About DHTA
Who We Are

     We are the Dark Horsemen of The Apocalypse. We excel at what we do, and we enjoy what we do. What is it we do? We strive to be the very best at the online games that we play, be it first-person shooters, MMORPGs, strategy games, or anything else. Are we hardcore, in your face, loud gamers? No. We play for fun, and while we can get competitive, we do not take games as seriously as those "professional" gamers that go to competitions and earn livings playing games. We do attempt to win as often as possible, but you can't win them all!

Our History

     DHTA was formed in late 1999 when three members of OESM (Organization of Elite Snipers and Medics) decided to form our own clan in the game Half-Life: TFC. Helloonasty, VgBlood, and I formed the clan after Nasty came up with the name one night. We started wearing our new tag immediately and began recruiting.

     We grew to a small group in a short amount of time, joined a TFC ladder, and played quite a bit. Back then we were in High School and we generally had evenings free to play, unless we had other plans. Practice happened frequently with our friends in OESM, on their server, and we won a few, but lost a lot. OESM was damn good, and the players weren't the type to complain, so it was all in good fun, except for a certain person who just LOVED using a script to turn pipe-bombs into localized nukes which drove me insane...

     Anyhow, we eventually joined a ladder (OGL I believe) and began working our way up it. We were undefeated for several matches as we made our way closer to being able to challenge OESM on a ladder, despite knowing that we'd probably have our butts kicked. We did lose a match or two on the way up, but I don't remember any of us being bitter about the losses, except on one where a guy was somehow doing some amazing amounts of damage quickly. Still, it was fun for the most part. Then we discovered Deathmatch Classic for Half-Life.

     Deathmatch Classic proved to be very enjoyable and brought back many fond memories of the original Quake. We played this for quite a while, but never did any ladder-play with it. This was more of a "play for fun" thing. Oh, and that certain pipe-bomb script guy manage to get good at this and give me no end for a drive to be better once again.

     We eventually tried TF1.5 when it came out, but did not enjoy it. The game engine had been destroyed. Framerates dropped tremendously, grenades caused major latency, and the new menu sucked. We tried, but I personally lost interest very quickly and returned to DMC as well as playing Unreal Gold team deathmatch. That is when I stumbled onto a very good mod known as Infiltration which at the time was for Unreal but was being worked on for UT99.

     Infiltration was great. I began with the Unreal version but picked up the UT99 version the minute it hit File Planet. The bots were initially kind of stupid, but man did they improve quickly! There was also a good community around it with quite a few players. Even the development team would regularly visit the forum and respond to threads.

     I fell in love with Inf and soon had VgBlood and some others forming our clan there. We took to the free-aim system like kids to candy. I personally began mapping for the mod, but only had one or two releases over the life of the mod, though it still exists today and still sees some activity. Even without many home-brew maps, the community and team released dozens of maps, weapons, and gameplay modes. It was great fun for everybody.

     We did start some ladder play a year or two after joining the community but did not do many matches. I believe that we only had half a dozen or so matches, and one ended with a guy swearing we were using aimbots, something that I was not familiar with until this incident. This would turn out to be nothing, but it was something we would hear again later in our existence as a clan.

     While playing Infiltration I stumbled across Unreal Fortress Gold, a mod that was like TFC, only with more options and in my opinion, a much more polished game. It had the same gameplay modes as TFC but used the UT99 engine, had better graphics, was lower latency, and allowed you to do a bunch of little things that TFC did not, such as choosing how to upgrade a sentry gun and what type of weapons went onto the gun. I fell in love with this mod as well, and brought many of our Infiltration players over to it, though we did not leave Infiltration. This would be a mod that we never did any ladder play in, but did enjoy playing for fun. I wish it had been ported to UT2003/2004 later and an attempt was made by a small team, but it never got off the ground. I did however convert the Nali Castle map and Nali Town map into massive CTF maps for Unreal Fortress, designed for at least sixteen players.

     On a whim several of us began playing UT99 for kicks. We never did any official play in UT99, but we wore our tags and had fun. It was a nice break from the more complex play that we found in Infiltration and Unreal Fortress Gold. Here we just had to shoot enemies on the other team and hope we had more kills!

