Announce post #3136: Question Thread



  • TiurTiur Producer
    Time for me to start posting answers! I will do so slowly as I am also chopping apart a 4-5 hour log for the storytelling contest, and in an IRE meeting today. I have a number of helpers, so for tense assume it's me answering, with prefixed callouts from others.

    I think this is a fine looking question. - Me
    Brax: They want a real answer. Tell them 17 - Brax
  • TiurTiur Producer
    1) I have only been playing for about 1 year now but the story also appears to be unfolding slowly, is there a reason for this that you can share? Is it a lack of numbers, or are other things simply pushing it back? Or are you trying to stretch things out?

    The story actually caught up to most of what was pre-decided before my stepping up! So, this year we would be working from a new storyboard. February was the month set for writing this out and the world kinda... went wonky. Our main writer is busy with Mining, so we've kept stories small.

    A lot of questions will have that explanation behind them, and it's a problem all of IRE is dealing with. Volunteers are exhausted by the real world as much as anyone is, so deadlines have been done away with. Some of us have had personal problems/tragedies that took us away. And most of all, we're WORRIED about the stories we tell. As of right now we cannot tell stories involving: fire, disease, racial tensions, tyrants, injustice, anything too stressful, etc. Anything like that would just make people's life worse. So we chose to take an approach of small, sporadic stories.

    Unfortunately that's not working well. While playtime is up, engagement is extremely low. EVERYONE is tired. If we shout on CT, or try to get attention with tells, most of us are getting about a 25% rate of response. It's tough!

    2) To add ontop of my previous question, sort of, is Aetolia open for ideas that could be considered to be implimented in some shape or form...even if only certain aspects are taken? For like say an example, mini-story events that could or not be directly linked to the main one? I know there is the idea box on the forum, but I'm not sure if its more for additions/tweaks to the game itself rather than anything story / event related. I only ask cause I know a post on Achaea says that they take such ideas but you have to mail one of the admins directly.

    We don't mind the ideas, for sure, but fully formed ideas run into the problem of utilizing someone else's intellectual property. Often we ask people to wait until they're ready to be a Celani, and then they can run the event idea themselves. Of course, you can always try Orgreqs or messaging a God shell! They might be up for it.

    Zeh: Please hit us up with your small ideas. We love hearing the small things players would like, but a lot of the time they get lost in the void and we never hear them. If there’s something you really think would be helpful, contact your preferred active deity, or try an orgreq if it’s something bigger.

    3) Is there anything we can do on our side as players to make Aetolia more enjoyable for the admins and/or the Divine/Celenis?

    Remember that everyone is just another person sitting at a computer. I believe a lot of our problems stem from a lack of empathy, or people forgetting that everyone is just here trying to have fun.

    Zeh: All of us are up here because we care about the game. The biggest prizes for us volunteers are time spent with you guys, or time spent making fun things for you - like ylemnics, or dropping a whale on a city, or fixing the orgreqs that don’t require major oversight.

    Brax: If a mob starts talking on CT, shouting, or in any way drawing attention to itself outside of what it typically does, step outside of your comfort zone and go see what’s going on! Many of us are all too familiar with trying to get something started only to hear mostly crickets in response as people go about pursuing their individual RP.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Communication with the community as a whole is incredibly important, and probably the most important part when it comes to player-facing/customer interaction. Small games, big games, mid-tier sized games, none of them are above their communities and hearing them. From what I've been observing / reading / hearing over the last few weeks is a lot of disgruntled customers / peers when it comes to handling enquiries, concerns, opinions - and the conflict of differing opinions - monetary values, ideas and general questions.
    How do you propose ANOTHER shell to monitor would fix this?
    It seems more likely even MORE information would get lost - that or 'community management' would get put on the shoulders of a volunteer and - I'm sorry, I love our community - I wouldn't wish that on anyone unpaid. I don't think 'community management' should fall to anyone bar the Producer, who shouldn't need a shell for that at all. That role helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the community and Aetolia isn't big enough to justify an entire - potentially unpaid - 'department' to it.

    Community Manager positions aren't unusual!

    Part of it is that by setting a narrow set of allowed situations, we can get better response times. By letting multiple people (myself, Keroc, Raz, etc) use the shell we get a single face giving answers and prevent situations where, when the answer from Mom isn't good enough, people go to Dad. I can also just OK/NO an answer and get it out there if I'm not currently logged in. A lot of problems in the last six months popped up while I was in bed, or on a day off.

    I also want the buffer, even if it's only theoretical. Much like with Keroc, I can only take so much directed at me. A bad day has something I didn't do resulting in me being assailed with messages that demand instant responses (In that I might not 100% know the reason it happened, so instant responses would just be wrong). It also helps deflect bad news from being associated with anyone, which isn't fair, but happens.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    What does a work day in the life of Tiur entail? If we have a similar definition of a full-time job (40 hour work week), what does your daily 9-5 look like?
    In most jobs I have held, I am required to show tangible results for the time I’ve invested, and then subsequently been paid for. Obviously there is an extreme lack of faith at this point in time, and I see you now trying to remedy that. To that goal, would you be willing to provide weekly updates? Show us what you are doing behind the curtains, where your hours are spent, what code you’ve done - rather than only hearing from you at the start of each month?
    To expand, what are YOU doing, not the entire team.

    So, this isn't really a job like any others! You're not going to find a typical 9-5 here because there is no typical day. If I were only around 9-5 on weekdays I would only know half the playerbase! So to begin with, my days are necessarily split up in chunks. And I often have to take days where I just don't look at Aetolia unless it's an emergency, because, as I joke and my wife fails to laugh, I don't really know the difference between weekdays and weekends anymore: they're all work.

    Promotions are the simplest thing for you to know we’re working on, because we have to do them and make them noticeable. Any other day is as varied as the bugs and issues that come in, the various projects we’re working on, the celani who are still in training, the volunteers who don’t need constant oversight but still work unpaid on things that keep them interested and involved in the game. To infer that we are in some way like outfits that have many more employees is not a reasonable comparison - our paid resources are required to deal with certain things that would normally be split between more people in those other places. You’re not going to see the day where it takes six hours to fix the code in something that nobody’s looked at in over a decade, in order to make minor fixes that you don’t expect to be so involved. Tangible results for Aetolia include playerbase, credits, promotion investment, and most importantly, volunteers actively involving players within the game.

    A weekly summary is counterintuitive, though I do make one every week for discussion with IRE seniors (But it's high level and involves stuff like sales and issues). Take for instance a recent orgreq with lightsources - I could spend an entire day rewriting the ancient code necessary to make that work for one single orgreq and have 1 thing on my plate to show at the end of that day. That doesn’t look like much on its own, and I would be judged that way without the relevant context; there’d be no way to know I spent an entire day rewriting things to make one thing work. Alternatively, I can spend a day implementing 5 really easy ideas in 3-4 hours. It’s going to look like I did a lot more than I actually did. There’s no way to get an accurate picture here without context that simply cannot be shared.

    And yes, part of my job is to manage what is and isn't worth the time invested. However, that is hardly a stationary target; things have a habit of changing proportion while we're working on them. Polyamory was a much requested change that took an entire rewrite of multiple systems to make work. It still hasn't been used.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Why has there been no feedback on the Mirror Classes, is it not intended to be an addition that will enrich players and stop tether tribalism?
    Does the community offering help have any value to the investment of helping advance the game or is it falling on deaf ears?

