Asheronīs Call DARKTIDE Past - by Schattenkind - Monarch of the Shadow Warriors

Please excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes. I wrote this very long text in two days and English is not my first language (I'm german). There may be some slight time-line mistakes, because I'm writing this all from my memories and from looking at some old screenshots. This text is of course influenced by my subjective opinion, however I think that I recalled all of the described events correct. I hope that you enjoy this text about my experiences on the World of Darktide. Iīm writing this because I enjoyed playing Asheronīs Call on Darktide a lot, and I fear that I may forget some of the things that happened in the future. I left out a lot of details because it would simply blow up the size of my story too much and I have no time to write more. Itīs already too long anyway.

Some of the newer Darktide people may not know who I am. My character's name is Schattenkind. My character is an very old archmage and I created the character by having things/experiences from beta in mind. I think I'm one of the very few persons who is still playing his original character as main character since November'99 on Darktide (+ playing the game regular, which means nearly every day for a few hours). Currently I'm not playing AC that much anymore, because lag got lately so terrible on Darktide. God-mode (may it be a feature or not) also destroyed a lot of fun fr me. In my eyes itīs simply cheap cheating, and it requires for sure no skills. The 'Schattenkind' character is far from being perfect and I'm having sometimes a hard time fighting all the new extreme & perfect PvP templates but I'm still killing people in my level range regular (without god-mode), so I think I'm doing ok in PvP.

A very young SchattenkindI started on Darktide when AC went retail as soon as my copy reached me in germany (around 1 week after AC's official launch). My reason for starting on Darktide: I had seen in Beta a lot of Dereth on the non-Pk Worlds and in my imagination I could see all the experienced Beta players power-leveling like nuts at the known XP-Spots (especially Lugian Outpost at Qalabar), overcamping Qal/Arwic smith for good loot and portalstorming out of towns. Because of my Beta memories I did forsee overcrowded dungeons and towns on the white-dot serv'rs. I needed a change in AC after Beta and I loved about early DT that you could run through specific towns without meeting a single person for hours (I remember myself sitting in Yanshi on the town-rock without a single person popping up on radar for 3 hours). PvP was for sure one of the lesser reasons why I started on DT. DT had a very low population average (at peak times somewhere around 150-400 players; even much less at the beginning).

AC-DT was my first mmorpg-PvP-Experience. I had no clue about all the 'owning' Clans from other games like UO or EQ, and which PvP-Clan o\/\/ned what on which server. I really didn't care about such things and I still don't care. I don't care about monarchy sizes, I don't care about levels and I don't care how long someone plays the game. I fear noone in a virtual world and when I have to fight a lot of people I see it as a challenge. When I have no chance to win a fight I try to run or recall away. When someone manages to kill me, he usually deserves my loot. I donīt whine about it nor do I care too much. I also never portal logged, because I think that this exploit is simply a too cheap escape from death. If you get yourself into a deadly situation, then itīs your own fault or risk. The consequence is your death and you have to live with that. Sometimes life on Darktide is harder, sometimes itīs an easy life. What I care about is that someone takes his characterīs role serious, that he can say a few more words than 'Yo!, Dude!, Sup?, Bro!, peace?, Can I swear to you?, Can you protect me?, Where do you level? Where are you tied to?, Help! and so on... I care about my characterīs role and my characterīs reputation. AC is not only a 'game', it is also a community of a lot of players that interact with each other. It is important for me that I'm surrounded by players that I can rely on. I hate it when people lie in real-life to me, and I hate it not less in AC. In AC usually everyone gets from me what he deserves. I'm on the internet since a very long time and I learned early that people in virtual worlds (IRC or where ever) often play roles that don't reflect their real personality. It's pretty amazing to see this in AC (even if from time to time someoneīs real personality shines through the role. Noone can prevent this). Some roleplay excellent evil and strong guys while they are weaker and totally peaceful beings in real-life (they just enjoy being evil), others see their chance to role-play the 'light" to bring justice into this virtual anarchy world. They may be noone special in real-life, they may be "yes" sayers in real-life that obey every command from their boss without reflecting it, but in AC they try to be the good Paladin that battles the forces of evil. Then there is this group of players that are mentally totally weak, uneducated idiots that don't roleplay being an asshole they are really an asshole. Some think limited; they just think selfish and they actally care not much about anything except their own person. All the weird stuff that comes up in their brain has to be instantly spoken/written out by them. They are simply not nice persons. We have also a good amount of little kids that are reflecting their social problems as a computer-generation kid in a virtual world. I usually just feel sorry for these kind of players. Then we have groups of people that stick simply together and try to get the best out of the game for their group. They don't care much about their reputation or other groups/persons. They just play straight the game, try to reach anything that can be reached and then move on to the next game. We have also Mr. Y who is working hard the whole day, logs on for 1-2 hours in the evening and just wants to have some fun. There are for sure more categories, but I guess you don't care... hehe.

I also wonder sometimes why some of the DT clans or players have the feeling that they have to advertise their bans or hacks from other online-games. I mean - is this something you have to do to be cool in a virtual play-world? Hacking/violating/cheating game-rules in other games to be respected in the next game, in this case Asheronīs Call? Pretty sad if you ask me. It just keeps serious gamers that are in the game because of 'the game' away from these people. If you play chess or for example a random card-game - do you cheat to win? Do you violate the rules? Do you think anyone serious would ever play with you again if he finds out that you constantly violate the game rules? Wonīt he turn around and never come back? To win by all means in a game - even with cheating - doesn't make you a winner. You become a Nobody (non-interesting-opponent) in the eyes of a real gamer. You are a non-factor for a real gamer. Real Gamer don't care if you became a level 90 and/or c00l d00d by all means. I'm aware of that probably a lot of people won't understand what I just said but it's the truth. The point is not that you win - the point is how you win. Even if you are mr super-hot-on-the-top on the paper - a modified paper doesn't make you the best or winner, your opponents give you the chance to win the game. They have to acknowledge your victory, otherwise it leaves always a bitter taste and 'your' victory isn't much worth. But like in real-life there will be always a lot of people that have to win (and that have to be always the best) in AC, no matter what they have to do in order to reach that goal. Online-games attract for sure a lot of these people.

I didn't know TM, I didn't know SiN, I didn't know KoC aka Blood (the current DT Bloods/KoCs joined DT pretty late compared to the others), I didn't know any 'Anti'-Clans and... oh well.. I didn't know a single person when I started on Darktide. A grown up person (Iīm 25 years old) but fresh newbie in a PvP-World (however I had AC experiences from beta).

When I created my character I thought: Well, how will I play this character. What awaits me in this world? Do people attack each other for no reason like in Quake? Shoot everything that moves? Well, I had no clue about a PvP-World and so I made a set of rules for myself. I would roleplay a peaceful ghar'un fighter who basically just defends himself should anyone attack him. I would never attack anyone first without a good reason. I would also fight people in general from enemey-allegiances that attacked me earlier. I'm still playing with this set of rules.

Og's death items So I started at Rithwic and I got pk'ed in the first 30 mins of my DT-career by a Level 8 UA-Fighter called 'Og'while I was buying some components at the mage. I think I thought something like: 'Hey, that wasn't nice. What an ass. Oh well... I guess he roleplays some kind of evil character.' He didn't say anything, he just killed me. I learned later more about Og. I killed some monsters in the woods to erase my vitae and I went on to eastham. Another german player wrote me on a msg-board that I should come to Eastham because I could find there a little but nice community and 2 other germans. One of these 2 other germans was Kitae (an experienced PvP player from other mmorpgs but who had no clue about AC when he started on DT. His name was Proculo at that time). Proculo was under Owain Goch (level 15 orso) and that's how I got in contact with early CED (Circle of Eternal Dragons). I was never really into power-leveling but I saw a medium level range as requirement to survive on DT. A quiet moment in early Eastham Therefore I always tried to stay in a level range that allows me to go everywhere and to fight most of the people that attack me without being an easy kill. In the last 13 months I died 167 times on Schattenkind in total for now (around 70% from PvM deaths, 30% PvP) and I really have/had a lot of pvp fights. I never understood people that leveled all day long in some boring dungeons. Well, I understand that they do this to be part of 'the best' in a virtual world, to have higher character skills and more firepower than others, but I think most of them are missing a lot of other elements that the game has to offer. Anyway, that's not my problem. If they like to play the game like this it's their choice. However I noticed that a lot of these powerlevelers burned out after a few months (I saw so many power-levelers passing out quickly after they reached a specific level). I think one of the main reasons why I'm still playing the game is that I never really power-leveled longer than a few days in a row. I always make longer breaks between my leveling/hunting. Over the time you learn how to handle your character in different situations. You learn in general a lot about your character and its limitations if you fight for a long time people that have a higher level than you have. The game is on DT most of the time more fun if you have more enemies than friends.

Eastham after a Merc raid I liked the people at Eastham and I swore to Crovax (who was sworn to Proculo/Kitae) and so I got into CED. The early CED days were really fun. Everyone knew everyone in Eastham and we expected daily Psycho's terrible raids. Yeah, that Psycho. I know everyone feared him in Eastham, because of his terrible high level (I think he was level 20 when I saw him for the first time at Eastham). He and his friends (which I learned later called themself 'The Mercs') laid regular waste on the town at US-peak time. I remember how proud I was when I managed to kill this high level pk 'Beatuup' (level 19) at level 10 with Harm Other I over full radar range (hehe) who raided regular with Psycho. I also remember when I entered Qalabar for the first time and I got instantly harmed to death by several mercs over full radar range. God, life magic was so overpowered at these times, yeah even more than today, especially in PvP. Well, I went from level 12 on to the Forking Trail behind the Qalabar mountains and I was most of the time alone there. I killed the lugians outside of the dungeon for 1-2 hours per day and I was coming close to level 20 when december 99 patch was about to come. A lot of people in CED wondered how I leveled so fast - hehe. Welp, I leveled faster than most of the people in CED (except Two Fingers), because most of them had no beta-experiences and soon I was one of Eastham's main protectors that got often @tells when a pk hit town. Usually Og and Kewtsquirrel raided a few times per day and I remember endless runs when I chased Og up to Arwic, back to Eastham, down to Rithwic and so on. I think I chased him one time over 20 minutes. I killed him alltogether only 3 times with good old war magic (1 time at Eastham with help of others and 2 times in a chase). These were the times before most people learned how to strafe-run or to dodge spells by strafing. Noone knew slide-casting (I think I saw slide-casting for the first time in February 2000 by Lop or Dark Doomer in the Disaster Maze). Og always send me an 'ugh' or something like that after he got killed but never anything else. The Mercs While we managed in CED to compete with pks like Og, Kewtsquirrel, Topaz (or other little pks and their groups) we usually died in the evenings to the Mercs when they hit Eastham with their high-levels (Kalihan, Shippy, Shollos, Psycho, Beatuup, Rupture, Osium, Mikey are just some of the names I remember that regulary killed/raided us at Eastham. There were many other mercs but these names come into my mind when I think about the old Eastham raids). Well, that was back in November'99. One funny sidenote: A lot of players didn't use Drain Health I at the beginning of DT. Harm Other was frequently used, but many people didn't use Drain Health I in PvP. Arrows, War magic and Drain Other (over full radar) usually did do the kills (or UA melees). Drain Health spreaded later much more in PvP. I remember the big !@#$%^&*ing by the Life Magic-only characters when Harm Other/Drain range got reduced.

