This section tells the story of the community in a global manner, starting with the earliest beta days, and moving on to today's latest developments. This section exists to give you, in detail, an overview of everything that made Allegiance what it is today.
- 1 1998
- 2 1999
- 3 2000
- 4 2001
- 5 2002
- 6 2003
- 7 2004
- 8 2005
- 9 2006
- 10 2007
- 11 2008
- 12 2009
- 13 2010
- 14 2011
- 15 2012
- 16 2013
- 17 2014
- 18 See also
Oblivion was the code name for Allegiance. During E3 1998 Microsoft scheduled the shipping for end of 1998.
- MS Press release: Oblivion, Asheron's Call and Fighter Ace Upgrade Among Other Premium Titles To Be Showcased at 1998 Electronics Entertainment Expo
- Oblivion game concept
Often seen as some of the brightest days of Allegiance, the beta started in December 1999. A lot of hype was created around this game, which was known as the first game merging the concepts of Real Time Strategy and First Person Shooter. It is interesting to note that new games today, such as Savage, have received the same title by uninformed reviewers. The hype behind Allegiance was fairly massive, and you can still read about it in most gaming websites. Even Time magazine, in a special technology issue, published an article about the game.
A great deal of players were included. Multiple squads, detailed in the 'Squads' section, participated. They were quite massive, the biggest having 150 players (The Collective). Battles were already epic. The dominant squad towards the end of the beta was Jihaad, with a perfect record.
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The Allegiance Zone had a statistics system which compiled records in two ways. First, your total kills, base kills, deaths, etc. (the stats that you see at the end of a game), were compiled in your player screen. These statistics gave you a rank, from 1 to 14 (14 being extremely difficult to achieve, and only a few select players actually got that high). Second, you had faction specific statistics, which means that for each faction, you had a certain rank based on the amount of kills, base kills, etc. that you had done while playing for that particular faction, thus reinforcing the concept of "Allegiance" to a faction.
There were also weekly events on the AZ, where each game affected the outcome of a continuing storyline. The results of those games were announced on the DataNet (in Allegiance's History, the DataNet is The Belters' information network which spreads confidential information to the widest audience), displaying the names of the players who played, and highlighting the best of them. The DataNet was displayed in what is known as the Message Of The Day (MOTD), the screen where messages scroll before you connect to the lobby. All this made the AZ feel like the "main" part of Allegiance, where the real game was going on, with the FZ being for a few newbies. Of course, FZ'ers also had their pride and sometimes squads from the two zones challenged each other, although the AZ'ers, being much more hardcore players, generally had the upper hand.
The Slow Downfall
A few patches were released to improve servers and games, a little bit at a time. However, in late May, the community was told that a new patch would soon make them all very happy. Released around the end of June, what is now known as the *evil* patch would make available the Rixians, add smoke effects to missiles, and add blue stars around ships either ripcording or passing through an aleph, and other game features. However, this patch caused heavy lag and rendered Allegiance unplayable. This pushed Microsoft into taking a second bad decision.
In July, still of year 1, in an effort to make the game more popular despite the huge problems, the Allegiance Zone was opened to everyone. All the players from the FZ obviously went and played on the AZ. This caused heavier lag. All those new players that were introduced to AZ believed that it was always that bad on AZ, and quickly returned to FZ. Many AZ'ers did the same, and the FZ numbers were higher than those of AZ. In addition, the combined problems of lag created by the patch and by the great influx of players made the game ridiculously unplayable. A new error started plaguing the game. Many players who had never DPlayed once started DPlaying every 5 minutes (this error kicks the player out of the game and to the lobby). Having Rixian scouts ripcord to other scouts didn't help either, and caused heavier problems in games where the Rixians were used. Approximately half of all the players left the game immediately.
The Community nonetheless Survives
These problems were later fixed by a patch, the AZ was back to its original pay-to-play and the community went on, and was getting increasingly competitive. The Jihaad still had a perfect record, but eventually lost to a fine, fresh squad called XenoTech, and disbanded, apparently for reasons other than the loss. A player named Joshua_won created the Allegiance Wars, a new type of tournament that would last much longer than expected. The tournament was based on the five existing factions. Everyone would pledge Allegiance to a faction and play for that faction for the duration of the tournament. A leader was also elected for each faction. At the end, one faction would be declared winner. However, as any experienced player could expect, stacking took place. The Iron Coalition had 80 pilots, while the GigaCorp only had 25. Squads would also stick together, and so Steel Fury and Fatal Shadow joined the Iron Coalition, while XenoTech joined the Belters and FBI went with the Rixian Unity. Because there was a maximal imbalance of 2, and some factions had a lot more players than others, many players were unable to play because some sides had a lot more players than others. The games were fun, but ended after Iron Coalition and Belters allied and forced the Bios and Rixians to resign massively, after GigaCorp had been quickly eliminated.