    We are taking player input into account! Your ideas have influenced some of the concepts we've locked in, though we won't lift 100% due to IP concerns. When we started the ideas a lot of the slots were filled with loose placeholders, and your input has cleared up a lot of those.

    We have two Mirror Class concepts being worked on with indefinite timelines. There are a few hurdles to go over though. One is that we won't just be dropping these in, they need full events like any other class release. We would get stung (and rightly so) for just sneaking them in without considering lore implications. Another is the code.

    There is a hidden code cost to the first two Mirror Classes we aren't ready to pay. Essentially, say a skill…

    Subroutine carnifex_mirror_hammer_smash(ply, tply)
    Insert copied carnifex code here

    If I copy that from the Carnifex, it'll work the same. But what I REALLY should do is make a NEW thing that both classes now use, so there's only one place to change it. It has zero impact on the game as a whole, but makes it hundreds of times easier to make other mirrors… so it needs to be the first task, and we haven't paid that price yet.

    Why has the primary focus of Aetolia appeared lately to have been solely on promotions, where we held the reputation as the roleplaying game with great storytelling for the longest time, your position as Producer has been perceived on how much money you can make instead of how can well your staff can tell an amazing story, is this pressure you take from your boss or are you just not interested in that facet of the game?

    I appreciate the phrasing to give me an out here! I am contractually obligated to get the promotion going each time. It's #1 on my job duties list. You can see the above as to why stories are slow at the moment. And, I can be frank, I'm not GOOD enough to handle all the RP without volunteers and Razmael. So often, I try to just enable, taking out the 'musts' to keep the lights on, like promotions and background code.

    In fact, I write the code behind promotions for ALL the games (they don't necessarily use it) because… well, what I found when I took the job hurt me right in the statistics. So in my time with IRE I've coded a new promotion handler, multiple new styles of promotions, converters to make sure prices are fair, put in some monitoring to make sure each person is treated fairly, etc. It looks like I emphasize promotions too much, but it's more that I feel often my best use of ability is in making sure your money spent is done correctly.

    That does kinda reinforce the impression I'm sales oriented, oof. I have made it my hill to die on in IRE itself that bad promotions do well when people are having fun, and any promotion succeeds DURING an event. I've been championing switching our metrics to consider logged in time and engagement over dollars, and even tried to remove the 'whale' factor, so we see how the average player is doing. The fact remains that if sales go below a certain point we'd lose our paid staff. Basically, I do the $'s so that everyone else on staff is free to tell their story and make the best possible game.

    Zeh and Brax again with our difficulties lately regarding stories:

    Zeh: Coming up with ideas for small events that will actually gain attention is not as easy as it sounds! The last event I held for a group got cut in half because the players decided that the admins would ‘automagic’ the thing they were doing. We love events too, but be patient and understand that it isn’t as simple without our main storyline moving ahead as well.

    Brax: Echoing what Zeheia says here. I had to try 3 times on the final phase of my little Celani event to get anybody to show up, and even that only happened after making my mob send direct tells to people asking them to come! Twice we rescheduled due to lack of interest (with people logged in), the third time we got a little attention-grabby.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Are there any major global plot events being worked on? And a rough ETA on when they'd be coming around?

    I mention an ETA later in the thread. Basically, when we've finally released all the backlog from this year we're hitting story hard. Fun fact, we had a disease event planned and scrapped the whole thing, so there's some pivoting that has to be done. The goal is for the game to be stress relief during a crappy time, not stress inducing.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    I got a followup in the middle of posting, might as well do.

    A follow-up on the last answered question regarding the new Admin shell: What will be done to prevent inconsistencies with answers if more than one person is in charge of responding through that shell?

    We talk about it some in the later questions, but our integration with shells has improved a great deal. It's pretty easy for us now to see everything done and make sure we're all on the same page, even when asynchronous.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Can you explain in more detail why Aetolia is unable to handle the server-side curing features of other IRE games? Is it a matter of IRE corporate-provided system resources? Developer priorities? Something completely different?

    That is a fine looking question. I HAVE NO IDEA

    Razmael to the rescue!

    When we look at the numbers during fights, First Aid is by far the slowest overall task that's running. It's not as simple as a straight comparison between two different game's autocuring options as we also have features they don't. Each new check we add is another thing that's slowing it down.

    For example, taking a quick look at what Achaea offers: They don't have precaching or prerestore, which we do. There's other smaller features we offer they don't too, but I outline these two in particular because they use quite a bit of computation time to process and when it runs every 0.25 seconds, it starts to add up.

    Precaching for example: For each person online, we need to loop through all the items in their inventory and find ones that match the precache pills. Some players have thousands of items in their inventory. It adds up, fast. Then once we've checked their inventory, we have to loop through cache next and see if they even have pills to replace the missing ones with.

    Defence upkeeping is something we want to do at some point, but it's a lot of work and not a priority for now.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Q1: Do you feel qualified to change items that are related to combat? If yes, what experience do you have with the current landscape of Aetolia combat (1v1/sect or group) to make you answer this way?

    In my time as a mortal, I mostly participated in group combat. I wasn't that good at it. I don't feel qualified to be the sole voice on classlead decisions and am going to lean heavily on player input, Keroc discussions, and some testing routines I have on my own dev box. Keroc actually has a TON of tools. I'm just shifting to be the 'voice' of the classleads decisions, instead of him shouldering it all. He's still here, but I'm no longer saying "For these three weeks you have no job but classleads."

    And maybe I'll finally finish Ruit and make a machine learning combat tester.

    Q2: Why do you believe that a 100% slower cycle (6months compared to 3months) is the correct cadence for changing items related to combat?

    I think it's worse. We need to replace a 6months schedule with something else, whether that be the old method, or a new one. But we needed to AT LEAST skip one round, as I wasn't yet prepared to take on the duties. Keroc really is amazing at what he does and the years have really worn him down. Coupling that with the state of the world, his own life, and how harsh things got, we would have skipped a round even if he wasn't stepping back.

    Q3: Is anyone actually paying attention to the Nalus shell? I sent a message on 8/19/20 asking for thoughts on a report/classlead change and its impact since it was changed and have yet to hear any response.

    We are, but clearly not enough. We'll attach him to our discord system and handle responses more timely. I often just forget to check his messages.

    Q4: Should I expect a response if I send you (Tiur) a message? I sent a message on 8/11/20 asking for clarification on artifacts and how they affected something and haven't gotten a response. If not, should I issue myself for clarifying questions instead?

    Issuing yourself is absolutely okay! Especially if you asked me and I forgot to reply. I get messages in lumps and often miss replying to one here or there, or I think I replied and I actually just wrote the reply somewhere and didn't send. Remind me, email, issue, it's all okay. A casual: "‘hey, I didn’t hear from you, would you mind looking at this message from me again?’" is not going to hurt anyone and I'll be fine :)

    Q5: Are there any plans to change the foci system? We've had basically the same lesser/major system for 7-8 years now with minor changes, unless I'm missing changes from before the last 5-6 years.