Well, most of the old CED people (I think none of them is left playing these days in CED with their original char) had worse char-templates and they never got to levels that allowed them to compete with the high level pks. I remember when I met with Proculo and Crovax on our way to Hebian-To for the first time Thunderstorm from the Debbie-allegiance. We were running along the road when suddenly a character at very high speed passed us. When we assessed him we saw that his level was 27. Before that we never saw a non-merc above level 25. Thunderstorm noticed that we were talking to each other in german and I think he @telled Proculo. Well, we had found another german - and he was even a high level. Debbie was also at war with TM since a few days, and so we had found a friend in Thunderstorm.

If you ask me what my first experience with Shollos was....well, I think he killed me in my very early Eastham days at least 1 time when I was a real lowbie, but the real first fight (that wasn't a slaughter, but still outleveled me with more than 10 levels). Shollos' ungodly level I remember vs him was when I was around level 15 orso. CED tried to raid Arwic. We buffed a bit outside of Arwic (buffing at these times were Armor II-IV spells and max. Mastery spells - hehe) and then we ran TOTALLY uncoordinated into town. We even managed to kill luckily 2 or 3 of the lower level mercs (max. level 20) that were unbuffed, when suddenly Osium, Shollos and some other mercs came around the corner. I remember that I and an archer of our fellowship chased Shollos out of town and we got him down to around 30% health when he suddenly jumped up high into the sky and was casting many Heal Self I while in mid-air. When he landed back on ground he was back on full health. I was like 'WTF did he just do'? Then he turned around and attacked. The archer died and I managed to escape. Well, that was my first contact with the Heal-Jump exploit. I had heared about it in-game and on boards but never saw it using someone else before. Anyway, that raid ended up with lot of dead people in our fellowship. I got out with little health. Noone could really hurt the mercs at these time in CED because of their high levels. From time to time we managed to kill one when they attacked but all in all everyone got slaughtered because we got usually badly outleveled. Without Shollos the Mercs would have become probably even faster on DT a non-factor. He was really raiding a lot and he was one of the most feared Mercs among the antis, while I have to say that I saw people like Osium, Balor or Mikey (the so called 'merc core') on DT a lot less in raids. I think Shollos, Kalihan and Rupture were some of the most active town-raiding Mercs (Psycho was suddenly gone - I think he got kicked by Mikey or so). I remember seeing Mikey for the first time when he was suddenly standing with his unbelieveable level 3x in Eastham town middle, handing out C notes to people that got daily killed by his Clan. Cheeseman's fabulous pizza Some spies came down from Rithwic and yelled 'mercs are at rithwic.. they will be soon here.. get ready to fight'. Mikey said something like 'Don't fear. Noone will kill you. They will listen to me. It's ok.' I don't know if he was making fun of us or if he was serious about it. Probably first one. Cheeseman made Pizza for everyone. He always encumbered me with Pizza. Welp, 5 minutes later... 'Shippy's lightning...' and the whole town died. There were so many corpses in town that even an Admin popped up in town to check out what was going on. Textures of corpses couldn't be displayed anymore. Mikey left with them. Anyway, Shollos, Kalihan and Rupture were really everywhere and regulary hitting all the interesting level spots (I remember that I couldnīt camp the Forking Trail chest at the Gigas Lugian because Shollos was hitting it regulary every 15 minutes (or was it Kalihan? Not sure). He usually used UA when he came and killed everyone. Well, these 3 names always pop up in my mind when I think about fights with the old Mercs.

I remember 'Free Shoushi'. For some time all the big DT allegiances tried to turn Shoushi into a non-fighting Zone. I just visited Shoushi during that time for 1 time because I was busy with leveling at the Forking Trail and defending Eastham a lot. Nobile told me that BR was pressuring TM already at some point at that time. He said that Mikey told him that he didnīt want to fight the whole server and therefor he asked what Nobile wanted in return for a truce. Nobile told me that he answered: freedom for everyone on DT to use the Merc levelling spots and all starter towns to be no kill zones. He said that Mikey laughed about Nobileīs words. However Osium posted basically the same a few days later in a proposal and declared all spots to be free except BDC. Nobile forced Curafin the Cunning to go lead the town defense of Shoushi, because he wanted a BR to do this job. Well, I think DT never had such a zone again. After some time most guilds stopped to care about the deal and Shoushi became newbie quake-tide again.

Snow and mattekars

Short before the December'99 Event I met a nice person at Eastham from the Debbie Allegiance called Telaziz. She helped a lot of CEDīs people by giving out free supplies and weapons at Eastham. I also saw Curafin the Cunning from Black Rose for the first time personally, a very nice and helpful archer in a complete golden armor (I think he quit BR a little bit later). Telaziz's only offensive weapon was life magic (drain/harm). She had no war magic. Then came the time when I learned for the first time on DT that most people simply can't play straight and stick to their ideas, their way of playing or their character's original identity. I learned that a lot of players on DT (and probably other worlds) are simply liars. I learned that you can't trust many people and that they switch sides should one side give them great benefits. I don't care if someone plays evil or good or whatever as long as he sticks to his characterīs role. I hate it when people switch sides. More and more people of old CED in mid-level range (15+ ) switched from one day to the other suddenly to pk or simply left because of the constant Merc raids. They leveled at eastham beach with CEDīs protection and help to 10+ level-range and then quit. There were several cases and it was getting really worse. More and more low levels were getting into CED and I was really missing some 'ruling' words and feedback by CED's Monarch Owain Goch at these times. One the most known 'sudden' side-switchers was probably Alice-Te-Katrina (well, she's probably one of DT most infamous Clan-hoppers at all). Cheeseman also left CED and swore to Mikey under the mercs ('officially' according to himself to be a spy but I think that was just an poor excuse because he stayed under Mikey for months without ever helping really. But at least he never joined the mercsī raids). Anyway, at the end of November CED reached one of their weakest points because of the side switchers and I never saw Owain much around (he told me later that he played another character at that time). The Mercs were really a pain in the ass because of their high levels and so I finally left CED and swore to Telaziz (who was sworn to Thunderstorm) to fight the Mercs more effective with the higher levels in Debbie. Crovax and Proculo's new re-roll 'Brunhild' (or was it already Kitae? Not sure) followed and swore to me because I had outleveled them. They were also not happy how things were running in CED with all the betrayers and masses of lowbies that joined but never did do anything. Well, Debbie stopped suddenly to play and Thunderstorm had to manage the house. Rumours said that the player of Debbie died in a car accident. I believed that in the beginning since it was also on COD and TS confirmed it but in the end I think it was just a rumour. A short time after I was running around with Debbie-tag Thunderstorm swore to Nobile of Black Rose to build up with Nobile a bigger anti-merc faction. So I ended up under Telaziz in Thunderstorm's tree in Black Rose. I still lived at Eastham the whole December before I moved myself and my mules to the other BR-people at Kara. Schattenkind sees Kara for the first time I remember the first time when I saw Kara lying up on that hill. In the beginning the town was so empty. Well, had to happen: Good old CED in Eastham was no more. They had left the town and reorganised themself to get rid of the parasite-people and newbies. If that would have happened earlier I think I may have stayed with CED. Anyway, my BR time had begun.

Decemberī99, the first month with a big quest - Frore. Suddenly SiN under Hal-Bare, later under Bone Yard (also under Punisher-Razor? Not sure - so long ago) became a factor on DT. I think SiN had their best time in December'99. During december I was hunting at Tethana (I remembered the slaughterhouse route to tethana from beta). At Tethana I leveld on drudges and golems till level 29. I met there people like KV The Anti, Dark Doomer, Lost Cause and Lop for the first time. Kv was level 26 while DD and Lop were early 20īers at Tethana. They all hunted at Tethana - a relative pk-free zone. Kv The Anti was keeping it PK-free (later he became a bit fanatic on his anti-pk raids in my opinion, because he was killing also innocent people - but.. oh well).

SiN proclaimed on the boards that they would take over Arwic and throw TM off DT. They really hurt the Mercs in Arwic a lot and put a lot of pressure on them, but they never managed to dominate the Mercs. BR fought mercs and SiN. So the 3 big guilds at that time had fights on several sides. While Arwic was at the beginning of DT a very cool place because of its connections to the Olthoi areas and its supplies, it turned out to be an easy raidable town. In the beginning it was a very good and nice place from the strategic view (when people didn't have the level to compete vs The Mercs), BUT it was really a big mistake to stay there later any longer. If the Mercs would have taken earlier one of the outer-towns with their high level power, they may have survived much longer (i.e. Stonehold or Kara). Welp, the Mercs and SiN didn't even know that BR lived in Kara for a long time (nor did most of them know the town at all). The Mercs didn't bother to look over their Arwic plate. That was for sure one of their biggest mistakes.

Disaster Maze I remember the day when Thunderstorm told me about the new found dungeon 'disaster maze'. He and I were together with Telaziz the first persons on DT down at the tuskers. I had the exclusive right to wall-lick-drain the tuskers for 2 days alone down there before Kalihan popped up at the DM. Fights started at the maze. Raids by TM and SiN. However TM didn't really see the level-potential of the maze until end of December/beginning of januar. They raided often but never really leveled there (that changed later). I remember seeing Mikey corpses all over the tusker area. They didn't notice the safespots. I managed to level until level 35 at the disater maze over december and I made the probably most important step in my characterīs career: I took lockpick! 6 skill points - yay (God - I could have bow or even melee def by now). At level 30+ I finally could do something vs the high level Mercs without dying on sight.

