PIF Silvergate Guild Charter and FAQ

This is a fairly large document which contains four sections.  Despite it's size, new applicants are advised to carefully read it in its entirely so that you might understand the history, tenets, and ideals behind our guild.

1.  Guild Management Roster
Guild Charter
Introduction and History
An open letter from Kailef

1.  PIF Guild Management Roster - Revised December 2011

2.  PIF Silvergate Guild Charter - Revised December 2011

  1. Statement of Purpose
    Our guild exists to create a fun, stress free environment for our members to interact, help each other, and assist new players with learning.
  2. Guild Leadership

    A.  Guild Management

    The Guildmaster, Kailef, is ultimately responsible for all final decisions regarding the guild, and is responsible for insuring that all of the tenets in the Guild Charter are adhered to by all members.  In the absence of the Guildmaster, the Assistant Guildmaster will assume the duties of the Guildmaster.
    Guild Officers are assigned by the Guildmaster to perform broad ranging duties as defined by the Guildmaster.  In the absence of the Guildmaster and Assistant Guildmaster, Guild Officers are responsible for guild decisions.

    B.  Guild Lieutenants
    Templars are assigned by the Guildmaster to independently perform specific duties as directed.  Templars do not have authority over guild decisions except in the areas they are specifically assigned.

    Agents are assigned by the Guild Leadership to provide specific aid to a member of the Guild Leadership in the exercising of their specific responsibilities.  Agents do not have authority over guild decisions.
  3. Guild Server and Faction
    PIF Silvergate is an multi-game guild, and as such, specific server and faction information varies depending on which game we are participating in.  Creation and play of alternate characters and unguilded characters is permitted within reason, but the bulk of time spent gaming should be with your primary, guilded PIF Silvergate characters.
  4. Member Responsibilities
    All active members, unless specifically relieved of this duty by the guild management because of their skills being needed elsewhere, will participate in the PIF Silvergate Advocate program.  This program requires two separate two hour long shifts per month to be spent on duty in a starter town, where the member will provide assistance to new players in getting acclimated to the game.  This duty, in general, is no longer required of World of Warcraft players.
  5. Code of Conduct
    All members must be kind, courteous, and refrain from use of profanity at all times.  Offensive language, intentionally instigating other members or players, rude behavior, etc, may result in disciplinary action up to and including the immediate termination of guild membership.

    If a member feels that another member has behaved inappropriately, or has a grievance against another member for some reason, it should be discussed privately and resolved.  If a member cannot or will not discuss the matter privately, they are required to speak with the guildmaster, an officer, or the Internal Affairs Coordinator.  Publicly discussing a grievance, whether voice chat, guild chat, or otherwise, is strictly prohibited.  Failure to follow the guidelines in this paragraph is grounds for dismissal from the guild, at the discretion of the guildmaster.
    Priority must be given to guild members when creating groups, distributing extra items, etc, over non-members.  All  members are to be considered equal, regardless of rank or station within the guild.  While it is understandable that you would prefer to group with those you know well, remember that it is a violation of our Code of Conduct to behave in a fashion that does not consider the needs of others.  Greed and self-interest are not appropriate attributes for our guild members.

  6. Participation
    Guild members are expected to participate in-game and on the message boards regularly.  Attendance of scheduled guild meetings is mandatory, although at this time PIF does not hold meetings on a regular basis.  If circumstances completely prevent your attendance, it must be reported in advance of the meeting.  Any extended absences must be reported to the Guildmaster or an Officer as soon as you are aware of them.  The guild management reserves the right to remove members who are inactive for too long or regularly miss scheduled duty shifts or guild meetings.

    "Participation in-game" as mentioned above entails spending the bulk of your in-game time grouped with other PIF Silvergate members in one of the games that PIF Silvergate is currently active in.

  7. Guild Treasury / Funding
    PIF Silvergate will maintain a guild treasury for the purpose of funding our crafters, expeditions, equipping members in need, and eventually purchasing guild housing when it becomes available.  All members are welcome to donate a portion of their income to the guild treasury whenever it is convenient for them to do so.  Collections of regularly scheduled guild dues for deposit into the treasury is no longer required as of May 2005.  However, the PIF tradition of assisting fellow guildmates perseveres, and when a member requires capital to purchase items beneficial to the guild, all members are expected to contribute.  Contributions for such instances will be coordinated by the guild treasurer.
  8. Role Playing
    PIF Silvergate is not a dedicated role playing guild.  While role playing is encouraged, it is not required.  However, all members must keep discussions about non genre-related topics out of all chat (Guild / Group / Public) except for private chat.  Discussion of game mechanics are permitted in public chat for purposes of assisting others.  Note that The Silvergate Company is the public name for our guild when role playing.
  9. A.  Application for Membership
    All applicants must read, understand, and agree to follow all guidelines expressed in this document.  Additionally, Applicants must read the "Membership Applications" topic on the PIF Membership Applications forum viewable by clicking the "Forums" link under the Main Menu to the left of this page.  All Applicants must fill out the membership application found here in it's entirely and post it into permanent record.
    B.  Membership Acceptance Policy
    All applications will be reviewed by the Guildmaster and Officers to determine suitability to the guild.  In order for each applicant to begin the formal application process, they must be sponsored by a current, non probationary PIF Silvergate member, and have a secondary sponsor whom may be probationary or non-probationary.  Once sponsored, the Applicant must be approved by the Guildmaster.  At that time, the Applicant will participate in a one-month evaluation period during which they will be invited to the guild as a visitor.  During that period, a general vote will be held by the guild at large regarding the applicant's admittance to the guild.  If any 'no'  votes are received, they must be outweighed by 'yes' votes by at least a factor of 10 to 1.  Additionally, all of the guild management staff must have voted 'yes' in order for the application to be ratified, which as of August 2007 is conducted in a separate forum. 
    The Applicant's forum participation and in-game conduct weighs heavily in this process, and the applicant is strongly advised to follow the direction of their primary sponsor in order to maximize their chances of being admitted.  The final decision regarding the admittance of an applicant rests with the Guildmaster.

