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The Helper

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The Beginning.

I first found the Blizzard Technical Support Forums link in the Box of Diablo 1. My best friend had the brand new Packard Bell computer that cost 2 grand back in the Diablo 1 days, a 200 Megahertz Monster and it had a Sound Glitch. It was the combo Modem/Sound Card that was not quite direct X compatible and that was his problem and they NEVER ISSUED AN UPDATE FOR IT. I thank them for that though, Packard Bell, or I never would have been The Helper and never would have found the Blizzard Tech Support Forums.

So I get on the Blizzard forums and there are people having problems everywhere. I post my specs and my problem and wait then PatN comes along, the Blizzard Tech Support Forum Rep. He gives me the cut and paste fix things and then says let him know if I more problems. So I try his stuff, and I am just learning Windows 95, this Direct X is all new and the things he had me do were under the hood type stuff, and him and I go back and forth on the forums trying to fix this problem. So I went through every avenue of support to try and fix my Packard Hell Sound problem but still no love. I noticed that the mass of people with problems were getting fixed, albeit slowly and only within Blizzard's working hours. So I started reading the forums since the info PatN had given me intrigued me. Watching the responses I started to learn how Windows worked and especially how it worked with Blizzard Games.

So I start to get it. This memory management stuff and virtual memory stuff. The Windows drivers links and the manual tweaks to just make your system run faster. Tweaks to optimize your dial up, get online to Diablo using AOL - which was huge.

I made two pages back in the pre-MVP days, and copied a huge page called Janna's FAQ and just put it on my site, with Janna's approval though. My AOL answer site was the number one site for the number one problem, I fixed it better than Blizzard. PatN would even refer to parts of my site or in some cases just link to it. However, he did not really have to do that much at that point because I was answering all the forums. I was not the only one though. I was the only one was dedicated to that forum at that time and was blazing the trail. PatN and I used to forum high five tag to switch from Official to Unofficial support after they closed. Me, and the other Helpers (Wargasm) goal was to answer all the questions till Blizzard came back online. We used to give it our best. Our support threads are legendary for those that saw them as they are archived nowhere. This was before the Internet Wayback Machine and in the Diablo 1 days. Starcraft was coming though......

Janna and I were friends a long time and unfortunately we had a falling out. Nothing to do with the website, thehelper.net or the MVP thing, Real Life Stuff (the author of Janna's FAQ and I got into business together) but Janna if you ever read this I love you man and regret our Parting. It was my fault my friend for not taking advantage of our opportunity and I still consider you my friend even though I am sure you hate me.

Here is the earliest Archive.org entry for TheHelper.net - May 1999

The website was around long before that though and I wish I had some screenshots of the first stuff. The site originally started out as a Geocities page.

............... to be continued .......

and Work In Progress
Identity Theft

So I was on the Blizzard Tech Support Forums kicking Ass and taking names answering all the questions I could and validly contributing to the community. I was just as good as any other official tech support person and I worked 24 hours, or it seemed like it :). I did not even notice at first that there was a 2 POST LIMIT. Everyone else was limited to 2 posts but due to my circumstances I was just checking the forums during breaks in my work day so I would disconnect from my old style modem every time the break was over. Since I had my Netscape Browser Cache set to Read Only to Hide my tracks :) I was able to break the 2 post limit as long as I logged off my modem connection and logged back on to get the new Dynamic IP. The unwriteable cookies and the dynamic IP fooled the Blizzard forums 2 post check and this became a key thing in the MVP goal.

However, those cookies and IP checks were not helping protect identity theft. The government did not care and Blizzard could not do anything about it. Along comes a troll that was pissed I did not help him. I was helping thousands and some better than other. I used to link to my website in every post and had no idea I had a JavaScript that had Cartman from South Park yelling at them the whole time if they had sound.

Anyway, I was targetted and someone the equivelant of Anonymous today stole my identity. Since we did not have accounts on the old School Blizzard forums he just used my name. Started giving good advice mixed with bad. This guy was smart and knew Windows 95 so he could help. He did but put out stuff bad with my name on it.

I quite the forums because of this. But not really. I made a big old quit post because of the imposter on the Blizzard forums and just laid low and waited for him to get tired. He impersonated me for a couple days purposely then got burned out. I waited a few days and went in and took up where I left off. He came back and admitted he could not replace me and he would go his separate way. He did call me chickenshit for not taking the battle farther into the forums but that is where I learned early not to Feed the Trolls. Also, it was the birth of the MVP icon - because I never wanted to be impersonated again and the Blizzard forums at the time had no way of logging in. They tracked you by cookies.
First MVP

So we skip ahead a little here. Past the Diablo days and the Open Tech Support Channel, and into Starcraft. The Tech Support forums were very dry. People were still playing Diablo but patches to the game and patches to Windows were making Diablo a very stable game. The Packard Hell problem was still there but I digress :)

Starcraft comes out and the Tech Support Forum is bumping. People are having problems. Some serious issues have come about and thousands are not being able to play. Blizzard Tech Support is all over it but they only have there working hours and hundreds of questions are unanswered. However, if people would have just read the forums for a second they would find there question already answered. That is where I came in. I did not even have the game :)

I could tell by the question what the answer was. Using bookmark I just saved Pat N's posts and started reposting all the Blizzard answers to the questions I knew and asked for more information the ones I did not giving them the support email addresses, the Open Tech Support Channel on Battle.net, just driving traffic. It was on again.

