In the era of online gaming there have evolved countless numbers of teams or "clans" for every instance. Most clans are nothing more than a couple or 3 letters proceeding or following your online call name. Some are a bit more and require certain characteristics for membership; among these could be age, skill level, character, and nationality, even friendship. The longer lasting teams would need to have a strong core, a good means of communication, dedication, and lots of luck. Most simply disappear with time.
When I began playing 1999’s Game of the Year: Homeworld
in April of 2000 I instantly fell in love with it. I knew that I would be playing it for a long time to come and I wanted a group of people surrounding me that would do the same. Freelance
was formed May 12th, 2000 by myself (frstkor13) and Icecrane
. In the very beginning it was just a couple of letters on our names and the idea of something better. The tools to make it better would lie in the members to join our ranks in the future.
My number one insistence as founder was to keep our friendships ever-improving, to do this we would need a good means of communication. Without that, you can have nothing else. Communication began merely with icq, a chat program popular for windows, and regular email. We would converse a bit on icq and organize team games and meetings, or just get to know each other better. Underlying goals were simple: to become dominant in every aspect of Homeworld. Starting from scratch unlike most teams, this would be proving a great challenge. A week after FL
was formed; members included icecrane, reki
, and garon
. It was simple back then, the trials for new membership in FL
went like this:
<frstkor13> hey your pretty cool and your not a complete newbie, you wanna join?
<reki> YEA COOL
Not too much thought was put into the process and I guess you could say we were simply lucky to grab some of the folks we grabbed early on. Well we had 4 guys and this was enough to get some team games going vs. each other and tweak our skills a bit.
With the 4 of us we established some fundamentals needed to achieve our goals other than those previously stated. We would not recruit, and friendship and character would be the regnant requirements for membership in FL
. Skill was only the icing on the cake and developed in time.
From early June to the time Cataclysm was launched we made a lot of friends; some of them were guys we would later call teammates. People like skibbguru
. These people would later be what FL
is before even wearing the tags. For the most part though, fate had her hand in the names that would eventually be part of this great team and call each other friends. When you just happen to put the right ingredients together one day and make something like this in the kitchen, it isn’t you, its really something else.
By early quarter 3, shortly after Cataclysm
was released, those wearing our tags were icecrane, reki, Garon, Magpie
. Our game was good and we were well known as a team not to be underestimated. We wanted more. We had begun using a great vocal communication program called battlecom, which helped enhance our friendships more as we continued to get to know each other. Since using battlecom and later on, teamsound, I cannot begin to recall all of the times I have laughed so hard it looked as if I was crying. Anyhow, a few of us started frequenting irc and meeting there in the channels. In November we made our own channel #freelance. I would have to say that is how we have done most of our growing, not only because of the ability it gave those of us already Freelance
to get to know each other better, but by the people we would meet there in the channels like #homeworld and #7th. We started laughing a lot more, I remember having a lot more fun once irc was used as a frequent hang out. We could chat about whatever the hell we wanted and then alt-tab to Homeworld
, whatever we felt like. It helped create a stronger sense of fellowship and company for FL
. We bumped into a few dolts that we knew of, but did not know. We met Soulblighter
of the team which was involved in the original beta testing of Homeworld called The Seventh Rank
or [7th]. We met a goofy Swede named SirMolle
who was at the time raping most of the fools on HW won.net. Another fool by the name of StonerD
, also called p07|-|34|) from the old school chikens
, would we come to call a friend and get to know from irc.
I think at about this time, around October to November, a handful of us like reki, Metho, Magpie, eT and myself began to notice and get involved in what we now know as the Relic community. Mostly comprised of people like us who loved the game Relic
made, it was just that, a community of people who hung around with each other throughout the many meeting places like Relic Entertainments official message boards and on irc. We began to frequent Relic’s forums and take part in the discussions there, mostly in the strategy forums. =) Coincidentally SirMolle was a moderator of the strategy forums and Soulblighter was a moderator of the general discussion forums. The Relic Boards were and still are the pulse of the community (too bad they’re down so god damn much at the time I’m writing this).
The ladder has also been a large part of FL
over its lifespan. A lot of us came from larger maps and decided we would develop our game on the smaller to midsize ones as well. So we did. In Homeworld and Cataclysm the ladder atmosphere was a massive part of our gaming; FL
being home to #1 players in both ladders and a strong following of top 10 players as well. There was even a time in which 8 of the top 20 ladder spots were held by Lancers
. We have worked for our respect and have been called authorities in both Homeworld and Cataclysm by our peers. That’s worth a smile isn’t it?