    C.  Probationary Members

    Once accepted, the member will have a three month probationary period during which their in-game and message board conduct will be further observed to determine if the potential member is a good long term fit for the guild.  At this time the member's sponsor is responsible for instructing the new member in the expectations and minutiae of membership in PIF Silvergate.  After a period of time no less than three months has passed, if there have been no complaints against the probationary member raised, the sponsor is relieved of their responsibilities to tutor the new member, and the new member's probation expires and they become a full member.  If complaints about a member are raised, the probationary member will either be ejected from the guild, or the probationary period will be extended by an additional three months, depending on the severity of the infraction.

    D.  Re-Application

    Applicants who's first attempt at membership is not successful may re-apply after 30 days have passed from the date their unsuccessful application, provided that have a sponsor other than their original sponsor.  If the second application is not accepted, the member will no longer be eligible to apply for membership in PIF Silvergate.  Members that are expelled from the guild for misconduct are not eligible for re-application.  Members that leave the guild in good standing are eligible to re-apply, or at the Guildmaster's discretion, may re-admitted without performing the application process.
  10. Other Administration
    The Guildmaster of Pay It Forward / Silvergate reserves the right to modify this charter at any time, and take corrective actions required for the benefit of the guild as a whole that may not be specifically expressed in this document.


3.  Introduction and History - Written late 2003, revised December 2011

Pay It Forward / Silvergate  has existed in one fashion or another since the release of the original Asheron's Call on November 6th, 1999. Although we actually first formed in 1990, we were merely a loose coalition of friends who played a text based MUD called GemStone III.  We moved on and played Ultima Online and EverQuest as well, but our first solidified guild charter came with our beginning to play Asheron's Call.

When these players began to gather in Asheron's Call, before long we noticed that the learning curve was rather steep - Our guild (then known simply as Silvergate, an extension of the guild we were part of in GemStone III) began to take turns during peak hours of the day, standing around new player spawn points and giving assistance and instruction to the fledgling players to help them on their way.

Well, this became more than just a hobby for us. Our guild grew, and more members volunteered for this job.  After a time we gained the ability to deploy a guild member at every starter town in the game at the same time to provide help to the new players. We eventually instituted set schedules whereupon no new player could enter the Harvestgain server during prime-time hours without having a Silvergate member right there to help them get started.

After a time, Turbine (the Asheron's Call developer team) began an Advocate program which was basically an "official" version of exactly what we were doing already - Nearly all of our members applied for this program, and most, having already been experienced with this, were immediately accepted. Our guild was credited with being instrumental in the creation of the program.

With the release of Asheron's Call 2, many guild members, (including Kailef) moved there. The Silvergate guild continued to operate in the original Asheron's Call. The members now in Asheron's Call 2 did not form a Silvergate branch immediately, however. Many of the members joined an existing guild known as (you guessed it) Pay It Forward, and it thrived quite well, as it's Guildmaster had similar goals and ideals as Kailef. However, this Guildmaster shortly left the world of online gaming due to personal reasons and Kailef became the Guildmaster of Pay It Forward as well as Silvergate. Kailef decided he was not able to run Silvergate in AC1 and Pay It Forward in AC2, so he ceded his position of Guildmaster in AC1 to his second in command.

The Pay It Forward guild forged ahead and began to set up an Advocacy program here as well, but shortly later took a bit of a hit, because Asheron's Call 2 was in the throes of technical difficulties which prevented nearly all Guild and /tell (private message) chat. However, they recovered and survived, keeping the name Pay It Forward as it clearly exemplified what the guild was about.

After a year of operation in Asheron's Call 2, the technical difficulties reached a head and were compounded by a large wave of perceived "nerfing" of player characters by the developers. The result of this was a mass exodus from Asheron's Call 2, taking the once crowded servers which housed 800-1000 players during peak times to 50-75 each. Asheron's Call 2 sputtered into stagnation on or around the middle of 2003 as most of the players quit, leaving Pay It Forward a shell of it's former self.

