Chapter 1: A Not So Brief History...
Chapter 2: The End Begins...
Chapter 3: Born In Fire...
Chapter 4: The Combat Update...
Chapter 5: HAUNT's Rebirth, Post-SWG...
Chapter 6: The Burning Crusades...
Chapter 7: WAR And Other Games...
Chapter 8: Gaming Projects of 2009...
Chapter 9: Gaming Projects 2010-2011...
Chapter 10: DCUO... (2011)
Chapter 11: WoW Chapter Closes... (2005-2012)
Chapter 12: Full Circle... (2012)
Chapter 13: Guild Wars 2 and WvW season 1... (2012)
Chapter 14: Guild Wars 2 and WvW season 2... (2014)
Chapter 15: Projects of 2014+
A Not So Brief History (For those who want to know or wish to remember)
HAUNT had its beginning in a medium sized pvp guild called Ghost back in 2003. To the average player in Star Wars Galaxy's Bria at the time calling Ghost, a guild of over 500 members, "medium" would have blown their minds.
However, you should compare us to other large player pvp organizations like The Syndicate and Goon Squad. Their numbers are in the thousands.
Back to the history, Ghost was originally founded by Tasaii. In game, he was a Mon Calamari leader who was looking to create one Empire under one tag. In real life, he was a police officer who wanted to create a little stability in the game.
This first leader deserves his props. Tasaii had several huge successes.
First, thanks to the efforts of Jasau, Tasaii founded Ghost Town on Dantooine. It was literally the first Metropolis ranked player city in the entire game. That's regardless of server.
Second, by merging with a guild lead by one Highlord Hunter, Tasaii formed the largest single guild army in the game. Ghost was literally able to zerg over a hundred players at an enemy point within minutes. For humor alone, I'm told that some of those early days even included running naked into Anchorhead lagging the city out and killing all the rebels inside with sheer numbers. In SWG, Ghost hitting the ground was like the roll of thunder.
Third, Tasaii created the single most infamous and hated guild in the SWG pre CU game. The player boards were constantly lit with complaints or whines about the guild from enemy Rebel and supposedly allied Imperial alike. For example, Need'a'Bone Dreg was often a target of such posts.
It should also be noted, Tasaii created the single most hardened point of base defense in the game. It was a pair of bases and a shuttle port locked in a wall of Naboo housing.
Thanks to a combination of dish turrets and hardened defenses, Ghost Town's base complex became known as a deathtrap to any rebel who would enter. Even a non-declared rebel who used the shuttle port, would be flagged by the dish turrets and killed before he'd even loaded into the zone.
It was a wonderful, automated, sandbox killing machine. It stood for months unscratched by whatever the rebel zerg could throw at it, even with numbers over the hundreds lagging through the walls.
It was 2003, this was a time when the Empire itself suffered in a metaphorical Custard's last stand. If you looked at total server population, the Imperials were outnumbered and outgunned by rebels at least a three to one margin.
Ghost was one of several Imperial guilds that was making an increasingly hardened stand against a player base of "heroes". The rebel "heroes" made up the vast majority of the game. Thanks to SOE's complete lack of policing their own game, they would get caught openly duping billions of credits and then purchasing every advantage the game offered.
However, to be honest, Ghost itself wasn't completely clean at this time. It would be a couple of incidents later until we were truly free of trash players.
As for my own part, I was brought in as a Ghost recruit and officer right around September 2003. At the time, Tasaii had a series of goals he wanted accomplished and he was in need of a propagandist and networker.
At the time, SWG was a living, interdependent, sandbox game. It had hundreds of players operating in living cities NPC cities like Bestine, Coronet, and Theed. At Tasaii's bidding, we began to make Ghost town not just a storage facility, like player towns were and would remain on most servers.
We started with the heart by recruiting player entertainers into the cantina. We even ended up appointing one Ummagumma as the City Entertainment officer to give voice to this group.
As such, Ghost Town began to develop a consistent population base of twenty to sixty players, at any hour of the day, seven days a week. These were players that would consistently stay in this player made metropolis, making it just as alive as Bestine was for most players at that time.
Because of these changes, other players, from other guilds, began to congregate there as well. We became a functional model of what a player city actually could be.
We also steadily improved commerce. Players such as Jungto began modest vendors that did fair business.
To be honest; however, it would be over a year before Ghost Town became a true trade hub. By the end of 2004, we'd be the third largest economy, on the largest SWG server, and the central supply point for all of Dantooine. In 2003, despite having multiple crafters, we were just a third world economy.
At Tasaii's bidding, Ghost's image was to be improved. So we began to hit the Bria forums with propaganda in mass.
Slowly, we did our part to remove the most powerful recruiting tool of the Rebellion, which was the demonization of Imperial players. With our allied guilds, one sticking point we used was the use of the IP's own material to paint Rebels as terrorists that brought chaos to the masses.
It was a surprisingly effective propaganda campaign. It was successful enough to bring more players into our ranks as Imperials and eventually guilds such as FBI.
At Tasaii's bidding, Ghost was to improve its image with the fellow Imperial guilds. As such, I became Ghost's lead diplomat to the Imperial Coalition, an organization of necessity formed between 26 Imperial guilds fielding over 1,800 pvpers worldwide. This included other Imperial guilds such as: Fist of the Empire, Left For Dead, Crimson Empire, Forest Bay Independents, Imperial Intelligence Agency, Silicon Soldiers, KIA, CIA, TIE, ST, and many others.
We began high level Intelligence operations as well. Imperial Intelligence Agency (IIA) had a operations template very close to the CIA where they actively placed members into enemy units to collect data.
We took our format from the KGB. Rather than use exhaustive, time consuming plants, we simply farmed the lower level, disgruntled members of the rebellion for information.
One story is a lie. Two complimenting stories from independent sources was a lead. Three or more lead to a solid piece of information giving you either a clue or an obvious piece of counter intelligence to work with.
