Anniversary Report #3 - 6 November 2021
Afternoon, EpicQuesters. Three years surely constitutes a tradition, especially when that is three years out of ten. As such, welcome to my traditional Anniversary Report.
As with last year, you will notice that this is a little after our 10th Birthday itself: apologies, but life has raced ahead of me of late. I would also note that my dream (in the first of these updates) of having three major status reports per year is well and truly perished. Enough of that, let us begin.
I confess - not to offend any of our wonderful team - there is not as much to detail here as there was last year. That is not for lack of effort. Last year two projects were released (Helm’s Deep & Setton). This year we have released one, but one I am immensely proud of: Grimslade. Grimslade, to me, is another one of those mighty steps up the staircase to aesthetic greatness. Here is a philosophy I’ve espoused for a number of years now, and it has released us from that perpetual trap of re-vamping older maps.
The philosophy is that every map we produce must be better than the last, and that through the production of the map we gain the skills, knowledge and abilities to make the subsequent map yet better still. Though I lamented last year that my greatest regret was how long it took us to complete Grimslade, I feel the effort was utterly worth it.
Grimslade was the third Rohan Project map to be released, and this year we have effectively completed the fourth. Aldburg is awaiting my oversight review and a cinematic, but after that will hopefully be released around New Year. (hahahah, deadlines…) Aldburg is beyond amazing. Take my praise of Grimslade and multiply it by three, because I honestly cannot think of the appropriate words. It was begun in around July of 2020, and has thus taken about 14 months to perfect.
Leaving behind the Rohan Project for now, you will remember that my aim is to always have another non-Rohan project running parallel to a Rohan project, allowing the team some more aesthetic choice and variety. After Setton, we have begun work on Bree. This is a map I am excited for, not least because I gain a deep pleasure at seeing a project progress without the clumsy help of my meddling fingers. It is coming along nicely, and I am particularly interested in the fact major progress is being recorded cinematically, in order that we might release a time-lapse of its construction in the future.
That concludes our project progress these past 12 months. I will cover briefly now the happenings of the server and its people.
We have well and truly settled into the new era founded on the 9th of December 2018, when EpicQuestz under our leadership split from Empire War under sjoerdtim’s. I somehow now own both servers, but that is besides the point. The fact we have not had any changes in structure, administration, or ranking is a sign that we have found a comfortable spot. Last year I noted that I had stepped back from day-to-day meddling thanks to our Manager system, and this year I am happy to say that I have stepped back yet further. A more democratic and meritocratic system of administration is in place now, and I will touch on my future further down.
Overall, this year has been a success, even if I wish we could have released Aldburg already and perhaps had a greater output on the YouTube front. But the team is small and busy: we have done well.
I expect the release of Aldburg early in the New Year, perhaps earlier if we are lucky. After that, I think I can officially confirm that the next Rohan project is likely to be Isengard. Bree will hopefully pick up pace again soon, once its leaders find some more time.
Enoshade’s work on the Rohan Terrain is brilliant in quality - though I am sure he will permit me to say it has been slow in progress these past few months. That is no issue, but I truly hope we can work to unite the maps of Helm’s Deep, Aldburg and Grimslade into one download in 2022. If I do not do anything else for EpicQuestz, I hope that will be my achievement alongside Enoshade.
In early 2016, a certain Gelekaasvlek and myself staged a quiet coup. We changed our ranks from purple to red, and thus cemented the status quo that we were, somehow, administrators of this great server. Somehow, that was over five years ago. It is an odd thought that I have been helping out here for over half EpicQuestz’s life. Though the mighty Lockrules & co. may have birthed this baby, I feel somewhat like an adoptive parent. I care, and will always care deeply for the server, the build team, and every individual who has left their mark here.
However, the past two years have been defined by me trying to untwine myself from its mechanisms, and stop it being so much of a two (later, one) man band. In this announcement from April, I hoped to extricate myself from five remaining duties. I have succeeded broadly in that, leaving myself with core responsibilities for a few residual, but important, jobs.
I will confirm to the staff the finishing touches in the coming weeks, and which portfolios (finance, etc) will stay with me for the time being.
And I couldn’t be more pleased. Over the past few months I hoped that our 10th Birthday would mark when my retreat would cease, and I feel that has come to fruition. Ideally the casual viewer will have noticed nothing about the change of leadership. Consider this post the culmination of my long fizzle out.
Last year I quoted this from my first Anniversary Reivew:
"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 still holds true. When someone has reached the end of their office, they hope to look back and think “yes, this institution is in a better and safer place than when I began.” EpicQuestz certainly is, despite its flaws and despite its hitches. A team is made by its individuals, and you have all done us immensely proud.
There is an inordinate amount I have not mentioned but could. I have refrained from naming names because there are too many names. But you all know who you are.
Here is to another decade.
* The phrasing I used last year was “Our progress as a build team is like an eternal climb of a ladder, and each project is another rung.”