This is a post for the old guard of nolf 2. We are talking 2002 / 2003. You may find it strange that I am bringing this up but I was never able to completely forget some Nolf 2 events. Looking back, some "inter-clan" communication could have gone better. I wonder how many of you think about it years and years later. Nolf 2 Multiplayer has always been strangely hooking people to it. Even today this community is still alive. Still, the Nolf 2 multiplayer world has also had its rivalry, bann/wars, verbal fights and other player/player - clan-clan wars. Often dividing people in a very small community.
Since we have all grown up now (I was 16 when I started nolf 2 in 2003) perhaps we can recap and talk about it.
When I first got into Nolf 2, it did not take long to become adequate at scoring points (no boasting intended). I joined [sT] about a month after I first started playing. This was right before a Nolf 2 Clan vs Clan tournament. This was organized by [WR]Sheepey. Another well-known name at that time in the small Nolf 2 community was [sFI] Flynt but I do not know if he was also organizing that tournament.
Back then, [WR] was the top clan when it came down to clan vs clan. Everybody already had a tournament endscore in his head:
2: ST / SFI
3: SFI / ST
4: =NU= (probably)
>BN<, |PM| and [LW] did not exist yet. [TNT] was of no real danger (no offense)
I remember how [sT] YourFather and I talked for hours on a saturday evening on how we would be able to defeat WR. [sFI] and [sT] were pretty much equal back then but YourFather was convinced that I would tip that balance without any effort since nobody really knew I joined [sT] right before that tournament.
[WR] had some very good killers which means they were usually able to finish the machine real fast after whiping the enemy team. No matter how good an individual is in a certain team, if his team members suck and the enemy team has 6 average-good players, you will still lose.
[WR] had a well known tactic that, on a certain point in the game, if a certain number of the enemy team was killed together, they would rush the enemy base. Usually, when you frag 3 people at the same time, all 3 of them are on the same respawn timer. If you are able to finish off 5 others within 20 seconds, you have the entire enemy team on a respawn timer. This was how they played.
We came up with a very simple plan that would be easy to grasp for the more casual [sT] gamer. We would focus on defending and divided the weapons on the map. You were only allowed to pick up certain weapons on a certain map. This ensured that each member on our team always had an automatic weapon with full ammo. We kept player preferences in mind so that our top killers always had their weapon of choice. We maximized the use of the leaning ability on narrow corners. Whenever 3 or more [WR] players were attacking together, team chat was used with "WRS" meaning: WR Storm. Everybody knew that meant we had to dig in deep and take absolutely no risks. The players all the way back would start using grenades to make attacks risky.
The result was that we played 4 (or 5?) intense rounds of nolf 2. WR was able to finish the machine once (maybe twice?) but we kept them back 3 times and won 3 rounds on points. Back then, the regular clan match was "best out of 5" where both clans could eliminate one map. The [WR] team combined was WAY better in killing and gaming skill. However, the tactics we used were very effective. The results were surprising but solid. [sT] won. During the match, [sT]Caipirinha used a "glitch" to access a piece of forest you were not supposed to access on the snow map with the wooden bridge in the middle (forgot the name). Back then, this was a well-known glitch often utilized. On the forums of the tournament, some [WR] names including Sheepey started a discussion on:
- We used defensive playing only and this wasn't fun, certain playing styles should be banned
- [sT]Caipirinha was in the forest which can only be achieved by using a glitch, this should not be allowed
As you can see, it was all "should, could, perhaps". Since there were no solid rules, there was no valid reason to doubt the [sT] victory.
However, a massive flame / accusation / discussion war emerged. The result was that the entire tournament instantly ceased and multiple clans had unsolved arguments for months. Mostly with [WR]. I wasn't really into clan politics at that time (but I certainly was later on ) so I never really knew what happened.
What amazed me at that time, was that we, a small community, got into an argument over something silly as someone accessing a well known glitch. The entire tournament and Nolf 2 "Esprit de Corps" got ruined for a while. In the end, [WR] ceased to exist and everybody got along quite well but still.. I never knew what happened because the tournament it self was an awesome idea. It gave us regular clan vs clan matches and also caused the servers to be full with people practicing.
Perhaps Eliteone, Belladonna or another old player can tell me how the aftermath of the ST / WR match enveloped. If I am not mistaken, some players left the community completely because of that tournament. I have never seen [sFI] Flynt anymore after that tournament.
