Don’t Incite Panic

A not so brief history of the clan

From the Archive: Originally posted by Rift at some point in 2008

Katalyst919.

Some of us remember him with reverence and gratitude. Others remember him with scorn and disdain. Myself, I remember him the way I’d imagine most of us do: with ambivalence. Regardless, all of us owe him something, as any way you slice it, all of this began with him. Some 1-2 weeks after the launch of Halo 2, in November 2004, Katalyst founded a clan called LSP, short for Lethal Sniper Pilots. Apparently, the name originated in the PC game Tribes. In 1997, Katalyst founded a Tribes clan called Lethal Sniper Pilots after his team was decisively defeated by a group of players using the deadly strategy of flying around in transport aircraft armed with sniper rifles. The name stuck and carried through for several years in Tribes, and was the inspiration for the grand union he foresaw coming of his endeavor to launch a Halo 2 clan. It should be noted that Katalyst himself was the only member of the Halo LSP that was also involved in the Tribes LSP. The rest of us were recruited in Halo 2.

Since Halo 2’s launch, I had been a member of a makeshift joke of a clan called High Alliance. I never played with any of my clanmates except the Overlord and my closest friend in real life, who had established the unique and memorable gamertag Cannabisaurus. One day I signed onto Halo 2 (to which I was hopelessly addicted from its launch until at least a year later, although the addiction persist to this day to a lesser extent) to find that High Alliance’s Overlord had departed. Additionally, I noticed Cannabis had changed his icon. He now wore an all white uniform with a simple blue skull in the center. Confused, I asked Cannabis what was up. He explained that he had joined a “real clan,” and assured me he would set me up with a “tryout.” A tryout? I was stoked to say the last. Here at last was a way that we can organize our mutual addiction to this game, work out some strategies and compete for real.

I entered the pregame lobby for my tryout, and was impressed to find Cannabis and another early LSP member (whose name escapes me) both wearing the same white-with-blue-skull icon, while the party leader, Katalyst919, wore all blue with a white skull. These guys, I thought, are the real deal. My tryout was brief and enjoyable. I played in five games with Katalyst, Cannabis, and one other early LSP member whose name escapes me. We won all five. I was pleased with the quality of my teammates’ play. Communcation was solid as well. I got my clan invite, and was told to suit up. I did. I was also told to sign up on a forum Katalyst had set up on Bungie.net. This, many TPAs will be entertained to know, I did not do for about two weeks, until Katalyst made it mandatory. Once on the forum, I realized what a helpful tool it was. We could discuss strategies, talk about plans to all be on at the same time, and generally get to know our clanmates better. I was now a full-fledged member of LSP. Before long, everyone was growing tired of the skull uniform. Time for a change. Katalyst, at the advice of his newest Staff member, Cannabisaurus, declared that everyone would now wear the same colors, but the “runes” icon instead of the skull. Much cooler. We were satisfied. But not for long. We wanted an opportunity to add our own personal spin to our individual icons. We felt too much like storm troopers, and it didn’t make sense as we grew to reserve a different icon only for the Overlord. Enter: the snake. Some time around the beginning of December, we were all told to don the snake icon, with triple row background. The clincher? We could pick any colors we wanted. I eventually settled on black outer bars, a purple inner bar, and a yellow snake. It was also about this time that, alone in a pregame lobby with our fearless leader Katalyst, I received the only promotion I’d ever experience in Halo. I was made Staff in LSP.

My memory is hazy on the exact sequence of events, but I believe it was just after the change to the snake uniform that we acquired a very promising new member by the name of Jungle Animal. LSP-clad in orange, white, and blue, Jungle was a talkative, if easily frustrated (“What in the He–*click*”), player who brought some excellent new strategic ideas to the forum, as well as a penchant for some longer posts about Halo and gaming in general. Jungle quickly ascended to Staff, at which point he recruited his brother, The Phatdad, a Counterstrike veteran who quickly went from one of our weaker members to a key asset to our clan, on and off the battlefield. Also acquired around this time were the quiet but deadly KillAlOgist, the elite slayer BrutalDefender, and the exceptional sniper DeathDragon666.