During Christmas 2000 we had sort of a pruning within. We were being sought after for membership by many people and realized that any more to join would have to fit the criteria closely and already be a friend to us, a member of the community and a skillful player. After some discussion in private we added pirata/demonyo
(officially, and finally), Savage
(from BM), and ridock
(who was a strong suggestion from Savage who was training him at the time) and began to morph into the killing machines we are today. The next motion had to do with Peace&Love. She had the courtesy and thoughtfulness to actually let us know she was not able to play the game and join us in group activities any longer, and asked us to take her off the roster so room could be made for someone else who was able to actively participate with us. We complied with her wishes and moved her to what we affectionately call the FL
honor roll. If she ever returned to be playing actively and able to join us on irc, forums and where else we might go, then we would make the decision to bring her back in. In the mean time we had a new spot for someone, and we began to look at the prospects that were gathering around us at the time. Most of us always enjoy looking at new people to wear an FL
tag, because it signifies to us that we are healthy and alive, bringing new life and blood into the group. Each time a new spot had opened up we discussed our options, weighed the people whose names were being discussed and made a choice based on votes. It seems that each time we got a new chance to look at potential members, we took a little bit longer to choose, a little bit longer to watch, and a little bit longer to be safe perhaps. Well, an energetic young lad by the name of LordRule
had been knocking on our door for quite some time before Peace had asked us to take her from the roster. He was a quiet killer who showed lots of promise and something we really like: persistence. So it was done.
At this time our first birthday was rapidly approaching and plans had already begun for the construction of this site. We were still of course actively playing Homeworld, sometimes dropping in on Cataclysm for a few games. FL
had also been watching a game called Eve for the past few months, since about January of 2001. It is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game or MMORG something like the beta tested game “JumpGate” a few of us had played around with during the new year. Looking for a new game to spread our wings in besides Homeworld 2 (which at the time of writing this, looks to be dead), Eve
seemed to be a beautiful space based game the likes of which none of us had ever seen before and we jumped at the chance to step into it beginning with it’s beta which was to commence sometime before 2002. As I write this now, Eve has just announced the beta testing to begin in September and every single one of us is registered to get into it. Moving forward in time towards April and May a few things were developing. Things like our growing presence in the community, like the absence of Lil_Spyro and unfortunately the absence of recently voted in pirata/demoyo, and our friendships with the already mentioned folks from irc. The active irc frequenting Lancers were becoming quite used to these people and it was about to come to a head.
Shortly before our 1st birthday on the 12th of May 2001, about the time reki was asked to help SirMolle moderate the strategy forums, we were forced to take Little Spyro off of the roster because the purple dragon just wasn’t around anymore, as much as we all liked him. This was and will continue to be a problem as long a group like FL
exists. With a limited number of people in the group, each missing person takes a much larger toll then it would with say SLS
, or PSA
. It is never a decision we like to make, whether someone stays or goes. If someone has to be away for some reason and they let the rest of us know about it, like friends do, it’s not a big deal at all. But when folks up and disappear or show no interest in the group and its activities, it’s rather disappointing and something must be done. I do not make these decisions, in fact my role as time has passed has steered away from the leadership position into the “founder” position. We have more than enough strong people in this group for it to sustain itself without a single leader. Always have we had a strong centralized core, and it certainly helps make an oiled machine run better.
After the decision to remove Lil_Spyro we started to think about someone else, someone whom we were friends with, someone who was known in the community, someone who was obviously not a wet behind the ears newbie, someone who has sex appeal and we knew would be with us till hell froze over. [7th]soul became soul|FL
right before our 1st birthday in May. He was followed by SirMolle
whom we had been playing constantly with and against for the past 6 months. He dropped the Sir and added an |FL. With Molle joining we broke the 15-player limit we made, but, sue us.
We kind of just killed endlessly for a while passing the time googling about Eve and HW2, while still playing tons of Homeworld, some Cataclysm here and there, mission risk and MINIGOLF. =)
In August Icecrane, whom founded Freelance
with me, decided that he was spending too much time in front of his computer and put his Homeworld and Cataclysm cd’s into storage. He was removed from the roster. Unfortunately at the same time, pirata was concluding his 5th month being mia so we made plans to take him off of the roster as well. New life came in the form of StonerD
as mentioned before, formerly StoneDChiken and StonerDSLS, and banshee
. Stoner was a shoe-in since he was a good friend of most everyone in FL
. Banshee was much like ridock for us. None of us knew him quite well yet, but his enthusiastic and friendly persona was what made him sexy.
Time can do a lot to something, including a team. There has been a few which have parted ways with FL
, teaching us of what to be wary for in the future. Our values have remained the same: friendship with each other, great games, and enjoyment in our company. No one knows what will happen with us, we can only hope to stick together and adapt to each other while fate continues to stir the pot. I think its safe to say we'll be here for as long as there are games to play and a breeze to shoot.