Thanatos_820 — Death is Not the End

Thanatos_820

Death is Not the End
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[I hope this is in the right section/allowed, but if not, do what you will.]

It's been so long, and there's so much to tell, but where do I start? I suppose we should roll the timeline back several years first before going anywhere, but I'd like to get an introduction out first.

Whether you know me or not, my username is Thanatos_820, and I've been registered on TH.net since 2006. Despite my eight-year membership, I was only active during 2006-2008, with a few lurking trickles leading to my eventual hiatus in 2011. I primarily posted in the Warcraft forums and subforums, and later, started posting in the World of Warcraft subforum as well.

Personally, I prefer the older layout this forum used to have back when I first arrived, but times change I suppose. It's much harder for me to navigate the site as easily as I did before.

Anyway, here's my story.

2005 — The Internet
The internet was quite the mystery to me while I was in elementary school. Having not been exposed to the fad that was MySpace, I did not develop any early attachment to the online world. My gaming was strictly offline and closely monitored; for Warcraft 3, my parents forbid me to connect to Battle.net (and the internet, essentially) due to their past experiences with it on Diablo 2. So, I was left to envy those that were able to play with the new neutral heroes and dozens of other melee maps back then.

I was an angry child during this time—hated the world around me because of the toxicity of racism that I dealt with, and got into far too much trouble for anyone's liking. Nothing was going right in my life—inside and out—all of which I expressed quite outwardly with my parents. The turning point for me finally came when my family decided to move out from the boonies and back into the city, where I was originally most familiar with.

Early 2006 — The World Editor
The general structure and atmosphere of the household took a radical change right after the move-in. Things were finally looking up for once, and my parents were starting to allow me more freedom in what I did. Since they no longer restricted my access to Battle.net/the internet, I was finally able to play the patched content I was previously deprived of.

I discovered the World Editor shortly after, but was unable to utilize it well due to my lack of understanding of it. Through my experimentation here and there, I realized that this tool had so much creative potential in it—I wanted to create maps of my own! This realization alone compelled me to search for and learn about the editor's basics, and boy was that not easy. I landed myself in World Edit Tutorials to start off my learning experience, which in turn served as the foundation of my general knowledge with the editor.

I came across TH.net indirectly through the World Edit Tutorials site later on, when I first began middle school. I lurked around for about a month or so, where I constantly found myself browsing the World Editor Help and Members' Projects subforums. Needless to say, I was amazed with the bustling activity this section of the site had.

Dozens of new threads posing questions were created on a daily basis on the World Editor Help subforum, and a grand majority of them received the answers they were looking for by the end of the day. True to the site's name, I realized that the people in this community really did help each other, and soon...

I registered.

Late 2006 — The Helper
"Do you know that I'm only 12 years old and I'm a newbie to this site??? I only joined today!"
TH.net would be the very first online community and forum that I signed up on. As such, I was a complete amateur when it came to online/forum etiquette, and my anti-social behavior in real life wasn't doing me any favors either. My debut on the forum wasn't exactly a... peaceful one, that's for sure.

I prided myself in the fact I was twelve for some reason, and believed that I was smarter than everyone I came across. On top of this, I quickly became fixated on the karma/reputation system, which in my mind at the time, ultimately determined your social standing in the community. Knowing that, you can easily tell that I spent the majority of the first year making an absolute fool of myself, for I was naïve and ignorant.

My antics as a result rewarded me with quite a few -rep from users, but some would take pity on me and +rep. Thinking back on it, I'm really surprised that I didn't get a single warning from any of the moderators at the time; I really think that the content of my posts would've warranted such an action, but alas it did not happen. I suppose I'm thankful for that.

Early 2007 — Search-An-Idea
"Hello people, this is a Search-a-Idea thread! If you need a spell, an item, a mode, a hero, a unit, an upgrade, a building, or a hero name, you came to the right place. Please, take a few of my ideas especially if you're working on a map project. Feel free post any comments, concerns, or ideas because this is a Search-an-Idea thread! You add the effect of the idea, not me."
Despite having been quite a nuisance early on in the forums, I actually did find myself trying to help others, and having fun doing so at the same time. Occasionally, there'd be a thread wanting some ideas—a name for a hero, items for the map, abilities and so forth. Since I wasn't really good with much else outside of the Object Editor, problems like these were what I actively tackled on the forums. But, there'd be a thread like this every single day, and sometimes I wouldn't be able to respond in time because somebody else did already. So, I made my move...

