Timeline of Events
This is the timeline for events that are important to me. I wanted to talk about issues with management and why I got fired, from my point of view. I'll never truly know all of the details, but this is how it looks from my side. Most of these links either go to the forums or to screenshots of PMs or forum posts that I took myself. Most of what I say here is my opinion.
January 23, 2009
This is the day I signed up to play Faery Tale Online.
October 27, 2009
Wiro and I are invited to join the content team.
January 12, 2010
Lumin increases my duties by giving me the ability to edit the map.
March 2, 2010
Lumin further increases my duties by giving me forum moderator powers.
March 11, 2010
Lumin again increases my duties by giving me the ability to read characters' prayers.
March 23, 2010
Lumin gave me a donation as thanks for my help with the game.
April 21, 2010
I worry about whether or not I am sufficient in my duties. I PM Lumin, and he responds that I'm doing fine. There is no indication that I have done anything wrong.
May 13, 2010
Based on some bugs I learn about, I do some investigating and inform Mrs. Lumin and the GMs that Etep and others are exploiting bugs.
May 23, 2010
I am added to the GM forums as an advisory position due to my work investigating player exploits. I didn't know it at the time, but I was also given power to do GM stuff.
langricr gets into a bitter argument in #fto. Previously, he had been visiting the chat since March 3, and I already viewed him as a troll based on his earlier actions. I put the chat on moderated (+m) to let the argument cool down. As soon as I lift the moderation, he insults me. I decide to ban him. Here's the log of that day's events. Immediately after I ban him, he logs on from a different server and sends me a PM taunting me. Reluctantly, I unban him and let him back into the chat. Little did I know how much trouble he would later cause me.
May 24, 2010
I mention to Lumin that I've been out of a job, and I wonder if it would be all right with him if I could put FTO down as a reference. He agrees, and in his response to me, he even tells me a little inside information about his plans with FTO. I never told a single soul about what Lumin told me in this PM. I never mentioned it to anyone, not even my family. You reading this is the first time anyone besides me has ever read it. Here's my response to his PM. Given the fact that Lumin sent me this letter, I felt as though I was performing admirably and that I had been accepted into the inner circle. Unfortunately, I later discovered that I was mistaken, as I had no forewarning whatsoever in the coming days regarding any of Lumin's changes.
Later on the same day, Lumin closes IRC access on the FTO website, stating: "This has simply been a platform for problems and the reports of harassment and other problems has been growing. If you want to chat, you may access IRC from another application or site, but it's no longer going to be my problem."
In response to Lumin removing IRC access on the main page of FTO, I implement a Mibbit widget on my own personal website and take over chat complaints with the caveat that #fto is now unofficial and not related to FTO in any official capacity, and that Lumin will ignore all complaints related to the chat. As we will discover, that obviously was not the case.
May 27, 2010
Someone complains about trolls (griefers) in the game, and that we shouldn't resurrect dead characters just because they were killed by trolls. Lumin gets into a huge argument with people over whether or not trolls hurt the game. Against my better judgement, I support Lumin and suggest we run an experiment -- even though I do so tongue-in-cheek, implying that Lumin will lose players and game quality as a result of his actions. Lumin unfortunately takes me seriously, agrees with me, and implements a new policy for GMs: no revives for troll kills. To this end, he even takes away the GM's ability to revive people. Many people are angered over this ruling. I myself disagreed with his decision and felt a lot of guilt over my post in that thread.
Here's a screenshot of the ruling. You can see where I asked for clarification on the rules, but he never responded to my question.
June 6, 2010
Without warning or discussion, Lumin implements a mysterious disease that kills every character over 50. Even though, in my opinion, it was a really poor decision, I refrain from criticizing Lumin on the forums; in fact, I defend his actions. Later, when I ask why this happened, I get a couple PMs.
This is what I get from Lumin. People want to know the real reason behind the disease. Well, this PM is as good an answer as you're going to get.
This is what I get from Mrs. Lumin. The criticism she's referring to is this post referring to Mrs. Lumin banning someone for troll kills, even though Lumin had earlier ruled troll kills were no longer a bannable offense. She's right, though: I could have saved them a lot of grief. I will never understand why they didn't realize killing off people's characters would cause such a horrible backlash.
After thinking about it, I decide to write a very long letter in response to their actions -- addressing both of them at the same time regarding my concerns -- and I decide not to send it. I never speak out on the forums against the disease. I never tell either of them that I thought they could have handled things better. I guess I realized they never would have listened, anyway. I keep my mouth shut.
Many people quit the game as a result of the disease, including very good players like Alcorest and QuintC. Regardless of what Lumin said in his PM, it is my opinion that the damage done to his credibility is irreparable, and the trust he once had with the players is gone forever. There is no indication from Lumin that I have done anything wrong.
June 8, 2010
langricr continues to make trouble in chat. I decide to ban him entirely. He uses three different servers to evade his ban and get back into #fto. I ban entire domains in order to stop him from entering the chat. He PMs me on the forums, and I ask him twice to stop PMing me, and then ignore his PMs on the forums. At this point, what he's doing amounts to harassment, but I take no further action.
Later that day, as a result of some disagreement between she and her husband, Mrs. Lumin quits FTO, and puts me in charge of the mystery quests. I also get a message from christabelle with a message from Mrs. Lumin to me from Facebook.
I can't say for certain, but I'm guessing the argument was over the disease. I realize there must be a major problem if even Mrs. Lumin is fed up. There is still no indication that I have done anything wrong.
June 9, 2010
I receive a complaint from a player about armor. I post about it in the GM forums because I consider it an exploit, but we discover that it is actually a bug. After some investigating, I develop a solution for it. I also learn that I have GM powers (which I did not know), and Lumin changes it so that I can receive GM reports. I need to point out here that Lumin was giving me more duties even as late as this day, because it makes what happens later strange.
Let me repeat that again: as late as June 9th, Lumin is giving me more duties, and there is still no indication that I have done anything wrong.
June 10, 2010
Mrs. Lumin signs up again for the FTO forums specifically to work with mystery quests. She sends me this PM. We get into a conversation about mystery quests; it quickly becomes confusing, so we both agree to take a break and tackle the topic at a later time. I get no indication whatsoever from her posts that something is wrong.
June 11, 2010
Lumin blindsides me by suddenly removing me from the GM forums, announcing that he's found a new GM: langricr. I am genuinely terrified by the fact that langricr has been made a GM, and I quickly respond to his post and explain what's been going on. It's at this point that I develop the opinion that Lumin is truly the worst delegator in the entire world and that I was put on as Content Developer was sheer luck. Doesn't Lumin investigate people when they apply for a position? Does he believe everything he hears? My opinion now is that he takes people at their word -- even total strangers.
Lumin responds and tells me that he will not be taking langricr on. He seems to really ignore the fact that he hadn't fixed the armor bug (after all, if he had, I would have never had any complaints about it), and blames me for posting about it in the GM forum. I guess he didn't like the fact that we were discussing something that was his fault where the other GMs could see. Lumin also takes away my ability to read characters' prayers. Here's my response to him. You can probably tell from my PM that I am very confused and upset at this point, but I try not to make too big of a deal about it. Maybe Lumin got mad at me because I said he tended to ignore my posts in the development forum.
You can see from the PMs that Lumin didn't mention that I was doing anything wrong. If he was displeased with what I'd been doing, he made no warnings about it. He even says, "I like what you're doing, as forum mod and balancing content." In hindsight, I should have realized there was a problem when he started removing my duties without any warnings or reasons.
June 14, 2010
Once again, langricr evades his ban and enters #fto, continuing his campaign of harassment. Fed up with his actions, and at the suggestion of others in chat, I decide to contact a server administrator. I met jim (a Services Administrator, and a very polite and extremely helpful guy). Based on the logs I sent him from May 23rd, jim agrees with me that langricr is a troll, and he has a chat with langricr about his ways and monitors #fto to help us out for a while. This is the conversation I had with him in PM.
My belief is that sometime between the moment I asked jim to help me and the next day, langricr must have written a PM to Lumin about me. My belief at the time is that langricr did this because he wanted to get revenge on me for banning him from the chat, for suggesting to Lumin that he shouldn't be a GM, and for contacting the server administrators for help; this is supported by langricr's apology the next day.
June 15, 2010
I had just gotten through discussing some things about langricr with jim, and since he also viewed langricr as a troll, jim recommended langricr be banned from the FTO forums. Based on his recommendation and what I've learned so far, I send a PM to Lumin informing him of langricr's harassment. I finish sending the message, and I suddenly realize that I can no longer view the development forums. It is at that point that I have been removed from all duties without warning or prior notice.
I can't even describe the sinking feeling I had when I saw this PM from Lumin. He must have already been typing this even before I could send my PM about langricr.
Here's my response.
Here is the second and final PM from Lumin. I do not respond.
I was heartbroken. I loved working on FTO. I enjoyed implementing new items, listening to player suggestions, and solving problems. I looked forward to the day when I could run quests to entertain players. I looked forward to helping players. Every day, I woke up excited because I had finally found something in life that I truly enjoyed, truly cared about, and now it had been snatched away from me. Worse, very few people came to my aid. Those that did, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Later that day, langricr makes a public apology on the forums. He admits "influencing, if not causing, the loss of FaeryTaleOnline's content developer." For just a moment, I have some hope that langricr was responsible for the whole thing, and Lumin will admit he was wrong to listen to him. I have hope that Lumin will apologize and put me back in. That hope is smashed to bits. Lumin locks the thread and says that his decision has nothing to do with langricr. What?
Is it possible that Lumin lied? Was there more to it than what langricr said? I don't know, and I fear I'll never know the whole story.
June 16, 2010
Lumin posts an updated set of guidelines for the website. In my opinion, Lumin posted these guidelines because he knows he was in the wrong for firing me, and he wants to assert his right of supreme rule even in the face of grievous error. It's also my opinion that he's lying about the "overwhelmingly positive" response from the disease incident. What do you think?
Lumin speaks to the NewNet server administrators to try and shut down #fto. Once again, jim comes to my aid: he sends me a log of Lumin asking him to shut down the FTO chat. Here's the whole log.
June 17, 2010
Mrs. Lumin PMs me and asks me if I'm going to still help with mystery quests. As one player put it: "Hey, I know we fired you and all, but how would you like to keep doing the work without getting any credit for it?" I have not responded.
June 19, 2010
I get this e-mail from Etep, gloating over my being removed. In it, he lies and says that I never told Lumin about him using exploits. You can scroll up yourself and read where I did so on May 13th. I told Lumin everything I knew about that incident. Etep was not only banned from the game and forums for cheating, but also banned from #fto due to trolling, so I am dismayed that Lumin would trust him when he ought to have known better. This e-mail was apparently a factor in my being removed from the team.
I get this e-mail from langricr, stating that he never talked to Lumin about anything other than the GM incident. He said, "I've been informed that apparently you think it's my fault you got the boot from your position," but in his public apology on June 15th, langricr stated that he was apologizing for "influencing, if not causing, the loss of FaeryTaleOnline's content developer." Why would langricr publicly apologize for causing me to be removed, yet send me an e-mail implying that he had nothing to do with it?
How big of an influence were langricr and Etep on Lumin? Was I wrong about langricr? I don't know the answer to these questions, but from this log, it certainly looks as though Etep was the one who set out to cause trouble, and Lumin rewarded him for it. I forwarded Etep's e-mail to Lumin, but got no response.
June 21, 2010
Possibly in response to making this timeline public, I am banned from accessing FTO's website and the forums as well. I would like to express my gratitude to those of who you brought it to Lumin's attention.
Likely near the time I was banned, Lumin logged into the NewNet server and spoke with a server administrator. Apparently Lumin asked the administrator to moderate the chats -- #fto in particular -- in a further attempt to pressure the administrators to close the chat. When told that NewNet wouldn't respond to his demands, he began to make threats against the server. As a result, he was G-lined: banned from the network entirely. Additionally, a log of the threats was sent to his ISP.
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