In 1996 I came across Multi Player Battletech: Solaris while i was working as a guide for AOL.
This version of the multiplayer BattleTech computer game was available on AOL, and on Kesmai's (later named GameStorm) game service between 1996 and 2001. At its height on the AOL server, thousands of players competed simultaneously in arenas of two to eight participants, battling in team games or free-for-alls. After AOL initiated its hourly pay-for-play system, the majority of players moved to the GameStorm service, which operated for a number of years until its purchase by Electronic Arts.
During its run, the game's player-driven community grouped themselves into armies representing the various Successor States, or independent stables, or mercenary units. Though the in-game software did not support official groups, the player-driven units became close-knit communities, even after the games cancellation in 2001.
While playing the game in '96 i saw many units that were fly by night not really well organized merc units so i founded the Black Widow's with GraveWalker as my Co-founder / XO. I outlined the unit with a Para-military structure and added Trials for advancement threw the ranks. Within 1 month we had around 20 good players and we started really training to be good at the game. Once we fought in one of the community organized house wars we were noticed as top rung pilots and our ranks began to grow.
In mid - 1997 we were over 200 active members strong and a REAL force to be reckoned with. Getting bored one night I instructed the Widows to do a full scale attack on house Laio. this involved taking and controlling all of the houses drop bays. If Laio wanted to drop they had to drop against us and beat us for the control of the bay. I believe there were 22 bays? total and we controlled all of them for over 6 hours not losing a single one.
This resulted in the House leader of Laio filing a complaint with the Devs saying that the Black Widows were disrupting the game. I was politely asked by the Devs to "join a house so i could know when planned house wars took place" and was told "We cant have a group as strong as the Widows disrupting the House aspects of the game". As a good Merc Commander I publicly offered the Black Widows services to the House that made the best offer. 2 weeks later we joined House Marik and have been there every since.
We stand now as The Black Widow Company fighting for House Marik and the FWLM in MechWarrior Online. www.blackwidowcompany.enjin.com