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How to Destroy an Epic Empire

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  • How to Destroy an Epic Empire

    In the not-so-distant past, EmpireShadows was one of the most revered, respected, and/or feared empires in the game. It indisputably had the best improvements, the strongest toons, and many of the most adept, if not smartest, players. As a result, it quickly amassed many more victories than any other by far. It is difficult to determine exactly when any meaningful decline started because, even as some players came and went, other behemoths took their place.

    But eventually, EmpireShadows became a victim of its own success. As empires slowly obtained the opportunity to grow in size, a proportionally smaller number of players could have a meaningful role in empire management. And, so, some players who wanted more control left for other empires or to start their own. Then the game got repetitive for others, so they sold their accounts to other players (it still hurts to see SumFun’s former toon posing as Crooklyn). But ES adapted and injected some new twists in its battles to keep them fun. It was not unusual for us to have boat races where each of the toons would attack only those in the rows across from them in the opposing empire to see which would destroy the opposing row first. Although there were no prizes, there was some bragging after the fact (usually by whatever row DB was in).

    But a wonderful opportunity developed. Chosen was formed. ES finally had a legitimate challenge. The problem was that ES had become so successful that some of its players never learned how to deal with defeat. So they resorted to cheating. And they were banned.
    In the two weeks that followed, ES brought in some players that frankly were annoying, negative, and/or disrespectful. That was coupled with the loss of a number of valued players led to a few folks leaving to join friends that we all made along the way. Those forces: the loss of friends, the influx of some rough personalities, and the congregation of former ES members in a different empire snowballed.
    But those who elected to stay weeded out the bad seeds and brought on members from other empires that were extremely active. The atmosphere was reinvigorated.

    Today, we received word that our home, ES, was being closed down to preserve a legacy. Unfortunately, the star was passed to a player who had not been a member of the empire for quite some time and, when he had last been there, was no longer very active. When he came in, he told us that he would was here to help us rebuild. Within a few hours, the very suggestion he made was to close the place down. He explained that he and other folks who used to play in ES—but none of which do any longer—thought that what they had done would be tarnished because we could not duplicate their success. I implored him to let me (the only remaining officer and one who has served in ES and ES2 in that capacity since early March) have the star for even 30 days and that, if I could not meet certain ambitious goals or otherwise have it growing to his liking, he could have it back and close the empire down. Rather than fight, he and supposedly others, elected to flee. And I will never understand that as a means of preserving a legacy.

    What legacy does that preserve and where does it preserve it? Unless it absolutely implodes, Crooks will make up the 93-win gap by mid-October. AFS, Jedi Council, DOW, DOA, and RM will probably reach win # 662 about two weeks later. And there is certainly no mantle to put a win-loss record on besides the electronic rankings. So, ES will not go down as the winningest empire. And, unless somebody stops Chosen soon, it will likely break the ES win streak around the same time that those empires are passing her by in total wins.

    So, how are people supposed to remember ES? Now, for many, it will be the empire that cheated, and then ran at the first sign of adversity. And it didn’t have to be that way. After a day or two, where membership had dropped into the 50s, we quickly replenished our membership thanks to several friends, including a large contingency from ES2—the only sister empire that I can think of that has had a lasting, truly strong impact in this game so far. I was fortunate enough to lead ES in her last daytime battle. (We never track or have leaders for the 2 A.M. PDT battles—those are just for class coins. If you can wake up, then you get to reap the booty.) As ES had done so many times before, it destroyed a Legend League empire in fewer than 30 minutes and gave up fewer than 5 points. That is hardly the accomplishment of an empire with one foot in the grave.

    Yet, we were still told that those who had either left by their own choice or booted from the game decided that we should not get to keep playing. Despite my best efforts to reach out to those that had been identified, none of them stated that was their position, only that it was somebody else’s to decide (or they did not respond at all to my request for clarification). I have no idea why anybody who has moved on should have any voice in deciding any aspect of our empire’s management, but especially about whether our group should continue its existence.