Chapter 2 (Long story)
After the entire Nolf 2 Tournament F-up, everything was quite ok for months. "Chapter 2" envelops around 2 things:
- The founding of the >BN< (Bulletproof Ninjas) clan
- The founding of the |PM| clan
If I remember correctly, CapAhoe (then married to SFI Sylvia) wanted to make a clan with one sole purpose, beat [WR]. I do not remember if >BN< was made before or after the nolf 2 tournament. If I am right, CapAhoe himself, Lodingi, Spike (who left [sT]) and Foxsyripper (Fox$y to many) were in that clan among some others. I never really followed the >BN< story since this was a USA vs USA affair. I do know >BN< had a relatively short life. So to finish the nolf 2 novel:
- What was the original goal of >BN<?
- How did this end / why did >BN< dissolve?
As written in Chapter 1, the first large community war between players enveloped around the Nolf 2 Tournament. The second large community war enveloped around the founding of |PM|. Here's what happened (my point of view).
For months nolf 2 was static and the same for everyone. Clans were filled with active and somewhat less active players and although the numbers were ok (full DD servers), matches were actually pretty rare. I got real bored with nolf 2. At that time, I had to watch out for Lodingi, Azazel and Fox$y in public games. Other then that, there was no real challenge (no offense). At some point, I decided to leave [sT]. Not because there was anything wrong with [sT] (everything between me and [sT]YourFather was great at that time), but because I wanted to do something to make a static community more fluid. What I mean is that more random things happen causing people to stay hooked and experience something "new". I know that many other players said similar things. Not to bash at existing clans or their clan leaders but the repetitive DD matches and repetitive community layout got boring. After all, Nolf 2 never was a CounterStrike type game where you would encounter alot of randoms.
I played tagless for a week or two. Some smaller clans asked me to join them to make the odds in clan world a bit more even but I always said that I left [sT] to do something new, not to join another clan. After 2 weeks passed, the leader of the |PM| Nolf 1 division added me on MSN and asked me if I was interested in expanding |PM| to Nolf 2. I totally did not know |PM| or anything about the Nolf 1 community but the idea sounded nice. A Nolf 1 player ( |PM|SnakeEyes, Belgian guy) started playing Nolf 2, this is where |PM| expansion plans started. I liked the idea. Not only the idea of a new clan but also attracting players from Nolf 1 to Nolf 2 as more players from the Nolf 1 division were interested in switching. So what happened was that |PM| Nolf 1 gave me a Nolf 2 forum section and their main website would simply function as nolf 1 & 2 website. Boom, in 5 minutes, |PM| Nolf 2 existed. Me and SnakeEyes did not get along in the beginning fighting about who was in charge. In the end, I said I was only in this deal if I had the Nolf 2 division. I had a certain reputation he had not. After that was settled, we got along just fine. At that time, I thought I would really have to work months to get a stable memberbase. This was not the case, obviously, my best friend (|PM| mjau from Sweden) joined instantly. I knew I could count on that. I also did not take the "AngelEyes has a new clan!" effect in account. In public servers, especially during European playing times (when I had no real opposition and could easily rack up to +\- 190), everyone was wondering what |PM| was. Especially when they saw 3 - 4 players with |PM| tags. I got alot of response on that clan and requests to join. Both from tagged and untagged people. However, the |PM| leader said to me that he only wanted top players. His clan was about winning on #1 and fun on #2. We had to cream the nameless playerbase. Luckily, [WR] was disbanded a little while before |PM| started. I was able to recruit Scorpio into |PM| (who actually lived 20 minutes away from me LOL), Slyguy and OsoCrazy (USA players). Another USA player |PM|Jeffreak / |PM|Freak also joined. I never knew him before |PM| but he proved himself in public games. I met |PM|Trip in Deathmatch and his brother |PM|Roux (both from AZ) joined aswell.
So you were looking at a nice lineup consisting of:
|PM|AngelEyes, |PM|mjau, |PM|SnakeEyes, |PM|OsoCrazy, |PM|Scorpio, |PM|Jeffreak, |PM|Trip, |PM|Slyguy and |PM|Roux. This ensured that there were always |PM| players running around at EU and USA times. In the beginning, we weren't looking for clan matches. We were focusing on building our clan and getting these individualistic players to work together. The downside about very good individuals is that they play like individuals. So then the community trouble started. I know for a fact that many other clans (not naming any leaders) did not like the idea of an extra clan with somekind of charismatic factor that attracted "win"-players. Especially the "fun" players in nolf 2 never liked the "win" players (but you will never solve that dilemma in online gaming). Since I was never about secrets or backdoor politics, we publicly posted a list on the |PM| forums where |PM| players could post what players they deemed skillful enough to join |PM|. The goal of that list was ultimately to recruit other players, clanned or unclanned. Other clans did not take kindly to that post but what can you do if they are not recruiting in your server? Back then, you had the [sFI] server and the [sT] server. The rules that would affect us were quite simple: No profanity, no cheating and no recruiting without permission of the SFI / ST clan. We almost never cussed (and certainly did not insult individuals), we never cheated and we never recruited publicly (neither in team chat!). However, once you take conversations to MSN and E-mail, these server rules don't apply.
