Author Topic: Ten years  (Read 630 times)


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Ten years
« on: July 30, 2020, 01:00:48 PM »

Picture courtesy of Ghostymudy

Hello everyone. Today is the tenth anniversary of the account Rathustra being created and entering the game - ten years of staffing the game. Since I started ten years ago I have, for reasons I don't quite understand, never taken a (full) break from the role. I have asked others to take some of my workload while I dealt with real-world problems, but I have avoided ever stepping down or going on a hiatus (for better or for worse). This isn't to decry those on staff who do - and indeed today also marks the tenth year since Oryx started - myself and Oryx (along with Rahmi, Talia and Anaiah) joining as part of the same batch. What a varied bunch, huh?

In the last ten years Armageddon has changed a lot - but it has also stayed very much the same. Jokes aside about the glacial pace of change and development in the game, a lot of the similarity is also to do with the accounts I see log in every day: a good many aren't here with us any longer - and sadly, some have passed away - but there are still a decent amount who have been playing as long as I've staffed - if not longer than I've even played.

To give some idea about how things have changed that isn't just going through a list of all the things staff have removed from the world - when I joined staff I was told that my job was to process requests, animate and keep the world running until Armageddon 2 was finished: I was a caretaker more than I was a storyteller. We were in a holding pattern until the end of the world came and we (I assumed) all got shuffled into the next life. Armageddon 2 was an exciting development that I was completely in the dark about. A little was available to STs that wasn't posted on the GDB - but it was like finding a pile of Polaroids out of order - hard to chain things together.

Then it didn't happen.

I can't remember exactly when it was announced - and nothing immediately changed: like most things in Armageddon revolution came agonizingly slowly. Realizing we could build things, that we could support player plots - but I still see the aftermath of this slow, slow process today.

Back to when I started, however - I was assigned to the Sun Runners and my Admin was Nyr. I saw Nyr once a week because of time differences, otherwise we communicated via e-mail. It was a very isolating time - I'm lucky today to have staff all across the world with varying login times. But learning how to staff alone was not a great experience. What was a great experience was the first RPT I was part of - literally the day after I got set up: Salarr drove their Argosy into the chasm along the North Road. Survivors inside were swarmed by gith who rapidly overcame the stunned guards only to be stopped by the quick thinking of the Agent aboard, slamming the pilot chamber door shut. What followed was a tense scene where the gith began to hack through the door, climbing over the wreckage to get in through the pilot's window while a Templar and the AoD rode out to the rescue. It was fantastic and everything I dreamed staffing would be! I even loved restringing the argosy the morning afterward to have the entire space appear wrecked and ruined - the results of which are still in the bottom of the chasm to this day - joined by a number of other argosies in the decade since!

My first project was a promotion system for the Sun Runners: until this point there was no structure to how a distinct subset of the tribe defined their abilities and relative strength. I set out to create something that would be run by players and sustained by players - a system of riddles and stories that whose completion would involve contributing a new riddle or story that in time would be given to the next person seeking promotion. My desire here was to create a system that could run with minimal staff interaction and would also create the sort of player-derived history that Armageddon does best. Unfortunately, due to a database failure a lot of these riddles were lost - but the system lives on. People who embark on it today will receive the creations of players that come before.
Apart from being an example of the sort of player-led, world enriching plots and systems that I've come to favor and love (attempting) to push in Armageddon, I think this example also shows the mentality that staff were in at the time: this process was created during a 'staffing drought' - at the time Independents was just myself and Nyr. Two people handling too many players and clans. I could have created something where staff creates a bespoke quest, animates challenges and obstacles or builds objects or rooms for the Sun Runner to explore. But what happened when the only staffer was someone on the wrong side of the world? This time of drought has stuck with me ever since - even in times of plenty - that a good system is something that players can run and sustain themselves - and that staff can enrich and make better (when they can)!