The second Allegiance Wars started only a few months later, in December, and was more or less uneventful.
The Second Great Threat: Cheaters
In the mean time, Your-Persona (YP), the founder of the My Allegiance group, a small organization consisting mainly of student programmers, released his first patch. It allowed for players to use new quickchats. There was one huge downside: anyone without that patch would be instantly disconnected from the game when one of these new quickchats was used. When crashing, players were sent to the Crash Guard screen, a screen displayed in your browser when Allegiance crashes and where you are supposed to write what happened so that Microsoft can look into it and fix the possible bug. This is where the expression Crash Guard, or CG, is from. To CG someone is to crash his game. YP quickly removed this patch and made a second one that wouldn't crash others, but the damage was done. Players like Black created patches like YP's first one, and used it to disconnect other players, sometimes whole games. A friend of his, Virus, started doing the same thing. Game owners were now required to ban Black and Virus when they could, but it was difficult. Black had 3 subscriptions to the AZ, and CG'ing a whole game only takes seconds. The only way people could play was to quickly form a small game, and lock it up. After a long time of harassing Microsoft to ban them, the two were finally banned for a month. Since these two were not the only ones crashing people (but the only ones crashing whole games), many players left. On the FZ, a player named Guns22 suddenly started CG'ing as well. Since getting an account was free, people had trouble identifying who was who, who had CG'ed who, and everyone was scared of everyone. This led to a second wave of departures from the Allegiance Community.
Finally, SOVGuard came along to end this nightmare. Its predecessor, SOVShowCG, only announced through the chatbox that a QuickChat had CG'ed you, thus allowing players to discern between a legitimate CG and one caused by another player. SOVGuard, on the other hand, not only blocked attempts to crash, but also indicated who had attempted to crash you. Of course, this led to accusations, to the use of forged pictures of the chat where it indicated who had attempted to crash players, etc. My Allegiance and the cheaters would sometimes communicate, one side threatening to kill Allegiance as if they were powerful evil, and the other telling them to stop being morons. This was all put to an end when Microsoft announced they were leaving the Community to itself by the end of 2000. All SOV programs were written by Vencain.
The last Microsoft patch, known as the 1.25, put an end to Quickchat Crash Guarding altogether (rendering SOVGuard obsolete), destroyed the Allegiance Zone and its features, allowed FZ players to make use of the Belters and Rixians (although hackers already had made them available), and allowed FZ servers to have 64-player games rather than a maximum of 32. The two communities were merged instantly, and you could even see some AZ vs FZ games in the first months. Note that the loss of AZ means that players need to play on existing servers, as they cannot create their own game like they can on Battle.net, for example (as they could on the AZ). Also, player authentication was removed, so a player simply wrote any name, preferably his, before connecting to the lobby. Obviously, players framing others became more and more common. Luckily, Microsoft kept the lobby and a few servers online for the community to play into.
While the Allegiance Vault forums were still being used Noir and NoodleNT prepared a new website that would serve as the new center of the community now that commercial organizations seemed to let go of Allegiance. After prolonged efforts, NoodleNT managed to convince enough people move over to AHQ for it to become the center for modeling, core development, and everything else Allegiance such as publicity for squads, and websites like the Academy. Players could post media images, such as their latest ship models, skins, or pictures of Thalgor's servers and face.
The second version, which became mostly a big forum with multiple subsections, really became the most official center of Allegiance. There isn't much more to say other than that everything was there, except that uploading in a media section was no longer available. The Allegiance install download first became available on this website, after discussions about the legal implications and worries of making Allegiance available for free were hashed out.
In 2003 Thalgor had to return his server back to his company so a new host for the community hub was required. Noir generously agreed to host it, at least to start with. The new forum serves basic functions such as making a fast php forum available as well as providing Links and Downloads sections. It remained the core center of Allegiance for several years. The website's name was changed to Free Allegiance to reflect the new outlook the community had about sharing the game.
The Post-Microsoft Period
Certain players also had their own servers connected to Microsoft's lobby to allow players to play in. However, Microsoft's service was poor. Both the lobby and MS' servers would go down for up to a week at a time. A new program, SOVRoute, was created. It allowed players to connect directly to a server's IP through the LAN option in Allegiance, thus not requiring the lobby, much like Quake players did back in the earliest days of multiplayer gaming. Players would obtain a server's IP and connect directly to a server made available by a member of the community. Sadly, only a few hundred players remained by that time. The player base was getting smaller and smaller, with only a handful of dedicated players left to ensure Allegiance's continuation. SOVLog, Vencain's latest creation, permitted the logging of all game messages, strip colors from the names and messages of players (who could use color codes in their names, as no character restrictions in names applied anymore now that Microsoft had removed authentication), and to take JPG screenshots in-game.