    That is like suggesting that a kid should be able to go back to a baseball diamond and steal the bases or burn the field because he once hit a home run there in a championship game. His accomplishments belong to him. And there are a lot of folks from ES that have their own legacy that is independent of the empire. Blue is the original ultimate warrior of the game. Arch was the mad scientist with a sharp comment and a creative new strategy, all of which made you laugh, scream, love, and hate him (I may be in the minority, but I still think he adds some good humor to the forum—and cannot believe all the people that take his comments so seriously; the guy most be rolling on the floor at some of the reactions to his comments). Token was a great strategist in his own right and well-respected by many because his online personality was not a blueprint of his brother’s. Sal was the brash player who always let people know that he was battling in the nude and then would hulk smash the living daylights out of them. And, of course, DB not only had the strongest toon (I still remember the day she first beat Blue), but she used that strength judiciously and with great restraint, while working much harder than anybody else in UE on administrative issues (and no, I do not know how much time everybody else put in, but unless you worked this game like it was a fulltime job with triple overtime on an every day basis, she has you beat by a mile). Apologies to those not mentioned by name, this is way too long as it is.

    My question through all this is would any other empire do this under the guise that it is necessary to preserve its legacy? Should Chosen quit playing the minute they break ES’s streak or as soon as AF gets just a little bit stronger? Okay, I know they actually did quit the game when they first smelled a challenge. But 10 days later, they decided to come out of hiding rather than boarding up the place to preserve an undefeated record that nobody other than they care about. Should they quit after one loss? Two? Of course, the answer is that you keep on playing. You show your mettle. And I cannot imagine that those who built ES want its legacy to be that of a coward that flees because the challenge grew. What makes this most painful for me is that there are 79 members that wanted to keep playing together before this was torn away from them. And it is somewhat naďve and unfair to suggest that they start a new empire after working their way to get to one with billions of dollars in improvements.

    Oddly enough, ES may now be most remembered for being the force that created its biggest enemy, Chosen. It was only because ES had been so dominate and some hated ES so much that they formed the empire (and cheated to get ahead). Does anybody really think that those forces would have merged had there been more parity amongst the top empires? No, of course not. And would Ruger, Plat, and others have felt the need to buck the system if ES had not been so dominate? I don’t know. But I suspect not. In a way, ES created what became its greatest villain. (Psst, don’t tell my empire mates past and present, but as an aside, some of the folks at Chosen are pretty cool. There are some old, deep wounds that some of their members have left me with, but they are not all horrible people. And most are pretty good players.)

    I am deeply depressed that it happened this way. It surely did not have to. Rest in peace, ES. There could have been a much longer book to write (imagine how long this post would be then). Alas, I am looking forward to my continued journey in this game. And the drama is part of what keeps it fun for me. This, however, is just sad.

  • #2
    Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

    As a quick epilogue (at least comparatively), I wanted to jump on a point that Tony mentioned in another post or two. I am deeply disturbed that Josh still has no substantive explanation for why he was banned. My default position is to believe people and I believe him when he says that he did not cheat and that he has receipts that he can produce to PA for every penny that he has invested in this game (and that is quite a bit of coin). I realize that PA gives its players a license to move their pieces along so long as PA decides to keep the game board out and the players follow the rules. So as long as the game is active, PA should show some good faith and deal fairly with players that it believes have violated any rules by (1) identifying what rule it believes was broken, (2) explaining why it believes that player broke that rule, and (3) giving the player—whether a paying customer or merely one that has invested hundreds of hours in the game—an opportunity to explain, if possible, why the conclusion drawn is incorrect. At the very least, Josh deserves this. I suspect that a rational review should lead to a reinstatement. And when that happens, I hope that PA will figure out some way to make up to him the embarrassment and frustration of the accusations that it has made.
    Last edited by Sartori; 08-31-2013, 09:23 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

      I love this post sartori Very well (if long) done. I also think ES created chosen and I hope someone necros ES but only to its proper strength. I wouldn't wanna see some weenie empire beat ES and claim they have bragging rights cuz they kicked a dead horse but it would be nice even to see AF move everyone back to ES to fight with ES building upgrades which I think are better than AF upgrades Sartori to you I wish good luck an have fun

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

        Join Apex

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        • #5
          Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

          You guys could share your vast knowledge with several lower empires and make the game fun for yourselves again as well as help out new players and empires! Just a thought... It was a very good read BTW... Gives a glimpse into the life of a mega empire to us newer players... Thx for sharing!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

            Originally posted by CagedAnt View Post
            You guys could share your vast knowledge with several lower empires and make the game fun for yourselves again as well as help out new players and empires! Just a thought... It was a very good read BTW... Gives a glimpse into the life of a mega empire to us newer players... Thx for sharing!
            Interesting thought cagedant.

            Mike 10/13 RT(R)

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            • #7
              Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

              A very good, well thought out post by Sartori. One of the great people of the game. Been in the ES family a long time. And not bias saying ES 2 is and was by far the best sister empire in the game. And that was all made possible by the awesome group that was there with me before moving to ES. And the regime that took over when we all moved to ES is also an awesome group. Thank you to that group for keepong ES 2 going strong.

