Keeper Words, Long Overdue

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gorboth
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Keeper Words, Long Overdue

Post by gorboth » 22 Dec 2011 10:34

Code: Select all

Merry Christmas, Donut Dwellers!

As we approach these holidays, I wanted to post something of a year-in-review
which will include an explanation of where I've been for the last 2 months
and the effects my absence (in conjunction with other things) appears to
have had on the game. I'll end with some direction for what I feel is needed
for the future, and an appeal for involvement.

To begin, let me first of all say - Wow! It has been strange to be away for
so long. I have not taken time off from Genesis like this in well over a
decade, and it has given me a much-needed opportunity to recover and
recharge my batteries. As Keeper, and a very hands-on one at that, I have
not felt the luxury to really take time off since attempting to launch a
new era in Administrative oversight for Genesis. I have been going at nearly
full-steam for over 6 years now, since I was first asked to be a member of
the Admin in September of 2006 (on my birthday, no less!) That first year
was one of the most intense I've ever spent here, and lead almost a year
(to the day) later to my Admin role being elevated to Keeper status. So,
for the last 5 years, I've been working hard as Keeper, trying to realize
my vision of a healthy, relevant game with a vibrant and growing playerbase. 

I feel the need to explain something of where I've been and why. I announced
my abrupt leave of absence back in mid-October, saying that I would not
return until sometime after November 6th. Well, here it is the end of
December, and I am just now actually announcing my return. So I ended up
taking just over two full months of personal leave from Genesis. Golly!
Me taking a personal leave like this in the midst of a promotional campaign,
and just following a very successful fundraising effort in which so many of
you contributed your own real-life monies seems fairly unconscionable, and
I would not be surprised if many of you have been confused if not downright
disheartened by such an action on my part. As such, I would like to offer
some context that will hopefully allow for some forgiveness, if not at least
understanding why I've left at such a time. At the end of October, the
largest project of my professional carreer had been looming - something that
required me months of preparation and practice, and something for which I
was quite worried about my ability to carry off successfully. Then, just
as I was in my final weeks of preparation, a buddy (and best friend from
childhood) of mine suddenly and unexpectedly died of a massive heart attack.
I found myself at a total loss, and was barely able to cope with normal RL
responsibilities, let alone continue with my professional project. I was
forced immediately to make the decision to drop everything that was giving
me added pressure, simply for the sake of continued sanity and well-being.
I had no idea how much time I needed for this, but I set a return date for
a few days after my project would be concluded, hoping this would suffice.
Following my project (which was a full success, thank the Gods!) I found
myself in no adequate mental state to return to Genesis yet - and I realized
that I was actually suffereing from considerable burnout. I felt that a 
premature return was likely to result in catastrophic administrative failure
on my part (i.e. stepping down as Keeper and leaving the game forever) and
so I took the advice of a very wise and compassionate fellow Admin and
chose to stay away until I genuinely felt the urge to return. Well, long
story still long ... here I am, feeling finally called back. :-)

Thanks for reading all of that. I tried very hard not to be overly-verbose,
and badly failed as per usual. I also appreciate very much the number of
mails of concern and support that I received from so many of you. What a
lucky guy I am to be involved with a great community like we have here in
Genesis. It was extremely encouraging, in the end, to know that I was returning
not just to a hobby, but to a group of people for whom I share a mutual and
lasting high regard. Good stuff!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, lets get to a review of 2011 and
see how we did. A number of major events took place this year. Firstly, we
finally completed the imbuements project, including the newbie grinder
dungeon and quests, and the game-changing magical imbuement system. The
system has provided effect-variety for players, and a very considerable
money-sink that the game has badly needed for over a decade. A good success!
Secondly, we launched a very successful fundraising campaign that produced
over $3,000 USD to be used for website, game client, and promotional
development. A huge accomplishment on the part of the entire community!
Thirdly, we unveiled and put into play our revised website and proprietary
game-client, making it much easier and more appealing for newcomers to
interface with our game world. An important step on the ever-improving
path to the hugest-quality user experience we are able to provide. Finally,
as explained above, your all-too-human Keeper tripped at the finish line
and brought the year to a very stumbling and awkward conclusion. Bah!!

And how did all of this play out in terms of numbers? 

+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                                                                          |
|  Average player activity by week for entire year, beginning Dec 22 2010  |
|                                                                          |
+---------+--+-----+----+----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+--+
|    22.5 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
|    22.0 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
|    21.5 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
|    21.0 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
|    20.5 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
|    20.0 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
|    19.5 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
|    19.0 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |    |     |    |  |
| A  18.5 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |     |  X |     |    |  |
| V  18.0 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |    X|X X |     |    |  |
| G  17.5 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |    X|XXX | XX  |    |  |
|    17.0 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |    X|XXX | XX  |    |  |
| P  16.5 |  |     |    |    |    |     |    |    |X   X|XXX |XXX  |    |  |
| E  16.0 |  |     |    |    |    |     |   X|    |X   X|XXXX|XXXX |    |  |
| R  15.5 |  |     |    |    |    |  X  | X X|    |X   X|XXXX|XXXX |    |  |
|    15.0 |  |     |    |   X|    |  XX | X X|X  X|X   X|XXXX|XXXX |    |  |
| H  14.5 |  |     |    |   X|    |  XX |XXXX|XX X|X  XX|XXXX|XXXX |    |  |
| O  14.0 |  |     |    |   X|    | XXX |XXXX|XXXX|X  XX|XXXX|XXXXX|X   |  |
| U  13.5 |  |     |    |   X|    | XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|X  XX|XXXX|XXXXX|X   |  |
| R  13.0 |  |  X  | XXX|   X|X XX| XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|X   |  |
|    12.5 |  | XX  | XXX| XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|X   |  |
| E  12.0 | X| XX  |XXXX| XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XX  |  |
| A  11.5 | X| XX  |XXXX| XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XX  |  |
| C  11.0 | X|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XX  |  |
| H  10.5 |XX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|  |
|    10.0 |XX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|X |
| W   9.5 |XX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|X |
| E   9.0 |XX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XX|
| E   8.5 |XX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XX|
| K   8.0 |XX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XX|
+---------+--+-----+----+----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+--+
|  Month  |  |Jan  |Feb |Mar |Apr |May  |Jun |Jul |Aug  |Sep |Oct  |Nov |  |
+---------+--+-----+----+----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+--+

Heh ... wow, that really does tell the story doesn't it? A fantastic trend
playing out a nearly flawless linear growth pattern from the beginning of
the year to our peak of interest in mid September when the new website went
live followed by the most precipitous falloff in recent history after I
announced my leave of absence. Of course, we always compete with the arrival
of the Christmas gaming titles (Skyrim, anyone?) at the end of the year, and
so I'd like to think that my own disappearance was not entirely to blame for
our current doldrums. 

Well, lets look at this in larger scale yet, and see how we compare to
previous years:

+---------+----+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|    21.5 |    |            |            |            |            |
|    21.0 |    |      XX    |            |            |            |
|    20.5 |    |      XX    |            |            |            |
|    20.0 |    |      XX    |            |            |            |
|    19.5 |    |      XX    |            |            |            |
| A  19.0 |    |      XX    |            |            |            |
| V  18.5 |    |      XX    |            |            |            |
| G  18.0 |    |      XX    |            |            |            |
|    17.5 |    |      XX    | X  X       |            |        X   |
| P  17.0 |    |     XXX    | X  X X     |            |        XX  |
| E  16.5 |    |     XXX    | XX XXXX    |            |        XX  |
| R  16.0 |    |   X XXX    | XXXXXXXXX  |            |        XX  |
|    15.5 |  XX|XX X XXX    |XXXXXXXXXX  |  X         |        XX  |
| H  15.0 |  XX|XX X XXX    |XXXXXXXXXX  | XX    X    |     XXXXX  |
| O  14.5 | XXX|XX XXXXXX   |XXXXXXXXXX  | XX    X    |     XXXXX  |
| U  14.0 | XXX|XX XXXXXX   |XXXXXXXXXX  | XX    X    |    XXXXXX  |
| R  13.5 | XXX|XXXXXXXXX   |XXXXXXXXXX  |XXX  X X    |    XXXXXX  |
|    13.0 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXX  |XXXXXXXXXXX |XXX  X XX   |  XXXXXXXX  |
| E  12.5 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXX X|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXX X XX   | XXXXXXXXX  |
| A  12.0 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXX XXXX  X|XXXXXXXXXXX |
| C  11.5 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXX XXXX  X|XXXXXXXXXXX |
| H  11.0 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXX XX|XXXXXXXXXXX |
|    10.5 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXX |
| M  10.0 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXX |
| O   9.5 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|
| N   9.0 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|
| T   8.5 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|
| H   8.0 | XXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|XXXXXXXXXXXX|
+---------+----+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|  Month  | OND|JFMAMJJASOND|JFMAMJJASOND|JFMAMJJASOND|JFMAMJJASOND|
+---------+----+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|   Year  |2007|   2008     |    2009    |   2010     |   2011     |
+---------+----+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|Yr. Ave. |15.5|   15.8     |    16.1    |   13.0     |    14.0    |
+---------+----+------------+------------+------------+------------+

Interesting! So, there is definitely good news in that we've had a better
year than we had in 2010. Had we continued our trend, or even been able to
maintain our gains through the end of the year, though, we probably would
have ended with the best year overall on record. So, that is clearly a
disappointment. Where we sit right now is, in fact, the lowest point on
record! Bah! and double-Bah! But here is where I refuse to be brown down by
this - the lesson that we can take from 2011 is perfectly clear: Effort
counts. We worked harder than ever this year, and brought big changes and
energy to Genesis. While that effort was in action, the effect was increased
player numbers that built on themselves and grew rapidly in response. 

Lets do a direct comparison of 2011 to the prior year, too:

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|             Comparing player activity over two time periods:               |
|                      A: Jan 01 2010 - Jan 01 2011                          |
|                      B: Jan 01 2011 - Dec 21 2011                          |
+-------+-------+-------+----------+--+-----------+-------+-------+----------+
| Hour  |   A   |   B   | %increase|  | Weekday   |   A   |   B   | %increase|
+-------+-------+-------+----------+  +-----------+-------+-------+----------+
| 00.00 | 15.35 | 15.93 |   +3.64 %|  | Sunday    | 12.92 | 14.56 |  +11.21 %|
| 01.00 | 12.46 | 13.57 |   +8.19 %|  | Monday    | 13.31 | 13.89 |   +4.18 %|
| 02.00 | 10.27 | 12.03 |  +14.68 %|  | Tuesday   | 13.39 | 14.02 |   +4.49 %|
| 03.00 |  9.61 | 11.53 |  +16.62 %|  | Wednesday | 13.95 | 14.37 |   +2.93 %|
| 04.00 |  9.07 | 10.73 |  +15.41 %|  | Thursday  | 13.08 | 14.10 |   +7.16 %|
| 05.00 |  8.49 | 10.14 |  +16.27 %|  | Friday    | 12.49 | 13.67 |   +8.66 %|
| 06.00 |  8.21 |  9.82 |  +16.39 %|  | Saturday  | 11.86 | 14.01 |  +15.35 %|
| 07.00 |  8.65 | 10.22 |  +15.36 %|  +-----------+-------+-------+----------+
| 08.00 |  9.21 | 11.16 |  +17.51 %|                                         |
| 09.00 | 10.40 | 12.36 |  +15.82 %|                                         |
| 10.00 | 11.87 | 12.71 |   +6.63 %|  +--------------------------------------+
| 11.00 | 12.17 | 12.84 |   +5.21 %|  |       - - - Field  Sizes - - -       |
| 12.00 | 12.31 | 13.26 |   +7.16 %|  | Number of days in Period A:     365  |
| 13.00 | 13.27 | 13.78 |   +3.70 %|  | Number of days in Period B:     354  |
| 14.00 | 13.86 | 14.18 |   +2.27 %|  +--------------------------------------+
| 15.00 | 14.43 | 14.74 |   +2.10 %|                                         |
| 16.00 | 15.07 | 15.37 |   +1.92 %|                                         |
| 17.00 | 15.34 | 16.03 |   +4.29 %|  +--------------------------------------+
| 18.00 | 15.87 | 17.11 |   +7.25 %|  |           Overall Summary            |
| 19.00 | 16.64 | 18.44 |   +9.71 %|  +--------------------------------------+
| 20.00 | 18.88 | 20.50 |   +7.87 %|  | Overall average for Period A:  13.00 |
| 21.00 | 20.57 | 21.39 |   +3.84 %|  | Overall average for Period B:  14.09 |
| 22.00 | 20.44 | 21.25 |   +3.85 %|  |                                      |
| 23.00 | 18.54 | 19.10 |   +2.94 %|  | Overall increase/decrease:  +7.725 % |
+-------+-------+-------+----------+--+--------------------------------------+

Lots to chew on there. Big increases in numerous indices, despite our
terrible end-of-year finish. In fact, an increase in EVERY category over the
prior year. That is good! :-)

There is one other reality I am forced to face as a lesson learned from the
player numbers from the year, and it is one that I have been really hoping
would not be true. That lesson is this - the success of Genesis as it currently
exists is undeniably linked to my own direct involvement. This, too, has a
lot of history behind it, I think. When I first entered the Admin, Genesis
had a very large and diverse staff of wizards. This was a very mixed bag in
terms of its effects on the game. I felt strongly that Genesis needed to
focus and unify its efforts in order to adapt successfully to the modern era
and ensure continued ability to thrive. As such, I ended up building a culture
in which a wizard basically needed to get on board with my way of doing
things, or get out of the way. My way of doing things involved breaking down
the divisions between domain structures and the Administration, centralizing
the responsibility for vision to a much more global kind of direction. It also
involved completely doing away with any form of cheating or self-indulgent
development that I felt was poisonous to the game on the part of wizards. The
change in direction resulted in many of the wizards in the game fading away,
for better and for worse. The good results of this have been unfettered global
initiatives like universal guild recodes, quest tracking and orbs, imbuements,
and top-down development from a CEO-style Keeper. The bad results have been
reduced workforce, and near-absolute reliance on direct Keeper involvement to
maintain development.

This leads me to the final topic of this year-in-review. Based on the above
discussions, I believe it is in the best interests of the game to diversify
the development structures beyond myself, and build a new generation of
wizards on the foundations of the new culture we have established for Genesis
in the last 5 years. Currently, I am holding two very heavy reins in my
Administrative hands. AoD (Arch of Domains) is traditionally the Admin
position which has been responsible for governing wizard assignments to
various positions within different domains, and looking after the needs of
domain Lieges. AoP (Arch of Players) is the Admin position which listens to
all the varied needs and concerns of the players, responding to mails,
moderating reports of abusive behavior, fixing bugged players, and dealing
with generally anything that goes wrong in the player experience. AoP is
both the most important and the most thankless of all Administrative positions
in the game. On top of the Keeper role, I've been acting in both of these
Administrative positions for the last number of years, which I now realize
has been an incorrect setup. As such, I will be in search of individuals with
the skills needed to take on these Arch positions, so that I can devote my
energies entirely to vision and general oversight of the game as a larger
whole. Now, talk is cheap, and it is very easy for me to say that I am going
to search for people to take on these positions. The reality is that these
positions are so important that they can ONLY be truly entrusted to people
who will be capable of doing the job right. So finding the right people is
likely to be quite tough and something I won't find a quick solution for.
But the important step, for now, is to recognize the need and share it with
you, the community. 

