On Tuesday, August 21st, I participated in my third-to-last Apotheosis raid. I went to bed satisfied with the raid, happy with my guild and certain that the guild is well on the way to a wonderful future in Mists of Pandaria, even without me there. It’s gratifying to be at this stage of the expansion, with most of the “i”s dotted and most of the “t”s crossed. Plans are in place, officers are promoted and, soon, I’ll be a fond memory (or a tedious one, if people remember my speechifying and my lengthy forum posts).

I woke up on Wednesday to find the most dramatic thing to do with my guild in the last two years had been discovered while I had been asleep. I woke up to private messages from outraged guildies, to the officer forums exploding, to the general forum exploding, to tweets and DMs…

“Holy shit, who died?” was my first thought.

As it turns out, no one died and the drama was not related to any current raiding member of the guild. There was no issue with loot, no problems with our plans for the expansion, not a peep about our officers, new or old. So what caused this reaction?

For that, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to have to tell you a story. This story is somewhat lengthy and I am not feeling as kind as Jasyla was feeling when she wrote her post, so I’m going to name names.

Once upon a time, we had a kick-ass raider with us by the name of Huntertoga. Yes, he played a hunter. ;) Toga was an officer and a great guy and a great player. Unfortunately, Toga decided to step down. He was tired of the game, burnt out and gave us a ton of notice. So we went recruiting.

We got an application from someone by the name of Innersight, whose name changed to Innerbite, but everyone called him “Inner” and most (all?) of his alts’ names started with “Inner”. Inner was a good app, if a little undergeared, but his performance was pretty great. He had a couple of problems fitting in to the guild on a social level during his trial, so I wrote to him and asked him to tone it down and he did. He was promoted to Raider on February 23rd, 2012, after participating in the guild-first kills of Heroic Yor’sahj and Heroic Zon’ozz.

Inner was a very good player. He took on some of the crappy jobs that others either couldn’t or wouldn’t do, such as focusing the mana void on H Yor’sahj or making sure to break badly-timed grips on Heroic Spine. He made mistakes, just like anyone does, but for the most part, Inner was a solid player that you could count on.

Possibly the first indication that there was a problem with Inner (after his trial period) was when Diablo III came out. He was clearly tabbed out of WoW, playing Diablo III, during raids. I didn’t care if you tabbed out to play if you were on the bench, but not while you were in the raid group. I wrote to him about it, post-raid, and he blamed his inattention on his daughter (despite the fact that we could HEAR D3 fighting noises through Mumble!) and the like. Anyhow.

The next possible indication of “trouble” was that Inner was not remotely compromising about the fact he wanted to play a monk healer in the expansion. It looked as though Apotheosis might have too many healers on the roster at the start of Mists, so I wrote to the DPS who were looking to swap to healers with a private message that included this:

“If there aren’t enough healer slots to accomodate your swapping from DPS to healing, what would you play at that point?”

His response was firm:

“Because I am as set as I am to go back to healing I guess I would go on a bench/waiting list or find another place to raid…=/”

Due to my own plans to leave the raiding scene and the fact we’ll be losing another healer, we dropped this line of discussion because it would be fine if Inner were a healer in terms of group composition.

The next time I had some kind of concern about Inner came shortly after I announced my decision to step down from GM and RL, when we put out a call to the guild to see who might be interested in being an officer. Inner was one of the people who expressed interest. He expressed interest in being the raid leader and if that didn’t work, maybe the new healing lead (assuming Jasyla wouldn’t be retaining that position) and potentially lootmaster, though bank admin would be out for him, due to a lack of organization he felt he could bring to the position.

We thanked him for his interest (as we had with everyone who approached us) and we retired to the officer forums to discuss who we thought would make the strongest leadership team. That leadership team did not include Inner as an officer.

I again had concerns about Inner shortly after we announced the new officers, when Inner let me know that he needed to step down from raiding due to his new job which required a 2+ hour commute. He then changed his mind and said that he could be available for the first half of the raid (from 9pm-10:30pm or so) until he planned to move in early September, then should have full availability again. The officers discussed it and we accepted that, so long as he kept us up to date on the move and such. So Inner continued raiding with us, leaving around 10:30 or 11pm, since we were down to 1-night clears.

The next moment that included concerns about Inner came on Tuesday, July 31st, when Inner received the Heroic Vial of Shadows and was now 100% “best-in-slot”. I’m always a little uneasy whenever anyone gets their “best-in-slot” pieces completed because a lot of people’s motivation comes from loot. Still, nothing really happened at this point, but Inner was definitely excited about no longer needing anything from Heroic Dragon Soul.

The next time I had concerns, though, came a week later. Inner was now suddenly interested in running a GDKP run on Eldre’Thalas. He wanted permission to use the guild name/etc and basically have the support of the guild. We said sure and he sent me a really, really long document he’d written with rules/etc, but it read more like a pitch to our guild to participate, rather than rules of conduct for a GDKP run. I was concerned because I thought that Inner would start up this idea and then bail when he had no more interest in it, leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths about our guild. Still, I was going to edit this document and give him advice/etc about how to organize it, but had a lot of time due to the fact that it would only be happening way after Mists of Pandaria had launched.