Sinister Viper. The name was the bane of my existence one late night in a clanmatch. I don’t remember the name of the clan, but in retrospect I believe that future Lethal Sniper Pilots Jobyn, Cookme, GrumpyLeukemia and King7128 were all members. Anyway, I remember the game was on Colossus, and I believe it was Multi-Flag. Our victory was decisive, but the opposition was led by one of the best snipers any of us had run into, and our victory was less-than-satisfying due to the many times each of us saw the string, “You were sniped by Sinister Viper” appear on the screen post-death. In postgame lobby, his stats were stellar compared with the rest of his team, and whether by coincidence or fate, this sniper was already clad in LSP’s uniform. Katalyst immediately made his offer: “Want to join a real clan?” Viper joined immediately, and shortly thereafter recruited his brother Jobyn, along with several of his friends, including the afore-mentioned Cookme, GrumpyLeukemia, and King7128. Viper and Jobyn were made Staff within a month of joining.

At roughly this time, Katalyst finally finished our website and forum. We now had our very own homepage displaying our clan’s roster, a section of news updates, and an RSS feed displaying live data on our Major and Minor Clanmatch ranks. We also had a forum separate from Bungie.net, where we could say as many bad words as we want to. Katalyst spent a lot of time setting up the forum’s structure so that we could more eficiently discuss clan issues. Probably the most interesting development was a separate forum called Staff Office, where the Staff could discuss issues pertaining to clan management.

The first several months of 2005 included many ups and downs for LSP. Downs included Cannabisaurus leaving LSP briefly to join White Lotus Clan, although he returned after roughly a week. He was followed back by several talented slayers, but most of them departed as quickly as Cannabis had done White Lotus. Ups included a uniform change whose main theme persists in TPA to this day. Katalyst sought me out for advice on this one. We agreed amongst the Staff to give everyone the same background, while allowing players to select whatever icon they chose, as long as it was all white. Katalyst and I settled on a tan-steel gradient, and the icons that many of us chose at this time are the ones we still wear today. Also happening during these months was the recruiting of many outstanding players, including the youthfully energetic skoolsux, the close friends and lethal slayers lilJesta and RipTheJacka, the strong player later turned cheater KKSnare04, and the long-faithful ShootRMcGavin and Caseman32. It was, in fact, the afore-mentioned KKSnare who, in June 2005, recruited the player who would indirectly cause the downfall of Katalyst and the formation of TPA, double tap 0. Double was an instant success with LSP. He was immediately likable, and being an MP in real-life, with plenty of combat experience in Iraq, he was not afraid to bark orders and marshall all ranks of LSP to strategic victories time and again. Double struck all Staff members as one of the most promising recruits we had ever seen, and it wasn’t more than a week since his recruitment before the cries were heard to make double tap 0 a Staff member. The poll was taken, the majority spoke decisively, yet a lone voice dissented, and that lone voice happened to be LSP’s lone Overlord.

Katalyst had been anything but a strong leader in the months leading up to the double tap incident. He had not updated the website in over 12 weeks, with no hint of any future work occuring. His play time had been greatly reduced. His forum activity was limited to the occasional negative criticism of this or that which he did not approve of, and his general attitude smacked of trying desperately to control a group of Halo 2 players to which he was more an outsider than a trusted General. The fact that Kataylst would so adamantly oppose the promotion of the member that all of us saw as one of the strongest among us was the last straw for two Staff members who had had enough.

On a warm summer night at the end of June 2005, Cannabisaurus and Sinister Viper convened a council of LSP’s Staff and core members. I myself was not present. Actually, at that time I was in Dallas, Texas, in the midst of a month-long cross country vacation with some friends. That being the case, I can’t comment much on the goings on at this meeting. What I can comment on is my complete lack of surprise the next day, when, while in a gas station buying a Coke somewhere in eastern New Mexico, I answered my ringing cell phone to talk to Cannabis. When I hung up the phone, I was one of three Overlords of a new Halo 2 clan called ThePanicAttacks.

