Jedi Academy Aurochs
|Jedi Academy Aurochs|
The Jedi Academy Aurochs are the official esports team of The Jedi Academy. Members from the Academy are recruited into the Aurochs to represent the community both in fighting ability and in good sportsmanship. The Aurochs compete in TFFA and Duel matches against other teams in JKA. They are one of the few competitive teams in JKA that still adhere to a fighting style unreliant on poke. The JAA also took an active role in contributing back to the Academy and to the entire JK3 community. As such, the Aurochs comprise the very best that the Academy has to offer.
- 1 What is an "Aurochs"?
- 2 Origins and History
- 2.1 The Hydroball Team
- 2.2 Aphex's Aurochs
- 2.3 The Era of 3th
- 2.4 A New Dawn: R2D2 and Jade Jedi
- 2.5 Masta: The Last Bid for Power
- 3 Notable Games
What is an "Aurochs"?
An aurochs (Bos primigenius) is an extinct European mammal of the Bovidae family. Julius Caesar wrote of the great black bulls in an account of the Black Forest..."They are but a little less than Elephants in size, and are of the species, color, and form of a bull. Their strength is very great, and also their speed. They spare neither man nor beast that they see. They cannot be brought to endure the sight of men, nor be tamed, even when taken young." The name was picked by the player Luke Skywalker, who would later on go to found Jedi Praxeum, and is derived from the Final Fantasy X team: the Besaid Aurochs. The reason why Luke picked this name is unknown, though. The word "aurochs" is both singular and plural and can also be thought of as a collective, individuals forming a greater whole.
Origins and History
The Hydroball Team
The first Academy team to carry the name "Aurochs" was originally created by Luke Skywalker and (SKX) Dark Blade as a casual Hydroball team at the Academy. Who the original players were and how active the team was at that time is unknown today. All that is known is the team eventually fizzled out with the arrivial of JKA.
Late in 2003, Aphex created the first version of the Aurochs as they are today. He invisioned a team of Academy members that could go out and compete against other clans in Duels and TFFA while representing the Academy as a place of learning. Aphex wanted the Aurochs to spread word of the Academy to various players in JK3 that didn't know about it and would profit from its wide range of educational material.
The Aurochs were an instant success in the Academy and the team practiced fairly often, participating in all aspects of JKA such as no-force, full-force, capture the flag, and all-out FFA competitive events. The team took on a number of clans and played in some tournaments, but unfortunately the records of those matches have been lost.
Midway through 2004, Aphex joined the US Army and was unable to lead the Aurochs any more nor fulfill his duties as an administrative member of the Academy. He turned over control of the team to Jaiko D'Kana, a 'Jedi Academy Trainer' at the Academy. Jaiko was unable to do much for the slowly retiring team because of various issues in his life and the inability of his internet connection to join game servers. The Aurochs fell into inactivity and the team faded away for a few months.
The Return of the Aurochs
On October 10th, 2004, then 'Jedi Academy Knight' at the JA Tido wrote to Jaiko to allow Janus, a former Aurochs and then a Knight as well, to take lead of the team and make it active again. Jaiko readily agreed and passed the responsibility to Janus. Janus laid a new foundation for the Aurochs and Tido constructed a new website to reflect the changes. The Aurochs took a design similar to the Academy's with the leader of the team being the "Master Aurochs", the leadership advisors being the "Master Auroch Mentors", the ranked members at the Academy who were involved being the "Mentors", and the rest of the team being "Aurochs". The team grew quickly by attracting many players, most notably Kain, followed shortly by Masta, both of whom would later on become some of the core players of the JAA.
Janus couldn't remain as the leader of the Aurochs because of issues in his life and eventually because he had to put down the title of Jedi Academy Knight, making him ineligible to lead the team anymore. Janus passed the title of Master Aurochs to 3th, padawan of Aphex and a Knight at the time. This would mark the beginning of the greatest era of the Jedi Academy Aurochs.
The Era of 3th
Not long after 3th took charge, the team realized the current system wasn't working smoothly. It became apparent that the Academy's design wasn't proper for a team and the Aurochs were suffering inactivity problems in the upper ranks just like the Academy was. Also, the Aurochs were caught in a tough debate about whether to recruit a team to win or recruit a team to allow more people to participate despite the outcome. It was believed that the team could accomplish both objectives and a dual-team system was drafted for the Aurochs. The Aurochs became two teams: the White Team and the Green Team. The White Team represented the top-skilled players and were to play against the toughest clans/teams. The Green team consisted of Aurochs that were considered "up and coming" and were to play intermediate level teams/clans. The hope was that both teams would be active, play opponents of their skill level, and the Aurochs would have a system that constantly improved players to the next level. The design worked well for the White Team and it went on to become competitively successful in JKA. The Green Team, however, never became motivated enough about their matches and made little effort to improve or even participate.
Conflicts With The Academy
The Aurochs suddenly found themselves in a tough situation when teammate Sauce, back then a member of WoV was suddenly banned from the Academy for making a sarcastic remark about laming on the Wovian clan's forums. Despite efforts to talk with the administrative leaders of the Academy, namely the 'Jedi Academy Council' (JAC), the Aurochs could not help their friend whose intentions were not meant to be serious. From this point on, the Aurochs and JAC had trouble getting along with one another. Situations arose frequently where the JAC disapproved of the Aurochs. The team felt like they were being targeted and that the Academy was being hostile towards them.
The Aurochs went into debate amongst themselves about seperating entirely from the Academy. Many felt that they were not welcome at the JA and that the Council, for whatever reasons, might destroy the team they had come to enjoy being a part of. On the other hand, most Aurochs didn't want to become a clan and liked representing the ideals and comradery they enjoyed as members of the Academy. Most of the team agreed that the best course of action was to remain a part of the JA, but start preparing incase their fears about the Council were true. After this, the Aurochs began moving their website to their own domain and started acquiring their own game servers.
The Golden Age
With a renewed sense of autonomy, the Aurochs quickly became motivated enough to start working on their new vision of the team. Because of the failure of the dual-team system, a new one-team system was drafted to create the "leaner and meaner" Aurochs. The idea was to have fewer numbers but higher quality players overall. The focus was no longer to field only the best players in competition, but instead equally force everyone on the team to improve. Recruitment requirements were severely toughened, and it was harder to remain a member of the team if inactive. Practice schedules were drafted out and a lot of attention was put on improvement as well as tactical sophistication. The Aurochs eventually moved back to the JA's website and much of the tension between the Academy and the Aurochs had lightened due to the unbanning of Sauce and various other reasons. This lead to a favourable training environment that would ultimately serve as the basis for much of the success that the team has had in mid-2005 till late 2006. During this time, the Aurochs assisted with TFFA classes within Jedi Academy, attracting new students to the TFFA gametype. The Aurochs also pushed for basejka Academy servers and eventually made it happen.
The team quickly rose to fame after it managed to win many significant victories against the very top clans of the North American JKA scene. This included most notably the famous game against clan DoX in August 2005. DoX had at that time usurped the title of NA champions due to Wovian's inactivity, going as back as May 2005. DoX had also gained many new top players as recruits, including former Wovian Matrix as well as the famous subLime, who was at that time widely considered to have been the best dual-saberist in North America. They were not afraid to field those players in the match against the Aurochs, complementing them with their own top players DoX.HavoK and DoX.skillz, thus fielding the best possible lineup in DoX history. The match was correspondingly tense with a lot on the line, but DoX ultimately succumbed to the JAA in two very close rounds, losing the first round 50-48 and the second 50-46 in an upsetting fashion.
Shortly thereafter the Aurochs challenged and convincingly defeated clan KoP's best lineup, which had remained a significant force in the North American scene, with a score of 50-39 and 50-40 respectively. There were discussions held on the Aurochs forums about a potential challenge to Wovian, but because Wovian had been inactive for a good few months by that point, the issue quickly became rather moot. With the American competitive scene having not much else to offer at
It took the Aurochs a while to adjust to the incredibly tough competition faced on the European ladders, and despite a rocky start, the Aurochs
managed to bring home their first major victory in January 2006, when they defeated the well established clan Jedi7 with 59-70 in the first round and 42-57 in the second. A short while later they challenged and defeated the emerging North American clan SITH with a score of 43-48 and 45-33. Clan SITH would return to challenge the Aurochs once again in April 2006, fielding their best lineup with former Master Viper (aka SITH_Black) and Wovian Ransom (aka SITH_North). The JAA nonetheless managed to defeat SITH in an extremely close game for a second time, losing the first round 39-43 and winning the second one 48-38.