We learned about 10% of our own guild was plants from the rebellion. Our own open recruitment method lead to the most saturated guild of spies, some of whom were even there from rival Imperial guilds. Thus, counter intelligence operations began as well and Ghost took care not to be too much in the loop of IC operations until boots were on the ground.
Back to the IC, Ghost began working more closely with these guilds and the Empire itself was in mass offensive. As such, by the end of the Canyon City Campaign, the Rebellion would never again place bases, even years later and the Empire, though vastly outnumbered was left entirely on the defensive.
Due to the wisdom of the Imperial Coalition, rather than our own, Imperial bases were placed on timers for planets as soon as the drift bug was fixed by SOE. From that point forward, all the bases on a single planet were vulnerable for a set time, thus easing the strain of twelve hour days of rushing from one point to another for defense.
The success of this can be further remarked on later. However, Ghost was about to go through its first major upset and due to Tasaii's own actions the guild itself was not long for the world... Back To Top
The End Begins...
Tasaii's open recruitment had lead to merging with other guilds. As such he had the habit of giving guild leaders officer positions in Ghost. This lead to several people who had inflated opinions of their own leadership abilities.
Though they were no means alone, the two highest ranking people in question were Highlord Hunter and Mo-NervAgent. Both began to openly bristle against the other.
First, I'll begin with the one that didn't purposefully betray us. Highlord Hunter was a highly charismatic person who had a slight problem with focus. As the fight died down on the rebel side, he increasingly vented an interest in returning to his roots on the rebel side for the pvp.
Tasaii and I managed to keep him tied down, thus solidly Imperial. However, we did underestimate how much Ghost's teamspeak crew was listening to exaggerated tales of how great the pvp was on the other side.
Also, while Highlord's popularity grew inside the ranks, it rankled others like those with less glamorous jobs and far lesser ability. The first villain in question would be Ghost Town's mayor, Mo-NervAgent.
Tasaii's mistake here would consistently be my own later. Like myself, he'd bull headedly refuse to lock the mayor slot of Ghost Town under himself. Thus, Ghost and later HAUNT would have a consistent issue that never bothered the other guilds.
The first mayor to hold the city hostage was Mo-NervAgent. Mo literally demanded the means to create his own guild and own town or he'd delete the city hall.
His first breakaway guild was Ghast. It would soon become ICE. The high comedy of which was that he and his crew took every chance to recruit raid us for members and ended up consistently self destructing from their own incompetence. Months later as HAUNT, my favorite part was being asked to go all the way to Talus to defend ICE's city of over one hundred players from five moderately equipped rebels that were griefing their town. It should be noted, MO also took multiple opportunities to rob his own people, including his XO, who was shocked to find there is no honor among thieves.
In the end, Ghast/ICE/Ghiest Company's XO went on to become a bullet catcher for another guild. Mo went on to nothing.
The Ghast/ICE incident weighed heavy on Tasaii. He'd leave a few weeks later and refuse to pass on leadership guild functions of Ghost, as he went to Linage II.
Highlord Hunter became the default leader of Ghost. He became slightly erratic and pushed the guild towards a mass scheme of a single huge base complex, surrounded with what became known as the "Great Wall of Highlord".
The wall wouldn't fuse right. The defenses didn't cover each other. A rebel base within the structure for farming became a declare zone for the enemy. In a single week, the total might of the IC wasn't enough to save the poorly designed complex.
Ghost bled members. ICE actively farmed them. Highlord silently followed Tasaii into Linage II in embarrassment.
One of Highlord's lieutenants, Soft Fish, became the leader of the largest Imperial guild in SWG and the oldest metropolis in the game. Soft decided to complete raid the guild's storehouses and blow up the city. A large portion of the Ghost teamspeak crew drunk on Highlord's pvp stories followed suit.
Before anyone knew their intent, one of Soft's lieutenants named Krunta talked the current mayor, Moesha (who was Jedi grinding), into dropping the mayor skill, saying she didn't need it for the mayor slot and she could pick it up later. Their hope at the time was that the city hall would vanish. Luckily, by mechanic or glitch, it didn't.
Second they disabled the guild's function by booting most of the officers, starting with Highlord Hunter. Tasaii's lack of interest in passing on guild functions or returning during this drama was now nuking what he had created.
As for the Ghost storehouses, they were vast. Hewy would correctly brag that he had enough medical buff packs to buff the entire server, which averaged over ten thousand online at any time back then. That was just the buff packs, if the raided stores had been sold as credits by IG, at about $8.00 per million credits worth, Soft's group had made off with what could have been conservatively sold for $11,000.00 American.
They also stole the entire interior from Ummagumma's cantina and any other private building that they had access too. Afterwards, they also tried to spin themselves as heroes to the rebel faction.
Soft's crew bought themselves the best gear in the game, flipped rebel, went hot, and began camping Ghost Town. Many of the officers who had once lead Ghost now attacked it. They hoped to earn their status in the rebellion by breaking the largest Imperial guild in the game.
The guild functions were locked to end any mathematical chance at staying tagged as Ghost. It would appear, we were in checkmate as the masses ran... Back To Top
Born in fire...
Few gamers like a losing toon or a losing situation. So it should be noted, the players who became HAUNT members in those first days, were outnumbered and outgunned, yet stuck together.
It was days of fighting to regain any footing. It was fighting outnumbered or often alone. Yet, we did and by leading by example, our numbers grew.
HAUNT wasn't even our first name, we actually started under, (POE) Phoenix of the Empire. I dropped the guild hall of the Necropolis in Ghost Town. Need'a'Bone Dreg followed as the second person. Other gamers did as well: Jungto, Kayte, Sera' Storms, Skeeter Whatley, Xetai, Darius, Berdan, Furball, Ummagumma, and many others. We began the scurried race to retake our online home and force the raiders from our land.
Since Soft's crew had taken the old teamspeak, Jungto provided the new one. The renamed group gelled and restored what it could as quickly as possible.
