An Historical Perspective Concerning the Clans of Quake
by Jeremy "Lindril" Degroat

Special thanks to the following people who gave freely of their time and energy to make a contribution to this history: Will Bryant, Frank Cabanski, Waldorf, Statler, Reason, _fo0k, Chaos, Dr. Rigormortis9, and graphik9.


To accurately, efficiently, and completely describe the events, variables, and personalities of any segment of time is neither the duty of mortal man, nor within his reach. So an attempt to document the incredible birth, wild existence, and mind-boggling potential of the entire Quake Clan scene is a catalyst for insanity. Instead, I would much prefer to accept the reasonable challenge of simply outlining the competitive history of the Clans, and the Quake ClanRing's meek involvement with them. This will not be, by any means, comprehensive, as it is not my goal for it to be so; perhaps I will save that beast for a Tolstoy-sized novel many years down the road. Presently, read this with the purpose of fixing yourself in the Clan timeline and invoking more questions that are answered, as any mediocre work will do. For me, this is a light abstract into the greatest display of diverseness and power of humanity since the Renaissance. While you may not endorse that opinion as heartily as I, or you may disagree entirely, I should certainly expect that you will find that the Quake Clans are the most interesting "families" generated by the Internet to-date, and the pioneers of something even greater, yet to come.

Chapter 1: The Clans Come First

It's human nature to seek out a group of like beings, to win acceptance, to attain shelter, and to feel secure. Such a desire has led to the rise and fall of many great collective civilizations. It's the principle behind the "family"; it's the twisted leprechaun that manufactured "love". So when id Software unleashed its sinister and lonely world of desperate torches and hungry walls, those that dodged the stony teeth of this realm, found a great and sudden value in the harbor of a collection of similar people, a "virtual" family. Not only did the "Clan" model enhance enjoyment of the game, but it also gave many purpose and direction, and became the center of much advancement in the often-modified world of Quake. (See Ranger Clan, RevCo, and various others.) In fact, the Clans have done so much to change the face of Quake, that it is, at times, an entirely different monster. But the main goal of the Clans was humiliatingly have fun. For some, such as one of today's dominant Clan voices, Impulse 9, it was an early obsession.

"It started in January of '96, pre-Quake, when Spleenripper and I, in anticipation of Quake, got our systems and hooked up a LAN; we built them specifically with Quake in mind," says Dr. Rigormortis.

"Qtest came out in, what, mid-March? And we initially only had 3 machines on our LAN... but everyone at the I9 bunker (Me, Spleenripper, Entropy, KillCreek, Smirnov, Ratmonkey, Bad-Ass-Mofo, and Hellkitty) initially took turns fighting in LAN games... Soon everyone was getting their own systems and well before Quake came out we were spending six to eight hours playing...."

And from this core of talented game-players came legendary, Impulse 9.

"I got back [from Japan] right after Quake shareware came out, and there were maybe a dozen Clans, like Red Dragon, The Amish, and some others... We all played all the time, and I thought maybe Clans would evolve into something interesting, so one day I just signed us up with the first Clan-page that was running then... I told everyone I'd signed them up, and everyone was cool with it, but at the time, I don't think any of us knew that Clans would go as far as they have..."

Sign up? Where was one expected to sign up for "Clan-ship"? It became obvious that some sort of organizational apparatus would be necessary. Will Bryant of ClanRing remembers the early lion tamers.

       "I came across a site one day put together by Moebius with the Red Dragons that listed Clans...listed them with graphic and description one by one. It was a very tedious process for him," says Bryant.

"Stagger [from 311] had another popular Clan listing at the time, also. Stagger and Moebius were the Clan resources back then."

"They did a terrific job on those, and I wouldn't have started QCR without support from both of them. It was sad to see them shut down."

Out of a desire to provide the community with the tools that it thirsted for, Will Bryant had an idea.

"Moebius shut [his page] down long ago, just before id put theirs up, I think. Anyway, he and I talked back and forth for quite a while back then, and from those talks I decided to put a ring together to better automate the process. I was already familiar with webring, had spent some time talking to Sage Weil the creator, and decided to go that route."

A ring of Clans? A Clan ring? A ... ?

Chapter 2: The Innocence

Once the term had been originated, by some person lost to history, a niche was needed. Clans began their existence, usually in the form of some kind of a web presence. This combined with the already growing number of Quake and gaming specialty pages, created an HTTP boon that's still rocking the World Wide Web, flag-shipped by 5,000,000 hit Web hall-of-fame site, Blue's News, who gets nearly forty thousand hits a day.       



At the time, Clans such as RevCo, 311, and Dark Requiem boasted not only high levels of Quake skill, but also even members from id Software itself. And though Clans occasionally fought each other on random servers, and even attempted some sort of deathmatching hierarchy, many found it simpler to compare Clans based on their impressive web design or roster of industry employees. This is not to say that the Clans with Quake designers for members were all flash and no substance, as all three afore-mentioned Clans would later prove, but some unsatisfied Quakers, like RB-Chaos, felt a need for something different. In the interview I had with him, he provided a light into what early deathmatching was like, and what he felt it lacked.

       "Before all that [T1] I was involved in a few of those unorganized competitions. There was Shadow's Deathmatch Rankings and Quaaaaaaake's one on one tournament. Shadow's involved sending in screenshots of any ffa match and getting points according to your end rank. So there were a lot of people in it but most didn't even know they were in it."

