I sit here today and I think about what it is that makes GSN what it is. I think about how we got to where we are, as well as why we are here. There are so many things that comes to mind when I go over these questions/thoughts in my head, but I think we can all come to the same conclusions when we are said and done thinking about them.
I’m going to start with my personal journey, and then mix that in with why GSN is still strong today as it was when it was 4 guys and a server. I stumbled across GSN during its Black Ops days. I was looking for a good Search & Destroy server that wasn’t hardcore (easy mode), and they were a rare breed. GSN had one. I hopped on and started playing. I liked how the admins were opening and welcoming to the server, even though they were discussing banning me as they thought I was using a bot of some sort (CoD BO was the last game I was actually amazing at). I signed up to the forums on May 11th of 2011, made my intro post, and I have never left since. I hopped into teamspeak and started talking to @BadBadRobot. We hit it off instantly (him being a front-end designer and me being a backend engineer). That is all she wrote for me. I have been here ever since.
As the link I shared above describes, GSN started with 4 friends and a goal to have a place to game amongst friends. A place that puts quality WAY over quantity. A place that wants its members to enjoy gaming, whether it’s is on their server or not. A place that just wants to put the fun back into gaming without the drama. A place free from stress and pressure, and a place just to get away from the day to day. A place to lose yourself into the virtual world(s) that we have long used to de-stress.
Now, as with any human process, there will be friction. There will arguing and there will be cliques. That is inevitable. You can’t prevent or stop it, nor should you as this is part of the human experience. Interestingly enough, this is the first point of GSN. The “who”. The who of GSN is made up of like minded people that are all here for the same goal. A place to go to de-stress and have fun with one another. That is LITERALLY the only reason we exists. If we make money, become well-known, or do something amazing in the process, it’s a happy coincidence. We just want to have fun playing games with FRIENDS. The people that get through the threshold of GSN are thoroughly vetted and goes through an almost rigorous recruitment process. If they don’t fit the mold, they will not make it to the next stage.
Next, we take a look at the “why”. Why is GSN the way it is? The answer to this one is actually quite similar to the paragraph above. The people of this place are the exact reason that it is able to stay this way. Why do we want to stay this way, you might ask? We want to stay this way because it is what allows us to be versatile and ever-evolving. It is what allows us to be here today and not another run-down community that couldn't make it. It’s what prevents us from failing whenever there is tension.
The last and probably the most important is the how of it all. How does GSN live and breathe day after day? How does GSN still exist after this many years and still have a strong center to uphold its values? It’s actually quite simple. Refer to the last two paragraphs. Those two things built on top of a staff/leader oligarchy that doesn’t want/need money makes us VERY flexible. We are not in it for the money like most communities, nor are we in it for the fame. Sometimes we get one or the other, or on rare occasions both, but it’s not something we need to function on a daily basis. GSN’s flexibility and modular-ability is what has allowed us to survive game after game, confrontation after confrontation, attack after attack. It also has allowed us to undergo some HUGE changes and even re-architecturing. It has allowed us to morph and transmogrify ourselves to fit into the ever changing landscape of gaming communities. We are an ever changing, ever tweaking, and ever enhancing community and THAT is what sets us apart from other communities.
I look forward to the re-establishment of our foundation, which is now in place, and the growth that we are seeing (again, now that the core is in place). It took a lot longer than we originally thought it was going to and a lot of people bailed because of the slow progress that we were making. I’m going to let you guys onto a secret that not many know. Even I, at our lowest, didn’t like what I saw and what was happening and was mere minutes from stepping down and resigning my post. I had my resignation post written and everything. It was ready to post. I faltered and I almost gave up one of the best things that has happened to me because of it. I was talked off the balcony when @Nackers opened to my eyes and that I was looking at it all wrong, and for that I thank him immensely. I almost stepped down and walked away from the community that I have spent countless hours of blood sweat and tears into.
We have seen members come, get promoted, run our staff, and then get retired. Wash, rinse repeat. It has happened for several cycles and it will continue to happen. That just proves how long we have been around. We will miss those that have retired and we are thankful that they went through the system as they have given us some fantastic admin times as well as awesome ideas to help our community and those people in it .
At the end of the day, the only thing left to say is that GSN is unique and will continue to be as long as PC gaming exists. The reason that we are where we are is, in a nutshell, you. I look forward to posting another blog post 5 years from now talking about why we are as great as we are! I’ll talk to you then.