              Mike10/13 RT(R)

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              • #8
                Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                Very well said Sar. I for one think that the members of ES2 should have the opportunity to run ES before closing the place for good. Every player who has ever donated in ES helped to make it the power house it was. I don't the choice to shut down should be left up to just one person. Especially one that has been away for the last few months. I realize he had his reasons for leaving and I'm in no way downing him for doing so, but the rest of us stayed and fought through the pvp wars with Chosen and through the suspensions. We kept her competitive through adversity. This is sad and wrong on many levels.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                  Originally posted by CagedAnt View Post
                  You guys could share your vast knowledge with several lower empires and make the game fun for yourselves again as well as help out new players and empires! Just a thought... It was a very good read BTW... Gives a glimpse into the life of a mega empire to us newer players... Thx for sharing!
                  I have already committed to swinging by a few beginning/struggling empires to share my thoughts and experiences for a short time after I have a landing spot for each member of my crew. As much as I enjoy being a part of a very competitive group, I also enjoy talking shop. And I figure that somebody else may have a fresh idea that I can steal. As long as you keep your ears and mind open, you can always learn something new.

                  Incidentally, Mike, who commented above, is responsible for much of ES2's success. He could have stayed in ES, but instead took on the job of opening and leading ES2. He is one of the finest leaders I have met and understood that the secret for any empire's success was keeping the game fun for the members.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                    Hey, thanks for taking the time to respond!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                      As the player who came back and "destroyed" the empire in such a "cowardly" way, I will respond with my reasoning for it.

                      The EmpireShadows (ES) that existed when I came back to it to receive the star, was not the same ES that existed when I had left. The vast majority of players who made ES what it was, were gone; either banned, inactive, or moved on to other empires. The culture was entirely different within the empire and the strength of the empire had been completely ripped from it when the last remaining core players moved on to AF. Essentially, ES was a shell of its former self, both in strength and in community.

                      I want to quickly explain why I originally stepped away from ES to focus on my career. With Chosen beating us in EvE, it was apparent things would have to tighten up in order to compete. What Sartori doesn't know is that I had been asking to leave because of my activity for quite awhile. Each time I was told to stay because I provided a lot more to the empire outside of spending tokens in EvE. At a certain point, I knew that it was activity that was holding ES back from having a chance against Chosen. If another player could come in and attend three battles compared to my one, it gave us a better chance. Sartori seems to think that I just went inactive and left, but that was never the case. I always kept tabs on ES, defended my empire on the forums, and spoke with much of the leadership group on a consistent basis.

                      After the hackers were removed from the game, there was a huge hole left as it included both Zion and Sal. Zion was the creator of the empire and a good friend of mine. Sal, who joined ES quite a long time ago and immediately made a positive impact when added to our officer group. When I joined ES it was only Zion, Blue, LadyLuck, and Deman as officers. That was the original group that built ES. This was before EvE, before US release, before 90% of the players who were in ES when I came back had even heard of Underworld Empire. Losing Zion and Sal meant ES had lost much of the heart and soul that made the empire what it was. Many will point the fingers at them and label them only as cheaters, but before they cheated, they built one of the most positive and strongest communities and empires this game has ever seen. I will always see them for those contributions before I see them as hackers.

                      Over time, the empire had expanded its rank and remarkable players had come in and done a wonderful job at becoming positive additions. When I found out what had happened with the hacking incident, I planned to come back to ES to help clear the waters. When I talked to many of the current leadership team, it felt like everything was in control; trusted people had defined roles that would help steer the ship. I believed completely in the leadership team and I knew they would do whatever they could to try and bring things back. As it was explained to me, their efforts were in vain, as recruitment had become a "revolving door" and the players that were being brought in were not the type that we would normally recruit. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but as the leaders of an empire, there comes a time when the question of “is being partly competitive worth it if it's at the cost of the culture you value?” should be considered.

                      All of this was made worse because the strongest players in ES were used to a culture of winning. They paid large sums of money to be competitive and enjoy their gaming experience. I've talked to many of them and most state that everything was going downhill and they weren't enjoying the game anymore because of it. I understand why so many players left and went to AF. I may not agree with how it happened, but I completely get their motives and I feel they were justified in their decision to leave. This loss of players was what sealed the demise of ES. It included many of the core players that defined the empire, as well as all of the leadership team outside of three players.