I can be completely honest here, when I was in [sT], other clans (except for SFI) often approached me and tried to recruit me. [sT]YourFather knew because I often told him and he never took any action since he was convinced of my loyalty. But when |PM| had that forum topic, [sT] and [sFI] weren't pleased. The following part may be controversial or questioned by others but what happened is that they started banning |PM| players from the server. There was no concrete reason as we did not recruit in servers but they called it "breaking up the community" or "actions that harm the community". So now we had the situation that the servers were almost empty (or boring even for the fun players) during European times and that USA players would always see the same faces. A large topic emerged on the [sT] forum. I was also banned from that forum and completely excommunicated although I was the leader of the clan that was accused of many things. The result was that there would be a meeting in the [sT] website chat room that I was not allowed to attend. In that meeting, the clan leaders would discuss how to proceed as a community. Luckily, a |PM| member (SnakeEyes who was considered to be harmless as he lacked nolf 2 community knowledge) was allowed in. So what we did was use the Windows Remote Desktop option in Windows XP and I got into his PC and was able to enter the chat room. He wasn't banned so I was able to attend that meeting. Nobody knew since he joined with his belgian ISP as if nothing was wrong. The meeting itself was actually quite useless. It was simply clan leaders stating that they do not like public recruiting in any way and consider it an act against the community. You can write entire university grade papers about freedom, liberty and what-not but back then, they had the servers so they were able to enforce their vision on the community. In the end, the deal was simple:
- |PM| would not recruit in other servers (which we never did, I always saw to that and no screenshots or proof existed, only accusations)
- |PM| would remove that post from the |PM| forums (fine) - |PM| would not approach players from other clans (why not? Clans that were considered harmless where never punished.. but fine)
So all we actually had to do, was remove that forum post. Which we did. Everyone got unbanned and we all got along "quite well" again. However, the result was that many clans no longer trusted each other. Not because of |PM|, also because the upcoming clan [LW] was afraid they would too receive a bann hammer from the two monopolists. [LW] was started by AsukaBaby (husband of [sT]Pashuka) and had [LW]SilentScope, [LW]Nighthawk and [LW]Defender (and he WAS a real Defender) as members. Scope and Hawk were Dutch and we got along really well. At some point, AsukaBaby became inactive and SilentScope and Nighthawk took over. During the big |PM| vs [sT][sFI] forum/bann battle, I kept them up to date about everything since they also felt like an underdog. After the fight was over. We made a pact that we would stick together in clan vs clan fights. This simply meant that if ones members got banned, the members of the other clan would avoid that server and ignore that clan completely. No clan matches, no contact in game. At that time, the active clans were |PM|, [sT], [LW], [sFI] and =NU=. [TNT] had only 4 memebers and OTC was active during USA hours. In the end, |PM| members also talked about it back then in Ventrilo, this was actually a very useless community breaking thing. Lets recap:
- It was considered bad for the community that |PM| openly admitted to be interested in certain players from other clans. However, clans that tried to recruit me, no matter how harmless or potential they were, never got any kind of punishment. - A massive bann war emerged before a reasonable dialogue causing people from both sides to dig in deep regarding their point of view. - When the dialogue finally came, the leader of the disputed clan was not allowed to be there. Instead, someone with absolutely no knowledge had to show up which effectively means you are not having fair negotiations about how to act in the community. Luckily we had windows XP remote assist and broadband connections. - The result of the dialogue was a glass canon. We only had to remove a forum topic. We could continue our behavior since we all used MSN so we changed static forum communication on hot topics to direct p2p communication.
- |PM| and [LW] became one side of the community and [sFI] [sT] were considered to be the other side of the community. So the only thing we got in the end, was that |PM| removed a forum topic and that the community was split in a large left side, a small neutral side and a large right side. After everything was over, me, |PM|mjau and |PM|Freak once had a ventrilo conversation where we were recapping and kept telling ourselves that we really did not know what all the commotion was about and why the banning had to take place. A simple email conversation, dialogue-before-banning or other thing would have solved everything. We simply had different thoughts on what you can and can not do in a community but we agreed that we would not have had a problem with removing that post if other clans were offended.
