Feabhra (February) 2012 Edition

The holidays have come and gone, the gyms and fitness centers bombard our mailboxes and 2012 is well on its way. January brought us some great exciting moments including our CookieZerg, Vampiresbane's visit and tour of the ArenaNet facility, and the conclusion of our 2nd season of the Telara Saga.

With Guild Wars 2 on the distant horizon our family has begun putting in motion the family structure and stability plan. Through discussions in our family development focus group where we selected a sample of the various player types from within our family, we've come up with a solid course of action. This includes adding new ranks, electing new Draios, and formally announcing the Guild Wars 2 family tree. As if that all in itself was not enough excitement we also have the Spring Gaiscioch Stuffed Animal Double-Up Charity Event taking shape and form. I apologize for the excessively large edition but there's a lot of exciting information to share in this newsletter. Let's cover some current events first before jumping into the mind boggling structure stuff.

The First Annual Gaiscioch CookieZerg

Saying thanks with over 1,000 cookies, baked goods, and sugary treats!

This year with a simple random idea from Aisrine we invented the annual CookieZerg. We joined forces, united our troops, and broke out the cookie sheets for a massive assault on the gaming companies who have put in their time and efforts to build our family a home. Over 1,000 cookies, baked goods, and sugary treats took to the mail in this massive campaign.

These cookies were received very well and Evan Teicheira of ArenaNet said, "I cannot thank you enough for the kind regards and gifts, which we happily extended to the QA team, Community team, Designers and the rest of the studio!" he continues "I’ve passed along your message to the Community team and will be placing it in the hands of Martin Kerstein tomorrow, where it will help build the bonds between the guild and ArenaNet." Later Martin Kerstein, ArenaNet's Community Team Lead replied, "Just wanted to say thank you on behalf of all of us for all the stuff you folks sent over!".

That wasn't all! During our second week of CookieZerging activities Trion Worlds was the target. The initial package was received by the Guardian lore writter, Nicholas McDowell, who discovered the 16 bags filled with 13 cookies each. By the time he posted a picture to his Facebook and Twitter there were only 12 bags remaining. By the time the Community Team got their hands on it only 4 bags remained and handful of crumbs. Trion said thanks by posting "And we'd like to thank the Gaiscioch Clan on Faeblight for the delicious gift of cookies!" to their Official Facebook and Twitter which generated over 50 replies and retweets. James "Elrar" Nichols, formerly of Mythic and currently Rift Community Manager for Trion, even went as far as to post a thank you on the official rift forums.

All in all this year's CookieZerg was a great success. I am convinced that there is not a developer in either of those companies that doesn't know who we are and what we're capable of. Thank you all for making this year's CookieZerg a smashing success!

The Annual Gaiscioch Double-Up Charity Event

Coming this March - April, A New Gaiscioch Family Charity Event

Double-Up Charity EventWhat could be better than helping one charity in need? How about helping two at the same time. In March through April we'll be launching our Annual Double-Up Charity event where we will try to benefit two charities at the same time.

This year we'll be ordering stuffed animals for the low price of $5 each from the Kohl's Cares program which donates 100% of the proceeds to children's health and educational programs. The animals will be shipped to my address where they'll be collected, donated and delivered to the Raphael House in Portland Oregon which is a multi-faceted domestic violence agency which serves individuals and families of all backgrounds, cultures, and ages. This event is designed to benefit multiple charities at the same time. Each year we'll select another charity to try to benefit with the possibility of expanding nationally.

For each member that participates in this event they will receive a special badge on their profile and 1,000 Contribution points for their efforts & contributions.

Learn more about this charity event as it develops by visiting:

PvP Events Begin This Month!

The Gaiscioch prepare for the war in RIFT

RIFTEvery Wednesday night our family will be hosting a Raid / Expert Rift hunt for one side and a PvP Rift Hunt for the other. Each week we will rotate sides so that both sides can start to learn the PvP mechanics in RIFT. We will be gearing up for the 1 year anniversary patch which has been hinted at as the day the axe falls in the sand. We want to be sure that when it does all of our members can find enjoyment in the new features and content. It's our hopes that before March we can get many of you past Prestige Rank 3 and into some nice PvP Gear that will ensure your survivability in PvP situations. This event will be optional and you'll be welcome to help with the Expert / Rift Raiding if you wish to opt-out of the nightly PvP activities. With 1.7 looking to streamline the PvP Gear and Leveling system it should become much easier to compete in this arena.