The team continued to actively compete against some of the best clans that the European scene had to offer, winning many excellent matches against teams like BoS, Best, sf, losing just barely to TuA, being unfortunately outplayed by the top clans noLimits and 333, but winning a close victory against a branch of the eSe clan.
Another great hallmark was reached in June 2006 when the Aurochs pulled some stunning victories against a variety of top clans in quick succession. They first played roYality, who fielded the top player maerlin and DeXu amongst others, and won two incredibly close rounds with scores of 38-35 and 43-37; then came the match against fiDelity, featuring such amazing players like reign, aoshi and noiz, against which the JAA once again only
just barely won with a total score of 113-104, winning the first round 64-50 and losing the second one 49-54. They went on to defeat Zenith, BolS, beat the B-Team of clan TuA twice, won against SITH (now renamed to "Insane") for the third time and finally played against the then emerging clan Jedi Sentinels, which would later go on to become one of the most successful clans in the history of the ESL. For that game, clan JS had decided to field Grizzli, the legendary player Minneyar and Unique, all of which were top players for their time. Despite that lineup, they did not manage to win against the Aurochs who took the game 41-36 and 49-44. This finally culminated in the team ascending to the third rank in the ESL team ladder, something that no other non-poke team would manage to repeat until late 2009.
Towards the end of June 2006, the Aurochs decided to challenge team p3g, which consisted almost entirely of aXiom players at that time, and despite their best efforts, they only managed to win the first round with a score of 57-53,
losing the other one 19-33. They also decided to challenge Wovian to an official match as they were starting to become more active again - however, an official match was never scheduled because Wovian kept insisting that they were still too inactive for proper matches. As it goes, the discussion around the Wovian match got quite heated and the Aurochs could be spotted playing Wovian in full tags and with proper lineups on the servers at various points in time. This resulted in some confusion on both sides, as nobody was sure what matches were supposed to be regarded as official, since nothing proper was scheduled.
Whatever the case may be against Wovian, a second match against p3g was scheduled on the ESL a month later. This time, the Aurochs had to face a full team of aXiom players, including such legends like aXiom][wArhammer and aXiom][kAmui. The timing was very unfortunate, however, because some of the Aurochs were experiencing severe connection issues during the match and so their performance suffered significantly; rescheduling the match was out of question at that time as well. Nonetheless, the game ended in only just a close defeat with scores of 35-38 in the first round and 37-59 in the second one.
Decline and Retirement
Unfortunately, inactivity became a serious problem from that point on. Many of the Aurochs got more and more preoccupied by issues outside of the game, some became slightly complacent after having achieved so much and others were becoming disillusioned with the most recent defeats in the ESL. In an attempt to counteract this development, a new training system was implemented while the team took a break from competitive gaming. The training system was established, but despite that the Aurochs were slowly losing more and more members to inactivity, leaving the regular training sessions only mildly attended. The sessions themselves were eventually abandoned altogether.
During this time, the Aurochs were having troubles with the JAC once again. Projects undertaken for the good of the Academy, which to the JAC however seemed to overstep the bounds of the role that the "JA's esports team" is supposed to play, strained the relationship between the Aurochs and the Academy. Both sides misunderstood one another, not willing to look at the other's point of view, making it very hard to come up with a concrete solution to the problem. Eventually, these projects were abandoned, and problems that arose on IRC were mostly resolved. There was still a lot of tension present, which made the JAA's situation all the more difficult.
After a couple of months, the Aurochs noticed how inactive they had become. Due to real life circumstances and other factors, the majority of the Aurochs were not able to maintain a decent level of activity in-game anymore. Some felt even more discouraged by the constant conflicts with the JAC and considered quitting the team altogether, some others tried to give the team one more wake-up call, hoping to restore it to its former glory. However, none of the measures implemented were successful. The Aurochs could not maintain the level of excellence they previously had. They had only participated in 2 matches ever since they left the ESL in August 2006. The majority of the team finally agreed it was time for the Aurochs to retire. The team planned on going out strong, hoping to leave an Aurochs legacy that someone would pick up later in the JA.
