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About [bass]

About [bass]

Base And System Services is a video game clan based on the principle that all players must be treated with respect--including adversaries.

We don't swear, throw tantrums, cheat, cry about other people cheating, gloat over victories, or mourn our losses. We don't match verbal abuse with verbal abuse.

Our goal is to keep always in mind that when you're playing a game, you are doing just that--nothing more. A game taken too seriously is no fun for anyone.

Our primary mandate is to have fun.

[bass] History

Picture it...Australia...2004...

[bass] came to life on the Australian game server known as GetOnIt. The game was Microsoft Freelancer--a space trading and combat simulator. A system of teams was in place so that battles could be arranged between the teams. Ownership of solar systems were given to the winning team, or 'clan' as they are commonly called in video games (dating back to the original SOCOM I believe, but I digress.)

One of the stronger clans at the time was known as the Outlaws. A relatively new player without a clan, known as bassdude2000, attacked an unmarked Outlaw trading party. This brought the ire of the Outlaws, and several wings of fighters. bassdude2000--a bass playing musician in real life, hence the name--decided to form his own clan, with help and funding from a police clan known as the Lambda Omega 3. How successful he was at fending off the Outlaw attacks is unclear. Much of this part of [bass] history is lost. bassdude2000 left the clan a few months after he founded it.

Not much is known about this phase of [bass] history. In mid 2005, the current leader, Whiskey, decided to step down (and focus on his schoolwork.) He passed the torch on to a man known as Fleg Matik. Fleg quickly found a "number one" executive officer in a player known as The Black Knight. Together, the two worked out a theme for the clan--a role playing motif if you will. Before this, all they knew was that the clan wasn't made up of police, pirates or drug smugglers. Those clans already existed in various forms. Fleg in particular wanted the clan to be a neutral party, with it's finger on the pulse of everything that was going on.

A Bit of Necessary Freelancer Background

In Microsoft Freelancer, there are dozens of factions, based around 5 main "houses." In the game's history, there is a massive space war that rages on Earth and throughout the solar system. The losing side sent out five sleeper ships to the area around Sirius, each named after it's sponsors: The Bretonia, The Rhineland, the Kusari, the Hispania, and the Liberty. Four of the ships arrived safely, and established colonies in straightforward fashion. The Hispania was sabotaged, and it's crew had to choose to stay with the crippled ship or take to the life rafts. The crew that took the life rafts landed on a barren planet they called Crete, and the others landed on a planet they named Malta. Every living thing on Malta contained a substance called cardamine. It was created in an orange grass that lived on the planet. This chemical acts as a euphoric drug in humans, and causes addiction by altering the humans genetic code over time. It also extends life and lowers birthrate.

As a result of their fortunes, when each had developed space capability again, and found the other colonies, they took rather interesting approaches. The people from Crete, who came to be known as "Corsairs," turned to piracy, while the people from Malta, who called themselves "Outcasts," began to sell the drug Cardamine to other humans.

Strangely, the Outcasts and Corsairs warred with each other because their territories began to overlap. This fact was the beginning of the [bass] role play motif.

[bass] Role Play Motif

Fleg and TBK came up with the idea that some Corsairs and Outcasts had to look and the situation this way: Both groups came from the Hispania. Between them, they had some of the best ship technology available. If they joined forces and stopped quarreling, they could take over the other four houses with little problem. Thus, they would suggest that the Corsairs and Outcasts put their fighting aside.

Of course, such people were exiled from both sides.

Eventually, these exiles found each other at the space stations known as Freeports where anyone--and I mean anyone--could stay. In order to survive, they formed an organization that would offer shipping or muscle wherever it was needed. The name chosen was "Base And System Services." The initials were kept small in the tag so that the members would never forget to protect those of lowly estate.

To this end, Fleg and TBK developed their own RP characters. (See the "Neural Nets" section for more details.) Fleg took on the persona of a man born to an Outcast father ("Otto Matik") and an Irish Molly Rebel mother (Sue O'Syde.) Fleg was fond of puns, but the latter choice would prove horribly ironic later on. At any rate, this allowed his background to fit with the leader of an outfit founded in part by Outcasts, but that was open to everyone.

The Black Knight took on the role of a Liberty born Mercenary that took up with the Corsairs in their war with another terrorist group called the Red Hessians. How he got there is a long story (one that may show up in a neural net story at some point.) But it was in this venue that he attracted the attention of [bass] and was recruited.

[bass] was not above smuggling alien artifacts--usually found in the Corsair Sectors. Although smuggling cardamine was not allowed in [bass] tags originally, it often occurred in ships without tags, or with unofficial tags such as [Cardi&Coke]. In 2010, this prohibition was lifted, due to pressure from Outcast elements in the clan.

