In the late months of 2014 a clan chat was opened for social reasons. There was no specific purpose behind this other than to offer a small group of friends a convenient place to chat. As more people in the group acquired friends throughout playtime, these individuals also received an invite to the CC. The CC began to expand, very quickly. It was not long before the CC stood at 15 online during peak hours. The original CC founders often discussed taking things further. On May 17th, 2015 action was finally taken to do so.
Venenatis, Kneeled Son, and TheTomato
opened Vanguard up as a clan.
Soon Venenatis began constructing a free forum hosted by Proboards. Kneeled Son purchased a domain (Vanguard-rs.com) and those in the CC began registering on the forums to post introductions. Member ranks started being handed out by Venenatis and the clan began hosting events. PvP was not really the topic of interest for Vanguard at this point, it was originally intended that the clan would have a high focus on a respectable community alongside group PvM.
For the most part, Vanguard continued to grow at a steady pace while the environment remained mostly casual. The founders wished to maintain high integrity as to keep the community pure and drama free. Venenatis and Kneeled Son played Runescape long before the origin of OSRS, thus they were familiar with how some clans operated dishonorably pre eoc. Vanguard would never go down a dishonorable path, even as a community clan. As such, the term honor clan was adopted to be the clans primary principle.
Growth & Structure
Growth was never a problem for Vanguard, it has always been a fun community that attracts a variety of players. Expansion was unfolding quickly and Venenatis felt the need for order. He suggested a meeting and at the meeting a system was proposed. This system was called the Faction System. The Faction System worked well for community clans which Venenatis helped manage pre eoc. He had hoped it would work well in this case.
The Faction System was to divide the clan into 3 structured categories, each with one designated leader and a staff team. PvE which consisted of skilling, PvM and PvP. The leaders were named as thus: TheTomato (known as VnG Tomato) became the leader of PvE. She oversaw bi-weekly skilling competitions that the community adored and these competitions kept the clan actively progressing their accounts. I Mush I, who kept everyone active and wealthy by leading PvM. Finally, Kneeled Son (Known as VnG Kneeled) who took the reigns leading PvP. Venenatis mostly oversaw and assisted each Faction Leader as he has always been best at quietly working in the background.
The Beginning of War
Not much had changed for Vanguard throughout 2015. It was just steady growth with community events on the side. Occasionally the clan would PK but no other clan knew who Vanguard was despite an active presence. During April of 2016, Vanguard was approached to join in on a F2P cluster. Since the clan had been extremely active, leadership agreed to take part. On April 30th Vanguard took place in it's first active war.
Not being properly structured as a warning clan Vanguard was ultimately massacred and demoralized. Larger clans such as Downfall, Forsaken and Lithuanian Forces were too much for a community clan. However, Wilderness Guardians had similar numbers for a little while the two clans were able to compete until they were both cleared by 45 Downfall. Venenatis reached out to WG for a rematch at clan wars, WG agreed but only if it was P2P. The data was set for May 7th, 10 days prior to Vanguard's one year anniversary.
Casual No More
Venenatis took the war prep time to extensively study warring clans, as well as the history of Runescape warring. He had a soft spot for world history. Further, the nature of how organized warring clans could be intrigued him. On May 7th, 2016 Vanguard had defeated the Wilderness Guardians for the clans first war and first victory.
Although WG was the lowest tier among war clans Vanguard was surprised a community clan could defeat a warring clan so effortlessly. Vanguard was hyped like never before and many members approached Venenatis to take Vanguard to a competitive level. After discussing it with the Faction Leaders everyone was in agreement. Although, instead of just aiming to be competitive at one game style each leader wanted to be competitive at whatever they specialized in. To be different, they all agreed, albeit it was naive to believe each game style could be treated equally which would later lead to conflict.
The First Steps
PvM and Skilling took place throughout the week. Gradually Vanguard members achieved good stats and large banks. During the weekend, PK trips were hosted by VnG Kneeled and the Vanguard name began to spread among the warring community. Despite the number difference Vanguard started securing wins against PvP clans like SUN, Red Army, Desolation, Zero Tolerance, TUF, Anonymous Community and RBH.
Although there existed several clans that just had too many numbers to compete against: Ancient Fury, Divine Forces, Cutthroat, Sovereign, Downfall, Forsaken. Venenatis didn't want to continually be the footing of these clans and started to make a push for recruitment. The Faction Leader I Mush I who led PvM was steadily losing interest in Runescape, he was replaced by Laggingirl who compensated for his lack of enthusiasm and Vanguard slowly gained numbers.
As Vanguard gained numbers while operating the same as it always had conflicts of interest arose. The pkers in the clan wanted to go out more often than weekends, and the PvMers/Skillers were losing interest in PvP entirely. Since the Faction System never changed, each Faction became divided against one another and strife between the parties eventually formed.
Factions were mostly independent, the only mandatory events which they needed to attend was specified to their faction of choice. Since the warring hype gradually died out each faction began to refuse PvP attendance and the PKers felt it hard in the wilderness. Eventually Laggingirl stirred a rebellion based on lies that Vanguard leadership was using it's boards to hack member accounts for wealth. The PvMers split off with Laggingirl to form their own PvM clan. Likewise several PKers left due to the unwillingness of other Factions to partake in PvP. They joined up with a rising PvP clan called 420. A number of ex Vanguard members achieved ranks in 420 which led to the clan targeting Vanguard on their PK trips. Due to the departures there wasn't much Vanguard could do to fight back.
Despite the setbacks those loyal held a blazing passion to succeed. Recruitment was pushed stronger than ever and Vanguard fell back on community events while it rebuilt from the ashes. It wasn't long until 420 closed after the ex Vanguard members that joined attempted to overthrow the leadership. Venenatis setup an alliance with the Wilderness Guardians as to be a means to keep Vanguard active in the wilderness while rebuilding outside of it. Both clans pulled 15, so pulls of 30 between them became common place leaving room to benefit both clans as they grew. In time, Vanguard had fully recovered from the member loss and once again could compete in the wilderness on their own.
Venenatis and VnG Kneeled knew that if they wished to keep members happy they couldn't let history repeat itself. From this point on PK trips were not mandatory but wars became mandatory attendance for all Factions. This kept the Pkers that joined mostly satisfied. A Warlord, Runescapemj2 was named who kept PK events going throughout the week and scheduled wars on the weekend. Once again the Vanguard name began to spread while many of the other PvP clans which wrote Vanguard off began to close one by one.
PK trips 3 times a week and community events attracted a wide number of new recruits to Vanguard. Thanks to skilling most members were beyond 120 combat, and thanks to PvM everyone had high value banks with plenty of return sets. Vanguard now led the alliance it once had with Wilderness Guardians. As time progressed, WG struggled to hold its own in PvP. While Vanguard was growing WG was gradually declining.
In time, members of the alliance clan started looking into joining Vanguard. Out of respect for WG a rule was agreed upon that neither clan would recruit from one another. However, the members of WG began to come to Venenatis and tell him WG was in shambles. If Vanguard didn't open its door to them, they would be leaving WG as well as possibly the game itself. The recruitment rule was dissolved and most of WG started joining Vanguard. Further, another clan Vanguard was close with (Red Army) started to dissolve and post introductions.
The Numbers to Fight
Vanguard now had the numbers to compete with higher ranked clans. Pulls increased to 25 easily, clans such as Downfall, Divine Forces, and FsK were no longer unbeatable. Vanguard could now ask these clans for prepped PKRI. Still, Vanguard excelled more at unprepared fights as many of the new members needed more time to adapt to each other. Likewise, WG and Red Army did not have many prepped fights so they were adjusting just as much as Vanguard. There was a lot of success in this era but a lot of growth pains to balance the success. Jumping a gap in rankings is never easy especially for a clan that was not founded as a PK clan. Albeit, Vanguard never surrendered and continued to fight for success.
The First Death Rivalry
Around this time the pure clan called Ruin went main. They pulled about the same as Vanguard and would try to hit small man pk trips to post Zybez win topics. Ruin also used Zybez to trash talk a lot and degrade clans. Since Vanguard was about the same size it came natural that they would be the main material for these topics. Soon flame exchanged between the two parties, but nothing ever became of it.
Ruin began to surge and target both Vanguard and a friendly clan called Explicit. Growing weary of Ruin's drama Vanguard started to hit back and protect Explicit if they asked for assistance. This made Ruin very miserable at which point they wanted to put all of their energy into closing Vanguard as a clan. Ruin leadership started messaging new applicants or long term members to spy on Vanguard. This was the final straw which led to battle after battle that Vanguard won against Ruin. Vanguard refused to let them win a single victory, and given time Ruin closed mass joining Cutthroat.
Ruin was not the only clan to close, several begun closing in succession. Downfall, Forsaken, Poison, Sovereign, Anonymous Community and many others shut down. The wilderness became stale for a good while. Despite several of the WG members being removed from Vanguard not much changed as competition was dry. Once more Vanguard was able to fall back on community events, and safe clan wars while the wilderness rested quietly.
Without many clans around this made Vanguard one of the last options for players to join. Most of Forsaken and some Downfall joined boosting the memberlist quite extensively. Nevertheless the problem remained that there was no longer a lot of competition. Continued, a lot of these ex clanners did not know how nor have the desire to adapt to a clan so incredibly different like Vanguard. They saw community events as a plague, many of them did not care for honor, and many of them had no respect for ranks since they had not been in the warring community for a decade. Although there were some decent fights with the large memberlist, the community was tense and leadership found it best to decline several. With seeing their former clan mates removed, the others left.
Progress continued without the mass join. Around this time a new Warlord (who later became Officer) was named who pushed incredibly hard for Vanguard's success. (Longsnapper) Members began to strive hard to achieve better quality in PvP, and the clan was restructured. The wise among the clan world began to see our dedication, and some experienced members started to join such as Mike who would eventually become Warlord, and then Advisor.
Although the importance of hosting community events was kept, Factions began to dissolve. There was something special Vanguard had by cherishing the entirety of the game and not just PvP. However, Factions caused more division than anything else in the clans history. Leadership agreed it was important to keep in perspective there was more to the game than PvP, but it was unnecessary to have specific Factions dedicated to one aspect of the game. Leader, Officer, Advisor, and Community Manager were added as new ranks. The clan began to experience overwhelming success being able to get a fight against the #1 clan Reign of Terror, and other competitive clans like Cutthroat, Revenant, Playdead, Damage Inc and Violent Resolution.
I could not accurately express all of the incredible memories I've had with this clan, here is a but a brief portion. I tried my best not to make this about one person, not even myself. I wanted this history to be pure and about an idea, the concept that is Vanguard. It's an idea that a small group of people can work together to make anything possible. People told me a community clan couldn't get where we are today, yet we here stand after much work and dedication. People told me honor was no longer a possibility for a Runescape PvP clan, not in this era. Once again we stuck to our principles and achieved the alleged impossible. I do not know what the future holds nor do I know who will write it, perhaps me, or perhaps Brent. Perhaps neither and it will be our future successor. Nevertheless I look forward to seeing what the continued idea of Vanguard is truly capable of.