Finally, on Tuesday, August 14th, Inner had signed up for that night’s raid, but was a no-show. What we call a no-show is someone who signs up as “Accepted” on the guild calendar event for the raid, but then doesn’t show up at all, without letting us know via forums, PMs, twitter, email, text, etc. I kind of figured he was done (BiS and all, you know?) but I wrote to him anyhow:

“Hi Inner,

You missed the raid tonight, Tuesday, August 14th. Serrath had let me know that you had told him in Mumble that you would be available tonight, yet you never logged on, from what I saw.

You were last on the forums today at 5:10pm ET, which would have been plenty of time to let us know you were unable to make it. There were no PMs sent, nor any emails or anything of the sort that I am currently aware of (as of 12:15am ET on Wednesday).

While emergencies do happen, and I hope nothing of that nature has happened, it really needs to be underlined that we need to hear from you as soon as you know you can’t make it. While we certainly had enough people to sit virtually anyone we wanted, not showing up is not acceptable, as people are relying on you, a raider-ranked member of the team, to adhere to your commitments towards the team.

I’ve CCed Serrath (incoming raid leader) and Slout (incoming ranged lead) on this note. Please use the reply to all link to respond to all of us when you do so in order to let us all know what your circumstances were with regards to missing tonight’s raid.

Again, I hope everything is okay, but I also hope you recognize that you’re an important part of the team and we need to know ASAP if you’re going to be unable to make it.

Thanks,

Kurn”

This was his response on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 15th.

“Hey all,

My life has gone almost beyond control at this point.

Reason for missing raid without notification:
Last night on the way home I got rear ended (and might I add how amazingly this indiviual fit a driving stereotype…lol) and I made impact with 2 other vehicles… no one seriously injured but my car is totaled. I ended up with bumbs and scrapes….and needing new pants.

Unfortunately I am going to be stepping down as a raider from Apotheosis. If you need me to leave with my toons, I understand as well. Just a few reason below:
We just found out child #2 is now on his/her way into this world.
My job is starting to cost me nearly 80 hours a week and I simply cannot sustain.

I still am very interested in Mists… but will likely not be on any normal scheduled raiding team (hopefully this will change over time). I am going to try to contact some old work buddies and RL friends and see if they are still running one night a week raids back on blackhorn. If this is the case I may be leaving ET in pursuit of a 1 weekend night a week raid schedule.

I will await a response before posting anything publicly to the guild. I just want to make sure you don’t mind me posting. I would like to say my goodbyes and thanks.”

Serrath, our incoming raid leader for Mists, replied:

“Oh my gosh – first off – I’m glad that you’re ok! Secondly, congratulations on the incoming baby!!!

I understand that you will need to step down from your current raider position. Regarding Mists, I apologize, but we will not be able to accommodate an unreliable raid schedule. Once details are hammered out and you’re in a more comfortable situation we would love to have you back in the community.

If you’d like to say goodbyes in your own thread, you are welcome to do this. At some point in the coming days we will bump down your rank in the guild to Member where you’re welcome to stay. Please let me know if there’s any questions you have or if you need anything.

Thanks,

Serrath”

Literally half an hour later, Inner posted this on our guild forums:

“Hey all,

Unfortunately I am going to be stepping down from Raider in Apotheosis. My RL responsibilities are tipping the free time scales. Working nearly 80 hours a week now and we just found out baby #2 is on the way!!! =)

I do want to say that I have learned an amazing amount during my time in Apotheosis and I hope for nothing but the best for you all in the future. I have no doubts you will continue to be as successul as ever.

As for Mists… I will have to wait and see how things go in RL go. In the begining of Mists I will most likely be trying to find a 1 weekend night run as I cannot reliably commit any more than that (an old RL friend led an alt run on saturday nights…going to try there). I may or may not stay on server due to this…=/

All in all… a true thank you for everything you all have helped me achieve and bringing me into the Apotheosis team. I will still exist and am always willing to help with anything I can.

Thanks again… and I will most definitely miss all the fun and success that is Apotheosis raiding.”

Several people chimed in on his thread, wishing him the best of luck and congratulating him on his forthcoming second child. No one was upset, no one was angry. We genuinely wished him well.

Exceedingly short and simplistic form of above: Inner was never the most reliable of raiders, though he was a great player. Still, a lot of us had felt strongly that he would flake out at some point. We certainly had a lot of reason to think he wouldn’t continue raiding us for the long haul, based on the variety of moments that I’ve touched on above.

So the history segment of this is now over.

Here’s what happened today…

I woke up to several private messages and a few forum posts, as  well as many tweets, all indicating something had happened with Inner.

Just hours after his post on Wednesday afternoon, he transferred off the server and Wowprogress notes his departure as of August 17th. That was fine, he had said he might go back to a 1-night weekend schedule. So what?

