So, as you’ve probably noticed I’ve recreated our dev blog. We’ve been having a lot of ideas and things we wanted to talk about so I thought this would be the perfect place.
We’re coming up on the four monthiversary of the coup in which we removed the previous owner from power. If you weren’t around for that the short version of the story is he was getting greedy, starting to develop some very unsavory business practices (like deleting inactive people’s donates, sacrificing the quality of the server and content to keep more money for himself, etc). I’d like to take a moment and look back at these last 4 months and just really see how far we’ve come.
For many of you, I know the biggest change was the hosting. Lag complaints are now very limited, I’ll see one every now and then but it’s usually just isolated to a single person. Recently we had an issue limited to those on PLDT. That was the fault of PLDT so there wasn’t anything we could do about that. The quality of the new host is excellent and I think everyone is very happy with them. We’ve added a lot of new content, namely Fairy/Angel Wars, as well as the changes to events and the new client protection. Aside from those things I bet most of you haven’t really noticed much of a change. That’s because the person we kicked out didn’t actually do anything.
With that said, there’s been quite a large change in the background. So much of our efforts pre-coup were spent controlling the previous owner’s tendencies to do whatever popped into his head that it caused a significant drain on our staff’s time. The GMs went from dealing with things like random people who should never be unbanned being unbanned for no reason other than that they might donate, dealing with the fallout of irate people getting random spam from “us,” etc, to not having to deal with any of that. Now we’re able to spend a lot more of our time planning for our future, for new ideas, helping people with issues, and listening to player concerns.
You might think this change came easy, and I can’t speak for the entire staff here, but it’s still very strange to me. Speaking personally, I find myself falling back into old habits, feeling like I have to worry about server income when the income is fine. I know many of you are unaware of what went on behind closed doors, but our previous owner spent the donation money as fast as we made it (often times, faster than we made it, going into significant debt in the process). He took around 80% of the money for himself. On most servers, this wouldn’t have been much of an issue because on most servers the owner is doing a lot of work. However, he does not know any kind of scripting or coding. He did nothing other than collect the money and waste it on random things.
This behavior put an incredible strain on me as well the rest of the staff. We were constantly worrying that he might spend the hosting money on something stupid and the server would get turned off again, worrying that his next stunt might kill the server once and for all. As weird as it sounds, sometimes I forget we don’t have that problem anymore. When he was around it felt like my main job as an admin here was hiding things. Keeping people from finding out specific things like how much of the server’s money was wasted, how little of it went to server-related things, and how little the owner cared about the players or his own staff.
Speaking of the staff, all staff is treated much better now. We have a very transparent relationship. The senior staff knows exactly how much we get in donations and all staff knows where that money goes. I even share some of those details with you guys, our players. You know what we pay for hosting, what we pay devs and spriters, etc. When it comes to spending money on stuff of questionable value, like improving our Mac compatibility, I separate that out. I do this to make sure the money people donate goes towards things that the people donating it actually care about. It’s not because we are short on money, it’s because that money is supposed to be there to make the server better. That means paying a bill, paying a dev, paying for content, etc. Mac compatibility is beneficial to only a small number of people, so using money from the general donation pool, in my opinion, is unfair to donors expecting it to benefit them. While not everyone likes every feature we add that’s not the same as knowingly spending money on something we know is of little benefit to most of the players on the server. Perhaps some people have issues understanding this concept, but those same people probably don’t know much about handling money, either.
So as you’ve probably figured out, the server has gotten a lot more honest pretty much overnight. It’s great, I love it, the staff loves it, we hope you love it too. We’re so happy with where the server is going. Yeah, we’ve got some kinks to work out with this new Cedi, with the upcoming changes to WoE, and other things. But hey, we’re still here, we’re not worrying about what the future holds anymore. The server population is on a slow but steady rise, and with plans to increase our advertising efforts in preparation for the usual population boom in the summer, we expect that to continue and hopefully even pick up. Donations to the server have been flowing in at a healthy rate and we’ve been doing our best at keeping things running smoothly. New content is being added steadily and we’re really looking forward to our future. We’ve even been trying our best to listen to player suggestions, including reworking the new Cedi tiers.
So, thank you for sticking with us, we love what we do and we love our players. You guys make all this possible. Here’s to the future.