I finally had a few down days with internet access upon our arrival in Monterey, California. I hopped online and sorted through all the mayhem that had occurred on the LSP forum, and the series of emails sent to me by Cannabis, Skooly, and Jobyn. I expressed my desire to be involved in the creation of the new website, as well as the design of a new uniform. Since I was an Overlord, a rank that took some getting used to, of course my wishes were granted. A temporary forum was set up until my return at the end of July, at which point Skooly, Jobyn, Cannabis, and myself put our minds together to create thePanicRoom and thepanicattacks.com, both of which would remain under my solo supervision for almost a year.

Together, Cannabis and I worked out the uniform scheme which would draw on the attractive LSP design, yet add new elements, and, most notably, change slightly depending on a player’s rank. The steel primary color, horizontal gradient background, and all-white icon would be shared by all. The secondary color would be blue for Members, red for Staff, and gold for Overlords. This color scheme was finalized by double, who noted that such was the color-rank system employed by the Covenant Elites in the Halo series of books.

Upon the clan’s genesis, long-deserving Members BrutalDefender and KillAlOgist were finally made Staff, along with, of course double tap 0, who would soon ascend to the rank of Overlord thanks to his constant energy and dedication to the young clan. Recruiting was active and rapid. Strong members such as pimpsrs1, artiFicialAI, Omynous, Potts86, and XBuffyX joined and thrived in TPA’s warm embrace.

To keep our web presence dynamic, we launched a Medals program in August, through which we began to recognize exceptional in-game and out-of-game achievements by our clan’s members. Medals started as a small testing-the-waters project, but has since exploded into a constant point-of-interest and source of motivation for everyone from Peon to Overlord. At the end of August, double tap 0 was promoted to Overlord, while The Phatdad took his place as a Staff member. TPA’s skill grew as we triumphed again and again in clanmatch after clanmatch. We became a force to be reckoned with in any 8-man game, and an unstoppable leviathan in general ranked Big Team Battle matches. September saw the promotion of Jungle Animal to Overlord. Jungle had been one of the strongest recruiters among us, and his promotion was a surprise to no one but himself. His Staff position was filled by artiFicialAI. Also at this time, TPA further solidified its stance against cheating with the introduction of the Cheater Defeater medal. Now, we finally had a way to formalize our dedication to fair Halo, and to reward players who triumph against unfair odds. It was certainly no coincidence that, a mere two weeks after the introduction of this medal, a cheater was discovered in our midst and promptly removed from the clan. KKSnare04, aka Bridging You, was indirectly responsible for the fall of LSP and the corresponding rise of TPA, but his actions here showed he was never truly committed to our collective mentality. KKSnare’s behavior was a catalyst to further our crusade against cheaters. Shortly thereafter, Sinister Viper began performing background checks on new Peons to ensure a cheating-free TPA.

With the coming of the Xbox 360, none of us were really sure what would happen. In the months leading up to the new console’s launch, most of us were sure that Perfect Dark Zero would finally unseat the great Halo 2 as the game of choice for TPA and the Xbox Live FPS community as a whole. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Following a brief stint with Call of Duty 2, TPAs found themselves once again glued to Halo 2, thanks to backwards compatibility. Meanwhile, ILuvMeSumMe, aka Lay Wood 10, ascended to Member, ascended to Staff, then went on a tirade of bigotry, sexism, generally pissed everyone off, and was promptly booted. ProneHypocrisy joined us in Luv’s stead and everyone welcomed a warmer personality. Prone would later climb his way up the ladder to Staff and eventually Chief of Staff under his later guise, TPA Pronedizz. In the continuing search by most for the easiest way to lay their hands on a 360, we found ourselves Headshot Hat, who rapidly made his way to Staff following RipTheJacka’s virtual disappearance from Halo 2.

