Yes, in terms of guild sizes, five hundred players were barely a blip on the the radar. Most decent sized guilds had something in the range of a thousand to three thousand players. Platinum sized guilds were usually in the five to eight thousand range of players. Any guilds smaller than a thousand weren’t usually taken seriously by the larger guilds on the server. These simple facts became obvious when we had a guild of less than fifty players on Anarchy Online.
Anarchy Online had land that each guild could take ownership of that offered extra bonuses of health and other stat bonuses to the entire guild. Notum Wars, the Anarchy Online add-on that introduced land ownership and PVP, put the larger guilds in complete control over the land ownership aspect of the game. The only way you could compete against such guilds were to be a large guild with an international membership. Yes, and international membership. Without having international players, there was no way for the small and regular sized guilds to protect their land around the clock from the Large and Platinum sized guilds that could launch a force against another guilds holdings at any time of the day or night.
When I moved with my friend to World of Warcraft’s open Beta, we decided to put together a guild of non-assholes. Asshats and PKers were rampant in the MMO world. This could be regulated to an extent by the use of people refusing to team up with known ninja looters or crappy playing players, but if the entire guild were a bunch of PKing fucktards, there wasn’t much you could do about their anti-social behavior. Well, you couldn’t if they were one of the Platinum sized guilds. Otherwise, players can do amazing things when they work together on a server. What my friends and I ended up doing was fighting these players when and wherever they were being assholes.
For the most part this worked, except when those assholes were a platinum sized guild. Usually this meant we were placed on a blacklist for those guilds who were doing the end game bosses and we were never invited to participate as extra damage in those raids. It also put us on the list of guilds that these guilds would purposely try to grief if we ever went after those in-game bosses.
This might sound extreme to some for simply wanting to play a game, but honestly, it was business as usual in MMOs. Hell, Anarchy Online was better than many other companies at running MMO games, because they actually had safe zones where PKers couldn’t unendingly grief newbie players. Also, while it was ugly at times, it also brought a certain realism to the world we were playing that made the MMOs even that much more addicting.
Move forward a few years to World of Warcraft and this was different but similar. Platinum sized guilds owned the end game instances. Luckily, Blizzard made these end game world dungeons instanced so that you couldn’t be griefed while trying to take on the dungeon. Now, that didn’t stop the area before the doorway to the dungeon from turning into a massive PVP brawl. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I entered into Molten Core with only half durability on my armor due to trying to get the raid through the actual door. While things like this pissed you off to no end, it also made the world so alive and exciting.
My guild, Black Rook Hold, on the Llane Server was too small to do Molten Core and the other end game instances alone with the player base we had. So, I ended up making an alliance with three other smaller guilds. Together, we had nearly fifteen hundred players as a base to build a forty person raid team. This brought us to the minimum number of players necessary to try to take on the game’s end game dungeons.
To do this and be successful took nearly an in real life year to complete. This is because while it is easy to get forty players, it is not easy to get forty good players who are willing to use tactics and strategy to take out a major boss and their guards. You’d always have some idiot trying to show how awesome they were on the DPS meter by out-damaging everyone in the raid and pulling the boss or guards off the primary and secondary tanks, which in turn would wipe the raid. It not only took forty players who were willing to work together, play smart, and farm all of the items a player needed between running the raids, it took forty people willing to die regularly for eight to twelve hours a run to learn how to take down the bosses. This usually was over a time period of three to four months once you got the hang of it.
We usually ran the end game dungeons three times a week. In-between those times, a player in the raid was expected to farm the materials needed for Greater Health, Armor, Fire/Frost resistant potions, farm the materials needed to make unique armor that had high resistances for certain types of damage, run unique dungeons to get special drops for increasing resistances in specific types of magic or poisons, and get enough money up to be able to repair your gear between each run. It was also expected of most players to have two or even three sets of armor, because, when you were learning an instance, you went through armor sets quickly due to the constant dying. Usually, after your fourth death, your armor’s durability was down to zero and you had to put on your back-up armor.
The number of hours a hardcore player put into most MMOs ran around eight to twelve hours each day during the week and eighteen plus during the weekends. Being a hardcore player means that you weren’t making money playing, but you were completing the same end game content that professional groups did. Starting out World of Warcraft was extreme for the first two month it took to reach maximum level. You had to have a max level character to be able to park in the contested PVP zones while leveling up your backup characters to be able to deal with PKing spawn campers. Most hardcore players had ten level sixty players to be able to cover the various crafting and classes necessary to do the end game content. Honestly, for my friends and I, the hardcore playing didn’t slow down until after the first two years of playing. Hell, it might even have been the first four years.
This is my personal gaming experience. This is also the gaming experience from my online group of friends that I am bringing into The World series. Many of the PKing fights I discuss are actual situations that we ran into inside the games ourselves. Yes, some have been taken to the next level to make an interesting story and dramatized the events, but, nonetheless, they are mostly based on our game play experiences to one level or another. So, when I’m talking about the number of players in a guild, alliance, or the hours put into gaming, this is from personal experience. In truth, I can’t imagine how much more addicting this would've been if the games were using FIVR technology.
The next part I’d like to bring up is book 6’s story that goes over a twenty-four hour time period. When I was writing the story, it just happened that the day ended up encompassing a twenty-four hour time period that went out to six hundred and ninety-four pages of straight story. From the feedback I’ve been getting, the fans of the series are loving the story even if there happened to be a slight cliffhanger at the end. The funniest part of the responses I’ve been receiving so far is from the other authors within the genre. They’re shocked and confused at how a book can be published that only covers a twenty-four hour time period, which just makes me laugh. Have they completely forgotten about the TV Series 24? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_(TV_series)) Anyway, once I remembered how awesome the 24 series was, I didn’t hesitate releasing book 6’s story.
The TV series 24 was truly inspiring. It's a show that you simply couldn’t stop watching once you start on episode one. I literally watched the series straight through until I was forced to go to work the morning with burning eyes and feeling like a living zombie. Maybe the series has motivated me to write in a similar style, because I’ve been told plenty of times that once people start reading The World series they simply can’t put the books down due to the constant action within the story. If I can even come a little bit close to the genius of that series, I’ll be super happy as a writer.
I don’t plan to do twenty-four hours as the norm for my books and would rather the stories to cover a minimum of two days if not an entire week. At the same time, if the story is there due to the intense interpersonal relationships, action, and the depth of the on-going adventures, I will not hesitate to do a twenty-four hour story. That’s one of the great things about being able to self-publish my own books. I can do the story how I like and cover the details I think need to properly told without someone looking over my shoulder and telling me no. Well, as long as the fans are enjoying the story. That’s the only measure I’m using to judge my work.
Anyway, thank you for reading my ramblings and for allowing me the flexibility to tell the story the way I want … even if it’s crazy like book four was ;)