"Anyways, first I joined Damage, Inc. But they sucked and never played any. Damage was Shadow's Clan. I sent him like 200 screenshots so I got to know him some."

From Chaos' early experiences with the Quake scene, and his previous deathmatching in Doom 2, he was beginning to have ideas. His distaste for meaningless lip-flapping, may have been the biggest catalyst for the formation of one of the greatest Clan stories ever, the Ruthless Bastards.

"All those pages kept boasting about how great they were. I knew if we could organize the local players that we used to play Doom with, we'd be one of the best," reminisces Chaos. "Before I even brought it up with _fo0k, I had picked out the name and made the logo. Ruthless comes from the BBS that us East Lansing guys used to play on, the Ruthless Gameboard."

And the 'bastard', I inquire?

"That was me," chimes in a smiling _fo0k.

Allowed to continue, Chaos finishes. "So I called up _fo0k and suggested the whole clan thing. The whole point was to show the world what great Quake players this area spawned."

When enlightened by Chaos' commentary about the early Clan atmosphere, Bryant contributed the following perspective:

"Well, that the dawn of all of this; there wasn't really any organization... but that wasn't a problem because people were just having a lot of fun. We'd all email each other to set up Clan matches, and take a lot of pleasure in being able to report on our pages that we crushed yet another enemy. The atmosphere was very different than it is now. Four players from Clan A fighting 4 players from Clan B, both Clans having to fight off individual players on the server wreaking havoc on the match. There weren't really any Clan match dedicated servers then. At least none that I was aware of. So frequently you'd be having a Clan match with outsiders joining in the fray."

Waldorf of the Muppet Clan recalls, "Yeah... Also, back then there wan't a timer or anything so you'd work it out with the other clan to play until one of the players hit 100 or something. It made for some very interesting and sometimes very long matches."

In spite of the sometimes frustrating Clan play, it turned out that several other Clans were forming with the same goals laid out by Chaos; however, those that had achieved notoriety via web fame, were eager to prove something too. And to some extent, they eventually would.

Chapter 3: Tournament I: Teamplay Comes of Age

Given the chaotic nature of the scene and the abundance of potential energy within the community, attempting to focus all that momentum into something as fixed and specific as a tightly formed single-elimination tournament was comparable to playing golf in a mid-western lightning storm. However, there were those willing to give it a shot, due to their love of the game and their dedication to the concept of competitive online gaming.

"There were tons of tournament talks back then... everyone was talking about how they'd run a tournament, but no one was doing it. That's when I came across Ignatu and Darxus who were in the process of putting a QuakeLeague together for just that purpose. We ended up all agreeing to collaborate on putting T1 together. There were a lot of long nights where we tried to work out rule sets and problem solving tools," says Bryant.

"The other obstacle was we knew we needed a mod to pull this whole thing off, and we were lucky to find a ready and willing Crowbar to start putting that together. We had some really amazing people work on it all throughout, with Crowbar, Marmot, and Paul Baker each eventually contributing."

Once the logistics had been settled, and a mod fabricated, it was time to roll. The Clans flocked together for the opportunity to devastate each other. Frank Cabanski relays the frustration, difficulties, and yet worth of that first day.

"We were until the very morning of the thing testing the ClanRing mod, just finished by Crowbar. Then, we missed the first 3 matches because the Muppet server was down, and Statler wasn't around due to some time zone confusion. There were no divisions between T1/modem etc. so we had numerous ping complaints."

"I was at work, and the president of my company walked in and wanted my help with something... 'I'm running a Quake tournament' I shouted... "

"But by the end of the day we had missed only 4 matches I think, and we made them up. There were many great matches that day."

       Speaking of the Muppets, they were one of the clans around during the infancy of ClanRing. Like many clans, the Muppets were started by college friends. Statler and Waldorf were roomates and worked together at Mississippi College and had many things in common, including a love for quake and the Muppet Show. Waldorf recalls, "When QTest came out in the summer of '96, Stat and I would play on id Software's server and team up against the opposition which sometimes included John Cash, American McGee, and other id employees. As clans started forming, we recruited a few other college friends to round out the team and started the Muppet Clan as a fun and fresh alternative to all of the more serious, satanic themed clans." By the time T1 came around, the Muppets had a reputation of outstanding sportsmanship, great attitudes, technical prowess and offered to host the tournament on their server.

Bryant confirms the difficulties of the first round but adds that it was not at all unexpected. "The Muppet server went up an hour late, some Clans didn't show, but we all knuckled down and focused on damage control. Almost everyone involved (the Clans and officials) were really great about it. This was the first time not just for us, but also them. We were all getting our feet wet for the first time and knew there'd be a few problems here and there as we learned to swim."

That first round featured impressive victories by the Ruthless Bastards over Hizbollah, Impulse9 over Quake Bots, and RevCo over the Tards. At this point Clans eyed up the bracketing and began sifting out the Clans they had to beat. Impulse 9 glanced across and spotted a viscious Ruthless Bastard squad, feeling very early on that meeting was destiny.

The Ruthless Bastards had begun their course to collide with similarly skilled, I9. And the first meeting between members of the two Clans is perhaps the funniest and most characteristic story of the Clan experience. No one could possibly describe the "The Advent of the Peon Killer" any better than a first-hand witness and 4-star story teller, the Bastards' _fo0k, who's IRC log for this portion of the history, I will leave, unedited and in original form.