There are serious lags between Blizzard games. They spend lots of times developing stuff and alot of times people do not wait in between. Most of the Helpers were not there anymore and the ones that were still around were not paying attention. On the Starcraft release I came out all barrels blazing. I remember the forum was overrun, I started at the top and started answering every question. A Blizzard guy started at the bottom and we met in the middle. It was funny because neither of us knew the other was there and we just ran into each other, but every question was answered, then we went to Page 2 and did the same thing and I was handling the new posts. Remember, I did not even have the game, never played it. The right thing to do at the right time, if I did not know the answer I gave the support email, what to ask for, and the Open Tech Support Channel on Battle.net if they could get there (cut and paste) it was awesome. I was better than there own tech support, they knew it and I did not even have the game.

That is when I got the call. Blizzard had my number from when they hunted me down before (have not posted that story yet but I was in contact with Blizzard) and this time the guy that called me was a vice president. Unfortunately do not know his name and we got to talking and I told him, you do know I do not even have this game, have not played it. He said Holy Shit! You need the game, we will send it to you, and then he asked has even anyone talked to you about other stuff, like offered you a job? That is when I made my mistake. I told him I was a programmer not a tech support guy and could not afford California living (I was told a tech support job was available in the past but I had to apply and come down to cali, this one was a solid offer now though, by the vice president of the company, and I declined on the phone with him, big mistake, did not even take a day to think about it). He said what can we do for you besides that. I said well, what you can really do for me is let me have an account or something so I cannot get impersonated. I told him my impersonation experience and he recognized that as important and I said give me something by name so they can tell it is me. The next day, MVP icon by the name. Birth of the MVP. He also sent me Starcraft, Shirts, Stickers and a bunch of other stuff. It was Awesome!!! I was a Blizzard MVP. People tried to put Ascii characters by there name to get the Red MVP. It was crazy. The forums had tons of people with broken HTML trying to get the Red Text by there name but it did not work. I was MVP and the post limit was lifted from me, as long as I used my same computer. They still did not have user accounts and did it all by cookies. :)

I met t'kron on the Blizzard Help Forums in the Diablo 1 days. Wargasm, t'kron and I were tight. I met t'kron at one of the US Forces (Blizzard Open Tech Support Channel on Battle.net Clan) get togethers in Houston. This guy looked like my great uncle, big guy, older, bald and he was a programmer and he knew computers - he was also the nicest guy in the whole world. I was (am) a programmer so him and I instantly clicked. He also had a love for Blizzard Games and Helping! t'kron was awarded the Top Beta Tester of the Blizzard Starcraft Brood War Beta, was the 2nd ever MVP of the Blizzard Technical Support forums, and was just one helluva guy!!!

t'kron got his MVP by answering every question in the Blizzard Tech Support forums. That was kind of the litmus test for an MVP, do you have what it takes to answer every question in the forum? You needed to break the 2 post limit and answer every question on the Support Forum for a whole page or more. You had to do this routinely, whenever you were monitoring the forums, you had to own the forums, take them over. The only time you did not post on something was if another Helper was on it and you did not have to worry about it. You had to read every post in the forum. When you saw more than 1 MVP posting on the Blizzard forums at a time you know all the questions were being answered.

The Blizzard Official Chat, where all the Official Blizzard people were for real time chat assistance, we freed them up to do that and they gave us the Help Forums. Once you could help free the whole Blizzard tech support crew to other things besides the forum, you were MVP material. You had to be AS GOOD AS BLIZZARD OFFICIAL SUPPORT - and t'kron was. Then they gave you the little MVP icon and officially lifted the post limit from you.

Little known fact. Back in the day, the best way to break the Blizzard posting limit was to come into your ISP on a dial up, and get a dynamic IP address. You could then use Netscape Browser and make your cookies file read only. So you would go into the forums, answer 2 questions on a break from your job, and the next time you logged back on (dialed up), on another break, you could post again. Breaking the famous 2 post limit. t'kron did not help on the job, he helped on his breaks so his break-time allowed him to help in the forums during the day, giving him a presence to the Blizzard Support people every day and that also contributed to the MVP award - they saw him doing his thing!

t'kron died. It was totally unexpected and out of the blue. He was an old guy and I don't know the details behind it much, Wargy probably does but here is the post about it.


