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Outfitters

Posted in Gaming

I’ve been catching up on my gamer blog reading and have been enjoying Belghast’s posts around rebuilding/recovering a WoW guild. I found myself reading these with great interest as it means getting into a certain mindset.
I haven’t been a true leader of a group since around 2009 when we mostly retired from Planetside 1 due to hacker problems and the servers being moved to the US. While reading about rekindling buried leadership skills, it dawned on me that I did really enjoyed my time-share management of ChaosNC, a brief history of which I shall relate to you, if you haven’t got anything better to do.

I first tried out Planetside in January 2004 after being referred by gamer on Laser Squad Nemesis. I originally installed the game on my Laptop not long after I had my 512mb internet line connected. It still took an age to download.I signed up with my friend from LSN’s outfit, who were very welcoming. Despite being a new player I soon found myself a regular and rising in the ranks of the outfit.

Back seat leaders

ChaosNC

I was enjoying the squad leading from time to time which granted the rarer Command Experience (CEP), things were enjoyable and I found a groove that was working for my gaming lifestyle at the time. Over the summer months myself and other higher ranked outfit members appeared to be performing more and more leadership task and the high level command weren’t really around much.

It was September time that we found we needed to make some improvements to help the outfit grow, the sudo-leaders at that time had to make a judgement call which we did. However this was seen overstepping our remit by the higher ranking outfit member who on hearing of this suddenly returned all guns blazing, throwing their weight around and generally acting like spoiled children.

Why follow, when you can lead?

This was when we politely excused ourselves and had our characters quit the outfit, we also had made many allies in our time with the outfit so a number of them would follow our lead in the next few months.

Next was the hardest choice to make, rather than continue to play our existing characters we decided to roll brand new characters to make this a completely fresh start and to avoid any uncomfortable moments as the PvP nature of the game could be used against us.

In Oct 2004 we founded ChaosNC, the NC being for the New Conglomerate, the Chaos was a fun play on the Sepultura album Chaos A.D of which the founding members were fans.
Planetside only allows one leader, this means that one person ultimately controls the Outfit, however from our last outfit experience we wanted to implement a system that was fairer and gave members a more structured environment.

Org charts

The leadership role was taken on by the 3 founding members, this helped to ensure that we had a leader on nearly every day and that decisions were voted on to ensure a fair system. We wanted an outfit structure that was fair for all and after a number of iterations the Outfit was constructed as follows:

  • Leaders (3)
  • Senior Member (Second in command)
  • Senior Members (8) (Non command)
  • Other ranks denoting players experience in the outfit.

This odd make-up of ranks allowed us to have 3 levels of leadership, all with varying levels of authority and permissions. It also allowed us to poll at different levels for opinions, advice on promotions etc. This was very instrumental in help us to weed out disruptive behaviour before it became a bigger problem.

We limited the number of senior members to avoid too many people at high levels, players were promoted based on a number of factors, one of the key ones was their interactions with other members, attitude and

Guidelines

The last element that we have to decide on was a core set of guidelines that all members were expected to follow not matter their rank. As we played a number of other games with our group, we needed to make them generic enough so that they could apply to all games. We did have some game specific guidelines these were few and far between.

  1. No Teamkilling
  2. Treat other gamers with the respect you expect from them, both in game and on Teamspeak.
  3. All grievances should be taken up with senior members and should not be aired publicly.
  4. No Cheating (Players caught cheating will be kicked immediately)

But looking back is still a bit fuzzy

I’m sure that we could have had a larger outfit by taking on-board every player that wasn’t part of an outfit (this strategy was used some of the outfits), however being strict on the guidelines gave us unexpected results.
Despite the fact our outfit was smaller and hadn’t been around as long as others, we build up a good reputation and progressed up the outfit leader board, not that we came close to the very top groups, but it was humbling to see us progress in the reported figures.

I’m not sure if I can envisage myself performing a leader role in the near future as my life circumstances have changed, that said I never envisaged taking on the role the first time around.

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