<_fo0k> let me make sure i set this up right, as he is bound to read it if it gets printed :)
<_fo0k> entropy pops onto the RB server, where me, inhuman, and harmsway are playing around
<_fo0k> under a pseudonym
<_fo0k> we just play with him a bit
<_fo0k> i am laying down a beating there, and inhuman starts saying how awesome i am
<_fo0k> so entropy thinks *I* am the one bragging
<_fo0k> he blows a nut

<_fo0k> he WAS outpinged pretty bad there
<_fo0k> anyway, he starts going off on me big time
<_fo0k> and i kinda thought it was out of the blue
<_fo0k> so i tell him
<_fo0k> i will play him 1 on 1, any server he chooses
<_fo0k> he says he doesnt like 1 on 1
<_fo0k> anyway he gives me a server
<_fo0k> i go there
<_fo0k> and it is a big ffa
<_fo0k> i talk to him for about a minute or so, telling him i thought we were doing 1 on 1
<_fo0k> and meanwhile he is playing
<_fo0k> so
<_fo0k> finally i just jump in
<_fo0k> he goes on a big roll for a while, racking up frags
<_fo0k> the i caught him in the rocket room (this was e1m1)
<_fo0k> and i follow suite
<_fo0k> timer runs out, and he won 53 to 48
<_fo0k> (everyone else had like 2 or 3)

<_fo0k> but that kinda started the rivalry for us... because his interpretation was just that "he beat me"
<_fo0k> but we later got over our testosterone thing and have had lotsa fun

Later, when discussing the event with Dr. Rig, he had this to add, concerning the circumstances of the meeting, and I9's side of the story.

"RB was our main competition back then, and we knew that they were the ones to beat... So we scouted them out... Ent played _fo0k a couple of times as 'Puke Hobbit' before _fo0k knew who he was..." says an amused Dr. Rigormortis.

"In that game, Entropy ended up beating _fo0k by a lot and _fo0k dubbed him "Peon Killer" Apparently, _fo0k only tries to kill people that are above a certain skill level. ;)"

Individual heroics aside, T1 would force the two into a "peon-less" four on four, both teams showcasing outstanding members; Entropy and Impulse9 would win anyway.

"We lost 77 to 49," Chaos volunteers, "Our cable connects got fried. But they were cool about it. They realized we had problems and we still gave them the best fight of T1."

But RB's contributions to the T1 tournament, and gameplay as a whole, went a lot farther than just a semi-finalist showing. Expounds Statler, a T1 server admin, RB helped establish two of the most important techniques in Clan deathmatching.

"I watched RB playing and was taking notes of the first team that was making organized attacks and guarding areas (I9 did this too but I saw RB first.) Later, I heard about how RB started using binds to do team talking, and we started using it. EVERYONE started using it."

But the points that the Ruthless Bastards made about teamplay and the vocal coordination of forces, I9 made even louder.

"We started getting into teamplay stuff about mid-way through T1," explains Dr. Rigormortis, "I think we unconsciously started what has become the Clan strategy... Our tactic in the final game (fought on dm6) was to always have someone in the red-armor room... We never kept a person there for more than 10 seconds, but everyone roved through the level back to that point... thus we kept control of the area... Before that, Clan games were just like FFA's where you couldn't kill certain people..."

"Disruptor really didn't like that at the time and left midway through the final match, saying that we didn't play fair... but now, that's pretty much the main aim of a game, level control."

"We also used communication... in T1, the final rounds we played in the same room (RB used voice communications too) so we could yell when we needed help or when packs or weapons were waiting... We've actually regressed considering we all use binds now. :)"

And indeed, it was Clan RevCo making it to the finals to play against Impulse 9. Though RevCo would lose, they represented well the Clans of high esteem, proving that even amongst the Quake community elite, that politics mattered far less than the identity of the person with the rocket in his mouth. However, in spite of the brave showing on their part, Impulse 9 would one-up the high-profile Clan and begin the weeding out of the old-school Clans in favor of the newer, deadlier breed.

Chapter 4: Tournament II: The Fall of the Individual Player

Tournament I set a lot of precedences but, most importantly, hinted at that which was to come. T1 was a great time of friendly rivalry and reckless matches, and as soon as the last frag had been counted, a sequel was not only implied, but demanded. To this story, the first tournament was an introduction of sorts. It brought the Clans together and gave them some idea where they stood.

"It was interesting," says Statler, "There was no real sense of who was 'the best' until we had the first tournament. WAY back you just didn't know... after T1, everyone wanted to play I9... then once everyone played I9, no one wanted to play I9. :)"

       A few big-name Clans got considerable recognition from T1, including Impulse 9, the Bastards, Clan Dong, and others, but the Clan community was still in a very infantile state, and new Clans were forming all the time. The opportunity for these "baby" Clans to showcase their talent not only came, but was utilized, in T2. Clans who had dabbled with in-between ladder, ClanWars, such as Shrike, Knightmare, and POSTAL, as well as virtual unknowns Clan Gib, Nightbreed, Havoc, and the Undead Smurfs would each grab the spotlight for a while.

Organizationally, T2 was to be an unprecedented behemoth; there had not been anything of this nature and size attempted online. And yet, ClanRing was up to the challenge.

