Here is a message from Caleqs, guild founder and all around good person:
The History of the Commune
As told by Granny Caleqs, she of the limited memory
I suppose the best place to start this is with some background leading to the formation of our guild. But how far back to go? I guess, given that I am telling this tale, I’ll start with me…
And Frugguk/Franzia/Frivyn/Fr*. Frugg had been playing EQ for a few months when he first turned me on to it. He was playing with some friends at work. Most notably, Kanella. This was early ’99 if I recall. I joined them and started getting used to the game. We were all playing on Rodcet Nife when Frugg brought up that he had other friends at work that played on Xegony, had been playing since beta, and had a great guild. Given that we were all about level 10 on the Nife, we decided to head over to Xegony and start up there.
The core group of us were Frugg, Caleq (my mage), Kanella, Bruken, and Harlee. We joined the guild Guardians of Wisdom en masse sometime around August of 1999. We played for several months, gaining friends along the way, Tulwena (Ronarin today), Aslen, Boueff (Aru today), Bluudlett, Baelan, and a handful of others. Notable members of GoW included Windrunner (now in IC), Bakk (now in IC), Shasti (now in TC), Spak (now in TC (Balker- [Jarroll note: Balker is Honais and was once an officer] )), Tika (now on ebay), and other current or former TC members whose names I cannot recall. We had become a tight little band within GoW. However, there were problems. GoW had a bunch of high-level players who aspired to be uber, and a bunch of us in the low 20’s who aspired to have fun.
A riff resulted within GoW as the lower-level members felt like second-class citizens around the older GoW members. Exacerbating this riff was the guild hierarchy and rules system. The guild was run by a select few and there were rules and meetings and point systems. All these things put in place in an effort to manage the guild, only worked to further separate the lower-level characters from the upper-level characters that formed the guild leadership.
It was at this time, amidst a bunch of drama that does not bear recanting, we separated from GoW to start a new guild. On February 15th, 2000, a mailing list was started called InkieTerror. It is here that the plans for the new guild were hatched. The members that left were Caleqs, Frugguk, Bluudlett, Kanella, and Harlee. We immediately began the delicate task of establishing a guild name. Bruken joined the list a day later.
I outlined the earliest thoughts on the vision for our guild in a post on 2/16/00, “This will likely not have a webpage or any official rules. WE should just make a guild to use guild chat and let it all just evolve. I'd say many officers and just a process for adding new members. Maybe quick email vote or something, but many many officers so there's no power issues to evolve.” I went on to add, “Membership selection is the only area I think we need to outline the process for. Other than that, no rules. As you may recognize, this was the birth of the No Rules rule.
Frugg added to this, “As for membership, I would propose that one or more of the charter members should group with someone a bit before they get invited. Hell, we're together enough, we can just discuss it here. They're "in" unless someone says "no". We can keep this list for just us 6, and start a new one for the
guild.” And so began our recruiting policy that stood until late 2001 when we’d become too big for a loose recruiting policy. This was also the start of the EQ-TheCommune mailing list, although we had not selected a name as yet.
As seems to be the norm, evil reared it ugly head on only the second day of our new band of brothers. Bruken posted, “ohh i want to be a guild officer!!!!<all>what... Oh yea if we do start the new guild I wanna be an officer or a peon i'm just in it for my Resume anyways” Well, we had no rules for kicking folks out of the guild that didn’t exist yet, so we just insisted Bruken take his medicine.
On February 7th, we put the following names to a vote of the 6 founders:
6 Ways to Sunday
Blood or Money
Dogs of War
You are Here
Left Lane Bandits
Geez I'm Retarded
Dehr <means virtue in chinese>
Tao of Norrath <pronounced DOW>
Bluud's Soup Kitchen
Bluud's Butcher Shop
The Caddy Shack
Shudder to Think
Bonus points if you can guess what GOTNLG and FMITGA stand for.
As you can guess, and if you can’t, you’re dumber than Aru, we ended up with The Commune, which is credited to Frugguk as divine inspiration. This was Frugg’s logic:
I like it because:
- we ARE going to be a commune; no "leaders" per se; there's no
"structure" as far as ranks or any of that.
- it has a certain "mystery" about it, in the same light as "The
Center" (from "The Pretender" show), "The Company", or "The Firm".