I remember also my first contacts with the Xanthro Clan that was located at Sawato. China Cat who lived at early DT days around Holtburg became under Xanthro one of CoA's spokesman. I remember that Nobile and The Mercs made a truce, because TM were getting more and more pressure from many sides (that truce held for around 2 weeks during the hoary time in december and BR/TM were fighting vs. SiN. SiN was strong at that time). I remember that I got trash-talked for ten minutes by queen Azile when I attacked her/him at crater lair - I had to ask TS how to ignore technically a person. Because of Azile I learned about the @squelch command. Thanks Azile. Hail to the trash-talker king/queen! Noone ever trash-talked to me more than Azile by using so many vulgar words in one sentence. That's not meant in a bad way. Actually it was pretty funny - hehe - even if i usually ignore trash-talkers completely.

BR went back on war with TM at the end of december. I was pretty happy about that because I didn't like the truce at all and my CED friends wondered what was up with BR. Well, I was always loyal to my 2 monarchs and their decisions as long as their were my monarchs (first Owain Goch and then Nobile), and so I respected the truce. I think I still have a screenshot from these 2 weeks, when I and Shollos were looking together for SiN people at crater lair (yeah - just checked. I still have it). Over the time BR managed a strange thing: It can't be denied that BR allied from time to time with Evil PK-Clans in order to fight a more dangerous other PK-Clan. When the more dangerous clan got finally successfully weakened, BR went at war with the shortly 'allied' PK-Clan again. Now, the interesting thing that BR managed in all the time is that BR never pk'ed together with a pk-clan non-rpk's while being temporary allied with PK-clans (well, except special cases in BR like 'Shadow Soldier' aka The Dark Master later). BR was allied with Mercs for 2 weeks vs. SiN but never attacked anyone besides SiN together with the Mercs in these 2 weeks. Such alliances were really just alliances vs. a special threat - at least from my experiences. I guess that's the art of pure neutrality - Nobile mastered it for sure. You have to understand one thing about the old Black Rose on DT (and maybe even the clan today): Nobile thinks/thought always about BR's role and position on the long-run. He always tries to get the best out of a situation for BR and he tries to balance the powers of clans on DT. It's like sailing a ship through a hurricane by trying to keep all passengers on board. I think without Nobile the situation on DT would have been totally different today. He's for sure not a short-minded person, may some people like him or not. I know him as a very nice and helpful person who always cared about his clan. Not many people understood his way of guiding BR, but he managed to build up BR as an important Anti-RPK pole in the first 6 months of DT. Yes, BR wasn't at war with every PK-Clan on DT all of the time (well, nearly with all at some time because of me), but BR was always at war with the currently MOST DANGEROUS PK-Clan. That the important point - BR added balance to Darktide. While - the pure - so called 'Antis' were attacking pretty uncoordinated widley spreaded pks at different places without much success, BR really hurt the dangerous PK-Clans at their towns and levelspots. BR always focused on the most important and dangerous enemy. Without BR a lot of the Antis would have had probably even a much harder time in the merc/Loch times. BR kept the bad pk Clans REALLY busy for a long time. I think a lot of the old BRs made BR a worthy enemy for the pk clans. I think Nobile is still following this policy today. That's at least what I read out of his current actions.

Schattenkind meets Black Rose Noble Well, back to december. I wondered why Nobile of Black Rose wasn't on much until I found out via Thunderstorm that he was playing a re-roll called Black Rose Noble. I met during the event the new Black Rose Noble char at the Lin Lich Tower when we camped the uber-chest there. During the december event I also heared for the first time about a 'strange' neutral high level War mage that 'lived' in Crater Caves called Xavier Dreux. I learned that he got an insane high War Magic skill due to a bug. Thunderstorm and Xavier did do a lot of things together during the Frore event. TM didn't attack Xavier so far. That changed later and (I think) Osium attacked him later for the first time in Crater and therefor Xavier went on war with them (not sure about the exact timing). Meanwhile TM were duping nice equipment in december. I remember the days when most of the high level mercs were running around with the exact same equipment (same leggins/same solls/matty coat/robes/olthoi helmet). The duped Merc Yumi was going around in their ranks. Jason Booth thanked The mercs on COD for helping them to find the bug - how ironic. The bow killed a lot of us.

Kara before Valadriel's betrayal BR was growing and we were doing pretty good at fighting vs. TM and SiN. The most funny thing was that TM really didn't know for a long time where BR was living until the well known Kara betrayer 'Valadriel' (who joined later into CoA) personally guided Mikey and the rest of the merc crew to Kara because of a disagreement with BRN and Thunderstorm. TM started to raid Kara from this day on but the advantage of Kara was simply too big (we never ever had an organised merc raid before at Kara). The town was unreachable at the beginning without a long run and had therefor the better strategic position. Nobile's town choice was pretty smart. Arwic on the other hand was easy accessable. I was online and playing a lot at this time and Nobile asked me to put some heavy pressure on the Mercs by leading raid-groups to Arwic nonstop. I obeyed his command. At off-peak times I raided a lot solo, while at peak times more in groups. I think I never raided again that much like I did raid at that time. When a few mercs popped up at Kara after a long run we launched instantly a counter-strike towards Arwic to draw them back to Arwic. That worked often. I was tied directly on Schattenkind for 3 weeks into Arwic. I didn't level or hunt at all in these 3 weeks. I was only raiding Arwic.

I remember that we had in early january the coolest battle vs TM. BR raided with around 30 people of all level ranges Arwic (the original Blaster that lived also at Kara was with us, too) and we clashed together with the core of DT mercs. They were all there .. Osium, Balor, Shollos, Kalihan, Rupture, Shippy, Blood, Loch, Sin, Necron, and so on (can't recall all the names). Ten minutes later the whole Lifestone hill at Arwic was full of corpses from both sides. I think there were at some time around 50 people fighting at Arwic and it lagged terrible but all in all it was one of the coolest mass-battles I remember on DT. TM-groups had a higher level average, but we had a few more people with us. It ended up with lot of casualties on both sides. I think TM also enjoyed it a lot.

Black Rose leaders making plans to fight The Mercs I was raiding Arwic heavily in the last 3 weeks of January I had made level 40 in the Mountain Halls down at the Black Drudges and all I was doing after that was raiding Arwic. Proculo's final char Kitae was often with me. Nobile asked me to put a lot of pressure on Arwic to keep TM away from Kara. Lews Kinslayer (later re-rolled as Imperil) provided me in that time with masses of money from his LOD-trips (I think he gave me like 1 million pyreals that went into spell components and mana charges for my raids). Some of Arwic's former inhabitants may remember my acid IV wand. That wand killed so many mercs. I still have it on one of my mules because of memories. That was before the time when everyone started to use WoBF or WvW. Welp, later everyone became resistant to that wand because of its low spellcraft but it did do a really good job for around 2 months. In january level IV wands could do great dmg in combo with vul (most people didn't have much more than 120 hp). You got called a cheap-wand monkey - but hey who cares - today a lot of these crying people jump around like apes and try to god-mode me with a wand on a re-rolled character. That's what I call unfair. Kinda funny. At least I didn't cheat while I wand-monkeyīed people.

In these nonstop raids I learned a lot about PvP. At some point I was so trained that I could take 5 or more people at the same time - and I often killed all of them. I always notice for myself that I get rusty in AC at PvP when I didn't raid for some time. I.e. if I didn't fight someone for a few days or I take a short break for a few days from AC, I notice that I do sometimes stupid mistakes or that I react slower in special situations. Welp, after 1 week at Arwic I was pretty good. One thing I will never forget is when I got chased out of Arwic by 6 people. The chase went on and we ended up at the big river west of arwic (in the middle of this sea is the underground city island). During the chase I killed 2, when we reached the sea I killed 3 and the last merc had to recall.

A plot backfires I learned how important it is to lure enemies away and to distract them in a fight - to use a tactic that your enemy doesn't expect. I think I killed most of my enemies by running away and then suddenly turning around by suprise to attack them. Because of my successful packback program vs the mercs I gained more influence in BR. I became BR's 'Supreme War Commander' - funny title hehe. But BR was really into titles at that time. We even had a 'High council' - that actually caused more confusion than helping the Monarch.

But PvP was really different at these times. Noone was throwing around with magic Inepts or weakness spells. What you catched was max a Imp 4/5 or Vul 4/5 - but nothing worse. Fights took MUCH longer and were much more fun. I remember a 10-15 minute fight with Rupture (I had the coolest fights with Rupture. In my eyes Rupture was at the merc times their best PvP-Archer). Also Rupture or Shollos always came to help their followers when I was raiding Arwic. Can't say that always about Mikey or Osium. I think especially Mikey was more into leveling. If they were really ever active like Shollos or Kalihan in raiding towns/all kind of dungeons it must have been in these first 14 retail days on DT that I missed. Sure they were always killing people at some special level spot or defending Arwic when a real big raid came (or I saw them from time to time in a raid), but the real 'terror' was spreaded by some of their followers. Anyway, let's move on in the time-line.

The Dryreach lifestone got removed. Azile's allegiance that lived at Dryreach had to move out to another place. Their target: Stonehold. I think Azile managed to throw the Antis out of SH for a few days (maybe even weeks) but she got constantly raided by Mercs, Antis (CoA - namely China Cat raided SH with help of Alice-Te-Katrina to get rid of Azile), Feared and some other clans that didn't like Azile (on my way to SH at these days I met for the first time on DT (original) DVN-The-Feared and B IX-The Feared. I was pretty suprised because they had so high levels and I had never seen them before somewhere. I got later informed that they were leveling quiet a while at Crater Dungeon. I came to crater very late. From what I remember Azile's allegiance got disbanded after a few weeks. The Antis got SH back.

Battle for Stonehold

Dark Doomer got meanwhile many levels at the Disater Maze. Originally he was fighting vs. The Mercs (I remember very early Tethana days when DD, LC, Kv and I were fighting vs Osium, Rupture and Shippy at Tethana), when DD suddenly joined under The Mercs. Lop was also leveling at DM, fighting TM. He was somewhere in the 30ers. What I remember for sure is, that I always saw LOTs of corpses from Lop in the DM. He has been always a die-hard guy. Dark Doomer didn't stay for long under Mercs (officially because of Osiums uber-ego according to him) and he started to level like insane at the Disaster Maze. BR switched several times its status towards DD. 'What do you mean, no asskissing?' At some point he completely controled the Tusker-area alone. The day came when he could use the White Virindi Wand (I think he was the first one on DT who really used it active) and he was killing lots of Mercs by wand-monkeying them with the WvW and Vul VI.