Some of the major PvP changes coming in 1.7 include:

  • Removal of prestige requirement on armor
  • Increased the number of Prestige Ranks to 40
  • Removed Marks of Retribution (Converts to 1,600 Favor)
  • Increased statistical properties of PvP gear to be on par with equivalent raiding gear.
  • Changed PvP Gear into 3 Tiers which require previous tier to upgrade.
  • Added costume gear available for Favor.

For a full list of changes see:

The Telara Saga Wraps Up Season 2

Another great season of community driven events

The Telara SagaI wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who came out to our Telara Saga events for helping make it one of our premier event series. It has brought our family a lot of notice and has helped us bond with our server community. Without all your efforts and attendance it would not have been the sweeping success it was.

Now that the second season is over and the strength of Telara has been restored the United Telaran Front will go inactive, resuming their roles in the Guardian and Defiant military while waiting for the day they can put an end to the Dragon Cults once and for all. But as time passes, heroes fade away, and the ties that bind will soon come to an end.

What will be in store for Telara Saga Season 3? When will Season 3 take off? These are questions we are unsure of. We are watching the horizon to see what new content will be coming our way and if there is a story to tell we'll be sure to tell it. For the time being the Telara Saga has been put on hold while we allow the development team to ad some more content that is community friendly and epic in scale.

In its place will be our Expert / Raid Rifting event and PvP Rift event and we'll be testing our the Great Conquest event to see if that sparks any interest. The Great Conquest event starts in each realm's capital city and ventures from through the low level, mid level, and high level content on a progressive rift hunt across Telara all happening in less than 3 hours. This event should allow new players to travel with us to the far reaches of Telara and give them the ability to participate in Telara's Last Stand on Monday nights. If the event takes off we will be rotating it on Monday Night with Telara's Last Stand.

Telara Saga Press & Links

Living The History of Guild Wars

Catching up on the story of Guild Wars in a weekly community adventure.

Our new weekend event series beginning on February 11th at 5PM PST, takes us back 500 years in the past of Guild Wars 2 to live the events that transpired to shape the Tyrina into what it has become. We'll be revisiting the MMO Classic, Guild Wars as we will begin our adventures in Old Ascalon where we'll witness the Searing and meet Prince Rurik. Each week we'll be taking on new story missions until we complete the Eye of the North story.

We will be venturing through the original Prophecies campaign and the Eye of the North expansion. Some of you may like to join forces and visit some of the side stories found in the Factions and Nightfall campaigns. This event will continue up to the launch of Guild Wars 2. Join us and unlock achievements in your hall of monuments which will unlock special awards, items, and costumes in Guild Wars 2. Be a part of the legend and prepare yourself for the epic adventures to come.

Learn more by visiting:

The Gaiscioch Family Tree

In Preparation for Guild Wars 2

In Warhammer Online we experimented with using multiple guilds to create a focused mission for each room of the house. The "Gaiscioch Family" was born as Gaiscioch, Gaiscioch na Anu, Gaiscioch na Nuada, and Gaiscioch na Sigmar. Tied together with an Alliance we used the Alliance as primary chat channel and then used Guild Chat as specialized chat. Gaiscioch na Nuada was where our Hard Core PvEr's existed where Gaiscioch, Gaiscioch na Sigmar, and Gaiscioch na Anu were where the casual gamers hung out. This allowed the focused discussions and elite gameplay attitudes a separation from the general population which alleviated a lot of the friction between the two playstyles. We learned that a lot of the issues that arise when you combine casuals and competitive together in the same room.

When we came to RIFT, alliances were not an option. We had to run with everyone under one roof and in the end we saw just what pains that brings. People from various play styles don't typically acknowledge that others might not see the game the same way they do. The things they enjoy might not be what others enjoy. This is an age old friction point that has burned guilds to the ground time and time again.

Now enter Guild Wars 2 and their unique "Hot Swap" guild system which allows a member to swap their guild on the fly without ever cutting ties with any of them. Players may join several guilds if that's what they so desire and choose which to represent at any time. So a member can go from Gaiscioch, to Gaiscioch na Rall, to Gaiscioch na Nuada, back to Gaiscioch all in a matter of seconds. Members will be able to switch guilds on the fly allowing them to enter or leave rooms of our house.