I believe it was of natural causes. He was not really taking care of himself like he should have being on the computer all the time. Wargasm had much more Real Life connections with t'kron, visiting him from Holland numerous times (Wargy only came and stayed with me once)

t'kron was a part of TheHelper.net from the start. He was a founding Admin, one of the most prolific and helpful posters EVA and a great friend. He is missed. RIP t'kron. You are definitely always remembered for your contributions to Helping, TheHelper.net and Blizzard's History!

---- Work in Progress -----

Wargasm -----

T'kron was great. I did indeed visit him a few times since he was a rather flex person and a great host. And damn he knew where to get good food. It's those places where you would normally never would go but he knew the people and what to get.

For those who play World of Warcraft you can actually meet the guy ;) No joke hehe. When he died Blizzard put him in the game. When you goto stormwind and visit the cathedral there is a NPC there called Brother Sarno. Sarno was his last name (real name). And the NPC even looks a lil like him :) He was also an avid EQ player. Very passionate about games. Yeah he was one of the good guys for sure and boy did he love blizzard games :) We also did a SC1 closed beta. And one game we really went testing lasted 5 flipping hours. Unlike me he was a really beta testing games. I was just in for the ride.

One of the stories that i still remember when he was an MVP at blizzard that's when he had PC problems . And he had a dell.. So he called Dell and he was getting nowhere... Till he got connected to this one guy. And they started talking about diablo since the issue only happend with diablo. And this dude from Dell fell out of chair when he figured he had T'kron on the phone.. There was a specific issue with Diablo and this one model pc from Dell.. And Dell was monitoring the Blizzard forums in hope for a fix. And they saw this maniac called t'kron knocking down all the tickets and solving them all.

Yeah good times for sure :) Thanks to T'kron i visited the big boob :D A hamburger place the mayor of Chicago was not to happy about. Damn fine hamburgers though.. not many boobs to watch though.. ;)

You gotta know this was pre-Y2K here in the break dancing days. Rapmaster_C was his name and Helping was his game. He should have been a Blizzard Forums MVP but unfortunately never was. He did however, achieve the much higher level of Microsoft MVP title years later - I wonder where they got that idea from :) Out of the Freaking Blue Rap master is a Microsoft MVP. I don't even think he told us, we found out through the forums.

Rapmaster was (is) awesome when it comes to tech support and we got him young. Judging by his name he was in his teens, when all of the other MVPs and Wargasm were in our twenties and thirties, this guy was a teen. He was part of the original Blizzard tech support crew and was a mainstay in the forums but he rarely abused the 2 post limit.

He was very active on the TheHelper.net forums and was one of the guys that kept it going during my couple of years of inactivity (married with children). Rapmaster answered every question in the TheHelper.net forums when nobody ever came. There might not be a question in a week but when one was asked freaking Rapmaster answered. I imagine that is why he became the Microsoft MVP trying to find people to help and he finally got focused on the Microsoft Forums. Rapmaster is still here. We freaking Love Him! No Homo :) He is not that active but his input is highly regarded in the Admin forums and his legacy is not forgotten.

Rapmaster_C - gotta love the name! You are a permanent part of TheHelper.net history and the Blizzard Tech Support forums if they had a written history (someone needs to tap Pat N on the shoulder about that) The Open Tech Support Split (more about that later) - not even a question - Rapmaster was with us and carried us through the hard times to this day as our guru, much like Acehart in the later days (more about that later as well). 21 freaking gun salute to you my friend Rapmaster C :)

Ya I think I was about 17 back when I started with the name. By then I had been doing hobby-programming on Apple II and 286s (and on) for 5-7 years. This was a time when people used computers as offline tools! Most multiplayer games were modem-to-modem. Starcraft gave me a reason to go online. And I abused the Blizzard post limit. 2 posts, 2 using ISP's main web proxy, 2 more using 2nd proxy, then reconnect dialup and hope for a new IP. I'd sometimes post troll messages under other names for some reason. I think Blizzard figured it out :(

I never knew about the Microsoft MVP thing until they found me. It went for about 3 years and then to renew it they were asking for writing blogs, books and speaking at conferences. They have a program now that's just for forum posters called "Community contributor" but it doesn't have all the free stuff and trips to Seattle. Was fun for a while.

Rapmaster(_C) was intended to be ironic or sarcastic or whatever, because I never liked rap music. Or break dancing.