If the old clan leaders that are active still remember, I would like to know:
- Why immediately start with banning people?
- Why excommunicating the leader of a clan from a dialogue if you claim you want to act for the community? - Why all the commotion if the result in the end is quite useless (and to prevent something we all secretly do (except for perhaps SFI, I will immediately admit that they were almost sin-free regarding rulebreaking or clanfishing)).
A funny sidestory / sidequest here. The player that got me into Nolf 2 [sT]Pussykat (french girl) was still in ST at that time. She, among some others, never liked the bann war and powerplay. To her, this was the boiling point that made her leave nolf 2. Right before she did, she told me [sT] was very interested in the player "Baron" (polish guy). She also told me the member section of the [sT] forum had similar posts about players people were impressed with and would do well with an [sT] tag. I told her I did not want any screenshots. I had no reason to start a new war and I was very comfortable knowing that a large European player base (|PM|Euro's and [LW] Euros) would back me up if a new war emerged. At that point I also knew NightHawk had the Nolf 2 server.exe running under Linux with a 64 player cap if nessecary. Since he had IT connections, we would be able to quickly set up our own server if a war emerged. To get back to Baron, we were also interested in Baron, he was clanless at that time. But for some reason, he never really convinced me of his skills at that time. You would often find him pushing his score well above 120 which was always a good sign. I was purposely looking for people who could maintain a score of 100+ if I or a Lodingi/Fox$y/Azazel was on the other team. He never convinced me in that way. What I liked however, as the 17 year old that I was, was that when [sT] players hinted (in both the ST and SFI server <-- what!?) that they wanted him in [sT], he refused or simply did not reply ). A few days later however, when I caught him in the "Sierra West" DM server (NEUTRAL GROUND!!), I asked him right in the face if he would want to join |PM|. He said he was waiting for me asking him and tried hard to impress me for weeks. Back then, he was 25-35 years old and I was only 17. He instantly changed his name to |PM|Baron and we joined a public DD game at that day. One including both [sT]'s well-known-to-us-all officers. With this last part, I am not trying to make fun of anyone, but you can imagine how flattered and happy you are when you get support from other clans and the "win"-players. He never gave a *** about arguments and complaints, fun or friendly clans. He just wanted to win. A few weeks later, when I talked to [sT]YourFather, he asked my why I took in Baron. He knew that I usually instantly recruit someone if I am interested and I had been playing with Baron for a month or two. I replied that "I had my reasons", he knew I knew they were interested. Up untill today, no one probably knows [sT]Pussykat fed me some information on this one. I do not usually work with moles or spies, but she told it to me herself. Sadly, she left short after that. Baron turned out to be an asset. Very active and always impressive scores. This keeps your reputation at a high level.
When |PM| was finally big and skillfull enough, we started with the proposal of clan matches. This is a very simple story. We beat everyone on the first try except for [sT]. [sT] had Phantizen who practiced with [sT] for weeks in their server. Phantizen told me on MSN that his personal goal was to beat a |PM| team. I always got along really well with Phantizen and I did not mind. This is what made the community sharp and competitive.
We had the clanmatch scheduled on a weekend day. On that day, we had the summertime switch, Apperently, EU and USA switch in a different week (7 days difference). This meant we had to postpone the match for 14 days. I could not get my AAA team together on that day and I also did not want to forfeit the match. That would postpone it for months. We had 7 players vs 8. The result was quite simple, ST won. One side of the community was very proud. The other side wasn't really impressed. I told everyone simply to accept the defeat. We never really cared about the defeat since we had only 7 people together and we had connection problems. Back then, the usual way to report on clan matches was to post the screenshots of the score table. That would tell you who won what round. On 2 rounds, you saw 7 |PM| people of which 5 had bad pings (140+). On 1 round, you saw 5 |PM| people as 2 weren't able to rejoin the server. This is the risk you take when you join clan owned servers but Nolf 2 never had anything else. [sT] was obviously proud that they won but the |PM|, [LW] and some neutral players weren't really convinced. People could easily point at the screenshots and use them as an excuse. We needed a rematch without any problems. That rematch came a few months later. I got my AAA team together and [sT] had their B team. |PM| had an obvious victory. The problem here was that we were dealing with 2 pyrrus victories.
