"Hello, call me Giovanni. I am a representative of The Gaian Mafia Clan. This is a formal declaration of war. We have no reason, just that we hate you. Don't ask question, we want war. Please respond as soon as possible on our clan's thread".
On July 26th, 2007, a user named "The Ghost Lord" sent messages similar to this to almost every clan on Gaia Online's Clans of Battle subforum. While we're unsure of just how many clans were initially contacted, we know that over the course of the next few days, 21 clans responded.
The Gaian Mafia Clan had previously denied "The Ghost Lord" membership into their clan. This was his method of retaliation. TGL, as former Clans of Battle members now affectionately refer to him, changed the forum forever.
The Clans of Battle forum was initially established in the summer of 2007 after a "Gaia Battle System" was announced. This was nearly a year before the system was named 'zOMG!' and just less than two years before the initial closed beta.
In that short time the Clans of Battle forum had existed, many clans had formed in anticipation of a game that Gaia admins had provided very little to no details for. In this anticipation, there was a unique cultural effect of self-organization and emergence that occurred. Clans set up announcements, rules, unique structure, member lists, whitelists, blacklists, alliances, and enemies. Very few clans committed to roleplay because it seemed pointless knowing that on any given day, more details about the MMO would be released. Each clan instead, devoted itself to being the "best" clan with great recruiting and leadership.
Some clans took it upon themselves to play the market and teach their members to do the same. Other clans wanted to create alliances and play uniform games in Gaia Towns and Rally.
However, after TGL, most of the Clans of Battle became a war ground. Several clans made strategic alliances with one another. TGL proved that "incidents" that left clans unprepared could have drastic consequences for their recruitment. Leaders such as Luc and Aost injected mules into clans and pressed any and all of those clans' self-destruct mechanisms. Mafia clans were paid to earn gold for their allies. Intelligence clans used profits to pay agents to infiltrate and gather info on one another.
Between 2007 and 2010, the Clans of Battle lived up to its name in a truly unique way, unlike any forum experience that had existed before.
Today, Gaians United would like to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of The Ghost Lord's attack on the Gaian Mafia Clan. In doing so, we'd like to mark July 26th as "TGL Day", a unique holiday for all Gaians.
If you have a story of a special, unique user who did something extraordinary on Gaia, tweet us @gaiansunited or comment below. We love to feature the remarkable stories of Gaians from all over the site.