The Community Puts Itself on the Breather
As Microsoft's service was obviously insufficient, a mostly unknown player, Thalgor, decided to take it upon himself to use some of his company's unused bandwidth and his own hardware to host both a lobby and a few servers. The community could rely on high-speed and high-quality servers with excellent service, requiring only a change in a registry key to connect to the right lobby. There were no more problems with unavailability or having to connect through LAN. As the lack of authentication became more of a problem, and framing a common occurrence, Vencain wrote SOVLogin. Players were now required to register a callsign and password on the community's Alleg.net, and framing became impossible again. This was a fairly calm period, and things started becoming normal again, except for one thing: how can you get new players now?
You're in your own lobby, have your own registration program, and Microsoft no longer sells nor announces the game anywhere. Not only did the game no longer work out of the box, but it was also no longer sold. For the first issue, Thalgor and Spunkmeyer created little 2-player servers connected to Microsoft's lobby that would make announcements to visit the Allegiance HQ to play. This, coupled with posting on message boards, trying to get friends to play, and selling what's left of Allegiance's retail version via the Internet, were the only efforts that could be deployed then, but they were insufficient. Very little influx of new players joined the few hundred remaining Allegiance fans that were now isolated in their special lobby with their special software requirements to play the game.
In the mean time, Allegiance Wars 3 started, but with a different mechanism. Instead of having players pledge to a faction, squads would directly pledge to a faction. And so six squads battled on a map that was available on Allegiancewars.com, with a persistent-universe aspect, and where confrontations were played out in Allegiance games. However, as Allegiance was slowly dying for lack of players, some squads left the tournament, and it was eventually put to an end for lack of interest, as games started to become more and more spaced out, squad matches then occurring once every two or three weeks. Since Allegiance Wars always was a persistent universe with a developing history, it was simply explained that the alephs closed down and combat was no longer possible.
As if it was needed, crashing players became a problem once more. This time, a quick response was made, and a new version of SOVLogin put an end to all kinds of voluntary crashing forever, while also providing a comprehensive interface that allowed debugging players who had trouble using it. Of course, all this led to complex problems with players using routers, or certain computer configurations, and massive individual debugging occurred on the Community's forums as players had all sorts of complex issues.
Stability ensues, maybe excessively
Things remained fine for a fairly long time. The community remained very stable, having a first squad tournament since it was on its own, won by the Z Fighters, but remaining low on numbers. As the community's main website was hosted on the new Allegiance HQ, making its own new factions, balancing the game by itself by making its own cores, it became clear that Allegiance was now fully under the community's control, providing both high quality service to members and continuing development of the game without any support, thus having to produce hacking tools and then distribute their results to the community.
There was a single problem left: the players. With its steep learning curve, its lack of official support, its complex twists and turns just to get it working, and its unavailability in stores, new players were beyond rare. It was practically impossible for an outsider to even hear of Allegiance, and even if s/he had heard of it, understanding that Microsoft is now out of the picture, that the community lives, that it has developed this and that tool, were just too improbable, and so there was no such thing as a newbie in Allegiance.
And as usual, to spice things up, cheating was back, but under another form. Instead of having Black & friends crash people, they were flying around with modified ships, for example mounting anti-base missiles on a scout, flying their bombers at 250 MPS, etc., all this by modifying the game core (the set of properties for each object in the game). Although the community was able to ban those names and IPs who did this, the cheaters were able to mask their IPs, simply create another account, and get back to cheating.
Since Vencain, the creator of all the SOV programs, was no longer available, and no one could know how to put a stop to this, it was eventually decided to cease the creation of new accounts to put an end to cheating once and for all. Knowing that new players were desperately needed and were already very rare, a very small door was left opened for new players to use. That door is known as PayPal. New players were free to create a new account, but PayPal was used to know their real address so that if any cheating would occur, the real person was banned. Thus, a 1$ fee was required so that the player's address could be found (of course, a motivated cheater could use a friend's credit card, etc., but it was assumed that that would be overdoing things). Another way of joining was to have a sponsor. A player already part of the community would be allowed to sponsor another player, vouching for him that s/he is no cheater. This measure was placed to allow players to continue getting friends to play. In order to make sure that players would not sponsor left and right, a rule was put in place, where any new player caught cheating would result in him and his sponsor being banned from the community. Of course, needless to say that the influx of new players was at a minimum, as it was added to the previously mentioned issues the requirement to have either a US banking account or a credit card, putting a definite stop to player influx. The only alternative was Pook's Open Server, later hosted by Aarmstrong as Pook used his to test ASGS. The Open Server ran a regular lobby and a server without any need for authentication so that some new players could still get something out of Allegiance. The Community's desire to get players was posted and supported by the community. The topic was that maybe private training sessions should be held more and more. This ultimately led to the @Cadet program, discussed below.
