History

History

The Sterling Order of Knights were founded on June 10, 1997.
Goldmoon and TrueKnight created SOK from a gathering of Diablo friends and gamers. The organization's stated purpose was to find new friends online to share in fun and honorable gameplay. Goldmoon and TrueKnight sought out rare trustworthy souls in order to found an Order of friendly and responsible gamers. They outright forbade any and all cheating in their Sterling Order. Back in the 1990s, online games were often buggy and cheating was commonplace, but SOK was always unique for its higher standards. Goldmoon and TrueKnight not only gave the Order its strict non-cheating code of honor, but also created its first website and executed its first game transition. Their leadership set us on the right path towards our illustrious history.

Ultima Online - Lake Superior server
On September 3, 1997, we applied to be a guild in the new game - Ultima Online. The release of Ultima Online (the first real and genre-defining MMORPG) was an exciting time, as its features allowed us to all play in the same game at the same time. Most of the active Knights moved from playing Diablo to Ultima Online, so the Diablo branch was closed on October 7. In Ultima Online, we built the two-story Sterling Order of Knights Meeting Hall on the fair island of Ocllo. December 19, some members moved to the "Catskills" server. Jubal took over the website and the leadership of the guild at this point.

Jubal's leadership added the forum and an active roster to the SOK website, increasing regular communication and guild cohesion amongst Knights. Over the years, the message board has become the heart of our community. Shortly after the guild system was in place in Ultima Online, the SOK High Council was established. This small group was chosen by Jubal to aid in leading the guild. The High Council began to organize fun events, mediate conflicts, and establish standards for our members.

During our stay in UO's world of Britannia we frequently adventured with two guilds, BliZZard of Warr and Southern Slayers. A proposal was made to unite our guilds in an alliance named the United Federation of Ocllo. The purpose of this alliance was to constantly have people we could adventure with. A Meeting of the High Council of SOK was called, and it was agreed that we would join the United Federation of Ocllo. The alliance resulted in some changes, some of them unforeseen. We became one of the largest guilds in Ultima Online. We were able to have successful large-scale player events on a regular basis.

Given the popularity of our alliance across the game, all three ally-guilds were overwhelmed with new applications for membership. While SOK maintained high application standards, our allies did not and expanded quickly. There were many more players to adventure with, but most were not what we could consider 'SOK material'. Many applicants who could not gain membership into SOK would end up being in our alliance the very next day, through joining BoW or SS. In times of need against the unique perils of Britannia, sometimes our new fellow guildmates would not be there, or not respond to cries of help. We decided to leave the UFO alliance and maintain our independent high standards, having learned from the experience and met new friends along the way.

A Multi-Gaming Guild
Shortly after that, the EverQuest beta started. Jubal left to the new lands and appointed Alex as the Guildmaster of SOK-UO. Many of our older members came back to play in EQ's world of Norrath, largely because they had quit UO and wanted to rejoin their old friends in the new game. Our numbers grew once more as we established our strength.

Since UO had been the first, this was the first time that two persistent massive multiplayer online games at this scale coexisted at once. We realized during this transition that maintaining SOK as a multi-game home of friends, throughout all the games the future brings, was our main strength and purpose. We also stopped having game-specific High Councils and launched an overall team of SOK Officers to manage the guild. The two branches of SOK, Ultima Online and EverQuest, coexisted for about a year. Alex led the Ultima Online branch until it closed in 2000.

At this time a Charter was introduced to focus the Knights on their role in online gaming. Our Charter sets the standard of expectations for our members. This helps ensure that SOK represents only friendly and honorable gamers.

EverQuest - Fennin Ro server
Through the years in EverQuest SOK had many interesting and unique roleplaying experiences. We were a part of the Gresh'Maj (multi-guild roleplaying event) and the Collective of Old Fennin (server-wide roleplaying organization). We also had some smaller scale events like the return of the old Dark Order of Knights (a roleplayed evil version of SOK, complete with alter egos). Dozens of wonderful tales have been told and shared in our own Rusty Dagger tavern (an in-character message board named after Krag's SOK Tavern in Ultima Online). We've had many guilds seek alliance with us over the years, including the Pretentious Malevolent Sisters.

A guild comprised of only female characters, PMS had a unique relationship with SOK from the start. Somewhat of a sibling guild, PMS began getting closer and closer to SOK over time. Eventually the two guild were so close that they held a real-life meet together in Florida. Many stories were told and friends were made, and in the end PMS and SOK were even closer. After a while, PMS mostly merged with SOK, and its leader Androdameia became an Officer of SOK.

