News: Why I left EQClassic

Friday, September 30, 2011

For anyone who was following recent events, you may think you know why I'm off the team now. You however would be wrong. I choose to leave, and did so for several reasons that have piled up. This post may be long as I'm unsure how much I have to say about everything, and I intend to be as thorough as I can.

I'll start with why I joined in the first place. It was a time during the second era of this project, near the end. A cease and desist was issued to the website, and the website and forums for the project were closed down. The project however was kept on life support through an IRC channel. But even there it was barely hanging on due to most of the devs halting work on the project. Only really one dev, the newest, was active at the time. That was Yeahlight. He was doing great work in a hefty amount then. He begone to not like the control the inactive devs seemed to try to maintain on the project when they weren't even contributing, and begin planning to take the project reigns over himself, by force if needed.

At this time in my impatience for the project, I begin to wish I could help in some way. I did have c++ experience, but knew my experience would be to lacking to contribute directly to the server source myself. With past projects of mine, I realized my limits to late, and learned from it. So since then I have always tried to know what I can and can't do. After fiddling around with my EQTrilogy discs out of boredom, I realized a way I could help. I've used EQ emulators before, and knew all of them bypassed the patcher. To me, while not the most important thing, it was a part of the classic experience that would be discarded. For legal reasons a patcher for a emulator server doesn't sound like a good idea off the bat, but I realized it would be helpful for at least a few important, legally manageable files. Enough so that a patcher replacement was a good idea. Even this was a bit beyond my abilities at the time. But I figured if I failed, oh well. Nothing lost. No one was depending on me, and I wasn't in the way of anyone else. And fail or not, I should learn something.

I wrote the patcher, and things went very well. I got a few bored alpha testers at the time to help test it so I could refine it, and it proved to have potential. Enough so, that with my talks with Yeahlight he seemed to be interested in officially supporting it with the EQC project. Something that I of course would like very much for my project. But I was wary of joining a team still. I'm used to projects on my own. And I'm used to a certain amount of respect. An amount I would need from the community and other devs. Whether I deserved that amount of respect or not, it was required. I'm not interested in being just another lackey. I've had issues with lack of respect in team situations in my past, and knew enough to just avoid such things. I would need that respect to join, and Yeahlight gave it to me. He treated me as an equal, and appreciated my project contribution. This was exactly what I needed to join him, so I did.

It wasn't his project, it was our project. We helped usher in the 3rd era of this project. Sadly for my contribution, my ideas started running out, so progress slowed. And soon after the alpha testing group was disbanded for the most part. Further putting my project on the shelf until it was needed. I was given server source access without asking for it, and clearly stated that while I may try and contribute something here and there, don't count on it at all. I did pick some code to try out, put several hours into it refining it and doing my best to figure out bugs with it. But I just wasn't that interested in it. So I was forced into inactivity myself, with nothing to do. I think I then took time away from the project, and started playing games more in my free time. In that time off, I lost server source access, saw new devs added to the team, but remained uninvolved other then just submitting what I worked on to Yeahlight for him to add to the source for me. Something of which I waited a long time and which he never did.

Fast forward now to a couple months ago. It has been so long since I worked on a programming project, that I was getting more active in my talks with Yeahlight and actually trying to find something else to work on. We couldn't find anything due to either lack of interest for me, lack of the project as a whole being ready for it, or both. And never once did I ask, or was I asked about working on the server. As far as my end goes, I still wasn't interested, and still figured it might be to much for me. But I was considering it in case I was asked is all. For now I just wanted to see what I did work on and spend so much time on, added. Still though, for whatever reasons, Yeahlight never got around to doing that for me. I decided I would ask this newer team member I only just recently met, and see if he would do it for me. Something I now regret deeply. I asked Harakiri. He seemed kind enough to do it. But his kindness soon turned insulting when rather then add my code he just decided my work sucked, and rewrote it himself claiming "You did all the research, that's the hard part. So no big deal.". I did no research on the code. It was all experience. The "hard part" was that code I invested my time in. Several hours of work. 1 1/2 - 2 years waiting, and its just tossed in the trash? Yea, of course I'm going to be pissed. This was my last straw with this guy and a big one, as in just a couple short days of knowing me, he had insulted me several times prior. I don't know what is with the guy, but he just seemed to not want to like me from the start. He seemed to be posturing and trying to show his ego and rank or importance to me in every dealing, in a likely effort to get me to kiss his ass like he views everyone else as doing. I never insulted him. I gave him respect, and acknowledged he was a better programmer then me, and everything I could to get off on the right foot with him. But that all failed it seems. After the issue with my code submission, I no longer have any respect for the guy. That's enough about him for now though. Moving on...