When it was revealed that the Aurochs were retiring, the JAC explicitly stated that the team could not retire, but individuals could. This statement dissolved the Aurochs arranged plan to retire together after one last meeting. One by one, Aurochs members stated they were retiring individually from the team. Tido cleaned up the forums and handed over access to R2D2 and 3th, who was not present due to real life problems. The Aurochs beloved IRC bot, b00m, run by Tido, was shut down shortly after this happened. The team was left with only two of its members, R2D2 and Jade Jedi.
The greatest era of the Aurochs thus far had ended.
A New Dawn: R2D2 and Jade Jedi
R2D2 and Jade Jedi were the only Aurochs to stay after the mass exodus towards the end of 2006. They both committed themselves to rebuilding the Aurochs and to recruit new members as to generate more interest within the Jedi Academy. R2D2 became the new Team Manager/Master Aurochs after 3th's leave, while Jade Jedi took on the role of trying to fill the shoes of Tido as the new Team Captain.
As the first step, longtime Aurochs trialees Vision and Wicek officially became full members of the team on completion of their trials, marking the beginning of the re-building process. Around the same time the Aurochs CTF squad was implemented and saw the return of Rosered to take the reigns as CTF Captain, who however retired just a few months later, passing the torch to Fullmetal. To fill both vacant teams quickly and efficiently, a plan for accelerating the recruitment process was drafted by R2D2 in November 2006 and put into action shortly thereafter. This lead on the one hand to the successful revival of the Aurochs CTF Squad, which was previously closed in late 2003, and on the other hand to the formation of an able TFFA Squad lead by Vision. The return of the esteemed players Sauce and Dark as well as the success of the accelerated recruitment process, resulting in the recruitment of players like Ven from clan Ozone and Evenue, meant that the team had built up tremenduous momentum that would help it regain its confidence. Ontop of that, an agreement was formed with clan Ozone in regards to scheduling regular practice sessions between the two teams, which provided a great environment for improvement. In order to live up to the legacy that the previous team had left behind and become worthy of its reputation, the new Aurochs decided to practice very hard and very often, playing many sessions with their close partners from clan Ozone and forming an ESL practice team called 'Eye of the Tiger' to help the Aurochs gain valuable experience.
In January 2007, the new Aurochs team was for the first time put to the test during the Dynamite.TDM World Cup. They would face old-time rival clan best in two rounds, losing the first one by one point and winning the second one with a 25 points lead for a total score of 80-56. They would go on to play *aiming's B-team and win both rounds for an overall score of 60-43 and finally face the esteemed polish clan 333, losing the first round 29-43 and winning the second one 43-34 and thus just barely losing the match with a deficit of 5 points. Despite suffering a loss against 333, the Aurochs had proven that they were once again able to compete against the top of the European competitive community. The Aurochs had proven that they had finally managed to rebuild.
Renewed Conflicts with the Academy
Things were not to last, however, and in early February 2007 some members of the Jedi Academy's upper administrative branch found issue with the way the Aurochs were handling new applicants. The accelerated recruitment process had helped the JAA to become competitive again, but an unfortunate byproduct was the renewed friction with the JAC. The Aurochs' role as the JA's "football team" required them to draw applicants from within the Jedi Academy, yet some of the newer recruits either only signed up for the JA as a means to get recruited into the Aurochs team or weren't even members of the Academy prior to their recruitment. This issue resulted in a temporary halt on all tryout proceedures and lead to the direct intervention of the JAC in the team's internal affairs, something that was resented and seen as intrusive and unjustified by some of the members of the Aurochs. Some of them saw this as the beginning of what had happened to the previous team in late 2006 and consequently quit out of protest, some others became even more alienated by a group screenshot controversy that happened at around the same time, inwhich the 'old' team was not allowed on a group screenshot that was to be used in one of the pictures on the walls of the new Academy map.
The JAC ultimately conceded their standpoint concerning the group picture, but the damage was already done: The CTF Squad was doomed to inactivity, since half of their players had quit out of protest, and the TFFA Squad became discouraged enough by the controversy as well as their performance in the ESL with their practice team 'Eye of the Tiger' that they started becoming inactive as well. Ontop of that, Master Aurochs R2D2 announced his semi-permanent leave, leaving the already somewhat inactive Jade Jedi to take care of the team on his own. Jade Jedi did manage to deal with the issues productively though, unfreezing the tryout process and helping to get the Aurochs' newest recruit, namely the renowed Master Viper, onboard, but this unfortunately could not stem the spiral of inactivity that the team had now fallen into. The Aurochs consequently lay dormant from February 2007 to late June, up until radical measures were taken by the Team's Captain Vision to wake up the Aurochs once more.
