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Introducing Azure Infinitum

new azure site  
Good evening comrades, tonight I'd like to introduce you to Azure Infinitum, the new official community portal of RA:N. 
Currently Azure operates as a guild or gaming clan in a couple games with a few hundred active members, but soon it will become much more. 

Right now all I can tell you is that there are big plans in the works to build an exciting new online community that will unite gamers, otaku, hobbyists, and more- who seek a meaningful fellowship and community experience. 

Azure Infinitum means "Infinite Blue" in latin, and the philosophy of Azure is that we all fly together, our potential is as seemingly infinite as the blue skies above. 

Here's a little more info, and after that I'll explain what's to come:

Azure Infinitum was founded on November 2, 2014 in the game Final Fantasy XIV Online. Azure's founding took place at the end of a tragedy that befell its server when an outside gaming clan acted on their plan to monopolize the server and create a guild-genocide in an arena of roughly 200k players. (More on this story another time.) 
Myself, who founded and leads Azure as RA:N original character "Reika Fujishima", found out the small group I lead had also been fooled into building up someone else's guild so the conspirators could sell it off out from under our noses. Used, harassed, and hurt, the few of us who stuck together not only found a way to expose the conspirators and bring their system down, we also vowed to make a new guild and start fresh from the obscenities we had experienced in the entire process.

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Azure was born- born to be opposite to what we had been as "The Crimson Blades", and we decided to build a new community on positive values, with leadership taken seriously, and created an organized structure in the community of events, ranks, formalities, protocol, and more. This would become so, so that the membership could grow and prosper in an organized environment that would be run as professional as possible while being fun and secure. 
For a community to be very successful, the leadership must understand the environment, have vision, be future-minded, be unshakable, and be determined. Harmony has to be created, maintained, and nurtured. 

In 5 years Azure had an incredible journey and grew to heights beyond my wildest imaginations. We set trends, blazed trails, and set records. Azure quickly took top place rankings in North America and grew to place in the top worldwide communities for FFXIV. We met the producer and members of the development team- several times, and on multiple continents- and we continued to embrace and relish our community. I've seen people travel countries to meet each other, children born from recruits I've scouted, strong friendships made, and more that has become possible in our carefully constructed, harmonious, community.

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The ride wasn't without its bumps and bruises, as now and then myself and my leadership team encounter at least someone now and then who wants to poo in our cheerios. But when doesn't that happen online or in real life?
Even when dealing with issues when they come, we have been commended by the game's administration, and we've found surefire ways of handling issues- and often so efficiently that most of the time, the rest of the community never notices any issues. This is because I foster into our team the philosophy that "things will happen, but its how quickly and effectively we handle them that makes the difference." We pre-plan, use our experience, and pool together.
I've also discovered well that people appreciate being informed rather than kept in the dark if there's some potentially large problem rearing its ugly head.
Leadership and Membership is a give and take, support and listen, circle of life.

Azure became host to public figures, content creators, and industry comrades of mine who found it a haven among the chaotic world of guilds in a game of 16+ million players where a great percentage of the communities are a social gauntlet with too high a chance of imploding, going dead, or remaining mediocre. 
This is also true for many of our members who enjoy being in a stable community they feel makes the game a lot more fun, giving them reason to continue playing the game- some playing much longer than they originally would have intended, they've said.

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In FFXIV, Azure established the largest known airship and submarine fleet, the most and largest known lasting exp buff period, orchestrated 5 years of massive quarterly weekend guild celebrations called "Azure Days", and joined Child's Play to raise thousands of dollars for children in long-term care to receive books and video games. 

Leading Azure Infinitum has been an incredible and invaluable experience for me, playing Reika Fujishima, the Infinitum Master. Originally I lead as an anonymous leader and only recently revealed myself. It has put all of my professional skills to work and I've chosen to treat Azure as another place I try to fully utilize them. 
I've worked as hard- if not harder- as its leader than I need to work in my real life career, and I've had the pleasure of working with large numbers of people of various needs, backgrounds, ethics, and knowledge. I feel this experience has graced my life in a way and even helped mold me into a better person. My patience, drive, willpower, organizational skills, facets of leadership, tact, thick-skin, creativity, and so much more has also been tested in a way that I feel has been gruesomely- yet strengthening for anyone personally growing as a good leader. (special thanks to the haters especially! ^.^)

Azure is organized like a fantasy-style sacred order of comrades and features some military-style structure and formalities, partly for mild flair and partly for order. Many members proudly represent Azure by wearing blue and carrying our crest where applicable. Around the community you'll see/hear our words "As Free As The Azure Sky!", "For the Infinitum!", or "May What Has Flown, Never Fall!" in the sense of traditional battle-cries or Game of Thrones-style House phrases. 
In a sense we're playing video games and playing out our roles as a private society, but Azure comes to deeply mean something more, something different for each of its members and myself, along with many others, like to think that as a microcosm of real life, it is more than just gaming. Its the heart of fellowship, community, whatever you want to call it. And its one hell of a time.

I think one of my favorite compliments in the pile that's as high as Mt.Fuji is always "its like a crazy guild from an anime!" but much more meaningful ones to me are the incredible feedback messages we've received that say Azure gave someone enough strength to graduate, helped others with depression, or even from committing suicide. I'll never regret a moment of our community if its touched at least one person that much- much less many. No matter what happens I'll never give up fighting for what we've made. And boy, do we have some fine years to come!