The Ascendance of [bass]

This new RP worked wonders, and the clan took on members. While many drifted in and out, several became regular members and impacted the clans history. The clan usually flew the ship known as the Eagle. The player known as "Sly," who was one of the best fighters, introduced the tradition of shooting the middle wing off of the ship, and repairing the rest of the hull. It was thought that this improved the maneuverability of the ship. This was denied by server admins, who claimed the ships turning rate did not vary with removal of the two lower tail pieces. [bass] members kept the look anyway, as a clan tradition. As it turns out, because of the way the game may calculate damage from a missile or mine, the [bass] ships may actually take less damage from projectiles--at least from the rear.

Fleg and ramBler became famous for marathon trading sessions that doubled as bull sessions. ramBler currently has the record for longest session online (that the chronicler is aware of ) at 37 hours straight. ramBler was as dangerous as sly in a fighter, and the two took new recruits under their wing for training. This produced a very strong squad of fighters for system battles.

GOI System Battles

On the Get On it server, the rules were to take a system you had to either own no systems or you had to own the system next to it. You were allowed only three systems. An unowned system could just be claimed. A system owned by a clan had to be challenged and fought for. The winner of the best of three rounds of space combat, with up to 8 fighters on a side, would keep the system.

With over 40 systems, there were more than enough systems for everyone. System battles were rare, and related to in-game conflicts between clans. [bass] settled in to three systems: Texas, Hudson, and Bering. Early battles were fought with clans of terrorists that popped up at the same time that [bass] was developing. Lighthouse and =|:Bod:|=, which stood for "Bringers Of Death," were regular adversaries. As were the [Assasins] (misspelling intentional) which were a "Best of" clan that attacked independently of RP. (Members from many other clans were secret members--including the former leader of [bass], known as Whiskey.) These clans would be long term adversaries through the life of the GOI server.

Fleg and The Black Knight were both hampered by different problems in these battles. Fleg suffered from a injury to his hand, but compensated using a Nostromo Controller/Keyboard Setup. The Black Knight was an American flying on a server located in Australia, and due to the lag his missiles rarely tracked. He instead used an all gun setup to wear down the shields of opponents, helping his teammates get the kills. Both put these compensations to good use when frequent system battles began in December 2005.

The BoB and FU Wars

To increase interest in the server, the rules were updated. The system cap was dropped, and allies were allowed. The first challenge made was made by a clan known as the Band of Brothers, or [BoB]. BoB was a police clan that included several system administrators. Their leader was a system administrator known as Khan. They owned the New York system--a key system because that was where new players started. It was the most sought after system in the game. It was also adjacent to Texas.

[bass] often helped [BoB] members defend NY against pirates and other scallywags, and the challenge came as a shock. From the other direction, challenges came from the Freelancers United--or [FU] clan. These were pirates and smugglers led by Phill Cassady, with their allies the Outcast Smugglers Guild (or ~OSG~) led by Phoenix and Hans Solo.

With police on once side and pirates to another, the clan fought nearly weekly battles for the better part of two years. At times they had no systems, at others they had many. They took on as an ally, a clan known as [DracO]. This group of fantastic pilots from New Zealand were key parts of many [bass] victories. It was [DracO] with [bass] in support that was the first clan to take NY from [BoB]. Two other battles would prove to have an even greater impact on [bass] history.

In a battle for Bering, [bass]'s old leader, Whiskey, wanted to participate. He was a great fighter, and a welcome addition. He was also a well known double clanner, which under the new rules wasn't allowed. The battle was with [BoB], and the admins checked his accounts for other clan tagged ships. They found one with a Phantoms tag, and disallowed him--even after he deleted the ship. At the same time, the members of [BoB], and their allies the Atredies (A fearsome force led by Usul Muadib, and featuring some of the best pilots on the server) were not using their usual ships. They had "battle fighters" that were named generically to hinder target selection. [bass] lost the fight, and Fleg lost his cool in the server forums. This issue and several others were brought to light. It was not done in a particularly diplomatic fashion, and the episode became known as "The Rant." Fleg was forum banned by an irate admin.

Desperately trying to get the situation under control, the Black Knight convinced Fleg Matik to turn over the reigns of the clan to him. The leader needed forum access, which TBK had and Fleg didn't. He argued for Fleg, who was eventually unbanned after some months. In the process, several new rules were created to regulate the circumstances under which a person could be banned, and the Black Knight was made an Admin to help enforce them. (This was as much as a punishment as an honor, as it thrust TBK into many of the servers conflicts. This tended to forge as many enemies as it did friends.) He was also granted limited "game admin" abilities.