    I don't have anything major on the schedule for it, it's considered a decent conflict system that works, and people seem to enjoy it. It is on the schedule to add new eld fights and make it a little better. I am currently unaware if players are sick of it, I thought it was one of those 'working' things we shouldn't break.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    Also, I've been playing for some time. I would like to know how IRE plans on assuring new players that they don't lose money needlessly. I was forced out of a guild for not forgetting horsemanship for 22 lessons. I issued it with no response. How is IRE going to assure new players that their issues will be heard and not blown off like mine and many others?

    I have no idea. I've read every issue in your log, searched through all issues ever for 'horsemanship' '22 lessons', etc, and I've got nothing. It really sounds like something I would refund, but I can't find when an issue for it was raised! Feel free to message me the number and I'll figure out what happened. I honestly thought I had a reputation of being very forgiven and refund happy, so much so that it's gotten me a little trouble.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    What is the 2020-and-beyond vision for Aetolia?

    The time of cleaning up is OVER. It is time for NEW (buzzwordy! I just mean that I'm not as focused on getting all these old promises that predate me by decades done). We have large amounts of Albedos to release, and stories to push beyond where they've been. We all know Albedi and Gods don't get along, but we need some of these fights to come to an end.

    I also want Mirror classes, production skills released, and... well, stuff.

    What kind of game are we trying to be?

    Gothic Horror RP! But I don't think we have to ONLY do things related to that. We've obviously been pushing at the edges of what a MUD can be, and we'll keep doing that. I don't see a problem with trying to engage lots of playstyles. It's actually a disagreement I have with other Producers! I don't think our scope has to be so nailed down, as long as we do our best to match the playstyle to players. If enough of you tell me you want Mirror Classes to be the next Thing, then I think it's only fair to do that. (It seems like that's the message, but I do worry that my sample size of 'the forums' isn't indicative of the game as a whole).

    Why do we 'compete' with other Iron Realms games, when so many resources could be pooled and scaled, and solutions shared?

    We don't ACTUALLY compete, except in a friendly ribbing way. We often share code between each other, but it isn't really that simple. We can't copy-paste because we often don't even share the same base functions. We've diverged so much over time! There are still 'iconic' systems we don't touch, though.

    I will say that in the past we did have a bit of an edge to the jokey competition, but that's long gone. I get asked for help from other IRE MUDs, and I'm not shy about asking them the same thing. All of our producers have different experiences and it's a really nice tool now.

    Finally, and to repeat my earlier and most pressing question, how can we make this a story that we're collaboratively telling, rather than being told - or worse, not told anything at all?

    I tap out here and defer to the badasses:

    Celani: Get involved! Talk to NPCs, and wait for a response. Something as small as talking to a water elemental you found just standing around could be an interaction that doesn’t change anything except to make your day better. Shout something at a god who’s just gone visible if you like, some of those interactions are much more entertaining than you realise. Go talk cross-tether to people. Don’t let the onus be on us alone. If you have a story you want told - start it, or reach out to a god, or even orgreq if it’s a slightly bigger one. We want to be here for you, but a lot of the time we’re ignored for being the wrong god, the wrong time, the wrong org. Some of my favourite moments have been with people from orgs that my god doesn’t approve of!

    Raz: I'd say there's two types of events: events where a player can help shape the outcome, and events where the player is trapped in a current. Things like the Albedi Gods vs Sapient Gods, they're going to be trapped in a current for the most part. It's far beyond the scope of a mortal to get involved in that.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    I agree with much of what @Sibatti wrote. The cities and guilds are quiet. The World is quiet. And I know there are many people with ideas on smaller guild/city/order events that could put a bit of flavor into things. It doesn't always have to be world-wide major events that will change the world forever, or events that result in you winning things (which people still manage to complain about because they are not worth as much as they hope because obviously free isn't always good enough). So my questions are similar to Sibattis:
    *How can players help with ideas, or even help writing up parts of mini-events that are not world-changing, to make the game a bit more fun?

    Pretty sure we answered this above, I'll readdress if not.

    * Are there plans for smaller events in the somewhat near future, (the rest of 2020 or 2021)?

    Small events get pretty much instant approval. They still go through the vetting process and get peer reviewed, but we try to keep it going within a week. Our last call specifically garnered us some passionate roleplayers and the last month has seen two small events, with more to come. They specifically express interest in small things and using mobs to play and make things feel alive. They are pretty awesome.

    * Also, while we are at it, many events happen at howling, which is not always a good time for all players. Is it difficult finding Celani from, for example, Australia, Southeast Asia or Europe to spread out starting times for events? What can be done to help those players who are not based in the US?

    We track player peak times and the Howling tends to be the most solid. Usually +/- 1 hour. We actually have disproportionately MORE Celani from Australian timezones, and we're not against running events in other times… but the peak just keeps on being Howling. With major events we try to spread it out a lot, but it's just a cycle that we target the largest online times that we can for the biggest things.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    edited September 2020
    1) In explorers any chance of making the western wilderness accessible without going through the syssin guildhall? Maybe through Windchaser.

    This actually led to a discussion between myself and Raz! I think nothing should be gated, and he thinks it should be part of the difficulty with being the highest explorer to HAVE to work out how to see those places. If that's the case, we ought to have a couple more so that it's not just one or two guilds with the privilege. If it's not too much of a lame thing, could we postpone this one?

    2) Will the Ashes of the Indorani faction ever be looked at?

    Yes, they need the attention. Our plans were loose and.. Well, they need it.

    3) And lastly Mining, I feel like I am just killing time in game waiting for it.

    Mining is nearly done. I don't know how to really put that without repeating myself from the last time it was nearing done. It has a few things that need finishing code wise, and they're those things that like... you know HOW to do it, and you have plans for it, but it's a slog.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    What is the extent that builders in Aetolia are used for? Given the large amount of work that event organisation (especially gamewide ones) will take, I feel like builders could be utilised far more to help take some workload off - like getting them to write areas for your needs, filler denizens for certain events, etc.

    We try to hit the mortal builders as often as possible with stuff. Often the real hold up in an event is scripting and planning. It can take a couple weeks to get a really good story down, but the mortal builders finish in a day or two. We'll try to be more cognizant about what can be sent to the mortal builders and keep them utilized, but sometimes the problem is that the area itself contains spoilers, so we're forced to just do it behind closed doors.

    Does the Pools have scheduled meetings to check-in on what everyone is working on, or how everyone is doing?

    Raz/Keroc/I talk every day. The volunteers and team have meetings when we feel like we need one as a checkup, or we're doing something specific. Like say, storyboarding an event, we would have a meeting ahead of time. I've found with the really different timezones and work/game balances, everyone will attend a meeting if they can, but scheduling it as a must is bad. I do talk to all the volunteers at least once a week about what they need/want. I don't gauge progress, though, as I feel pushing a volunteer to a deadline is wrong.

    Zeh: The Pools discord makes it so that we can keep in touch easily, both in game-related matters and otherwise. It helps to keep a really comfortable team that’s always got a home to find each other, thanks to logs and the ability to easily categorise discussions. We’ve got channels where we discuss ideas, issues, events, general chat, so on, without timezones being a huge concern. Tiur, Raz and Keroc are all really good at keeping an eye out for us, especially when they know we have a project on our hands. All our projects are fairly openly discussed

    Me: The discord really is awesome and helps keep us all in touch. It now takes effort to not know what's going on. All important channels are mirrored, bugs/issues and things have their own throughput, etc.

