Immerse yourselves in an epic tale of bravery and betrayal and learn more about the broken world of Armored Warfare, controlled by ruthless warlords and greedy corporations!
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Welcome to Episode 2 of the Storyline Campaign, continuing the story of the Seahawks and their flight from the Clayburn Corporation.
- Cairo, July 15, 2039
They landed after sunset. The blaze of the Egyptian sun in July gave way to the stifling, humid heat. Below them, Cairo sparkled like a million jewels scattered across the land – the cradle of many civilizations shining undiminished into the night.
The journey, to their surprise, was completely uneventful. There were few organized air forces left operational in the world and they did not stray eastward enough to provoke the anger of one of the last nations left standing in the region – Israel. Nobody was foolish enough to mess with the Israelis, an unwritten rule of the mercenary and corporate world.
Egypt too, still formally existed as a sovereign nation, but the droughts and subsequent famine of the early 2030s made it nearly completely dependent on food imports, for which the once proud country was forced to pay with land, freedoms and produce. Even now, Cairo was the seat of several large north-African corporation branches, the chief amongst them being Suez Incorporated, one of the major Clayburn Industries trade partners.
Seagrove sighed at the thought. If Clayburn hadn’t known that they escaped him from Istanbul, he surely knew by now.
In the end, Ibrahim came through and managed to convince the leader of the Black Eagles, the company that owned a number of C-17 planes, to carry them across the sea, but the price was steep and left the already struggling Seahawks with dangerously low reserves. Food and fuel were to be had in Cairo, but one must have Credits for that and Credits were one thing that the Seahawks currently lacked.
To solve the unfavorable situation, an equally difficult decision was made by Adrian Blackwood to ditch the unit’s remaining Leopards tanks and all support vehicles. A considerable portion of Seahawk men chose to remain in Istanbul as free mercenaries and with the Seahawk strength reduced to less than 300 men, there was nobody to operate that many trucks and combat vehicles anyway. The Leopard 2 tanks bore the brunt of the battle during the escape from the Balkans and were worn out with little prospect of finding the needed amount of spare parts south or west of Europe.
The American vehicles, however, were still in use in northern Africa after the massive sales of the late 2010s before the economic collapse in the region. The plan, therefore, was to take the Stryker fire support vehicles, Bradleys, and the Abrams tanks to Cairo with the hope of purchasing spare parts, trucks, and supplies after the whole operation.
They realized the plan failed after the planes had landed under the cover of the night only to be immediately attacked on the ground by the Cairo airport security – the same security Ibrahim had assured them could be bribed to look away while the whole unit mustered and headed out. They must want them really badly, Seagrove thought grimly. The trap was well-prepared too – the C-17s had to make several trips to haul the entire unit across the sea and the security forces, bolstered with several heavy vehicles, waited until everyone was on the ground. Luckily for the Seahawks, the level of training the security forces had was far below their own and the assault was repelled, although not without losses.
The C-17 pilots immediately bolted – in fact not a single shot was fired at them during their take-off. Perhaps this whole thing was a complicated set-up by Clayburn? Or perhaps Ibrahim had double-crossed them? After all, staying in Istanbul as a designated corporate enemy was not good for business, or health. Seagrove shook his head as he watched the men and women huddled around a table in one of the airport hangars. The wrecks of the security force vehicles were smoldering outside and the bodies of the men were being piled up by the bloodied and dirty Seahawks. Everyone around the table bore some kind of light wound, a testament of the battle’s ferocity. Blackwood, seemingly unfazed by the whole ordeal, just started to explain the next phase of the operations. Numb from the tiredness, Seagrove forced himself to focus.
“....and after this warm welcome, we can’t stay in Cairo for long. We’re leaving a few men under the command of commander Sokolov,” he nodded at the man next to him who had the same air of calmness as him, “to gather as many supplies as we can and get the lay of the land. The rest of us will head out east. The tanks won’t last long in the sand, don’t push them too hard. “
The others nodded, but Kathryn Grey asked what seemed to have been on everyone’s mind.
“What about the supplies? We need more water, food, fuel, everything. Even if we make it to the El Arish, we don’t even know who’s currently there.”
“First things first. Our friends,” he raised his eyebrows and everyone chuckled a bit, “provided us with some trucks.”
He looked around and continued.
“This airport hasn’t been used for civilian traffic since the early 2030s. Those who fly from here or to here can...,” he smiled, “spare things. Things they can afford and we need. Feel free to look around and take them. It’s not like they can do any worse than fire at us again.”
Everyone laughed at the remark and Seagrove once again found himself admiring Blackwood’s rhetorical skills. In another age, he would have made an incredible politician, he thought.
Blackwood’s face grew more serious.
“Now comes the hard part. Me and the bulk of the armor will go east immediately and we’ll take the base. Ibrahim’s people scouted it out – so he said and I trust him. There is one cargo ship still operational there. Suez Incorporated is repairing it and we’ll kindly relieve them of the burden of having to maintain it. We’ll take it, load whatever we can and head west towards the United States. Nobody will stop us.”
The people around were too tired to question his certainty, but Seagrove could see the doubts in their eyes. Blackwood continued.
“Joshua, Kathryn, your task will be to scour the desert. Fyodor will provide you with a map of local camps and settlements. Take some of the Credits we have left and try to negotiate with them for supplies. “
His face hardened.
“If they don’t sell, take it. Failure is not an option. Do I make myself clear?”
Seagrove watched Grey salute and leave towards her men and women with a grim expression on her face which made him feel uneasy. The rest of the group was now dispersing and he had to jog to catch up with Blackwood and Sokolov who were discussing their steps in Cairo.
Blackwood looked back.
“About the supply run. We can’t just take food from these people.”
The more he spoke, the more he was convinced of being right. Blackwood could see it in his face and sighed, waving at Sokolov to continue without him. Both men stopped at the hangar door, Blackwood leaning against the warm metal, watching the bustle outside while Seagrove feverishly explained, his previous tiredness gone.
“Sokolov said that Sinai is controlled by rogue mercs. I get it. But we can’t just leave them all to starve. They have families there. Every barrel of fuel we take, every well we pump dry, it all means one more dead. Is this what we are reduced to? If so, we might as well have stayed with Clayburn.”