Now I work for a government IT department and don't care as much about computers :) I still lurk here but don't post as much. Unless we want to start a Microsoft Exchange forum :)

thanks for the words

This is the one I know you guys have been waiting for.

scmaker (aka Acehart)

I was using my Red MVP icon on the Blizzard Tech Support forums to promote my new StarEdit Help Forum, it was not even vbulletin and not even part of thehelper.net - or did not have a thehelper.net domain. That did not even exist yet. I was also posting in every other StarEdit Help on the Internet in Full Promotion Mode. I was the worst kind of spammer in the Blizzard StarEdit forums. The Blizzard StarEdit people (not the employees but the forum regulars) hated me. They did not understand why I had that Red MVP Icon or any clue how to get it. :) I was sanctioned to post WTF I wanted on any Blizzard Forum by Blizzard, or actually by PatN, and nobody wanted to mess with me or say anything to me because nobody had ever seen anything like me before :) They just let me do what I want. It was Awesome!

They did not delete my posts which were all ads in their forums to my StarEdit Help Forums. I never answered questions for StarEdit. I know nothing about StarEdit, but I wanted a StarEdit forum. I made sure one of my Red MVP posts was visible on the first page of the StarEdit forums at all times :)

I first ran into scmaker (Acehart) on a major Starcraft site StarEdit forum that I cannot remember the name of. Anyway, Acehart made his way on to my new forums under the name scmaker. scmaker was not just on a Random StarEdit Forum. He was on all of the StarEdit forums. If you search engined or followed the links of all the sites there was scmaker. The only one I never saw him on was the official Blizzard Forums. Probably because of the 2 post limit though I doubt Acehart was limited to that but it was pretty innovative post security at the time. This was Starcraft 1 days. The Internet was not Mainstream we were all still learning. Blizzard did not want you to post more than 2 an hour, at least that is what they said... :)

scmaker answered the questions exactly in the same style like I did on the Blizzard Support forums. All of questions and correctly or the best of ability and stayed for the follow up. He also did it on all the other forums on the Internet. scmaker was The Helper of StarEdit no doubt! He saw the forum needed help and he filled that void! I was amazed and saw a kindred spirit!

The StarEdit forum enjoyed moderate success because it really did not have any type of entry point. Search Engines were not that good in those days and the Blizzard StarEdit forum was pretty damn good, and my spamming only got us so much traffic. The ones that made it to the forum though were rewarded with scmakers expertise! scmaker was already a legend for me and it pained me greatly to get the email that said he was leaving the forum because Starcraft was dead. There were just no new questions to answer. The forum was dead.

Of course, he had all the moderator power I could give at the time when he left.

To be continued in the Acehart - The World Editor Version Section. Stay tuned!

What can I say about SDRyoko - this guy was pure gold! A Star, rather a Super Star, everything he touched seemed to turn to gold! SDRyoko was also a wild man. His Rate dis Ho thread is still legendary from the first incarnation of the Special Members Forum.

SDRyoko popped up in the World Editor Help Forums right when I was just starting to get back into the site which was being maintained by Wargasm at the time. We had a spiffy new format (thanks Tender Fury!) and some awesome new VBulletin forums. Also, if you typed anything into Google about the World Editor and help our forum came up number 1. Google loved us back in those days.

The rest of the site was dead except for the wild postings for help on the World Editor Forum. Literally, if you build it, they will come was the word of the day here. Questions were everywhere, Helpers were popping out of the wood work to answer questions. Ryoko was working on his Ryoko Tower Defense Map and had some questions. He also gave back and gave back big time.

We noticed the quality of his help, I guess his job gave him free time and access to the Internet :) and he was soon a moderator of the forum. Then I got the email. Hey The Helper, I got these Tutorials I have written and need a place to put them, can you help. Hell yeah I can! Here is some webspace, here is your password, knock yourself out. World Editor Tutorials was born.

At the time, I was into Search Engine Optimization. So I went into the WET site and did some magic. The next thing we know we are #1 on the search engines for everything World Editor going straight to the Tutorials site. Ryoko's site had hit it big. Soon, we was an Administrator of the site and the guy was growing exponentially in his knowledge of how websites work and more important how to get your website Number One on the search engines.

Ryoko was the only guys that actually paid attention when I told select people the secret to Search Engine Optimization. When Silk Road Online came out he was immediately hooked. That is when we said goodbye to Ryoko on TheHelper.net and hello to the Captain on Silk Road Forums. More about that later.

Ryokos Tower Defense is still the #2 downloaded map from the Tutorials site, only beaten by the DOTA Template. His map, Ryoko's Tower Defense, won the coveted Blizzard Spotlight maps award and Ryoko was the most flamboyant member of the site. He got bored quick though and decided he needed to be different. Instead of having a full bar of Positive Rep he decided he wanted a full bar of negative Rep. If you search the members list by Rep you will find Ryoko the number one evil guy. Evil Ryoko!

SD_Ryoko - I salute you my friend! Thanks for all your help back in the day and thanks for the Upgrade to the latest version of the VBulletin forums here. I love to hate the new VBulletin but thanks for making that happen. Ryoko! You are Awesome my friend!

If you want to stalk Ryoko you need to do that on Silk Road Forums online or join his WoW Guild. Tell 56K I said Hi if you find him :)

Work in Progress!