"We all knew we would have to separate divisions," says Cabanski, "And we knew we needed more than one server, although we had pretty good connects on the Muppet server. I knew we needed a better observer mod, cameras and such, as well as ghost codes to keep track of people's kills if they disconnected. And we improved many things for T2...including some vast improvements to the mod, thanks to Marmot."

The new tournament marked an important time for the ClanRing mod as well. All throughout, the mod had been steadily evolving, from the formation by Crowbar through some great, insightful work by Marmot, that helped to establish the ClanRing mod as THE Clan Deathmatch mod of choice. It was the ghost codes and working observer functions that finally shored it up as the optimal mod. With that in place on a few servers around the country, the playing fields had been created.

And so, the Clans flooded into the arena to fight it out in exciting single-elimination fashion, with two divisions, so-labeled "OPEN" and "POTS", OPEN for all connects, and POTS for modems-only. On the OPEN side, Impulse 9, the Ruthless Bastards, Clan Dong, and RevCo were the top seeds in their respective 16-team sub-brackets. While in the POTS bracket, the top four were the Bastards, Deimos, Clan Dong, and the Dark Ones.

Herein, with little exception, are the last accounts of the domination of the individual player.

OPEN Bracket #1: Top Seed, Impulse 9

Upon seeding, it was thought Impulse 9 would have little if any difficulty winning this sub-bracket. However, there were a number of unknown Clans who made their mark on the community within this little bracket. Impulse 9 won their first two games, a close match to upstart 187, and a blowout over Rampire. However, there were three other Clans in the division that demanded to be heard. The first, being Nightbreed. Their 3rd round defeat of Impulse 9 on e1m3 shocked the Clan world. However, to recently lagged I9, it really wasn't that big a shocker. Again, Dr. Rigormortis:

"Well, connections are the cruel nemesis of our Quaking existence... We started out 100% LAN... and we had heard our city would be getting cablemodems soon... we snagged a T1 for T1, and some of us played a little off of 28.8s. We got a cablemodem just prior to T2, and for about 2 weeks, it worked great. We'd get 80-150 pings that were solid and very playable. Then, it went to utter crap. Our connects would often report a 150 ping but have packetloss to such a degree that it was completely unplayable. If you could get a ping back during one of these, it was often up about 6 or 7 thousand. Unfortunately, we tried to go back to our T1 we used for the first tourney but by that time, school was in full swing and KU's T1 had become totally over-loaded, which gave us the same problems."

And though Nightbreed was displaying some serious skills of their own, one is left to wonder that, with a connect similar to that of the first tourney, if I9 couldn't have repeated as the Clan champions.

The rest of the bracket was not to be overshadowed, however. Somewhere in the dark hollow of the Pittsburgh woods, there grew and thrived a village, made of mushrooms and other fanciful things. And in this mushroom village there lived a horde of deranged, mutant killers, the Undead Smurfs. Led by Hefty Smurf (the creator and original maintainer of the Stomped site), these little blue killers were on a campaign. In spite of the introduction, this isn't the story of a crew of self-absorbed psychos, but rather a group of close friends who enjoyed a common interest, that they would eventually take to a whole other level. But more on them later... :)

The first match was a very significant one, as it marked the first, and last ClanRing match for the now infamous, Virtual Vindicators, and though, to many, the Clan name would mean nothing, the first-time Clanners, h0nus, whiteboy (now Greedy Smurf), Furnace, and RMR, are rather well-known. And even though the Smurfs would crush them 135 - 27, the relationship between the members of both Clans would affect future Clan play tremendously. The Smurfs would also go on to smash Dark Requiem (some on modems) 153 - 10, and the other significant new Clan in the bracket, Archon's Minions 99 - 13, with ex-LGD and now DeathRow in-mate, B2, playing from his modem.

Archon's Minions were a great lesson in how a Clan should be created and run. With members playing often, and recruiting other good players they found on FFA servers, they formed a core of above-average players. And from there, they would practice 4v4s and scrimmage as many other Clans as possible. This was really the first model of Clan "work ethics" so to speak, and influenced many other Clans later on. IHOS, who will be mentioned later, did this too, but benefited from being local to each other and having pre-Quake friendships to aid their near rise to greatness.

And so, the bracket came down to a showdown between the HEAVILY favored Undead Smurfs and underrated Nightbreed. The Smurfs, still playing with various dm3 strategies, found themselves "out-thunk" on the level, as NB was able to capitalize on US mistakes and escape with a 60 - 39 win, again shocking the Clan world. But such is the nature of single-elimination; there's only room for one winner.

As a side note to the bracket, Clan Stalker, losers in the first round to Stormreaver Clan featured members still active in the Clan scene today: Lambadomy, Club (now with POSTAL), Maelstrom (also with POSTAL), and SoulScythe.

OPEN Bracket #2: Top Seed, Clan Dong

While not acknowledged to be as deep as the first bracket, this bracket featured some of the most competitive, and some of the most lop-sided matches, in the tournament. Clan Dong had played well in T1, but not gotten the recognition that it would prove it deserved. The first match for the Dongers, against Dark Ascension, turned into a 212 - 3 massacre, featuring a 77 frag individual performance by THEWORm, a record perhaps completely untouchable again on dm3.