Search-An-Idea was the very first thread that I made for the benefit of the community and not for myself. The purpose of the thread was to gather a whole bunch of ideas I had together, organize it, and let the community pick and choose what they wanted. I admit that I wasn't the most original when it came to these ideas, but it was a start.

The thread itself generally received positive reception from the community going by the poll it ran (Is this thread useful?), so I think it was a success in the grand scheme of things. Regardless of whether people liked it or not, I was happy with what I did and had lots of fun doing it.

2007-2008 — The Failed Projects
The time would come when I finally started my very own projects, but they were projects that would never see the light of day past the first few months of inception. Why was it that these maps of mine would fail, when I had been learning and practicing map-making since the last year?

The answer was simple: I was going way over my head.

I was simply attempting to create maps that were far beyond my experience. Everything sounded good on paper, but when I really tried to build it, or gather a team to work on it, the project would just fall apart.

The names of the failed projects are called, but are not limited to: The Twisting Nether RPG, Starcraft: Terran Defense, Starcraft: Aiur Guardians, World of Naruto ORPG, Battle of Kawanakajima and Plains of War ORPG.

It was only after these several failures that I started to realize that I was what you'd call a dreamer, not an inventor. I had the ideas, yet I couldn't get them beyond paper because I was unable to flesh it out in the editor itself. And for this, I went through a self-loathing stage—loathsome of my ineptitude. I really started to question if I was ever going to take a map to completion.

After all of these, I think everyone knew that if I had started another project, you could count on it being abandoned within the next two months. But, I didn't blame them. At all.

My First Official Map
"This map was inspired by AceHart's: Hatchery Havoc, so I decided to create a "relative" of it. No, there's no AI like in AceHart's map, I plan to make AI soon though. In this map, you can dominate your enemies, cut through enemy lines, and...whatever."
I tried out Hatchery Havoc when AceHart first released it, and I found it quite fun despite its short and simplistic gameplay. It wasn't big, overly complex, and certainly looked like it could've been developed in a span of a few hours. His map really got me thinking, and it was enough to get the message through my thick skull—I didn't have to start by creating an obscenely large project like an RPG; I could start with something small, something simple.

My very first completed project rolled out after—Sunken Frenzy—and while it was essentially a watered-down and poorly-done version of AceHart's map, it served as a major milestone for me. To me, it was proof that I could finish something rather than abandoning it, and it was something to call my own as I developed it myself. It wasn't the greatest map ever, but I didn't care.

I finished my very first project, and I was thrilled.

2008-2011 — Drifting Away
As time went by, so too did my activity on the forums. No longer was I on several hours a day scoping for new threads, no longer was I managing a few posts a day to one day beat that 1,000 post mark. I got into high school during this time, and World of Warcraft eventually took over. With that taking up the majority of my free time, I had long periods of inactivity.

One week I'd show up, post here and there, and then disappear for several months. Maybe a year. I don't know, but I wasn't doing a lot of Warcraft map-making anymore, so there wasn't much of a reason for me to stick around. Still, it was great seeing some familiar users going strong long after my hiatus, and dozens of names I have never seen before.

2011 would be the last time that anyone on TH.net had last heard from me...

Until now.

Concluding Thoughts
Given the age from when I had first joined this forum, and how old I am today, there is no doubt that TH.net made up a significant portion of my growth experience. I came here knowing very little about the wonders (and dangers) of the internet; I came here knowing very little about the depth of Warcraft 3's World Editor; but most importantly, I came here knowing very little about myself.

Over the years I spent on this site, I didn't really learn as much as I would've liked about the World Editor. I'm still that same, dreaming map-maker with the dozen of ideas floating around in his head, even after all this time. Actually, I might even be worse since I haven't touched the editor in so long.

But, that's okay with me. My progress with map-making didn't really get all that far, but I did receive an impressive amount of fundamental knowledge that has, to this day, served me well. TH.net taught me better social etiquette, in and outside of the forums; it taught me to first walk before I could run; the difference between quality and quantity; what constructive criticism looks like; how to give constructive criticism... I could go on.

Some of these life lessons, I didn't think I'd get them from a forum of all things. But I did, and I'm glad I was able to learn them firsthand here, even if this wasn't the right place for it, and even if I didn't expect to learn anything other than the World Editor's functions.

You have to start somewhere.
 
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