He ended up almost shouting, but Blackwood seemed to pay no heed. When Seagrove was finally done, Blackwood responded, calmly, only with a slight frown on his face.
“Joshua, listen to me. This is about these men and women that bled with us these past months. They all want freedom from Clayburn, from the endless slaughter. We take the supplies, we take the base, we take a ship and we’re off. No more killing. We’re not monsters. We don’t do this out of spite or greed. We do what we have to survive.”
He leaned towards Seagrove and looked him straight in the eyes.
“Do you understand?”
Suddenly feeling the exhaustion again, Seagrove nodded.
“How do you even know that this plan will work? It seems like an awful stretch. ”
Blackwood reached out and patted him on his shoulder.
“Have faith, son. It’ll work.”
Somehow, Seagrove felt it would be nowhere near as easy as that.
From July 20 to August 19 2017, players will have the opportunity to finish Episode 2 of the storyline campaign by completing one of three different objectives.
Each objective has its own set of rewards. Only one of these objectives has to be completed to obtain the “Episode 2 finished” status. Completing all three objectives will, however, reward players with the ultimate prize of the episode – the otherwise unobtainable Tier 9 Centauro 120 WOLF Tank Destroyer!
Continue the fight to obtain the ultimate Season 1 reward – a unique high-Tier vehicle!
Kathryn Grey and Joshua Seagrove were tasked with finding enough resources for the Seahawks to make the trip. In Objective 1, players join either Joshua Seagrove or Kathryn Grey in their endeavor. Both of them represent different approaches to the task.
- Join either Joshua Seagrove or Kathryn Grey
- The following modes count for the event: PvP, Global Operations, PvE (all difficulties)
- Play at least 40 battles to qualify for any reward
- Gather as much raw Reputation for your faction as you can
- Determine the storyline result by your choices
Joshua Seagrove wants to obtain the resources by trade, using minimum force necessary. This approach, while resulting in fewer resources gathered, will not upset the balance of the region. Enemy mercenaries of the Suez Peninsula will not unite against the Seahawk threat. For more information about Joshua Seagrove, his motivations and attitude, visit our dedicated article.
Kathryn Grey wants to obtain the resources by any means necessary, including violence. This approach will result in more gathered resources but at significant risk of uniting the region against the Seahawks. For more information about Kathryn Grey, her motivations and attitude, visit our dedicated article.
- Members of the winning commander faction will receive 14 days of Premium Time
- Members of the losing commander faction will receive 7 days of Premium Time
- Top 100 members of both factions will receive T-72B3 Green Tier 8 Premium MBT and Episode 2 Completed Status
The players have the opportunity to impact the course of the Storyline Campaign in a major way. The faction result ratio of Objective 1 will influence the position of both commanders as well as their results.
- Undetermined Outcome: 50:50 to 55:45 ratios. Neither commander gained any major influence but the winning side will have more say as to the course of the campaign in the future.
- Victory: 55:45 to 60:40 ratios. One side has clear advantage, resulting in either more peaceful future approach (Joshua Seagrove) or more violent future approach (Kathryn Grey)
- Decisive Victory: 60:40 to 75:25 ratios. The voice of one side is greatly diminished, resulting in a significant shift towards one philosophy or another.
- Domination: 75:25 to 100:0 ratios. The success of one commander results in a tremendous influence gain with the men and Seahawk command alike
For more information about this objective, please see the Rules part of this article.
Adrian Blackwood is taking the bulk of the Seahawk forces to assault the El Arish base, currently defended by the Suez Incorporated forces.
- Play up to 2 Global Operations Battle per Day in a Tier 5 vehicle
- Play up to 2 Global Operations Battle per Day in a Tier 7 vehicle
- Play up to 2 Global Operations Battle per Day in a Tier 9 vehicle
Each Objective 2 battle will be rewarded based on the highest Tier of vehicle owned by the respective player:
- Tier 5: 35,000 Credits, 850 Global Reputation Points
- Tier 6: 46,000 Credits, 1050 Global Reputation Points
- Tier 7: 53,000 Credits, 1400 Global Reputation Points
- Tier 8: 63,000 Credits, 1850 Global Reputation Points
- Tier 9: 81,000 Credits, 2250 Global Reputation Points
- Tier 10: 105,000 Credits, 2650 Global Reputation Points
Playing at least 120 Objective 2 battles qualifies for Episode 2 Completed status a special reward - T-64AV Hunter Tier 5 Premium MBT!
At least 30 percent of Episode 2 participants must complete this objective for the Seahawks not to take any losses.
- If fewer than 5 percent of Episode 2 winners complete Objective 2, the Seahawks will take heavy losses (Episode 3 objectives will become 30 percent more difficult and Joshua Seagrove and Kathryn Gray will become unhappy)
- If fewer than 15 percent of Episode 2 winners complete Objective 2, the Seahawks will take some losses (Episode 3 objectives will become 10 percent more difficult)
For more information about this objective, please see the Rules part of this article.
Suez Incorporated, no doubt under the influence of Clayburn Industries, has sent a task force to eliminate the fleeing Seahawks. This task force must be repelled at all cost. A rear-guard unit was set up to ambush the assailants. How successful will they be is up to you!
- Win 40 battles in PvE Hard in one of the following vehicles: M1A1 Abrams, M1128 Stryker or M2A3 Bradley
- 1,000 Gold and Episode 2 Completed status
Players who achieve Episode 2 Completed in all three categories:
- Become a Ranked player in Objective 1
- Play 120 Global Operations battles in Objective 2
- Win 40 PvE Hard battles in Objective 3
Will receive a special reward: B1 Centauro 120 Wolf Tier 9 Premium Tank Destroyer (the only Tier 9 Premium vehicle in the game) as well as the Episode 1 Completed status!