The remaining members continued to remain in contact with each other on their guild message board, planning on reforming in World of Warcraft. Now the day draws near that PIF Silvergate will once again have the opportunity to shine in a game managed and developed by one of the most competent and responsible gaming companies on Earth. We eagerly await the opportunity to bring our unique brand of camaraderie to World of Warcraft, a much anticipated game that the remaining PIF Silvergate members have been waiting impatiently for.  With a few of us having the opportunity to play in the Beta Stress Test in August of 2004, our excitement level is at an all time high.  We can't wait!


Seven years later, we continue to play World of Warcraft and prepare ourselves for the imminent launch of Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic, which many of us have beta tested.  World of Warcraft is still going strong, and we will become a multi-game guild soon, with some of our members playing WoW and some playing TOR.  It is an exciting time for us! 

4.  A Personal Message from Kailef - Written late 2003, revised January 2nd, 2004

Welcome to PIF Silvergate!  As I am sure you will soon see, we are a unique spin on the usual "I want, I want, I want" sort of guild.  Since it has become my responsibility to run this guild, I want to insure that each and every member understands what we stand for, and why.

I've been playing massive multiplayer online RPG's for as long as I had a modem.  I played pure text MUD games for years and years prior to the first introduction of Meridian 59, the first real graphical online RPG that I am aware of.  As games got more advanced, so did the problems that they presented to players.  Game flaws became more and more apparent - not so much bugs causing crashes, but design issues where players who were supposed to be having fun would get into fights over who gets the vital drop off of that last mob, kill stealing, camping, griefing, and all of the other nonsense that tends to follow MMORPG's around like a persistent cough that just won't go away.

All of this was compounded by the rather steep learning curve of these games, especially Ultima Online, (leave town and die) Everquest, (Help, it says I'm starving, where can I find some food?) and Asheron's Call 1 (Huh, what's a taper?) ... Having played them for a good long time and watching how the high level players were in such a hurry to go off and power level while cheerfully discussing the latest Superbowl in a setting so obviously not designed for such things, I figured this needed a solution, and fast.  Therefore, I wanted to take a moment to express what I feel is the appropriate way to go.

First, all members, regardless of level, length of time with the guild, officer or otherwise, are to be considered equal.  We simply don't have room for a big ego in our guild.

Second, this is a game!  Games are fun.  If the game stops being fun, if our guild stops being fun, we must address the issue immediately.  Too often in the past I have found myself going on a raid and feeling that I was off to my day job rather than playing a fun game.  That's not to say that we shouldn't be organized and efficient and all of that, but there's not going to be a mad level race in this guild.  Role playing and socializing are the whole point to a MMORPG.  If you just want to go out and kill AI controlled monsters, you certainly don't need a server with a thousand other players on it to do so, right?

Third, we don't have to be the "best guild on the server".  In fact, I don't care if we're the weakest guild, the last one to complete each new quest, etc...  That's not to say that I don't want us to be able to tackle the tough mobs and go on the tough quests, but keep a perspective as we do so - There's no race here.  Our job as outlined in our charter will make us a well-known guild regardless of our battlefield exploits.  We should have a reputation as a helpful, trustworthy, mature group of people that anyone would want to have around. 

Fourth, griefers be gone.  If you want to give members or non-members a hard time, think harassing people is fun, enjoy using foul language, enjoy being rude, or simply don't want to take the time to be considerate of your fellow members, you certainly don't belong in PIF Silvergate.  This sort of thing will literally not be tolerated.  All guild officers may terminate the membership of any member at any time for any reason related to the offenses noted in this paragraph.  You can appeal to the Guildmaster if you feel you were unfairly treated, but my advice is to never get into this situation in the first place.  I realize this is harsh, but one of the most prevalent issues with PIF Silvergate in the past was members wearing our tags going about acting like jerks and ruining our reputation. 

Fifth, and this has been a bit of an annoyance for me in the past:  Guild members should not charge other guild members for items and services.  We maintain a guild treasury for the purposes of funding our crafters (and eventually buying housing when it's implemented!) and supporting guild activities.  If you need some sort of payment for a terribly expensive item you gave to another member, just ask an officer if you can get compensation from the guild treasury.  It's that simple.  We are here to support all of our members - As was mentioned earlier, we are all equal.

Sixth, let's talk about grouping.  Simply put, members should interact with other guild members on a regular basis.  Members who tend to spend most of their time with non-members or soloing, members who fail to participate in the guild message forums... these are members who ought to look for another guild.  There were few things more frustrating to me in Asheron's Call 2 than watching a guild member ask if anyone would group with them in guild chat, and listening to all hundred members online at that time ignore the request because they were off "doing their own thing".  In a nutshell, if you can't take the time to group with members of the guild, then you're not a member of the guild.

In closing, remember that we are a team with a few very simple common goals.  Help new players, help each other, and have fun.  Not to be generic but quite simply, remember the golden rule.  Don't do something to someone unless you'd want it done to you.