The Silver Age
Under the guidance of Team Captain Vision, the Aurochs gained a renewed interest in once more playing competitively around late June to early July 2007, participating in a flurry of practice matches against clans like *aiming and Jedi Sentinels. Around the same time, Komence aka pr0fits passed his trials and became a full member of the Aurochs. Vision recognized that the team had regained enough confidence that they could once more successfully compete in the ESL and thus he disbanded the smaller practice team and signed up the main team for the ladder. The JAA was immediately successful, winning games convincingly against many lower ranked teams and pulling a very close fight against the #6 ranked team corona, where they managed to win the first round 22-17 but unfortunately lost the second one 25-49.
The Aurochs went on to score more and more victories throughout the couple of months, even winning a practice match against Wovian in August 2007, where the old clan decided to field such players like Intrepid among others. Interest in the Aurochs grew steadily and the team was gaining more and more recruits, amongst which were such excellent players like Oberon from clan Ozone and former Master Ninja!.
In October 2007, the JAA had won eight out of nine ESL games, and despite the team's success, inactivity became a serious issue again. Some of the core players were hardly available anymore, including Wicek, who was lost to WoW. At the same time, Jade Jedi stepped down permanently from his position as Master Aurochs. The team consequently left the ESL for a brief period of time to hold a crisis conference, making the now returning R2D2 its new leader and introducing an organized system of practice sessions and in-house matches under Kain. After the changes had taken effect, the Aurochs signed up for the ESL once more and continued winning games.
Finally, by the end of November 2007, the Aurochs were on a stunning 9 games winning streak, beating most notably Team Spirits in the ESL. Despite this achievement, the team was once again plagued by inactivity when Komence suddenly disappeared and some of the other core players like Dark and Ven left the ESL team to play for their respective clans. R2D2 and Vision had no other choice but to pull the team out of the ESL for the time being. In its place, a plan to create a new ESL training squad was drafted, one that would allow every member of the Academy who is interested in the TFFA gametype to participate in competitive games on the ladder alongside the more seasoned full-time Aurochs. This training squad was named 'Meet The Spartans' and served as a means of introducing many players from the Academy to the competitive scene in the ESL. At the same time, the Aurochs began teaching TFFA classes at the Academy, further sowing interest in the more serious and competitive branch of the game.
Early in 2008, Piccolo became a full member of the Aurochs and previously inactive players like Komence, Ninja! and Dark returned once again and the world renowned player Minneyar passed his trial shortly after, quickly increasing the competitive edge of the team. Team Captain Vision consequently pulled the "Meet The Spartans" practice team out of the ESL to make room for the reentrance of the main team and launched what would become the highpoint of the Aurochs Silver Age. June 2008 saw the team play three top5 clans in a row: first of which was team aXiom.
In what became known as the closest high-stakes game in Aurochs history, the team managed to draw the first round with a score of 22-22 and just barely lose the second one 22-25. Being just barely defeated by the world's best team, the Aurochs went on to play another extremely close game against the top10 team eternity, losing in terms of total score, but winning thanks to the controversial ELO scoring system of the ESL. The next match was against team corona, featuring the world renowned staffer zentur1o amongst others, and the Aurochs played once again a very close game, losing the first round 34-38 and the second round 49-50. All of these games helped reinforce the fact that the Aurochs were once again able to successfully compete against the best the world had to offer at that time, finally being able to live up to the standard of excellence that the previous team had left behind.
The success of the team was not meant to last and in July 2008 the Aurochs once again began to lose members to inactivity, trapping the team in a vicious circle of decline. Team Captain Vision noticed the decline and tried to counteract the development by scheduling another ESL match against aXiom, but it was already too late. The Aurochs suffered a harsh defeat; it was a sign of the state of the Aurochs and of things to come. The causes of the team's inactivity were varied: some of the members became too occupied by real life issues, others were dissatisfied with the state of the Aurochs and left the team to play for their respective clans in the ESL, and yet others, like Botik, had resolved to quit JKA altogether. The team had once again no other choice but to leave the ESL for the time being.