Furball's great contribution was to save Ghost town in those days by engineering land trades and votes. Oddly, like Mo-NervAgent, he'd try blow the city up in a fit depression just a few months later.
Berdan became our first war leader and successfully built a squad that made a continuous habit of beating Soft's much better equipped team out of Ghost town. We then drove them off Dantooine. We then chased them wherever and whenever we could.
We didn't do this alone. A fellow member of the IC, Praelian's FOE, became our greatest ally in that fight, identifying Soft's new base on Naboo and blowing up his more expensive property with spy toons.
It's worth noting Soft's group -UG- understood how to equip themselves as duelists and make some money, but were completely inept at managing the long term logistics of a guild. Due to equipment degrade and lost property, they burned through what they had stolen. They did so just like an addicted rock/rap star would blowing a thousand lifetimes of earned wages in a year.
Soft's -UG- started as some of the richest people on the server. They ended defeated, disgraced, and broke.
-UG- ended with a tiny village on Naboo. It lacked the drive to remove a single large turret that Jungto had placed dubbing it, "HAUNT's Penal Colony". It's a joke that the turret stood a month after placing it, as we sat camping -UG-s village, talking to a trapped Hewy who hid in his house for three hours. He was the last of that crew to quit that game.
Thus ended Soft's -UG- on our watch. I'm sure they went on to other ventures and did just as well.
As for HAUNT, during the first days of fighting and the unsure times, our numbers were very few. Three weeks after forming, when the danger and stress had passed, things changed quickly.
As peace was restored and all of the hard work was effectively over, people returned in droves until our numbers swelled over 300. With the numbers came the clicks and the debates over silly crap, starting with the name of the guild.
After a guild vote, we tried the guild names in succession of voting. Skeeter's entry of HAUNT actually stuck even though it was the number three choice on the list.
We drafted and adapted a constitution. We thought of ourselves as a group of brothers and sisters. We were our own, Knights of the Round table.
Militarily our first major decision was the "No divided defense" policy. Ghost town wouldn't drop a base, but we wouldn't let an allies fall either. We became the steward's of CE 5 base complex to our north, holding them for two hours a night, often without help from the guild that dropped them. We also pulled an extra two hours a night on Naboo.
There was a full year where no Imperial base fell with HAUNT on the field. On Naboo, we were part of a huge force and just did our part. On Dantooine, protecting Mandalore's base complex, we were often more than a bit alone and often had to hold the line on five separated bases alone for 10-30 minutes while waiting on reinforcements.
This was a heady time for the Empire. As a collection of guilds, we were able to work with our allies to do things that people in other games only dreamed about. Thanks to the work of 28 guilds we coordinated with and fought alongside, we took the game further than the devs had imaged. Here's two examples ifrom FOE's Thork on those days with the Cayon City fights.
Internally, we changed the internal design Tasaii had created. Ghost had been a levy on mass system, where the top spent the resources the rest made, or where 95% of the taxed were poor, so 5% could be rich.
That system had created the people that made -UG-. We thus threw that system out for an idealistic service system. Leaders served the guild and members were limited in what they could give. The idea was to make a self sufficient guild where people could be independently wealthy inside, a low tax, highly capitalistic guild model that would aid some of those who couldn't help themselves sufficiently.
These were the high years of HAUNT in SWG. They'd start falling apart quickly enough... Back To Top
The Combat Update...
In a single move, SOE changed the game radically. Much of the interdependency was removed, things like battle fatigue disappeared overnight. Many viable builds from the day before were no longer functional for pvp as they left you below level 80 in a newly WOW like system.
We had been built and designed as a guild to retain what we liked most about Ghost. Now the self sufficient city guild build was openly falling apart. Entertainers were rendered virtually useless overnight. Other classes became grossly simplified in many ways.
There are many that would argue the CU was the best part of the game. From a larger perspective, it's actually a period that killed much of the diversity. The number of subscribers dropped in the US from 300k to 250k. The Japanese servers closed.
Players began to wholesale disappear. Our allies went through periods of time where the entire subscriber base disappeared into WOW and other games.
The Galactic Civil War suffered as well. By the time the village had come out, players began wholesale disappearing to Jedi grind. The entire guild and social dynamic had changed for all, effectively killing the increasingly simplified GCW.
Non player cities were now dying. Player cities were increasingly empty and populations stuck to smaller areas.
We tried a few things to stir the local player base up, even going so far as to provide help to rebel guilds in distress, to keep pvp alive. Between hosted hunting projects and our sillier crap like the Imperial Beach Party, we became known by our catch phrase, "We're here to help".
We became the broader community builders as the moderates in the Imperials. Thus, when things like "Operation Blue Balls" occurred, a rebel strategy of staving the Imperial pvp base of fights, we weren't affected.
Our more conservationist stance on making sure we didn't kill off the competition earned us friction with our allies, with a few face offs. In the end, though, nothing came of it and we kept the game we were obsessed with on as much life support as possible.
The game was dying. No longer able to be a single game guild, HAUNT began flirting with other games:
HAUNT joined MxO (The Matrix Online). However, our numbers stayed so small that we merged our members into Furious Angels.
HAUNT entered Guildwars. However, interest in the game was so small that we never even had 8 members on at one time once for a island war, even three times that number had bought the game.
I ended up needing a break and tried working on other projects. Jungto took the reigns as main guild leader for a few months and did a great job. His largest contribution was building the HAUNT Jedi base that would be needed to sustain us for the years to come. We were the last Imperial guild to do so.
Need'a'Bone was our war leader. With Jungto, he staged such projects as the Dantooine Blockade and proved remarkably effective at providing the rebel motivation to challenge it by simply posting on the Bria boards. He also began the first warnings about HAUNT's decaying readiness for combat operations.
Months later, I resumed in quiet. I misinterpreted the readiness issue and made the classic political mistake of throwing money at it.