- |ST| won and perhaps due to the fact that they had more players and no connection issues
- |PM| won but was fighting an [sT] B team
The problem here is that the leader of the old [WR] clan (I don't remember her name, female, canadian, of my age back then) told me that [sT]Cassiel, who did the [sT] IT, modified server bandwith and did some other tricks as well to make it play different from the regular server settings. She could know because she was the internet girlfriend of an [sT] member. [sT] was able to train for weeks in their server password protected and would have been able to get used to that. Now this is all speculating. I had another source confirming this story but I said that without proof, you had no case. I "officially" considered it to be a lie but right after that match, every |PM| memeber complained about delays and unusual pings. The screenshots were also quite obvious on this one. Pings were not what they usually were and people did not only get the well-known loading-screen-crashes but also latency crashes. But, as I said before, speculations and I had no proof. Another problem is that when the bann war emerged, [sT] would also use arguments about the |PM| playing style. Agressive (as in relentless killing) and not playing for fun but for winning. This was considered to be not constructive. Every player was equal and we should not judge each other on playing style etc.. etc.. etc.. So when |PM| won the second match, [sT] players immediately posted about "Congratiulations guys. Too bad it was our B team.". So that's interesting, a few months ago, the |PM| mentality about "top grade players" was considered to be bad and negative. But then you as a clan implement similar policies and purposely introduce a "B team" of "Lesser skilled players". I did not really care and I knew why. Phantizen left [sT] shortly after the |PM| match. His work was done. He just wanted to prove to himself he was able to train a clan of mediocre players to beat a top grade team by teamwork. And he did! But as he left, his training and ideas also left. A second match would have been different. Especially if the server was neutral.
For chapter 3, I need your help. Shortly after defeating [sT], |PM| work was done. All clans had been defeated and public games had been dominated for a long while. I left, many other |PM| players left as well and |PM| pretty much ceased to exist. I told the players in the clan that there is no point in continuing |PM|. I also wanted to dissolve |PM| at the apex of performance to leave that memory intact. When you see a clan rise, be the best and fall, you will remember the fall. When you see a clan rise, lose once (admitted) but recover, and don't see them fall, you will remember what they were at their apex. Even if you do not want to or are too emotional to admit it.
So after I quit, =NS= became a large clan with new players who were totally new to Nolf 2 multiplayer. This is also where the cheating era began (NOT referring to =NS= here). Right before I quit, Slyguy told me someone had discovered a wallhack on a fileserver. We were also sometimes amazed how some people were able to kill you "as a wall". You would actually see the muzzle flash IN the wall instead of at the side of the wall. I told sly we would test it out. We did and the wallhack / aimbot functioned but with issues. Still, after giving it some time, we were able to get it working in such a way, that it would not help you aim (as that feature was buggy) but it would make you see enemy players on radar and through walls. Still enough advantage especially if you were already a decent player. Added to that was the lean hack. From other games, I knew that sometimes somekind of file could be notepadded to enforce certain resolutions. This was the case with the leanhack. Very easy and very effective (but also very easy to spot!). I was already planning on leaving the community for other games but these 2 hacks were definitely what made me leave. Leaning is a useful function and belongs to the game but more and more often, I would get "killed by a wall" in public games. Often by players who were nothing in straight 1v1 pvp. These were all untagged players as well. Clanned players usually did not play "lean-style". It killed the fun at that point.
To give this long post a little conclusion, over the past 10 years, I have met all kinds of people in real life and "gaming life". I have also had many jobs as a student and now have a steady job after getting my degree. At some points in life, you meet people that make you think of people from nolf 2. Based on their opinions, actions or what-not. This is why I never forgot this story. I was constantly reminded to nolf 2 by what happened in real life. Now, more then 10 years later, I don't hold grudges against anyone. I would like to know where other people stand on this. Just to get the history books filled and because back then, no one was really interested in talking it out. Everyone was just busy digging in and keeping his clan together. If some people (like me) would be a bit less edgy and some others would not force their policies on a community, we would have had a better community and perhaps a longer lasting one.
- Please continue the story and add more "clanlife" stories or issues (in a neutral way!) to chapter 3. I remember [sT]Mari was hacked (really PC hacked) by someone over nolf 2 stuff.
- Please help me to tie up the loose ends of chapter 1 and 2. This may sound funny but I am actually going to print this and save it book-style. I learned alot about people, power, politics, jealousy, fear and agenda's through nolf 2. All the drama, the discussions, the hypocrisy, the trickery has helped me in real life to overcome and avoid obstacles during my time in uni and now during my career. No matter how silly this may sound. This was the best life experience on people I have ever had.
Remember, we are only filling the history books here. The days of flame wars are over.