I kept my distance from that guy for the benefit of the project. And continued on my quest to find something to contribute to the project. Well, part of why I stayed gone so long was due to the state of the community. IRC was dead, and the forums were far more dead then they should be, and getting worse. The IRC channel issue was mostly resolved when Sven setup a new channel. I decided to start figuring out ways to help the rest of the community around the forums. Community is something important to me, as I expect any classic EQ fan to understand. But forum community's are something I take fairly serious. They often require a delicate balance, and can be difficult to handle properly. I've heard from several people who wanted to join the EQC community, but found over moderation, and general strictness of the forums to be repulsive. That's something I hate to hear. In my time back evaluating things myself, I was beginning to see exactly what people were talking about. Certain mods like Harakiri and perfect would to strictly enforce the letter of the rules, and lock down threads before they barely even started. The rest have sunk into a rut where they have been encouraged to over-moderated things themselves. Rules are made for a reason, yea. I helped make most of them there, and as such agree with them. But a mods job isn't about locking down threads and dealing with troll. Its about helping a forum community prosper and thrive. This is where the balance comes in, and over moderation can hurt just as much as under moderating things and letting trolls and spammers run wild. The rules are there and should be followed, yes, but they shouldn't always be staring everyone in the face. Rules are rules for posters, but should be seen as guidelines by mods who better understand the intent of those rules. Rule breaking should be evaluated on a case by case basis, with a more dynamic situational touch only a human can understand. Other wise, just make a massive list of banned text, keep less moderators, and be done with it. Anyway, this is all my opinion based on experience and observation. And a desire to encourage more posting. Right or wrong, its a matter of opinion. Fact is though the community is stagnant, and I wanted to help. An idea that anyone can agree and and support.

Tossing around ideas for a few weeks, the best thing I could come up with was a minor boost in the fun of the forum members, by getting whatever very few that would be interested, together and playing WoW on a emu server. Something approachable by anyone, as its free to play and you can freely obtain the game client files online from legal sources. And it won't spoil the classic experience everyone is waiting for, by going back to EQ in another form prematurely. It was a good idea, and after debating it for a while, posting it, things getting off topic, then re-posting it. Things blew up and my time with EQClassic started circling the drain. Apparently one whiny troll, and a ego centric power hungry dev have more respect then me now. In fact I come to find out I may never have had the respect I thought I had, and Yeahlight just lied to me when I joined him. He considered me just a bit player. Someone that just spits out some tools for him and that's it. I lost my mod privileges, which in itself is a clear sign of not having the respect I thought I had and was told I had when I joined. And just begins to tell the story about what this team has become, and where the project is likely heading.

I in no way wanted to be a part of a team like this where I'm not respected as an equal, or at all. And I in no way want to be a part of a project in which the goals I care about so much, is heading further and further into a direction of increasing damaged community and possibly even failure, and not being able to even attempt to stop it myself. I was lied to and tricked years ago, or it's just that the Yeahlight of today isn't the same person anymore, instead being replaced by a much worse one. I'd have never have joined the project in the first place had this Yeahlight been the one I knew back then, nor if I had known the directions things would end up heading, and with me powerless to help.

I can go into detail, and argue lots of points I've made here. And in some cases already have elsewhere. In the end its all pointless. Peoples views, opinions, and positions are unlikely to change. The only thing that changes anything is time and choices. I choose to leave. That will be good for me. Possibly in some ways good for classic EQ fans. Perhaps time will help improve other things. From my end, it's not impossible for me to go back. But from either end, its probably seen as unlikely. Lets see how kind time is to this project. So far, its had a lot of ups and downs. And will likely have more in the future.

For me, I'll continue on without the project as I did before. Programming is my hobby. I do it when/because I have fun with it. I have nothing major planned right now to help fill the void of the EQC Launchpad project being placed in its coffin. But I'm almost always looking and thinking.

Will I play EQClassic if/when it is done? Who knows. It's certainly less likely then it was. All I can say for sure for now is that, perhaps things are working out for the best for me. Maybe I can put more hope/faith in EQNext or something more modern/new rather then holding onto a game that was lost almost 10 years ago.

R.I.P. EQC Launchpad.
R.I.P. EQClassic?



Reminder. If you have comments or wish to discuss any on this with me, I am no longer monitoring that forum or my PM box there as I'm trying to make as clean a break as possible. Comments should be posted here if you intend on me reading them. And I can be reached through IRC and IRC under the name DarkAkuma. And in certain cases may be willing to establish email or MSN contact.


Anonymous said...

It's perfect, not Perfect. Lower case p. Thanks.

DarkAkuma said...

Fixed. =p

Just because I myself get sort of annoyed when people type my name wrong, like with a space in it. lol

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