We tried to motivate Ghost Town's citizen soldiers by handing out pvp gear valued in the millions to each volunteer pvp toon. It was a model that had worked well for LFD and FOE that we could finally afford as Bria's 3rd largest economy. It would turn out to be a huge mistake.
There was a general decay in the inflated guild's ranks. HAUNT became successively cliquish. The average age of the player base dropped from 30ish to 17ish. Drama ensued.
Furball returned, campaigned for mayor and then threatened to delete Ghost Town in a fit of depression. It was the fifth time, the town hall had been in Jeopardy and the constant drumbeat of that drama had become beyond old.
War operations had to be restarted as a matter of necessity. A boneheaded move by SOE now allowed EVERY toon to drop 3 bases without costing any personal lots. The Imperial Dominion (the second generation of the IC reformed under Praelian) had demonstrated the power of this by dropping over 100 bases around a rebel city effectively lagging it out.
This same strain was now effecting Bria's entire grid. The servers were becoming progressively laggy and the only effective means of dealing with the issue was blowing up these ever multiplying junk bases.
With our allies, we began this in earnest. Though the IGN value of credits had dropped to about $3 per million, HAUNT literally blew up over $100,000.00 worth of these junk items over a series of weeks on four planets.
Server stability improved. Our pvp numbers did not.
Senior members were now pumping tens of millions of credits a month into guild members that wasted what they were given. A guild of over 300 active members could barely muster a squad of eight people for pvp.
Teamspeak had become a social event rather than a communication tool. Senior members were now spending twenty to forty hours a week simply maintaining the pre-cu administrative functions whose purpose was long dead.
Discipline continued to slip. Integrity inside the guild had become a joke for the majority of its membership.
Eventually, there was a politically motivated power grab. The illusion of the Knights of the Round table was gone.
The insurgents was a small group of teenagers who had no access to the controls, nor the systems that actually paid the bills. As most people whose daddy never spanked them, they had no concept of consequences.
They made a laughable challenge to the charter. Which would be the same as a bank robber caught, red handed, with the money bundles in hand, saying it was his legally, "since possession is nine tenths of the law."
They sat in shock as we calmly dropped over 150 players who did little more than act entitled to benefits they hadn't earned. We also took the time to inform our allies of exactly what dirt bags had caused our internal problems and why.
To put it into metaphor, the people trying to grab power were like teenagers killing their parents, then not understanding why the unpaid for power to the house is cut, the refrigerator didn't magically refill itself, nor did their laundry mystically get done. Nor, did they have any concept of consequences as we drove them from the guild and they made a play for Ghost Town's city hall.
I'd help hold Ghost Town together for six attempts on its existence. Along with many of the senior officers, I'd grown tired of it. Having learned from the -UG- experience, we held all the keys to the kingdom and contacted the mayor on our decision.
Logging onto the mayor's toon, as I spoke with Bone, one of the most freeing moments of my life was deleting that city hall. The only thing better was the surprised screams of those that didn't think I'd do it.
It's worth noting we told them what we'd do if they tried. It also wasn't the first line we clearly drew and then made good on publically.
The insurgents formed their own guild "eXyLe" and placed their own city hall. Their mayor blew it up on the others within weeks. The guild they formed folded just as quickly.
The senior leaders took a break. We came back weeks later and saw the NGE. Already divorced of any emotional ties to SWG, we moved on to the next game... Back To Top
HAUNT's Rebirth, post SWG...
Having grown tired of the crashes with Bria, we avoided the most lagged out server Freedom after experiencing mass lag issues there. Instead, Kayte selected the server Guardian and we leveled to the cap of 40. Once armed, we began fighting the local heroes there.
NCSoft created a system where the other side has more hit points, better damage, better accuracy, better resistances, better defense, better healing and better everything than we did. The lead developer, Matt Miller (a.k.a. Positron), would later boast it was done for "Role playing" purposes.
Though we didn't know it at the time, for a guild looking for an edge and a chance to really fight again, it was a godsend. The game was fast like a shooter and completely unforgiving.
HAUNT rose from the ashes as a guild of three pvp squads. No longer willing to put up with those that didn't pull their weight, we carried a 50% wash out rate with any recruit the first month. After that, we had a 50% wash out rate for the first year. That was after turning down over 200 applications that first year alone.
We found new players that were magic on their toons, like Katarn (Slash), Redgrave, Taint/ Grundle, Robo, Nev, Marjai, Zoom, Starfire, Karl Revok, and Eliv. We then set an increasingly higher bar for ourselves.
It would be hard for a lot of people on Guardian to understand now that we were hated when we first started in the pvp zones. People had built their toons for arena style dueling and they were often in for a shock when HAUNT took the field.
The lack of hero team coordination increasingly became a problem. The zone consistently emptied, until we finally found our most consistent adversary.
It was there on Guardian we discovered a much hated hero guild named the Twilight Avengers. They reminded us a lot of ourselves as Ghost and we began a friendly rivalry.
Outnumbered, outgunned, and out equipped thanks to their hamidons, we jumped into a blender. Over a few weeks, in Siren's Call, HAUNT began to rapidly modify and change tactics.
We broke the game down mathematically and began to reshape our toon strategies. We succeeded in a system that forced us to close range buff every 60 to 120 seconds just to survive.
We had to learn which villain toons had synergy together. We learned to avoid which ones naturally nerfed each other in group. We then had to hold group morale in one beat down after another.
In time, the tide shifted. One night, on top of a tower, beyond the tipping scales of the hero npcs, we held off an organized teamspeak group twice our number for a 30 minute hair raising, non-stop smack down that never let up.
One misstep would have slain the group. There was none.
Free of the dead weight of a year earlier, we had been reborn. HAUNT had arrived.
We networked with both sides. We also made ties with the best ally guild we ever found, the Bane of Prometheus.
Villains were expanded into level 50 gifted with the joke that was Patron powers. The same expansion introduced a death zone called RV that most villain pvpers on most servers quickly avoided like the plague.