Turns out it was much more than that.

Inner is now the guild master of a guild named Mercury on Greymane (although, for reasons that will become clear very shortly, better names might have been “Acopyosis”, “Bpotheosis” and “Uranus” — thanks to Rades, Ash and Jasyla for those suggestions).

Inner being the GM of Mercury is not a problem. You don’t want to be part of Apotheosis, that’s fine. He stepped down. He took off. That’s okay. Good luck to you in whatever you do, no skin off my nose.

What presents a problem is the fact that Inner ripped off just about all of Apotheosis’ policies, as well as our application, our raid requirements for Mists and, as if that weren’t bad enough, our recruitment post. You doubt this? Check out this screenshot that still has the Apotheosis guild name in it (first sentence, last paragraph).

As Jasyla said in her post, just about all of our policies, including our application form, were taken just about word-for-word. I’d encourage you to go read Jasyla’s post now if you haven’t already.

Even though this guy has ripped off my words, Jasyla’s words and Serrath’s words, this is not actually what I’m most upset about. I’m not even all that upset by this gem of plagiarism…

I’m angry about the plagiarism, don’t get me wrong, but I think what’s really gotten me wound up is the entire package.

1) Inner tells us he has to step down; work is 80 hours a week, his wife is pregnant, cannot sustain 3 nights a week.

2) Inner leaves, returns to his former guild, becomes GM, aims to start raiding as a 25-man guild in Mists of Pandaria.

3) New version of Mercury has the exact same application and almost the same policies as Apotheosis, most of them taken word-for-word.

4) New version of Mercury has the exact same raid nights and times as Apotheosis — Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday from 9pm ET until 12am ET, with invites at 8:45pm.

5) New version of Mercury even has the exact same recruitment post and is, obviously, searching for every class.

6) As such, our recruitment officer (hi Sara!) can’t very well post right after Inner has in a prospective applicant’s thread — it’s the same post! Much re-writing needs to occur before posting in someone’s thread.

We were all pretty outraged by at least one of these happenings. (People reacted differently to the separate issues.)

On the one hand, the plagiarism is a compliment: We (primarily me, Jasyla, Serrath and Sara) wrote good posts and good policies, good enough for someone to steal. On the other hand, what the fuck, dude? He’s going to continue to raid 3 nights a week in a guild he’s going to run, based on how our guild is run. Why not just stay in Apotheosis? Psycho.

Hence, the suggested names of “Acopyosis” and “Bpotheosis”. (And “Uranus” comes from Jasyla’s post because she’s nice, but picked a planet that basically indicates Inner is an ass. I laughed.)

He had the nerve to come slithering back to our forums and was met with, well,  not the best reception:

Meanwhile, I was asleep. I woke up, found out all this was happening, posted a courtesy post in the officer forum saying “so, yeah, I’m gonna kick his remaining toons and lock him out of the forums, okay?” (to which the responses were a resounding DO IT DO IT DO IT) and did just that. Threw his remaining toons out and banned him from the forums.

Sadly, I had an appointment this afternoon, so I wasn’t able to really get my hate and anger on before I left… and by the time I started composing this monster of a post, things had settled down a bit. Why? Mercury’s website is now gone. The whole domain has been deleted.

I’m almost disappointed.

That said, the recruitment posts are still littered throughout the official recruitment forums. 63 of them. Sara’s going to see if she can’t get a GM to go delete them all before she continues our recruitment efforts, but I’m not optimistic.

They have, however, edited their “main” recruitment post to remove all the plagiarized stuff. Some people posted amusing things in the thread.

Overall, I think the biggest thing here is the “why”? Why would someone say that their schedule no longer permits them to raid, then go head up a raiding guild that plans to raid on that exact same schedule? Why would someone use the exact same application form and policies (except, of course, the important parts about the use of various words that we don’t appreciate in our guild community)? Is it just extraordinary laziness? Stupidity? Insanity?

Of course, finding out “why” would mean talking to Inner. That’s not something I’m prepared to do. He’s dead to me, as many people who have left my guild on bad terms have been, over many years. We’ve blacklisted him in our forums, meaning that even if Apotheosis is still around in ten years and new officers have taken over who have no idea who Inner is, he will never again be a part of Apotheosis.

I think the best thing that came out of this, though, was that it’s a bonding experience for the guild. “Remember that jackass who left and then became GM of his own guild and COPIED EVERYTHING WE HAD?” That’ll be remembered for years, by the Friends, the Initiates, the Members, the Raiders and Officers alike. So much outrage, so much /facepalming and so much disgust.

It’s nice to see that kind of loyalty from the guild. It shows me that the last two years have meant something to others, too, that our community is important to others in our guild.

To the members of Apotheosis: you rock. <3

And to those who have left us… you don’t know what you’re missing. :)

(If you’re interested in joining Apotheosis, as we are recruiting for Mists of Pandaria, head over to our guild website: http://www.apotheosis-now.com/main)

(PS: We could use a great holy paladin app!)