After getting a bye into the 3rd round, Dong had to face a Clan that came and went so quickly, most never noticed, Brotherhood of the Rocket. BotR defeated Bushido and Breakfast Clan (original Clan of RB-Froggy and RB-Prez) rather easily, but looked to be yet another mince-pie for Clan Dong. The match that would ensue, however, betrayed that sentiment after about two minutes. The match, considered by some to be the greatest match of the century, though perhaps at the time exaggerated due to excitement ;), is relived here by ClanRing staffer, Ignatu. The lesson to learn: don't sit in the trapped rooms in the dm2 "big room" at the end of a match. ;)

On the other side, Clan Havoc was making a name for themselves, smushing Clans left and right, such as Deimos, Black Death, and 311. But they were fated to run into Dong, and lost a heart-breaker, 106 - 79.

OPEN Bracket #3: Top Seed, Ruthless Bastards

Looking at the top 8 teams in this bracket, one must have wondered what the ClanRing seeders were thinking. A bracket with the Ruthless Bastards, IHOS (International House of, yes, Spork!), POSTAL, Clan Gib, Fighting Tigers, ELM, and Immortal Ones, was perhaps, too loaded with talent for its own good. And yet, it was exciting as hell.

RB first tore through Clan Demon Spawn, 90 - 17. The Bastards second round competition looked, at the outset, to be unusually difficult. However, the final result indicated the opposite, as RB beat ELM 111 - 13, with ELM shouting "RB, you know we're better than this!" And in a strange, mysterious mist, the Evil Little Men disappeared from the Clan scene entirely.

Meanwhile, Clan Gib was making some noise just below the Bastards. After dispatching the Fruits of War, 144 - 15, they got some recognition REAL fast. Their new strategy of "zoning", where each member was assigned certain loops and routes designed to control the important sections, worked well to their advantage on dm6, and raised a lot of eyebrows. Their impressive victory over favorite, POSTAL, raised even more. Again, using the "zoning" strategy on dm6, they were able to dominate their opponent and win easily. However, the win forced them into a matchup with the Bastards, who were going to have nothing to do with Clan Gib and dm6. Instead, the level dm3 was chosen, and the large, open spaces of "The Abandoned Base" made dm6-strategy virtually useless, giving the Bastards a mediocre 65 - 30 victory. Clan Gib had proven its point about level control though, and would develop it further later on, in becoming the most powerful Clan in the East.

In the other sections of the bracket, Clan IHOS was parading through the opposition unimpeded. Wins over Red Dragon (135 - 15) and the Immortal Ones (30 - 4), and a forfeit by Goodfellas, set up one of the most controversial matches in ClanRing history, against RB. The server for the match had been chosen to be id's ClanRing server in Texas, where both had gotten moderately decent pings. However, come match time, id was pinging close to 200 for everyone involved and had become more a soup than a Quake server. But both agreed to start anyhow, and IHOS took off. "They were up 40 - 16 when the match was stopped," says Chaos. The match was stopped, as indicated, due to the further escalation of pings during the match, and Mad Lag (TM). While perhaps the match should have just been continued as was, the game appeared to those officiating to be more "turn-based" than "real-time" and a fairer, cleaner server in Indiana (thanks to BoC member, BlackAcid) provided a much more stable match. However, both teams would claim unfair pings anyways. But in spite of all the yelling, a match was played, and the result was a match never to be forgotten. Again, I give the reigns to _fo0k:       

<_fo0k> well that was just a freakin BATTLE
<_fo0k> neither Clan ever REALLY had control most of the way
<_fo0k> but i remember with like 2 mins or so to go
<_fo0k> we were behind pretty big
<_fo0k> things were looking grim
<_fo0k> and duck [Ed Note: RB-duckfin]
<_fo0k> at the bottom of the scoreboard with 4 frags goes
<_fo0k> "come on rb, lets do good"
<_fo0k> and all hell broke loose

<_fo0k> duck got like 10 frags in the last 2 mins or so
<_fo0k> db [Ed Note: RB-DirtyBastard] does a pool dive and discharges
<_fo0k> kills like 3 ihos in one shot
<_fo0k> and polaris was right there to get the packs
<_fo0k> so he goes on a tear
<_fo0k> dies
<_fo0k> and i am sitting there with a launcher
<_fo0k> it was anybodies game, i panicked
<_fo0k> fired at anything that moved
<_fo0k> i killed like 4 ihos and 3 rbs in the last 10 seconds
<_fo0k> everyone was just screaming in there
<_fo0k> we thought we had lost that match

RB won, 64 - 58. Coupled with the results from the POTS side of things, IHOS fell into disarray after T2 and never recovered. Members BiAtch, GateKeepr, rix, and PVP joined up with Impulse 9 after having a great session at the Spin Magazine-documented I9/RB LAN party in Lawrence, KS, starting the climb back to greatness for the I9 squad.

OPEN Bracket #4: Top Seed, RevCo

The other semi-finalist from T1 looked poised to take, an other-wise untalented-looking bracket. However, for whatever reason, be it real-life concerns, or the on-going development of QuakeWorld, the RevCo team lost their very first T2 match to previously unknown Clan, the Jesuits. The Jesuits themselves, lasted in fame only until the very next round, but members "defraction" and "coredump", now with Impulse 9, enjoy destroying great Clans even today.

