The MUSH Timeline
i have activly been putting this one off for awhile, because... well to be blunt? according to most groups, at least within the hobby sphere, so far as I am aware... regard me as The Bad Guy. The Guy To Avoid. That Guy. Etc.
It takes a lot to look at your history and not just sweep it under the rug as 'not my fault.' Takes more to actually take something useful from the experiance. I'm going to change names here and there. A few are likely going to be recognizeable, because... inconsistancy. While i damned well want people called to post for how they have reacted to me? I both know that isn't going to happen, and in the grand scale? Nobody cares.
Tiny little kings ruling over sandcastles as the tide rolls in.
Which probably says as much about me as them since I care as much as I do.
This was my introduction to the hobby via book themed MUDs. Think your WoW, Everquest, or the like... but it was all done via text. You had NPCs, an economy, stats and things to kill and on and on. I mostly hung out at this one Wheel of Time themed place that actually skewed away from these elements towards Roleplay. That is taking on a persona and playing it up. Think of it as a collaberative writing excersize and it suddenly soundsfar less cringe.
And what i remember of my attempts here were... Cringe. Terrible name. snowflake powerset. VERY poor understanding of pacing, and on and on. This place is where i cut my teeth. I'd actually even gotten hauled out of the cmputer lab by school security having been there after hours.
In fairness a student in the computer lab that served as the heart of the school's networking that had access to all their electronic records? I'm lucky I didn't sufer more than a week of detention, having some on campus privilages revoked, and everyoen calling it square. It was stupid but 'these were other people that shared my interests and were helping me ... people... better' was my mindset.
Which kinda bit me in the ass come collage. The transition from everyone praising me in highschool, to collage dropkicking me in the face and then coming in with big stompy boots while I was down just kinda left me crawling back t othat digital comfort zone. Sure life sucked, but I wasn't alone.' was my mindset.
The me from twenty years in the future wants to beat sense into that kid. Collage alone was hard enough. I didn't need the distractions.
After collage imploded I sorta took a break. Deleted the client, walked away from all of 'em. Granted it was easy to walk away when I was on dialup and internet was spotty to begin with. However I still just sorta let the whole thing go and while i'm glad the old homestead is still out there? I don't miss it.
My Return and the 'Best' years of the whole thing.
This oene started with me doing what amounts to an early 2000's version of a wiki walk. That is to say googling search terms relevant to a fandom community/forum/webcomic I was part of, and 'oh look at that another one of those mud places' Except it wasn't a mud as it had no NPCs, exp, or other MMO like features. It'd ditched those in favor of a more story centric affair. This is where I met Maya. Nice person, friendly, helped the newbie slot in.
To be blunt? I was still terrible at the whole 'shared storytelling' thing as I had picked an inherently combat focused character with no personality. I had done so both because the character's source material was interesting and because I was afraid of messing up. o what I did was essentially easy mode.
It was also incredibly boring as it made for a character that was fumblingabout and had little interaction or reason TO interact.
This is when I got told about another place that was a sortof 'lets mash up differing characters and continuities into a big soup and run with it' sorts of places. In fact this was The Place that did that as far as I'm aware. So I bring the character over, warts and combat focus and all.
This is something I really would have thought hard on before doing as I'd brought the guy along at the tail end of his personal story where he was at maximum growth rather than at the start. I've seen other people do this and it never ending well.
On reflection the one saving grace of my time was that I embraced the inherent nuttiness and would have my scifi omni-soldier pop up at klingon opera, or to help with magical explosion of teleporting familiar animals, or embrace the fact the guy would inherently and inevetably come back from the dead to give some one off gags.
However I had conceptually pidgeonholled myself with the character. Oh it was still fun. Lots of shennagins were had. My favorite being a long chain of scenes involving rebuilding and refitting a constitution class star ship and all the silliness that ensued.