SiN and Mercs got more and more pressure from all sides. At least the Mercs got raided more than they raided their enemies at one point. I think SiN lost simply most of its players because of re-rolls or people that really quit, while the Mercs broke slowly but surely away because of the pressure in Arwic. Arwic was target #1 of any raid for nearly all the non-mercs on DT. I remember the day when Mikey and Bone Yard published on the boards their new formed alliance. They proclaimed that this new alliance of SiN and Mercs would rule Darktide. They would own everything. Well... words... nothing really changed. The only noticeable difference was that suddenly some of SiN's people were lifestoned at Arwic. I remember when some Mercs defended with Bone Yard and some other guys that were left from SiN on Darktide together Arwic vs. us. A lot of the mercs were suddenly more and more less online. Blood had left also the mercs. If I remember right he was even sworn under DD for some time.

Mikey/Osium were more and more less online. At some point The Mercs also split because of an ego-conflict between Mikey and Osium (I think the timing of that was a bit after DD left them, or DD left because of that. Not sure). People started to break from Mikey and Osium. One of the last persons that I saw running around with Osium-tag after some months was Rupture. TM were slowly but surely going down the drain and more and more people were suddenly sworn to the ex-merc Loch. I met the owner of Blood in the disaster Maze and he told me that his wife was pregnant and that he would sell his account. No more time to play. The player of the character Sin (Ex-merc, had nothing to do with Clan Sin) also quit.

Black Rose was gaining more and more followers. A lot of them probably joined because of Kara's safety and BR's strong fighting force. BR managed to keep Kara safe for at least 6 months in all the time. A lot of people used Kara's safety and turned later pk. For example a group called the 'XL' that had mostly french members (XL had to leave Kara when BR found out that Moon XL was also playing another char called 'Umbris' - who was already rpk'ing at that time. Later they became all full-pk guild. However that happened in the time-line after the re-take of Kara as far as I remember). I was feeling more and more uncomfortable in BR because of several ex-pk's that were allowed to join into BRs ranks. In the first months when I was in BR I always had a clear enemy - The mercs and SiN. Well, and some small pk groups. We were a tight group and had a common goal. Now, suddenly strange people started to join BR, they left again to go pk, even some people were allowed to join that were former pks and couldn't stand the heat anymore. Over the time I heared a lot of lame excuses from people that joined BR and then went pk later. However Nobile had a trend to take these people back into BR's ranks. Like a father who can't hate his son that just murdered someone. I never understood really why Nobile was keeping some of the trouble-makers for so long in the clan. Some of these people may have made the guild stronger, but I think these people also hurt BR's reputation a lot.

Around that time I also met Crankīs Holtburg Spy for the first time. I didn't know who the spy or who Crank was. I thought first that he was just another merc-spy, because he was several times around when I was raiding Arwic. He was kinda irritating. Then in one night I was suddenly alone in Arwic. Noone was around that I could attack except the character Crankīs Holtburg Spy - but he didn't carry an enemy-tag, so I didn't attack him. I was making some fun with him to kill the time, when he told me that he watched my raids on Arwic often. He also told me that his main character is Crank, an aluvian swordmaster without any magic-school. We talked a bit outside of Arwic and made some funny things. Then, while I was sitting in the grass with him, suddenly Rupture (or The Ripper - not sure who of these 2 it was) popped up on the radar and hit for around 120 hitpoints my unbuffed ass with an arrow. Hell - I ran - hehe - and escaped. If I think about it, now - it was pretty stupid to sit at that time outside of Arwic unbuffed - lol. Well, Crank and I talked from time to time but we didn't have any real contact. A little bit later, still before BR left Kara for the first time, Ramza the Holy Knight asked me if I could help him on the SoLL-Quest. I agreed and I remembered that Crank told me that he was a sword-only user. 'The first three SOLLs on Darktide' Since I didn't know any other swordmasters on Darktide I asked him if he wanted to join on the quest. He was very happy about it because SoLL was the sword of his dreams. Ramza was level 25 at that time and I think Crank was level 29. I was level 40 if I remember right. Ramza organised the newbie-SoLL-Keys with a mule and then we ran all the way from Zaikhal to the Carved Caves to get the shadow-key. From the caves we took the Dires portal. I think it took us the whole night to finish the quest. I was doing most of the work at the guardian since the 2 couldn't touch the guardian much. A funny sidenote: I ran out of Damiana in front of the guardianīs door (we forgot to restock) and Crank had none because he was non-magic. Luckily Ramza had 4 Damiana. These 4 Damiana lasted exactly 3 guardian kills long. Crank and Ramza had to run all the time in circles around the guardian and to lure the undeads behind them so I could focus on the guardian. I think we 3 recovered the first 3 SoLLīs on Darktide. I still have that SoLL on Schattenkind because of the memories and fun we had on the quest, even if it encumbers me all the time. While Ramza disappeared after some time (and his god damn cousin or whoever it was, spammed me all day long with annoying tells from several characters to ask me about things), Crank was always around and I helped him from time to time when he needed something (I remember the day when he got lifestone- camped in the dires by golden wasps and died so many times in a row. I think he lost all his stuff except SoLL and quit in frustration for a week). I liked his character because he wasn't quitting his totally messed up character template. If someone sticks to his original character and is able to survive without re-rolling on Darktide then that character earns my respect. The character Quantum also always amazed me. This old axe-fighter leveled to 65 without any magic school. He got item magic at level 65 (or was it 60? Not sure). There was also this guy under Quantum called Gim (both for a long time in BR). Gim had ONLY item and Creature magic speced. He had no life magic nor War magic. He also didnīt melee-attack enemies. He still leveled to level 40 range if I remember right (well, no one can deny that Gim was a strange guy), but he also sticked to his char for a long time. I donīt know what he`s doing lately. I always had to laugh when some pk bragged on a board that he killed Gim in Kara. It was really not hard to kill Gim. He had nothing to defend himself - hehe.

BR reached the 1000 followers barrier and full-time pks sneaked more and more often into the guild that used the advantages of the BR-tag (that reminds me of all the trouble we had for example with Ender Wiggin or whatever his name was). At these times you couldn't see someone's patron when you assessed a character, so we had really a hard time to find out who was under who. If a pk sneaked somewhere deep into the tree it was nearly impossible to remove that person. I tried to keep track of follower-trees but I didn't get really much help from the rest of BR. It became more and more chaotic in BR. I had also a lot of problems with Shadow Soldierīs (one of the early BRs, later he rerolled as The Dark Master when he got kicked out of BR) membership in BR because he was pk'ing for sure from time to time. He was having constantly trouble with Xanthro's people and other Antis. SS behaved often like a little kid and pkīed a lot, but I have to mention that he killed a lot of Mercs and other pks for BR. However he also had often strange levelspot deals at BDC. From what I know Shadow Soldier got often played by 2 different persons - a younger and an older brother. I was also upset about several things Lauae did do. I remember long discussions with Nobile about several people that I wanted to see out of BR, but in the end I usually obeyed his command and decisions. He was my monarch. The point is: A lot of these 2-faced people told Nobile, 'yes, I will stop pking.. yes I will obey your command'. Then they followed Nobile's instructions to stop their actions for a few days and started to make trouble again (SS was a good example). Maybe it was a bit naive of Nobile, maybe he knew it and he was willing to pay the price for these people. I would have kicked these characters much earlier. Who knows, maybe BR wouldn't have been so strong for so long without them, maybe BR would have lost Kara even earlier without them, but at least we would have had more trustable people around us. Good and real loyal people are in my eyes more important than owning a 'perfect' town. BR had way too many parasites. But all big Clans usually have this problem. BR is no exception.

Meanwhile Loch had nearly all of that what was left of the mercs in his ranks. A guy called Tai Lo Quan in the mid-30s under Red Devil asked me in the Disaster Maze if his new guild could have a truce with BR. I had attacked him on sight at the DM because of his Red Devil tag. At this point I didn't know that it was Pnot from SiN. Some BRs told me the day before that they saw Apoc (ex Sin'er) at Zaikhal under Red Devil and he attacked them. So I put this so far unknown guild called 'Red Devil' on war. Tai Lo also explained me that his guild didn't like Loch and that he would fight Loch (that was a pure lie because they allied and even merged later). Well, I told Tai Lo Quan that I would talk to Nobile, and Nobile made a truce with him. The truce didn't hold for long. Apoc continued to attack BR's in towns and at BDC. I talked to Tai Lo again and he told me that Apoc would live in RL together with him (Tai Lo) and Apocīs mother. He said he would talk to Apoc and calm him down. Apoc attacked me later the night at BDC without warning again. So Red Devil went again on BR's war-list. They turned out to be a pure pk group later anyway.

Now, trouble came from The Feared side. DVN and B IX had become extreme high levels. I remember that there were constantly problems between Lauae and TF. Later she suddenly became good friends with some of them. So far TF didn't do much at all. They fought from time to time vs. TM/Loch (I remember when DVN ran through BDC, having lots of fun by throwing Imp VI and Pierce Vul VI on the sniping pk archers), but most of the time they behaved pretty much neutral towards all factions. I noticed very early that most of them had pretty big egos. I remember that I was camping for a day the Lich Lord uber-chest at today's Chalicmere Castle (C-Note portal to Aerlinthe), when Hog-The-Feared suddenly came along (he was lifestoned for a long time close to the castle) and informed me that I would have to leave the castle. I got informed that this and the other castle more north was property of TF and that they wouldn't tolerate anyone else in that area. Besides that he also did do something stupid: He told me that I should get out quick, because DVN and B IX would be already on their way to me (to kill me). He told me that DVN/B IX were just seeking a reason to go on war with BR, basically... well.. because they were bored. I cross-pasted Nobile the conversation and he started to @tell some people. Suddenly Hog was very nice to me and he told me that I could stay at the castle as long as I want. Then a few days later some spies told us that Loch and TF were going to ally. Loch and some of TF met at the Mayoi Meeting Hall (Mayoi was home of TF at that time). A war started. Kara got raided by TF and Lochs. However the Loch/TF alliance didn't hold for long. A lot of the lower TF followers were friends with BRs and TF got a lot of negative feedback because of the alliance with Loch. The alliance between Loch & TF ended, TF were peaceful again towards BR (I think Lauae did do also some good talking). I think they even went on war with Loch after that, but I'm not sure about that. Red Devil was meanwhile a new ally of Loch. More later they even merged and became the Druids of Loch. Loch broke some day the 1200 followers barrier.

Kara was getting frequently raids and Nobile invited Dark Doomer to live at Kara to get some extra protection for the town. I didn't like the idea because I knew that there would come more trouble with Dark Doomer than benefits, but Dark Doomer had declared earlier in public that he would open a new 'neutral' guild with the help of Alice-Te-Katrina and stop rpk'ing and therefor Nobile tolerated him at Kara. Nobile even managed to arrange a cease fire between Dark Doomer and Xanthro from Sawato. These two were constantly fighting each other until that day. Well, while I witnessed that Dark Doomer really tried to become better and to get rid of his rpk reputation, his followers didn't help him much with that. Alice-Te-Katrina and some others continued to make trouble. I think nearly everyone hated Alice in Kara. I think she was one of the most hated characters on Darktide in general. Dark Doomer did do also another mistake that prevented his conversion to the 'light' side - he became friends with a person that bought the former merc-char 'Blood'. The new Blood had founded a new small allegiance that lived at Al Jamila. From what I know he was rpk from the beginning since he took the account over. However I heared that he had a lot of problems at Al Jamila. Antis were nonstop camping his lifestone and he wasn't doing good at all. More and more new people started on Darktide during this time. Dark Doomer was helping Blood.

How we got rid of Alice-Te-Katrina: This is probably one of the most funniest stories. Alice was annoying everyone in Kara because she was creating constantly new problems with Anti Clans. Alice was doing once again some trash-talking in the middle of Kara-town about BR. Thunderstorm answered something provoking. That forced Alice to trash-talk some more. Thunderstorm took out his Wand of Black Fire, Vulned Alice and killed her in one shot. God -she was !@#$%^&*ing SO much .. you can't imagine. She instantly declared all BRs KOS and said that Dark Doomer would go on war with BR, now. She said that DD would take over Kara. Thunderstorm killed her a second time. She wanted to duel TS, but ran all the time around the Lifestone yelling 'Using the wand is not fair! Donīt use the wand!' Haha.. I laughed so much about that situation. Anyway, 30 minutes later Dark Doomer recalled to the Kara Lifestone and.. and... and...he did do nothing. He just looked at Alice but didn't move a finger. What Alice didn't know was that the whole situation was set up and that DD got informed earlier that TS would kill Alice. Well, Alice was totally perplex that DD turned her down. She left Kara and joined the rest of the Mercs once again in Arwic - this time under Loch. I killed her 1-2 weeks later in Arwic when we raided the town, and she dropped her beloved Yumi. I found later out that it was a 113% with BD V and QS IV (that was before the composite bow existed and before critters (except Olthoi Nobles) started to drop more often 113%er. She asked me if she could trade it back and begged a bit, but I didn't gave it back. She wouldn't have changed anyway. Most guild-hoppers and notorious pks never change. In all the time I saw so many characters that wanted to change from rpk to Neutral or some even to Anti/Honor whatever.. 90% of them went back to rpk'ing sooner or later. I don't know many cases where characters stayed on the side of the light for very long.

'Black Rose and The Feared at war' The next problem for BR: TF went on war with Dark Doomer. While DD always said that TF attacked him first at crater, I guess TF will say the opposite. I don't know who was wrong or right - from my point of view both lied often to me. TF began to attack Kara over night - looking for Dark Doomer. DVN told me that they only came for Dark Doomer but B IX was also attacking some low- level BRs at Kara. Nobile was sleeping and I had to make a quick decision because a lot of people were asking me how they should behave in this situation. I probably wonīt have attacked DVN if they had really just attacked DD, but fact was that I got several tells from BRs that got vulned by TF and even one got killed when they raided town. So I casted a vulnerability spell on DVN. He recalled and informed me that TF would be now at war with BR, because of aggressive actions from BRīs side vs The Feared (he also said something like - I would have preferered a BR is at War with TF deal). I ordered people to attack any TF on sight and so BR was again at war with TF, or TF at war with BR - whatever you prefer..

Now, something happened that created a big chaos in BR. Thunderstorm, who got time problems in real-life because of playing AC too much, simply hit the delete button in anger and deleted his character without warning anyone. I know that he was later terrible sorry for this, however you can imagine my face when I logged on and a lot of people (incl. myself) were running around in Kara with a different Monarch-Tag. Follower-chains could get hardly reconstructed because of level problems. TS was one of Nobile's biggest follower-trees. While we were reconstructing BR, Kara got frequently raided by Lochs and Red Devils (merged as Druids of Loch) and Feards (this time not allied with Loch).

Well, I basically replaced Thunderstorm's position in Black Rose and I tried to keep track of all followers that swore back into BR. In all this chaos Nobile did do something that turned later out to be a big mistake. I don't know if he asked Blood directly at one point, however I know that Dark Doomer offered that he could bring the new Blood and his group to Kara for town defense. I was totally upset, but the day came when the first Bloods arrived at Kara. I told Nobile that I would quit BR shouldn't the whole BR clan totally reform. I told him that I wouldn't live with complete rpks in the same town and that we had to get rid of all the parasites in BR. I also wanted notorious pks like Shadow Soldier out of BR. Nobile agreed. I don't know if the reason was that he didn't want to lose me or if he saw that Blood in Kara was a mistake. Anyway, rebuilding BR was impossible at Kara. The logic was simple: Clan-Parasites that were not really interested in BR would stay at Kara while the real BRs would follow us to another place. So we packed most of our mules and left Kara over night. Blood, Dark Doomer, and whoever wanted to stay were alone at Kara.

BRīs first stop was Tufa. I became technically the new monarch of BR because of level issues since I had outleveled Black Rose Noble (we wanted that BRN became the new BR monarch instead of Nobile of Black Rose). BRs were carrying now my name-tag. Some Antis lived at Tufa and they were pretty suprised when suddenly many BRs fell in. Constantine and Pluto were living there from what I remember (both former Kara inhabitants). Nobile gave a lot of power to me and I only allowed people back into the follower chain one by one. Everyone had to drop all of his vassals and people were only allowed to swear back into BR one by one. People had to email me every new follower. This gave me a complete overview over the allegiance (which was magically down to around 130 people). Tufa was terrible. You had to run simply too much from shop to shop. So we moved on to Uziz. Btw.: Meanwhile BR was back at peace with TF. BR and TF had always a strange friend-enemy relationship. Probably because of Lauae who had her friends in TF. Original Blaster (I think he had just one follower - RanRan Suzuki who bought later Blaster and is currently playing Impunity), our long-time friend from Kara, followed us to all the places that we moved to.

We didn't stay in Uziz for long either. It was hard to find a town that suited all kind of characters (mages/melees/archers). We moved on to Plateau Village. Plateau had no healing kits and stamina potions. The mage didn't buy any wands. No good fletching stuff. After a few days Loch portal tied and we got massive raids. My level ground became crater dungeons and I was entering the level 50 regions. I remember a lot of fights vs. the original player of Mordok down in the crater dungeon at the magma golems (I don't know who plays him today, but I think the account got at least sold/traded one time). Oh, and take a guess who I met after a long time again at crater? Psycho! He was dying regulary to the magma golems in the upper regions and was still licking the walls to kill them. After all the time he was still not higher than level 40. He was standing nearly naked down there. It was such a miserable picture (I remember that I saw Lost Cause often together with him down at crater. I think Psychoīs character was totally messed up. At least Lost Cause got sold one time). Well, even if he annoyed me so much when I was young at Eastham, I left him alone. I think he never hurt a fly again and became something neutral orso. He gave me later often some informations via one of my vassals that leveled at crater too about some enemy-clan movements. I guess that was something like a 'thank you'. I also saw the Ex-Merc Xonin for the first time again (now property of an Blood). The Mikey account got sold (I think also first to a Blood). While plateau was not a good hide-out because it was so easy raidable, it gave us at least a little bit of time to reorganise the whole Clan. While we were working on the structur and a better reputation of the clan without Shadow Soldier, Lauae and some of her friends enforced the re-take of Kara. Without informing Nobile and against my concerns a handfull of BRs under the lead of Lauae, Lews and RanRan Suzuki (last one was meanwhile BR because Blaster had quit AC and sold) attacked Blood at Kara to re-take the town. I was pretty pissed, because Lauae didn't report correctly all of her new followers and from the strategic point of view it was a pretty bad timing. BR was very weak and we were not finished with the rebuild. There were a lot of open questions. However the attack forced everyone in BR to focus on Kara once again. I think the opinions were 50/50 in BR. We had a nice flame-war on the internal board. One half was happy because they got again something to fight for and Kara was luring with high sell-off prices and good supplies while the other half was pissed because of Lauae & Coīs Solo Tour. I was so angry about Lauae that I stayed for several days at plateau, ignoring completely the Kara situation before I joined finally into the fights to help the BRs at Kara. Lauae owns for sure credits for taking Kara back. She was kinda obsessed by the Kara idea. She was online a lot and motivated all her friends to help her in Kara. It was always fun to see how many people came when Lauae called for them. Especially TF were usually there when Lauae, a real female on DT -but in my eyes mentally a very poor person, called for them. I think the Americans call this 'pussy-whipped'. Luckily I never became a victim of her and Moon Orchids (who isn't a female but always told everyone that he would be one) plots. Well, the whole Lauae thing and her relationships to specific persons on DT is probably another 10-sides story; Maybe some of the involved persons will tell it one day. I won't do that since it involves a lot of real life stuff of several persons, and such stuff doesn't really belong in an online-game in my opinion.