What this means for our family is that we can return to the multiple guild approach and keep our friction level to a minimum. At PAX, Vampiresbane and I spoke with Martin Kerstein and learned of another neat feature which allows guilds to put points into some kind of Perks or Skills which will allow us to build specialized rooms focused 100% on a playstyle. Our current plan is to have 6 rooms in the Gaiscioch house.

Family Progression

Now structurally, we are breaking the Gaiscioch Family structure into Guests, Members, Veterans, Officers, Leaders, and Elders. In our new family tree there are a total of 15 ranks. The first 3 are the Guest ranks: Buirdeiseach, Treubh, and Muinntir. The next two are Member Ranks: Lorgair and Freiceadan. The Veteran ranks include: Saighdear and Gaisgeach. The Officer ranks include: Seaimpín and Laoch, Leadership ranks include: Ard Tiarna, Caomhnóir and Taidhleoir. We are dedicating Rank 12: Teagasgar to our fallen members who have past on from this world. Our elder ranks include: Maithean, Draio, Ceannard.

You may have noticed two new ranks within the leadership ranks. We've added Caomhnóir (Guardian) and Taidhleoir (Diplomat) to the Leadership roles. We've also moved Maithean (Elder) to the eldership roles. The Maithean will act as a Jr. Draio and will be taught how to become a Draio and prepare them for the task ahead. It also acts as a test to ensure that those who we've selected can perform the duties we require of them before handing over the keys to the castle. All the while giving the member time to adjust and see if this is really something they want to do. There will be a 6 month trial period on this rank before a member can become a Draio.

Now one of the changes we're putting into place is separating the "Earned" ranks from the Elder ranks. The reasoning behind this is that the Elders are not all Leaders. The role of a Leader is different from that of an elder. Think of the family like a business structure. The Chieftain is the President of the company, the Draio's are the Vice Presidents of their Departments, the Leaders (Ard Tiarna - Taidhleoir) are the Managers. When it comes to the person who gets people to come together, and run events those are our Leaders. They are the party planners, event leaders, and hosts of our events.

The Elder role is not one of event leading, point earning, and victory making. It's a position of organizing, supporting, serving, and listening. Its focus is more out of game than it is in game. One of the problems we've encountered in the past, is placing our leaders into elder positions, as the more they have to be bogged down with maintenance, planning, and peace keeping, the less they can stand up and lead. We want to keep our leaders on the battlefield and keep them bringing success to our family name.

Elders will be selected for their ability to listen, digest, and react in a calm rational manner. These will be our best listeners, the people you turn to if something happens in real life that you need to talk about. They are hard to offend, slow to anger, and display an unprecedented amount of patience. They will have the best understanding of our family's history, mission, functions, and goals and be a prime example of who we are and what we do. Publicly they must be flawless as they will be the most public facing side of the family. They must lead by example and bring out the best in everyone.

The Eldership will select potential candidates from the family ranks when they see players naturally placing others in front of themselves, acting calm and rationally in the heat of the moment, and have displayed their understanding of our belief system and goals. Once a person has been nominated they will be voted upon by the existing elders and a 100% unanimous vote will be required. The person will then be given one of 2 available Maithean roles per branch of the house. The Maithean will act as Jr. Draio's learning our ways, correcting behavior flaws, and begin taking part in family planning. After 6 months of being a Maithean the elders will vote on making them one of 3 Draio roles within each branch of the family. All in all we are looking at having 3 Draio's and 2 Maithean per room of our house.

Both elders and leaders will participate in monthly meetings on the first Saturday of each month. Leaders will provide insight as to what's happening on the front lines of their branch so that the elders can better assist in making their rooms stronger. Elder meetings will take place immediately following the Leadership meeting. It is our hopes that by using these two types of people to their fullest potential, they can help us become even stronger and grow to unprecedented sizes without the stability issues we've felt in the past. In addition we'll be able to continue to grow relationships within development studios, media outlets, and server communities.