As we continued to grow our ranks, Omynous quickly followed Headshot into the red uniform. We were upset when Bungie decided to discontinue the ranked Clanmatch playlists. But in retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened to TPA. The lack of organized competition prompted us and many other clans to begin actively seeking like-minded competition. We soon struck a chord with two future allies, in an outreach that would change the course of TPA history in many ways. These two allies: the TTL Gunslingers and the Halo Forefathers. TTL was on our good side from day one. We got along great, we shared a hatred of cheaters and a love of a good, fair game with friendly dialogue on both sides. Soon after issuing our first formal challenge, we were randomly paired with TTL in a game of Big Team Battle. And yes, we defeated them. We also hit it off with the Forefathers, but before we could really develop this relationship, their clan disbanded due to a number of internal issues. The situation worked out well for TPA, however, as we slowly began acquiring former 4F members, many of whom tore through the ranks of TPA and now maintain positions of power. Most noteworthy are our current Chiefs of Staff, Inden 1 and fatality000 (fatality is remembered as one of the swiftest to move from Peon to Member to Staff, second only in this regard to double tap himself), another Staff member, TPA Vamp, and long-time Member II Gilthanis II. Later, TPA would even recruit the master Forefather himself, WarMatchine.

Wait… Chief of Staff? That’s right. TPA decided in May 2006 to introduce the rank of Chief of Staff as someone to go between Staff and Overlords. Wearing the orange uniform, it became the COS responsibility to keep the Staff in line and keep the Overlords posted on any issues that may arise. We’ve had nothing but success with this rank, rotating our Staff members in an out of the position according to current activity levels. Over the months, the orange uniform has been donned by Headshot Hat, TPA King, Inden 1, TPA Pronedizz, TPA Bad Karma (aka pmpsrs 1, aka TPA Pimp, aka TPA Pimptacular, aka TPA PimpTac, aka Pimpsrs1, etc. etc. etc.) and, most recently, TPA Fatality.

What’s with all the TPA gamertags all of a sudden? We owe this one to King7128, who became GD712 before pioneering the TPA gamertag by becoming TPA King. When the Xbox 360 gave us the power to change our gamertags, we rapidly began to follow suit. I would be typing names forever if I listed everyone who changed, so I’ll leave it at crediting King with being the first. Thanks to him, we look like more of a team than ever. As the clan’s history continues, the scores of Members make a comprehensive history nearly impossible to recount in full. Suffice it to say, we have remained a strong community, weathering storms light and severe of all types to arrive at where we are today. Here are a few of the highlights from the past year or so that stand out as memorable moments in the life of ThePanicAttacks.

LAN Party 2006: Perhaps the favorite TPA moment of nearly everyone who came. We put ourselves up in the Holiday Inn in Columbus, Ohio. TPAs from far and wide, indeed from across the country Connecticut to California, flocked to play Halo with one another in person rather than across the Xbox Live network.

NoFXRaven: Another fast-track-to-the-top TPA, NoFXRaven had an impact the moment he joined. A veteran of the FFA grindstone and a fan of the MLG style of play, Raven began to hold his clanmates to a higher standard of communication and in-game awareness. From Peon to Member, from Member to Staff, from Staff to Chief of Staff, from Chief of Staff to Overlord. Raven passed the test each time, stepping up his involvement and showing we at the top that we had done the right thing each time. We’re proud to call FX our newest Overlord, yet we of course still support the philanthropic efforts of the world-reknowned I Hate Raven Club.

Thepanicattacks.com 3.0: Our newest website is the embodiment of TPA’s increasingly outward-looking orientation. We want to be an important piece of what has become a truly tangible community of Halo 2 gamers. Thus we have taken numerous steps to further unite this community, not the least of which is what you see before you today: a website promising content the whole community can appreciate and enjoy, and in the future, content from leaders of other clans.

It was said at the clan’s birth, and it holds true even today, almost two years later: the future of TPA is very bright indeed. Over the next several months, we will be taking on a leadership role in the Halo community while keeping things solid at home. Our young Pro Squads plan to hone their skills toward the goal of competing on increasingly more-prominent stages, while the rest of us continue to have a blast on Halo, as well as a healthy suite of other games, including Gears of War and World of Warcraft. Wherever we go, we are TPA, ThePanicAttacks, fierce competitors, sportsmanlike gamers, with ambitions to lead the Halo community to the next level.

Then a bunch of us went and got addicted to WoW, others stayed in Halo.

The members and website that you see today is the New Panic Attacks, a version 4.0 if you will. Essentially thePanicAttacks of Halo 3, the much hated version of the members above. Don’t worry guys, we will keep the torch lit for your return from the World of Warcraft.

The end.

Rift