Hello everyone! Here's something we prepare for the IRE Bigwigs, but formulated a bit towards players! I took out the bits where I brutally insult myself for our mistakes over the year. But, I'll leave some notes about improvements we're shooting for, in so you know we're aware of our shortcomings. Pardon if the language is a bit for non-Aetolians. Feel free to comment and discuss, but there's no real goal here except to excite you all for 2018, and acknowledge the work of 2017.
Major Things of 2017
- New Class/Guild - Archivist. Cabalist was a bit of an unloved class and had a very low player adoption rate. Archivists removed its reliance on two copied skills (Necromancy, Domination) and gave it two new skills that are vastly different and new. (Bioessence, Geometrics) The guild was closed down and a new RP vector given to the brand new guild!
- New Class - Wayfarer. This is essentially our only non-tethered neutral class that isn't a Shapeshifter like Werewolf (those classes have different skill structures). Both sides have access, and it has a really good player violence interest. It has been adopted by players on both sides and has become very popular.
- Curing system overhaul - Previously our healing system was bifurcated between Undead and Living. It was unnecessarily complicated and made curing systems a nightmare. They were essentially the same, but all code work was doubled. They are now unified into ONE curing system with two major Mercantile Skills making the items, intertwined to keep the economy moving. Rapture backend completely recoded to handle old cure substitution and make for an easier transition.
- Novicehood revamp - Novicehood was revamped before, but now we've fully incorporated academies via code. They break in new ways, but are vastly easier to change and update, as well as give more information tailored to each group. Guild requirements have changed a great deal as well.
- Guild revamp - Guilds are now contained in a much better code wrapper, and have an extremely malleable structure. This is a step towards other IRE standards, but without destroying the guilds we know and love. Every guild could set itself up so differently!
- Vampire restructuring - Vampires are a big part of Aetolia, and they didn't work right. There was a great deal of clique behavior, and a lot of misunderstanding about how they worked. The system now encourages consequences for bad actors, as well as a more guild-like treatment of their members over families or elitists.
- Expanded Rankings - The response to this has been huge. People love comparing their achievements in various fields. Adding more places for them to compete has made everyone more liable to take part. Explorers have more places to compare their discoveries, Achievers their collections of things, and even a few social categories. Providing a unified format for the different types to compare one another has been hugely positive.
- Celebrations - Our Celebration of the Stars has been huge, and players loved it. It eats two months of work, but the response is just joy all around.
What went wrong this year?
- Haven Changes - Havens were private homes provided to all players. Unexpectedly, they became places to hide and chat from without engaging the rest of the game, leading to some strange population issues. With a year to look over this, we have not solved the problem with the few changes we made. This may need to be revisited.
- Tiur hired - We hired a new producer who is a huge jerk. Seriously, screw that guy.
- Documentation - We've had some Pools' changes, including some stepping down. A lot of stories and things were left a little nebulous, and we're having to redo how we document things. It's led to some slowdown in certain stories (Albedos, you are complicated!) but we're working on it!
- Mage Revamps - Massively underestimated the amount of effort required. Perfectly logical decisions kept adding to the amount of work, and despite Razmael's warnings, Tiur foolishly kept going. Huge amount of work, still unfinished. Scheduling it alongside two player facing events slowed both things down, and in the future we're going to be more careful about this sort of fatigue/overwork.
How did you do in achieving the player-facing goals you put forth a year ago?
- We burned this down and said it's all new. There was a townhall in August to discuss our future, and I'll be first to admit that I was overly optimistic. I'm learning how to plan these things better and slowly the newness is rubbing off. This coming year should be much more solidly planned!
GOALS FOR 2018
I'm going to be a little more vague here, in part because I don't want to spoil a lot of what's coming, and in part because I don't want to promise something and then fail to deliver. We're entering 2018 with a list of internal goals and scheduling, but there's many things that can and will go wrong between here and then.
May I also add that I am super impatient and want everything NOW, so putting things in Q3 or Q4 is causing me physical pain.
That said, it wouldn't be fun to keep everything to myself, so here's some teasers of what we have planned!
- Our biggest priority for the start of 2018 is getting the Mage revamps finished and out, look for those in Q1.
- We're going to be continuing to make gradual adjustments and improvements to our PvE. We'll be working towards our endgoal of having a more interesting PvE system in mild increments. Tentatively, plans go worldmap-dungeon-endgame, but that WILL get mixed up, as things are interconnected.
- Similar to how we gave attention to Bloodloch at the start of 2017 when they were struggling, we're going to be looking to give attention to orgs with membership issues in early 2018.
- Conflict will be stirring in central-west Sapience! Actually, this was something we had planned for 2017 but we had to delay it for various reasons. A story with multiple outcomes depending on which way players will go! It will also be testing some new war-ish ideas.
- This is our shoot for the moon goal for 2018, but there might be certain unidentified flying objects in the skies of Aetolia before 2018 is over. Who knows!
This is not the full list, of course. Various events all year, plus our usual things every month or two. We also have constant things like bugfixes, revamps of systems, classleads, etc. Including a new tradeskill, family work, and a few other surprises.