Well, almost. I have 24 hours to free up these IPs before they start REALLY asking what's on them (sorry, my job IS more important than Allegiance).
Been here over a year, and it's been a good run, but good free things often don't last. Sorry guys, but I got to keep my employment!
NOODLE: Backup AHQ to a remote database NOW!
KGJV: Backup AAS to a remote database NOW!
- — Quoted from Original topic on Internet Archive
Someone had reported Thalgor's activities to his company as illegal, and Thalgor's company ordered him to take his servers down, so Allegiance could not remain there. Pook took it upon himself to host the lobby, and a few generous individuals decided to host some servers. The community had barely escaped complete annihilation once more, but still struggled with the same old problem: the lack of players.
When the PayPal measure was put in place it was said that it was a temporary measure, and that a new security system was on the way. However, the truth seemed to be that no one was actually working on that system and for months the PayPal system remained in place, completely blocking off new players. Luckily, after a few months, Pook completed the Allegiance Secure Gameplay System (or ASGS). It was released as an open beta on July 17th 2003. ASGS was one of the most positive things the community had ever seen, and remained as such for many years - despite the extra trouble it caused players with its requirement for the .NET Framework to be installed on computers. Players now had yet one more thing required to play with before getting to play, and with it tremendous amounts of debugging were required to get players through this one. However, with the ASGS running - and it still needed to have SOVLogin - the community was finally at peace again.
In addition, a lot of new players started joining, thanks to the multiple postings by Allegiance community members on all kinds of message boards, and the facilitated accessibility to Allegiance. Pook also continued support of ASGS, providing frequent updates, adding not only updates to correct issues, but also to add great features to improve its usability and make ASGS high-quality software.
ASGS causes major influxes
The only problem was the fact that with so many new players joining such a small community, games often resulted in having a few veterans, who had years of experience, and newbies, who had only hours of experience of a particularly complex game. Veterans felt more than ever that the competitive days of yore were long gone. Indeed, even with only a handful of players, everyone could rely on anyone else. With the influx of new players, however, your last two interceptors to take out the HTT could be players who barely knew which button is used to fire the afterburner. The Allegiance Academy only partially solved this problem, giving new players a lot of information, but not a lot of practice nor a very deep understanding of Allegiance. Nonetheless, new players was the last problem the community had been having to face. The community being well aware that players were much needed, extreme but unwritten measures of respect were put in place to make the game as newbie-friendly as one can imagine, in the hopes that eventually, all those players will become talented pilots and commanders, and competition can finally be like it once was.
Since ASGS, however, there have been no negative events in the community. Developers have developed to their liking, core balancers balanced, Admins Admin'd, the Senate ruled, and players augmented.
Disappointment of the Highest Hopes; Fulfillment of the Greatest Ones
In September 2004 ASGS was still a fairly new asset, still in open beta, and two players, aarmstrong and Jalindo (returning founder of The Collective), took it upon themselves to try and recreate the Allegiance Zone, which had been removed by Microsoft a long time ago. With AZ reinstated statistics, events, squad games, support, etc. would be at hand again! This seemed like the last missing piece, having the possibility to draw a lot of the ancient players back into the game; thus having a larger experienced player base to play with and to train new players. Attempts to bring back the AZ, or even just a stats tracking system, had been made before but had never been completed. Although they often reported being quite close to their goal, the skeptics unfortunately ended up being right in that the code could never be fully restored with the tools at hand, and the AZ was not brought back by the optimistic programmers.
Disappointment ensued once more and jokes about stats being ready in two weeks (an old joke started when Your_Persona initially and repeatedly reported that he was two weeks away from cracking AZ before going MIA) were spreading. Then everyone was taken by surprise when the biggest, unhoped-for dream of all seasoned Allegiance players came to truth. It happened when Solap, a game's producer and lead designer, casually asked Vlymoxyd, an Allegiance player, why he was having trouble posting on Alleg.net - he had something to announce. So Vly generously offered that he could post it for him and this Solap proceeded to convey his message to Vly. He just wanted to say that the Allegiance source code was now released. This was Thursday, February 5th, 2004.
How would one describe the community reaction? You can picture someone with his jaw dropped all the way down for several days, shaking as thoughts of potential improvements ride his neurons as if he were on Speed. This one got the record for amount of publicity Allegiance obtained for a single event, and so was extremely positive for Allegiance that Solap even managed to get Microsoft Research Games to place a link to the community's Alleg.net website on the Microsoft Research newslink. Players didn't know how to balance their feelings between their long-lived hatred for Microsoft and their newfound love with the release of the source, settling on hatred for Microsoft and love for Microsoft Research. An unfortunate coincidence came the very next day when Thalgor was again asked by his company to remove the servers that were hosting ASGS, MOTD, and AutoUpdate, forcing players to play with a backup system that had no authentication or cheat protection whatsoever. Fortunately the servers came back online eventually, restoring peace.