The two Clans that would end up dominating the bracket were Shrike and Knightmare. Shrike was a high-ranking ClanWars team, and took a lot of experience into T2 with them. Led by, now legendary, CSH-Reason, Shrike defeated the Natural Born Gibbers 95 - 20, Stomped by a large margin, and Brotherhood of Chaos, in a tight match, 119 - 94. Knightmare on the other hand, squeaked out a victory over mixed-team LoD 94 - 73, won soundly over the Jesuits, and clobbered an over-matched Lost Boys Clan, 132 - 24.

This set up a meeting between the two Clans, and before the match, it looked to be pretty even. Knightmare had been steadily improving it's teamwork with members such as yawn, BigMike, and Maelstrom fragging impressively. However, Shrike had a weapon, and the weapon's name was Reason. By this time, Reason and his incredible connect had become the most feared entity on the Net. He would always lead his team in scoring, and could rarely be beaten in FFAs anywhere. And even though the match was close, and even though km's yawn would attempt some individual heroics, Reasons' 40+ frags on dm6 propelled Shrike into the semi-finals. Final score: Shrike 120, Knightmare 80.

OPEN SEMI-FINALS: Ruthless Bastards, Shrike, Nightbreed, Clan Dong

By now, each Clan had proven a lot about its character, depth, and skill. But now it was time to determine a champion, a single Clan by which all other Clans could strive to beat, a Clan that would represent the community in terms of deathmatching and sportsmanship.

The first match was a nail-biter between Nightbreed and Dong. Dong's THEWORm again took over the match, out-fragging everyone and producing a 105 - 98 victory for the U Texas stars. The other match was even MORE consequential. Reason and RB had previously had a great relationship, and the RB team was passively hinting that they'd love to have Reason on-board, with Reason indicating that he would appreciate that arrangement. However, for the time, Quake's first "big gun" had to finish his tenure with Shrike. The match was termed "RB vs. Reason, and Shrike Came Too" due to the unbelievable hype concerning Reason's abilities. Perhaps, Clan leader Prophecy realized, that in order to keep Reason, his team would have to defeat the Bastards. About 10 minutes in, it was obvious they couldn't and Prophecy's connect fried, leaving him little motivation to rejoin. As a result, RB would win 68 - 21, with Reason scoring 17 of the 21 losing frags. It was a crushing blow for Shrike, coupled with the eventual loss of Reason, that halted their rise to prominence.

OPEN FINALS: Ruthless Bastards vs. Clan Dong

And now, it was down to two. IRC was overflowing for the event, and people joined from all over to cheer on their favorite Clan. This match was significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, the winner would be the Clan to shoot for in the following few months. Another, was it marked the last of the individual efforts. Up until this point, the tournament had seen a number of individual efforts that were remarkable. But the times were changing, and teamwork was becoming a much bigger factor. Before their time could come to an end, however, theDEFT and THEWORm, freaks of the caps-lock, gave it a final go.

The level was dm6, in spite of all the dm3 being played of late. THEWORm would again lead his team, scoring an impressive 27 frags against the Bastards. However, his performance was overshadowed by that of mysterious tournament phenomenon, theDEFT, who had led RB to many T1 wins, with a mind-boggling 38 in the final match. Twenty minutes later, RB was crowned T2 Champion, the best Clan in the country.

POTS ALL Brackets: Top Seeds, Ruthless Bastards, Deimos, Dong, Dark Ones

The HPB division had its share of drama as well. Though often overshadowed by the LPB "big boys", the HPB bracket had a lot of talent to showcase as well. The Ruthless Bastards had HPB superstar, |nhuman|, Deimos had several great modem players, and IHOS had a little-known player who would eventually, luck or skill, turn the community completely on its head.

IHOS won its way into the semi-finals easily by defeating Clans such as Dark Ascension, Hizbollah, and Dong. But a certain popular Clan, Dark Requiem, led by now-Impulse 9er, graphik and AM-Zer0, stood in their way. According to graphik, team depth and experience was a huge factor, his comments presented in raw IRC-form...

<gk9> lineup was supposed to be me, zero, bone, and shost
<gk9> but shost was afraid to play on his modem (he's a T1 player by birth) and bone was router fucked so he couldn't play at all
<gk9> our lineup ended up being Me, ZerO, The_Brain, and |2|
<gk9> The_Brain and |2| had no idea wtf to do.. cuz we had a strat all worked out and stuff
<gk9> so they were like useless
<gk9> Ihos was Suicide, Timinator, Tower, and im not sure on the 4th
<gk9> ZerO was leading for most of the match
<gk9> with me close behind
<gk9> we would have won
<gk9> but between TB and |2| they totalled like 2 frags
<gk9> so we ended up losing
<gk9> if we had had our original lineup, there's no doubt in my mind that we would have won

The 46 - 26 defeat was tough for DR, as they would shift towards being a more productive Clan with mods and other Quake add-ons, losing their best playing members. But had DR won, the world may never have seen an otherwise inconspicuous IHOS-ian who would make his debut in the semis against Order of Death.

Order of Death beat a couple of mediocre Clans, then Immortal Ones and eventually the quality HPB Clan, Zealot Wroth. Order of Death was a lesser-known Clan that had some good draws seedings-wise, and good enough teamwork to get the job done. Or at least, good enough until IHOS.

On the other side, the Ruthless Bastards led by |nhuman| were tearing people up left and right, beating 311, Methods of Destruction, Archon's Minions, and Stormreaver Clan. Many were predicting a two-division sweep for the Bastards, but those people probably weren't paying much attention to ancient Clan Deimos.