Fleg continued to play with the TBK's old rank--Executive Officer. Over time, Real Life issues and responsibilities drew him away from the game for a while, and he took something of a sabbatical.

With Draco at their side, [bass] continued to fight, culminating in a September 2007 retaking of the New York system--this time by [bass] with Draco assisting. The Black Knight contacted Fleg to share the news.

In the reply, The Black Knight was notified by Fleg's real life father that Fleg had taken his own life on August 9, 2007.

[bass] was devastated. Many stopped playing because of the shock and the pain. Others played more to be closer to the other [bass] members. There was genuine weeping and sorrow across the server for a man few had met in real life.

As time went on, some developed the theory that Fleg's suicide had been a virtual suicide only. That for some reason he had to stop playing and wanted no way back. At least one player who knew him in real life couldn't find an obituary, and his house and been recently sold. With no proof either way, the members of [bass] sadly moved on, hoping and praying for the best for Fleg either way.

The next year would be the last for the Get On It server. Attempts were made to boost waning interest by updating the mod and introducing Minor allies (bass took on the Tradelink Federation and Draco took on the Death Knights) but technical problems and dwindling interest let to the server's closing in December 2008. When the server shut down, only two bass members were holding a vigil. TBK and Mr. Bonkers.

A New Life on FLU

Mr. Bonkers had been limited by his high ping to the GOI server, and couldn't contribute as much as he wanted. That was soon to change.

With the closing of GOI, several of the GOI players decided to pick another server. They chose the 24/7 Freelancer Universe Server at www.freelancer-universe.com. This server had a similar clan system to GOI, but it was more strict with its minimum requirements for what defined a clan. The decision was made to form one "superclan" with wings that echoed their GOI clans. Each wing would play in it's original RP, but by using one main tag, they could meet the stringent FLU requirments. The Black Knight brought along the remnants of [bass], and was elected overall leader of the new clan, called the Sentinels.

On FLU, the Sentinels did well. Large freighters were available via the Flu Mod Program, so money could be generated with relative ease. Large Capital ships were available to official clan members, and cost a lot of money. Most of the early sentinel cap ships--including the 500 million credit Bretonian Battleship Rook--were purchased with credits generated by none other than Mr. Bonkers. The FLU server is located in the US, and it was quickly discovered by the clan that Mr. "B" has he was known, had the patience of a saint, the reflexes of a cobra, and the ability to drop a mine in your face better than most you will find. The total number of credits he gave to the clan is unknown, but it is estimated to be over a billion.

While there is much more to the Sentinels history, this page is about [bass], and the [bass] story picks up where the [Sent] story leaves off.

[bass] Returns

Although [bass] never really left, the Sentinels never really accomplished their goal. The RP of each wing was lost as the need to learn a new political system with different clans took precedence. In effect, [Sent] became a vehicle to introduce and accustom the former GOI members with the new server. The lack of a focused RP made caused members to lose interest.

In 2010, the server suffered a great many technical issues, not the least of which was the cable provider randomly shutting down the bandwidth and crashing the server--in order to get the owner to upgrade his service. This makes perfect financial sense, unless you neglect to tell the owner of the server that he needs to upgrade for several months.

This, combined with the arrival of Archy's Discover Server in Australia, led to attrition in the Sentinel Ranks. Eventually, only [bass] members were still playing on FLU. It was at this time, that the decision was made to exit the womb of the Sentinels, and return as a new and stronger [bass] clan.

This time, the RP would again center around the Outcast / Corsair roots. The clan would primarily smuggle alien artifacts for income, and the cardamine restriction would be dropped. The idea would be that this would gather the attention of either pirates or police or both, and make the game more interesting.

Also, the tag would be open to other games, as Microsoft Freelancer was released in 2003 and was no longer in production.

The Current State of [bass]

This brings us to the July 2010 status of [bass].

In order to facilitate communication, a website was constructed at www.baseandsystemservices.com in addition to the clan forums at flclanbass.proboards2.com. The original clan website, www.freewebs.com/flclanbass is an historical curiosity that will probably not be updated.

Our members have written some extremely well received fan fiction (be sure to check out the Neural Net section of the website) that chronicles the detailed history of bass through the imagination of it's members. These stories go beyond what merely happened "in-game" to what was happening in our mind's eye.

We still play the game that brought us together, while looking forward to other games we may consider. As events develop, you will be able to follow them on the bass website.

