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THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS!!

Valin Steel is a character in LEVELS. His name is an anagram of “Anti-Levels”. His puzzle path is one of the most advanced discovered so far within LEVELS.

Goal

Valin logo

Valin's Avatar

Valin’s goal is to reveal the hidden “truth” about LEVELS and claims it has nothing to do with being an ARG school.

In his own words, Valin has stated:

“Don’t trust me. But don’t trust [levels] so blindly. Why, is always a nice word to use”.
He also has said:
“What I find I will provide to you. Just like I have done so far. I will let you decide what to do after.”

Accounts

Documents Revealed

This is a summary of the documents that Valin has revealed. The details of how they were found is in the Puzzle Path.

20161018.pdf

This document contains a request from Kurtis Sullivan to Gayle Walker regarding detailed background checks on all potential LEVELS employees and potential employees. This document was revealed PRIOR to LEVELS adding the names/roles to their FAQ.

Valin docimage 20161018

20170118.pdf

This document contains an email from Kurtis Sullivan to Steven Emery and discusses compiling a list of players to send to Gayle for "recruitment" and additional background checks. It also mentions Deb Taylor's increasing role within LEVELS and her tasks to increase participation. A redacted section may be ominous for her.

Valin docimage 20170118

20170214-oops.pdf

This document contains an email from Steven Emery to Kurtis Sullivan in response to the discovery of Valin's infiltration of LEVELS and subsequent reveal of the prior documents.

Valin docimage 20170214

Discovery

This section chronicles the discovery of the Valin's accounts and his initial puzzle path. This path contains advanced puzzles that are significantly more difficult than other LEVELS content thus far.

Quotes (2017-01-24)

On 1/24/17, we started noticing some quotes appearing within the LEVELS site. These all have darker themes than the “normal” LEVELS quotes. Most relate to themes of deception and false truths. It was later learned that Valin Steel had “hacked” logged into the LEVELS site to add them. There are no real “puzzles” here, except for the vandalism improvements to various parts of LEVELS pages. [edits per Valin himself]

All quotes were removed by LEVELS staff within hours/days of discovery.

  • “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” - Oscar Wilde
    • On all pages at bottom of screen. Light grey on dark grey.
      Valin quotes oscarwilde
  • “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” - Sir Walter Scott
    • Located on all pages, most easily viewed in source. Appears in the <img> alt text for the google hangouts image.
  • On 1/25/17, several tweets were posted by the LEVELS account over a short period of time. They were each removed ~20 minutes after being posted. It appeared the LEVELS account had been temporarily hijacked
    • “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” - Edmund Burke
    • "To follow by faith alone is to follow blindly." — Benjamin Franklin
    • "He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done." — Leonardo Da Vinci
    • "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." — Galileo Galilei
    • "There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts." — Voltaire
  • "Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always." — Mahatma Ghandi
    • Replaced the Oscar Wilde quote on all pages late on 1/25/17. Disappeared after a few days
  • "No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness." - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
    • Index.html was altered slightly to appear similar to, but not identical to, the LEVELS 404 page. The quote was hidden in the source text of this page.
    • Additionally the subtitle of the page was changed to read “Those who are blind will follow the path down which they are led”
      Valin quotes neverhere
  • "Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one who inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it." - Mark Twain
    • Found on robots.txt

Anti Lotophagi (2017-01-25)

Tweet levels 20170125

During the tweet storm of quotes on 1/25/17, one of the tweets was retweeted by LEVELS instead of originating from them. This was originally tweeted by @Anti_Lotophagi.

“Lotophagi” were the “Lotus-eaters” described in the Odyssey. They fed the flowers to travelers, which caused them to fall into a state of peaceful apathy. The twitter and youtube accounts of Anti Lotophagi have user icons that reflect this Lotus.

Anti Lotophagi Twitter (@Anti_Lotophagi)

Tweet antiloto 20170125

This account joined twitter in Jan 2017. It had only ever posted 1 tweet prior to the Voltaire quote.

“Time to wake up! You have followed their paths and opened their gates. Do you dare to open this door now?
That tweet included a YouTube link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNUMmrxdORc) belonging to a user similarly named “Anti Lotophagi”.



Anti Lotophagi YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsLAU8uB-7ZkllljKg7-ZIQ

The banner on the youtube channel is of Odysseus removing his men from the company of the lotus-eaters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus-eaters

10 Videos = Valin Steel

The YouTube channel of Anti Lotophagi contained a series of 10 videos that shared similar characteristics

  • 01 - Veles
  • 02 - Ansasi
  • 03 - Loki
  • 04 - Iktomi
  • 05 - Nababozho
  • 06 - Set
  • 07 - Tanuki
  • 08 - Eshu
  • 09 - Eris
  • 10 - Lilith
  • Numbered: 01, 02, 03…  through 10
  • Fairly short and in black and white
  • Contains a color image on a single frame depicting a trickster god (ish)
    • The second #s where the image frames appear are: 10, 9, 16, 8, 9, 6, 7, 17, 14, 8
  • The images each depict a god
    • All of the gods are considered tricksters or symbols of disorder
    • Each god originates from a different culture
  • The first letter of the god depicted in each video spells out VALINSTEEL
    • Matches theme/definition of anti-lotophagi
    • This was our first intro to Valin. We soon found his twitter account (@valin_steel) but didn’t see much there. After going quiet for a couple weeks, he came back to reveal his own website.

Video #

God

Second #

01 Veles 10
02 Ansasi 9
03 Loki 16
04 Iktomi 8
05 Nanabozho 9
06 Set 6
07 Tanuki 7
08 Eshu 17
09 Eris 14
10 Lilith 8

Valin-Steel.com (2017-02-12)

On 2/12/17, Valin posted two sound files to SoundCloud and shared them via his twitter account. After following an extended puzzle path, this led us to his website: http://valin-steel.com.

Various Valin Communications

Valin has reached out to players via several tools including the official LEVELS hangout, discord, and twitter. Most of these communications have been archived.

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