Guest Blog - Dragons from The Syndicate Guild
It was August of 2008 in south Boston. A couple of hundred members of The Syndicate (www.LLTS.org) were gathered in a hotel for the 7th annual, five day, SyndCon gaming event. Game developers were invited to show off their content, obtain feedback and promote their games. A fledgling raffle, to raise money for charity, was starting up and a table was full of items for the raffle. That year there were two significant focuses of the SyndCon event. First, a highly sought after raffle prize... in the form of black T-Shirts with phrases such as "Getting Booty since 1720..." and "Support Piracy..." and second, the LAN gaming room that contained machines running Pirates of the Burning Sea.
For quite some time following that SyndCon, The Syndicate had hundreds of members playing Pirates of the Burning Sea. Members might adventure solo or in groups... they might call out for help when jumped by a player whose ship completely out-matched them or they might pick a time and meet up to coordinate a larger scale attack. It was the days of Teamspeak and even IRC was still a heavily used tool for communication in some areas. 'High Speed' internet was around 20MB/s and often only 10MB/s around the US. Bleeding edge PCs would have been a Core 2 Quad from Intel with many gamers still running 1 or 2 core machines. If you dropped big bucks on a video card you may have bought the GE Force 8800 that came with 1GB of RAM. Most gamers had lesser cards with 512MB of RAM or even less.
The world of gaming was much different a dozen years ago. Yet there was (and still is) a strong lure of being a pirate on the open sea, cannons firing, cursing the wind not being what you wanted it to be or running when you were outnumbered and outgunned hoping you could get away before you were sunk. That lure brought many hundreds of gamers together in an online game the likes of which we haven't seen since. And I think for many gamers, the word "since" is applicable as they thought PotBS had gone away. I think many in the gaming world don't realize it still exists, is free to play and remains a fun game. I know my community was unaware as we had lost track of it over the years, so its a great find to see its still out there; has a dedicated community of a few hundred pirates and has a vision for the future of new content and enhancements.
If you fast forward to today, you will still see Pirates having an impact on The Syndicate. One of the subtle, yet very cool ways will be at SyndCon 2020. That will be our 19th annual event celebrating our 24th year as a MMO community. That charity raffle has grown from a single table to 8-10 tables of l00 ft. And the centerpiece every year, for more than a decade is a pirate treasure chest sent to us by the PotBS team all those years ago. Every year we get some new conference attendees who hope they can win it but who end up coming to realize its not a prize, but the center piece and a reminder of a very cool game we used to play heavily and hope to play again.
As Pirates celebrates 12 years, it is very cool to come across the game again; see it still making waves and see that there are plans for the future. The Syndicate will likely have its own fleets of pirates in the game again soon and if you see us around, shout LLTS!