The group responsible for a major World of Warcraft legacy server has disbanded after alleging that a former team member embezzled thousands of dollars in donated funds.
If somebody ever decides to write a book about the seemingly ceaseless saga of people trying to create a sustainable World of Warcraft legacy server -- an unofficial server where people can play old versions of the game -- I'd recommend they call it Everquest, if that name wasn't already taken.
It just keeps going and going, despite shutdowns from Blizzard, leadership disagreements, and now, a scandal involving thousands of real dollars.
The Elysium Project, which earlier this year helped revive (and then un-revive) a well-publicised WoW legacy server called Nostalrius, has disbanded in the wake of alleged dirty dealings involving two core members of its team.
One member named Sheena, former team members said in a statement posted yesterday, allegedly took over €2,000 (about $US2,350 ($2,995)) from a donations PayPal that was keeping the project afloat, using it for "personal financial reasons."
"[The] Elysium Project is being dissolved and relaunched out of the control of those who have abused the trust of the staff, community, and legacy movement as a whole," read the statement. Those members have elected to form a new legacy project called "Light's Hope." They apparently walked out the door with large amounts of Elysium's back-up data, meaning that former Elysium players should be able to access their old characters in some form.
The statement also said that the member that Sheena was complicit in a gold-selling operation being run by another core member of the Elysium team, Crogge, which put further strain on the server's development and reputation.
"We understand that we are abandoning a lot of brand recognition from both Nostalrius and the Elysium Project by doing this," they wrote. "However, we believe that the actions of two rogue staff members have irrevocably damaged the image of the rest of the staff and trying to pick up the pieces is not worth the hassle."
The two people responsible for the alleged embezzlement and gold-selling, Sheena and Crogge, later published statements confirming that the allegations from their former teammates are accurate. They added, however, that their intentions were pure. Pure-ish. If you squint.
"Yes, due to mine and my family's personal problems, I did receive some money for a personal use, but at the end of the day it helped to spend more time here maintaining the servers," claimed Sheena, who allegedly skimmed thousands off the top of Elysium's donations account, in a statement posted to Elysium's website.
"We didn't want to resort to [gold] sales, but donations were extremely limited, and it was either we do limited sales or we shut down Elysium," Crogge and Sheena wrote in a separate joint statement, also on the site.
"That is not an excuse, just the reality of the situation. This was not known (neither was the financial struggles we were having) by most of the Elysium team. We do not mean to defend this position, only be more upfront about it."
Sheena also claimed that she's done plucking coins from the donation purse, which is good, because I imagine that didn't help the whole "not having enough money to run servers without creating a secret underground gold market" situation.
Both Sheena and Crogge went on to say that they feel betrayed by the former Elysium members who took server data and used it to found Light's Hope. They added that they will try to get Elysium up and running again despite working with what's now a skeleton crew.