     During this time a few of us started playing CS1.5. I had played it way back in the betas and have fond memories to this day of the whacky things that could happen, such as grenades bouncing off of things like it was made out of rubber, or the smoke grenade killing framerates for everybody. We wouldn't play officially here either, but it was a blast from the past and we enjoyed it. I did meet a few people here that would join us in Infiltration and later Frag-Ops, and for the second time in my gaming experience several of us would be accused of using aimbots or other hacks, despite being on servers that ran anti-cheat software such as CSGuard.

     I bought UT2003 a while after it came out due to my enjoyment of the Unreal Engine games that I was playing and I fell in love wth Bombing Run. Think of it like football except the teams have guns as well. It was highly addictive, and I would soon find a mod that the clan would move to from Infiltration as Infiltration's community began thinning out.

     I found a mod that fell between Infiltration and Counter-Strike known as Frag-Ops. It was better than CS, but not quite on par with Inf, though it had much better graphics and lighting due to using the newer UT2003 game engine. While many DHTA members had stopped playing, several of our key players moved to Frag-Ops and began playing. It wasn't long before we had trouble though.

     It was painfully obvious that two clans in the FO community were considered to be the best of the best, and once we began to hold our own against them, the accusations of cheating began to surface. It must have been difficult for these players to accept that a gorup of outsiders could come into their world, adapt, and then start taking the fight to them. There was a silver-lining to be found within the small community after all, and we were about to find it.

     UT2004 came out and I grabbed it to continue playing FO since the new versions of the mod required it. When I began playing again in the new UT2004 version I found several players in the community that wanted to join DHTA and play with us, despite the the supposed "best" constantly moaning about how we were a group of hackers. Apparently they had been turned off by these same people and wanted to improve, so we let them join. It did not change much and while one of the top clans was friendly to us, the other one was on a smear campaign. This would eventually drive us away to another mod, but we did hang around for quite some time.

     Once the complaining was too much, despite nobody ever having video or other evidence against us, we decided to leave. Fortunately I had found a UT2004 mod that I loved more than any other mod before. The mod would go on to win the Unreal MSU contest and now has two releases on Steam. If you have not figured it out, the mod is known as Red Orchestra, and the gameplay was very realistic, much like Infiltrations' gameplay. You had to aim with the iron-sights, you had stamina, limited ammo, encumbrence, and more. Best of all, it was set in WWII and beat the pants off of the commercial titles at the time!

     Red Orchestra had a much larger community than Frag-Ops, the game developers were on their forums all of the time, and the community seemed to be welcoming to new players. We played for a month in obscurity as average players and then began to improve since the game was very much like Infiltration and stuff began to come back. We already had a small clan going with former and new members combined, and I hosted a server for us to practice on. It was great fun and I spent many of my days off practicing with players from around the globe. Then we had the misfortune of crossing paths with a person who did not care to lose a match, ever.

     Energy-O called me out during the middle of a public game when three or four of us were fighting against some random players. I had nailed him several times without taking much damage due to my position and he began his foul-mouthed tyriad against me. It wasn't long before more of his clan were in there joining in the onslaught despite not being there. Our members didn't say much and we tried to ignore it, but soon players began leaving the server, so we left and hopped onto another server to continue in peace.

     We were able to play a single round on another public server before their clan found us and began to insult us again. If I remember correctly the clan was called "Faded Battalion", or FB. Oddly enough, one of the best players DHTA would ever have would transfer from FB into DHTA. He would quickly rise to be my second in command and somebody who had an even more level head than myself. I refer of course, to Shadehunter.

     Shade fought against of a few times but something, and I do not know what to this very day, convinced him to join us. Another clan, 3rd SS, would also merge with us after FB accused the leader of being racist. Their reasoning was that the SS troops were evil, and while that was true, this is a WWII game with Nazis versus Soviets in it. This little fact somehow escaped the members of FB. Their leader, Excel, would also fall into a position next to Shades' position. He would also improve to the point of being accused of cheating, but that was down the road a bit.

