Guilds of Pantheon: The Faceless

The Faceless

When asking someone to recall their favorite MMORPG moments, it is rare that it doesn’t involve the presence of other players, uniting for a single cause. Whether it’s a hodgepodge of players using a common goal to team up, or an organized group of trusted confidants, the commonality is that these memories are shaped with, and by, those around you. It is perhaps what makes an MMORPG so unique when compared to various other roleplaying game models which pit a single player against an epic story.

Today we talk about a guild who has been making these memories for many years; The Faceless. Led by a common goal of performing at a high level, bonds have been formed amongst its ranks, forged by the memories of their achievements. Let’s learn a bit more about The Faceless, as we speak to Zaide, their founder, and their recruiting officer Shucklighter.

Today we are excited to speak to two leaders of the guild – Faceless. Why don’t we start with you both introducing yourselves?

Zaide: Hey, I am Zaide the founder and oftentimes leader of the various Faceless guilds across Everquest and other MMORPGs. I have a vast library of Everquest videos on Youtube with a few thousand subscribers and I am also a Twitch Partner.

Shucklighter: Hello. I’m Shuck, and I’m the Recruiting Officer for Faceless in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. I’m not infamous like Zaide, so I guess I’ll give a bit of my history. My first online games were MUCKs and MUSHes in the late 90s, and then I stumbled into EverQuest when I got to college in 1999 (RIP). I didn’t go by Shucklighter back then, but I played a Wood Elf Ranger on the Veeshan server. I played EverQuest ‘pretty hard’, I would say, but for a relatively short time (1999-2002). During that time, I racked up over a year of ‘/played’ on my main character and I got to play with some of the best players on the server. After EverQuest lost its luster, I moved on to World of Warcraft, which I played for almost eight years. It was never the same for me, though, and I’ve been searching all this time for a game that could make me feel the same kind of ‘feels’ I felt in 1999 when I was terrified and running from an_orc_oracle_01 in Greater Faydark. Pantheon has come closest to replicating that feeling. I ‘met’ Zaide early in 2017, shortly after I upgraded to the Originator pledge. We found we felt similarly about a lot of things, and not just where MMORPGs were concerned. Still, when Zaide invited me to join Faceless, I told him that I wasn’t ‘hardcore’ enough anymore. I had a difficult work schedule and I was getting married, and I didn’t think I could play enough to be valuable to the guild. Zaide explained to me that the way Faceless plays, I could be a big contributor despite my schedule. So, I gave it a shot, and here we are almost six years (and two babies) later.

Where did the name “Faceless” come from? Was this always the name of the guild?

Zaide: I had led a number of guilds since my early childhood but I never stuck with a consistent name until I returned to Everquest in 2011 the evening that the Vulak A’err TLP launched. Right away I decided I was going to create a guild there. My first choice was “The Black Company” after the dark fantasy series of the same name but naturally that was taken (Guild names in EQ must be globally unique) so I then chose “The Faceless” as a name that conjured a similar visual image when you read it. Over the years we’ve used many variations of “Faceless” to distinguish each branch of the guild:

Vulak – The Faceless
Rift – The Faceless
Test – The Faceless Order
Lockjaw – Faceless Insanity
Agnarr – Faceless Empire
Selo – Faceless Conquest
Mischief – The Faceless

Shucklighter: We’re not sure yet what we’ll go with in Pantheon. All of the previous names are open to us again, but we also have some we’ve had simmering. We shall see.

In a few sentences, how would you describe the goals and vision of Faceless?

Zaide: To be the fastest, most efficient organization wherever we go. We want to be the first to every benchmark whether it’s maximum level, epics completed or most importantly raid targets killed and progression completed. We aim to be as professional as possible and are willing to do anything to achieve our goals even if it means playing for 24-50+ hours at a time without sleep. When we’ve completed progression and the grind is done we focus on fast efficient farming, aiming to clear more content in less time than any other guild in the game each week.

Shucklighter: I guess, in the simplest terms, we want to clear content in Pantheon before anyone else does, and then we want to work to improve upon the way we handle that content. We do this by gathering strong players from around the world and then sorting them into static leveling groups. These groups are an absolute blast, and probably the most fun I’ve had in MMORPGs.

Our priority will always be leveling quickly to clear content, but we do want to experience everything Terminus has to offer. For instance, Faceless is going to have crafters who will go just as hard with crafting as the rest of us go with adventuring. We’ve already got one of the best ever, but we want more. These people are out there, and we will absolutely find them. Pantheon may remind us of our favorite game, but it’s its own entity. We’re already making adjustments.

When did Faceless start, and what do you think has kept it going for so long?

Zaide: Faceless officially formed in February of 2011 and there has never been a day since then when Faceless wasn’t a progression raiding guild in Everquest. Teamwork and service leadership have produced a long unbroken string of successes for our organization to include hundreds of server first raid kills, contested wins, expansion race wins, and fastest ever clear times. This success instills pride in our team and gives us a rock solid foundation to continue raiding now and far into the future.

What drew the guild to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, and how long have Faceless identified this as a game they would be venturing into?

