FOREWORD TO THE 4TH EDITION (C4)
Through countless hours of experimentation organizing our online gaming Community in tactically competitive environments, our founding Constitution was birthed in early 2004. Since the first edition, our Community has grown to reach individuals, communities, professionals, organizations, and humanitarian efforts far beyond our founding mission.
Since the 2010 publishing of the third edition, we have experienced a transformative journey that's empowered our Community with a deeper understanding of our prosocial capabilities in, around, and outside of the online video games we play. We hope this edition will prove so empowering to the reader that its call to action is unavoidable.
In 2011, soldiers and scholars supporting the U.S. Army during the height of Global War on Terror discovered the Division IGR and were struck by the similarities with respect to the development of individuals and communities. In turn, our Community discovered the published work of these Soldier-scholars in Leadership Based Training and Education (LEAD). In an improbable story of mutual discovery, our Community has grown into a social and intellectual force by taking the work in LEAD to the next level.
Uniquely, we recognized that ranks in purposeful communities like the U.S. military can be more like belts in martial arts than political power. Our ranks are not about power over others. Instead, they recognize a hierarchy of responsibility that has to be earned through commitment to others, participation, continual practice, and lifelong learning.
The design of our Community functions to mitigate the power plays and power asymmetries prevalent in the majority of online gaming communities. Being a Member of the Division IGR is about competition with oneself. Akin to the belts of martial arts, earning rank in our Community is about always striving to overcome the limitations of who we were, or who we momentarily may be. It is about the direct and reflective development of mind and body of individuals in the context of a purposeful Community.
Expansion of our Community design in this edition was commissioned to integrate our evolved worldview and to ensure our Community's ability to participate in the frontier development of disruptive technology, scientific research, leader development education, and durable social impact through video game design and organized online communities. In addition to our experiences operating successfully in and around the online games we play, this edition reflects our Community's experiences:
UNITED WE STAND
We, of the Division IGR, are more than networked gamertags who spend our time consuming online video game technology. We are an organized Community of online gamers who pursue our Primary Purpose in, around, and outside of the online video games we play. We invite you to join us in championing the underdeveloped potential of our world's online gaming communities and the transformative power they possess.
Prior to last week's annual reunion, I hadn't played SOCOM 2 in years, let alone at a ten man LAN. The most people I've ever played SOCOM with in the same room was ages ago when Mr. Yellow, Orange, Green, and myself used to hook up our TV's and PS2's at each others homes for clan wars.
Our goal this year was to connect our ten man LAN to XLINK and play SOCOM online with old friends. Unfortunately, the LAN to XLINK connect eluded us. Hats off to Mr. Cobalt, Dande, Mystic, and Grey, who troubleshot their hearts out. In the end, it was time to play.
Once we drew teams and fired up our PS2's to battle, nothing else mattered. From the moment the first lobby greened up to the last, we transported back to that place of tactical adrenaline, nail biting gun fights, sarcastic humor, clutch victories, high-fives, and endless gameplay. It was amazing to me how much fun SOCOM 2 still is all these years later.
Reliving the game that birthed us 12 years ago and playing through all of those timeless maps and strategies in person with clan members goes down as my greatest gaming experience of all-time. The flood of nostalgia and forgotten memories was something like magic. I think we averaged 5 hours of sleep between our marathon gaming sessions.
During the reunion we also held Dan's graduation ceremony. He chose the color, Dandelion, or "Mr. Dande," representative of "Dan the Lion." Fitting. We also surprised Mr. Mystic with a promotion to Lt. and welcomed him to Commissioned rank. He never saw it coming.
Next year, we're planning a week-long mega surprise for the community. Details shall be kept secret until all invitees arrive at our designated bullpen and travel together to the reveal. As soon as we arrive at our LAN destination, I suspect the fellas are going to go bananas. Look for our social media profiles to explode. Oh, and this time, we'll definitely be connected to XLINK.
There is a powerful dynamic in our clan that I would like to touch on. I point no fingers and shake no fists as I reflect on past experiences. I would simply like to share some epic truths about our decade-old gaming community.
Together, a small group of hometown friends discovered a play they had never seen before. Just as the Norse, the Scotts, and Medieval Kingdoms, they discovered clan, families, and friends, with their own world for battle and their own houses for respite, synonymously. This online gaming experience indirectly revealed a more complex and more fulfilling level of engagement than any before it. Realizing this experience must be used to its greatest potential, they developed forward.
Forged through vision, the Division IGR was established in 2003 with one goal, to find like minded gamers and revolutionize the shooter clan experience. Our co-founders, Justin, Matt, Russ and Chris, created a community, and within this, a competitive organization that would dominate the clan war servers. There wasn't an active gamer in our virtual nation that had not heard of the warring crayolas or the stories of their virtue. A producer of influence within the SOCOM community, the Division IGR represented respect, honor, dedication, brotherhood, and teamwork. Always enforcing the warrior mentality. The "world" as we knew it had heroes.
However, the true virtue of a hero cannot be expressed without an enemy or opposing force. The enemy in this story taking many forms, such as the disrespectful gamers yakking on the mic, the nemesis clans fighting to destroy reputations and even brethren turning coat. These enemies were negative forces, seeing only the battleground and not the bonds within it. These gamers saw only the winning and not the growth through struggle, the lure of good times and not the brotherhood required to endure hard times. They saw only the fun in playing with active gamers and not the fun given through being the best in a bad world. Those that could not overcome adversity fell.
But truly the conflicts in every story are trials. Obstacles given to the protagonists to reveal their true strength. Should the protagonist fail to overcome the obstacle, then the story loses its right to be written. Always, the Division IGR has emerged victorious from these trials, fluctuating in numbers but ever-surviving, adapting to each new game and age, but never wavering from its values or mission.
Today, we represent a living story, a true testament to the SOCOM experience and uniquely, the Independent Gaming Republic. Just as the Division IGR is a living story, our members are living characters, representing the virtuous gamer in an unruly and at times, self-serving world. Trash-talking, backstabbing, clan hopping, disrespectful, dishonest, disloyal, self-centered, and negative are characteristics that no protagonist in our story have.
As it has always been, the Division IGR continues to move forward in pursuit of its guiding vision. We say, when existing gamers become inactive, the active ones must find others to develop. If we start losing, leaders must must find ways to start winning. Whatever the problems, we must work together to fix them. Triumph over obstacles is what makes the characters in our living story great, never the victories themselves.
Use these truths in gaming, use these truths in life!
Daniel Christensen (AKA, Mr. Grey)
General of the Division IGR
Co-founder of the Independent Gaming Republic