- The Episode starts on July 20 at 16:00 CEST (7 AM PDT)
- The Episode ends on August 19 at 16:00 CEST (7 AM PDT)
- The Episode progress is available on the Player Profile
- My.com reserves the right to disqualify any player in breach of Terms of Service from the Campaign
- Rewards are distributed automatically, the list of Episode 2 winners (players who achieved Episode 2 Completed status) will be made public after the end of Episode 2
- Players can join either Joshua Seagrove or Kathryn Grey until August 17, 16:00 CEST (24 hours before the end of Episode 2)
- Only raw reputation counts, Premium Time or Boosters do not affect the results
- Players need to play at least 40 battles during the event period to be eligible for a prize
- Ranking is combined for both servers
- Objective 1 can be completed at the same time as Objective 2 or Objective 3
- At least 1 battle needs to be played with any new vehicle for it to register as a highest Tier vehicle
- Players who own the T-64AV Hunter already will receive 750 Gold instead
- Objective 2 reward is only given out on the server where the Objective was completed
- It is possible to combine vehicles (the 40 victories can for example consist of 20 M1A1 wins and 20 Bradley wins)
- Objective 3 reward is only given out on the server where the Objective was completed
- Objective 1 to 3 all have to be completed on the same server for the Bonus Objective to be awarded correctly
- Current Stage: Episode 2
- Location: Al-Arish Base, Sinai Peninsula
- Seahawk Manpower: 300
- Morale: High
- Joshua Seagrove: Alive, Neutral
- Cathryn Grey: Alive, Neutral
- Adrian Blackwood: Alive, Neutral
- Players Eligible for Ultimate Season 1 Reward: 2562
- Episode 1 Bonus Objective: Not Completed
This section will expand with decision details as the storyline progresses.
This section allows players to follow the Lore of Armored Warfare and previous episodes. New to Armored Warfare Storyline? Please visit the following two articles:
Campaign Introduction Summary - Andrew Clayburn, a reclusive billionaire and the owner of Clayburn Industries, a massive corporation with its own private army, discussed the events of 2039 with Strom, his soon-to-be commander of military forces. He recalls the tale of the Intervention - a 2038 and 2039 campaign of his forces, led by the elite Task Force Seahawk unit, to pacify the Balkan region and bring it under his heel. The mission goes wrong due to the incompetence of the local Clayburn Commander, Peter Clayburn, who orders the Clayburn forces to commit genocide. Unwilling to accept such an order, the Seahawks turn rogue and attempt to flee Clayburn's wrath from Zagreb to Istanbul.
It was a two hour drive from the teeming metropolis that was modern day London to the southern coast of England and by the end of the journey, sheer boredom of the cold, late autumn in the British countryside overcame Strom's initial anxiety.
Every town was the same – decrepit abandoned houses, boarded windows and the ever-present sense of hopelessness. They called the hills of England green once, he thought, but all he saw was grey. After twenty minutes, he slowly slipped into a half-sleep that was only interrupted by a nearly imperceptible shift in the hum of his car's electric engine that caught his attention.
The car slowly pulled up to a huge driveway, leading to a massive English country house. As if by a flip of a switch, the anxiety was instantly back. He knew how few people received this opportunity. Ever since he had received the unexpected invitation three days ago, he had been thinking about what to say. He was still thinking about it as he stepped out of the car into the cold, windy evening.
The air smelled of sea – a clear, salty scent, not the toxic garbage he was used to from London. He stopped for a few seconds, enjoying the feeling until a discreet cough from a nearby guard waiting to accompany him ended his reverie.
The house was surrounded by dozens of men. Some patrolling the vast gardens while several armor-clad heavy troops stood near the entrance, watching for a possible intruder. Nothing would get past them without their master's permission. Strom pulled his black uniform closer to his body as he walked the few steps from the car to the manor.
The inside of the house was as he had expected – a large number of hunting trophies adorned the walls and the footsteps of his and his guard's heavy military boots echoed through the vast entry hall. Most of the trophies had to be very old he pondered as he followed the guard to what he expected would be some sort of meeting room. There were no deer in Britain's forests anymore.
As he and his silent guard companion made their way into the massive building, he started to hear echoing music. The music got louder as they continued their journey through long halls and large rooms filled with all kinds of antique furniture until they arrived to a massive library. The slow, chilly sound of an electric guitar solo originated from a modern-looking gramophone in the middle of the room, right next to a sofa where an old man sat with his eyes closed.
The guard saluted and left, his departure only announced by the sound of the closing door behind them. Strom was not sure what to do, so he just stood there and glanced occasionally at the man on the sofa until his presence was acknowledged by a brief nod and a finger pointed to a nearby chair. Strom sat down.
Andrew Clayburn was a well-built man in his sixties. Strom tried to think of the best word to describe him, but all he could come up with was "unassuming". The only truly distinctive part of Clayburn's face was a major scar under his right eye. There was otherwise nothing pointing to the fact that Strom was sitting in a room with one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet. Very little was publicly known about Clayburn apart from his obvious role as the owner and head of Clayburn Industries, Strom's employer. There were the official photographs, but the real Clayburn looked nothing like them.
Clayburn was a legend, a self-made man who had built an industrial empire on the ashes of old world companies. Millions lived under the watchful eye of his private military force.
Private Military Force. The term was still used, as far as Strom knew, but in a world where private armies dwarfed those of many a country, it felt obsolete.
"Pink Floyd", said Clayburn.
Strom was caught off guard.
Clayburn pointed at the gramophone. Strom frowned.
"Sorry sir. Never heard of him."
Clayburn responded with a quiet chuckle as he reached out to the device and stopped the record.
"I suppose you wouldn't have. The whole album is about madness, the futility of life and existential anxiety. Not the kind of music they would play on corporate radio. But it's a mad world, out there, so it is quite fitting."
Clayburn waved his hand in the window's general direction.
"Don't you think?"
Strom felt Clayburn's piercing blue eyes study him and realized that he was being tested. He settled for a diplomatic answer – his belief was that soldiers were there to obey, not to question. Still, he felt he was expected to respond with something more than a simple 'Yes sir.' He took a short while to collect his thoughts.
"Perhaps somewhere. The world Clayburn Industries controls is in order."
Another chuckle. Now it was Clayburn's turn to pause a while before he responded.
"What if I told you that if you told someone two decades ago that people would be voluntarily giving up all their rights for the secure future of a corporate indentured contractor, everyone would laugh at you?”
Strom frowned again.
"They receive food, clothing and protection from the company. Everything they need. Better than to starve on the street."
"And yet, back then, nobody was starving. At least not here. It's easy to talk about rights when your neighborhood is safe and your belly is full."
Clayburn replied slowly, keeping his eyes on Strom.
Strom was a young man in his twenties. He only barely remembered the riots. He was but a child back then and did not understand what had happened and when he was old enough the teacher at the corporate school he attended wouldn't delve much into such topics. After all, the corporation provided all he and his parents needed – food, clothing and medicine for his mother. Strom felt genuinely grateful.
