Ryan, this hit right in the feels, especially the bits about Maple being a crutch for other areas of life.
I also got hacked way back in the day (lost my lvl 73 Paladin, which was brutal considering I had been grinding to get 3rd job for months). I ended up leveling a Priest after and found it a lot more fun, but I will never forget that first character.
Did you ever do Glitch PQ (Orbis PQ)? It was Orbis PQ, but if you pulled out your ethernet cable and plugged it back in right as you were rushing, it would glitch the system and you were guaranteed to get back in! Between that and the AC, wow, good memories.
Thanks for the write-up! Long live the glory days.