State of the Game – September 2017

Hello everyone.

I’m pleased to say we’ve had a great year so far.  We’ve more players than we’ve ever had, many of the new systems we’ve been talking about the last year or so have been making their way into the hands of players, teachers are out more frequently, and we’ve been getting great feedback from everyone involved.

I wanted to talk about some of that feedback we’ve been hearing:

Specifically, we’ve been hearing some negative feedback about scheduling in general and the alt system.  It’s often pointed out that while we are hitting more players more frequently with NPCs to teach them and roleplay with them, we’re not able to hit as many as there are or able to hit all of the alts as well as the mains.

We are of the firm belief that this is a problem largely caused by the fact that we are, let’s face it, severely understaffed.  We’ve had a couple cast members retire from the game this year, as well as gaining a few new ones, but unfortunately, it simply isn’t enough.  While our new cast members are doing exceptionally, there is still a limit as to what can be done with such few people.

More and more we hear feedback from other games about our Cast/Staff levels; and the general consensus seems to be a game with half our player base would consider themselves severely understaffed.  Honestly it is a testament to the abilities of the men and women we have been working with over the last year that we have been able to continue putting out quality events.

But as I said above though, I feel (and from what we’re gathering from PELs, many players feel as well) that we are not providing an adequate experience for alts in general currently.  Even the experience for mains has suffered somewhat as well.  There are a few reasons for this, but they ultimately are symptoms of the larger problem stated above: the amount of people on cast.

When one sits down and does the math, we’ve averaged around 60 players per event.  These are numbers nearly double from prior years.  At our current cast and staff levels (7 permacast by the end of this year) that puts us at 1 cast member per every 8.5 (let’s round to 9) players.  There are currently around 14 alts as well, which skew the ratio even further to 1 cast member per 10.5 characters.  I don’t need to go into detail to explain the amount of work that puts on the shoulders of us.

We had a few ideas as to how things could be fixed in order to make the experience better for everyone all around:

1)  Create a system that allows for a player to cast from Friday Game on Until Saturday Refresh -OR- from Saturday Refresh to Game Off with associated rewards. We haven’t been able to figure out what sort of incentives would be best here yet, and are certainly open to suggestions.

2)  Put the call out for those players who have been considering joining us to join us.  We want the game to get better, and we’re hoping that people will step up knowing the game could use their help.

3)  Modify the alt system to only allow full events or half events similar to the cast system above, with no exceptions. (We don’t want to do this.)

4)  Institute a player cap. (This is something we’re heavily against, but has worked for other games in the past.)

5)  We’re always willing to listen to other suggestions.

I’m writing this because we want this to become better for everyone involved.  I know anyone reading this would want to see the game become better as well.  Many of you have expressed a passing interest, or have mentioned to us that someday you want to make the transition to cast.  I’m asking for anyone that has considered it, and think they can commit to it, to do so now.  We need you more than ever.  The game needs you more than ever. I’m hoping some of you will step up and make the game proud.