"As our move into our 18th year as a community, internally we are starting to see the children of our members applying to join," writes Sean "Dragons" Stalzer, president and CEO of The Syndicate. "Said a different way, that means people who have only known MMORPGs similar to WoW or EQ or UO or Rift are heading off to college."
When we interviewed Dragons three years ago, we examined the group's massive size across multiple games, its unrivaled retention rate (an average loss of one to two people per year, for a 99.92% retention rate), and its own studio that turns out strategy guides for casual players and handles game and hardware consulting and testing for various game companies. That's a heady bouquet of achievements for a hardworking guild. Still, the group's anniversary this month makes waves in a much larger context -- a new era for MMO designers and fans alike.
"It matters because the MMOs of the past 17 years were created, in large part, by a community of developers who knew the world of BBS gaming via a modem... who played MUDs and MOOs... who, in the more senior levels, knew gaming before there were computers," Dragons writes. "We are just now reaching the point where the future programmers, designers, producers etc.. are heading off to college having never known a world without MMORPGS. Some of the core mechanics and concepts that shaped what 'success' is in the MMORPG world are things they have never experienced, and that isn't a bad thing. It means there is change coming to the MMO space."