Well that and a duel with another character who was programmed to kill me on sight. Both characters respected the other and both myself and their player wanted to have fun with the whole thing. So it ended up leading up to a klingon opera with a duel to the death (I lost.)
It was fun, until it wasn't.
Decline and Descent
It didn't happen all at once. There is no 'one' thing that had it changed would have instantly made things better. Life, sadly, is nowhere near convenient enough to allow for easy solutions.
However, and this is me with over a decade of hindsight, I have some guesses. Between the fact in community opprotunities tended to pass me by as I tended to not have the same assurances of 'at x time I can do y event' and know for an absolute I could dedicate the hours needed per event. Thus i was passed over, often feeling overlooked. One of those realities of life where there is no 'bad guy' in a situation.
Unfortunately to compound the matter is the highly cliquish nature of these kinds of places. Friends of those in power get perks, rules bent in their favor, allowances made so they get more prominance. That sort of thing. I would often get given some shpeal about 'trust' which, on its face does hold true. However there was always this feel of 'friends and fawners first.'
Didn't help that one of the prominant people were playing a character that had several versions that was the darling dear of the community. Constant gushing, constant talking, hyping, and on and on at the amazingness of the source material and... from where i sat it felt like 'Person' was riding the hype wave, and I hadn't really paid attention said 'person' was going with their own spin that was far older than the one being gushed about.
So it was less'a child leads us' and more 'someone who started as a child soldier and grew up with war.'
Granted it didn't help that the person (who I am VERY intentionally not naming0 at the time and as my memory tells me, was basically rubbing it in that 'unless you have material that orbits around me you will get no air time.' I later would find out said person had their own issues going on, but given how gleefully at the top of the roost they were acting, and how I personally felt stonewalled? it just fed into my own instabulities.
As a bit of an explainer. At this point in my life I was months away from taking whispered promises and a greyhound to end up several hundred miles away from home. Alone. So... I was not firing on all cylinders.
I don't remember everything that happened. This isn't 'fog of time and weight of years.' This is quite literally it took me hearing from the few people involved that still would speak to me actually telling me the thigns i said and did. How big of a stink I made. So while at the time i was screaming thunder and damnation? For all the ill that followed that I feel was unjust?
Basically I was as loud and disruptive as possible. Accused all the parties involved with sleeping with eachother. Collusion. And on and on. THe more i was ignored the louder I was.
This is when I truely messed up and deservedly had the door slammed in my face.
After my expulsion from that community and essentially me being blackballed from the major nodes of the hobby? I kinda drifted. There was the afforementioned 'winding up several hundred miles from home' when i do not have the capability of driving. So for awhile I was a non-person.
When I tried rejoining communities I was basically treated as a Pariah. Any objections i had would be turned back on me. Community owners drumming me out shouting at how horrible I was. At the time I didn't know how bad my actionshad been. So this sorta left me confused and angry.
There were a few places that had let me hang out. Nothing big. Nothing major. I was unhappy with how thrown about my schedule was, but given my utter lack of social in realspace? This was the closest I had.
All of these places I inevetably woud drift away from when it became clear 'oh you can't dedicate yourself to six hour events? Then you may as well be a non-entity in this place.' Rather than risk things fraying apart I would just drift away. I was unhappy, but I at least hadn't napalmed other bridges.
One of these places was very anime themed. Kamen Rider, Mahou. Urban Strangeness. The GM let me show up as i had been recommended by a friend. Why yes sure i could apply for someone without powers no sweat.
Note: This GM, I would later find out, had a 'thing' for wanting to torment the disabled. Amongst many other problems with their own mental state that they would then scream about and hide behind if pressed on anything. I only found that out later.
This place had its own cliques, and nobody really would coordinate with me or try making me feel welcome. OK that isn't quite true, but I didn't feel part of so much as apart from. I stuck around out of stubborn pride mainly. Basically the dice there decided my vanilla muggle noodle van driver should be more along the lines of 'batman' than not. Which I suppose contributed to the GM's growing dissatisfaction with me. After all here my character was subjected to things they had no tools to cope with, and wern't cowering in terror.