After amazement, the community very quickly arranged to setup source download sections on the Alleg.net sire and a big debugging network. All the developers that had been hard at work improving Allegiance, developing new software and bringing stats back immediately got a new priority assignment. Discussions about Allegiance 2, which had already been going on for some time, became more valid than ever. Along with those came discussions about improving countless game features that required changes in the source code and were thus inaccessible before the source was released.
The community nonetheless never deviated from its primary objective. Second only to improving the game itself, developers wanted to bring AZ and all its features back, and so KGJV, Pook, Imago and many others took it upon themselves to work on various aspects of the source to realize this. The Free Allegiance Zone Beta started on April 27th, 2004 but progress was halted by the games crashing a lot when they ended. Also, many players were having problems using the "Shadow Switcher", a program that allowed switching between normal Allegiance and the FAZ Allegiance (although those problems were only superficial because once the FAZ went gold the Switcher was no longer required).
The other priority is to package all authentication and anti-cheat software into Allegiance itself, to allow a much easier installation of the game than was currently available (at the time new players needed to install ASGS, .NET framework, SOVLogin, Community Patch, Allegiance.exe and possibly need to alter there router settings still. Not very newbie-friendly!) and hence attract more players.
After this, improving Allegiance by leaps and bounds, adding countless features, will be the Community's continuation of what it has already begun years ago, a process further refined by the now active cooperation of some of Allegiance's original developers.
Players at the wheel
With now full control over Allegiance's destiny, as well as renewed interest in the game by many outsiders generated by the source code release, the community was getting closer to the promised land. Development groups formed and were getting the source code organized properly along with debugging systems. However, no concrete results came from this work for a long time and the FAZ Beta was shut down after interest in a crashing Beta dropped. The newly formed FAZ Dev team rethought their approach and decided to implement their improvements more safely, adding one feature at a time rather than attempting to restore the entire Allegiance Zone at once.
For some time Spunkmeyer had been the only player developing a balanced core, Allegiance Plus core, and it had been the standard core played for a very long time. He had attempted to continue from Microsoft's 1.25 patch in the eternal attempt to create a balanced Allegiance. As with everything though, new rivals came along. Noir had decided to develop his own core, Dark Nebulae, and had been doing so for a few months in secret. Once it was released the player base was divided with players supporting one or the other, or didn't really care about the 'core wars'. Both cores had different philosophies about balancing, and the biggest reprimand that the Dark Nebulae core supporters made toward the Allegiance Plus core was that everything was just being nerfed and becoming the same. In reality, the majority of players didn't see much difference between the cores beside obvious differences (such as which factions or ships were present/absent).
As for the newbies, they were being cuddled like babies. Not only did the Academy go through two successive revamps to a very professional state but they also had two newbie servers (one on each core, please) that were guarded by the resuscitated @Alleg team from veteran player interference. Newbies had a tag after their name indicating how much they played, so that veteran players could make allowances for mistakes/cuddle them/hunt them for easy kills. They would graduate after a time determined by the Senate or be promoted if an authorized player felt it was deserved. In addition the @Cadet program, founded by Romeo & BlackViper, provided a program that trained newbies for a few weeks and then offered them off to the Allegiance squads that were recruiting in high numbers. It was basically a success where the Cheyenne Squad, Spunkmeyer's creation, had failed a few months earlier.
Speaking of squads, weekly squad matches became a reality again. What with the Shifters (a.k.a. The Belters, Jihaad) refounding, new squads forming, and the newbie influx, between fifty and eighty players were online at many times during the day. Pook's ASGS system proved a success, allowing tracking of all kinds of attendance statistics (along with tons of other great features like a ban listing with explanations for each!). In this environment, squads were meeting with increasing attendance each time, leading to better matches and tightening of the community which had recently lost one of its highly valued members, Titty_Baby, known best for his great character especially by those who chatted with him using TeamSpeak.
Changes in System ¤, KFH disbanding and Z reforming. Large Sys¤T game a moderate success
After being reformed, The System ¤ merged with the squad LWMS in order to get numbers high enough to be competitive. Everything went fine, leadership changes were smooth, and things went great for the squad, with only one loss against the squad XT. After Grey_Slayer's defection as squad leader, a tri-council was formed with Tom_Bombadil , Lakeland and Valor as SL, and Trystann as Senator. Because of certain incidents, certain players left, and the rest of the squad decided to vote on a new lead, which led to Tom_Bombadil's and Trystann's defections to the squad XT.