Well, Lauae called and her buddies came, most noticeable some of TF (Ben and Hog). DVN and B IX were about to sell their accounts. I think B IX was already sold while DVN was planning on it (I saw him still from time to time at crater. The original DVN wasn't a bad guy, but I really didn't like the player behind original B IX, but I think last one influenced DVN a lot when they ruled TF. I remember a situation at Zaikhal when DVN and B IX came suddenly along. B IX started to attack Kitae for no reason while our fellowship was looking for some pks at Zaikhal. The fight escalated quick, Kitae died to DVN and I managed to kill B IX. While I got ineped and drained by DVN after Kitae had died, I still managed to loot B IXīs Hoary robe. After the fight I got a tell by B IX that he thought that Kitae was some kind of PK and that the attack was a mistake. Anyway, I gave him his hoary robe back. B IX also threatened and attacked me a few times at crater because "he wasn't welcome in kara" (to quote him). B IX simply caused too much trouble and behaved often pretty strange. I didn't like his character much. From all the old Feared I liked Ben-The-Feared the most. He was always a moderated guy and you could talk to him without having the feeling that you are facing a super-ego. Too bad that he got later too much under Lauaeīs influence. He was later like a slave to her and did do what she wanted. I warned him a long time ago about Lauae. I guess he didnīt listen).

'But I am a merc!' Well, DVN and Mikey re-appeared later in the Blood-allegiance. I remember the day when I fought for the first time the new Mikey and DVN that got bought by someone (not sure who) from Blood. They were the worst Extreme-High-Level PvP Fighters in AC at that time. It was like giving a civilian a machinegun without any instructions. Whoever controled them had no clue how to handle these chars in fights. Mikey often portal logged at sho-road, relogged on another character and stood then at the LS for hours on that trash-character (I don't mention this to talk someone down, I say this because itīs a fact and it god damn annoyed me to hell). The DVN character was just around for a few days. Actually he was more often at the Olthoi Tunnels than fighting in Kara. He didn't even LS tie to the main LS at Kara (he was tied to the hut LS between Kara and Lich archmage for a few days). I think the new players of these characters simply had to learn still a lot about AC and PvP. Especially the new DVN owner did do stupid mistakes in fights.

Xanthro started to sent out from time to time some troups that raided the Bloods at Kara on Lauae's request. In all the time I have to say that from all the Antis Xanthro was one of the most active and better organised ones. Sometimes he's a bit too illusive with his ideas and opinions but he's a good guy and tries at least to change things (even if he needs sometimes a reality dosis). But at least he tried often to help. I can't say this about many Antis. Most just sit around and talk, or they fight unimportant enemies. A lot of Antis talked BR down for ages for having unclear goals and making strange alliances sometimes - but hell - at least we KILLED tons of important pks in BR in the old days instead of talking about them. BR focused on the important enemies. Talking on boards and doing something in game are 2 different things. And focusing on the most important enemy is even another one. Sure, you can fight for ages your local town-pks, sure - you can try to keep your area 24h pk free, sure you can rule with an iron fist and never forgive a pk for his former deeds (that doesnīt mean you should accept ex-pks in your ranks, because most of them can't change really) - but all this usually doesn't change anything to the serverīs guild-balance. Most "Antis" simply think in too little dimensions. And another poor thing is that I saw a lot of them running away or leaving an area when things got really hot because of nonstop raids (dungeons, towns, whatever). However that experience is not only limited to some Antis.. also a lot of pk's aren't much differnt. A lot of people just seek an easier life as character on Darktide, and they donīt care for sure about the side they are playing on. There are always some die-hard cases in a guild and these people are responsible for the outcome of a war. Who are the constantly raiders and protectors in a guild? Yes, not these 500-2000 followers. There is this little group of maybe max. 50 people in a guild that is helping often others, people that are fighting most of the time. People that focus also on other things besides leveling and their own characterīs career. They do something for the guild that is different from just producing XP for someone else. A large amount of people just grab their stuff and run as soon as the advantages for being in a specific guild are gone or if things are getting too hot. What is left then are the people that are in the guild because of the guild and what it stands for, not because of some nice town or a good hunting ground. This is the clanīs core and only these people count. With them the guild raises or falls. Just because you write [core] behind your name on a messageboard, it doesn't make you a core-member. The solid base of a guild are usually a few people that invest a lot of their time into the guild and the guildīs goals. A guild may have 1000 people, but when you attack the guildīs home or hunting-grounds you always see the same few defenders. When you defend your town you always see the same few raiders. These people make the guild. If the makers give up or leave, then the guild falls apart - no matter how big it is.

But to continue in the time-line: More and more Bloods broke their main-LS tie after endless fights and Blood gave Kara finally up after some weeks. A lot of credits for this victory go to Lauae, RanRan Suzuki (who broke from BR shortly after the attack), Lews Kinslayer and several other BRs, because they invested really tons of time into the re-take of Kara. I wasnīt helping much in the first week because of the above mentioned reasons, but I acceped the facts after a week and joined then the fights (it doesnīt matter if I like a person or not; for example in Lauaeīs case or the player of old RanRan - I give them credits for this because they deserve them - even if RanRan bragged too much about her/his kills at that time on the boards. I hate it in general when people have the need to brag about every crap or kill they do in game on a board. It just tells me that these perons have a personality-problem, a) because they are very young or b) because they are Mr. Nobody in real-life and have to shout all their great deeds in a virtual world to the public or c) because they are just trashy guys in general. Itīs ok if you talk about facts or do some propaganda work for your guild, but a lot of the board-people really shouldn't open their mouth at all).

Blood left Kara and moved to Lythelthorpe. The Towel monarchy lived there at that time and had to retreat from the Bloods. Most of BR was already lifestoned back at Kara. But the Kara curse repeated (well for some people high follower numbers may be a blessing but I see it as curse); BRīs follower-numbers went rapidly up again and I couldnīt keep track of all the new followers anymore. With Kara also all the parasites came back into BR after some weeks. Suddenly ex-pkīs like Gorechild were sworn to some BRs (I think Gorechild was sworn to the 2nd Co-Monarch Lews Kinslayer). I warned the others several times that most of these ex-pkīs wouldnīt change at all for long, but not many did listen to me. People that we just fought a few days ago at Kara were accepted as followers. Lauaeīs tree was causing constantly trouble. She was hanging out a lot with the Blood Mordok which caused a lot of trouble with some Anti Clans. Kitae and I were totally pissed about this situation. He asked me to release him, then he quit BR and AC for some time to play Everquest again. I thought several days about it and then I posted my decision on the internal BR board: I would quit as Co-Monarch of Black Rose and I would leave the clan. I always wanted a small group of loyal people around me, but never a big follower-juggernaut - and especially not ex-enemies in my ranks. I tried to change Black Rose into a new direction, but having Lauae in the allegiance made this impossible. I requested so many times from Nobile the drop of Lauae, however he never followed my requests. Nobileīs reasons for keeping Lauae were a bit complicated. I donīt want to mention too much about Lauaeīs private life, but to give the reader a short impression: Nobile was concerned that upsetting Lauae may impact very negatively in her real life, because of the picture of herself she was selling to him. Letīs just say that it is a fact that Lauae had serious real-life problems and that she used her RL shit on Nobile a lot to get in game advancement and a special treatment. I didn`t know that first, but Nobile told me and Thunderstorm (who had started a new character but never passed with the new char level 40) after some time (around 2 months before I quit BR). I promised not to speak about it because it was very private stuff about Lauae, but I told him often that I thought that Lauaeīs real-life things shouldnīt influence his game-play decisions that much. God, we had a lot of discussions because of Lauae and the trouble she was making. But you have to understand that Nobile is a really nice person and he felt very sorry for Lauae and didn`t want to make her RL-situation more worse than it already was by kicking her out of BR. Lauae should have quit AC in general much ealier. The online-game wasnīt good for her at all.

I was always an Asheronīs Call Lore fan and I digged myself deep into the background story. Because I was playing a Gharīun Character and I loved the Hamud ibn Rafik character and his "precepts of the tenebrous edge" (and the mysterious Mountain Fortress) I opened the Shadow Warriors guild (the reincarnation of the Shagar Zharala on Dereth/Darktide). The guildīs followers had to follow a strict Code of Honor and I wonīt tolerate any violations of the Code. Ex-pkīs wonīt get acceped. Every new follower had to be reported and above level 15 (except interal guild re-rolls). Basically most of the people in my BR tree followed me and obeyed the new rules. I was still lifestoned at Kara but I moved my mules already to somewhere else. I met a few new germans on Darktide from CoA that swore to me (namely Dunkelzahn; he and his friend are responsible for most things on the nice SW webpage). Also Archetype from CoA joined under Krom. Krom and Cheeta are besides Kitae probably my most loyal long-time vassals. There is also Kabal but I didn't see him online since a very long time. Cheeta quit lately Darktide for a bit, but all in all she was one of the nicest players I`ve ever met in-game. Krom is so far like a loyal rock - standing under me and accepting all my decisions (he even obeyed my command when he had to drop one of his long-time online-friends on my order). Can you imagine that Krom is playing PvP on Darktide since he started with a constant 1000 ms ping from South Africa? And we complain about lag-holes... you should play from his place J. I canīt use Gamevoice with him because the connection to him is so terrible laggy that you canīt understand a word. Also Crank swore to me. I think he liked the guild idea and we had become meanwhile good online-friends. He changed his way of playing the char "Crank" totally because of the guild. He started to raid and defend actively specific places. I know that he died a lot for the guild (even if he always tries to convince me that he never dies - hehe. YES! I know you NEVER die!). Crank got finally Item magic around 2 months ago and he was so happy about it. A new life on DT started for him :). Too bad that heīs so busy lately.

Well, then came Ayan Baqur and the Black Spawn Dens + the Olthoi Horde Nests and Darktide totally changed. When I entered the Black Hill BSD for the first time I couldnīt believe it (the spawn was 3 minutes per tusker). I was making experience like insane. First I was happy but then I noticed very fast that the BSDīs were a big design mistake. People were simply leveling too fast. I leveled before the spawn-nerf from level 56-65 in about 2 weeks (and I was only leveling for a few hours per day). Lews Kinslayer rerolled in that non-nerfed BSD month on Imperil and leveled the char to level 65 within 3 weeks (alone and without any twinks). Shadow Soldier also rerolled and restarted as "The Dark Master", powerleveling in the northern Tethana BSD (TDM became later a big pk Clan for a short time and shared together with Moon XL a lifestone in a dungeon at Hebian-To. SS/TDM sold his account later). Ayan Baqur was even more cursed than Kara. Not only that this town has Tethana-like sell-off prices, it also has 2 direct-town portals to the main land for cheap shopping (Baishi & Uziz) + 2 excellent leveling grounds (BSD + HOM). It is the perfect town where you basically have to worry about nothing when you want to start a new character. Such a town simply doesnīt belong on Darktide. I mean, there were people living in AB that came from a whitedot-server that never saw anything else on Darktide than AB - until they reached level 50 or higher. Then they became suddenly rpk. Thatīs simply too cheap. Either you have the balls to play straight from the beginning as rpk or you are weak and wait until you have outleveled 80% of Darktideīs population to "own" them. Itīs not all about levels and killing superior other characters on Darktide with the perfect template. Itīs also about a task to fight fair a greater power than your own from the beginning of your characterīs career.

