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The Archaic Age (January 1999 – September 1999)

(Backtracking a bit to get in more stuff)

The programmer’s name was PriitK, a player in Trench Wars. He had just created BanG, a system for banning players that cheated among other things. It was with this invention that Subspace finally began a turnaround.

At this time, the greatest zones in Subspace were Pro League (which could muster 200 players in the zone at times), Death Star Battle, Extreme Games, Star Warzone, and Trench Wars with the latter four averaging around 60-80 players at peak times and Trench Wars the leader with around 5-10 more during peak times. For a player beginning then it was hard to say what zone would ultimately become the biggest of them all.

The thing was, Trench Wars had some things going for it that all the other zones did not. First of all, the zone had great settings. By implementing a one-hit-kill system, Trench Wars became an instant newbie attractor because there was almost no learning curve to get a decent record in the zone. Also Trench Wars had a great invention, which was completely unique in all of Subspace, Elimination.

Now it’s time to backtrack a bit, back to January 1999. Elim was created before PriitK was even part of the Staff. Created by MikeTheNose, Elim began as a small arena hosted directly by the Mods and mostly by Arilou Lalee’lay, DoCk> and LordDoughnut <ER> (aka The Voodoo Child), one of the original ERs (ERs – another MikeTheNose creation) of the zone. At the time, the Mods which took care of Elim were called Elim Refs or <ER> for short.

In early 1999 Trench Wars Semi-League was created by DoCk>. This was originally a league with a set schedule although it did not last too long. The original Semi-League website was designed by Ethan Tabor (aka Kill_9mm). Later a collaboration of DoCk> and long-time Smod Live-Wire resulted in the creation of Trench Wars Dueling League (TWDL). Live-Wire would also create Trench Wars Basing League (TWBL) and have ideas for Trench Wars Javelin League (TWJL) although the latter never really took off until much later when it was started by Banzi. Although only an informal league with no formal standings or schedule, TWDL and TWBL managed to bring a lot of the fun of league play to Trench Wars. TWDL and TWBL relied on a challenge system where if you wanted to play a squad you would e-mail them, play three games, then have the results recorded on the webpage. There was no real goal to the league at all except to prove you were better than someone else on that particular weekend.

In the spring of 1999 PriitK added an entirely new and original invention to Subspace, Robo Ref. For creating Robo, PriitK was quickly promoted and shot up the ranks in the Staff.

The old sysop, The Ghost Ship, who had previously ran Death Star Battle was not much loved by his staff. Although he had his supporters, staff slowly fell away from his grip as newer members slowly consilidated power. Slowly losing interest, TGS was well known for cheating in various arenas in his final months in Trench Wars. He even had on his staff Catid, a player who would later become famous for his continuous exploits in releasing critical Subspace server code to the public and for attempting endlessly to hack into servers all over Subspace.

In May 1999 The Ghost Ship decided to take a leave of absence and gave up the sysop password to his trusted smods PriitK and DoCK> who quickly took control of the zone in TGS's absence. When he finally returned, he was no longer welcome and thus a new chapter began in Trench Wars.

DoCK> and PriitK embraced many new ideas such as the automated bot, and this idea quickly spread throughout Subspace, as the next great thing, and soon everyone knew where it came from, Trench Wars. Thing were looking up for the game as a whole, but also for the zone. It was after Robo was created that Priitk made BanG, and so we can return back to our timeline. 

In terms of players and squads of the time, the greatest one in memory must be LAME, under Childrn of Light, TW Elites created by TOFU and Booyaa, and Backstab led by Flyzone which battled for supremacy to be the number one squad in the zone. There are endless stories about the intense hatred of the squads, and of Childrn of Light’s amazing skill, of him being able to beat anyone in a duel with only one hand. In fact Childrn of Light had already solidified his reputation much earlier as the leader of the famed Defcon1, along with other co-leaders Childrn of Darkness and Mad Green. Eventually Childrn of Light, Childrn of Darkness, and Child of Misery (aka Ayden) created LAME as a sort of super elite version of Defcon1, while Defcon1 itself was left to Flyzone to run. Flyzone would betray his squad and run Defcon1 into the ground to start his own new squad Backstab which became LAME’s greatest enemy.

In May of 1999 KJW and Disqualifier created the squads Paladen and –Final- respectively. These would become two of the most important and influential squads in the zone. Paladen would eventually train many of the future leaders and Staff of the game, while –Final- would have on its roster some of the greatest players in the game in terms of skill and pure talent. A bit later the squad Rampage was created (by Static Burn and Sudden) as a domination squad, the first to pursue only Elim, and to only fight for record alone.

It was during the summer of 1999 that a player named Slowbob created Trench Wars League (TWL). Although TWDL and TWBL were around, they were informal leagues with no set schedule or formal record system. Slowbob’s TWL had its own zone (something which would eventually be copied by DSB, EG and Star Warzone), a seasonal format and a set schedule. The winner of TWL Season 1 in the summer of 1999 was TW Elites, the squad captained by players TOFU and Booyaa.

Also in the summer, some players of Trench Wars which included the zone’s own founder Silentdragon and Ayden started an alternate competing zone called Trench Wars Dark following disagreements with Trench Wars itself. Trench Wars Dark featured slightly different settings. It was hosted in North America and slowly gained a strong following. Fearing fragmentation of the zone, PriitK shut down the zone, and eventually got Silentdragon to give the map over to Trench Wars where it was used for a long time.

It must be noted that the Trench Wars webpage during this time was extremely horrible. The design was horrible, the information was old and rarely updated, and the crude message board was rarely ever used. It wasn't until much later that Trench Wars had a real internet presence outside of the immediate game servers in Subspace.

In other events, Crown of Thorns, the guy who played Subspace 20 hours a day and captain of the squad Babylon (spelled much weirder than that) became the Smod in charge of Staff along with MikeTheNose, and he started to mould the lower Staff to his image. With BanG, Robo Ref, Elim, <ER>s, TWDL, TWBL, TWL, some great squads, a motivated Staff and the second largest player base (behind Pro League) in the game, Trench Wars looked as if it would definitely be set for greatness, but yet if you were around at this time you would not say so. Even with all of this, Trench Wars really wasn’t that much better than some other zones such as DSB and Extreme Games the three which had quickly asserted themselves as the great zones of the game all informally vying for number one.

Next: 5. The Renaissance (September 1999 – January 2000)