Indeed this drought eventually resulted in me being promoted to Admin of Tuluk - a great example of the benefits of turning up I guess! This first period in Tuluk was a stressful time. Long before the legendary rivalry of Dragean and Raleris, it was seemingly punctuated by weekly reports of Templars getting killed! I dreaded each morning when I'd check my e-mails: what disaster had occurred during peak last night? Which Lirathan had been pummeled to death trying to arrest a HG with just one guard? Which legionnaire had fragged their Jihean? It really wasn't this frequent - but it was a busy time as Tallis the bard was beginning their career asking for the history of minarets nobody had spotted before and people could just break into the Templar's quarter and steal books!

All too soon I was moved over the clan group which has come to be synonymous (to me) with Armageddon: the independents. Swapping places with Nyr I began the great pleasure of watching over the unclanned masses of the game - a group that, when I was a player, I almost exclusively played in. Being an off-peak player back then, I didn't have much choice! This is my obligatory shout out to Dargan and Jinna of the Hunter's Guild: thank you for getting me hooked. Digression aside, I have had the softest spot for the tribal, elven and independent clans of Armageddon and their fraught struggle against much bigger entities. I had the privilege to help rewrite much of the documentation for Sun Runners, Soh Lannah Kah, Arabet and Al'Seik around this time with some talented staffers - documentation that (mostly) still stands to this day - changed only by the march of time and the efforts of players.

Skipping ahead a little (I've gotten carried away) - I want to spend one last wad of text talking about my second Adminship of Tuluk. Someone on Discord, when I was talking about this anniversary, asked me what the best thing I did on staff was: I answered it was writing a short log to give closure to a PC who died while carrying their vNPC offspring who was discovered and rescued by a vNPC. This still rates at the top - I'm so glad I could help give closure to that player after the long, long hours of effort they'd put in basing their entire character around being a mother. But, joint with this was the RPTs that constituted the closing of Tuluk.

With only a month's notice, myself, Xalle, Nergal and Eukelade put together a series of exciting RPTs, constructing a story for what was otherwise to be an OOC action: sealing off Tuluk. Being able to give the players of Tuluk - who I came to adore during my second tenure, which was truly a great period of time for Armageddon - some adventures and excitement to send off what I know was the main draw of the game for many of them - is something I'm immensely proud of. Helping produce some closure, some story to these players is something I am glad I was able to do.

Since the closure of Tuluk my real life has taken some wacky twists and turns and has meant that I haven't been able to achieve the degree of investment that I perhaps used to. It is a period that has been punctuated by unpopular choices: reworking elementalists, wherein I was the single architect of the subguilds we have today (for better or - likely, worse), running the gith war plot and several other world-spanning plots in the last three years! Perhaps most recently I helped bring carts (a project begun the year I started staffing!) to the game - but already that’s several months ago. As I enter into my second decade I find myself in a scarily similar situation to what I did when I first began: about to finish a long period of academic study and all the freedoms that come with that. Here’s to hoping that ushers in a new era of me being able to ruin the game!

I'm running out of fuel now but I wanted to end with a sincere thank you to everyone who I’ve staffed over. It is a cliche - but every request I’ve resolved, every animation I’ve performed, every creature, room or object I’ve built and every PC I’ve killed has been a player. I’ve never staffed in service of others - that is a surefire way to burn out - you should staff for yourself - but I certainly would never have made it this far without a responsive, engaging, creative playerbase (and the rest!). Armageddon (or me) might not be around in another ten years time - and I might not be staffing, but we’ll always have the memories.

Shade and water.

Fun Rathustra facts:
My account was created on Fri Jul 30 05:50:54 2010.
I’ve idled in game for 4 years, 296 days, and 16 hours. (this includes time my body has been idle while I’ve been disconnected).
My immortal body is 107 years old - I began play at 23 years old. I’ve been playing for longer than a King’s Age!
I am currently a gurth templar.
There are 34,455 emails in my staff inbox. I’ve never deleted one.
My first choice for a staff name was ‘Sacrosanct’ but Adhira didn’t like it.
I was approved for staffhood on my third try.
I still don’t know how anything works.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 01:02:55 PM by Rathustra »