Dealing early with the battlefield issues and drawing on our SWG experience, we also started a new experiment in community building. Tapping into what motivated COX's player base, we started a nine month weekly pvp event that we moved into Recluse's Victory called the Guardian Wars.
We built the pvp event as a comic posting and brought the two factions into the creative part of the project as well as the war itself. Though the original thread had long since died, we still have some originals that chronicled our effort here: Past Events Gallery (bottom archives)
There are also those that wondered how we did it. Since that game is now gone from the mechanics of the time, here was our strategy.
1. The core of the villain army was masterminds. We formed a core five man squad and kept them up with Corruptors. This meant you had to slug through 30 or more minions, not including the upgradable zone robots. In effect, we returned to the heroes the same tab targeting issues that villains were forced to face in Siren's Call. This group formed the center of our entire visible offensive.
2. As much as heroes hated individual stalkers, we formed a synergetic stalker squad. Stalkers work better not saddled with other classes. They can often cause extensive damage in groups against a distracted opponent. This group was our eyes, since players were often able to see stalkers easily, they simply played and sought cover, as if they were visible toons.
3. Brutes need a full fury bar in order to hit full effect. Teaming them with Dominators or Masterminds often nerfed their ability to generated damage. We teamed this squad with a kinetics corruptor and used them as fast response / close range damage on the enemy.
4. We teamed the remaining squad often made of dominators and / or corrupters as a fast response layer. This left a synergetic group that wasn't interfering with the brute group's ability to deliver maximum damage.
5. While mixing these groups in the HAUNT vent we used our last card to survive which was mobility. Villains actively engaged the control points of the zone encouraging the hero groups to spread as thin as possible. We'd hit the point and smash the response team, then hit the next point.
6. We'd sprinkle in any independent villains in the zone. In the chaos, a weekly, two hour war was born.
7. We'd make sure every SG or VG participating got credit at the end. We made a weekly posting event out of the war and the people who had fun came back week after week. They did; even, when the buggy zone was unplayable. Which could be up to half the time and the event had to go through multiple postponements, due to multiple client side crashes due to game coding issues.
We still have some of those screenshots from those days. Here's a few of the weeks, for those that are interested:
The War 3/7/07
The War 3/14/07
The War 3/21/07
The War 3/28/07
The War 4/4/07
The War 4/11/07
The War 4/18/07
The War 4/25/07
The War 5/2/07
The War 5/9/07
The War 5/16/07
The War Ends 5/30/07
This RV effort was not without internal cost. It caused a disruption in the guild itself.
We lost no fewer than four guild members. Several newer players were stressed out by us planting our flag in the hardest pvp zone, for a two hour event a week, and utterly refusing to back out of it.
There were benefits beyond the server recognition though. The War got HAUNT invited to represent Guardian by Rift of the Lion's Den (Victory) in NCSoft's PVPEC (Player Versus Player Event Committee http://pvpec.guildportal.com/Guild.aspx?GuildID=172980&TabID=1463928 ). At the time, this gave us the direct chance to input directly to the game developers.
HAUNT did fight for more balance so Red side wouldn't die off as a faction. However, we didn't win that fight. It's interesting that Castle did eventually implement one of our suggestions, which was, in the event they didn't balance the math of villain toons, that they allow the preferred classes to cross factions with a recent expansion.
That was politics. We were more successful in game. In the end, at that time, we set the following COX milestones:
1. Longest known weekly villain run event in RV with consistent numbers over 40 vs. 40.
2. The Guardian War became the largest guild run event in COX with over 20 acknowledged super groups and over 20 acknowledged villain groups consistently participating.
3. At its height, the event had the highest level of population participation, by a server. The event managed to attract 33% of the entire server player base online.
4. By request of the PVPEC, it became the largest PVPEC multi-server RV zone event on test center. Even Rift came out of retirement for the event. Other members of the PVPEC, such as Freedom's Thorizdin (Lords Of The Dead) participated.
Years later, we're still getting positive feedback from the Guardian Wars. It was; however, very taxing for people on our side.
We literally broke good players doing it in RV. We have since throttled back on pushing the edge so hard. So far, it is arguably HAUNT's highest achievement.
While on Guardian, we also continued a few other goofy HAUNT traditions like the Imperial Beach Party. In the end though, game balance never happened and red side population fell even further behind. We left searching for a new game.
Thus began our WOW the Burning Crusade years... Back To Top
The Burning Crusades....
Our Imperial network of guilds then faced a ruthless evil they had never known. It was called purple fever.
In vanilla WOW, brother turned on brother in the name of phat loot. The network of guilds fell apart and eventually raided one another for players.
We had originally entered Vanilla WOW, during a short break in COX. There was a little heart burn in our membership in needing to play Alliance to play with old friends. After all, WOW offered the only known opportunity to play undead and the guild name was HAUNT.
Being just like every other guild at the time, we got a jab of purple fever as well and lost four members to the game. Two were kicked for stealing from people they were PUGing with. Two left to join raider guilds.
As for the rest of us, most didn't care to grind to 60, to then spend up to 9 months equipping, just to be fully armed for pvp. As Redgrave once described, the imbalance of tier three gear was such that he could kill 3 rogues simultaneously with his restro druid.
Most ground a few levels and threw in the towel. The game was a glorified pve grind and we were just there to shoot people in the face.
For the majority of the guild, we had arrived too late for the glory days of vanilla WOW world pvp. What we have been told we missed was best expressed by the following director Paxton.
Personally, I never planned on returning to WOW, nor had most of the guild. Not a fan of COX, Need'a'Bone had predated the rest of the guild trying WOW and stayed throughout, settling as a Horde member on Jaedenar which at the time was overrun with Alliance...
It was over a year later. HAUNT needed a pvp game. The market was barren...