Note: I have severe vision issues, and in modern diagnosis probably would have been diagnosed as autistic.
I ended up butting heads with the GM, and outright got banned for getting into a shouting match with them. Funny thing is years later I would get told the character I had got muted, turned into a toad, and a bunch of other things before getting parked in the GM's 'office' on the game space.
Said GM, I have learned, since has been married. I hope she is doing well and got help.
That place is important both because that is where i met and made friends with Ishida. And it is also when I made friends with someone else who was a sortof byblow to my earlier explosive banning. I made apologies to this person. We hit it off. They were nice. So when they were a no show. I nosed about. Eventually turning back up to the place i was banned from. I made sure staff knew why I was there and no I had no interest in trouble. I just had one of those gut feelings and someone I considered a friend had been gone for a wek.
Turne out that person was on suicide watch. At this point looking back I don't exactly blame other people covering for them, but at the time it felt like a slap to the face especially coming from the person wh obenefitted most from the cliquish nature of anime place.
This is also when I learned the true extent of what I had done. I sitll hated most everyone in charge, but at the same time? I had behaved badly and had apologized to the person I'd wronged most on the whole matter. I hadn't done it hoping to be allowed back in, though I recall halfway wanting to, so much as simply wanting to square things.
Truethfully i never should have returned. If I could give advice to the me from then? 'Don't. It's a trap.' I took getting hissed and threatened well, I feel. I expected it and felt it was deserved.
Then staff started making it 'difficult' for me. Anything I did. 'Oh hey you're streaching thigns too far' anything that I wanted to try 'Nope! we need justification.' And on and on. Then the gripestaffer who had been the self proclaimed tiebreaker vote, one Lord English, 'asked' me to sit down with them... 'oh don't worry you can refuse we can do this another time but i'm the reason you're here and i'll feel put out.'
It was not a fun convrosation. Oh sure on its face it was a gentle sorto f reminder of how thigns are, but the subtext felt very much like a stop and frisk followed by the cop smashing a tial light in and then pointing that out as justification. All this at roughly midnight local time. With a staffer who was the head of the complaint department.
Next morning I file a job report asking 'Hey unless it's something gargantuinely important can you guys... not 'ask' to talk to me past 9?' To which I was told i was being a child and my request was denied.
LE then sat down to have a talk to me. Supposedly after me talking to someone doing an event I was part of was having a breakdown, SUPPOSEDLY because i was involved. Then on and on and the convrosation grew more overtly hostile.
Note: Lord English was found out to have log doctored. Nobody has bothered apologizing to me. Or offered explaination. I have done many things wrong in my 'career' but this is one thing I will not budge on. LE Owes me an explaination.
Things deterriorated and, rather than things go sour again? I left. Naturally I am leaving things out. This is mostly because i don't really remember the details.
Thing is? The one guy I actually wronged? That guy was the one person who was honest at giving me that clean slate I was promised. Guy grandstands, hasa massive ego, and more besides. However dude was honest with me.
So I wandered again. This whole time Ishida was someone i hung out with and we would do our own stories. Which was nice. The fact they were around helped give me at least some sort of counterbalance to the frazzled nature of it all.
Which was helpful because another anime themed place threw me out a month after it opened. Oh they have their claims at me being horrible and that I was hitting on everything that moved and on and on. Yet the staff talk had nothing of that nature. IT was all 'oh you don't doki doki in your heart the material' and that i wasn't a 'true fan' and on and on. THen I sent messages to people i had ongoing business with that I was taking time off after a staff sitdown.
That is when I got an email notice that I was banned. Not a reason given. Just 'your'e banned Scumbag.'