When he turned 18, he immediately entered the military division of Clayburn Industries and quickly rose through the ranks by his wits and loyalty. It was as it should be, he thought, a lifetime of his service for the company that provided for him and his kin.
"It's certainly better than the alternative, sir. Considering how the American south ended."
"Indeed..." Clayburn's voice trailed off, his eyes focused on something only he could see. When he finally continued, the shift in topic and the change in his voice indicated that he was finally getting to the true reason of the meeting.
"You are a smart man, which is why I assume you know why you are here."
Strom immediately straightened his back.
"I believe it has much to do with the Intervention and what followed, sir."
"Yes. We need loyal people now more than ever. You are to assume command of our reformed expeditionary forces. But before we proceed..." he paused, "you need to hear the whole story."
A maid entered with a tray of sandwiches and a teapot with two cups. She left them on the table and scurried away. Clayburn reclined on his sofa as he began to explain.
"It all started with Blackwood."
"As you know, it did not start as we had hoped," said Clayburn, his eyes focused on the cup of tea he was pouring himself.
They were all alone, the guards dismissed and the maids sent home. The whole house felt empty, as if something was missing. Too big a mansion for one person, Strom pondered – too clean, like it was only a stage set for some dramatic play he was now a part of. He forced himself to return his focus to Clayburn, who had just finished pouring milk into his Earl Grey.
"Local rebels made good advances in the first few days. Hajduks," Clayburn spat the word out with disdain, "they called themselves. They took Vukovar, Vinkovci and Osijek. Add the Lodestar meddling to that and we were in a world of trouble. Luckily for us, Erika once again decided to support groups that the rebels hated as much as us. Take Ali Fikret’s band for example."
"The butcher of Derventa."
"The one and only," Clayburn chuckled.
"We received reliable intel that the rebels called off several attacks against our forces only to let us wipe out his group to a man when his forces finally retreated north. Of course, the rebels claimed the victory – they dislodged him from Derventa after all – and with the support of local communes and leaders, including some high-profile members of the former governments of the region, their numbers swelled."
"But, sir, didn't the governments support our takeover?"
Clayburn's frown was almost imperceptible, but Strom noticed and knew he had just made a mistake.
"I expect you to be better informed than this. These... alternative facts are intended for our news networks, not for operatives with clearance as high as yours," said Clayburn before pausing to sip his tea.
"Regardless, the rebels almost overran our command center at one point – the staff escaped only because they let them."
"Why indeed," Clayburn replied, his eyebrows raised. Another test. Strom closed his eyes for a moment and focused before replying.
"Until that point, the entire operation had effectively been a police action. Was it to become anything else, we'd have to petition international organizations, but, in the end, this would only have been a bureaucratic obstacle for us. On the other hand, our units were under the general command of your nephew, Peter. Had he been captured or killed, they knew we'd never let it go and it was ultimately their land the war would ravage. Or so they thought."
Clayburn nodded absent-mindedly, suddenly lost in thought. After several minutes of silence, Strom dared to add.
"Peter has always been a brave man I've heard."
Clayburn frowned again. Another mistake.
"He was an idiot and an incompetent commander. He got his promotion based not on his merit but his name. A name does not a hero make and I should have paid more attention to family matters."
"I only meant..."
"It's alright. You didn't know. You couldn't have – in fact, that's one of the reasons why you are here. But tell me – do you know how Peter reacted to the situation?"
"He petitioned you to call in the Crimson Reavers."
Clayburn's face contorted into a sneer of disapproval.
"Indeed. Violence – that was his only response, instead of asking the right questions."
"But you denied his request."
"Why? He could have used reinforcements. Any reinforcements. We had a whole brigade ready in Bielefeld."
"Now that, my dear Strom, is the right question."
- Frankfurt, May 25 2039
The air smelled of rain, ozone and something else – that strange something only a late spring thunderstorm can deliver. As expected, the man nodded to himself. The drop in temperature triggered by the storm front didn’t bother him.
He looked up towards the high-rise. Up there, dozens of meters above him, a woman was running for her life.
He had dispatched her protectors quickly enough. His drug-enhanced physique and skills honed far beyond the level of simple corporate drones allowed him to cut through them like a hot knife through butter, leaving only bodies in his wake – some still twitching but none alive. As he entered the penthouse lobby, he saw her shadow, a blur running towards the final staircase that would take her to the roof, to the helicopter waiting for her, to safety. Or so she thought.
Two more guards appeared, shouting something in German. He gunned them down without a second thought. Quickly surveying the large room with the single glance of a true professional, he made his way towards the stairs where he had earlier seen his target. One man's escape route is another man's trap, he thought, amused by the prospect of her finding out that she just ran into his. There was no rush, their fates were both sealed now.
The well-oiled doors opened quietly as he stepped out into the rain and slowly walked towards the empty helipad, a pistol in his hand. She was there, just as he expected, looking out into the storm for a salvation that would not come.
She turned to him and said something but he didn't hear her over the sound of thunder. The downpour drenched her expensive outfit and destroyed her make-up, making her look... weak, he thought. He had seen her before of course, usually on a big screen talking to corporate masses like a queen of old. Not so regal now are we, he thought.
She pulled out a small handgun and fired at him several times. Not that such a weapon would penetrate his body armor, but hitting a person even at ten meters in pouring rain and when your life is on the line is far more difficult than it appears. She managed to fire off three shots before he closed in and grabbed her by the throat. She dropped the gun and tried to say something, but his iron grip prevented her from finishing a single word.
With a single motion, he threw her off the pad ledge and watched her body plummet into the misty depths below him. It almost felt wrong for so much power to end like this, he thought. But even the mightiest fall – sometimes quite literally. His soft chuckle at that final joke ended with a fit of wet coughing.
And then it was all over. He fell to his knees as the numerous gunshot wounds that riddled his dying body finally overcame his iron will. He expected his last thoughts to be of childhood, but there was just a feeling of overwhelming weariness – and then, only darkness.
- Sarajevo, May 26 2039
"With the sudden death of Erika Schepke, the future of Lodestar GmbH remains uncertain. The shareholders..."