A lot of these new high-level shooting-stars have one problem: They can not lose. I donīt know if they sit in a corner at home in front of a computer and start to cry if they get killed, because a higher level killed them or someone was better. Getting killed is part of the game - god damn it. Why canīt these people accept their own deaths in exchange for playing a character with a straight outline. I know Iīm talking against a wall because lately a good amount of the player-base on darktide really changed negative. You canīt start in an evolving world as newbie and expect that you can compete with everyone within a short time without jumping from one side to the other, making everywhere compromises, just to reach as fast as possible a level range that allows you to compete with the top characters.

So many whitedot people are coming to DT and with them their way on how you play on a whitedot server. They want a safe town with a safe LS, they want a safe hunting ground where they can make XP without disruption of a PvP-Fight, they want a safe toilet, cheap spell components and great sell-off prices. Darktide, and what this world is about, begins for a lot of them when they are level 50 or higher. Then they show their real interests. Then they open suddenly their mouth and become Mr. Big Guy. Sorry guys, but you miss a lot on DT, even if you donīt think so. A lot of these people are not used to fight for leveling like many of the old people are (not many left tho). Fighting for leveling from 40+ on isnīt as hard as fighting for leveling from 0+ on. There is a big difference. Some even buy or trade their account for instant action. Sadly Ayan Baqur enforced this overall trend rapidly. Iīve never seen so many side flip-floppers before on Darktide. The sad thing is that you can not assess someone and see : "Player X has changed his allegiance 666 times" - "Player Y has changed from rpk to neutral to anti to honor to honor pk to whatever pk 999 times". There are only a few people outside of my guild left that I still like to talk to. I can count them on my ten fingers. In the last 13 months Iīve simply seen so many people changing their way of playing over and over, just to catch a specific benefit here or there. And they can re-roll as often as they want: The player behind all the characters doesnīt change. Most of them donīt even manage to stick to one role longer than a month. No matter if they reroll as anti, as pk, or as neutral... there is still sitting the same spineless jerk at the computer-screen. I remember only a VERY few cases, when people on a re-rolled character really managed to play a total different role as on their other character. I could start to name so many re-rolls that wanted to play a different role, but ended up doing exactly that what they did do before. It usually didnīt take longer than 1-2 months until their old face was shining through their new character. If you want to rpk itīs ok - just play the role. Donīt hide what you want to play. But please, accept also all the consequences of your role. The sun canīt shine always on a honest character.

Back to the time-line: After some time Blood was trying to re-take Kara. Some of them lifestoned at Kara main LS and fights started again at Kara. I remember that some of them only had GSA and Hollow/Atlan weapons. They were damn annoying. You killed them and they dropped absolutely nothing. That was an evil tactic. I think I also saw Asa of CoS (an ex BR, magic def specīed - sold and bought by a Blood) at that time for the first time under Blood raiding Kara (I think RaK bought her). I donīt remember for how long the fights lasted excactly but we managed to hold Kara for the last time by doing a lot of counter-raids on Adventureīs Haven and Lythelthorpe (most Bloods were Lifestoned there). Kara became a bit calmer.

In this time I also met White Morpheus aka Angeldust for the first time. He started around Al Araqas with some other germans (well, heīs austrian) from the old Talia alīSharif group (Talia alīSharif sold later her/his account). I think Morpheus came from MT from the old Elminster of Iceland allegiance. White Morpheus is really a great guy and when he moved later with his allegiance to Kara he fought a lot in the town-defense. Kara would have fallen probably even earlier without his help. Al Neo came (I think) around 2 months after WM started on DT and leveled with the help of WM extremely fast his staff-template to a high level. He and some other Angeldusts (mostly germans) were also a good addition to the town defense in the last days of Anti/Honor/Neutral/whatever Kara. Problem with Angeldust is that they got really some bad guys into their ranks at some time. It also seems that some people are having regulary problems with Al Neo. Neo can be a real jerk from time to time (according to the posts he makes sometimes) but I know that he helped a lot of people in the past and I think he accepts Morpheus final command. Morpheus himself is a very nice and moderated person for sure. I guess that without him the allegiance may have changed in a negative way. But thatīs just my observation. Some Bloods were meanwhile lifestoned at Eastham (some had their mules in the Thieveīs Den).

Now, something happened in Kara that messed up the town defense totally. Lauae betrayed her own guild (BR). I wonīt go into details, because it was a real nasty situation that involved a lot of the already above mentioned stuff. BRN left AC for a week because of a business trip. He told Shoīei and Lauae that they both had the command over the guild during his off-time, but he didnīt tell both about the other ones command (Lews Kinslayer aka Imperil didn`t play at that time anymore). In case of a problem between these both, Bekka aka Alkmini should fix any trouble. However it seems that Nobile was expecting something from Lauaeīs side because he told me that I should care a bit about BR and that I should take over the command in Kara if there should happen something unexpected. Well, something happened and it was all set-up pretty nice to destroy BR completely, namely by some guy called Moon Orchid who had a lot of influence on Lauae in RL/Game. The conflict between Lauae and Shoīei came. I remember that the reason of the conflict was pretty stupid. Lauae started to play the mad girl and Shoīeiīs computer crashed and he was offline for a complete week (talk about bad timing). Well, Bekka was left alone with the Lauae situation. Lauae threatend Bekka that she would raid Kara. Also Moon Orchid mistelled to Bekka, when she asked the Blood-member Gremlin if he would come with them (on the next day people were reporting on the boards that Lauae, Moon Orchid, Mordok and Gremlin raided together Hebian To, killing random people). I remember the evening when Bekka was talking to me. She was totally confused and had no idea how to handle the situation. She blamed a lot of the problems on herself. Well, I tried to convince her that it wasnīt her mistake but Lauaes. Bekka made some chat-screenshots and reported all the chats with Lauae to me. I started to organise the town-defense. White Morpheus and Al Neo were pretty helpful and we got some people together in town. Nothing happened. The next day some of Lauaeīs direct followers raided Kara (namely Thalkos, Shimer and some others - however she never raided herself the town). Later some raids by them followed - together with a few Bloods. However I still didnīt KOS generally all Lauaeīs followers because I didnīt want that the uninvolved persons of BR with Lauae tag fought for the wrong side when they had no clue what was going on. Therefor I only KOSed the raiders. Now, the reader has to know one thing: Lauae has also several real-life Brothers in AC (at least 2 I think). One of her brothers (Big) was in The Feared aka Chad-The-Feared. When the specific Lauae people like Thalkos raided Kara and when they attacked the people at Kara, Chad-The-Feared (Lauaeīs brother aka Big in BR) healed and helped them at least one time. Therefor town-defenders attacked Chad. Guess what happened! Yes! The Feared were entering the scene because the allegiances at Kara had attacked one of their followers. The whole thing was pretty clever set up and I think that the TF (except maybe partly Chad and Ben) had really no clue what was going on. Well, finally Lauae herself appeared. She was meeting with several of her followers a bit outside of Kara. I scouted the area and watched their meeting for a bit but I didnīt do anything. I just watched them. They didnīt do anything either. Well, what I didnīt know was that they were waiting for reinforcements by TF. Around 20 minutes later I ran into a group of around 10-15 Lauae followers (some of them in a fellowship called "Kill Black Rose") and a big group of The Feareds (Ben, Stargod, D-The-Feared, Zuggernaut, Chad-The-Feared, Zhugeliang and some others). The Feareds and Lauae people attacked me instantly without a word (well, someone yelled "schatt!", according to my screenshot it was Boberino). I ran away and started to @tell people in town to warn them. However Lauaeīs people and The Feared still killed a lot of innocent people in town. Well, something happened that Lauae probably didn`t expect. The Feared withdraw their troops out of the fights. My vassal Kabal knew some of TF closer and I went with him together on IRC to explain TF the situation about Lauae as good as I could. We told their leader (I think it was DVN - the real one) about Moon Orchidīs tells/plot and about the other things Lauae did do. It was funny to see Lauae on IRC - trying to explain the situation and to find reasons for TF to stay in the fights. Well, DVN ordered the TF to leave Kara. In the end the only one who continued to backup Lauae was Ben-The-Feared and her brother Chad (who canceled that later too). Well, I spend the next 2 days with hunting Lauaeīs followers down. They tried hard to please her by raiding constantly in the next 2 days Kara but I think in the end there was none of them left who didnīt get killed by my allegiance or by people that were still loyal to BRN. They died often and they got a lot of vitae. Suddenly many of her followers started to break from her.

However BR and Kara in general was broken up and weakened a lot. BR was down to like 50 or 60 people. There was lot of hate in town because characters were standing in town that had just raided the town 1-2 days ago under Lauae. Nobile was back and tried to fix the mess. Maybe some of you Darktiders remember these days (lot of board flames followed). First Lauae was hanging out after this incident with the Feared, later she joined under Blood. If I remember right they kicked her out one day, too. I'm not sure what sheīs doing at the moment. I think she quit.

The fall of Kara was now only a question of time. Suddenly all the evil rpk groups allied with Blood to take Kara. This was a smart move, because Blood wonīt have taken Kara alone. But together the pk groups brought Karaīs already weakened defense down on its knees. While I think that not all of them joined directly into the Blood Monarchy when they attacked Kara allied (I remember lot of different monarchy tags in the raids), most of them swore later into Blood after the town was basically under control of rpk guilds. The resistance of the Kara allegiances lasted only for around 3 weeks. Finally nearly everyone gave up because the pks were simply too many and they all lifestoned at Karaīs main LS. Thatīs a very important point. You can only hold a town on darktide if the majority of your force stays lifestoned at the main Lifestone during the whole battle. The outcome of the battle is a result of these 2 factors: a) You have more die-hard people or more high/medium level fighters in general lifestoned or directly portal-tied in town b) your ressources hold longer than your enemyīs ressources (money/components/death items).