In EverQuest, SOK was hailed and renowned for its consistent honor in gaming. The Knights were also known far and wide as one of few guilds that allows anyone to sign up for its raids and dungeon runs, as well as win treasure from their battling and merits, whether they were a guildmate or not. A traveler coming across a Knight on a lonely road could rest assured that this Knight, even if they were a complete stranger, was a quality individual.

News of our events, roleplaying, shared fun and trustworthy membership spread far and wide. In short order our guild expanded in size dramatically, while maintaining high membership standards. Although SOK generally does not recruit and has acted to curb the size of the guild with recruitment restrictions, closed or secret applications, and so forth, our membership is larger than it has ever been.

After a large contingent of active Knights moved from EverQuest to the Dark Age of Camelot, Leod was appointed Guildmaster of the EQ branch. With the help of Officer Advocates, a renewed guild focus (clearly defined guild direction), and organized raid leading and loot tracking, SOK continued to prosper in Norrath. Our close allies in EQ, such as The Forgotten Order, House of Kindred, and Caelum Infinitum, helped us form an in-game community based on friendship, fun, roleplaying, and achieving goals until we closed the EQ branch on September 16 2005, after many years of success.

The Dark Age of Camelot - Bedevere server, Hibernia faction
In October 2001, the Dark Age of Camelot released and we were ready for its 'Realm vs. Realm' massive PvP setting. We made many new friends and allies, including Shady Lane. SOK was a sight that struck fear into the hearts of our enemies, and we organized countless keep raids and fortifications. Some Knights, such as Thadicus, stood out for their ingame leadership abilities and brought glory to the guild through their actions. Recalling our previous experience in a multi-guild alliance, we carefully founded the Flames of the Phoenix alliance with other guilds and entered into what was the largest organization of Hibernian power and honor on the server.

After some years of gaming, the branch was put to rest Dec 20, 2004. A statement from Moreta on closing the branch read: "We have had a great run in DAoC from start to finish. For many of us we did everything. We found a wonderful home in Hibernia Bedevere. We lead alliances and have been a part of other alliances just as fulfilling. We met wonderful friends and made bonds that will last many years into the future. For some of us, we saw it through to Trials of Atlantis and did all that DAoC had to offer. We went from the depths of the ocean to the furthest reaches of every zone, dungeon, and Master level from 1 to 10. We fought all of the dirty Albs and Mids with ferocity and true honor.

Most of all though, we showed what it meant to be a Knight. In every step we took, we were polite, kind, helpful and tried to respect those we played alongside."

Star Wars: Galaxies - Starsider server, Rebel faction
In mid 2003, Star Wars: Galaxies released. Designed by Raph Koster and many of the old UO team, SWG offered a skill-based intricacy and alternative to level-based gaming that many had missed for years in a genre dominated by EQ and DAoC. The Sterling Order again poured into a world after release, and immediately set about achieving as much as they could. Many Knights in this branch demonstrated their personal valor through helping the guild collectively advance, and this group was later formed into an SOK Harvester Operation (gathering resources across the galaxy for the benefit of all Knights). With the substantial aid of a dozen noble Knights showing largesse, Alex and Surefoot built and founded Sterling Isle on a large island in the northeast sea of Corellia. Complete with its own Rusty Dagger cantina, hospital, marketplace, storage facilities, parks, ruins, gardens and trees, factories, biker gang, Rebel base, city hall, space port, and of course the SOK Guild Hall, this island paradise was frequented by many players. SOK made new friends, including the Crimson Order and the Insurgent Sisterhood.

After many more adventures, SOK moved on. What follows is an exerpt from Alex's closing address when SOK-SWG was laid to rest June 17, 2004: "In our time in Star Wars, SOK has done everything we wanted to do or could have wanted to do. We achieved all our goals: we've slain those imperials, built a successful city from a deserted island, killed all the baddest creatures in the galaxy again and again from Endor to Lok to Dantooine while exploring the galaxy inside and out, partied with our friends, mastered all the classes and skills, made tens of millions of credits, crafted all our own weapons, food, homes, furniture, armor, droids, medicine, etc, made quite a few good friends for the future, and even had a jedi in our ranks. We pwned the game and moved on. So it's with no regret that I give this announcement. See you in the next game."

City of Heroes - Justice server
In mid 2004 a unique game called City of Heroes released, and SOK manifested again after a strong beta presence. CoH had players as superheroes zipping around stopping crime and saving the world. An innovative game, City of Heroes saw the Super Group SOK on its Justice server protecting Paragon City under the leadership of Trubador. Once more friendships were forged, adventures were had, legends were born, and history was made. After our heroes traveled onward to keep new lands safe, the Super Group was laid to rest Jan 3, 2005.

