This is an interview I took from my former clan leader, about a year after we both had quit Lineage 2. For him, it was longer than a year. It was a very long interview that we did over Skype, the result of reminiscing the old times. Alas, the two hours of it, took a long time to transcribe and translate into this article. However, better late than never! Here it is, the interview with the very likeable, pretty legendary and somewhat mysterious clan leader of Oddity – Zaken.
Was it two years ago that you started the clan?
We started the clan with Stelios when the server opened, I think it was one day after Zaken opened in 2015, it must have been the 11th of December when we started, yes!
Were you just two persons?
Actually I had stopped playing Lineage 2 and Stelios was a good friend of mine from college. One day he sent me a message and told me “There is a new official server opening now, it’s an American one though and the timezone is not very good for us, but it’s free, not like before where you had to pay a subscription, do you want to play a bit to pass the time?” So I told him “Fine” and we started playing! On the same day we created the clan and that’s how I started playing L2 again.
Where did the name of the clan come from?
It is from David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity”. We both liked David Bowie and I really liked this song, so we decided to name the clan Oddity!
Was it easy to level up in the first days? Did you play a lot or just casually?
We played a lot. It was not easy, and this was apparent from the second day, because those who knew that the server would open, they had groups of their own and as they entered the day they started killing off all raidbosses and getting levels very fast, so these players were 85+ on the third day, questing at the same time and killing all level Raidbosses throughout the whole map. So they leveled up very fast. I remember that on the third day we were already seeing world shouts from people who were 87 and we were still 50-60. We were like “Dammit, how did they level up so fast!”. In due course we understood how they got so much XP because if you want to kill a raidboss, you can’t do it with two people, so we had to gather people who were inapt, randoms so to say, and when we started doing this and started gaining a couple of levels per raidboss we realized that we had to do this from the beginning to level up fast. But yes, we played a lot, 12-13 hours a day.
Was it the first time that you played after Goddess of Destruction? I mean had you played the awakening classes before?
We had no idea. Stelios was playing the old L2, he played on an old server called Saygod, where he was a hero for many years with a summoner, and he stopped L2 at High 5. I stopped L2 at the Interlude so we had no connection to the Goddess of Destruction. We had an idea that all skills would be replaced at level 85, but we had no idea what skills we would get, nor how the gameplay would be after level 85. We didn’t know which epic bosses existed after 85, we just knew that there were some new ones. The only thing that we had was the experience and knowledge on how to organize people to achieve some important things in game. For example how to organize people in sieges, for epics, the knowledge of the prerequisites for Raids like Queen Ant, Baium, all the older epic Raidbosses. Because we didn’t know about the new ones. When we reached 87-88 level, we started researching the prerequisites for the new bosses, while at the same time there were clans that were already killing those. We were far behind when we started, there had passed 2-3 weeks when we started attempting the bosses outside of Goddard and Aden. Those were only low level bosses.
It seems logical to me that if someone hasn’t played after GoD, it takes take to become familiar with the new data.
Yes it does.
I wonder where did you acquire the knowledge and experience of organizing people. Have you been a leader in a clan previously?
I started playing L2 in 2005 and I played until 2009. So I played for 4 years in a row. I played on a server that was mainly American and was called ISO-games, then it got renamed to Raging Darkness. It was a good server, without many bugs, a lot of people, a lot of PVP and with low rates. On that server, I had a clan called “Engrave” and in the end we also named the Ally “Engrave”. This alliance was at some point the number 1 in the server, which means we had 3-4 castles. Back then, Alliances included up to 5 clans, not only 3. So yes, we had Aden, Goddard, Heine, Rune. We had a lot of people and we played a lot of PVP. Our alliance had up to 70 players for sieges, and I am not talking about bots, I am talking about players. For a private server that was a lot of activity. I remember back then how I had acquired experience on organizing people, but back then, it was different because the game was different. We didn’t play with CPs (Constant Parties) and there were no participation points for the clan events. These systems did not exist. There were few innovative clans that had implemented those systems but only in the official servers and not the private ones. Slowly we started to realize that on Zaken we had to start function with CPs. That means in groups that administrate themselves, that belong to a clan that organizes mass events but at the same time these players do not rely solely on the clan and the clan leader for xp, items, quests etc but they have their own administration of items and adena. So Stelios and I decided to divide the clan responsibilities, he would take care of the internal clan affairs, the management of adena, the clan hall and the xp, and I would take care of the recruiting, the diplomacy and the supervision of the clan. That’s how we started to function after level 90, we started recruiting more people, more experienced players and we tried to bring more advanced players in the clan because a lot of them, were players who had stopped playing for years and also didn’t know much, and that is how things went on until January 2016.
Stelios had stopped playing when I started, I think. Isn’t that so?
