Today marks the end of an era, when all of the original staff members aside from myself (Dark Luke, MacGravel, Blue Chaos and Ike Pie) are no longer active staff members here at r21freak. With Dark Luke moved to Retired Staff, that makes all of the other current Staff members ones who earned their rank through consistently posting awesome files and demonstrating a high level of step rhetoric competence, in addition to being highly active members on the site.
Interestingly, many members have questioned Dark Luke's qualifications to be Staff in the past. For me however, he was a solid choice when I picked him to be one of the originals, and he has remained strong with the files he has produced, albeit often stepping in non-mainstream genres in non-mainstream ways. At the time when I first chose Dark Luke to be Staff, his Emerald Sword was one of the most popular r21s, and his I Sawed the Demons was one of the most creative 13's I had ever seen. Plus he was one of the very few step artists at the time who stepped a good amount of Doubles charts, something that only Ike Pie in the original Staff Members also did, and something I believed was important to make necessary for the site.
As the site progressed past its founding, stepping fads and styles came and went, but Dark Luke kept his style consistent. I felt that his extreme non-mainstream stepping style added color to the site, giving it a special flair for people who were also searching for very different charts, or charts to the kinds of music he stepped. And, when Ike Pie was removed, Dark Luke was the only active Staff member to have a good amount of Doubles charts. Charts of his like RosEHolic, Luna Clock, and Slip & Slide that Dark Luke made for site events allowed him a chance to step outside of his normal music selections, and produce amazing files in the process.
Unfortunately, life eventually catches up with people, and Dark Luke became less and less able to produce files for site events, let alone outside of site events. And, when his last isolated releases received such a less than lukewarm response, I knew that it was time to start making room for the next generation of Staff members.
Though Dark Luke will be moved to Retired Staff, I have his assurances that he, like mattatdi and MacGravel, will stick around the site and still be a part of the community, occasionally releasing stuff in his Retired Staff section or for sitewide events. Though many people may not appreciate him for more than his ridiculously unique sense of humor, I'd say that if you haven't by now, then you should download some of Dark Luke's files, or at least take another look at the stuff he made for the r21freak packs. Though a lot of his stuff represents stepping styles of a bygone era, they are still a blast to pad every now and then, keeping the genres of files varied, and reminding us of the very important belief that just because something isn't what we're used to, that doesn't make it bad by any means.