    Brax,a little paraphrased: Not sure if it helps to chime in as a new Celani, but if useful I’d happily reaffirm that Tiur has the closest thing to a digital version of an open door policy possible. I’ve never struggled to get ahold of him for approvals/advice/etc. Also in this theme though, we use Discord a lot for organization.

    Is there anyone responsible for pushing orgreqs through, or looking at the submissions and clearing them?

    We've reorganized how we handle orgreqs recently, and that's really speeding up how they're getting handled. No one is in charge of pushing them through, and we used to live on a system of personal attention… Celani read through them and let me know if one catches their eye. Obviously that's not the best method. Now each org has a single Orgreq pushed straight to the top of the list for fairness, I price them/approve, and Celani can just take them. We've actually cleared 4 in the last month, and 4 are currently being worked on actively.

    That said, I think we should just give all of them to Brax.

    Can we revisit the timeline of activities that was scheduled for this year, and realistically look at what can be finished this year? This helps to keep expectations in perspective.

    At the beginning of October (yes, I realize that's nearing) we're going to see what we have left that can fit in the year. A lot of projects have been delayed so I expect the last three months will be filled with things finally reaching 100% and being released.

    The only thing scheduled for the last quarter was the third Agriculture skill... let's just admit that's 2021 now. That clears things and makes things realistic.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    BREAK TIME. I need to reread the next couple questions because I clearly misread something.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    edited September 2020
    I stared at this thread long enough to try to think of topics or questions that I'd want to ask, but many of them have been covered in much better means by folks like @Sibatti and @Elene. Many of my questions would likely revolve around combat, and probably should given the fact that most of my playing time is dedicated to it. However, I think I'd also like clarification and for the staff to clear the air on some things -- so here is my first, and probably most "on-the-nose" question that may flat out not get answered:

    Are many Aetolia's perceived limitations due to a genuine lack of resources, primarily due to IRE leadership putting an almost concrete emphasis on Achaea versus all of the other games? If the answer is "yes", then my question would be directed to Matt Mihaly and Jeremy: Why should I play your other games, or more accurately: why do you bother maintaining your other games when they cannot get the adequate amount of resources needed to function on levels even remotely similar to Achaea?

    I can't really get Matt/Jeremy to come in on one of these things. But I can say that, while Aetolia is doing just fine, Achaea, in a bad month, will stumble into twice the success that we do. Whether that's because they have more staff/resources or not is a bit chicken/egg. We are getting more attention and flexibility, though… Aetolia's recent success has led to a lot of shackles being removed, at least in my purview.

    A HELPFUL CELANI tells me that's teasing and I should add: For example, I do not have to follow the promotion schedule anymore. I'm allowed to gather my data and do them in the order I want. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it really is to me, because now I can take requests/advice and don't have to push things that just won't work. Fun fact: Aetolia responds very strongly to promotions involving sharing, and Achaea doesn't. But Achaea likes high stakes, high rewards, while you guys will bop me for something truly 100% gambling.

    I ask this because let us take a look at what Achaea has gotten in quite a short span of time: multiple new skillsets and classes released at a rate almost unheard of compared to the rest of IRE, a majority of their pantheon is currently active to my knowledge, ships in general (Aetolia has nothing equivalent), active Guides, and more. I expect the first answer to be: "Well, Achaea's population is larger" but this only serves to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. Of course Achaea's population is going to be larger when it gets most of the resources and attention.

    (I've removed unnecessarily shade-throwing text here, and reanswered this elsewhere. I wanted to express that we do things very differently, not insult our big brother.)

    Brax: Idk how it’s handled in Achaea, but I will say that our class releases almost always also come with big events that take tons of work to execute, and lore that makes sense/is heavily considered. I mean just look at some of the HELP (GUILD) RP files. Mirror classes are also going to have these same event and lore type considerations involved. We’re not going to just post up a changelog that says “Guilded Templars can now CLASS CHOOSE SPIRITFEX” to get the class and call it a day.

    I understand that my question is less for Tiur and co., but my largest grievances aren't really with the Pools. They lie with the people above the Pools and if we think that the staff within the Pools are silent, the people above them are even more so. The only time we presently hear anything from Jeremy is when it's promotion time.

    This is a bit hard to explain, but here's the general sentiment: At your job, is it ever a good thing when someone from corporate shows up? I have meetings with him at a minimum of once a week, and he is extremely responsive to other conversations I start up… but he really wants me to feel Aetolia is mine and will almost never step in. When he receives a complaint email, he talks it over with me, and leaves me to enact IRE's policy instead of looking like he came over me, and I've never had to do anything over my own objections. That does have weird effects though, I admit. I can see the purse strings, but no touchy. It also looks like I'm the only sheriff in cowboytown, when really I call the home office every week.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    1. I've had stuff sitting in bugs / prio bugged since january on and off wondering if people look at them still or not?
    As an example 14248 was my prio bug for a long long time because the Leech Rune arti is weird and doesn't actually heal you for 5% of the damage you dealt as far as when I was testing it for a week showed, I held onto it for a good while after but never got a response even after sending messages and had to refund it taking a credit hit.

    Always issue artifact things. We go through bugs regularly, and while priority helps, it isn't most descriptive. Some people priority each bug as they put it in, and some only have one. Anything artifact is pretty much always important. That's less a 'bug' and more customer service! Same goes for game breaking things.

    2. I sent a message to the Nalus shell shortly after it was announced and created because of something that may be due to a bug that is combat related. This is also my current priority bug but never got a response on the matter so no clue if it's a bug or intended still. Not listing what it is because if it's a bug it might be abused more.

    Nalus is getting linked to discord! He won't be missed anymore :)
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Aetolia's world feels empty, and not really 'alive'. What kind of resources would be needed to be able to hold smaller events or plotlines that aren't the global, world-ending type stuff that's become so routine? Personal character stories are great, but they ultimately mean nothing more than an in-character fantasy chatroom or daytime soap opera if there's nothing going on outside of the characters' interpersonal relationships.

    Smaller events are going on right now! There have been like 4 in the last couple months.

    I've had some experience playing in MUSHes where players can run some pretty elaborate and cool storylines. Has there been or will there ever be any consideration for creating a Builders-esque role or a shared shell like Hansel and Gretel where players can create and run little events or plots that don't have a huge impact on the overarching ongoing story of the game, but still provide some engagement for players?

    Other games have tried this and it doesn't work for IRE. It takes a lot of oversight, to the point we may as well be doing it ourselves. Orgreqs are a fine way to submit potential events for your org!

    How about polls or something to get player feedback on what kind of events or plots they'd like to see?

    That's not a bad idea! I've talked about doing it on the forums, but the problem is reaching enough people. The forums scare a lot of our players.

    What IS the overarching story for the game supposed to be? Yes, the theme of the game is the Midnight Age, but the game seems to have shifted from city vs city to everyone vs the Albedi gods. What's the point in having four cities if the intent is to just have them all team up against Albedos?

    Hm, going back to what Raz has said about events that sweep people up, cities are just another scope we can use. Albedos can be too big, but cities are good for smaller groups. The game shifts with whichever story is being told.

    Related to the above: what purpose are cities meant to serve if there aren't many avenues where each city can further its interests? There is no war system, and fighting each other over ylem is not meaningful inter-city conflict.

    Roleplay. War systems are largely bad in that having a winner usually necessitates that a large group of players not have fun. Not the best idea, that. We don't mind exploring stories where orgs rise and fall, but they need to be done right.