       Many ridiculed Deimos for its size and open acceptance of just about any Clan wanna-be. And most predicted it wouldn't last long against the caliber of the emerging teams. However, with good teamwork, and members who just wanted to have a little fun, they managed to beat Lagitus, bracket favorite Legion of Death, and the infamous Lucifer's Angels to force a match with the Ruthless Bastards. Had the level choices been untampered with, perhaps the Bastards would have won that fight, but it had been decided, ill-fatedly, that the default level for the remaining matches would be dm5.

Clan Deimos members Hrrfy, Momaw, Infidel, and Coeus would edge a hapless RB squad, who fell victim to unfair tactics made easy by the terrain on dm5. "We camped the hell outta that level," says a retrospective Momaw. The final score was 89 - 76 and the Bastard POTS crew went home empty handed.

The other finalist would come from either the surprising Order of Death, or the loaded IHOS HPB team. The level was dm6, and this time the favored team, IHOS, would come out on top. They won the match 98 - 54 on the best POTS performance in the tournament by a previously little-known fragger using the moniker, Thresh, who scored an incredible 44 frags on the level.

With that decided, it was time to crown a champion. Thresh, Suicide, Tower, and Timinator (perhaps one of the most feared HPB squads, top to bottom) would face the familiar Deimos team of Hrrfy, Momaw, Coeus, and Infidel. IHOS fell victim, as did RB, to the camper-friendly haven that is dm5, losing 89 - 73. Thresh managed only a fourth place individual finish with 20 frags, while Deimos' Momaw led all scores with 25. With the victory, POTS had it's champion. (Ed. Note: Soon after T2, the Deimos HPB squad would split and drift into I9, RB, and one eventually into CK, where they now await the next tourney. The IHOS POTS crew formed the core of the now-infamous Clan Legends along with Shade and AM's B2.)

Following the tournament, it was a time for reflection:

"We spent a lot of time talking about how to improve [on T1]," says Bryant. "We learned *so* much from T1, we felt very confident that T2 would be great and we were happy with the overall results."

Happy, indeed.

Chapter 5: Post-T2/Pre-T3: The Spaces in Between

With the Internet, time is a berserk clepto left alone in a house of valuable memories. And though T2 was a fabulous time that taught us all a little about who we were, and a lot about who we would become, twenty minutes later, there was a great, collective clamoring for more. However, exhaustion had set in, by now, for the beleaguered staff and another tournament seemed a near impossibility, without new tools and new advancements. There was also the great immediate exodus of members from good Clans to either the new "juggernaut" of the Ruthless Bastards or to the chaotic mess of the Clanless. Would another tournament be held purely for the amusement of the massive Bastards?

After a couple months vacation, the desire to facilitate matches between the Net's greatest Clans returned. However, the inefficiency of many poorly organized teams during T2 who would either delay matches several hours, or forfeit them altogether, led to the development of a new concept, a league. [Ed. Note: See Fargo's Need For Order article that spanned several days discussing the Clan/League models. It's excellent reading on the subject, and really gives a diverse set of views to the issue.] The premise was a good one: select 32 of the most organized teams and have them play each other in a league-like schedule, producing great matches and establishing a clear-cut hierarchy of Clan talent. This concept coincided with a similar project, operated by the original QFL (not the one you may know today, but one completely separate.) The ideas of the original QFL were fantastic and tremendous, but, as it would turn out, not founded enough in reality, as the QFL would close its doors only a couple of months after formation, without ever having played a game.

In spite of this, ClanRing persisted with its Elite 32 model, which culminated with an incredible meeting of three to four hundred people representing nearly two hundred Clans, perhaps the greatest display of Clan activity IRC has ever seen. The purpose of the meeting was to get feedback from the Clans and have them vote on many of the issues that the staff felt imperative that the Clans decide. The resulting Hindenburg, hundreds of people all arguing for tangential and paradoxical impossibilities, left the staff dejected and defeated. This was not to say that the Clans were at fault for being unruly and chaotic, but that the system was flawed and needed revisal.

After some recuperation and fresh, new thought, and Elite 8 model was conceived, consisting of Clan Gib, Impulse 9, Archon's Minions, Armeggedon, Xtreme Prejudice, POSTAL, next-generation juggernaut Clan Legends, and the Undead Smurfs. At the time, these eight Clans represented the greatest concentration of Quaking talent available. And shortly after formation, the Clans began battling it out. However, with the impending doom of the summer approaching, threatening to knock many of the LPB connects out, the League semi-finals were canceled, in hopes of renewing them later on. The results of the regular season, however, gave a good deal of insight as to who the Clans to beat were. Clan Legends, led by former IHOS-HPB-turned-LPB Thresh, finished undefeated while long-time powers Impulse 9 and Clan Gib each finished 4 - 2.

The ClanRing leagues weren't the most significant things to happen during this time, and in fact, not by a long shot, I feel. There were a few important developments outside of ClanRing that I feel obliged to mention.

Up to this point, the sportsmanship of Clans all-around had been declining. In spite of the model help up by some of the Ruthless Bastards, the trend continued. But in the middle of all of this, there was a certain blue Clan that had a lot to say about it, not with mouths, threats, or insults, but by playing with their heart. The Undead Smurfs had done a lot for the "sport" by publishing their Dm3 Strategy Guide and showing that the winner of the game wasn't really important, but that both teams had fun playing it. Their spirit and their philosophy was never greater demonstrated or rewarded than in the most immortal of Clan matches ever.... Smurfs vs. Ruthless Bastards.