Then I get word at somewhere else that someone was shrieking about me, By Name, in the public lounge area... and Maya quietly hushed them up and made them leave. Not 'hey my guy here is confused on what's happened since he got bodily thrown out. Go talk to him maybe?'
I am still angry at Maya. They have since admitted that was a stupid mistake on their part where they froze up and pannicked. Yet given how I got clubbed about the face at how horrible i am post that incident?
Oh I got a later talk with the staffers there 'oh ya we've got a big google doc no you can't see it. you're a scumbag BOW DOWN and be grateful we gave you a chance. Pig.'
More wandering. I ended up getting invited to a place called World Tree.
This is a place that had boththigns going for and against it. In my time there you would basically input all your own character details and staff would review and approve it. For me this tended to be a six to eight week wait on simple 'ya we approve/no go fix this' response followed by more of the same wait times.
I have been told by one of the staffers 'for some reason your material always ends up at the bottom of the pile.'
This place had a clean slate policy. The headmonkey in charge had told me that I was not liked by her. I should have taken this as 'red flag. LEAVE.' However I figure this was the best I would ever get.
And frankly? FOr a few years it was honestly great. I would bounce around. There was he usual unplanned brilliance (Honestly Ash and miwa hitting it off was wholly unplanned and frankly unplannable in my opinion.) I did not restrict myself to theme or tpe of scene. I had excuse to wander and so would join in wherever it felt interesting to meddle.
Then another person showed up. I vouched for them wanting to app a character type as I felt they deserved a chance. As it turns out I probably shouldn't have bothered since later events make it clear that they were the 'favored son' sort of people staff wanted.
And yet they would shriek on and on at how unsafe they felt. Continually make a point to go 'Hey did you know I'm X?' And act frustrated that nobody was making a matter of it either in or out of character.
Then they would talk to me. Tell me that they were misandranyst and heterophobic and that they were from that one anime place and agreed with staff there that i was aweful why are you making unhappy noises I'm your friend right?
Then I saw a twitter post where they Named another player and.. I flagged staff down with my concerns and wanted a sitdown talk with person. Not 'I want this person in trouble.' It was a case of 'they trust you. i trut you. I want to keep things civil.'
I was told this was a serious matter and that it needed to be handled delicately. Which I agree with completely.
Til then I gave ground to this prson to avoid potential problems. Often if I showed up they would show up which would then prompt me to leave.... and according to whispers from friends? They would soon also leave. Yet I tried to keep a lid on things since here wasa good place. Staff were working on the matter.
Six months passed. I would poke them now and then 'hey any progress.' 'Yep totally working on it.'
Until one day I got an official response going on at how hererophobia is OK and it's false equivilancy to expect blah blah blah. Followed by said staffer mesaging me wit hthe same. Then adding 'oh hey I'm off dty take this as a favor.'
Off duty. Officially responding with their staff alt to job requests.
I was livid. I went over their heads to the site owner. Which... I figured 'look if this is how it's going to be what's the worst that can happen?'
I got a three month ban. Fine.
They got... lightly reprimanded, as in 'oh hey can you be more prompt on your responses' for leaving me waiting for six months on a stewing interpersonal matter.
I also got told that they can't and shouldn't police off site actions.
In that three months I emailed them outright asking if I should even bother coming back. To which I was told 'that is your call.'
Day of the ban end? I find my account repassworded. I had no knowledge of this.
So I went ballistic on them.
THey have threatened legal action against me. Said i 'hacked' my way into their place (it has an open access guest account.) That I was nine kinds of fortified horrible and aweful.
This is my story.
I have other names I have used, but those are thones most in the hobby will maybe recognize.
I am also done with the hobby. I have a few connections, but i'm done trying. Past calling the staff of World Tree to task by making sure my story is known on as many places as possible? I have no real reason to want to try. They're all clique infested and run. Tiny kings ruling sandcastles that could be wiped out if anyone who owned the rights to the properties used wants to look their way.
So what does that say about me when I take these matters as hard as I do?