    They also let us reduce the scope of things so that more individuals matter more. It's just where our scope is focused most often.. I know some games that focus on a single city, but then everyone's a member of some clique or something and it's the same anyway.

    Also related to the above, it's been said in the past repeatedly that there's no room for neutrality in the game (at least in regards to Spirit vs Shadow), and yet...the game continually seems to be being pushed towards that with the rallying against the Albedi gods. So IS there still going to be an emphasis on Spirit vs Shadow, or is the stance on neutrality going to be revised in the face of the ongoing Albedos storyline? Because as it stands, there's been some very mixed messages.

    I don't see any messages as mixed. How is having a threat that exceeds the size of intertether conflict forcing neutrality? I loved the Gray Accords. Those stories don't devalue or neutralize other conflicts, just show that sometimes you have to work with people you don't like. And then after you go back to stabbing one another.

    In the past, there used to be 'mini Town halls' with the leadership of individual orgs where admins and Celani could talk with org leadership and talk about expectations, goals, and direction and how they're meant to meld with the game and overarching story. When I experienced these meetings, they were EXTREMELY useful. Why has this practice fallen off, and is it something that could be picked up again if org leaders wanted it?

    I check in sometimes, but I definitely don't want it to feel like I'm calling people into the principal's office. We still have these when interest is expressed, and I'm happy to use orgreqs or messages to bring one up. It's a difficult thing to keep on a regular schedule because of the time involved.

    It's been said over and over that there is no 'wrong' way to play the game. Unless you decide to go without a city or guild or both. The game is very unfriendly to rogues to the point where most players who find themselves in this situation just end up not sticking around, and while the game is not tailored to characters that, for whatever reason, decide to go unaffiliated, it's still a valid play style. Will there ever be any quality of life changes considered to make elements of the game somewhat accessible to people who decide to go guild less or citiless?

    I get the rogue thing, but playing solo is a choice. If Admin attention is a limited resource, literally any group other than rogues has more impact for time spent. If it was the wrong way to play the game we would just not allow it. We are not really a game about telling stories for just a single person. Organizations let us group together people into interests and tell our stories that way, impacting more people with the effort.

    If there's a lot work needing done for events, classes, or skills, why hasn't part of that work been tossed over to Builders? Especially given that there's been precedent for it (working on event NPCs, items, rooms/areas, and even skill messages). Back when Shifters were revamped to include wereboar and werecroc, I was actually one of the people that worked on skill messages (werewolf and werecroc specifically), and it got knocked out in a month or two, and they were literally just writing messages for the abilities. Why can't Builders shoulder some of that work for, say, mirror classes?

    In a similar vein, Builders have deadlines to meet. Do Celani or the administration have similar deadlines for projects?

    Important distinction here re: deadlines - Builders are being paid via in-game currency for the work that they do. Volunteers are being paid in player enjoyment, happy feelings, and the occasional esteem when a player is feeling generous. Comparisons between the two aren’t exactly on equal footing.

    Again, Builders can't be let in on any surprise projects. Sometimes that means we can't utilize them at all, sometimes that means we can use them plenty. We do have more Builders than we do projects, because we do utilize them regularly and some never get to see the projects appear.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Of questions not yet asked, is finishing the racetrack setup and implementing the city vs city championship races still being worked on, or has it been decided not to be implemented at all? If it planned to be added at any time in the future, is there a rough timeline for it, or is it not even being considered till other things get finished?

    It is 100% scheduled and wants to be done. The problem here is that the racetrack code is an abomination unto the Lord. I took a… call it curiously, coded promotion and bolted a thing it was never meant to do overtop it. I did so when I was not as familiar with Rapture as I should have been. So only I can add to it without running around gibbering "Ia ia, C'thulhu minipet fhtagn." I actually have the code open now and I'm trying, I really am.

    I also try to keep myself to one minipet thing a month, lest I get carried away. It's a niche thing that I feel like has a wide open design space with nearly no barriers. As long as I stay in my lane, people don't complain TOO much about minipets breaking the storyline or immersion.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Q1: What are the current resources being used to work on mirrors, if none please state that?

    Two mirrors are being worked on as backburner projects. When we get tired of major things, bugs, etc, they get some attention. We've baked in some of the Mirror class work into bug/idea days as well… when something needs a change, we go ahead and upgrade it into what a mirror class needs. Maybe I should do a discussion on what that all means.

    Q2: Are there any plans or resources being applied to the "war system"?

    Nothing currently reuses that code, and we don't have anything concrete for when we'd do it. We do have a proto design from our last attempt to make one, but we don't have the right event/thing to put it on.

    Q3: Are rewards still being looked at for using the coins obtained from the previous war?

    Actually yes! I've been adding things here and there, they're about due for more.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    * In order to breathe more life into the game in a more general sense, would it be possible to prioritize creating good foundations for city vs city and guild vs guild conflicts?

    We have to tread carefully here when instigating conflict between two player-run orgs. They can escalate quickly and become griefy very fast, which results in less playing for the duration of the event/conflict, or after it’s done if the result isn’t what somebody’d hoped. These can get very contentious, and it's difficult to even decide on an award that doesn't feel 'bad'. Also, the population sizes change so much that making anything balanced would be a nightmare.

    * Would it be possible to hold a townhall where players are given a chance to provide ideas for discussion and immediate feedback, or is this best brought up in forum threads? If the latter, are forum threads with larger ideas going to be considered for implementation?

    I think things like that are super fun, but my excitable nature gets carried away, so I really shouldn't. We do, however, LOVE the idea system and hold monthly idea days where we collect some and try to enact them. This month we've done 15 or so, and provided final decisions on 50 or so. The others are all sorted nicely.

    Forum threads are good, except that IP problem. And I'm usually okay with talking about ideas, but I really have a hard time not being taken as making promises.

    I would consider upgrades to the IDEA system? Maybe, instead of just approve/reject, we can do some comments?

    * Would you consider options to the Orgrequest system to open up for better ways to hold a dialog?* Is there a reason why there seems to be a reluctance behind making use of all that talent?

    Lately we've been using the comment system for larger scale questions, and letting the Celani assigned communicate directly with the requester, as it's quicker. That said, any rejected orgreq could be remade and submitted with the new information in mind.

    * Would you consider creating a position similar to Mortal Builder for people who are able coders to help with implementations or fixes that are perhaps of a more simple nature?

    Mortal Coders would be under the purview of Raz/Keroc. I'll let them answer.

    We're not interested in mortal coders. It takes a lot of trust to allow someone access to the code, so we're only interested in people that are willing to give up their characters and become a Celani to have code access. Even then, we still have them wait at least 3 months before giving them access.

    * Are there plans to make more use of mortal builders, for perhaps such things as smaller event plans?

    I've got some things for builders as we speak! And I've said a few times here that we're going to try to utilize that resource more. For events… maybe, if the things being built don't give stuff away. Mortal Builders don't really have that NDA protection that celani do.

    * Are there requirements for documenting plans and their execution, and are there records kept on what has been done with orgs in the past for other volunteers to pick up on or for staff to check after a volunteer steps down to ensure the ball is not dropped?

    Absolutely! Events, for example, have their own forum thread tracking overall plan, what's happened, and what's coming. However, volunteers leaving rarely comes with them providing notes… so yes, that's a problem. Provided it's a good 'leaving' we can just ask, though!

    We also have recordings of everything around a mob that's currently being possessed, all Divine are recorded, and discord histories too. Often before an event I read through a mob's logs and copy their tone, sometimes to the extent no one notices we switched!

    There has been quite a bit of work done lately with areas that have had inaccessible rooms that still counted towards explorer rankings. Rurthina and I have worked rather hard with lists and such, and it's great to see some movement. My question regarding this is: who is/are the awesome person(s) responsible for this? They deserve a proper thank you!

    I had a joke here, but nixed it. Razmael has been working on this as a side project.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    As a customer and player, I have an increasing level of concern about the stability of the combat environment in Aetolia and feel that moving to semi-annual reports is not a wise decision. I feel our community cannot really handle semi-annual; the pace at which we 'break the game' is already faster than quarterly reports could handle and you end up creating a frustrating environment if something egregious exists longer than three months as is. The environment would just be starting to get stale by the time reports were coming around; larger games have better content cycles and Keroc's quarterly updates replicated that in a great fashion Is there a reason why you have changed to semi-annual classlead reports? As a follow-up, are you open to revising this back to quarterly? Do you plan to use that development time in other ways to shake combat up? How do you feel about revisiting Hunting Ground items on every off quarter and just recycling some of the older effects in from time to time to make unique environments as a compromise?

    I don't like semi-annual either! We changed because he shouldered the balance of Aetolia alone and the job became too much. Classleads are contentious, heated, and they recently became rude, belittling, and just entirely too horrible. I would be open to moving it back to quarterly if I found a way to defend my employees' mental health and wellbeing better.

    I do not currently have any shakeups planned. I believe my own flair might start to show after the next classleads, provided that goes well. Hunting Ground items I do not have plans for currently, but that's not a bad idea.

    I can only name two major story events this year: Omei's return and Bamathis' march on Skythrone. Slyphe and Dhar returned with very little fanfare compared to Omei's rebirth, which was an event that consumed the whole council to some degree. This lack of frequency is unfortunate, because events are often a good way to build PK-oriented friction between individuals or communities - not to mention the ways they can spiral off into storylines or continued character development. Is the slow pace for world events intentional, despite us being a roleplay-oriented environment? Why have story events been in such short supply over the course of the last year or so? Events and roleplay are part of why I bothered to come to Aetolia, but they have seemingly vanished the last year or so - why? Are you considering getting resources to fix this - i.e a dedicated story admin?

    I've answered this partly above, but I'd like to add that I really do want a story admin. It's something I've discussed with Jeremy, and it may yet be able to happen. The caveat being that I won't fire Raz or Keroc for the position, so our sales need to consistently hover above what that costs.

    Conflict drivers are few and far between without events, actually - this means that we are often left following a vicious cycle where we are consuming our daily driver (foci) constantly with no variation and it is broken up by orerry once a month. Sect is an alternative, but only to the extent that it provides fighting with no consequence and no roleplay investment whatsoever. Without events or active, antagonistic deities, holy wars are few and far between - and anyway, the system isn't exactly fun. It is a bit draconian as far as layout and design. What happened to that statement about looking over all of our conflict systems? By all accounts, foci are getting sort of dated (see above, Stine's post); are you open to a refresh on what is one of our largest daily activity drivers?

    It feels as if a lot of projects are projects of passion for your volunteers or paid staff. The rate of content creation has really decreased lately, forming what I would call a 'depression' in Aetolia for activity, etc. What do you do on a daily basis to ensure that these projects stay on track? As a Producer, you have conveyed to us that project management is part of your duties - where do you think are some opportunities for improvement in this field?

    PK conflict drivers are needed, for sure! I suppose foci are dated, and maybe I need to consider it. The movement of goods from farm to city was supposed to open up a new one, but it hasn't really caught on, so we'll have to go back to the drawing board for it.

    I don't really push volunteers if at all possible. Raz and Keroc, we discuss where they're at, but they've been at this longer than I have and are better at gauging their own capabilities. Usually I approach it from the standpoint I learned in Oil/Gas, which is deadlines and checking in for needs. I ask about projects, see if the person needs help with something, ask questions about the task and see if it can be split up, etc.

    I worry we need time for things to get back under control. We have just released a new higher-level bashing area with Squal, and we're looking at two more, hopefully.

    This is another concern close to my heart: mirror classes. Despite making my feelings known in the thread dedicated to this exact topic, I figure this is a better place to ask directly. Mirror classes represent a tantalizing expansion and contain several things of interest to me that I'd rather not bankroll on my sect alt; it would also drastically lower the toxicity of our combat environment due to the opportunity it presents to delete the fence that makes the grass look greener on the other side. It would be a tremendous step forward for classes held back by boogeymen and napkin math, as the opposite tether would finally have access to them in a live, organic environment that lets them understand the class kit in a better way. You folks have even acknowledged this fact early on in that thread. Due to this, I want to ask: why does it feel as if a stated desire for mirror classes to be prioritized is falling on deaf ears, especially when multiple players have publicly volunteered their time across a six page thread? Especially when doing so might alleviate frustration for your community? Are you aware of the resources available to you that players are offering to speed up this project?

    Player desire to prioritize mirror classes has been listened to! We just need to finish what's being done, as I don't believe anyone was asking for us to drop everything and shift gears. There are currently no coders free, so even with players offering to write messages, no one is open to plug them in. The more annoying aspects, shared code and such, I've discussed above.

    My base estimate for a class that is already designed and ready to go is 3 months. A mirror class should be faster than that, but that's once the bifurcated function methodology exists, so I estimate the first two mirrors will be around that 3 months, it's sort of close to making a new class. Subsequent classes would be faster. So I dropped the first Mirror Classes in the earliest available 3 month hole, Q4. Provided no projects overrun into it. This is not me promising one by the end of the year!

    Next, I would like to add additional questions on the topic of compartmentalizing your community responses. Why does it feel like the admin stances on any given issue, combat or no, feel like homes built on quicksand? Do you feel that splitting up things between Becue, Imvra, Nalus, and etc is a successful approach? To me, it feels as if I don't know who I am talking to and thus there is a risk of inconsistency at any given time - is this a common concern you hear or something on your radar? Historically, getting reliable resolution that falls along the same line of similar situations isn't easy - is there a reason you make precedent an unreliable aspect of handling issues or arguments?

    We’re getting a lot better with this. Messages through discord for tracking, etc. Going between different shells is like what was said up above; if Razmael rejects 4 of your designs, you’re going to think Razmael is a jerk, which could make you feel a certain sort of way about him the next time he does something else. If Becue rejects 4 of your designs, Becue’s a jerk, and it doesn’t arbitrarily impact just one person. Plus sharing the work.

    I'm not sure I see issues as having inconsistency, we've long tracked resolutions to them and sort through them appropriately. I do sometimes decide quickly, but a lot of that has been eliminated with issues on the discord, as everyone with the ability to deal with them can comment.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Is there a general plan for where the storyline is headed?

    There is! I'm not allowed to do details though. Our Big stuff even has an ending for the current story arc planned, but only Tiur/Keroc/Razmael know about it.

    Is there a rough timeline for any future events that aren't promo-related?

    The major hits of the story are set up until around 2021ish. This is major events, mind you, the sort where we do 1-2/year. Smaller things aren't put in the timeline in such a set-in-stone manner.

