Clan Spotlight Special: NASA Week (Part Five)

[MLP] MyLittlePwnies
Clan has Disbanded


Throughout this week we'll have a special edition of the Clan Spotlight, taking you back into the early history of Clan Wars. This was a time when a few Clans could hold down large portions of the Clan Wars map, when an alliance could take in over 85% of the entire map's income, and then right near the end, they painted the map blue. This is the time of NASA, and we'll be bringing to you insight from some of the leadership of these Clans every day this week.

The final Clan in this mini-series of NASA powerhouses is possibly the most infamous Clan of the bunch, MLP. They were created to be the elite Clan on the NA Server, and have a story with many ups and downs. While the Clan may have been disbanded over two years ago, their influence certainly hasn't disappeared yet.

We asked a these players who lived through these times at MLP to share their views:

Xpedience [-G-] - Leader/main battle caller of one of MLP's divisions (Bad Company)
Hypnotik [WGA] - Treasurer of MLP, battle caller, king of spreadsheets
We were unable to organize more responses from former MLP members,  but luckily we had someone right in the office with some first-hand knowledge. Hypnotik will step in for this edition with his perspective and answer some of the questions about MLP's past!

Discussion for all NASA Week Spotlights can be found below:

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What brought your clan into NASA in the first place?

Hypnotik - I didn't deal with the diplo, so hopefully someone else can pick up and present the full story, but from my perspective it just evolved out of the Southern Alliance.

What was your favorite part about being in NASA?

Hypnotik - The gold wasn't bad, but I enjoyed being a part of something that really made the NA Server stand out and be noticed more than the massive Russian Server.

In your opinion, what was the main thing that led to the collapse of NASA?

Xpedience - In a nutshell? Greed killed NASA. The system that was put in place at the beginning worked well with the founding members. As more members joined, the pie slices got smaller and smaller; this of course led to people saying "I deserve as much as he does!" Once that starts it's hard to walk it back.

Hypnotik - Greed and hubris definitely played their part. I think any group of that size is just way too fragile to begin with.

Do you think it's possible for a NASA-like alliance to exist today, even in scaled down form?

Xpedience - It would depend on who the members were. There is less Gold on the NA map, and it isn't as easily held as it was on the European map. So you would want to limit the number of members to as few as possible. This would keep the payouts higher for all involved. There isn't enough gold to be had, for a huge NASA style system like before.

Hypnotik - We won't ever see an alliance to the scale that NASA was unless some major changes happen to the Clan Wars system down the line. There are just too many things working against it. The North American regions don't have the same chokepoint setup to hold down the land the same way, there have been several rule changes to prevent it, and one of the biggest hurdles is the quality of teams overall has improved drastically since the early days. There isn't nearly the disparity of skill within the top Clans that there used to be, so they would likely be either unsatisfied with the benefits of such a system, or arguing with each other too much to get the benefits that they'd like. That said, groups of smaller alliances are definitely possible (and happening already), but it'd be more of a Northern/Southern Alliance environment than NASA.

If you had to guess which Clans could make up the current-day NASA, who would be a part of it?

Xpedience - Since Petco (PBKAC, Otter etc.) are already so tightly knit, I think you could consider them a founding member.

Hypnotik - I'm going to abstain from this one due to my current position, but it's pretty easy to see where alliances/rivalries are forming when you look closely at the moves being done.

What was your proudest achievement for your individual Clan during the NASA era?

Hypnotik - This is definitely up there. Being the first Clan to top 1 million Gold earned was another great accomplishment (by the time we disbanded, we made more than 3 million). We also held the record for almost 2 years for amount of Gold earned by a single Clan (31,420 on 9/17/11) - ANVIL broke it when we moved to the Americas.

What was the thing you hated the most about being in NASA?

Hypnotik - Near the end, I learned of some of the shady moves that those handling our diplomacy had done. Of course I see why they did what they did, but I wasn't very comfortable with it.

What kind of reputation did your Clan build for itself during that time?

Xpedience - When the clan I was in, (MLP), joined NASA we were still loved. The little guys who took on the mighty 6 clans of Iron Raiders and punched them in the nose. We were Davids to IR's Goliath and everybody loved us. Due to our attitudes, greed, elitism, and unwillingness to bend, we turned from the heroes into the school yard bullies. It was an ugly thing to watch. The clan that joined NASA was not the same one that left NASA. The players that left MLP have been sought after and most that still play are in top 5 clans today. But the name "MLP" is cursed now.

