Anniversary Report #2 - 8 November 2020
Evening all. Firstly, you will see this is not, in fact, a newsletter. As per last year, your usual programming has been replaced with a ramble - albeit a well-structured ramble - on the state of EpicQuestz, as it stands now. Secondly you will note that our Anniversary was actually a week or so ago: sorry about this, I’ve been awfully busy, but felt now would be a good time to say something. Lastly, I suggested last year that there would be three “Status Reports” per year. Clearly that has not materialised, and I wouldn’t trust to hope that it will materialise this coming year either!
I will start from the beginning, and end at the end. Though it may seem like an eternity ago now, just under 12 months ago we released our revamped Helm’s Deep on PMC, along with an accompanying cinematic on YouTube. It marked the second instalment of the Rohan Project, after Éoford, which has progressed well over the past twelve months.
Helm’s Deep was soon joined in this respect by Grimslade, which has been - to all intents and purposes - complete for some months now. I aim for these reviews to be frank as well as congratulatory: the delay in the release of Grimslade has perhaps been the most disappointing part of the previous twelve months. Despite this, the project itself is truly brilliant, and I am beyond proud of all the team achieved in its construction. Our progress as a build team is like an eternal climb of a ladder, and each project is another rung. Grimslade was a particularly important rung, and has set the tone for the rest of the Rohan Project.
Keeping with the Rohan Project for now, just before the summer we embarked on our long-planned construction of Aldburg, which has progressed remarkably since then. Building off the expertise gained from Grimslade, this project is turning out to be a true gem.
Moving beyond the Rohan Project, our aim was always to run another non-Rohan project consecutively, meaning we would not only ensure that at least one project was running at a time, but offer some variety for the builders. Our first foray into this was Osgiliath, which is a wonderful, heroic, and tragic tale to tell. Vast in scope, brilliant progress was made initially: not just on the pace of construction, but the quality of the builds themselves. It challenged us all: @the_pharaohs_cat in designing styles, me in the designing of the city and its plan, and everyone else in the simple construction of its houses. Alas, after four to five months, it became clear that the project was a tad beyond the scope of what was reasonably achievable at the time. Inactive leadership was part of the problem, but perhaps more was the complexity and intricacy of the house designs, which slowed the project to a halt. Whilst not cancelled, Osgiliath is on indefinite pause until I feel we reach a stage in which its completion will be certain.
On a happier note, a far more successful foray into the non-Rohirric side of things came in the Setton project. Our first project led (co-led) by an Artist (@raarmaarwaar), all-in-all it turned out to be a great success, and was released on PMC just a few weeks ago, along with the obligatory cinematic. I’m eternally grateful for raarmaarwaar and @LimeeFox for leading this - not only did it turn out well, but there’s little more pleasurable than to see a project built without your interference!
I feel that sums up what has happened project-wise this year, so I’d just like to touch on the server itself, and its people. This year has seen me, in no uncertain terms, doing my best to step back from the unilateral running of the server. With @Gelek moving on from administration of the server, I was left (along with @StealWonders as SysAdmin) to run things. Naturally, with Empire War too, this was not a sustainable situation. I’m happy to say that the team has stepped up into my over-large shoes. We established the manager ranks to deal with social media, newsletters, YouTube, and so on. We re-oriented the Designer ranks to have specialities and further administrative powers. We ensured Artist had all the capacities for running project itself. All-in-all, this has been a brilliant success.
In the near future, expect the release of Grimslade, and a beautiful cinematic to go along with it. Further, I would not be surprised if Aldburg was completed and released early in the New Year, if we keep up the current pace.
I have heard rumours, too, that a certain Artist and Designer are working on getting a Bree project up and running, which I’m looking forward to. I am confident that it will be just as successful - hopefully even more - than Setton before it.
With regards to the Rohan Project, we have made no concrete decisions on what comes after Aldburg, but I’d tentatively suggest a location such as Dunharrow. Enoshade is working slowly but steadily (and to a brilliant quality) on the terrain - this will allow us to begin to incorporate our various Rohan locations into one map, which I’m thrilled for.
On a personal level, expect the staff team to take on more and more of a role in the running of the server. I feel that the buck has stopped with our eternal re-imagining of the server rank structure, and we’ve finally settled on something that can work - it’s certainly been working well so far.
Last year, I wrote this, which I feel is still relevant:
"I can't mention everything here, but EpicQuestz is in the most stable and comfortable place we've been in since 2015, and maybe ever. We have direction, leadership, and motivated builders. I'm sure the future holds exciting things for us."
This is still utterly true, and I can say with confidence that we’re in a better place now than we were last year, and I can say with even more confidence that I’ll be able to say the same thing next year.
There’s so much I have not mentioned: the Resource Pack, the wonderful EpicJobs and EpicSuite plugins by @StealWonders, and stuff I’ve forgotten too. I hope you’ll forgive me, this post has become pretty titanic.
It’s a strange paradox, but the more responsibilities I hand over to our wonderful team members, the happier I get with the situation of the build team: I’m thrilled that we have such experience and skill in our ranks that I’m sure EpicQuestz will endure long into the future.
We’ve endured for nine years. We can flourish in nine more.