And though Statler's rickety, manual demo [link] doesn't show everything that happened in the match, watching it, you can still feel immersed in the time and the emotion. The Smurfs were down on dm3 huge, for almost the entire match. Hell, they were down 19 to -1 without having fragged even ONE RB for the first 8 minutes. There is no explanation for how they were able to come back the way they did, no logical reasoning for it. But instead of giving up, they persevered, and pulled the greatest comeback of all time, winning 32 - 30, twenty minutes later. Soon after this, the Smurfs, due to academic reasons, were forced to withdraw from Clan deathmatching, but the magic of Hefty, Baby, Jokey(Fred Smurf in the demo) and Greedy lives on, as many Clans drew inspiration for their gameplay and sportsmanship from them, and still play in that same spirit today.

The most controversial event ever to take place on the Net, claims this period for its home as well. That event was the Red Annihilation tournament, doomed to be a 1-on-1 tournament due to the legal nature of the single-prize situation. And even though the tournament would be a great success, attracting attention from all over, and giving the Quake community the recognition it truly deserved for its wealth of computer gaming talent, the Clans felt deserted somewhat. The attention placed on the single-player competition was a bit disturbing for ClanRing as well, because even though one-on-one Quake can be fun and exciting, the game-to-game excitement of those matches does not reach even the worst of Clan matches, where it takes the cooperation and execution of four people to win a match, not the luck or skill of a single person. That's what made the community great, and many felt that the isolation of single Clan members in such a tournament was destructive, and a step backwards. And maybe it was.       

One positive to take from Red Annihilation, won by Clan Legends co-founder Thresh, was that the best gaming talent came from Clans. Clan Legends sent 8 people to the final 256; Xtreme Prejudice sent upwards of about 9 or 10. Other Clans such as Clan Gib, the Ruthless Bastards, and Impulse 9 also sent a plethora of members as far as the final 256. Every member of the Final 16 was a part of some Clan or another, reinforcing the topical statement, and proving that there was a great deal of merit in the membership and competition of the Clans.

       The All Female Tournament, sponsored by TEN and SlamSite, and officiated LIVE by the ClanRing staff, was also significant. Although many still have their doubts as to how good a woman can be at Quake, the AFT proved a number of things. Firstly, it showed that there was a wealth of talent among female Quakers, and also a strong community within that group. Also, eventual AFT finalists Kornelia and KillCreek had become infamous for their ability to make fools of over-confident male players and wreaked havoc in some exhibitions at the event. The final match between the two, showed that the female Quaker can be just as dangerous as the male Quaker, and even more so after an underestimation of her.

Chapter 6: Tournament III: The Coming Home

This is a chapter of the history that I can just barely introduce, as it lies almost entirely in the future. The writing of this history to this point, has been a very emotional one for me, remembering all the various names and people, the great matches, and some of the best times of my life. I hope you've seen at least a little bit of what I call the greatest Internet cultural revolution, and see the value of these wonderful groups, somewhere dubbed "the Clans."

As for the beast that will be T3, there's a lot in store for the community. Unlike other tournaments, we have designed it for the community at-large, giving constant news and updates, bringing the average community denizen into the heart of what we surmise it is that we do best. We felt there was a lack of attention to the community, to the players, and rather, there were a lot of prizes being thrown at people, with match results we never could seem to find out.       

T3 brings many new things. The advent of Death-Row, from the ashes of Clan Legends and the chaos of eXtreme Prejudice. The ever-increasing dominance of Impulse 9 and Clan Gib. The wily Evil Geniuses, borne from AM and carrying on that same spirit. The return of the Ruthless Bastards, defending their dusty trophy. The amazing shaft prowess of Clan Kapitol. The ever-deadly Clan POSTAL. The re-appearance of the often over-matched, but never out-hearted, Undead Smurfs.

If your name isn't here yet, it can be... The next twenty minutes starts now.


    Waldorf's note: At this point, the Muppets decided to step out of the role of Tournament host and exhibition team and actually enter ourselves into Tournament III. As luck would have it, we won the first three rounds handily and made it to the elite eight where we met this clan called *drumroll* Death Row. While Death Row almost forfeited the match due to a late-showing Thresh, the Muppets gave them an extra hour to field their team. Up until this point in the tournament, no opponents had scored in the positives against Death Row and the Muppets were expected to lose by over 200 points. In the first five to seven minutes, the Muppets surprisingly kept Death Row from locking down the level and actually scored a few frags with Gonzo dealing Thresh his first kill in the tournament. Soon after, Death Row locked down the map and Muppet gibs were flying everywhere. In an attempt to distract Death Row, the muppet team changed their names and regrouped in the corner near pent. Although hiding outside in the corner wielding axes, the Muppets were shouting things like "Hold Red Armor" and "Guarding the Biosuit!". A thoroughly confused Death Row team roamed the level in search of the Muppets, but came up empty-handed until UnHoly jumped out of the pent window and saw us all standing there. We all charged, axes swinging wildly, and fell in a blaze of glory. Although losing by many many frags, the Muppets beat the spread and gave everyone a good show while Death Row went on to win the tournament. You can still download the demo HERE