About the Site
What is The Will of the Ancients?
The Will of the Ancients is a fan website dedicated to Team Andromeda’s Panzer Dragoon series and Grounding Inc’s Crimson Dragon series. The Panzer Dragoon series consists of four main titles, two rail shooters, and a ground breaking role-playing game for the Sega Saturn, as well as another rail shooter for the Xbox. The Panzer Dragoon series is set in a post apocalyptic world, focusing on themes such as war, survival, bonding, destiny, political philosophy, and the environment. The Will of the Ancients has grown into the central Panzer Dragoon website for speakers of the English language, hosting a wide variety of articles, stories, pictures, videos, and other content. It also hosts community forums for discussion of the games, and a peer reviewed encyclopaedia written and maintained by fans of the series. The Will of the Ancients will help continue the legacy of Panzer Dragoon by promoting its upcoming spiritual successor, Crimson Dragon.
Who Runs the Website?
Chris (aka Solo Wing) is the founder, web designer, and developer of The Will of the Ancients. Besides his passion for the intricacies of the Panzer Dragoon world, Chris enjoys games that focus on flow and interactive story telling. His view is that game stories should be explored with a suspension of disbelief, rather than viewing game elements at their face value of what the developer intended. Other than gaming, Chris’ interests include philosophy, travelling, and reading.
Geoffrey had been contributing to The Will of the Ancients (and its former incarnation, Azel Online) for several years, before he became an administrator in May 2003. Besides writing a number of theories and articles for the website, Geoffrey enjoys immersing himself in Western RPGs, especially World of Warcraft. Outside of gaming, Geoffrey has an interest in ideologies, politics, and the paranormal.
Matt (aka Shadow) has been a long time member of the Panzer Dragoon community and became an administrator of the forums in 2004. He enjoys anything that allows him to escape the mundaneness of every day life, so expansive universes like that of Halo and The Elder Scrolls are his mainstay. Aside from this, he also has a burning desire to see the world and experience as much as he can. Variety is his spice of life.
Miguel (aka Draikin) created the Panzer Dragoon Orta website, Panzer Dragoon Legacy, and in 2010 an agreement was made to merge the site into The Will of the Ancients, making Miguel an administrator in the process. In 2012 he also started a new project called Panzer Dragoon Revival, aimed at getting Sega to re-release the Panzer Dragoon games on newer hardware platforms. Aside from gaming, he’s always eager to learn more about anything related to computer hardware and software.
A special thanks goes to the many Panzer Dragoon fans who have contributed to the vast amount of content hosted on The Will of the Ancients. Without their help this place would be less that half the size that it is at the moment. A special thanks in particular to Florian Patzke (Lord Craymen), who previously ran the site Die Welt von Panzer Dragoon, the former home of the Panzer Dragoon community, and Lagi for his art site, The Art of Panzer Dragoon, which has been used extensively for illustrating the written material on The Will of the Ancients. Also to thank is our small but loyal community for their continued support and their feedback that has helped improve the website. If you have any questions, comments, complaints, or ways you think the site can be improved, please get in touch.
A Brief History of the Website
The idea behind this website began just after the start of the new millennium. Having been a fan of the Panzer Dragoon series since Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, Solo Wing decided to make a tribute to his favourite video game series (especially the RPG, Panzer Dragoon Saga). In 2000 he launched the Panzer Dragoon fansite, Azel Online, which was hosted on Yahoo! Geocities. Azel Online started as simple webpage consisting of links to reviews of the Panzer Dragoon games but over time it grew into one of the main English Panzer Dragoon websites. Azel Online stood apart from other fan sites at the time due to its selection of fan fiction and texts from the games. However with the announcement of Panzer Dragoon Orta it was time for a new look and some fresh content. The site was relaunched in June 2002 as The Will of the Ancients, retaining Azel Online’s black and purple colour scheme but with a new look and a replacement of the simple page of links with a proper side menu for navigating the site.
As The Will of the Ancients grew in size, so did the need for a more stable web host. Some free web space was provided by the kind folks at Macemu.com, near the end of 2002. The site grew considerably thanks to the increase in web space and the availability of tools such as PHP. This lead to the idea of a second version of The Will of the Ancients. It took a while to move everything over to the new site, but The Will of the Ancients version 2 finally launched in April 2003. It used simple PHP scripts to make the design simpler to modify, and the navigation menu easier to update. However, although the second version of The Will of the Ancients served its purpose well enough, Solo Wing began to feel that it wasn’t ‘panzerish’ enough for his tastes.
Before work began on the next site design, the site was moved to its own webspace and the domain panzerdragoon.net (later to become thewilloftheancients.com) was purchased, giving The Will of the Ancients a more defined space on the Internet at last. Shortly afterwards, the community fan site Die Welt von Panzer Dragoon closed down, so a new forum was started up on The Will of the Ancients which the Panzer Dragoon community migrated to.
In April 2004, the third version of the site went live, which featured the definitive Ancient ruins of the Panzer world and was shaped like Azel’s head, based on the Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG logo. The drone’s head and the grey areas of the design were created using a combination of Macromedia Flash MX and Adobe Photoshop Elements.
In 2012, almost eight years since the third version of the site, The Will of the Ancients went through the largest transformation yet. Gone are the PHP scripts hacked together; The Will of the Ancients version 4 became the first fully database driven version of the site, powered by a custom Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL backend. With version 4 came the completion of a merger with the Panzer Dragoon Orta fan site Panzer Dragoon Legacy and the launch of a dedicated Panzer Dragoon encyclopaedia.
Full sized screenshots of the website’s previous designs can be found below: