I began playing Armageddon in 2008. It was my first mud, and I loved it. A newly blossoming gamer fresh off of a much belated discovery of Diablo 2 and still all too wildly in love with the Ashlander elves of Morrowind.
I loved the amount of depth, expression, and freedom this change of platform had allowed for, and the intensity of immersion was like no game I had ever heard of or played before. It was so good, it inspired tens of thousands of hours over a decade or so, of my enjoyment.
It was two and a half years into playing that I was welcomed aboard as a Story- teller - the lowest ranking of staff members. The greatest portion of my time is here, this year and a half or so period between June of 2010 and October of 2011 when I was not only playing but also on staff.
During this period, most of my time was spent as the sole active staffer for the many varied clans of the northlands open for play. A job that was complicated by answering to an administrator for anything from item to room to npc building who was so absent that most of our contact was not recorded on their staff forum but instead done over chat in various forms.
This all led to a sort of stagnation that is apparent in other areas now as back in the day it was in the Northlands. The beauracracy set up which makes the low ranking staff members more or less glorified pencil pushers and ties their hands on doing their namesake and... actually telling stories... has only grown deeper and more profoundly stifling as time wears on.
The culture has gotten so stifling that even your crafts when you have a master crafting level merchant pc are micromanaged to the point 'you cannot use phrasing like brilliant azure when blue would suffice' - and that is not an exaggeration. That is lifted directly from a newly changed help file on the subject.
Only suitable, one must suppose in a game where player glass ceilings have been so lowered over time that you can no longer play mages with a full skill tree, you can no longer make a tribe or family that is not preapproved by staff, you can no longer advance, even in roles which the staff has sponsored in, to senior levels of in game power. In a ranking of junior noble, senior noble, and senator or house head, you used to be able to advance to senior nobility. Not so, now.
A system with blue, red, and black (three tiers) of power for the templarate (a sorcery based noble 'police force'), you used to be able to advance to red robe, and have houses. Not so, now. Only blue robes. You used to be able to advance to senior positions in other clans as well, such as Merchant Houses. And again, now not possible. You used to be able to advance beyond Sergeant to the rank of the Leiutenant in the Tzai Byn mercenary company. Now not possible. In fact, the one Leiutenant they've had in years was sponsored in from a pool of favored players, to the protests of many, only to (not surprisingly) find no success.
The pervasive culture of preferential treatment, hacking up the world piecemeal to try and funnel players together, lowering glass ceilings, and absolutely and totally awful treatment by staff over the years, has bred so much hatred and so much resentment, that the group of people who are now a part of their community of spurned, banned, and wronged former players has ballooned to such a size that now it is not the official game forums that even show up as the prime search result for this game, but that of those who were wronged by its administration.
I myself absconded to this group, the day I had a staff member delete the entire content of my forum post and replace it with a linked video 'whorf is right over and over again'. This was in 2013. In 2011, one of the top ranking staffers who was responsible for so many of the disgruntled players and I came to an impasse and rather than resign from staff when I was moving to a place where I would be without internet indefinitely, I quit staff over it. Naming names, this person was Nyr.
In the past few years since then, I had distanced myself enough from my sense of discontent to return under an alias. Which was fine, until my husband started to come back from hiatus and it made it apparent who I was. This was when I was met with the message that I could not special app, put in requests (the primary sort of method for doing anything, even joining clan forums), or even put in to do master crafting with my merchant pcs (this being the equivalent of saying that your warrior can't use weapons, it's a primary feature of the guild).
I was upset, but willing to play on these terms, as it was something my husband and I both loved, and could sit next to each other and do. Everything was for a certainty quite biased against me, but whatever, it was good escapism. For a time. Everything seemed to be getting better, the voices of many of those who were wronged seemed to be heard, and Nyr stepped down as Producer.
And then in the last six months, everything has moved into a constant backslide again. Nergal is the replacement for Nyr, purportedly, though I'm frankly not at all certain they are not the same person. It takes a certain kind of person to send a player a picture of your penis uninvited. The same kind of person who is able to unflinchingly suggest that a character in an ankle length skirt has on a 'whore skirt', direct quote. The same type of person who would suggest that one upset over the use of sex as a threat to ruin their characters' reputation and use of whore as an insult (in a world which according to its own documentation sees whoring a valid profession and has no western sexual mores or bias against sexually active women) and will decry it as something you should 'expect' to be experiencing, 'if they dressed like and acted like' a person who was covered from chin to ankle to both wrists, sitting in a public place and talking to a person for their boss. The same type of person who would endorse animating the game world to come to life to slander that same person to their monogamous lover as publically having sex with someone the day before.
Of course, that is only the one experience. That leaves out the prior experience where another female pc was slandered and ruined the same way by someone whose name she didn't even know, who was so keen to make the city believe they'd been intimate that they were willing to die to scream it at a crowd. And that's also leaving aside the character after, where staff's solution to bringing the game world to life was to animate an npc superior to seek out a female pc who was on active duty and working and demand a blow job, denouncing her as a whore after she turned him down.
I am permanently banned from the game for posting the log of the incident with the dwarf and the barkeep. Nergal of course, called me a liar twice, and said that the only reason he didn't post it was because he didn't want to embarass me, and suggested that my highlighting the part where his exact response was the very thing he had just said he didn't say. Frankly, I'd rather not be a part of this crapshoot anymore. No one deserves to be harassed, insulted, called names by the staff of a game, and then banned to silence them from speaking truth. In fact, the only reason I am posting this review, is because he himself suggested that it is one way to keep the administration accountable. Fine.
You're accountable. You lost a decade long player, and you're accountable.
Good bye and good riddance.
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