On Being a Leader
by Chrono_WE

When I first began playing AC, I was sharing a character with my best friend (now roommate) and it was an incredible learning experience. We would take shifts leveling, hunting, exploring and discussing what we did. Our character was a total gimp. Naturally, we had no real knowledge of the system or how to make a decent character. We decided right at the start that we would divide all attribute and skill points between ourselves and build the character by each spending the allotted amount we had. What we ended up with were some really freakish stats (I can’t remember them anymore but they would make any seasoned AC player cringe) and a template that put many other gimps to shame at the time. We were specialized in sword and war magic, no melee defense, no healing, no item magic, etc. This seriously makes me wonder what skills we actually did have. We don’t know anymore as we aren’t in possession of the account — his mom took it to use as a mule!
Regardless, on our first day we met an oh-so-powerful level 22 monarch with about twenty followers. I immediately swore our character to him, which wasn’t really such a bad idea. He may not have been very powerful in the long run, and may not have had the most resources, but he made a good friend and always offered the best advice that he could.

One thing I picked up from him was the desire to lead people. I had never really been a leader before, and seriously never considered it until then, but it sort of sparked a flame within me. As I mentioned before, my roomie’s mom now has the account our old character was on because she was paying for it. Around three or four months after first starting, I went out and bought my own copy of AC. I created yet another gimped sword character (although not nearly as bad as the first) and started anew. At first I didn’t swear allegiance to anyone, having plans of being a monarch right from the beginning. After a while, however, one of my former vassals persuaded me to swear to Aleena Fairbright.

I normally don’t mention names here, but I think she deserves recognition. She is truly the greatest patron anyone could have and if I was smarter at the time, I would have stayed sworn to her forever. I am only more fond of one other person I have ever met in AC, a girlfriend I had for a while who lit up my world. Aleena was there and had any item, assistance, or advice I ever needed. I remember thanking her so many times in so many ways for so many things, and the only thing she would ever say was “I do my best.”

After a time, the same former vassal who convinced me to swear with him to her, convinced me to become a monarch. I shouldn’t have listened. As you read ahead you will realize becoming a monarch was never truly a bad thing, but leaving Aleena’s stead has always been a major regret of mine.

And so I became a monarch of a very small allegiance, mainly comprised of real life friends and family members along with any friends or vassals they had picked up along the way. I was low level, and seriously very inexperienced – but I tried.

Back in the early days when I first fantasized about becoming one, I could only think of the glory factor: people looking up to me, appreciating me, etc. I wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces and I wanted to please as many people as possible. I will not say whether this was a good or a bad thing as I am still unsure to this day. Making people smile and making people appreciate me was very hard work, and a lot more than I had originally bargained for.

Trying to please everyone, even when it’s only six or seven people, is really, really hard. I had a very bad time trying to balance out time for myself and time for people in the clan, and honestly, I failed a lot. I was really not very good at what I was doing, but I suppose that is a lot of what learning is about. I’m just sorry I had to leave so many disappointed, let-down, angry faces in my wake.

There is one major thing to being a monarch I didn’t have the foresight to acknowledge at the beginning: responsibility. Responsibility is a major attribute that is needed in any leader, and not having been one in the past, I had no clue. I was monarch on that character for around three months before I got in a petty argument with a real life clan-mate. In the midst of being upset about said argument, I disbanded the whole allegiance and swore to the first monarch I saw. That pretty much put the nail in the coffin of my leadership career in AC, or so I thought.

The monarch was a nice guy but overall I was dissatisfied with the monarchy. There were a few people in it who I didn’t really get along with, so my girlfriend and I decided to move on. I met her when I was her monarch, and when we left, I swore my new reroll (Chrono Crest, my now namesake) to her. I promised to be her advisor and help guide her as best as I could. This was not really a good thing since as a leader, I still pretty much sucked. I learned a lot along the way but there is a TON to being a monarch. It’s a very deep and unique profession to take upon yourself in game. Its rewards can be great, but the stress it can cause can be just as powerful.

After a few months, she stepped down and I was once again in charge. I took everything I had learned in the past and applied it as best as I could. I adopted Aleena’s saying “I do my best” and took it to heart. I promised that from that day forward, I would do just that — simply my best. I argued with myself that doing a job halfway is not worth it, it’s either none or all. I chose all.

That was a very, very hard decision, not to make it, but to execute its ideals. I was human (well, still am,) totally fallible and made a huge amount of mistakes. I guess I was never one to choose the easy path. You see, my best was not always necessarily very good. This was a discouraging realization at first, one that took a long time to accept as a whole.

I still tried my hardest to provide whatever I could for the whole of the allegiance. A main goal we all had was the acquisition of a mansion. We spent three weeks or so gathering the items together and to our luck, a mansion opened two short days after we completed the stockpile. Well… we thought we completed the stockpile.

Getting the mansion was a huge mess. It was a decent run, around fifteen minutes from the nearest town (Al-Arqas) through the desert. I was the owner of a cottage and abandoned it to buy the mansion. Well, I left the Dread Mattekar Paws in the storage of the cottage, only realizing moments after I abandoned it on the doorstep of the mansion. Quickly, me and my then vassal gathered the necessary item from loot drop (with incredible luck and speed I might add) and I was again off to that terribly large house. Of course, when I got there again and tried to buy it, something was still missing! Two gold letters! I thought surely someone was gonna come and buy this place any second and I couldn’t believe that I had blown it that bad as it was, but my lucky and incredible vassal once again had two gold letters for us within about ten minutes. For the third time, I ran out to the mansion and that time I successfully made the purchase. Phew. That’s all I can say.

Never was there a more underutilized allegiance mansion than that. My monarchy wasn’t exactly large and they weren’t the kind to stand around chatting all day. It served its purpose as the monarchy meeting grounds for quests and the like, but that was about it. I spent a lot more time standing there than anyone else.

Things went on pretty much the same for a long time with me growing, learning and exploring as a leader. I busied myself going from clan member to clan member, satisfying their needs as best as I could. Naturally, some asked for more help than others did, and got it. This of course caused a gap between me and some of the other more independent followers, another mistake of mine. Over time, I learned to pay attention to everyone and try to do something for them every day. This really spread me very thin in terms of my free time and my patience. It was very stressful but I wanted to be the best monarch I could for them and did not relent. Eventually I stepped down as the monarch, but it didn’t last for long.

Yet again I stepped forward, and at a real tough time in my life too. It was very stressful but I was audacious about things and kept moving anyways. A lot of people came into the clan in the three months following when I remained in charge. My ideals changed, my opinion of the server and the people on it changed, and a lot of people’s opinions of me changed. That is only to be expected, and I took all the likes with all the dislikes. One will never be liked by everyone, and accepting that fact is a key to growing as a person.

Only recently have I made a final decision and stepped down permanently, swearing into the Elgar Lightfoot clan (ridiculously nice and helpful people) and taking a more relaxed approach to AC (kind of forced anyways with school and moving soon.)

Overall, anyone looking to start out as a monarch with no prior experience should be warned: being a monarch is not about glory or graciousness. It is about hard work, responsibility, and a lot of care. One has to be prepared to be liked by a lot of people and disliked by at least the same amount. To be prepared to let people down and disappoint people even through trying your hardest — it just happens. You can never please everyone.

I don’t know if this applies here, but having something may not always be as special as wanting it. Recently I have decided to forgo a couple of things in life that I have always wanted and resigned to just wanting them. I think in the long run, regarding these specific things, I may be more content.

Please message me with any constructive feedback on my column!

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