People left. I and my people left Kara and spreaded out. The small Angeldust allegiance moved to Ayan Baqur. The people that were left in BR lifestoned to places around Kara and raided the town frequently but I think most of them ended up living in Ayan Baqur, too. I visited Ayan Baqur only one time after I left Kara. You know my opinion about this town. The curse of Ayan Baqur is even greater than the curse of Kara on Darktide.

The rest can be told quick. Blood got blessed with the "Curse of Kara". All the individual pk monarchies joined into Blood. Several "Neutrals" joined into Blood. Overall a lot of people joined into Blood. Blood became a big bad juggernaut. This requires some leadership and I think RaK is doing good job with his "public/propaganda work" for Blood. Without him, Blood would be probably a lesser factor (as unity). He smartly seperates himself also a bit in his posts from the kids and plain idiots that usually spam most of the time the DT boards with their bragging. I donīt like him much (which is probably just natural because of the way I like to play), but he deserves for sure some credits for his dedication. Also holding Kara for so long was for sure one of the reaons why Blood got so big in size. If you have a good base, then you can start to plan further. Thatīs also why BR was so successful in the past. When you have a superior home you can start to focus on special level areas and town-raids. Blood started to dominate Aerlinthe and the BH BSD (I remember the first cries on the boards when people complained that they got attacked on Aerlinthe). I was later pretty angry about all the exploit-tied pks that are directly tied into the Coral spawns. I mean I have no problem when I have to fight someone at a level-spot. I had to fight for leveling in most of my charsī career. But itīs not ok, if someone recalls directly back to a special spot on aerlinthe after I chased him off. This kills the balance at a place - no - not because a group is better fighting for that place, itīs because a lot of people donīt even bother anymore to fight for an area because they know that so many people are exploit tied there.

If you ask me what my opinion about "allegiance" Blood is... well, I think a lot of spineless people are "using" Blood and I think Blood doesnīt care much about this fact (donīt get me wrong, not only Blood has/had such people. There are several examples. In AC/DT nearly all juggernauts have this problem). Some people leave when they have leveled enough, and new people join. Alliances come, alliances brake. I always have to smile when I see RaK posting the link to the official "Blood FAQ". I would hate to run a FAQ in order to keep my members under control. There is a important difference between an evil and an Anti/Good/Honor/Neutral juggernaut-clan. The big evil rpk monarchies on Darktide were/are usually Chaos Monarchies. Usually their only rule is: Donīt kill people of your allegiance and donīt kill allied Allegiance X. Thatīs it. If you donīt like someone, then kill him. No big talking, no other rules. Members can rpk as much as they want. Well, thatīs the point of evil rpking. If you have a good home and good hunting spot you can get a lot of players with these little rules, because no rules suit a lot of people in an online-game, especially young people.

On the other hand you have the people that do not rpk (whatever you like to call them). They always have to watch who they kill. If someone of a non-war allegiance is unfriendly or annoying they canīt kill him. They have to discuss the problem. They have to talk with their leader. Then one leader has to talk with the other leader. Then someone apologizes - or not. I often spend a lot of time talking to other leaders because of a specific incident. Killing the offensive person would be much easier, but it wonīt suit to the role I play. Sometimes "light" guilds even fight each other, because they canīt come to an agreement.

Big rpkīs clans like Blood donīt care if an Anti, Neutral or individual rpk joins them. Basically they accept everyone with just a very few exceptions. Of course there are other rpk clan that have a strict set of rules (40+, no logging, no shit-talking, whatever), but these monarchies usually never become big. Too many rules. Too many rules are not good for rpks. Such rules donīt attract many rpks.

The non rpk side has even more rules. They follow usually a special codex and care who joins under them. Most of them canīt tolerate ex-pks or ex-enemies in their ranks. In AC we have one problem: It is close to impossible for a monarch to maintain his monarchy by having direct influence on all of his followers (he canīt even see his tree). If you keep track on your monarchy by yourself you can handle maybe 100-200 followers without having too much trouble all day long. Everything above 200 starts to become a problem. Everything above 500-600 starts to become catastrophic. Pkīs sneak into the guild. Trouble makers are causing constantly trouble with other guilds that are supposed to be friendly. Other "light" guilds start to dislike your guild because of the trouble-makers. Just a few trouble-makers that are trigger-happy can hurt the reputation of an Anti/Honor/Neutral guild a lot. If the monarch doesnīt care fast about the problem people say soon "I guess your guild turned pk". Anti guilds start to KOS your guild. All these problems donīt appear on the evil rpk side. Trouble-makers may be noticed by shit-talking or other things but people that kill someone for no reason (or a lesser reason) are no problem. Therefor you will never see in AC on Darktide an Anti/Good/Honor/Neutral guild with over 1000 Followers without having tons of people complaining about it (and often these complaining people have a real reason). Trouble-makers and sneaky pks will always sneak into such big non-rpk guilds. The monarch has in AC no way to control that once his guild breaks the magic number. He loses the overview. A current example are the Mindeaters. With the problems/Blood takeover at Ayan Baqur their guild size boosted up at Tethana ("the curse of Tethana" - lol). A few days ago someone from the Mindeaters asked me if I would join the guild if they would place over 1000 followers under me that would produce several millions of XP per day for me. I explained him that I would never do that because itīs for me more important with who I play and that I know whoīs under me. If someone is running around with my characterīs name tag I want to know who this character is. If you assess someone you only see stats, but you donīt see if this someone will be a loyal follower or if heīs just looking for a nice place or good hunting ground. Therefor I always ask my followers to be very careful about new vassals. Well, the Mindeater answered that he respected my answer, but he would personally love the few millions XP per day a lot. I donīt judge them. If they want to go into this direction - fine. Itīs their business, not mine. I wish them good luck. Maybe they reach something. Maybe they fail and will size down after they got enough XP. But from time to time even an anti/neutral juggernaut is required to rebalance things. Point is: It costs reputation and causes a lot of problems because AC doesnīt really allow you to handle a "good" mass-guild with a set of rules. Rpks have simply less problems in mass-guilds.

Meanwhile Kitae was fed up with Everquest and finally came back to AC. He reswore under me. Heīs playing again on DT since around 2 months. I think some people noticed already his arrows in their back - hehe. Heīs also playing a 2nd char in my clan, now.

What happened lately? Some rpks, neutrals, and 1 (?) Anti-PK Clan (I donīt know in which category Wilc fell before he joined GEN) merged at AB and founded GEN - a new rpk monarchy. Their goal: To free AB from spammers and "carebears" + being an elite pk monarchy of a) non-portal loggers, b) non-town spammers, c) non-shit talkers; to sum it up: A monarchy that becomes a worthy opponent of Blood and frees AB from spineless parasites (I guess thatīs how they would have described themself). .

Well, when I looked at their "core" memberlist I saw a lot of people that performed at least one of the 3 points when I fought them personally in the past or on one of their other characters (I fought them, because most of them are/were rpks and attacked me). Like I said before, over the time you learn about someoneīs personality and it shines through all his characters - no matter how often he rerolls. Not many people manage to play another role on another character without falling back into their old habits after some time. Maybe GEN could be successful if they would have a different leadership. I guess that GEN will split into sub-monarchies over the time. The same may happen with Blood some day. It will happen for sure should the guild "makers" quit. Most guilds, no matter how they big they are, rely on a few important players that turn the wheel. Once they quit a lot things change. I know that some clans are allied with GEN because they think that they have a better chance to hurt Blood, now. While this may have worked in the past, it won`t work in the present or future. Maybe Blood will lose some followers, but then? GEN will gain some more. If AB gets more raided than Kara, Blood will lose some, GEN will gain some. Point is, both sides rpk. Some of GENīs members were even members of Blood at one time. Shifting the balance into the wrong direction can be dangerous. Suddenly you have strengthened two evil sides. How can you expect from players in GEN that were not able to finish their characterīs role to finish such an important mission? Replacing rpk with rpk doesnīt work.

Schattenkind today' What am I doing meanwhile? Well, I will probably continue to wander over Dereth, watching the newest developments. Iīll continue to hunt things in the wide, wide open dires/plains (yeah, I know you donīt get millions of XP, but you notice at least each day something different and the loot on some monsters is nice. Maybe I should go back to Aerlinthe, but all the exploit-tied people there make that kinda impossible, since I'm at war with most of them. I have to run and pay, they simply recall. That eats up your ressources after some time. No whine, just mentioning a fact). Iīll hope that lag on Darktide gets better (itīs really terrible lately). Iīll hope that the jump-exploits will get fixed one day (but I doubt that this will even happen). Iīll continue to raid my enemies with my followers. People will still see me from time to time at different places (yay! I finally finished my portal-mule network).

I wonīt be for sure an important factor in any of the current big town wars. Iīve done a lot on Darktide and Iīve seen probably everything in Dereth. I saw many clans raise and fall over the time. The event-wheel will turn on and I will continue to stick to my characterīs role on Darktide. We will see what the future on Darktide brings. A big "thank you" to all the people that understood some of the stuff that I just wrote - You make Darktide - no matter on which side you play. See you in the harsh world! And please, save your @tells. I donīt answer you anyway if I donīt know you good. I donīt talk to many people lately. I hope you enjoyed my story, and yes, I know that I forgot probably a lot of things (like the Hill people that just came up in my mind), but Iīm writing this all from my memories, so itīs hard to remember it all.

Monarch of the Shadow Warriors
(c) 2001

HTML and screenshot comments
by Bekka (Black Rose)

P.S. (04/2013) - To whom it may concern: The characters "Black Rose Noble" and "Nobile of Black Rose" mentioned above belonged to Aventurine's producer Tasos Flambouras (DF + DFUW). So it's true and I can vouch that at least some of today's Aventurine Dev-Team were AC:DT Hardcore players. I can even remember when Claus or Kjetil (can't remember which one) told me ingame @Kara early 2001 about a "perfect darktide" they were going to develop. So visions can become true when passionate gamers dedicate themself to a common course. I'm not playing DF:UW. I played DF since Alpha and after launch for a few months in retail. But as AC it became simply too time consuming. I'm not playing MMOGs at all anymore. I run a business today, so not much time for gaming. DF is great and IMHO the best PvP MMORPG on the market. It's not flawless but on the other hand which PvP Game is? Give it a try if you prefer carebear free zones. I promise you that some of the adrenaline rush will kick in like on AC:DT ;-)

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