- It's short
- It's not pretentious. I always hated the GoW name; I mean, come ON.
- It's not cornball.
And so you have it. The origin of the name. The mailing list EQ-TheCommune was created in conjunction with the selection of our guild name.
The guild was established on Xegony February 17th, 2000. Membership at this point included the founding members Bruken, Frugguk, Harlee, Caleqs, Kanella, and Bluudlett and former GoW members Tulwena/Ronarin, Angred, Aslen, Aspasha/Ceraphin, and Kaynon.
On March 1st, Frugguk penned our guild motto, which stands today, “From everyone what they can give. To everyone what they need. All hail The Commune.” Pure inspiration.
That was the birth of TC. TC slowly expanded after that. Adding a person here, another there. Very slow growth based on the natural social circles formed as everyone played. The great "Fr" was the one that recruited me back as a little bard in LOIO.
When the bulk of the TC mains got into their 40's they began to raid. Small, insignificant places at first. I recall the learning pains in /gu. Guvil, Mellyn, and Lazuras (the original Laz) are the names that come to mind as the main raid leaders of this time. Learning how to do CoM was a long and trying time. TC based on its founding principals gained much respect due to the skill of our players (as we gained it anyways) and the respect we gave to others as a part of our guild mentality. This respect and our ability to get things done lead to the next phase of TC. We began to lose some people as they reached level 60 as they moved on to bigger, more raid oriented things. At one point some felt we were nothing but a training ground and feeder guild for IC.
The next year saw explosive growth. We went from a tiny guild of friends to what many considered a teir 2 guild by many and a teir 1 by several. Our reputation and ability to raid high end mobs was our blessing and our curse. Jolo and Lumpus were the pivital people in this period of TC evolution. They led raids 5+ nights a week. This was when the methods we take for granted were being developed and discovered. The current website was activated during this time by Jolo. The website was a huge thing for us and looking at the total membership list for the site I can only imagine the traffic nightmare that was there. During this time there were recruiting freezes constantly. The first semi-formal recruiting system was put into place. Even with these controls we continued to grow. The larger we became the more power-gamer oriented folks we attracted and the more we alienated the "small town" minded people. The question became to become a full-fledged teir 1 guild or remain what the founders of TC invisioned. There was little choice involved for many. We would remain TC and not become something we weren't. This was never a formal decision. Many people were not as happy as they once were and the explosive growth was the obvious culprit. As the core began to pull TC back in line with the concept of TC we lost many people. This leds to the next stage in TC.
The next 6 months was a declining period for TC. The guild lost a third or more of its members, mostly from the top end. Our ability to raid was severly damaged. Some periods it looked like TC might disappear. At times this has saddened some, but we are all firm that our decision to remain a family was correct. We maintained the family environment that we all joined for. Slowly, and more cautiously than before, we have rebuilt our strength. We are again capable of doing raids and our targets continue to get bigger over time. At times we have gotten back up to 3-5 raids in a week, but still not as intense as before. Key raid leaders for this period are Tomech,Jariel, and myself (Jarroll). We went through ups and downs where we were very active and then dead. We were like a guild with bi-polar disorder I suppose. One period got a little shakey in the background and it looked like the guild might have fallen apart again, but working in the background, things were figured out and all is good. We had learned from our past and will avoid those problems in the future. Somewhere in this time the actual leadership tag got past to me (Jarroll), although it was really meaningless since we did everything by consensus generally.
We have seen the full social cycle of the rise and fall of guilds. I am proud to say that TC has remained through it all. We are much different than the founders imagined (I'm not incorrect in this am I Cal?), but we have stayed true to the intention that was TC. One last thing I'd like to share was something I came across in the old-school officer messages done by Lumpus. This was part of a long message during the time of our explosive growth. I think it sums up our views on recruiting and rules of play.
TC was initially founded based on two simple but powerful princlples. First, the idea was to guild the person behind the toon, not the toon. This founding principle means that we want to know and like every TC memeber, not recruit toons based on class or level as needed. This principle also means that, of course, all of your twinks are welcome in the guild. The second principle is the now-famous single rule of TC - "Don't be a Prick (tm)". If you need to have this one explained, you are in the wrong place TC values and respects our good reputation across the server. We expect our members to conduct themselves with maturity and show good will towards others whenever possible. We are, for the most part, a guild of adult players. Given that, we will always understand when real life comes between you and your EQ. Raids will never be mandatory, and we will always understand that important real life issues come first.