Stelios stopped playing a long time before you started. When he told me he would stop, he was getting married, so his life would change completely. It must have been in February, that’s about 3 months after we started, when Stelios stopped, he gave me the clan, because he was the clan leader, and I was left alone.
Who were the captains who were most important to you, who helped the clan the most?
There were various ones. I mean in the beginning there were various people, it was not one, there were some who didn’t continue playing and you never got to know them. I don’t remember them myself anymore, I mean I don’t remember their nicknames after 2 years. But there were never more than 2 captains, because the clan was small and we didn’t have a castle. The online activity was about 20 people in the best time periods and there was no need to have a lot of captains. In theory, captains were the leaders of the 2-3 CPs that we had in the beginning. Later on when we had 8-9 CPs there were captains that were not CP leaders, because they couldn’t do both things at the same time. CP leaders had to run their own CPs and Captains had to run the clan when I was not online. We also had to think that CP leaders would potentially take advantage of their position if they were Captains, to benefit their own CP, so this was something I had to take into consideration.
During that early time, what were the relations of Oddity with the other clans? How did they deal with you?
In the first 6 months the server had a lot of people. I mean until our clan started advancing, the server had a lot of people who stayed online for many hours. We were not an important clan in the first 3-4 months, there were more important ones who had players that paid a lot of money to the server and had advanced a lot. They had many levels, advanced equipment and they were the main players in sieges. We were a small clan that barely had 2 parties in the sieges, because the sieges back then were at -5 GMT. I remember that to go the siege I had to get up at 4 am so that at 5 am we had all gathered and we could go for a push in a castle.
Which was the first castle you took?
If I remember correctly it was Goddard. It was the first and final castle we took, we didn’t try to get another one. Because the game no longer was based on castle. I remember in the past, when I was playing L2 we had the “Seed” and “Crop”. All those seeds and crops were produced by the castle, meaning that the castles managed the economy of the server. Those who had castles made money. As a castle lord, I would regulate the prices of the crops and there was competition. Some castles had very cheap prices and made a lot of money from selling seeds. It was a reason to have a castle back then, I am talking about High Five, Interlude and before that. In Goddess of Destruction this system of seed and crop was deactivated because the items that were the rewards of the crops were useless in the server, completely useless, they had no reason of existence, they just were in the server. Nobody was using them. Imagine for example to get doom parts or Blue Wolf parts as a reward.
B grade items.
Exactly, which were useless. So if the castle was blue (light) it didn’t make any money. It only gave some cloaks to the leader and some members and later on some clan skills. But it took a lot of time to get those clan skills. But it was only for that, nothing else.
Which were the most interesting or exciting times you experienced in the server? Were they in the beginning or the end? Were they in raids or sieges? Was it just the interaction you had with other members? What was the most exciting part?
When we started becoming a popular clan and a hated clan, I mean when we started becoming a big clan, after March 2016, the server started talking about our activities and they knew who we were. When we started playing an active role in the events of the server, then also my role became more important, I remember that I would come online to play and it was very interesting that I would never be idle, there was always something to do. This kept me alert for the whole time period that I played until the end. These months were very interesting. Of course, I didn’t have Stelios with me and that made me feel a bit sad, to be honest. Because I was counting on the fact that I would come online and I would have some company where we would have fun, because in the end that’s what the game is about, to have a good time. It wasn’t about making money, it wasn’t about drawing the attention of others, but the clan gave a very good gaming experience, because without being a clan with the top players, it managed to have a way of functioning that was enviable for many. I remember that when we were announcing recruitments, some times per months, there were people from other clans that would pm me and ask what are the requirements to enter, without necessarily being interested in joining, they only wanted to know how we worked, how we have so much activity because we remember that we had reached an activity of around 60-70 people online.
Yeah, we had a lot of activity, truly. And the clan was very popular, people wanted to join. Many of them wanted to join for you, they were drawn by your personality and the way you managed the clan.
There were players who would come to me and ask me to be a mediator, a guarantor so that they could make direct trades of big and expensive items for billions of adena. I have seen items that I never possessed. But I was the one to whom they both gave their items and I did the corresponding trade. For example, you wanted to sell a blessed antharas, so you came and gave it to me. Then the person with whom you had agreed upon the trade would come and he would give me the adena or items. And I would distribute them as you had agreed, without keeping anything.
That must have been amazing!
Yes, they trusted me. They believed that uNB was solvent and they could make the trade with him. I mostly never new them. None of these people were in our clan. They were in other clans, even in enemy clans. There were people from enemy clans who would come and tell me: Dimitris, if you can, I would like to trade with this person, but because I don’t trust him, I want you to mediate. I would say ok, give me the items and I will make the trade, and that’s how it happened.