Read More at: The Gaiscioch Family Structure

Gaiscioch Family Tree

The Gaiscioch Family House

Picture this as a house, on a little hill, with little fences and everything. The first room members will enter will be Gaiscioch. This room is our entryway. It is where members will learn about the family, begin participating in the family events, and begin making friends within our community.

Once a member becomes a Saighdear, they will be given the key to our house and are free to move about the house as they like. The interior of our house includes the living room, Gaiscioch na Anu (Casual Gaming), and the bedrooms Gaiscioch na Nuada (End Game PvE), Gaiscioch na Rall (PvP/WvWvW), Gaiscioch na Goibniu (Crafting & Commerce), and Gaiscioch na Oghma (Roleplay). Members will have the ability to join as many of these as they prefer. Each Bedroom will be focused around their specialty and run by the Ceannard, 3 Draios, and 2 Maithean. Each room of our house will be hosting 1 public community event per week which the Elders will work with Leaders to schedule. All of these rooms will be tied together by the Gaiscioch Family alliance and we will use Alliance chat as our primary chat and guild chat as our specialized chat.

This structure will allow our membership to play with like minded people, ensure that all veteran members have a firm understanding of our family and our belief system, and allow people to join and leave each room with little to no maintenance required by our elders.

The Family Welcomes Our Newest Draio's!

Three long time Gaiscioch members join the Elder Ranks to help usher in a new generation.

With the new family structure the elder council has met and elected 3 new Draios to oversee, research, and assist with planning for 3 of our branches. All 3 of these members received a 100% unanimous vote by the elder council and have gone above and beyond in their own specialty area.

Draio de Gaiscioch na Goibniu (Crafting & Commerce)

Laochan is one of our original members of the Tuatha from Dark Age of Camelot. In Camelot she had mastery level crafters for each profession and largely contributed to the families overall success. She officially joined the family in Warhammer Online and played RIFT for a short period of time. She is very proactive, very articulate and always willing to help explain something in words that people can understand. She has always been a calming voice in the room and has taken it onto herself to be the lead on researching everything crafting in Guild Wars 2. We are very proud to have her take the helm of our crafting branch and look forward to working with her to ensure its overall success. [ View Profile ]

Draio de Gaiscioch na Nuada (End Game PvE)

Bentmer has been a member of our family since Warhammer Online and never really saw himself as leader. When we came to RIFT he saw a hole in our family in the leadership of end game raids and dungeons. Members continually bled out due to lack of involvement in these areas and Bentmer stepped up to the plate to organize and lead groups. Bentmer found great success in leading and has lead our family to victories over almost every boss in RIFT. Many of his successes won the family first on the server achievements and some first in the world. His calm, laid back, and often humorous style of leadership made him the perfect candidate for this position. Effective immediately Bentmer will take lead of the families Raiding & Endgame activities and provide our Elders with insight on what's needed to grow this part of our family. [ View Profile ]

Draio de Gaiscioch na Rall (PvP/WvWvW)

Vampiresbane originally joined the family in Warhammer Online and became a well known warlord among the server community. He lead countless events and dagger squads for our family and has been actively researching WvWvW within Guild Wars 2. He has even gone as far as paying ArenaNet a visit. He has frequented PAX with Don & me to further his understanding of this system which will be a big part of our future. He has stepped up to be the front running information source for our Guild Wars 2 division and it's through his leadership, calm demeanor and friendly attitude that we are proud to bring him into the Eldership. [ View Profile ]

I want to congratulate the 3 of you and give you a firm salute. You have earned this place within our family and I look forward to working with you all.

Over the next few months we will be announcing the first batch of Maithean to join the eldership ranks and learn the ways of the Draio. It is our hopes that we can have 3 Draios representing each room of our house by the time we go live in Guild Wars 2 but will need time to work with the potential candidates to see if they are willing and able to accept the role. Keep an eye out for our March Ceannard Notes as we will likely announce our first round of Maithean. The second wave of Maithean will be brought into the picture late summer 2012.

In Closing

I'd like to thank you all for your ongoing commitment to the family. We have grown far larger than I've ever imagined and reached so many people I could have never dreamed of reaching. Every day that we exist the world is a better place. I am proud to call you all family and look forward to our ongoing commitment to our community both in game and out.

Slan Go Foill!
(Goodbye For Now)

Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley
Ceannard De Gaiscioch Treubh