Chile is another one of the Founding Members of the site! I first met Highway_Chile on the Battle.net Technical Support Forums in the Diablo 1 days. He is one of the first Admins and a Huge Part of TheHelper.net's initial History. Chile, Wargasm and I were the three musketeers when it came to helping. We all hit it off and we all remain friends to this day. (We are actually working with Chile to get a new website hosted on the server).

Chile probably was interested in the MVP but he never really posted enough to be considered. He is definitely a MVP in my book though and Blizzard overlooking him was a real mistake, imho. When the site got switched over to VBulletin and we started to become a community Chile was promoted to Public Relations Manager. He handled affiliations with other sites and communications with Blizzard. Chile was very interested in graphics and helped alot with the graphics of the site.

Like most people (including me) he lost interest in Diablo and never really was into the Starcraft scene. He stuck around as Admin for a long time though because of the friendship with Wargy and I got to be an expert in the VBulletin customization. He is the one that integrated the NUON Dome with the site and got the forums to look like the main website.

Chile was one of the younger members of the site. Wargy, t'kron and I are much older and he was the young gun!

Since Chile had decided to learn HTML and had fantastic Graphic Artist ability he could create any website he wanted. Since he was our original PR manager he had relationships with some of the big guys over at Blizzard, mainly Pat Wyatt. Not alot of people know Blizzard's history but Blizzard has suffered some serious defections and at one time a bunch of people quit Blizzard to start there own company and create there own game. That game was Guild Wars. Pat Wyatt was one of the major players, if not THE major players for Guild Wars so Chile decided to try the game. He was hooked and decided he needed to make a fansite.

RPGStars was born. RPG Stars was one of the first fansites for Guild Wars and was as successful as Ryoko's Silkroad Online Forums was for Silkroad Online. He was instrumental in starting the Guild Wars official fansites program and unfortunately we pretty much lost him at TheHelper.net. We always kept a close affiliation though and that affiliation really helped us when Warcraft 3 came out because the Search Engines loved big sites linked together in affiliations at that time.

In order to help Chile as much as I can I bought him a fully registered copy of VBulletin to help make his new site awesome!

Eventually, Chile decided he wanted to do his own website for other interests, as most of the Admins of TheHelper.net do at one point or another and Visual Cues was born! The site lasted a few years, was a great resource and had a dedicated following. Chile though, lost interest in the site and it turned into a graveyard with just a few real die hard dedicated posters after a few years. When Chile went on his Hiatus from the Internet (alot due to his entry into University), we could not keep the site going because his domain ran out. Visual Cues was gone. A victim of domain death.

That registered copy of VBulletin is still out there somewhere. I think we use it as a test site or something.

When Chile entered College, he became scarce. He was a graphics artist major and was really working on his studies. Chile and I have maintained contact over all these years and I still have hope that I will be able to get him back into the TheHelper.net in some fashion. Him and I are Facebook friends and talk from time to time. He is a Fantastic guy, super nice and you just want to like him!

Thank you Chile, if you read this, for all your help in making TheHelper.net what it is today. No matter what happens in the future you will always be an integral part of our history and I salute you my friend!

- Big Work in Progress, lots to add and change here -

I first met Logical_1 on the Open Tech Support Channel on Battle.net during Diablo 1. Back in the Day! I did not really know him very well because he did not talk much on the Channel rather he was behind the scenes figuring out how to hack Battle.net :) Logical_1 was a Grey Hat. He was normally on the side of right but if you crossed him or got his attention you were bounced off the Channel it was so fast you were gone! He was the king of kicking you out of Battle.net by flooding your connection. Hacker extreme back in Y2K.

I first met him in person at the first Houston meeting of the Usual Suspects. A group of us Open Tech Support people decided to get together in Houston at Dave and Busters and there is this 16 or 17 year old kid sitting at the end of the table and they introduce me to him. He was so young. Every time I hear about Anonymous or think about them Logical_1 comes up in my mind. He is just like them and probably a founding member :)

Logical_1 is the guy you call when you have the serious problem and you need the answer. A consultant is what we call them in the business world but frankly Logical_1 was a hacker. He knows everything about the computer down to the bits and bytes and Protocols.

Logical_1 has been with the site since the day we got the forums up. He helped host the site when we had like 10 users and kept hosting us when we had 1000. Since Logical_1 lives in the Houston area I have kept in touch with him, have lunch with him, keep up with him, call him when I need the Hammer!

When I got my divorce I ended up going to one of Logical_1 friends office and got a desk there. When Logical_1 and his friend left because the owner could not pay them the only thing left in the place was a 56k connection over an old phone line. They removed the whole phone system.