World of Warcraft - Elune server, Alliance faction
Seasoned gaming company Blizzard launched the World of Warcraft in 2004. SOK had a powerful presence in the alpha and beta of WoW and formed up shortly after release. Active for almost ten years, the World of Warcraft branch of the Sterling Order is our most long-standing and most-played group. Though almost all the leadership of SOK have gamed regularly in Azeroth for years, Officer Kodoir's guidance and event coordination have proved foundational to our efforts here.

Through an early alliance with The White Company, SOK was able to foray into the 40-Man raids of Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, defeating Ragnaros and Nefarian both. As the alliance broke, SOK learned quickly how strong they were on their own, continuing to defeat boss after boss.

Burning Crusades brought on an easier approach with their 10-man raids, which allowed those in the different time-zones to continue to see content at a normal time for them. SOK continued to keep their footing and defeat those minions that stood in their way. Four groups were formed to defeat these minions, all finding success in different ways. Late Night Crew (LNC) (lead by Traylon, Asteroid and Valdus) was a group from PST, Kronnel Night Crew (KNC) (lead by Connel, Eggy and Aulwewen) was a second group from PST, Early Night Crew (ENC) (lead by Bajah, Nirrudn, Kodoir and Aedon) was a group dedicated more toward EST, and lastly Vrodd Night Crew (VNC) (lead by Xia) which was dedicated towards later EST.

The Lich King expansion continued the trend, and by the end, all four groups still continued their pattern of success by defeating the evil denizens of Azeroth, and eventually, the Lich King himself.

By the Cataclysm expansion, Knights were spread between many games, and there wasn't a way to keep all 4 groups active. LNC and VNC continued to be successful, but there weren't enough people to keep KNC and ENC active. With two major raid groups gone, the guild created events to go back to old content for those Knights that hadn't seen the content before, or re-live the experiences. These throwback runs made passing time fun for just about everyone while the raid groups continued to progress forward, destroying the challenges placed in front of them.

In the Mists of Pandaria expansion, only one raid group remained, VNC, which renamed itself SOK10. Our Knights' ability to come together and defeat the challenges put SOK in the top 5 guilds based on in-game progression. SOK can still be found raiding dungeons, tending farms, and being the best they can be in Azeroth today.

Real-Life Friendship and Meetings
In the Summer of 2002, after the success of our real-life meet in Florida, a small group of Knights began going camping in rural Missouri. Androdameia, Gus, Alex, Leod, Whyll, and Goo shared a weekend next to a river. This trip followed a 2001 scouting trip by an even smaller group. Canoeing, horseback-riding, barbequing, card-playing, and definitely drinking, this initial group decided to make the fun they were having an annual gathering. As the years passed, the event continued every year. Tents became cabins and RVs, and seven became seventy and more. We still gather every summer and create new memories together under the stars.

These gatherings have encouraged countless other real-life meetings in various locations. We regularly gather in South Florida, Dallas and Houston, Seattle, South California, Boston, Chicago, and many other locations. The friendships we form in-game are real, and bonds formed through SOK have led to dozens of relationships, roommates, companion-travelers, and new best friends. We now use social media sites and phones to contact each other more than instant messengers and in-game communication. Our high application standards and demand for honorable and respectful members have resulted in a genuine network of not just professionals and gamers but caring friends with whom we share our lives.

Gamer's Haven
Over the many years of our gaming, SOK has seen the gaming culture itself develop and expand. With so many online games out now, we use our Gamer's Haven forums for coordinating in any and all games whether we are officially established there or not. A few additional games we've played over the years are Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3, StarCraft II, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Final Fantasy XIV, Rift, Asheron's Call, Anarchy Online, Everquest 2, Warhammer Online, Lord of the Rings Online, EVE Online, Warcraft III, Diablo 2, and on and on. In many games only a few Knights play, but our world-builders, sci-fi lovers, roleplayers and first-person shooters still tinker in many worlds.

The guild exists to be a meeting place for people in their forays into the worlds of online gaming. A place to not only hang out with old friends but meet new ones. You can log on every night and play the same old game with the same old friends, but there is still a constant influx of new faces and potentially new friends. As we are spread across so many games but remain centered with strong leadership, this place remains a shining light in the chaotic darkness and instability of online gaming today. When a game dies out, the 'goodbye's to your old friends don't have to be permanent. This guild outlasts the games, and so this place is a stable home for gamers. We of the Sterling Order continue battling to uphold its founding ideals of honor and respect.