The decline continued on through September 2008, where Artex had quit the game and Kain consistently failed to enact proper in-house practice sessions due to his own inactivity. The team's inactivity was even exacerbated by the fact that the Aurochs were primarily relying on the Academy to provide them with fresh recruits as well as a place to teach classes in, but the Academy itself was already heavily inactive at that time, making the role of the Aurochs even more problematic. In late October 2008, Vision once again began to schedule practice sessions against other clans, mostly oriented around whether or not the Aurochs top player Dark was available.
Interest continued to wane and further decline seemed inevitable, despite the best efforts of Team Captain Vision and Master Aurochs R2D2. Vision eventually decided to sign up the "Meet The Spartans" team for the ESL once again in early 2009, trying to get as much practice as possible with whoever was available. This helped stem the decline a little bit and keep the skills of the remaining Aurochs sharp, but it could not stop the Aurochs from losing even more players: Timoti, who was an integral part of the Aurochs for years, left the team in February 2009 due to real life issues. And in late April 2009, Master Aurochs R2D2 decided to permanently resign his spot as leader of the Aurochs and passed on the torch to two surprising candidates: Masta and Fullmetal. This, in turn, ushered in the final grasp for power.
Masta: The Last Bid for Power
Shortly before Masta became co-leader of the Aurochs and de facto owner of the TFFA Squad, Komence made a return to the team. Thanks to the efforts of Team Captain Vision the Aurochs remained in good shape skill-wise and with the return of some of the core players, the JAA became competitive once more. Master Aurochs Masta then decided to seize the moment, cut to the chase, remove the "Meet The Spartans" team immediately from the ESL and reenter the main team for one last grasp for glory.
Their first opponent was team Solum, consisting mostly of very good ex-TuA members. Thanks to great teamwork and especially the performance of Piccolo in the second round of the game, the Aurochs managed to win an incredibly close game over the ex-TuA members with scores of 16-16 and 20-19. They went on to draw a polish top10 team in their next game and lost to the #2 ranked team in the ESL called mFURT, lead by Hell Raiser himself. Piccolo
had a very tough time playing properly in the first round of the game against mFURT, which was lost with a score of 25-37, and he was consequently substituted by Vision in the second round where the team managed to just barely lose with a score of 31-34.
Around that time, the excellent American player hisownfoot was awarded full membership at the team and the Aurochs went on to win the next three games in a row against other top10 clans, leaving the official ESL score since May 2009 at 4 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss. This eventually lead to the Aurochs climbing up to and surpassing the rank that was last reached by the old team in late 2006: They had finally reached rank #2 in the ESL TDM ladder and had managed to maintain that spot for over a month.
The End and The Future
That one last burst of greatness under the leadership of Masta was all that the Aurochs could muster, however, and in July 2009 they had once more begun to focus on practice sessions instead of playing proper ESL matches. The team would eventually become weaker and weaker with more and more players leaving, most notably Comma, Komence and Dark. Team Captain Vision would continue scheduling practice matches against various clans but the decline was inevitable: the last two serious matches that the Aurochs got to play in the ESL took place around August 2009 and both were heavy losses, the latter of which was even against the polish rival clan best. Shortly thereafter, the JAA's beloved servers went down for various reasons and activity reached a new lowpoint. The team left the ESL for one last time and they would never return.
Barely any attempts have been made to restore activity from August 2009 onwards and the team slowly but surely began to fade away. The forums were still somewhat active up to mid-2010, but posting frequency declined steadily. With the Academy's own inability to deal with the issue of inactivity and with the generally low quality of the competition that was still left over after the major teams pulled out of the ESL, none of the Aurochs had any real interest in making a return anymore. Vision played CTF for a while, ultimately substituting that for JKA-unrelated games in late 2010 like Starcraft 2.
The team would remain in the hands of Masta and Fullmetal for the next couple of years, ultimately abandoning JKA altogether. Throughout that time, many discussions were held in private about the future of the Aurochs. Some suggested they branch out into other games, most notably Starcraft 2, which many Aurochs actively play up to this day; some others suggested we wait for the release of the MMORPG The Old Republic and form a competitive PvP team for that game, but nothing conclusive has been decided.