                      So now ES had lost two of the players who are and always will be considered the heart and soul of the empire, 90% of its core players, and almost the entire leadership group. I want you all to seriously think about how that affects an empire. Do you believe that it is still considered the same empire? Do you think it's possible for it to represent the empire name in the same way? It was not, and when I joined back to receive the star, that much was evident right from the start. Empire chat was completely different. I witnessed players who should NEVER have been invited into the ES family having a place there. Alongside them was an amalgamation of longtime players, new ES2 players, and a plethora or good recruits. The problem is, no matter what, the empire would not be even close to the same strength as it once was.

                      Originally posted by Me doa View Post
                      I wouldn't wanna see some weenie empire beat ES and claim they have bragging rights cuz they kicked a dead horse
                      This post is important because it highlights a relevant issue that became the primary reason to shut down the empire. It’s no disrespect to the players who were currently in ES when I came back to say that filling the shoes of the players who left was simply not possible. Regardless of the amazing players who were still part of the empire, they were too low-level, they didn't have enough Lt's, and there were too many "filler" players. As a long time player I can tell you right now the way things work in regards to empires. There are tiers that empires have to pass in order to reach the top 5. The first is activity: you must have extremely active players. The second is power: you need big spenders that can become your shield and the point of your sword. The third is a leadership group that is ALWAYS a couple steps ahead of the curve; a group that is constantly working behind the scene to both manage the present and the future. ES had decent #1, no #2, and no #3. To claim that in 30 days Sartori could rebuild this empire to reflect what it was in the past was simply not true. It wasn't possible and the attempt to bring it there would be what tarnished the legacy of ES.

                      As I said to the members of ES when I closed it down, this action is in essence not fair to them. It is not their fault that they don't spend enough or that they weren't part of the leadership group. In the end, it is the longtime members that were to suffer the most because of this decision. It's also unfair to the members of ES2 who have been a large part of an amazing family ever since Mike built the empire after I created it. I had to weigh all of that against what I believe is a massive risk to the history and legacy of the empire. Regardless of how people feel, I still respect Zion and Sal; they're still my friends who I will always hold above others. The leadership team who was with me as we grew and progressed are the ones whose opinion I valued the most. When I reached out to many of the original members, the idea of closing it down was supported. When I reached out to my friends in other top 5 empires, they all stated that seeing ES in a weaker state would be “a real shame.”

                      Along with the fear that ES would be transformed into a shell of its former self, there was also the problem of who would lead the empire now. I'm sorry to say this Sartori, but in order to explain the story, I have to explain this part of it. Handing over the star to you was not something many felt comfortable doing, myself included. When I talked to a couple other members in ES who we felt comfortable taking the reigns, they both didn't have the time to be able to effectively run the empire. So what choice did I have here? Either I hand over the empire to someone I don't trust, and in my opinion has an incorrect idea about how empire strength in UE works, or I shut it down. I chose to shut it down.

                      The empire will now be used as a place for retired ES members to park their characters. It will serve as a legacy that so many helped build. In the end, the ES that so many of its long time players came to know and love, was dead. Do you really think it's fair for the ES name to be used by what is essentially an entirely different empire? ES is a brand, how your actions in the future and the actions of the members you bring in affect that brand; it’s how it will become perceived moving forward. Between cheaters and the slow death, I wasn't willing to stand by and watch as the name was affected further.

                      Yes, it’s selfish and unfair, but it is the choice that I felt was best for EmpireShadows and its legacy. As I told you, I worked out other accommodations for the members of the empire, of which I think are pretty good choices. I will also be attempting to have some things changed that would solve the ES2 problems, which we already discussed.

                      I understand why you are angry and I will accept the hate you throw at me, but regardless of whether you want to name me a "coward," I stand by my decision and always will.
                      Last edited by Paul; 08-31-2013, 07:29 PM.
                      Paul - EmpireShadows

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                      • #12
                        Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                        I have no idea who you talked to, Paul, but was told by many, including those who recently left, those who have actually played with me, and those that were members of ES when you came back, that they both would have liked to see ES continue and would like me to lead. Indeed, aside from you and Austin, nobody else in the empire preferred shutting the place down. Maybe you found a group who disagreed with that, but it would be a fallacy to say that there were not many that supported me or the continuance of ES. In contrast, the vast majority of people I spoke to questioned why you came in since you were unfamiliar with the people that were in ES and had insufficient time to take on a leadership role. At least I was willing to lead rather than quitting and that is why I and the rest of ES (who you witnessed absolutely destroy another empire while we were still down in the only battle that you were there for) deserved at least a chance to prove your speculation regarding how we would fare moving forward to be on the pessimistic side.