As a compromise, HAUNT returned to WOW as a guild specializing in 29th level twinking. It would mean no endless grind and an option to pvp weekly as a guild again.
Grundle and Redgrave designed our gearing and specs. The group began ripping up Warsong Gulch and / or Arathi Basin on Fridays depending on attendance. We also picked up an old member, Sikte / Kubar, who brought his own brand of humor to the matches.
At first, we hit gold and consistently faced off against Nightfall's Alliance twink groups in some wild fights. Unfortunately, it would appear most twinks at the time were just looking for a slaughter.
Nightfall's familiar twink faces started dropping when we'd que in. The waiting times for a Friday fight got longer and longer.
We leveled to 70 and started openly competing in the Burning Crusades. At the time, you could completely gear up from pvp alone for gear only one level below whatever the top gear was.
Jaedenar had dropped numbers since Bone's first outing. We went to work building the community. First we tried a weekly Jaedennar War event:
This became a weekly Halaa event. To be honest it had hit or miss attendance.
Past Events Gallery
To help the event and add a boost to our declining Alliance opponents, we opened the Jaedenar server vent. We openly hosting both sides and providing for fighter jock coms for people fighting.
The vent even provided coms for the first worldwide arena tournament hosted by Blizzard. They were also used by two Alliance pvp crews, Crossdog's Red Equals Dead and Gun's Why so Serious.
We also joined a project started by a member of the Alliance. The Jaedenar Guild Alliance was a server wide association for helping both sides.
In the end, despite the efforts of both sides and multiple guilds, Jaedenar was a virtually empty server. We took a break and looked elsewhere, to WAR and other games... Back To Top
WAR And Other Games...
I liked the pvp idea of eve. However, like most of HAUNT, I found the idea of a ship icon only to be boring.
Eve Online was like fajitas. The smell (advertising) was so much better than the taste.
Also, pursuant to the idea of Expanding the PVPEC, we looked into other games and old games.
We did the beta test for Tabula Rasa, which boasted a promising Guildwars mechanic. The game was crap, too pve, and is already dead because it deserved to be.
We took part in a second look at SWG. We set up a call that lead about 200 players back into Bria over 9 months for the promise of a base war that once again failed to start rebel side.
The game community we had known, was dead. Further, the servers were barren.
Though there were several good players in several guilds on both sides there, Bria was at its last spastic gasps as the pvp server of that game. As of this writing, it no longer is.
Despite attempted improvements, WOW style NGE SWG had been reduced to a Restuss oriented shooting fest with ever decreasing numbers. We tried to help and failed.
We did the Beta test for WAR. Despite high hopes, it was the grind that killed us. I don't understand why a pvp oriented game would force that long of a grind. We left after a month or two.
This also marked my last attempt to expand the PVPEC into other systems. There simply weren't any bites.
On that note, we also tried a requested reboot of the Guardian War in COX. Unfortunately, despite enthusiasm, the chasm between IO geared pvpers and the average player is so vast at this point, zone pvp is no longer a way to grow new pvpers from casuals. It's just a slaughter. Since this wasn't the idea or the reason for the event's success, we retired the reboot out of respect for what it was, rather the math realities of the current game. Back To Top
Gaming Projects of 2009...
We had a squad in AION. Nev led a group in a game that is both breathtaking and long in its grind.
I ran group of squads in Star Trek Online. I was hooked by the pvp starting at 6th level, that awards money, xp, and awards for better gear. I was really hooked the first time a Federation player screamed "Khan!!!" after losing a match to us.
We also ran on the Streets of San Paro with the original APB, before RTW died. Back To Top
Gaming Projects of 2010 - 2011...
Nymph's STO efforts were best captured here with this video:
Sadly, the game's real pvp community was extremely small. The pvp matches began to take an increasingly long time to upload.
This was made even more tragic in that Cryptic's dev team was extremely open and active with the community. STO was the only game we have ever played where we actively had the PVP dev in vent and were able to fight with or against him.
Despite this, the core Trekkie PVE / RP fan base of the game went out of their way to be truly awful in the pvp instances. Some would even actively throw matches for their side by refusing to rez or crashing out of the zone, while their teammates were slaughtered in instances.
Without any world environment to make a meaningful pvp community war with, there was no hope of maintaining the players that actually wanted a good fight. Sadly, by the time the instances took an hour to get one ground match in, we were done.
We tried a few times to re start this game, but without success. Perhaps F2P or a Romulan expansion will restart the pvp base again as something meaningful one day.
Aion has been falling apart from a combination of the Korean style grind and a failed appeasement strategy with making the extremely vocal PVE base happy. With the world pvp mostly dead and most of the pvp functions of the game turned off in appeasement, the PVE community has done its typical burn through of the material and quit. The guild lost interest and moved on.
Aion is a awesome looking game. Sadly, that's the best one can say about it.
APB Reloaded has been in perpetual open beta since June 2011. The game's population has been hurt by this and the endless 10 day weapon grind. This one looks like a back burner project until things improve. Once it does, Kubar will be leading our Criminal / Enforcer teams in another epic driveby war. Back To Top
In their typical fashion, SOE failed to police this in any meaningful way. It was devastating to the game's paying pvp population.
On the positive, we picked up two solid members in Xerodin and Chewy. On the negative, we had to go to extreme steps to maintain the pvp player base on the Public Enemies server we started on.
After all, it isn't the cards you are dealt. It's how you play them.
Due to the disheartened player base, this would be our very first war where it was necessary to actively rally both sides. For balancing, HAUNT players actually fought with each other to help even the respective sides. We recruited guilds to participate, switching which guild was hosting each week and flipping the side hosting.
As we did so by example, many in the community did so as well. More guilds joined on both sides. A server community spirit grew and a few players actively moved to PE, sparking some resentment from dying servers.
As the war continued, we churned out the advertisement / propaganda machine. In the end, for a bit, PE's world pvp was alive again at least once a week for the event.