With a sigh, Vujic switched off the TV and dropped the remote control he was holding to the ground. He was tired, so incredibly tired. When the news came about the Reds retreating, he suddenly felt empty, the rage of the last few weeks began to dissipate. They had Clayburn and Lodestar running, their proxies annihilated and much of their resources either captured or destroyed. But at what cost, he thought, slowly opening his eyes and looking around the apartment he had found abandoned.
The flat had clearly belonged to an old woman once – there were old photos hanging around the walls, as faded as the memories that lingered in this place. There were knitted covers everywhere and he couldn't help thinking back to his own childhood, his grandmother knitting, always ready to offer him something to eat, claiming that he was "too thin." He smiled to himself – back then he found the constant offers of food annoying. But his grandmother had seen war and only now, thirty years later, did he realize she'd been onto something. Picking himself up, he strolled aimlessly, touching the dust-covered items left behind by whoever had called this place home. More rest would do me good, he finally decided, but his plans were interrupted by a knock at the door.
He turned towards it, his hand reaching for his pistol almost instinctively, but it was just his deputy commander. Dressed in an old and torn Serbian uniform, the man nodded at him and sat down on an old chair behind Vujic. He took a swig from a flask of beer he had brought with him and said:
"Talked to Dragomir. The Tihina boys are leaving and they are taking some supplies with them. There was a scuffle about that earlier but we managed to prevent any...", he paused, "unnecessary violence."
His emphasis on the word "unnecessary" made Vujic sigh in exasperation. He knew exactly what it meant.
"It's already falling apart, isn't it?"
A statement rather than an actual question.
"With Tihina gone, the Czechs, Polish and everyone else not directly tied to the cause will want their own piece of the pie", Vujic continued, more to himself than anyone else.
"We knew that this would happen eventually, but, for once, I'd have loved a week off", Vujic smiled sadly, "but the truth is that we need a new cause to at least control the descent into anarchy."
The other man smiled.
"And we might have just that. We just received an emissary from Clayburn. Not one of the local boys, an officer directly from London."
"Seems like some of his boys are going rogue. He wants us to take care of it. There's your cause, along with a nice heap of credits."
"Why would the Reds want us to clean up their mess? They have their own lapdogs to take care of such things."
The other man smiled.
"Do we really care? We crushed them. Picking off a few stragglers for extra cash sounds like good deal to me. Plus, we'll be able to hold this shitshow together for a while longer. Maybe convince more people to stay. Either way, it's a win for us."
Vujic kept frowning, unconvinced.
"You know I hate being a corporate puppet, Dimitar. We did not lose thousands of men to corporate drones only to do their bidding again as soon as the fighting stops."
"We are not doing their bidding. For the first time, we are being treated as partners. As equals. Isn't that what you wanted all along?"
"Hm," Vujic grunted, "Let's talk to this emissary of theirs."
Episode 1 Summary - the fleeing Seahawks take losses from both the pursuing Clayburn forces and the local militias, but manage to reach Istanbul. The wily Seahawk commander, Adrian Blackwood, employs the service of an experienced mercenary commander Fyodor Sokolov, thanks to whose contacts in Istanbul the Seahawks are able to secure transportation. Unfortunately, the only form of transportation able to carry the Seahawk armored vehicles is an old and expensive mercenary flight of C-17 cargo planes without sufficient range to take them away from Clayburn's influence. An alternative plan is made - to travel instead to Cairo and from there to an abandoned American military base where a functional ship is waiting for them.
- Zagreb, May 25 2039
The temporary command post was located just outside of the city amidst the ruins of what once had been a beautiful suburban area. The sapphire sky, the sweet smell of acacias and the songs of birds, oblivious to the carnage below, made the place feel almost idyllic.
The district had been a home to many once, a long time ago – but massive recession and the everlasting conflict drove its inhabitants away to seek their fortune in the arms of world's greedy corporations. A generation, born free but destined to die as slaves in all but name.
The bright colors of late spring contrasted with the decaying house ruins, the debris lying everywhere that nobody had bothered to clean for many long years and the dour faces of men in Clayburn uniforms, carrying large unmarked boxes and loading them on trucks. The evacuation was in full swing – such was the price of defeat, Seagrove thought sadly.
He passed Major Kathryn Grey, sitting on her tank, staring blankly into the distance. The sight of someone else he knew was sharing his misery somehow lifted his spirits a bit.
"Kate!" he shouted.
"I hate when you call me that and you know it", she responded with a serious face, but he recognized faint traces of a smile behind her expression.
"That I do. Still waiting for the boss?"
Any traces of amusement disappeared from her face. She nodded.
"He's late. It's not like him. And that Clayburn whelp is just looking for someone to pin the blame on."
He glanced towards the command tent, erected between two walls of a ruined house – right on time to notice Blackwood approaching with a grim expression on his face. Seagrove liked the man. Blackwood knew when to push and when to let things slide. He was a stocky man of an undetermined age – perhaps in his late fifties, Seagrove guessed. His hair was grey and his round rather jovial face usually carried a sly smile. Not today though.
Blackwood waved at them both and Seagrove went to join him. Behind him, Grey jumped down from her vehicle as he approached the tent entrance.
The inside was hot. The stale air smelled of dust and sweat despite the valiant efforts of a small air conditioning unit, trying to keep the inside cold while being woefully inadequate for such a job. There must be a parallel there, Seagrove thought, as he followed Blackwood towards the main operations table where the author of this disaster stood, his hands behind his back, watching them. His impatience was palpable.
Peter Clayburn was, if the official Andrew Clayburn photograph was to be believed, nothing like his uncle. Around 25 years old, he was tall but his almost black hair, the shape of his dark brown eyes and his tanned skin hinted at southern origin.
His visage was, of course, not the only thing that separated him from his uncle – where Andrew Clayburn was known to possess calm intelligence, his nephew was prone to rash decisions and Seagrove often wondered how he had found himself in a commanding position. Were one of his subordinates to behave like that, he'd never even consider promoting him.
"Blackwood," said Peter Clayburn finally.
"At your command."
Knowing the man better than most people, Seagrove felt that he recognized a trace of sarcasm in the response, but Blackwood kept his expression neutral.
"I'll be brief, Blackwood. You failed me. When I received word that my Uncle Andrew personally recommended you, I expected more. My report on your performance will not be flattering."