We stil follow the principle that all players must be respected. This does not makes us weak by any means, though some may mistake our kindness for weakness. Fleg Matik once quoted an "Ancient Texan Rhyme" to dissuade people from this view:

Don't be foolish,
do not be misled.
Given good reason,
we'll make you eat lead!

..in game of course! See you in space!

- The Black Knight, July 25 2010




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Last Updated (Thursday, 03 November 2011 22:05)


System Battle for Hudson, Through Fleg's Eyes, 2005

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I'm going to put this in the "Screening Room," though as you'll see it's going to be more of a blog post, as there's a lot behind this video. (Update! I moved it to the About [bass] tab for easy reference. -TBK)

The game under discussion is Microsoft Freelancer, and the multiplayer server is the GetOnit server—later the Aussie Freelancers server. I spent so much time on that server that I and Mr. Bonkers decided that when it was closing we would hold a vigil, keeping our ships online to make sure we were the last two people who played on it. We accomplished it too.

This story takes place long before that.

Back in 2005, Fleg and I spent a ton of time rebuilding the [bass] clan. He was the Boss, and I was the Executive officer until he got exiled from the server forms sometime in 2006 over a dispute with an admin. Then we swapped positions so that I could organize the system battles until he could return. As it happened, he never did take back the reigns, instead taking a break from the drama. He played less and less until 2007, when reportedly he took his own life.

As I've said before, I know of no one who was able to confirm his death, and I personally like to believe it was a "virtual suicide" only—his way of leaving the game. It sounds a harsh way to go, but there were mitigating circumstances that allow me to understand how this might have been a good move for him.

I pray he knows God's peace in his heart, whether it be in this world or the next.

But long before all that, I was his ExO and he was the Boss. We had built our roleplaying around being vigilanties of sorts, fighting the random player killers and pirates who would harrass people in game. This helped develop our skills too.

Our biggest and longest rivals were the Bringers of Death—aka the =|:BoD:|=. They were built from the remnants of the Angels of Death—aka the AoD. We used to joke about the coming of the CoD and the DoD but those never gelled. The BoD were of the basic opinion that player vs player combat was the heart of the game, and if you were in the game, you'd better be ready to fight.

It's hard to argue with this point, but a lot of people did. Us for instance. There are a lot of ways to spend your time in FL, from missions to trade runs to floating outside Newark Station chatting. I've probably spent more time doing the last one than anything else.

We liked to fight as well however, so we used to put ourselves on their radar screens and get their attention. If they were fighting us, the rest of the sever was safe. After a while we became targets of choice, and didn't have to work as hard to find 'em.

When the system battle and ownership rules got relaxed, they came after us. Under the old rules we had just three systems: Texas, Bering and Hudson. These will always be the traditional [bass] home worlds.

If I'm interpreting the file name correctly, on September 19, 2005 we had a system battle with BoD for Hudson. At that time the Outlaws were on hiatus, and [Outlaws]-Cuchulain was temorarily wearing the name [bass]-Llama.(Heh. At the time this was Ultra-Secret information. Now it's an interesting historical note.) He had a ton more system battle experience than we did, and so we let him lead.

Unfortunatly, he had so much more experience, we weren't speaking the same language. I vaugely remember him saying we should wait behind the planet, and I think it was in attempting this we got separated into at least two groups.

Let me tell you, that whole divide and conquer thing works, and we got eviscerated.

Fleggy had the good sense to record at least one of the rounds, and added text to describe his impressions and what was going on. He also had the good taste to add the Devo song "We're Through Being Cool," which seemed to fit the mood.

Also, because of some incompatability between Teamspeak and Fraps—or something like that—all the voices you hear from the players sound like the Chipmunks. The speed is off or something. It definitley adds to the flavor of the video.

I've had this video for a lot of years, but I'm not sure if anyone else has a copy. I generally don't upload stuff I didn't create—YouTube frowns on that anyway. But with Fleggy gone—in whatever fashion—I'm the keeper of this archive. I'm also still the leader of [bass], which is more about maintaing the website, the forums, the twitter and the Facebook so that the people who became friends playing together can keep in touch.

I'm as much an archivist as a leader now—most everyone has moved on to other games, though FL is still one of my favorites. As such, I feel an obligation to upload these bits of history whenever I can.

And so here it is—a part of the [bass] library for all to see. Even if no one watches it, I'm happy it's there. I don't know if I'll ever fly into a system battle again like that—8 vs 8 guns blazing. I've yet to see a video game experience that can match it. But at least part of it was captured.

Thanks again, Fleggy.

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Last Updated (Thursday, 03 November 2011 22:08)

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