Although the empire's roots can be traced to the roleplayer guilds that materialized in correlation with the rise of the internet in the mid-1990s, as well as with the fandom that formed in reaction to the release of the original Star Wars films in the 1970s, the specific group led by Darchind, Seknem, and later leaders formed in 1999, in the Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II section of the MSN Gaming Zone.
The group's formation was largely a reaction to the despotism that informed the establishment of many guilds and cliques of the time. Darchind's organization was built almost exclusively on the premises of disaffected youth, and it was especially appealing to players who felt disenfranchised and aggrieved throughout the gaming communities. Those players were often victims of cyberbullying. Because cheating and exploiting, or bending game mechanics beyond intended parameters were typically treated as valid means of enjoyment by cyberbullies, the Galactic Empire sought to wage an institutional war against players who promulgated such acts. The disenfranchised and the aggrieved jumped at the chance to develop the necessary skills to effectively combat those cyberbullies, who Darchind and other leaders later defined as elitists.