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Azure is a community where it can be up to you how much you put yourself into it, and often the more you put in the more you'll get out of your experience. 
Its also a perfect place for newbies or less social players as we have little to no mandatory activity requirements. 

In our FFXIV guild we only ask that you log in at least once within 2 months, and pardons are given all the time for those who need longer breaks. Azure Infinitum welcomes players of all availability and play-styles, veterans, casuals, hard-core, newbies, and returning players alike. Our biggest rule is our no-drama policy and adherence to basic community guidelines. 

What all does Azure Infinitum do besides just being a guild?

To sum it up shortly, we are an active community. It can be a daily experience for those that choose to participate in events we hold weekly. Currently we have several daily events in FFXIV and one weekly event in MHW on PS4. These events help our members who play those games with weekly needs and also provide chances for extra fun in getting to know each other, working together, and achieve what we need in those games efficiently.

Azure also celebrates our community during special events called Azure Day Weekends- of which we have quarterly, season-themed, and special versions of that encompass a given weekend many times a year. These special event weekends hold raffles, in-game parades, game shows, races, charity events, and more.
During conventions we allow members to hold Azure meet-ups, and any RA:N function at real life events has special rewards for Azure community members.

The chance to join our community and make new comrades to game with, join organized guild/faction/squad experiences in various games, and much more possibilities, are all present in joining Azure Infinitum.

Overall we project positive values as a united online family who may game together, fellowship over hobbies, and progress as a community that stands against negativity and online drama and continues to grow.

So what's to come?

As of the time of this writing, we've begun the start of our newest and most ambitious project yet- opening up as a larger community and establishing branches in other games. 

Azure Infinitum began as a positive guild that rose from tragedy and created a wonderful environment. Now it will grow and expand as RA:N's official community and begin establishing branches under many other Azure Skies. 
We've opened our first branch as a test to begin building activity in another game. Its small for now, but our first Azure Branch is in Monster Hunter World on PS4. 
We're currently holding weekly "Hunt-A-Thons" on Mondays and the official Azure Squad there is growing by the week. 


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We've got a plethora of plans in FFXIV for the rest of this year, but the grand finale overall (besides our huge anniversary celebration in November) is the launch of the new Azure website. 

RA:N is going to receive a very mild face-lift soon, but a brand-new Azure Infinitum website is currently in development! The present Azure site runs on Shivtr- a guild hosting service- and has a customized theme that looks alright but the site and its mobile version are locked behind Shivtr's structure and back-end. Some custom CSS can be done but its not what I want to see for Azure and its certainly not as future-proof as I'd like it to be. 
The new Azure site will reflect its own style with some RA:N support, and both sites (RA:N and Azure) will remain unique but have close connections to each other.

Azure Infinitum will no longer be for just players of FFXIV or MHW, you don't even have to play games to be a part of Azure Infinitum. Right now all you have to do is register at http://azureinfinitum.com and become a member of our discord: https://discord.gg/KXbHuwQ 

The new Azure site will extend from RA:N and have a list of features designed for a growing community. Members will be able to register, list the games they play and/or interests they have, find information much more easily (Events/Rules/Details), find lists of our Azure Branches, discover ways they can help spread Azure's name and support even in non-Azure Branch games, find fellow gamers to play with, and much more. 

Here's a list of early features I'm designing for the new Azure Infinitum community website presently: 

Fully Responsive Design (design will auto-conform to any device) 
Compatibility with all major browsers Custom Pages for events, branches, rules, and more 
Optional News Updates to Email/Texts Subscriptions Affiliate ad-space
Suggested products boxes 
Related Content Support Posts with labels 
Threaded comment system w/optional social media integration 
Randomized posts feature 
Tabbed menus Thumbnail system for community news and features w/auto resizing Advanced Search Engine Optimization 
YouTube support 
Mobile-friendly designs 
Fluid connections and feeds from Azure social media pages 

The present Azure site wont be done away with completely, so if you're in our community your account there will continue to exist and the Azure forums will still be available to use. 
Currently our discord features a plethora of channels to discuss anime, games, movies, music, tv shows, conventions, FFXIV, MHW, and more- all are welcome to join. ^^ 


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Official launch of the new Azure site is targeted to take place around New Years- which isn't too long from now. 
You can join in the fun early by joining our FFXIV guild or 'free company' as they're known, on Midgardsormr Server and joining our Discord. 
Joining the Azure Discord will also help you join our MHW Squad if you play MHW on PS4. Like I said above, all are welcome to join us (even if you don't play XIV or MHW) and talk about your hobbies, other games, and more- just make sure you read over our #Welcome channel once you're in the Discord server. 

With the launch of the new site, Azure Infinitum looks to grow into a larger community. 
We're more than a gaming clan in my eyes because we are like a growing family of gamers and hobbyists who are building a new kind of community under our philosophy and shared interests. 
Anyone is welcome in this family, and I sincerely plan to spread the energy, passion, harmony, and love that Azure has been able to manifest so far for so many hundreds of players these past years, beyond where we are currently. 

Since I lead Azure and RA:N is its parent company, many Azure updates will continue to be posted here on RA:N. 

I am really looking forward to flying together and beyond, with all of our comrades and all the new faces out there we haven't met yet! 

"As Free As The Azure Sky!" Huzzah!

-Kazu/Reika












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