ve been talking to my brother about it and he plays a lot of Destiny. That’s his primary game and the action combat I feel could become really close to PvE to Destiny’s PvE content so hopefully it won’t just be MOBAs that transfer over.
Sinbad: I hope so to. I’m honestly kind of excited to see iterations once we hit alpha one which we should be getting a date here in a couple days so that’s gonna be fun.
Maezriel: Fingers crossed and then are some of the members of Ember in alpha one? Can we expect to start seeing content?
Sinbad: Yes. Yeah, we have roughly about 35 members in alpha one. We have double that in alpha 2 and then we have quite a few more in the betas up to launch. We’re actively recruiting for people that are going to be in alpha one. I know there’s 10,000 people out there that should have access there’s very few guilds right now so if you have access to alpha one you want some people to play it with they’re gonna be super active during those tests and actually know what they’re doing have clear-cut goals for what they want to test. Come join us. We will also be posting content as well showing exactly what’s going on with the alpha one content. Understanding everything we can about it we have whole lists upon lists of different metrics we want to find out. So stay tuned for that with us.
Maezriel: Awesome. Yeah and like I said I’ll have links to all of that so if people are interested they can go ahead and sub now for the transcript of this episode which will be found on my website. But yeah I know this has been fantastic. I really enjoyed being able to sit down and talk to some other people. I haven’t actually been able to talk to a lot of people about Ashes of Creation as close to person to person we can get over a Discord call so.
Sinbad: Yeah I’m a nerd when it comes to Ashes so if you have any questions about it I love the game there’s always new updated information I try to keep up to date as much as possible with that so feel free to pick my brain or just nerd out with me on it and I’ll spend hours talking to you about it
Maezriel: Same yeah and I know you mentioned your Discord you also have a Twitter that they can reach you out does your guild have one?
Sinbad: I know at the moment no we’ve kind of stayed off of Twitter but we’ll be eventually putting something up there just we haven’t had a reason to join yet.
Maezriel: Sure makes sense. All right, well you guys, you heard it here for Sinbad from Ember from Phoenix Watch any last words before we close out?
Sinbad: Thank you very much for having me on. I was actually pretty blown away with your questions and obviously guys you should subscribe to him. Yeah I’m happy to have been on thank you man.
Maezriel: Thank you guys so much for listening. It’s always a nerve-wracking but very exciting time when you’re launching a brand new show and because of how helpful it is two new shows trying to get up off the ground please consider leaving us a five-star review on any platform that you found us on. As always if you wanted to be on the show maybe you have your own guild or community that you’re building up or maybe even just some really awesome stories of your interactions while playing some MMOs feel free to reach out to us you can always find us at poppedoff.com as well as our Twitter @popped_off or my own personal Twitter @MaezrielGG.
Thank you again guys have a fantastic day