Here is the original thread: http://forums.station.sony.com/dcuopc/posts/list.m?topic_id=23591
Here are some screenshots and videos of the event:
The Public Enemies War Opened, March 26, 2011
Week two of the public enemies war
Week Three of the public enemies war
Week Four of the Public Enemies War Saturday, 16 April 2011
Week six of the Public Enemies War 30 Apr 2011
Week Seven of the Public Enemies War 21 May 2011
Week Eight of the Public Enemies War
Public Enemies War Week 9
Public Enemies War Week 10
Public Enemies War Event 11
Public Enemies Week 12 - The Council's first event
Things went well, event wise. SOE merged the servers. However, in the battlegrounds, the scripting issues and other game breaking abuses continued.
SOE failed to do anything about it. Eventually, the active membership decided to call it quits.
HAUNT has withdrawn from any active participation in DCO. After learning a lesson on not passing on a successful community project immediately with the Guardian Wars, our ongoing community war has been completely handed to the very capable hands of the Event Committee: http://dcuocec.webs.com/
As for an example of how the community event committee expanded this idea in even new ways, here's the prep for the pvp football game they set up in game: Back To Top
WoW Chapter Closes (2005 - 2012 )
As we turn the corner into 2012, Bone will have held the line for us in that chapter for about 7 years. That is 7 of the 9 years of HAUNT's entire existence.
In Vanilla WOW alone, we watched 26 allied guilds die. As thousands of gamers have noted, WOW's purple fever phenomenon has turned brother against brother. In some cases, even real life friendships have been lost to this nonsense. Every guild in WOW saw at least some of that.
Even so, the WOW chapter, in one form or another, on one server or another, has gone on for almost as long as WOW or HAUNT has been active. There have been several great players involved in that.
HAUNT owes a huge thank you to everyone that held up to our values and stayed a pvp guild in that extremely corrosive environment through the years. Just off the top, those include: Jungto, Kayte, Grundle, Red, Slash, DDerb, Epoc, Chuck, Robo, Nev, Kubar, DD, Grellis, and others that wore the HAUNT tag in WOW.
However, first and foremost, it was Bone that kept the WOW line going that whole time. He did so as: expansions crushed play styles, servers died, major players quit the game, as certain players degenerated in WOW's uniquely corrupting environment, and the chaotic nature of the WOW's self-immolating developer directions threatened to turn the guild chapter into something it wasn't supposed to be.
Bone held the line. He held the line longer than any other HAUNT leader, in any chapter, myself included... Back To Top
Full Circle... (2012)
High expectations and a WOW style 50 bracket "Gear is EVERYTHING in PVP" system crashed SWTOR rather quickly. There was on Belgoth's Beacon two months of classic world pvp on Ilum.
It lacked an objective, but we were able to work with the community to creat a short war:
http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=225784 that was the second TOR official forums thread linked to the now dead unofficial server forum.
I'll recreate a partial list of the fight dates on the post following. The original links are all wiped with the Belgoth's Beacon unofficial forums.
It is also interesting to note that even the official thread above is a repost of an early thread official forums thread. The original was lost due to Bioware's own bad forum design and management, only 2 months into the game.
A few memory photos of a republic presence rarely seen on any other server.
Ilum Tuesday 1/17/2012
Ilum Thursday 1/19/2012
Large Republic force takes Ilum 1/21/2012
Thursday pvp event 1/26/2012
Tuesday Ilum 1/31/2012
Thursday Ilum 2/2/2012
Ilum Tuesday 2/21/2012
Sadly, Bioware effectively killed world pvp with its own bad design issues, so it was time to move to the next project...
Secret's World's lack of pvp focus fizzed that option for the majority of us in beta. Chewy and Osirrus still had a go however.
A few tried Terra...
Some of us hung out in APB Reloaded. Kubar made this round in the game the best so far.
It's no secret to those that read the boards, the next major project will be Guild Wars 2... Back To Top
Guild Wars 2 and WvW Season 1... (2012 - Present)
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." -Friedrich Nietzsche
"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." -General George S. Patton
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." -Michael Jordan
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do." -Confucius
Blackgate entered the very birth of Tier one on August 31, 2012 with the match HoD vs NSP vs BG. We did not win Tier One until March 22, 2013, during the multiple matches between the settled Tier One servers of JQ vs SOR vs BG.
In that time, we had fallen down all the way to Tier 4. We had lost multiple waves of guilds and players. Even so, we rose back up as a growing group of core players and new volunteers. One fight at a time, we climbed back up to the very top.
Blackgate didn't start as an alliance. We had started as the scrappy PUGs that were talked about in surprise podcasts at the beginning of the game.
No one had expected us to hit Tier One. We were the Cinderella story at that time, or in my metaphor, the Rocky story that faced off against the Titan Alliance's HoD, the undefeated champs of the time.
Blackgate did so alone in the very first 1 vs 1 server title fight of the day. Solo and with the remnants of another server only focused on keeping our supply dry, we were literally wiped off the map:
It happened as many of the founding Blackgate guilds, including RQ and Cond, would attempt to make up numbers or overwhelm the enemy by releasing huge coordinated waves of Hounds of Balthazar elite skill. The nickname stuck...
In game, we were the scrappy little server that refused to go down. It earned us enough respect that even the champs of the day endorsed us in the most successful recruitment thread of its time: http://www.guildwars2guru.com/topic/61454-blackgate-server-na-humbly-seeks-european-asian-and-australian-pvp-guilds-looking-for-a-challenge/#entry1893154
Out of game, the PUG server would gather together under the banner of the Blackgate War Council. It would be founded by Charla Tan and the coalition of the willing. Like many player alliances, it would be plagued by typical gamer problems in the beginning. However, the leadership saw everything through and the BWC would slowly become the backbone of many improvements to come. blackgatewvw.com
In the meantime, where we couldn't cover we had men and women of Blackgate often putting in 20 hour days to make up for our coverage holes. Many openly admitted falling asleep on their keyboards.