Zaide: We were drawn to it by Brad and the idea that this could be a spiritual successor to Everquest rather than a cookie cutter McMMO. Many of us pledged during the kickstarter but our guild officially created a Pantheon branch in the months leading up to Pre Alpha 1 and worked to coordinate our PA plans to ensure we tackled testing with our trademark intensity and organization.

Faceless have had some experience working together through Pre-Alpha testing for some time, can you talk a little bit about what that experience has been like for all of you?

Zaide: In a word: fun. I’ve had a great time playing through each of the testing phases in Pre-Alpha. I think that our ability to bring an intense goal oriented approach to testing has been extremely beneficial as we’ve reported hundreds of bugs, and we have consistently been able to push the limits of the content available and provide feedback that would otherwise take longer to produce. Designing static groups and mapping every area together has been great. The amount of data we’ve collected and crunched has been crazy. I am sure the developers were getting tired of us especially in those early eras of Pre-Alpha testing when we were sending them 40+ page After Action Reports.

Overall though the best and most promising aspect has been that exploring the world has felt rich and rewarding across every zone and all levels so far. This has never for one moment felt like a game where I needed to be max level to “start playing”. It feels like a game where you are rewarded for stopping to smell the roses and spend time getting into each nook and cranny. Every time I think I am about to find an invisible wall or artificial barrier atop a seemingly inaccessible mountain peak I instead find a quest trigger or a ground spawn item or even a strange NPC. Totally perfect.

Shucklighter: It’s been wild. Our approach has varied a bit from phase to phase, depending on who all is available to test. We try to compile as much data as we can, and usually that’s pretty substantial. Early on we’d have these huge collaborative reports that we’d forward to the developers. I know Zaide worked pretty hard to map out Thronefast when we first got in there. I would say most of our testing focuses on how the gameplay feels, though. Most of the time this means combat, but not always. We push progression in testing just like we do in a live game. We organize static groups and level as much as we can in order to experience higher level content and then provide feedback. We try to get the most out of every minute we’re allowed in there. Lately we’ve been encouraging individuals to post their own feedback, though we’re still compiling data as a group. I’ve written a 40-page feedback document on the Paladin and a 50-page feedback document on the Enchanter. I’m mostly proud of these, but also slightly disgusted with myself. I remember how much I hated writing, like, five-page papers in school, and now I just sling these treatises out like nothing. It’s getting hard to maintain that my wife is the crazy one in our relationship. I guess that says a lot about Pantheon.

What’s each of your favorite moments so far from testing?

Zaide: Being the first group to kill Gnashura and having Joppa log in at 2am to congratulate us.

Shucklighter: Hmmm. In general, I just love Halnir. It’s my favorite place in the game. I can already feel out all the little ‘camp’ spots and it’s so easy for me to imagine the ‘zone’ packed with player characters when the game is live. If I have to choose a single moment there, it’s probably soloing Blood Lich Sangshaa as a Paladin in PA3.

How can Pantheon fans find out more about Faceless, or potentially join?

Zaide: When you first heard of an MMORPG, when you first bought that Everquest box 20 years ago or when you first heard of Pantheon you had a vision in your mind of what that experience would be like. You didn’t see yourself as an unimportant villager. You didn’t imagine you’d be the second, or the third or the 1000th person to explore the Temple of Veeshan long after it had been mapped, documented and pillaged by other adventurers. You saw yourself as a hero, you saw yourself as a legendary adventurer exploring crypts unseen and uncovering lost secrets as you fought epic battles against incredible foes. That is Faceless; people come to us because with our team the dream is a reality – you are the hero you imagined when you first held that box in 1999, now let’s go – there is much slaying yet to do!

Shucklighter: As Steve1989MREInfo would say, “Nice.” If you were stirred by what Zaide said above, you can find me on Discord at Shucklighter#2883. I love to chat and make new pals. You can also send me a message on the official Pantheon forums. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are interested, but not sure if you’re a good fit. We’ll figure it out.

As long-time supporters of Pantheon, what would you tell the community about your overall experience and outlook?

Zaide: Pantheon is a slow burn, don’t look for it tomorrow, let it spend its time getting to where it needs to be. I’ve played Everquest for 23 years now. I’d rather Pantheon take more time to launch and be a game I can spend another 20 years playing than rush out and become boring after just a few months. Remember that the team working on Pantheon are real people, they have lives, families and in many cases other jobs they have to manage on top of this. They’re not superhumans, they’re just like us and they want to make the best game they can.

Shucklighter: It’s been a long process so far, but the game has never felt better. It’s never been more fun. Testing is a blast, and special things are happening with the design right now. I don’t know when the game will launch, but I know that it will happen, and I know this team is going to get it right. I’ll also say that I think I got my money’s worth out of my Originator pledge sometime back in 2017, but obviously that’s pretty subjective.

We would like to thank Zaide and Shucklighter for giving us a glimpse into their long-standing guild and sharing their excitement and experiences in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen with us. We cannot wait to see what stories will be told of their heroics across Terminus, and the challenges that come with it.

We are thankful for the amazing stories our community has shared thus far with us. Do you have a story about how MMORPGs have made a difference in your life? Has it driven your creative urges? Has it made you a better leader? Has it helped you overcome difficulties in your life? We’d love to hear your tale, and show why community truly matters. Drop us a line in the forums.

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