The squad Killers For Hire has also changed leadership, Phrase defecting to Z's second rebirth. As the squad's activity has never been shining, the leaders have opened a vote which clearly indicated that disbanding was the next step for KFH.
Vegeta once again returned. After a short stay with XT and remodeling many Dreghklar Empire ship models (still in need of much revamp), the Sayian Prince has taken upon himself to ensure the rebirth of Z for the second time along with the return of a few notable Z figures such as Shenron, Piccolo, Goten, etc.
Despite new rivalries between Sys¤ and XT because of the recent transfer of players, both squads joined hands in order to bash the world.
New faction released, TEK released, DN @ War Tournament
Noir released his first faction which had been under development for about a year. The Phoenix, a group of Earth survivors from Area 51, managed to use the alien technology they possessed to first improve shielding and then form a viable faction. Their ships are particularly slim and resemble Earth fighter jets both in design and in flight (the Y axis turns faster, just like Rix' X turning). Their shields are exceptional, but the ships are incompatible with the ER Nanite Repair System.
Tigereye released his CoreTool: TEK (Tigereye's Kneeboard). TEK is an extremely complete core exploring tool that calculates values directly from the core and returns numbers that are directly applicable to gameplay, making it a lot more user-friendly than the IGC Core Explorer.
Noir improved his DN @ War concept. The original idea involved squads battling in a tournament quite similar to Allegiance Wars, and failed because squads were less active then and didn't participate much. This new tournament, called Yellow vs Blue, used ASGS to have pilots sign up to each event and be randomly assigned to a team: Yellow (Y) or Blue (B). The random teams allowed the real tournament: a commander tournament, to take place.
Squad play remained at an all time high with weekly squad games. The competition created a need for player recruiting, mostly with XT, SysX and RT being the three behemoth squads in numbers and requiring larger opponents to allow more players to play. The higher numbers could be seen every Sunday where it frequently reached over 100 players. Large events such as the SysXT vs World and the 5 year Anniversary game were responsible for making this number grow.
War Rules Again
Allegiance Wars IV was organised by TMC with help from Insanity_Boy and Raveen. 5 Teams led by some of the best commanders in the community fought over a graphical map of the solar system with games on a weekly basis. Between games moves were made on the main map and ships and ingame technology were upgraded. Jupiter, headed by Aarmstrong, won the event.
First community-built update to Allegiance
After over 2 years of hard work since the release of the source code, FAZ R1 was released on March 1st. Although there was little visible change to the average user, this release managed to transform the source code released by Microsoft and the various hacks/workarounds created by the community into one release. It also incorporated SOV Login with ASGS, and changing the net code so players behind routers could connect. The first change made it much simpler for new players to get the game working, and the second allowed College and University students to play. Additionally, collating all this code paved the way for many future releases bringing new functionality to the game as well as making it easier for new people to start playing. The happy results of this release were more people playing, and also later in the year, both FAZ R2 and subsequently FAZ R3 were released.
On Friday 13th October, 2006, Allegiance saw Drama(tm) like it had not seen in a long time. The exact details of contention are unclear, but several players took it upon themselves to kick up a stink. Things quickly escalated out of control and Pook decided to leave the community: "I'm leaving this sandpit and I'm taking my ball with me".
In a pique of anger Pook had removed ASGS, which meant no one could connect to the servers and play Allegiance. Thankfully he came to his senses (after some heartfelt persuasion by other members of the community) less than 24 hours afterwards and reinstated ASGS. He did not rescind on his decision to leave though, and to this day maintains a semi-retired state.
The original band of troublemakers were issued indefinte bans for their actions until the Senate could decide on appropriate punishment. The Senate decision was:
- Greyvulpine: Six month ban.
- Virulence: One year ban.
- Mastametz: Permanent ban.
- Kumquat: Three month ban.
After the events of October 13th a major rethink of the administration structure was done, especially with Pook (previously the Head Admin) now in semi-retirement. Initially efforts were made to get the Senate more proactive and involved, but these proved unsuccessful and in April 2007 it was decided to dissolve the Senate and institute the Zone Lead system in its place. Thalgor announced this on the forums.
This restructuring, combined with the large influx of new players since FAZ R1, stimulated many other areas of the community and helped cause the rewrite of Cadet and ACS.
Cadet split in twain
BlackViper oversaw a large rewrite of the Academy, the Cadet course, and brainstormed the future. It was decided to split the current Cadet course into two parts - Cadet I was written for absolute newbies and structured so that they could become a useful, contributing member of a team in a short 3 week course; whereas Cadet II remains at the previous 8 week length, was written for beginners and aims to bring them up to a squad level of play.