What a pompous prick, Seagrove thought, but Blackwood's face was still perfectly neutral. He suddenly felt Grey's tension behind him.
Clayburn continued: "I have one last task for you. We'll leave this hole with a present they won't soon forget. We've received some intelligence that families of high-ranking Hajduk terrorists are holed up in the town of Samobor, some 20 clicks west from here."
He paused to check his tablet. After a short while, he nodded.
"Go. Take the Seahawks and level it to the ground. No quarter. They need to learn not to mess with us."
With that, he picked up the tablet again and started scrolling through the rows of tactical information. After a few seconds, he glanced up from his work.
Seagrove felt in shock. He turned back to see Grey stare at him with the same horror and disbelief reflecting on her face that he felt. He often wondered later on whether the word he had heard next was one of the bravest or one of the most terrifying things he had ever heard.
Now it was Clayburn's turn to stare at Blackwood incredulously.
"I won't carry out that order."
Clayburn continued to stare at Blackwood in disbelief before he roared. The reaction was so violent that, over the shock from the situation, Seagrove couldn't help but wonder whether the man in front of him was actually sane.
"I am the commander here! You do as I say, Blackwood! One call to my uncle and you are dead. Your entire family is dead. I'll brand your unit traitors and we'll hunt them down like dogs. You didn't fight hard enough, but you did put your men above my orders because you thought you knew better. That ends now. No more compromises."
By now, Peter Clayburn was actually shouting. When Blackwood responded, it wasn't an angry roar of a lion but rather a hiss of a snake, silent but equally as deadly.
"Listen to me, boy, and listen well. I've been carving empires since before you were born. You throw the name of your uncle around, but you haven't even met him in your life. I have, he is a formidable man and you are nothing like him. Now, rescind that order, accept your defeat gracefully and maybe you can salvage this whole mess to your benefit."
Blackwood paused to regain his composure before he continued.
"Peter, if we do this, there will be no going back. We will never establish a foothold in the region. Let me reach out to your uncle, we can find a solution together."
Right then, at that moment, Seagrove realized that Blackwood had just made a terrible mistake. He watched Clayburn's face turned red.
"You dare think you know better what my uncle wants than his own blood?!"
Even Blackwood seemed to be taken aback by the rage in Clayburn's voice.
"You have one hour, Blackwood. One hour to depart and execute my orders. If you don't, don't bother returning here. I will find you myself."
Another wave of shock washed over Seagrove. This can't be happening. As if in a dream, both Seagrove and Grey followed Blackwood out of the tent until they were too far from anyone there to overhear then.
"Well then," Blackwood said, smiling suddenly. "Our bags are already packed. I heard Istanbul is nice this time of the year."
Once again, Seagrove just stared at him in disbelief. Grey suddenly yelled out:
"You knew this would happen? How? What did we just witness? The outrage? Was that all an act? I don't understand..."
Blackwood turned serious again.
"I knew because Clayburn had ordered another unit to carry out that command last night and they too went rogue. We'll be meeting them on the way. We're not murderers, Kathryn. Well, most of us aren't," he smiled sadly.
"We'll give our people a choice, which is more than what Clayburn gave us. Some will stay. Some will follow. I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this place."
- Somewhere on the road to Istanbul, June 5 2039
The last part of the convoy was slowly moving through the countryside – heavy haulers followed by the rear-guard host under Sergeant Mourois, sitting on top of his Stryker as if he didn’t have a worry in the world, a cigarette barely hanging from his lips. Seagrove knew this was how the man coped with the danger they were in, the air of calmness a cover for the pressure they were all under.
The worst fighting was behind them, it seemed. Two days ago, they tricked a Clayburn convoy into a clash with one of the local militias and managed to gain considerable distance from their pursuers while they were busy shooting at each other. They were, however, not out of the woods yet. Both proverbial and literal, Seagrove thought, looking around at the forest-covered hills surrounding the road the convoy was moving on.
Major Grey was sitting on top of her tank as usual, an unlit cigarette in her mouth, checking her pockets for a lighter. Seagrove frowned. He never knew her to be a smoker, yet here she was, trying to pick up the habit many men under their command had a hard time dropping. Cigarettes were rare these days.
He caught up to the trailer on which her tank was fastened simply by running. Another problem – they moved way too slow. Hopefully they would pick up the pace down the road. Wordlessly, he sat next to her and offered her his zippo. She looked up in surprise.
“You smoke, Josh?”
“Nope. But as my old man told me once, a man needs to carry only three things to make in the world. A pen, a lighter and a pack of condoms.”
She spat out with laughter, the cigarette falling from her lips straight into the open turret hatch of her tank. A muffled curse was heard from the inside as one of Grey’s crewmembers saw the cigarette and thought that it was lit.
“Goddamn it. Now you owe me a cig,” she frowned but the mock anger never reached her blue eyes.
They sat there, enjoying the view of the countryside, the earthly smell only a late spring can deliver and each other’s company. Closing your eyes, he thought, you’d never be able to tell that there’s a war going on. After a while, she broke the silence.
“Do you think we’ll make it?”
Despite her unchanged expression, he felt that this time, the question was dead serious.
“Sure. There’s always someone willing to sell something in Istanbul. And we took a whole pile of Clayburn’s credit chits. The old man will pay for our transportation and then some,” he grinned.
Certain sadness crept into her eyes.
“Did I ever tell you how I got to Europe in the first place?”
He raised his eyebrows and glanced at her. She never talked about her past and everyone who knew her knew better than to pry. The question was a rhetorical one and they both knew that. There was another long pause before she continued. “I was eighteen when I was sent here. God, I can’t believe it’s been more than a decade already”, she sighed.
“We were first sent to the El Arish base in North Africa.”
“Never heard of it.”
“You wouldn’t have I suppose,” she said with a sad smile. “It went defunct shortly after I passed through it. But you wouldn’t believe the amount of traffic. The might of the United States at the height of its power. It made us all proud. And then it went all to shit.”
He nodded. For him, the decline of the United States was something he had seen on television, something that could now be found in history book at the end, the “fall of an Empire” chapter. For her, it was personal. A chain of historical events crammed into two decades of her life, tearing her apart as only a slow destruction of the country you grew up loving can.
After another brief pause, he somehow felt that she was ready to talk further.
“Tell me about El Arish.”