     So we played RO for what seemed like years. Shade, Excel, and I would normally lead the boards in kills and FB would lead the onslaught of unfounded accusations of cheating. A few others got onboard with FB, but one of the oldest clans in RO welcomed us with open arms to their server and played with us. They even made sure that the FB members would not insult us there. Still, it did little to change the minds of those who had already made theirs up.

     A few short months before Tripwire Interactive won the MSU contest, one of the developers would ban both my account and Excel's account from the official forums, claiming we were cheaters, despite the utter lack of evidence. I made an appeal to the lead developer via ICQ, and he played a few maps with me, even getting me several times in succession, which got me by surprise. I still had one of the top scores and Ramm did not find anything fishy about my gameplay, but the other person refused to budge on his position, despite not taking the time to play with me or get to know me. I do believe Excel and I were unbanned for a while, but it was reinstated afterwards and exists to this day. I do not hold anything against the Tripwire team or Ramm, but I do believe that they need to learn how to prove something before acting on it. Well, except for Ramm. He was kind enough to play with us on several occasions and stated numerous times that we were OK.

     Eventually we would disband. Tripwire won the MSU contest and released a full game, but they did it on Steam, which I am opposed to. Of course the immediate response was that I could not cheat due to VAC, but I would shoot that idea down as well. After all, the team had a free play weekend where you could get the full game for free and play for the entire weekend before the game deactivated itself. I chose to play, got on, played a few maps with Excel and some others, and mopped the floor with the accusers one last time, with VAC and everything enabled. I would not however, pay for a Steam game, and after the weekend ended, I removed it all from my PC and have never put it back on.

     After RO I needed a break from the competitive nature of first-person games. I was at the point where I would literally shake while playing because I was trying so hard not to kill too many people or pull off the long-distance kills I was known for. I just could not take online gaming with a bunch of whiny, snot-nosed brats that would shout "cheater" every time they got thoroughly beaten. I guess it is easier to accuse somebody of wrong-doing than it is to accept your own faults and improve. This drove me out of the first-person world to which I have not returned yet. Our RO and FO divisions disbaneded and moved on to World of Warcraft.

     I had been playing World of Warcraft for some time after Guild Wars was screwed up by the developers at ArenaNet with mvoes like doubling the number of monsters to prevent gold farmers from using bots to farm gold around the clock instead of developing a decent anti-cheat. Shade would join me and we would meet many new friends within WoW. We formed DHTA as a guild and played regularly. The stress level was much lower here and we had fun. It was a grind at times, but the game was great and for $15 a month, I didn't have to stress about how good or bad I was nor did I have to listen to FB gripe about how we were cheating.

     Eventually I would move back to my home town and go back to college for a degree in Information Systems. Shade, Vg, and I would continue to play WoW, but Vg would wind up joining The Marines and Shade would join The Navy, so I'd lose two of my best online friends for a while. I stopped playing WoW and went to games like Neverwinter Nights and the Grand Theft Auto series, as well as Borderlands. I did try going back to FO and RO a few times but the populations were non-existent and I still got the shakes when playing, so I stopped trying.

     We have all gone out into the real world now and have lives and families to take care of. I look back on my experiences in all of the games that we played fondly, and I hold no ill-will towards those who gave us a hard time. I kind of wish I could meet some of these people and buy them dinner or wish them well. I often wonder about the many members of DHTA that we have had over the years and how they are fairing in life. Shade, Vg and I still chat either via email or on the phone once in a while. Other members I have not heard from in ages, such as Excel. We are still here, we just don't play competitively any more.

     If any of you have played against us or with us and would like to contact us, please do so! I would love to catch up with old friends and foes any time. Just remember that we are human also, despite what you may have believed at some point. You all helped entertain us in one way or another and we do feel a kinship with other players. Check out our contact page if you would like to contact us. I should have it up soon.

     Oh yeah! Zekk, clean out your frickin' voicemail so I can actually call you sometime, you lazy bum! I am the guy that calls from North Carolina once in a while!
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