It kind of sucked when he left because I was actually living in that office at the time. My ex wife had the house and I had to pay for it. I had no money for a place and had to live at the office on a Pallete in the Server room. I used to keep warm during the winter off the heat of the Server Rack next to me. I am sure I will have all kinds of weird kinds of cancer because of that.

When they left the Internet was gone. The phone system was screwed and I was in a quandry. I was still living in the Office but my friends were gone and the owner was still there. Thank goodness the owner still let me stay there, and he was no slouch in the IT department either and we were back up in a day. I don't know if they finally worked out there differences but I don't mention Logical_1 very much to my friend whom I still talk to from those days.

Now Logical_1 is married and has like 6 kids. He wants more kids. He will probably have like 20. In a couple of years the Internet will be infiltrated by this geniuses children. I just hope they are in it for the good because if not God help us all.

Check on the left sidebar on the Members by Reputation link. Logical_1 is the number one guy on both Reputation and Posts. We have to leave him there because if not he will be there again and we cannot stop him. Maybe Ace could, but Ace is not here anymore. Don't mess with Logical_1. He is one of our big guns. Probably the biggest one we have.

White Hat off to you Grey Hat Logical_1 and 21 guns Salutes to all your help throughout the years!

I would not be surprised if he was one of the leaders of Anonymous. That is how smart this guy is. Everytime I here about Anon I think of him.
Tender Fury!

I first Tender Fury on the forums after we got setup on VBulletin. She might have been on the Open Tech Support Channel on Battle.net but I don't remember her from there. I remember Tender Fury as Wargasm's friend who was super cool and a Helper. Tender Fury was not a technical support guru she was just majorly interested in Games and I think Wargy :) When Wargy came down to visit me we spent quite a bit of time hanging out with Tender Fury.

The site looked like crap. Wargy recognized this and authorized Tender Fury to do a redesign. She came up with the light blue design and setup that looked fantastic

Before - http://web.archive.org/web/19990508173315/http://www.thehelper.net/

After - View attachment 16899

We finally had a design that did not suck! Tender Fury was around during the Starcraft - Starcraft Brood Wars days but unfortunately like Woman tend to do she bailed. :) I actually got to meet her in person and when I was actively doing web design in my business I contracted her to do some web work. She designed a couple of business sites for me as well as keeping TH.net up to date on design for a few years.

I never knew what happened with Tender Fury. She just disappeared. I thank her though for finally giving this site a design that was not horrible and will always be the root of what we see today.

I was very upset that in our latest upgrade to the latest version of VBulletin we lost the blue shaded background Tender Fury Started for us. We switched from being a user defined site to a VBulletin defined Template site... :(

Cheers to you Tender Fury! Nobody can say that only guys contributed to this site :)

Wargasm should add to this, section is a WIP.
The Open Tech Support Split

When the site finally got forums in like 2002 or something everyone from the Open Tech Support Channel on Battle.net came to TheHelper. At that time, it was Wargasm and me running the site. I was having kiddos in my life and was away from the site somewhat and trouble started brewing. There were some real Characters from the Open Tech Support channel on Battle.net. Some very talented people and they were having problems in our structure. Some fights broke out and basically we lost almost all of our members over night. They all switched to our friend's site OpenTechSupport.net Laggy.

We were always still friends with them. It was a split, it is a phenomena that happens on sites sometimes and this site has a had its share.

Anyway, we lost all of our people to a different site. Not all though. The MVPs still were on TH. All the Administrators and Mods stayed pretty much. We still had Wargy and Janna.

To be continued....
Acehart - The World Editor Version!

So I am married with children and not really into the Internet so much then I start noticing TheHelper.net blowing up. Apparently Wargasm and Darg had set up a World Editor Help Forum and it was getting tons of posts. I would come into the site and look at new posts and there would always be multiple pages of new posts in the World Editor Section.

I was not involved with the site much at that time. That happens from time to time as real life might take over my time and one of the core members always takes over. When that happens people still ask questions here and somebody still answers them. We had lots of questions that were getting answered and some that were not and apparently scmaker noticed those unanswered questions and stepped in!

SDRyoko was in the trenches at this time, as he was working on his Tower Defense and had found help in our forums. As well as many others I do not recall their names. They were all helping there best but the game was new and things were being learned. Thanks to all the Helpers that make this forum Possible!

SDRyoko was already a mod and Darg (Founder), Wargy and I were trying to manage things and not quite making it because the question volume was too high. We needed another Mod. SDRyoko noticed Acehart. I went on a little research mission and determined Acehart = scmaker....

So Acehart enters the picture. The best mod eva!!! of the StarEdit forums and about to be the best one in the World Editor Forums as well.

In the beginning Ace was modding with Ryoko and Darg. Those were the days. The World Editor Help Forum was the best in the business rivaling anything Blizzard had to offer with the people we had as mods and Helpers.

Ryoko's Tower Defense and 56Ks Maps both went on the Blizzard Feature list and World Editor Tutorials was in Full Force!