Burn out could have been a huge problem. However, as guilds and individuals moved on due to school or real life, core members of the team stepped up and picked up the torch that was started. The community kept growing stronger.
As such, Charla Tan eventually had to take a break, ChocPudding and other BG War Council members took center stage. Guilds and individuals continued to join Blackgate and many fused into the community. As a worldwide server grew, we began to learn from one another and teamwork continually improved.
Slowly, our scrappy collection of guilds and PUGS would bond, drawing strength and learning from one another. We would fight and train. Often, we would fall some more and get right back up again.
There is no shame in when the server was overmatched originally. After all, it is important to note, that GW2 has some of the greatest pvp guilds of the 21st century.
Blackgate started with some of those guilds. We were lucky enough to keep gathering more, as we faced several armies of absolutely skilled and challenging opponents that were sometimes overwhleming.
Those guilds not committed to the community would leave in several waves. However, the core stayed and new players slowly became part of that core as well, thus Blackgate kept improving.
Blackgate even shared the wealth and worked for 6-9 competitive servers at the top. http://www.guildwars2guru.com/topic/63701-world-pvpers-are-you-sick-of-long-ques-and-want-to-transfer-to-a-top-tier-bracket/#entry1919172
Unfortunately, the Glicko system's glacial pace would undermine all of the player driven efforts for multiple balanced servers and a more dynamic system. There simply wasn't enough rotation in the system back then to keep the player base more evenly spread.
However, Blackgate kept moving forward. When the server lost steam or was smeared hit by politics, they took the hit and moved on.
Thus here's the last Rocky metaphor for this post.
Most servers going through what Blackgate did crumbled. BG didn't.
BG took the hit and moved on. This was the journey these amazing guys and girls did. That goes for individuals, small guilds, and large guilds. World class pvp guilds and pvx players fighting to do their part. That goes for the people fighting here on day one. That goes for those that came here to fight like hell with their new brothers and sisters.
Below is a few pieces of BG's story.
Guild Wars 2 HoD vs JQ vs Blackgate 9/6/2012 - 9/7/2012 (1 day matches) Tier 1
Guild Wars 2 Blackgate vs Mag vs ET 9/7/2012 (1 day matches)
Guild Wars 2 BG vs ET vs SOS 9/11/2012 (1 day matches)
Guild Wars 2 BG vs GoM vs YB 22 Sep 2012 - 29 Sep 2012 (Week 38) Tier 4
Guild Wars 2 DB vs FA vs BG Sep 29 2012 - Oct 6 2012 (Week 39) Tier 3
Guild Wars 2 BG vs IOJ vs SBI Oct 6 - 13 2012 (Week 40) Tier 2
Guild Wars 2 BG vs FA vs TC October 13 - 20 2012 (Week 41) Tier 3
Guild Wars 2 JQ vs SBI vs BG Oct 27 2012 (Week 43) - Nov 17 2012 (Week 45) Tier 1
Guild Wars 2 BG vs SoS vs JQ Jan 12 2013 (Week 2) - Feb 1 2013 (Week 4) Tier 1
Guild Wars 2 BG vs KAN vs TC Feb 9 2013 (Week 6) - Mar 2 2013 (Week 8) Tier 2
Guild Wars 2 BG vs SoR vs JQ : The Olympian Era 3/2/2013 (Week 9) - 6/8/2013 (Week 22) Tier 1
Note: These match ups also include weeks 24-27, weeks 32-35, week 37 and week 40 prior to the beginning of the gold leagues. http://mos.millenium.org/servers/history/33
March 22, 2013: Blackgate's very first Tier One win
Season One: Seven weeks of the NA Gold League
Week 42: Week one match: BG vs SoR vs JQ (Result: 1st and 5 league points)
Week 43: Week two match: BG vs TC vs SoR (Result: 1st and 5 league points)
Week 44: Week three match: BG vs SoR vs SoS (Result: 1st and 5 league points)
Week 45: Week four match: BG vs SoR vs Mag (Result: 1st and 5 league points)
Week 46: Week five match: BG vs SoS vs JQ (Result: 1st and 5 league points)
Week 47: Week six match: BG vs SoS vs Mag (Result: 1st and 5 league points)
Week 48: Week seven match: BG vs SoR vs JQ (Result: 1st and 5 league points)
Blackgate takes Season one! From the birth of Tier One, down to Tier 4, and back up to the Season One NA World Champs.
Great job Blackgate! let us look forward to WvW Season 2... Back To Top
Guild Wars 2 and WvW Season 2... (2014)
Projects of 2014+ (Other games we've shown interest in)
Smite (Link to Official Site)
Smite is a free to play MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) developed by Hi-Rez Studios. What sets this game apart from the others in the same category is the fact that the game is played from the third person perspective (as opposed to a top-down view). This creates a much faster and frantic gameplay experience.
Here are a few details about the game:
DCUO (Link to Official Site)
DCUO (DC Universe Online) is a free to play (with subscription optional) MMO developed by SOE. Although we are playing on the US PC server, The game is also available for the PS3 and PS4. Create your own hero or villain in this action packed universe! As a side note: We've been keeping things dirty as villains ingame.
Here are a few details about the game:
WildStar (Link to Official Site)
WildStar is a brand new MMORPG released by Carbine Studios. Claimed to be the "Last great themepark MMORPG to be created", this game aims to stick to old WoW roots, but polish and update the content to what is requested for newer MMO's. With such refined gameplay (with an awesome player housing system!), this game has peaked the interest of a few of our members.
Here are a few details about the game:
Back To Top
The Repopulation (Link to Official Site)
Although the game is not slated for release until 2015, this game holds massive interest to many of our members. Why? Because this game is laser focused on creating a sandbox game that is considered to be the spiritual successor to Star Wars Galaxies! Developed by an independent developer, from what has been shown thus far, this game shows some promise!
Here are a few details about the game: