A Candid Request

Started by Usiku, October 26, 2023, 03:06:28 PM

Zalanthas is a world that has been created over the last thirty odd years by hundreds, if not thousands, of people: players and staff alike. To me, its value lies in that shared history of collaborative creativity. It's the developed lore, cultures, creatures, places, the wonderful stories woven and their lingering threads from decades past that make it special. We have over 74,000 PCs in the database. Each was a concept, a manifestation of a player's time, effort, and creativity. Then there are the tens of thousands of rooms, objects, and NPCs built by generations of staff, and 15,000 books, scrolls, and illustrations, a vast and unique library of content. This game has received so much love and creativity and it has room for so much more. As world building goes, Zalanthas must be right up there. I continue to learn more every day and I am in constant awe.

MUDs in general have declined in popularity, but Armageddon has somewhat endured. From the start of my tenure on staff (and even during my time as a player) I've always been enthusiastically hopeful we could reverse the trend of a declining player base. I believed that Zalanthas could endure and perhaps thrive again if we just did the right things. I won't lie, there've been tough times where it seemed neither possible nor worth it. Two things kept me going: having Halaster as a colleague and feeling like a responsible guardian for Armageddon's legacy. It feels vital to keep this world alive; its end would be tragic for those who have invested in it. Even those who aren't here right now.

When I look around the current staffing team, I see awesome individuals deeply committed to the game, busting their butts, championing for players and striving for improvement. Despite my relatively short tenure, I've already witnessed several staff members come and go. It's heartbreaking to watch enthusiastic newcomers become wilted by the demands and negativity they face. This negativity, be it complaints, mistrust towards staff, constant critiques and demands or even the challenges of enforcing game rules or trying to mediate between players, saps our energy.

Right now, I feel too many players take the game for granted. They assume it will always be there, regardless of their actions or how they treat it or those who work to maintain it. But this game needs its technical team to keep it running, its benefactors to pay the bills and its storytellers to bring it to life.

Understand this: the game's staff are not inexhaustible. Without enough experienced and capable staff, the game's existence is not guaranteed. This is not a threat but a candid reality. This responsibility rests on the staff, but players, as stakeholders, ought to be aware of this reality too. If you genuinely cherish this game, its world, its history and its future, please reflect on whether you're adding to the negative undertow plaguing our community.

Since the year's beginning, the staff has diligently worked to mend the bridges, alter our internal culture and strike a balance between oversight and trust. Despite battling deeply entrenched cultures decades in the making, I'm proud of our progress. There is always room for more improvement, but it's an ongoing process that we have been committed to.

I ask only a few things of our players: enjoy the game, appreciate the effort behind it, think before criticising and treat each other and staff with patience, kindness and respect. We are not a faceless corporation. This is a small community. Negativity affects us all deeply.