                        As I discussed with you, I have no intention of turning this into a personal attack. It is not meant as one. I like the vast majority of folks that I have met in this game. And most of my fondest times were in ES. I do not know you outside of these three days that you have been back. As such, I assume that you truly believe you made a good decision. But I and most folks that I have discussed it with strongly disagree. I refuse to believe that quitting is the answer to anything just because it becomes tougher. Maybe it is because I believe in my alma mater's mantra to fight on. Maybe it is because of life experience. But abandoning all future in some vain attempt to cling to the past has always seemed a poor choice, especially when there is a very capable group (even if they are unfamiliar to you) willing to roll up their sleeves and fight.

                        I do not intend to post on this subject further because some have indicated that they do not want any further drama.
                        Last edited by Sartori; 08-31-2013, 09:20 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                          Originally posted by Sartori View Post
                          I have no idea who you talked to, Paul, but was told by many, including those who recently left, those who have actually played with me, and those that were members of ES when you came back, that they both would have liked to see ES continue and would like me to lead. Indeed, aside from you and Austin, nobody else in the empire preferred shutting the place down. Maybe you found a group who disagreed with that, but it would be a fallacy to say that there were not many that supported me or the continuance of ES. In contrast, the vast majority of people I spoke to questioned why you came in since you were unfamiliar with the people that were in ES and had insufficient time to take on a leadership role.

                          As I discussed with you, I have no intention of turning this into a personal attack. It is not meant as one. I like the vast majority of folks that I have met in this game. And most of my fondest times were in ES. I do not know you outside of these three days that you have been back. As such, I assume that you truly believe you made a good decision. But I and most folks that I have discussed it with strongly disagree. I refuse to believe that quitting is the answer to anything just because it becomes tougher. Maybe it is because I believe in my alma mater's mantra to fight on. Maybe it is because of life experience. But abandoning all future in some vain attempt to cling to the past has always seemed a poor choice, especially when there is a very capable group (even if they are unfamiliar to you) willing to roll up their sleeves and fight.
                          There are some major pieces to the puzzle here that you continue to misinterpret. One, the reason I've shut down ES has nothing to do with because it became "tougher." As I've outlined numerous times, it is because the ES that would exist under your leadership, would not be one that would accurately represent the culture, identity, and outlook that ES was originally created for. I've had two longtime members message me to disagree with me, both of which were not players I messaged to get their opinions on the matter. I won't drag names into this because I respect their wishes to remain anonymous in regards to the opinions they expressed to me. To bring up the original leadership group or my mettle when the going gets tough just shows how little time you actually spent in ES. You think ES made it to the top because we were afraid of a challenge? You weren't even playing UE when UG was at the top, but I suggest you look into the history that you so frequently pass off as nothing.

                          I don't take kindly to your talk of "not quitting" and your "alma mater's mantra to fight on." Each time you make that comment it also takes aim at the players who left ES for AF, many of which consider you a friend. They may not see how your comments cast them, but it's a clear association. I suggest you avoid those comments as I've now clearly explained their irrelevance and how they only serve to put down other players. We disagree on the standards that outline capable, that is the root of this, and as such, there is no other stance but to agree to disagree. I respect you for your intelligence and passion and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.
                          Paul - EmpireShadows

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                          • #14
                            Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                            Ever since Paul accused a long term and dedicated ES member of "spying for chosen" and ultimately booting him, all respect was lost for him. Things were pretty much kept quiet about this and some still may not know. The people who did know were pissed and wanted to leave ES after finding out, but didnt want to leave on the actions of 1 player. I must say though, there was at least a 30 person private celebration when Paul left ES a couple months ago. It was the best thing that happened to ES and gave new life to everyone. It's only fitting that Paul goes back in to suck the life right back out. R.I.P ES, at least Im still w/ all the great people that kept me there so long. Just a bonus that there are so many other awesome people in AF to replace the douche stains like Paul.

                            P.S - great novel Sartori! Im sure it was moved here so Paul could post his 2 cents w/o his gg status being questioned. Im glad it was moved though, so I could give my 2 cents too

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                            • #15
                              Re: How to Destroy an Epic Empire

                              Legacy of ES? Thats like saying my Madden 2011 team i made had a legacy that needed perserved. Its a game folks and thats a dumb reason to close ES when everyone in ES 2 could move to ES and keep it going. ES 2 is as much a part of the legacy as any players are. At one point, ES had 22 members that started in ES 2.

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