The site exploded in size during the World Editor heydays and we were having server problems.

Wargasm was gone, Chile was gone, everyone who knew about Hosting was gone and I was struggling with handling all that and Ace stepped in.

We got onto Softlayer and Ace took over the server.

He set everything up just right. Tightened the place down like a steel drum. Then we took on the DDOS attacks...

To be continued!
Silkroad Forums - aka goodbye Ryoko and 56K

All good things must come to an end. Before that end though, let us set up something timeless.

That is my saying from my Ryoko experience - The Captain full force.

WET (World Editor Tutorials) was my and Ryokos creation and we just put it out there full force. Actually it was all of Ryoko's Tutorials and my Search Engine Knowledge at the time that just set it off. It went Viral.

Ryoko and 56Ks maps just from being in the Blizzard's Official Site was huge! Check the top downloads link on the WET Map Submission Site!

http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHNV_enUS387US387&gcx=w&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=world editor help

http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHNV_enUS387US387&gcx=w&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=silkroad forums

This is one of those Site Splits mentioned previously in the History. Ryoko was destined to get tied up in a MMORPG game. Originally that game was Silkroad Online then turned into a straight up WoW addiction. We still host his WoW clan site which as you might guess is very active - LOL!

So Ryoko is getting bored with WC3 as it happens and he picks up on this new MMORPG called Silkroad Online. He gets hooked on it and decides he wants a site for it. He stated his intention and I said no problem my friend I will host it for you. He decided on a free forum, not VBulletin but he stayed hosting on our servers and Silkroad Online Forums was born.

To be continued....
The Great Crash (NEW)

The site was blowing up! We had just got the Tutorials area up and the World Editor Forums were Rocking! This was in 2006!

Bam!!!! The site went down. A total crash at the provider level. The server we were on lost its hard drive. We had some old plan. I had an old server. Nobody paid attention to that in those days because the people that set up were not active and the host just got forgotten about.

We lost a years worth of forum data.

We were down for at least a month if not more.

I personally cannot believe we survived it.

Thanks to everyone who got us back up! You guys know who you are and you saved us!

The good news is I am told by my Server Admin that the chances of that happening again are 0% I feel better about it now but back then it was a Killer.

I had totally forgotten about this event. I was going over the old days in my memory and ran across this little gem and posted about it and was enlightened. I remember alot about this now and it had a profound effect on the site.

To be continued....
Darg (Co-Founder World Editor Help Forums)

I have resisted writing this section for the longest. This is like in 2004-2005. When we finally got it all together we had the Big Crash but that was after the Origin.

I wish I could get an origin of the World Editor Help forums from Wargasm or Darg because they are the ones that started it. I am real fuzzy on the order of events on this as it was a long time ago. I lost all my notes on this so I am going from memory alone. I was not even active on the forums. I was a lurker, looking at stats and stuff from a real high level but other than posting some news every now and again I was totally absent from the site.

Warcraft 2 BNE was just a drip in the bucket and no new mapping stuff was there. Just Battle.net. When Warcraft 3 came out Wargy and Darg started the World Editor Help Forum. It blew up. Wargy did not play Warcraft 3 and it was Darg's baby.

I started noticing a huge amount of posts in the World Editor Help Forum. I came in to get an update on what was up and found out a little community had popped up there. Apparently Blizzard's new Map Development tool was a hit and we were number one on the search engines for help on that...

I had came in about 3 months after the forums started becoming active so we had a ton of content in our forums on help issues in the search engines and the things I was doing to promote the site were working. SDRyoko was working on his famous Tower Defense and was all up active in the forums. The whole time writing tutorials in the background on his editor work....

It was Darg, Ryoko and a newcomer called Acehart. We also had a lot more but I have to get with some of the other members to remember their names.

Then the Great Crash Happened.

to be continued.....

Shout out to Darg! Thanks for all your help my friend! Your contributions to the site are not forgotten! I look forward to seeing you again! Or at least really seeing you once.
Special Membership

So I was intrigued by the new TheHelper.net. This VBulletin system was interesting and had lots of stats. I started seeing a bunch of the same people on the site and started reading the VBulletin site logs to see memberships. I started to notice a pattern.

Most of the people on the site posted one or two times. These were the question askers. We did not even make you have to register to post back in these days. We were the Kings of the 1 post wonders. Watching the graphs though you saw the members who stayed online, the ones who registered with the forums and those that had large rep increases. It was the statistical profile of a helper.

I decided to create a special group for The Helpers I noticed in the stats. 100 Rep was the criteria. The Special Members Forum was born.

This was the Best of our Best! The Helpers! The basis of the site for many years to come.

Though we do not have the same kind of membership level as that anymore at 100 Rep we have brought back the Special Members forum. It is a tribute to the past. We do recognize people that manage to get 100+ rep here. For all of you that did not get a message or something from me thanking you for helping at that level - THANK YOU! You guys and gals are what this site is all about! The Helpers!