The reason that we have only one rule is that the guild was intended to be lead by the members, for the members. The officer corps is just there to take care of the pesky details that someone has to assume responsibility for - muling, guilding, and coping with the occasional public relations issue. We by no means ever intend to dictate policy to the general membership. And we want the general membership to open and participate in debates, lead guild events, and in general do whatever they want to do in TC.
November 2005 update:
The last period touched on above had Tomech, Jariel, and myself leading raids for TC. Jariel eventually moved on to a raiding guild as did many others. Once again we were in a decline like we had seen before. Like before, TC decided to stay true to its family-like mindset and we managed.
We became a part of a small raiding alliance that once again started us off on raiding. I (Jarroll) continued to led raids/events that we could manage. in conjunction with members of the other small guilds from the alliance. Eventually, some of the guilds in our small alliance began to fall apart. We took in people from those guilds that wanted to join. We managed to do most of the Teir 1 Planes of Power mobs and several of the Teir 2 between us and the alliances.
Ultimately, EQ began to implode on itself overall. The gap between the true raiding guilds and those that didn't raid overwhelmed the game. The release of EQ2 and World of Warcraft in November 2004 more or less finished off TC as well as crippled alot of the general EQ1 population.
There was a TC formed in EQ2 that ultimately merged with another guild. The guild tag is still around and they are currently considering a rebuilding effort (need more info from those in EQ2).
World of Warcraft initially had servers based on time zones. TC was split between the Lightbringer Server (PST) and Argent Dawn (EST). Those on Lightbringer advanced through the game a bit quicker pace and merged/joined another guild to continue with further end game content. The Argent Dawn TC is still active in the family-like tradition of the founding principles. We've have started slow and joined in on pickup 10-15 man raids. We have moved on now to organising and leading these raids. Once we get a little more experience under our belts, I am hoping to move onto the 20 man raids. Those that have come before us gave us what we needed in the grand tradition of our motto. As long as we hold true to those principles they gave us we will be fine.
April 2007 Update:
The Commune of Argent Dawn in WoW continues to survive. Since we started off in WoW as a tight, close group we never got out and expanded greatly. The overall populace of WoW has a much younger and/or immature mentality, so we avoided alot of growth. Throughout our time we have had fun and done just about all of the single group content. We have done some of the 20 man content (and a little of the 40 man stuff) through other medium size groups that we've met such as Clan of Choas and Wrath of Hamachiman. Old School TC folks have joined us and then departed. Others have joined and brought in real life friends and family. TC still holds true to its basic founding principles of playing when/if you want and real life family/issues/etc still are ok to have and be a part of the guild. Blizzard seems to be taking WoW down a notch from raiding to smaller content. We do what we can with what we have. Former TC people from the Lightbringer server merged with a larger guild early on in WoW's life, but they still come over and chat with us from time to time.
February 17, 2008 update: Happy 8th Birthday TC!
Not much has changed since the last update. TC continues as a tiny, close group of friends. We have tackled just about all the 5 man content available to us in WoW. Some of us have seen some of the 10 man content. The alliances mentioned previously have gone away. Those guilds ended up ripped apart by squabbling internally. We continue to stay who we are and do our own thing.
October 28, 2008 update: Time Flies...
WoW continued to be its normal process. TC on Argent Dawn continued as a small group. We started doing raids with Family Draconis. Much in the same process as with WoH, this was a small group of people that needed some additional bodies to start doing raids. The raids started and were doing well. Like those in TC had seen time and time again, things were going good and people wanted to push into more formal raiding. As usual when this happens, TC pulled back. Shortly after FD imploded. Several of the FD people started their own guild for a month or so. About the same time we had several old TC people rejoin the game. TC eventually absorbed most of the FD people as well as some of the older WoH people that were still around. TC is up to 10-20 people on most nights. It is good to see an active TC again. Hopefully we will avoid the same issue that has plagued various guilds and TC since time began.
February 17, 2011 update:
WoW continues to be home to TC. TC has varied between the above 10-20 a night and 1-3 per night in the past two years. Players have come, gone, come back, and left again. We stay true to our common goal of playing a game around Real Life rather than planning RL around a game. This keeps us small, but we manage to have fun in our own ways.