Category: ShackTac Join Process News

Joins from here on out

Due to how the join process has evolved over the last year, it’s unlikely that I’ll be posting notifications when join sets happen going forward. We are still accepting new members, but it’s irregular and can happen in waves over a period of time. If you’re interested in applying, simply do so, and whenever the opportunity arises, I’ll collect the best apps from that time period and invite them.

October 2015 Join Set

I’ve just sent out e-mails to the 35 people selected for the October 2015 join set, and I’d like to take a moment to catch everyone up on what the situation is regarding ShackTac and applicants these days.

ShackTac has fully transitioned over to Arma 3 at this point. Our long-term goal is to see how high we can take our playercounts while still maintaining an enjoyably playable experience. The hope, of course, is to be able to recreate the situations we had at the peak of Arma 2 – namely, 100+ player coops and ~130-player adversarials. Arma 3 complicated this and has made the past two years a challenging experience for me as it relates to bringing on new members. Fortunately there has been much done since A3’s release to help performance and playability, both from Bohemia as well as the community’s standpoint, and the future looks bright.

The big “gotcha” in all of this is that no matter how nicely Arma 3 performs, the fundamental fact remains that our community cannot accept everyone who applies and seems to be qualified. To put it in perspective, out of the 800 or so people in this latest batch of applicants, there were roughly 180 who were placed into the selection category. Out of those, 35 of them were selected as new joins – roughly 4% of those who applied, or 19% of those filtered into the selection category.

So what of those 145-ish who seemed potentially interesting, yet didn’t make the cut? What of the ones we have from the past join cycles that didn’t make that final cut? I call these ‘overflow’ applicants, and I’ve been sorting them into their own folder after each batch since late 2012. I’ve never had a plan to do anything special with these applicants, but there they are – a bit under a thousand people who’d almost certainly make for solid group members if they had an opportunity. I’m sure many of them have found places in other groups by now, and I’d like to think that they’re having a great time wherever they’ve landed. There are all sorts of flavors of Arma out there – ShackTac is one of a multitude of ways to experience the series.

It’s always bittersweet to do a join cycle. I’m enthusiastic to welcome our newest applicants and excited to add new faces to our community, but at the same time I can’t help but be a bit disappointed that so many have to be turned away in the process. Our group history is written through events like these – a new cast of characters brought in that will, over time, shape our culture and direction – and I’ve heard countless times how becoming a part of our community has fed back positively into people’s off-screen worlds. I’m disappointed that that can’t be shared with more people, but there’s nothing to be done about it on my end that isn’t already being done.

If you didn’t make final selection this time, or in the past, my apologies. I wish we could support the level of interest there is in joining our community, but it’s just not how things are. I appreciate that interest greatly and I hope that wherever you end up in your journey, you enjoy what you find. Don’t settle for less than that!

Those of you who almost made it, but didn’t – maybe some day we’ll cross paths again. Maybe you’ll go on to help another community grow and flourish – Arma’s a big scene, and there will always be room for more people contributing positively to some collective endeavor! Maybe you’ll start communities of your own? Whatever the case may be, I wish all of you – everyone who’s applied – success on your journeys!

If you’re still looking for a community, I wrote some thoughts on what you should consider when joining one, and I’d recommend checking out reddit’s r/findaunit/ for some possibilities.

Take care, and good luck!


March 2015 Cycle – Mar 2014 to Dec 31st

E-mails for the next join cycle for ShackTac were just sent out, taken from an applicant pool of approximately 1500, with less than 3% making selection. This batch includes anyone who applied after the March 2014 cycle – the cutoff is January 1st 2015.

Things have remained challenging with regards to onboarding people for ShackTac – Arma 3 does not support the playercounts we became accustomed to in the Arma 2 era, so our joins have slowed accordingly. Hopefully the future of Arma 3 will improve enough to allow us a bit more expansion, though it’s unlikely our onboarding tempo will change much from an outsider’s perspective.

In any case, the e-mails have been sent out. I can’t hypothesize as to when the next join batch will be, but when it happens, it will include people from Jan 1st 2015 onward.

To those of you not selected – I hope you find a good place to participate, even if it can’t be with us for now. Take care as always!

Next batch in 2015

Due to the upcoming holidays and year-end aspects of our community, the next join batch has been delayed until January of 2015. This batch will include people from March 2014 to January 2015 and will likely be about 30-45 people in total. I’ll post again once the e-mails have been sent out for it.

March 2014 Cycle – Aug 2013 to present

There will be a new join cycle happening at the start of March. I’d originally planned this for February but had to postpone it a few weeks for various reasons. The expected join size will be between 20-40 people and will consist of people who applied from August of 2013 to March of 2014. We’re still operating as a primarily Arma 2 community, so if you’re looking to get in, bear that in mind. We’ll switch to Arma 3 at some point in the future, but there’s no ETA currently.

August 2013 Cycle – March to August

During the period of March to August of 2013 we received over 1400 applicants for ShackTac. Due to limitations with Arma’s netcode at higher player counts, and concerns over how large we can grow as a community without risking harm to what has allowed us to be so tightly-knit, we can only take in a very small number of new people each year. After a great deal of deliberation and careful selection, I ended up picking 35 people out of those 1400+ applicants. They received their acceptance e-mails earlier this evening – check your spam filters just to be safe!

To say that it’s difficult to choose from such a volume of high-quality applicants is an understatement. Each name is a potential friend, a comrade, someone who could turn out to be a tremendous addition to our community. I take this process very seriously, spending hours reviewing, debating over, and selecting the finalists. The choices I make in selecting them help to define where the group goes in the future – the people who move forward as pFNGs will become part of our culture and ultimately our history. I believe I’ve chosen wisely, but only time will tell.

What we face as a community at this point is not something I was ever expecting, and if you’ve read my prior thoughts on the matter, you’d know that a great deal of thought has gone into proceeding the way we have. I thank everyone who respects these decisions and understands what it means to stay true to your vision without compromising.

As I said last cycle – if you did not make it into ShackTac, it is not a negative reflection on you as a person. There are many great people who couldn’t be fit into this batch, and my sincere hope is that they filter throughout the broader Arma community and find a place they enjoy and can contribute towards the success of. The way I said it previously hit the nail on the head, so I’ll quote it again here:

If our join inquiries are any indication, there are plenty of quality people out there looking for a good Arma experience. Have a look around the Arma scene, see if there are any groups that you agree with. Make sure you keep in mind the guidelines I listed here regarding what to watch out for in groups. Some of you may have thought about starting new groups – while this isn’t a trivial thing to do, the time is ripe for it. There’s nothing stopping some motivated people with the right ideas, vision, and perseverance, from creating something special.

As to the next join cycle? We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. We need to see what these 35 bring to us first, get them integrated into our community, and allow them time to develop as members. Don’t expect to see another full-scale cycle for quite a few months.

To those of you who didn’t make selection this cycle – thank you for applying, and I am humbled to see how many would like to be a part of our community and how passionately you’ve shown that. Wherever your paths may take you going forward, I hope that you find the enjoyment you seek.

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