Now, anybody who gets more than 100 rep gets access to the Special Members forum and the User Title underneath your name becomes customizeable. This is all automated now on my side thank you TheHelper.net Admins. Back in the day I used to PM everyone when that happened and upgrade everybody myself. It was a big manual process that thank goodness does not have to be done today.

Ultimately, the first incarnation of the Special Membership went down in flames, I expected way too much from that group of people and there were just a whole lot of them in the end. A bunch of people that did not really give a crap because my initial stat analysis was not done on a large enough group. The popularity of the World Editor Forum and WET flooded the forum with everyone because of my stupid 100 rep limit. It messed up all my stats and it all crumbled down because I was not able to adjust. We had to close it down. We were infected with dumbasses and it was all my fault!

To Be Continued.....
Blizzard Spotlight Maps

Once upon a time Blizzard decided it wanted to support the Map Development more in WC3. They started a Tutorials and help site that linked heavily to TheHelper.net.

They started a program called Blizzard Spotlight Maps where they picked the best maps from the user development community a week and recommended them on their page. Getting linked by Blizzard was a real big deal back then.

SDRyoko and 56K were the first two recipients of those awards :)

To be continued....
Acehart has left the Building

This is one of the hardest sections I have had to write.

Acehart is gone.

He first graced us as scmaker on the Starcraft Help Forums when we barely had any posts at all. scmaker answered them all, whatever posts we had he answered. We still have a StarEdit forum archive from the original StarCraft based on his answers. He was the MVP of the StarEdit Forums.

Rapmaster and T'kron were the MVPs of the TH Tech Support Forums, back in the day.

After StarCraft map editing died scmaker left. I remember the goodbye letter. I did not blame scmaker for leaving, StarCraft was dead and the forum had not been posted in for months but I remember feeling sad I was losing a friend.

Then the website came back in Warcraft 3 after my Dmoz.org promotions to top level editor suddenly triggered a bunch of the Help Zone Forums questions to show up on Google. The Warcraft 3 forum was born.

I was called back in. I started paying attention to the site and broke loose of the dmoz.org addiction. I was editing the dmoz like I used to monitor the Blizzard Forums. I racked up like 10000 edits in like 2 years.

I met SD_Ryoko, Darg, and ran into an old friend... scmaker as Acehart!

He was soon moderator, then, after the great crash, through great personal sacrifice took over TH.net to bring us back from the brink. He navigated us through the technical waters of servers and hosts and kept us up. He became the sole saviour of the site in charge of all things technical.

Wargy and SD_Ryoko did what they could to get us back up but Acehart made sure we stayed up. He was there and took over the day to Admin duties of the website.

This was great all the way up until I started focusing on the site again. Personalities clashed. Never did Personalities clash and align more than Acehart we were the perfect balance. We managed this for a while until I tipped to the edge. I tried bringing in a bunch of new people too fast.

When I say focusing on the site I mean obsessing like I used to on the Blizzard Forums and Dmoz.org site, I used to spend all day on the site. I started to get real involved in the site and made some promotions that were questionable. In the end, those promotions in the site staff were meaningless but Ace left over them.

I did not get a goodbye letter this time. I was at a real low time in my Personal Life as well. I think Ace sensed this and to this day probably thinks I am crazy.

Ace came back. Tried to comeback just like in War3 as another alias but I scared him away. He never admitted to me he was who I thought he was. So I do not know for sure but I sure do miss Acehart, scmaker, or whoever you are! I bet you are still helping out there anonymously .

You are the ultimate Helper my friend and you are missed! Your contributions to this site will never be forgotten.

Thank God we had Ghan when you left, but somehow, I don't think you would have left unless we did.... you would have never left us hanging. That is just how you are.
This thread is a temporary area for the Site History story that does not have seperate threads created. I created a bunch of the story on seperate threads but alot in one big thread with links to each section. Those links are broken in the new version of the forum software so I have to peel each one of these out and post a seperate thread for them and update the index. This is work in progress....
I joined back in 2003 or 2004 (dont quite remember) when I was still working actively with the world edit. Back then with a different Account; I lost the pw, I actually didnt really care for the account much back then.

I was in the midst of creating an epic multiplayer RPG when I first encountered my old nemesis: Memory Leaks.

I didnt know such things existed back then. Only really worked with java in the old days and the garbage collector was doing a nice job. It was incredible for me to think that the computers of the 21 century couldnt handle this shit on their own.

That was basically my first thread on thehelper, asking why in the name of god my map was getting more and more laggy over time.

Was a nice time I spend here though. Mostly in the world edit support forum, helping people all over the place.

But for the last couple of years I just kept trolling people in the headline news forum. I like making fun of people, thats just how I am.
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