The Tale of irninja:
This is a story about Michael Foster, also known as irninja in the Team Liquid community and Freelancer in his own community. To begin, we need to travel back to the year 2010 before anyone knew who or what an irninja was.
We start out with a Minecraft server hosted by yours truly for the Team Liquid community back in late 2010. The server opened officially on October 4th and Michael joined the same day. On October 5th, less than 24 hours later, he was banned for griefing (intentionally destroying the work of others). Unfortunately, due to the current state of Minecraft the moderation tools we had were sketchy at best and so we decided to unban him.
Four days later, on October 9th, he was caught griefing again. We had put him on a watch list and decided to keep an eye on him, mostly by going invisible in-game and physically watching him. It paid off. We caught him stealing from other players and destroying structures. This event was witnessed by myself and multiple other reputable players I had on my moderation team, including Puosu and Torenhire. We came to a unanimous decision in our staff channel to ban him. Not one of the 10+ moderators in the channel had a single good thing to say about him, as even when he wasn't griefing other players he was griefing the server itself with giant squares serving no purpose other than to be an eyesore for everyone else around them.
Now, our ban system worked something like this - you get caught, the moderator who caught you is responsible for explaining the situation and banning you, and afterwards you could appeal directly to me if you felt the ban was unjust. Naturally he sent me a message to appeal his ban, claiming he was nowhere near the incident in question and that two other players on the server could vouche for him.
I got in contact with both of the players he said would vouche for him, as they were still on the server playing at the time. That's when a funny thing happened... neither of them would vouche for Michael, and in fact one of them even went as far as saying he had never seen him before!
For whatever reason (perhaps because he had a good posting history on TL) I decided to give him a stern warning and a second chance to accompany it. By the end of the same day he was banned again, this time for good.
Around this time Michael purchased a website (teamlegacy.net) and started work on it, playing host to gaming communities for Starcraft II, Battlefield 3, and the upcoming Guild Wars 2.
Now, gaming communities do not just pop up overnight. Take Team Liquid, for example. What started as a small clan website a decade ago is now the premiere website for anything Starcraft, as well as hosting very sizeable communities for DOTA 2 and many other games. Unless you are an already-established community looking to create a new branch (as TL did with DOTA 2) the process of creating a gaming community is a long one.
However, there is another way to jump start your new gaming community - deception. The art of pretending you're something you're not in order to achieve a goal that you otherwise would not be able to. In this case it was pretending to be affiliated with Team Liquid.
May 6th, 2011. Michael approaches me in private and asks if I'd be willing to use my influence in the Team Liquid community to gather some high-profile members for his teamlegacy.net community. I politely declined. He then turned to asking me to promote his community directly on Team Liquid, which I also declined.
May 18th, 2011. Michael approaches me yet again with a proposition. This time he was interested in capitalizing on the Terraria community and asked me for assistance. He informed me that he had been granted permission by Team Liquid staff to host the official Team Liquid Terraria server over on his official sister site, teamlegacy.net and wanted me to join as the server administrator. Once again I declined.
These were just minor setbacks for Michael in the grand scheme of things, for he had already started work on his biggest project yet - Guild Wars 2.
Michael created the Guild Wars 2 thread on Team Liquid, which was supposed to be the go-to thread for all discussion of the game as well as the Team Liquid guild. What started off as a Team Liquid guild quickly turned into a Team Legacy guild, and all links in the thread suddenly switched over to teamlegacy.net, including the Teamspeak server.
What's more, the banner for teamlegacy.net used the Team Liquid horse logo as well as text below, branding it as an "official Team Liquid sister community". Michael also advertised himself and his guild as Team Liquid's official presence in the Guild Wars 2 community. People searching for guilds both in-game and on the forums would see Team Liquid and end up on teamlegacy.net instead.
He consistently claimed to be officially endorsed by Team Liquid all throughout the early days of Guild Wars 2, and once he was well established he started dropping the name completely. In addition to the Guild Wars 2 community, he also pretended to be affiliated with Team Liquid in order to get writing jobs in various other communities, including some owned by Curse Gaming such as arenajunkies.com and gw2guru.com.
Today, the Team Liquid community thread for Guild Wars 2 doesn't even sport the name Team Liquid. It has now become the "Team Legacy Discussion Thread".
I will admit, this really rubs me the wrong way. I managed one of the largest sub-communities on Team Liquid to date and I never once abused that for personal gain. In fact, it was much the opposite as I spent thousands of dollars on the Team Liquid community over the years. And yet here is someone that takes the priveledge of creating and nurturing a sub-community and completely exploits it for monetary gain.
But alas, this is not about me. It's about Michael, so let's move on to his next venture! On September 26th, 2011, Michael once again approached me about joining his community. This time it was in regards to Battlefield 3, in which he also created the community thread on Team Liquid for. He has a habit of creating such threads far in advance of when they are actually needed, just so he can secure the thread as his own.
He wanted me to manage his Battlefield 3 server for him. As usual, I declined. He went ahead and set it up under the name of Team Liquid and slowly but surely started changing things over to Team Legacy. In fact, when you searched for "Team Liquid" in the server browser you would find his server - but upon joining you were spammed with ads for teamlegacy.net and no mention of Team Liquid anywhere.
Around this same time he set up his own Minecraft server, since I had closed mine down. Once again he branded it as a Team Liquid server, but conveniently plastered teamlegacy.net everywhere he could. And when I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE.
"We come from www.teamliquid.net, our sister site for professional Starcraft 2, and we aim to carry their vision of providing top-end competitive content into GW2."
This is his guild recruitment post on gw2fans.com. source
"Team Legacy as a whole was originally established in early August 2010 as a Team Liquid offshoot. TeamLiquid.net is the premier website for Starcraft and Starcraft 2 outside of Korea and a popular website for competitive hardcore gamers."
This is teamlegacy.net's official history information. source
Pretty much anywhere you go on the internet, if you come across Team Legacy and didn't know better you would think it was affiliated with Team Liquid in some way. After all, through the years Michael has gotten approval from multiple nameless Team Liquid staff members to affiliate himself.
So... what can we make of all this? Over the years he has claimed to be Team Liquid staff, claimed to be affiliated with Team Liquid, has used the Team Liquid banner on his own website, has claimed to be Team Liquid on various community forums across various games, and has otherwise deceived thousands of gamers into joining his community - all so he could pocket tens of thousands of dollars in ad revenue from his Amazon Affiliate account (not a penny of which actually goes into his own community, even, as they run off donations).
I am writing this post in order to expose this person for what he really is, and make a case that we do not need him in our community; nor should he be supported in others. It is a shame that he has already ingrained himself in the Curse community, but that's for them and this is for us. We have the ability to prevent further harm to our own community and as such I believe we should use it to our fullest extent.