And here is the other big thing ... Genesis needs an active wizard community.
When I disappeared, it became VERY clear how quiet things can get when it
boils down to just a few people, and then the main cheerleader takes a nap.
Now, not everyone is cut out to be a good wizard. However, I suspect that
there are a number of you who would be absolutely excellent. Truth be told,
I know many of you have experienced a type of stagnation in the player
experience that is a direct result of there being very few new challenges
to face or rocks to turn over with our game content. Yep! One of the best
things about the MUD concept is the idea of ever-growing game worlds thanks
to the contributions of active community members. Well, we roll out some
big things a few times a year, but the constant percolation of small new
ideas game-wide has all but grinded to a complete halt. Therefore, if you
think you have what it takes to be a dedicated member of Team Genesis on
the wizard front, maybe now is a good time to consider getting involved. The
best thing is for there to be a community of developers, rather than just a
tiny few who are mostly burdened down by Admin tasks. So, I do think it
is time to start building the wizard world once again. Contact me if you
have interest, and we'll see what goes!

Alright! So there is my State-Of-The-Donut Address for the year. I am very
excited for a 2012 that exceeds our past year in development and progress.
There are so many great things on the horizon - continued expansion into the
modern era of social networking, rebuilding our creative energies, final
alignment of global guild balance, the big push in terms of our official
promotional efforts, and who knows what else!

Genesis is a great game. Thanks for being part of it!

Yours,
Gorboth

p.s. Okay ... Skyrim was fun. You can come back now! Look, I did! ;-)

Mmmmmm ... pie ...

Creed

Re: Keeper Words, Long Overdue

Post by Creed » 24 Dec 2011 01:38

But.. What about Star Wars: The old Republic? And Diablo III? But but but.. ;)

User avatar
Tive
Rising Hero
Posts: 350
Joined: 20 Mar 2010 11:10

Re: Keeper Words, Long Overdue

Post by Tive » 24 Dec 2011 10:22

Well, don't forget about Minesweeper and Solitaire. These games steal Genesis players all year round.
Image

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Recoba
Great Adventurer
Posts: 193
Joined: 11 Mar 2010 12:52

Re: Keeper Words, Long Overdue

Post by Recoba » 25 Dec 2011 03:36

Sorry to hear about your friend, Gorboth. And welcome back.


(ps. I played Skyrim for two days and found it boring. Terribly disappointing. Anyone else experience this?)

User avatar
Tive
Rising Hero
Posts: 350
Joined: 20 Mar 2010 11:10

Re: Keeper Words, Long Overdue

Post by Tive » 25 Dec 2011 08:38

Recoba wrote:
(ps. I played Skyrim for two days and found it boring. Terribly disappointing. Anyone else experience this?)
I stopped after about an hour ;P
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Amberlee
Myth
Posts: 1497
Joined: 08 Mar 2010 19:50
Location: Kristiansund, Norway

Re: Keeper Words, Long Overdue

Post by Amberlee » 25 Dec 2011 15:37

Uhm.. about 100 hours played.. Good game imo, but didnt quite cut it when Star Wars: The Old Republic came :P
The views posted by me on this forum is not the views of the character Amberlee in-game.
If you ask for my opinion here, you will get MY opinion, not that of my character.

Bromen
Champion
Posts: 678
Joined: 04 Mar 2010 06:29

Re: Keeper Words, Long Overdue

Post by Bromen » 28 Dec 2011 02:51

Im playing CoDMW3 while grinding cents. If I can do it, you can too.

Really sorry to hear about your friend Gorboth, life isn't fair sometimes.

Bromen, active for the last 2 weeks. lol

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