    Obviously you can't say specifically, but.. weeks, months, six months?

    Months. Weeks in the case of October, because I ALWAYS try to do something in October, but I don't know if that's what you mean.

    Is Aetolia going to be competition driven rather than conflict driven now?

    We get a lot of complaints about conflict driven stories. Competition stories work, provided no one 'wins' too much. I think this is terminology I don't understand, maybe? I don't see how they're mutually exclusive.

    There was mention of potentially hiring a storyteller - is there any update on that?

    Early projections showed the budget might have room. There are a few hurdles to clear that I'm working on, and the right person has to be found.

    I'm not sure how sound this idea is, but I was thinking instead have like.. mortal storytellers who can come up with little RP events and they can go invis, mob possess, have access to some of the RP-driven commands that Celani/Gods can in order to facilitate smaller scale stuff. Any storylines would need to be approved via the Pools, so as not to interfere with any existing lore, both past and future. It's just a rough idea but we trust players enough to build areas, why not let them build stories?

    Answered above. It just doesn't work.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    How many coders are in the Pools?

    Two part time coders, two volunteer coders, and whatever the hell I count as. A negative coder?

    How much tangible work gets done by the paid staff and the volunteers? Are the workloads similar? Are one or two people in the Pools acting as a "bottleneck" while others do less essential "busy work?"

    I try to do all the customer service stuff, which I guess I would call busy work? It frequently eats up my day and I don't get to Bugs/Ideas/Code/Design. Issues and such that are 100% necessary, but don't 'feel' productive to players.

    Coding tends to be all or nothing, so Raz/Keroc may seem idle, then load something big and crazy, then back to quiet. Unfortunately code is usually something only one person at a time can do. Like, Mining is very much Raz's project. I could help, but by the time I learn how one piece of it works, he's on to the next. If it's something that can be broken up into pieces, we share, but there's nothing like that at the moment.

    When it comes to guild/city/order events based on lore, what is the process involved in initiating them? Who's in charge of quality control so that events don't clash with established culture, past events, or future planned events? Is the person in charge of overall lore quality control also a major coder?

    All events have to go through Razmael and myself. Razmael lives and breathes Aetolia's story, so I also put my ideas through him. We also contact involved ex-volunteers if need be, and have a wikie, and forum pages, and notes. And then we still mess up. But we TRY.

    The player base is hungry for activity, and I want to know the contributing causes behind the slow pace. Who's being overworked? Who holds too many responsibilities? How are the personnel being utilized?

    Raz is overworked, Keroc is overworked. I hesitate to say I am, but let's say my sleeping/living schedule is beyond messed up. I haven't really taken a day away since the Celerity thing, because that happened ON my day away. But hey, Covid, what else am I gonna do, visit family? Ha ha.

    Everyone's just buried in their own projects. I've put mine to the side to deal with things like this thread.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    Question #1: Volunteer Retention Rate

    As someone who is still interested in volunteering again some day this question is quite important to me: what is your opinion on the retention rate of volunteers, and what things do you think you might address to keep them interested in contributing to Aetolia?

    I believe our volunteer retention rate is about 25% per 'class'. I think that's because of a variety of factors, from realizing how much time they have, not liking the environment, to just realizing that changing something from a game to a job can suck. I think we might do better at retaining them by finding a better way to attribute their efforts TO them, so they get recognition for what they do quicker. I can say thanks a million times, but a PLAYER saying "That event was great!" is so much better.

    We've done a lot better lately, with in-Pools appreciation commands and players esteeming the Pools. I also share any positive feedback sent to me with the person who actually did the work. So, if you liked something, feel free to tell me you did, and I'll make sure the volunteer knows what you said!

    Brax/Celani note: Please dear god keep esteeming if you are happy with something. It fuels us and makes us smile. Aloli’s genuine appreciation for work and attention has me ready to immediately tackle more of her hundred orgreqs.

    Raz and I talking about history shows class retention rate is right on average, and overall rate of volunteers present is the same.

    Question #2: Familiarity with Aetolia

    I know a lot of players have beef with you, and that's on them to hash out or process, I don't want to be another wagging finger. The only nascent concern I have with you as a producer is related to a number of comments you've made in the past:

    Yeah… that's part of my communication thing. I do not use serious voice very often, and in text it seems like I'm always using it. Those were pretty much all me being silly and not realizing they were concerning. The solution is that I try not to joke anymore, or really talk about that sort of thing at all. I apologize for how my goofy attitude erodes confidence.

    I'm starting to ramble and lose my point, so one last bullet point, and then my question. A lot of players might not remember, but Varian - as in the guy who continually played the admin shell Varian back in the early/mid-2000s, not Jeremy in disguise - used to roll newbies and spend a few days joining guilds, leveling up, trying out guild advancement and generally "feeling" out the game. It was instrumental in helping him point out issues that he couldn't see at the time, such as a notorious event in which he demanded that guilds with brutal advancement requirements had to commit to easing up their rules (that might have been Galleus, it was a long time ago).

    The question in essence: have you considered doing the same? Are there any company policies or rules that might prevent you from trying it, or any personal reservations you might have against touring the game, as it were?

    Pretty sure this was not actually Varian.

    I've done this once or twice, but I usually end up wanting to play the game and the character and get distracted. Some volunteers do this here and there, as well as some OOC friends of mine, and they report back to me with what's up. Sometimes I even bug newbies and ask them about how things are going.

    Time we spend playing mortal characters to feel out the game is time we're spending not coding, running events, handling issues, and so on. It can be a big time investment to play a character to a meaningful degree. I couldn't even manage an alt when I was just a player!
  • TiurTiur Producer
    You get to see everything we say or do in the game, so if you catch us raving and ranting in web, I'm sure that negatively impacts your perception of us - I can understand that to an extent, but I don't believe you should use that as an excuse to avoid us. I would be more inclined to use it as an indicator that something is wrong and it should be addressed. I understand you're trying to respect our privacy, however if you're going to use it as something of a crutch when creating your opinion of us, I believe we should have the opportunity to discuss our problems/concerns/issues with you openly. Sometimes, our surface complaints might be the stemming from something deeper. Keroc posted something somewhere however long ago - maybe his AMA thread - about how video game designers use the fact that people are upset about something to realize that there is an issue /somewhere/, even if the players are latching on to the immediate thing in front of them and are way off.

    I like Mark Rosewater for this. "Your audience is good at recognizing problems, but not solving them." So I agree that keeping track of those sorts of things is important, but it can be really draining. If you message me a problem, I'm usually okay to discuss it, as long as we're doing so honestly. Yes, there are a few players that abused that and I don't really extend those lines of communication anymore.

    So that leads into my second question. "Clearing the air" this will only work if the conversation is allowed to go both ways; between X person/group and yourself. The impression some of us have, or the question we want to ask is a simple "Why do I get the feeling you hate me?" So my second question is this: Is there any chance you want to open a dialogue with those of us you've decided to avoid and explain why you end up ignoring people?

    It's trite, but I don't honestly hate, or really even dislike, any of you. There are certain people I feel like I cannot communicate fairly with, so I don't try (Either in that they won't believe what I say, or they'll take something in a manner I didn't intend). I think a PR shell could help with that, as it will let me get help talking with them, or even let someone without emotional attachment approach the problem and just get yes/no from me.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    Q1: How are emailed requests handled? What sort of method will be in place for documenting and tracking requests that come through issues and emails so they are not forgotten for 9+ months?