Allegiance Command School finishes rewrite
The program was originally started by Phrase in early 2005. Despite the participation of expert commanders and one-on-one mentoring, the program had mixed success and languished due to neglect. The program was later picked up by Shizoku who reworked the program into a public forum for discussing command (making all of the previously written material publicly available). After several months under this format, Shizoku gave up on this ineffective format and returned it to a closed-forum, "apply and be accepted" program like @Cadet. He generated a great deal of new material for the program and eventually involved every long-standing squad in a complete rewrite.
In February 2007 Shizoku gave up the program to Clay_Pigeon, who oversaw the completion of the rewrite by September and then ran the program's initial classes. Several sessions ran under Clay_Pigeon's oversight, graduating many highly regarded commanders. In April 2008, Clay_Pigeon handed control of the program over to spideycw, an accomplished commander who remains the current ACS head.
The first Squadron Tournament since 2003 was held throughout the year with each squad playing all the others twice followed by a double elimination round based on the rankings from the first phase. Ozricosis arranged the first phase with Idanmel taking over and running the knockout stage. XenoTech won this tournament.
In September the Zone Games returned after a break of 7 years. Arranged by Ozricosis and the events team the large games were back with a continuing story.
In Late 2007 Ozricosis found that he didn't have time to be the Events Zone Lead any more. After an open application period Raveen was appointed as the new Events Zone Lead in January 2008.
In August 2007 this Wiki went online for the first time. The decision was made to leave gameplay related material, except for basics aimed at new players, to the Allegiance Academy and make the Wiki a community hub. A small group of players started to port community information over from the Allegiance Academy whilst the helpline team assembled their various sticky threads into a definitive tech support section.
With the wiki taking off Tigereye decided that Documentation needed a dedicated Zone Lead rather than a job share with the Community Administrator. TheBored was appointed as the new Documentation Zone Lead in September 2007.
A New Beginning
In May the new Community Core team, under aarmstrong the newly appointed CC Zone Lead, released their first beta to the community. The core was based on the last version of Dark Nebulae but was balanced partly according to community discussion. This revitalisation of the core was a great success with CC becoming the most played core very quickly.
Events and Staff Changes
The year kicked off with a new type of tournament. The Squadron Doubles Tournament paired up the squads to make for bigger games. PK + SRM took the title after a short league playing the other squad teams. The Squad Tournament was run again although this was only the knockout stage as time was too short for a full league stage. Palidors Knights won the competition beating SystemX in the final.
Meanwhile in the Events Zone Adam4 became the Event Coordinator in charge of the Zone Games, succesfully putting together a team of people to work on the storylines and arrange the games. Late in the year, after an apparent drop in interest from players it was decided to make the Zone Games monthly. As Adam4 was taking up new responsibilities Dorjan took on the job of coordinating the Zone Games.
Change at the Top
Clay_Pigeon, having revitalised ACS and assisted BlackViper with the Cadet rewrite decided that it was time for new blood and fresh ideas in the Training Zone. Adam4 was selected by the other Zone Leads to take on the mantle of Training Zone Lead. Later in the year Thalgor after many years of single handedly supporting the community and supplying servers decided that it was time to pass on his role to someone more active. He handed the keys to the forum over to Tigereye who has moved the forums to his own server. Thalgor wanted the change over to be smooth and drama free so the change was made without the majority of players noticing anything.
Cadet I finds a new home
In early 2009 the decision was made by BlackViper to shift the Cadet I material from the Academy on to Allegwiki. Before this the wiki had a minimal amount of gameplay related information and this was a huge change, making the wiki a far more integral part of Allegiance. Noises have been made about eventually copying all of the Academy material to the wiki.
Drama in the Community Core
After a few months of inactivity in the Community Core Zone (particularly by the Zone Leader, aarmstrong, and the lead ICE developer, Apochboi) Andon and pkk decided to implement an update by themselves, and posted a new core file on the internal cc forum.
Unfortunately some of the changes made had not been approved by the rest of community core team. This led to a private argument in the CC forum and Apochboi returned a few minutes after the core was posted on internal CC forum. This argument spilled over into the main forums and much Drama(tm) ensued. The upshot was that it was decided to replace aarmstrong as the CC ZL with someone who was more active. After discussion between the other ZLs it was decided that the many-legged rule of spideycw could spread to the Community Core.
A Belated Update
FAZ R5 was finally released after years in development purgatory. Great thanks go to Imago who did the lion's share of the work in getting this release out. The major new features added were a DirectX 9 graphics engine and the addition of multi-team alliances. Shortly after the release Cort took over as Zone Leader for Development, replacing DogBones.
Birth and Death
In mid 2009 Malicious Wraith (aka Federalman), after leaving SysX and being rejected by a number of other squads pulled together a group of veterans and newer players to establish a new squad called Dark Side of the Moon (@DSM).
