Our second interview of 2011 is with GreggD, the leader of the Castlevania Ultima union. For more information on Union Leader Interviews and how we handle them, please visit this topic. If you want to make a suggestion about who you think we should interview, please click here.
Why did you create your union? What was your inspiration? I actually did not create the union I lead, the Castlevania Ultima Union. I was invited to the union by the leader, at the time. She saw me hanging around the Aria of Sorrow forum, I believe. After that, I just kinda rose through the ranks to leadership.
Can you give us a brief history of how your union came to be? From what I understand, there were just a few users who were into the union deal from its creation, and wanted to start a union about Castlevania. Apparently they had a pretty good start, and gained a decent following. We have 704 users, currently, and new users join every month.
Did you expect the union to be a success? When I joined the CUU, I had no idea unions could get to be as big as ours has. As I said before, new users join every month, and though many of them never post, we do have plenty of resources for them to simply read through. But when there's a spike in Castlevania activity on the internet, we get a ton of people posting and talking about the new stuff Koji Igarashi and his team are coming up with. And the newest game, Lords of Shadow, saw a large increase in traffic among the threads.
What is unique about your union? I'm not sure. I guess it would be that we're the only successful dedicated Castlevania union on Gamespot. And I've gotta say, when we do our games, like the currently running huge CV character battle, everyone seems to enjoy playing. We also have some special resources for databases in the CV universe, such as the currently under construction Enemy Bestiary and Weapon Database.
Do you do anything special to attract new members? Or do they just come naturally? We try to recruit people we see posting often in the various CV forums on Gamespot. A lot of people seem to join of their own volition, though. Castlevania is a popular franchise, so I'm not that surprised.
Have you considered moving your union off-site? If you have, how did that go? We did, at one point. It was solely my idea. This was back when Giant Bomb was supposedly doing their own type of union project, though that might've just been hearsay, because it has never come to fruition. Needless to say, not everyone was fond of the idea, and since it never actually happened on that site, we never got the chance to keep two unions across both sites.
Have there been any times where you just wanted to give up? Occasionally, when there is no news at all coming out of the CV universe, I've contemplated passing the torch, let someone else deal with it. In retrospect, though, I can see how that would have been a bad idea, so I keep on truckin', for better or worse.
Do you have any members with whom you owe part of the success to? All of them. Everyone who has made positive contributions to our union I hold in high regard. Namely though, I would have to say chang_1910, my co-leader. Without her, I might've given up on a few occasions. Semianonymous, my current tour-de-force Officer, who has taken charge and created the current character battle, completely from his mind. D3j1k0 for being my general go-to ideas man. And Syrinx_61, for recruiting me into the union, in the first place, and making it a great place to hang out and talk Castlevania.
What was the hardest choice you had to make about your union? I had to kick out a user once. I don't really like to talk about it, because he was a trouble maker, and I don't like having to ban people, no matter what the circumstances.
Have you ever made a mistake that you regret? None in particular. I think I yelled at a user once, and someone had to talk me down from the situation. Looking back on it, I would've been nicer to the individual in question.
When you think about the union system, how do you feel about it? love it. I think it's a great way to keep users talking, and have a place to hang out. In particular, the unions about particular franchises are awesome, because then you get a large group of like-minded users chatting about games they love. I owe as much to the success of my union.
This was actually really interesting to read! The questions were once I would not have thought to ask, but were probing. I didn't even think about what unions do when there is no news that comes out. Glad you're doing this and glad I had time to read the interview!