What were your wins or achievements in 2017?
PvE Rebalance + Hunting - Every class has had its NPC damage audited and brought in line. No longer do some classes just level faster than others, at least not egregiously. This also let us combine a number of skills into a new skillset, Hunting. This skillset ties to your level and let us decouple damage from guildskills. This way, you get better as you hunt, instead of having to invest lessons... and no more widely varying effectiveness by skillrank.
DUNGEONS! - Our first Dungeon, Beneath, has been released. Requiring three people, this is a new type of content for Aetolia, and even includes speedruns. It has its own currency for rewards and lots of unique mechanics to solve.
Bamathis - The Seals Event was a big win for everyone. The event was a blast, our staff had fun running it, and it was just great overall. Our previous lessons in storytelling freed us to come up with great ideas to shine every bit of this great story up, and major changes took place because of it. Aetolia's storyline is moving once more, in directions it hasn't taken before.
New Mission System - The mission system is a neat new replacement for standard quests that lets players track the effects they have on an organizational scale. It also rewards Pk, PvP, and Crafting, giving everyone a way to pitch in! Our implementation wasn't perfect, but the response overall was very positive. Expect events in the future to have less intense implementation!
New Talent - Perfumery... Now our players can stink less! Or at least customize their stink.
Minipets Minipets Minipets - One of our most prolific promotional items, minipets are everywhere. Now they have things to do! They race in derbies for gold prizes in a new system that is city funded and rewarding. In the future, we'll expand them continent wide!
Imvra - We've created a new Admin Role just for roleplaying questions, our Head of Lore. Tons of questions have finally been put to bed, and everything It answers is recorded so that our lore grows ever deeper. Remember to ask It all the questions you can think of about reproductive biology! It loves those.
Rebuilt Honors - Titles can now be attached to honors, and the means by which you get honors lines has been redone. This means that custom rankings and titles are far easier to get, including things like honors lines for events that remember what you were doing!
What went wrong this year?
Proxy War Length - We let this one go on too long. What should have been an Epic war dragged on for at least an extra month, leading to fatigue in both those running and those participating. Multiple new systems were tested all at once, and while we all had fun.. well, you don't see New War System up there in our Wins column yet. This taught us so much about running events! One had never been done this way, and likely won't be run so again... you can tell the difference in the event that followed!
Still no Mages - This revamp is now an albatross around Tiur's neck. It's been plagued by design issues (we've thrown out two iterations!) and some technical issues. We're on this, though! It is a major part of our Q1 plan. We're also still very excited by some of the new concepts, including things no mud has ever done before.
Indorani - We've tried a number of times to express that we want events and player actions to have repercussions. They did, and we lost a guild. To some it was obvious, to others a suprise. We don't feel like this is a Loss, but it needs work and love to be brought to the Win column.
What would you do differently to try to avoid what went wrong?
We've learned a lot of lessons about discussing things with the playerbase. Some direct communications backfired, some helped, but we're learning. Communication is key, and we'll be increasing how much information flows outward officially. It may be neat to have a secret ending, but it's just more fun if everyone knows when to log in!
Buckling down. There are a number of tasks *coughmagescough* that suffer from major schedule slippage due to various circumstances. That's not fair to players! Over the coming year expect a number of tasks that have been left half done to be finished. While we do enjoy jumping straight to whatever is new and shiny, half finished is unacceptable.
How did you do in achieving the player-facing goals you put forth a year ago?
I think we succeeded most in bandaid pulling. When things needed changing, they were changed. There have been some hurt feelings, but largely our playerbase is with us in wanting the best game possible.
Goals for 2019
Well, it's silly, but I want those Mages done. It'd be nice to move on!
Our commodity replacement system is nearing ready for stage 1 release. It won't replace everything, but you'll get an idea of what we're going for.
Last year we spoke of the PvE update and how it went Worldmap - Dungeon - Endgame... The worldmap ended up being an issue from the design/code end, so we skipped ahead. PvE still needs its Endgame portion, so we're on track! And when the Worldmap works... we'll have things that use it. Expect more dungeons like Beneath, and another unreleased type.
We'll be switching styles of schedule/dev management. Our Big Projects will be tracked in a more standardized, official manner. While you guys might not see a difference in information received, this is being implemented to prevent schedule slippage and more carefully track our resources. For fun I might release some of the design documents in the post-mortems so that everyone can see!