Built upon a foundation of respect, the Call of Fate exemplifies the spirit of friendship and mutual support in a variety of venues, both in the games we play and within our community at www.calloffate.com. We strive to encourage one another; to spur each other on to the heights of success in our individual endeavors while acknowledging a variety of play styles, ability levels and motivations - this is our singular identifying characteristic. Though we are tolerant and helpful, we frown upon entitlement; for only through hard work and concerted effort will we improve as individuals and thereby as a guild. We are home to the whole gamut of personalities, and though we recognize that like-minded individuals will gravitate to each other, we are at our heart an inclusionary group. Our doors are open to the dreamer, the wanderer, the mystic, the jester, the leader, the follower, the powerful and mild alike; cross us and learn that we are all one - we are family, we are friends, we are the Call of Fate.
A Brief History Lesson...
When discussing topics related to the who, what and why of the Call of Fate, inevitably the game Asheron's Call rolls into the conversation.
It's not that AC was the best, most perfectist game of all time! (It wasn't.) Or that we spend all of our time gazing wistfully into the rear view mirror. (We don't.)
It's because AC was where we coalesced, and it was a very different kind of game from most MMO's. Much of the CoF core philosophy and attitudes can be traced directly to components of how AC worked, and you cannot effectively dissect what CoF is without looking at AC as a reference guide. I sometimes ponder what a different group we'd be if we had all first met in Everquest...
How recruiting worked in AC is important to the points to follow, so here's a quick recap, if you didn't know:
There was no such thing as allowing only a certain rank to give invites. All guild members had the ability to invite whoever they wanted.
The guild structure was a tree. You were sworn to your "Patron" and anyone sworn to you was your "Vassal." One Patron, many vassals. The Amway of the MMO world.
The person at the top of the tree was the monarch, and his name was pasted on you as long as you held allegiance in that tree if someone examined you. So, all of us in the Paladins of Fate showed "Ishamael Creed" for our allegiance info.
The tree could get very large, and early on it was nigh untrackable. As people would swear in, go inactive, or switch characters, you'd get big swaths of the tree that would be "dead" characters for several levels and suddenly you'd hit a pocket of activity. One person, 5 levels down in your tree might suddenly go crazy and recruit someone else with 100 followers and you'd pop up a guild rank and not know why. One day, Ish would have 800 followers, and the next day it would go to 1200; and it would take no small amount of /tells and research to figure out where they swore in.
We had NO guild chat, early on. You could use some chat switches to talk to a) your patron, b) your vassals, and c) your monarch. Aside from that, you had to form a fellowship to talk with a group.
All of the above left a fair degree of separation throughout the branches of the monarchy, which allowed the formation of what we called "houses."
HOUSES OF THE PALADINS OF FATE
We had many different houses, all serving under the umbrella of the values of Paladins of Fate. Some had their own names, but all had extremely different playstyles. Some houses mingled with others socially, but many of them would go fair lengths of time without seeing each other, besides guild meetings and occasional guild-wide events.
Just a few notable houses:
Defenders of Fate, headed up by Old Mage and Skeela (which is where Anwyr and Zanty came from!).
Ethereal Defenders - Enak's group Included Latro and Silenthunter and were mostly of the hardcore powerlevelling edge of death player style. They were our brute force & when we discovered new territory after a patch, they were always amongst the first in.
The House of Love - Loremaster Maingray and his harem of doting female followers.
Cerebus' Borealan Marauders was a quester group, medium-speed levellers, running dungeon events and digging through each month's patch for clues as to new dungeons and challenges. Karnak, Darvin, Aiko Jade, Hamanu, Panna, Chen & Alias came from here.
The Army of Fate - Tobias Esque and his group - diehard tea-sipping roleplayers, who levelled extremely slowly and seemed out of their medium actually finding themselves in a fight!
...and there were more, of equally diverse size and style. As long as any particular group bended a knee to the monarchy of Ishamael Creed and adopted our tenets of gameplay, they were welcome to join us.
As we started to branch into other games, the patron/vassal concept was erased, in favor of a big flat guild body, with a few ranks for officers. People still had their known list of friends, but as we mixed it up with some new members in each game, the idea of houses faded from the scene.
Fast forward a few years, where our houses would be challenged, without us even realizing it was going on - because of raiding.
WHAT'S RAIDING GOT TO DO WITH IT?
The first time we hit anything resembling the old school Everquest "raid" was when we started into World of Warcraft, and we found ourselves in a situation where playstyle started to determine just how far you could get. We had to come to terms with things like raid performance and harsh DKP looting methods, and the court was ever divided on those issues. We have, ever since, been wrestling with how to balance being kind and helpful as a community versus working on raid progression and seeing endgame content.
Much of the time it has felt like a two-sided struggle, as we defined the sides as the 'hardcore progression raiders' versus the 'casual gamer,' the question being: How do we make guild progress to the end raiding goal while still providing inclusion for casual players?
The theory under which we've been operating has been that there is a dial with a pointer on it, representing the swing between the extremes. As necessary, we have turned the dial up a notch or down a notch, looking for that exact sweet spot where we'd magically include all guild members (who wanted to be) in raiding, and yet keep the raiding team progressive enough to get the job done. Everybody happy!
We've given that theory a fair shake, and spent a great deal of time searching for the sweet spot of guild happiness, and you know what? It doesn't exist, for two reasons:
1) No matter where you set the dial, the progression players aren't going fast enough for them to have fun (they are always frustrated), while at the same time, the casual players chafe because too much is expected of them and they aren't having fun doing it. A good example: hardcore progression players expect to wipe a dozen times in one night to learn the ropes, casual players get tired and irritated after about 3-5 times. Either one side is frustrated at quitting "early" or the other side starts to feign disconnects because they aren't enjoying the raid, it is rough to find middle ground there.
2) More importantly, there are a lot more than two sides to the story!
As we've examined each variation of raiding we've done over the years, and how it shook out each time, it becomes clearer than ever that what we've really done is spend a lot of time ignoring the house structure from which we birthed as we tried to force everybody into the same middle of the road playstyle, frustrating many people in the process. One of the main things we've found as we asked players how things were going: we have been frustrating both ends of the spectrum, equally.
It's time to get back to letting folks play how they like, and making sure there is something cooking for all of our diverse playstyles.
Therefore, we are geeked to announce that one of the main changes coming with CoF 3.0 will be the return of CoF Guild Houses.
GUILD HOUSES IN COF 3.0
A CoF Guild House represents a group clustered around a particular playstyle, goal or even just a social group that is dedicated to a specific cause. At a guild-wide level, we could have the CoF Book Club, or a CoF Halo Clan. Within our MMO branches, a CoF House could be a group dedicated to a particular style of raiding, a PvP club, or a group of crafters organized for domination of the auction house.
Guild members may join one or more Houses, or opt to join none.
There will be benefits for forming an officially sanctioned Guild House, which include such things as your own private space in the CoF community, ability to recruit into your House as needed, and representation on the CoF High Council as a Lord or Lady of the House.
However, with the perks comes responsibility to give back to the community, and every CoF Guild House will need to meet ongoing requirements, including running a public event at least once a month for all guild members to join, posting group news to the website, and monthly involvement at Guild Meetings (where those are held in the games).