The journey across Serbia into Bulgaria proved treacherous with signs of Hajduk internal strife and fragmentation more and more obvious as the Seahawks made their way across the war-torn country. Small groups of Hajduks harassed them until they reached Belgrade, where a commandeered cargo train took them further south, towards Niš, Pirot and, finally, Sofia and Istanbul.
Even from the train, further decay of the broken country was obvious. In the aftermath of the Clayburn and Lodestar intervention, wide swathes of the countryside were devastated by conflict with burned-out wrecks of military vehicles a common sight. Whole districts of cities were reduced to rubble under the merciless onslaught of all three sides with the fighting fiercest where brother fought brother in a cruel re-enactment of the Yugoslav civil war more than four decades earlier.
The Seahawks lost a several vehicles to skirmishes and ambushes and were only able to recover them shortly prior to their departure south, leaving them salvaged but unrepaired, a dead weight that some members of the group argued for leaving behind. Blackwood refused all such requests and the mechanics worked around the clock to keep them operational with what little they had. Despite the effort, two Abrams tanks had proved irrecoverable.
Occasional firefights erupted every few days between local militias and the Seahawks – luckily for them, various militia groups and warbands were interested in fighting each other as they were fighting the fleeing Seahawks and their willingness to engage the Seahawks in battle was lower with every passing day, Seahawk victory and escaped ambush.
The unit reached the Bulgarian border near Dimitrovgrad in relatively good order with few losses. Several wounded men and women were, along with sufficient funds, left in the local hospital. And on the Bulgarian border, they found an unlikely ally.
- Dimitrovgrad, June 16 2039
The place was really clean for a bar, Seagrove thought, as he entered the establishment with Blackwood. The cozy wooden walls were decorated with old, faded photos of men in a motley collection of uniforms, long since dead. Blackwood caught him staring at the pictures.
“Some things never change.”
Looking around the bar, Seagrove had to agree. He passed a couple of Bulgarian paramilitaries wearing Tihina colors and sat with Blackwood down at an ancient-looking plain wooden table, a network of scars and etches on its surface reflecting the place’s colorful history. The man across the table didn’t even look up, fully focused on peeling the red apple with his old pocket knife. His nondescript military uniform, albeit patched on several places, was kept meticulously clean, the sidearm lying on the table in front of him well-oiled and ready to use. His stern face did not express any emotions.
The man continued to ignore him, his focus solely on the piece of fruit in his hand, as if it was the most important thing in the entire universe. After a brief pause, Blackwood continued.
“We’d like to hire your services.”
Again, no reaction.
“We pay cash.”
The man carefully slicked a piece of his now fully peeled apple and started chewing on it, finally looking Blackwood in the eyes.
“And just what do you need me and Finist for?”
“Finist?” Seagrove asked.
“We heard that you are the man to talk to when it comes to business in Istanbul. And that you hate Clayburn.”
Sokolov gave Blackwood a long, appraising look before he finally nodded.
“Come in the evening. We will discuss details.”
Blackwood nodded, ready to leave, but Seagrove frowned, unimpressed by what he perceived as aloof behavior.
“I have to ask. Why Finist? Why name a tank after a fairy tale? Isn’t that a bit childish?”
Sokolov’s face immediately hardened, his eyes narrowed.
“You are young. Let me give you a piece of advice. For free. Never mock anyone’s culture. It is the key to every man’s...” he struggled for a short while to find the right expression. “True self.”
“Even fairy tales?”
“Especially fairy tales”, Sokolov concluded, waving his hand dismissively, once again fully focused on his apple.
- Near Istanbul, June 29 2039
The journey across Bulgaria was mostly uneventful with Sokolov’s influence buying them enough time to reach Istanbul in one piece. Now, the City of Mercenaries stood before them in all its glory.
Seagrove was fascinated by the striking contrast between the outskirts poverty and the wealth of the downtown skyline, millions of lights turning even the darkest night into day even as the outlying areas drowned in darkness.
Such was the wealth of corporations, he thought, as he sat on a rock near his tank, admiring the sunrise. The first sun’s crimson reflecting on the towers of glass and metal made it look like the entire horizon was on fire.
It was a breathtaking sight, yet Seagrove’s mind was racing with worries. The truth was that it was a miracle they made it this far. His combat leadership combined with Sokolov’s contacts brought them here, but the near future depended on Blackwood’s ability to secure the passage in a city full of hostile corporations that now considered them outlaws. Direct violence was prohibited within the city limits and the city itself acted as a safe haven to all but the worst of criminals, but Blackwood’s and Sokolov’s skills would be tested to the limit to keep them from obtaining that particular brand.
He nearly jumped in surprise when Sokolov suddenly sat next to him with a cup of coffee in his hand. A wide grin appeared on his face as he noticed Seagrove’s discomfort.
“You should not let anyone sneak up on you, my friend.”
“We’re friends now?”
Sokolov grinned again.
“No. It’s just something people say.”
The grin faded as he patted his pockets. Finally he found a half-empty pack of cigarettes. Methodically, as if it was the most important thing in the world, he pulled one out and lit it with a lighter he stored in the same pack. The acrid smell of low-quality cigarette smoke filled the air. Almost as an afterthought, Sokolov offered the pack to Seagrove, who just shook his head.
The silence dragged on with both men just admiring the view. Seagrove finally turned towards the other man.
Sokolov raised his eyebrows in mock surprise.
“Whatever do you mean?”
“Why did you join Blackwood? It wasn’t just for the credits.”
Sokolov turned away, gazing towards the horizon, the cigarette limp on his lips. Seagrove was about to pick himself up and leave, not expecting to receive an answer, but Sokolov gestured for him to stay. When he finally started talking, his response caught Seagrove off-guard.
“Tell me. What is history?”
Seagrove frowned, unsure as to what to reply.
“History is history. Everything that happened.”
“No. History is just a collection of stories people tell. And I happen to like stories. I was there when the Hellhounds fell and when the Remnant took their revenge before retreating east. Good stories, those.”
“But what does that have to do with us?”
Sokolov finished smoking his cigarette and looked up, exhaling the last breath of smoke against the ruby sky.
“I have a feeling your story will be a good one.”