    Emailed requests go to my inbox, I try to sort them, then handle them in the order received. Admittedly, some stupid things can get them missed or forgotton, but I'm trying now to move them from my inbox to an ingame list of tasks instead.

    Q2: Is there a time limit on orgreqs to be handled? Can GMs and Org leaders be given a way to categorize their Orgreqs in order of importance? An RP orgreq might be more or less important than a request to fix a room on the map or move objects around. Smaller orgreqs like fixing small things tend to get lost under other requests because of visibility issues - are there any plans to better prioritize orgreqs?

    I will look at upgrading orgreqs so that they can be categorized. Really only two orgs submit more than one at a time, so I didn't think it was necessary. We did just upgrade our formatting, which helps me see Orgreqs that are ready to be assigned vs the ones with pending questions.

    Q3: Can guilds have two or more Patrons? Can the Patrons actually help with guild needs without having to go through the long process of orgreqs and waiting on them? A chosen patron should have the RP-knowledge and space to make these decisions, what is the reason behind them not being able to? What is the point of a Patron right now aside from the RP that a GM chooses to take from it and infuse their org with?

    Just the one Patron. They really only interact with Orgreqs that are RP based and need their approval.

    Q4: Are there any plans to tie the provisioning skill to the trade ministry or any other ministry? Can a trade minister eventually submit a provisioning order for the populace to fill?

    Not currently. I wanted it to be separate, or be the sort of thing where having the ability to a certain rank makes you ideal for the position of minister. So.. less letting the city interact, and more it being the RP of your character to be better suited to the role.

    Q5: The mirror of the unknown articat is a nice artifact and helps with exploring but relies on outside sources. In practicality, it is an infuriating relic that does not take into account places that cannot be reached. Are there any plans to look into this or tie it to the games innate walking system even if with the introduction of tiered searches?

    I've tried a few times to upgrade our walking system, and it really can't be done without tying up processing resources we don't have. Unreachable places are being fixed, though… slowly. I might even go chip away at the list now!

    Q6: Are there any plans to allow city leaders to merge or reorganize city ministries and positions as needed? Similar to guild positions?

    I'm very 50/50 on this, so we've been erring on the side of caution. Aetolia has not really been into political malfeasance roleplay (I agree with this, btw, but other games don't). So we have a lot of oversight and split powers. While I really don't mind the idea of a city controlling that themselves, and would be fine with just giving a stack of powers and the ability to invest them, I also can already see the issue forming on the horizon when someone uses it to make a superposition and steal everything.

    Q7: Requests for clarification on lore tend to go ignored, is it safe to assume that whatever direction I choose for my guild is just going to be -okay- and I won't have to face being told there were other plans in mind and I need to rewrite and redirect?

    Message Imvra.

    Q8: Are there any plans on making forging and enchanting less commodity-consuming when they remain to be scarce? For example, it costs 1 or 2 basic commodities to craft nearly anything from the crafting skills yet it costs 10-15 of those same commodities for forging. Can this be reduced to more reasonable demands?

    Raz: Crafting skills cost less to craft things because they're just 99% fluff items. Forging items tend to have tangible uses.

    Q9: When will the mission boards/quests to get unenemied to the Ophidians/Mitrines function once more?

    I'm pretty sure there's a quest you can do to get unenemied to the Mitrine outside the mission board. May need to make sure Ophidians have one too.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    What is the point in making even more avenues of communication outside of the game? Especially when ingame avenues are so neglected as it is?

    Are the admin and pools just biding time and making what last few amounts of money they can off of the player base before they finally decide to shut down the servers and say well Aetolia is dead? Reality is pretty much all players in the game are from older characters, and just trying to spruce things up.

    Aetolia is not in danger of closing down. Despite hiccups like this one with communication, the game is doing better than it has in a decade. Regardless, the resources to keep a MUD going without staff are so low that you can use Imperian as a model for what happens if the game ceases to be profitable.

    what are the chances of a fully scale merger between Achaea and Aetolia. Do you think that a merger is a good idea to bring two player bases together as one and combining resources so that each player base feels like they are being paid attention too?

    This is never going to happen.

    Achaea would have to pry Aetolia out of my cold, dead hands. I do not want their player base. They do not want ours.

    What can we do as a player base do to help things move along in regards to RP, Combat, and divinities? (aside from spending more money all the time)

    Make an effort to start something in-character. Speak to an NPC. Speak to a god. Speak cross-tethers, do something that isn’t expecting heavy lore implications and just start something.

    I know i have received messages in the past saying Email me the specifics for record. Why do we have to go outside of the game for something ingame. The games built in system is adequate enough to handle things such as messages, and sorting messages. It would also bring back the admin and producer to strictly working within the game rather than jumping between emails and forums and coding program and the likes.

    Some things are always going to be too complicated to be handled simply inside the game, where an outside text editor will provide simplicity and ease of transference as required. However, there are things being moved ingame, such as housing. All these things take time, and, you guessed it, more coding.

    Lastly what are the chances of bring back the older classes like druid and priest's they were wicked fun and awesome classes to play. Though I do remember when Galleus said I HATE WORKING ON PRIEST CLASS it is so complicated. I would be willing to bet many people of those old guilds would love to have em back and play them again!

    It could be a cool event, but unfortunately we don't have those files. They might be on a box somewhere. I believe one of IRE's older coders literally has some copies on tape.... But it's certainly not readily accessible.

  • TiurTiur Producer
    When is Gaming going to get fixed? As far as I can tell, even the classlead of mine that was rejected because the solution was fixing a bug hasn't been fixed despite the round being done, and there are plenty of others.

    Gaming is being worked on in the background. I broke it so bad it's not even funny. I threw up my hands in the air and yelled at the sky for a while. WILL FIX. That said, there are -still- skills that work fine that people haven't found.
  • TiurTiur Producer
    There has been lots of small bits of content that were promised but were never followed up on. Examples are the Ashes of the Indorani, additional Proxy War wares/rewards, additional wares on the frog barge from the last celebration, getting to visit the culture exhibits cities made, Shifter factions, the Storytelling crystal from the last celebration (and/or the one before that?). I'd like to understand the priorities of where this game's understandably limited content creation resources are allocated and why. Is there a lot of pressure from on high to come up with new content instead of completing old projects? Is it a matter of volunteer turnover and, if so, are alternative solutions being looked at?

    Related to this, I'd like to echo the question many others have asked. Aetolia has long been known as the rp-driven game of IRE. As of late, a lot of the content we've been getting involves dailies/minigames/cosmetics and a little (although I know my PK friends would say 'not enough!') conflict/combat stuff. Is this the content that will be focused on going forward? I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. Just, in the spirit of managing my own expectations, I'd cheekily ask...what kind of game is this suppose to be?

    I had this big thing, but Raz just killed it simply: Ultimately yes, corporate prefers us working on new content. Because new content means new artifacts means new sales.

    Dailies and cosmetics are part of what keeps people checking in every day and having fun. Stories can only cover the time period in which they occur, the overall quality and activity needs to rise too. I'm not sure that the Frog Barge was missing anything, it has all the crystals and such that it is supposed to. I generally try to focus on stuff that makes the game better day in, day out, becuase that's what brings and keeps new people. But I'm trying not to have tunnel vision!
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