DSM courted controversy by attempting to play the required 3 qualifying squad games against the same squad on the same saturday, but GB failed to show the required number of players. DSM played games against SPQR and RT and won them both. The third game they arranged led to drama, after SysX left the server after waiting for about 20 minutes, so they needed another squad to play against to get recognized.
DSM was finally qualified as a squad in the opening game of the 2009 Squad Tournament.
Meanwhile Roman Legion sadly failed to turn out the mandatory 10 players in their tournament games and the squad folded soon after.
December 2009 saw the Allegiance Marketing Team go live. This group was established with the goal of growing the player base, which had been dwindling in the face of graphics bugs and an aging population. The early marketing focused on spreading awareness via posts on other internet forums and a a poster campaign.
The Fall of the Moon
DSM hit the headlines again in 2010 by resigning their first game in the squad league after only 9 minutes of play. Not only is resigning a squad game an unwritten taboo, but before the game even started they tagged two newbies just to make up the required ten players.
The organizers decided that these actions warranted the 0 points of a Forfeit as opposed to the 1 point of a Loss - the ruling of which caused more drama in the forums. Soon after this incident MW started negotiating with the Black Shadow leadership for DSM to merge with BS. As a side-effect of the upcoming merger DSM failed to show up for their scheduled game against ACE which caused more bad feeling, and it was only after this no-show the BS merger was publicly announced.
MW immediately made his presence felt in BS by booting two players from the first BS squad game that he commanded (another unwritten taboo). He later commanded Black Shadow to victory in the Squad League (Division 2).
SysX went on to win the League by coming top of Division 1. They were favorites going into the Tournament that autumn but RT managed to beat them twice to take the crown for the first time. Some squads unfortunately had turnout issues in the tournament leading to XT finishing well despite not winning a single game due to no show opponents.
The 10th Allegiance Anniversary was celebrated by a week of games on classic cores.
Notjarvis become Training Zoneleader. After years of helping the players solving their problems on helpline, ImmortalZ had to leave us. FreeBeer was chosen to replace him. Spideycw handed over his Community Core Zoneleader position to DasSmiter, because he had not enough time to handle it.
Shortly after releasing FAZ R5 Cortex retired as Development Zoneleader and it took some time until a new one was found. Bard took over that position, but was mobbed out of that position by Imago. At the end of November pkk took over that position.
ASGS replacement (closed beta)
In November, after almost two years of planning and programming, the small development team was able to do the next step, entering into the closed beta test phase.
A year of stagnation for Allegiance. many people left, and in winter community was left with less than forty players. Nevertheless, A squad league was held with Sysx and NI tied for first place altough in the end, NI conceded deafeat and Sysx was declared victorious. Furthermore, a tournament consting of two squads known simply as "Yellow" and "Blue" battled in six matches, with Blue, lead by Phantom032, emerging the victor. Allegiance wars 5 was announced and scheduled to take place in 2014. In September, Allegiance gained a new faction known as Draconium, created by TheAlaskan.
Allegiance Wars 5 started on January 19th with four squads also known as planetary fleets who, fought in different battles with the planet Jupiter, lead By Cashto emerging as the victor. The Cadet course was restarted by Yiggz. This time under the acronym of P.R.S, Or Pilot Rotation System. After nine weeks of training, three students graduated; Student_1, Penfold and Blacksun94. Blacksun joined NI shortly after, and Student joined Sysx at around the same time. Meanwhile a marketing plan was in the works, focused at getting new players and entice them to stay. After months of planning, meetings and effort by Dome, Thallium, Blacksun94 Pkk and Student, the advertising campaign was launched on April 18th with moderate success.
Factoid, a returning player announced his intention to develop a cross platform version of Allegiance in order to allow those who don't posses a Windows operative system to enjoy Allegaince. This coupled with the "Allegiance 2", project intiated by Xjammer and Djole caused a wave of excitement in the community, who could now hope in a brighter future.
Drastic decisions, positive results.
On July 1st, after prior consultation with the squad leaders and a successful poll trough ACSS, Dome announced the disdbanding of all the squads. Which were replaced by four others, in an effort to revive squad games. This drastic decision was met with very positive reaction by most of the commmunity and the new squad leaders began the process of bulding the core of their squad. By July 17th each squad had a total of sixteen to seventeen members.
Shortly after that, the names of the new squds were revealed. Zenith led by Dome. Endgame led by TheAlaskan. Element led by Thallium. Xexy™ led by Drizzo. The first of the new squad games was scheduled for Juy 27th, with Zenith facing Xexy™ and Element facing Endgame. Recruitment is still open for all squads.
At the same time, Blacksun decided to take it upon himself to fix the wiki. His project is currently in progress.