- Istanbul, July 3 2017
The old warehouse was dark and damp – just the kind of environment all kinds of scum thrive on, Blackwood thought as he once again wondered if the whole plan of his was actually a good idea. Perhaps it was too complex after all. Plans within plans, layers of secrecy and deception, all of that to keep his enemies at bay.
But, he told himself, this was what he lived for – to see his carefully laid plan come to fruition. He had lived through a tumultuous time and simple fighting did not excite him anymore. But this... this was another game entirely.
He smiled at the man next to him. For all his wisdom and experience, Sokolov didn’t look through his ruse. Not yet. He might eventually, but if that ever came to pass, Blackwood would be ready. Sokolov was a practical man – he would come around. The other two, however, were a different story. Seagrove was smart but young and naive and Grey was just too embittered. Besides, he knew her secret – there was very little Blackwood didn’t know.
His line of thought was interrupted by the arrival of the person they were both waiting for. A small, shifty man of middle-eastern descent was carefully approaching them, his eyes darting around, looking for danger lurking in the shadows. He’d find none – Blackwood made sure they weren’t followed and Sokolov bribed a few local boys to keep an eye out for trouble.
Sokolov came forward first and extended his arm in greeting. Blackwood followed his lead.
“Ahmed. A pleasure.”
He turned towards Blackwood.
“Adrian, this is Ahmed Ibrahim, an old partner of mine.”
The other man only nodded and shook their hands. His grip was weak and his palms sweaty – he was clearly nervous and only the prospect of a lucrative deal, offered on Seahawk’s behalf by Sokolov, drew him out into this open. However, appearances can be deceptive, Blackwood reminded himself and the idea amused him greatly. He had to suppress the urge to grin. In Ibrahim’s case, it certainly was mostly deception – nobody would expect such a diminutive man to be one of the most important middlemen in Istanbul.
Ibrahim shifted his attention to Sokolov and smiled nervously for the first time. A brilliant act, Blackwood was sure, honed to perfection.
“Glad to see you again, effendi.”
Sokolov smiled in return so genuinely that Blackwood thought whether he had underestimated the old commander after all.
After a few more pleasantries, the three men sat on the dusty crates that littered the decrepit warehouse – despite being dressed in a light suit, Ibrahim didn’t seem to mind the dirt, a sign of wealth, Blackwood decided. Or yet another act.
“So, to business then. You, gentlemen, and your people need to get out of Istanbul. Fast. The word’s already out on the street about what happened. Despite this city’s... how shall I put it,” Ibrahim waved his hand dismissively, “official neutrality, Clayburn holds tremendous influence all over Europe, even here. It’s only a question of time before he gets the Corporate Council to vote for your expulsion.”
“You are, after all, renegades,” he smiled apologetically.
“Fair enough, that’s why we are here. We have money and we need ships. Enough to move us to the Mediterranean and across the ocean.”
Ibrahim barked with laughter.
“Effendi, you might as well wish for a unicorn.”
Sokolov frowned and it took Blackwood a lot of effort not to show his disappointment.
“Come on, Ahmed. I know you can do better than that. You have that kind of reputation.”
Once again, Ibrahim glanced around to make sure they were alone.
“Nobody will deal with outlaws, Fyodor, you know that. Not officially, anyway, but the nasty business in the Balkans keeps all the captains on edge. And nobody wants to get on Clayburn’s bad side; such people have a nasty habit of disappearing. You heard about Lodestar, I presume?”
Both men nodded. Ibrahim shook his head with mock sadness.
“Nasty business that. Sending an assassin so juiced up on combat cocktail that even a private army couldn’t stop him, a bad way to go. And that was Lodestar’s own HQ – who knows what can happen in Istanbul.”
The three men sat in silence for a while, pondering the information. Blackwood frowned to himself. Yes. That was the thing about the terror tactics employed by the Clayburn Corporation. They worked. Finally, Ibrahim broke the silence.
“There might be a way though.”
“Back in better days, Turkey used to be a powerful ally of the United States. There was a large military base. Abandoned now, of course, like so many others.”
The sun was already high in the sky and the warehouse was warming up rather quickly. Ibrahim wiped his brow with a handkerchief before continuing.
“I happen to know a few gentlemen who managed to salvage some valuable equipment from there. Including a rather large number of C-17 planes.”
Sokolov was about to say something but Ibrahim stopped him with a raised hand.
“I offer no guarantee that they will listen or agree to anything, but a pile of credits might change their minds. A very, very large pile of credits,” he concluded and gave Blackwood an important look.
Sokolov kept frowning.
“That’s no good. Even at their best, these planes don’t have the range we need to get away from Clayburn’s influence. Half of Africa is in his pocket, or another corporation. The world is a small place to hide.”
“It’s either that or nothing, effendi.”
“Hmm... I think I might have an idea,” said Blackwood with a thoughtful expression, finally nodding to himself.
“I’ve heard of another abandoned base in Sinai. I’ll have to ask my people. But for now... we have a deal, mister Ibrahim.”
“Excellent. I will contact you as soon as I know something.”
He extended his hand. They shook it and the meeting was concluded. Ibrahim slid down from the crate, once again oblivious to the state of his suit, and, despite its white color, disappeared into the shadows in the last act of showmanship.
As they headed out through the door, they heard his voice echo through the room for the last time.
“Oh and gentlemen? Please try not to die until then.”
What is the Storyline Campaign?
The Storyline Campaign is a multi-month story-driven event where players complete difficult objectives to win considerable prizes. The core of the Storyline Campaign is the Armored Warfare storyline and lore where player decisions influence the progress of the story directly. The campaign consists of five Episodes. All Episodes must be completed to receive the ultimate reward.
I came later on, is there a chance for me to get my hands on the ultimate Campaign reward?
The campaign is designed so that only the players who complete all the episodes receive the ultimate reward. With that being said, later episodes do contain the means to achieve the "Episode Completed" status for the previous episodes, but completing the episodes ex-post will invariably require more effort and resources than completing them in order. With the difficulty level increasing, it may become extremely difficult.
What is the Ultimate Campaign Reward?
A unique high-Tier reward vehicle, unobtainable by any other means.
Does the Storyline Campaign Lore have any impact on the game?
Yes. The lore represents the official Armored Warfare storyline. Characters from the Storyline may for example, depending on player performance, appear in the game as commanders.
How long is one Episode available?
Roughly a month with a break of a week or two between Episodes.