Hypnotik - Our reputation changed quite a bit over time. At the start we were the little guy that broke off of IR, and then punched them in the face (they were the big guys at the time along with AOD). People loved our March to Moscow. For a while we were the ones you could count on to win a battle when no one else could (breaking MS-W's camp strat on Cliff, or GVN's hard camp on Ruinberg) and were a welcomed ally. As we grew and our heads swelled, we became the annoying greedy bunch of bullies. We definitely had our players who hurt our reputation a bit on the forums - some people really should only have WASD on their keyboards.

The "Tiered Income Proposal" near the end of NASA was a very controversial topic... what was your Clan's stance on it?

Xpedience - We were in favor. I think more than 2/3's of the clan didn't care either way about that sort of thing as long as their premium got paid. Very few really got into NASA politics, they just showed up to fight.

Hypnotik - Obviously, since the most well-known version was from our Clan, we were for it. As the top gold earners, we were for it. But the way it was presented to us, for those who were not at the NASA meetings about it, was that the other Clans were trying to make the redistribution of incomes equal, communism style. For the top-earning Clan, that obviously caused a few problems, leading to the proposal our senior officers put forward. Personally I see the MLP version being skewed too far in our favor, but there had to be some difference in pay since there was a noticeable skill and usefulness difference at the time.

What decisions do you think would have needed to be made to save the alliance?

Xpedience - Less clans should have been allowed entrance. Would have been more gold for everyone and petty squabbles over a few K worth a week would have seemed foolish. No tiers everyone gets equal share. If you can't cut it and hold your land, then you get the boot and somebody else gets your land. I don't know, there are smarter people about the mechanics of an alliance than me.

Hypnotik - I don't think anything really could have saved it, something that big will always fall eventually.

What Clan would you say was your closest allies/friends during NASA?

Xpedience - Likely SSGS, we shared a huge border for a long time.

How much have you worked with other former members of NASA since the split?

Xpedience - Tons, a lot of former NASA leadership in my current clan.

Hypnotik - After MLP disbanded, I joined another former NASA Clan, SSGS. Then I joined Forge. Now that I'm at WGA, I don't play in Clan Wars alongside any of them or work diplomatically with them, but I still keep in touch with friends that I've made along the way.

Where are a lot of your former leaders/members today?

Xpedience - -G- has a big chunk of former MLP. W-A-R still has some as well.

Hypnotik - You're likely to find those that still play either in some of the top Clans on the server or actively involved in the eSports scene.

What caused the disbanding of your Clan?

Hypnotik - There were a bunch of things that led to it, like the stolen gold (200k), the defeat in the war, the perceived apathy of many players within the Clan, falling attendance. The reason given to us was something like "to keep MLP's name from being tarnished in the future", but we could all see right through it. It was really poorly executed too, since it wasn't done with any discussion between the officers or membership of the Clan, it just happened very suddenly (see: this and this for an example of how poor communication was in the last days). There was a lot of rage over a very poorly handled decision.

MLP was always considered the top clan in Clan Wars during that time, did that add a lot of extra pressure to perform well?

Xpedience - Sure it did, it was a thrill to have to stay one step ahead every night. I enjoyed calling every night knowing that you COULDN'T afford to lose. To have lost Crimea in the day meant no chips behind it and an invader could push for days before you could stop them. Those kinds of fights bring pressure, but that's what makes a fight worth fighting, nobody cares about a battle where you have nothing to lose or gain.

Hypnotik - Of course, that's what made a lot of the battles we had so much fun. When we expanded to the huge territories we had, there was extra pressure to hold the landing zones. If we lost one, a huge clean-up effort was needed because we would get hit with a "death-blossom" every time and not be able to fight it off. It also had a psychological effect, because we weren't supposed to lose. When one team lost, they'd hear about it both from the community at large and especially from the internal divisions within MLP (A/B/C Companies).

What Clan(s) do you think this pressure applies to today?

Xpedience - -G- most likely. They are considered the top, so everybody will always be gunning for them. Staying at the top and being as polished as they are for as long as they have been is amazing, but the pressure to adapt, overcome and remain tops is always there.

This was part 5 of a mini-series of Spotlights on NASA Clans. For the forum discussion about this mini-series, click the button below.
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