For those who don't know me I think it's now appropriate to call me an 'oldbie' player returning from a long absence to Geas. I took an extended break primarily because I was at a military academy and their extreme internet security protocols essentially decided for me that I was going on hiatus. That being said I was plagued with frustrations with the Shao-Lin guild when I left.
For a long time Shao-Lin had been utilized as a train-up guild or a way point for those who were looking to transition to being baddies. At the time the vast majority of benefits that come from being Shao-Lin could be learned as an initiate and were kept upon leaving the guild. At the time, in my opinion, the Shao-Lin were also vastly mechanically underpowered to the religious guilds with their miracles and the Crusaders (who essentially took all the benefits of a guild the Shao-Lin were balanced with and added improved armors, their own brand of miracles, and the strongest mounts on the Mud). This more or less left the Shao-Lin in a position where someone could come in and stay just long enough to learn essentially all the best the guild had to offer and leave to one of the religious organization without consequence as the Shao-Lin simply could not fight the battle and win. Additionally for all the rp flavor the guild had with balancing mind and body there was little tangible benefit in performance for having stronger mental stats. The strongest Shao-Lin were still hands down tshaharks as they had the highest composite of STR/AGI/CON.
I can happily say that after returning many of these frustrations I had with the guild have been addressed wonderfully. Many of the strongest benefits, again in my opinion, are only available to current Masters and the manner in which they are contained are simplistic and make sense from an RP angle. While these benefits do not completely resolve disparity between the Shao-Lin and religious guilds they do a lot to make them a lot more viable and provide for many more strategies/utilities. Finally there are now worthwhile reasons to build some mentals for the Shao-Lin that help to question the idea that there is a best race for the Shao-Lin. Also kick-combat is a very cool idea, kudos for that addition!
Overall as a veteran Shao-Lin player I want to just express my happiness with where the guild is now. Much praise to the wizards for their work on the guild.