Anniversary Report #4 - 30 November 2023
Dear fellow EpicQuesters… what a few years it has been. Firstly, let me apologise for missing out last year’s Anniversary Report: I had recently moved to Australia and didn’t really have time to create a thing of beauty or substance. Luckily for you, I am returned and ready to ramble.
The date of the foundation of EpicQuestz is not necessarily a clear one. Started by Lockrules as a small group of friends replicating locations in Minecraft, twelve remarkable years later we have - perhaps - changed beyond recognition. Despite this, I’d wager that the team of people who make this server tick are ultimately little more than what Lockrules created over a decade ago: a group of friends simply pursuing their passion.
Where can I possibly begin? Since last year’s Report was missed, I’ll cover the past 24-months ish of project progress. I have always described our progress as a build team as like climbing an infinitely tall ladder of brilliance, with each project being another rung towards the unreachable goal of perfection. Aldburg (released Jan 2022) was without a doubt the closest we have come to perfection so far. Fourteen months it took to create, and the end result is a concentration of everything that is great about EpicQuestz and its members: breath-taking terrain, a beautiful city, intimate and immersive interiors, realistic farmland, ruins, forests, winding paths, I could go on at length.
Aldburg, then, joins Helm’s Deep, Grimslade and Eoford as completed aspects of the Rohan Project. Over the past few months, I feel momentum has gathered slightly (with the coming of V3) to combine all in a single “Southern Rohan” map, but this definately still needs work. It would, perhaps, be the greatest Middle-Earth project ever released for download by any creator, and should continue to remain an aspirational priority.
Also released for download was @LimeeFox’s beautiful Amon-Sûl (Weathertop), which is a paradigmatic example of his quality as a Builder. It also reminds us that EpicQuestz does well to release smaller location-maps occasionally: it keeps momentum going within the team, and keeps interest high amongst our followers.
Talking of Weathertop, I would be amiss not to mention the happenings with our friends over at Empire War. V2 was shut down over August, and V3 has now opened periodic open beta. This has required the efforts of our team to adapt some maps for use on their new server, as well as begin construction and planning of new and renovated maps for gameplay over there. Whilst I have often remained cautious of EpicQuestz becoming a slave-server to Empire War’s creative needs, I do believe it is vital we rekindle the relationship between the two servers: it is a fact that whenever Empire War does well, EpicQuestz benefits: the revamps of Black Gate and Osgiliath have been aesthetic and pvp successes.
Moving beyond the aesthetic, some major changes have happened administratively. I have broadly finalised my process of stepping away from the day-to-day running of EpicQuestz, with the staff team taking on my previous roles with great success. This culiminated in the promotion of @LimeeFox to Administrator a few weeks ago. As per above, collaboration has increased with Empire War too, with a joint coordinatory discord server currently working effectively to join the efforts of both staff teams.
Incidentally, I am also pleased to see the plethora of Builder promotions over the past few months. May may more follow, and may some even see the gleaming heights of Artist!
There is much to look forward to over the next 12 months: Bree is progressing steadily, with the end goal a stunning timelapse cinematic to go with the release. I am especially pleased with the interiors on this map, which are absolutely some of the best I have ever seen by EpicQuestz.
@raarmaarwaar’s Dead Marshes are nearing completion, and will be a valuable addition to our portfolio in the next few months. Efforts also continue in the resurrection of mine and @the_pharaohs_cat’s somewhat aborted Osgiliath project, which has now been resumed. This has immense potential and is one of my babies, so I am looking forward to what is to come!
With regard to V3 pvp-oriented revamps, work is in the early to middle stages on Setton, with goals to also rework the famous Empire War map Moria Great Halls. This was never actually an EpicQuestz map to begin with, though the likes of @the_pharaohs_cat have improved its aesthetics greatly during the final two years of V3.
@LimeeFox is also progressing with transforming his baby, Weathertop, into an effective V3 map, which I am looking forward to immensely.
On a general point, I hope to see our rolling project to improve and further complete EpicQuestz’s resource packs to make some progress over the next 12 months, as well as work towards the end-goal of incorporating all of Southern Rohan into one contiguous map. There are absolutely obstacles to both these aims, but there’s no harm in aiming high!
In early 2016, some 5 years after the founding of EpicQuestz, a certain Gelek and I quietly changed the colours of our names from purple to red, and promoted ourselves to Administrators. There was no fanfare, and no congratulations apart from between ourselves. But somehow, it had fallen to us to guide the mighty ship of EpicQuestz through the raging seas of time towards a future, we hoped, that would be brighter.
Seven years later, I cannot begin to explain my feelings when I look upon EpicQuestz today. It is so much more than I could ever have hoped, and in so much safer hands than I could ever have provided alone. The few years I ran this server (and Empire War) more-or-less alone were taxing, but my mind was set on the idea that, should I vanish into the aether like so many before me, this great institution would continue on.
Alas, I am not sure that is quite true just yet, but it is probably as close to true as we’re going to get any time soon. So thank you to those who stepped up, and to those in whose hands the future of EpicQuestz now resides. Know I care deeply for all of you, like some deranged and suspicious adopted parent.
I am now in the situation where I own a network of two servers more closely related than they have been since August 2016, but where I generally find myself looking on from afar at the achievements of others. That is a good thing, and has always been my goal.
Through my own laziness, permit me to quote myself from two years ago in closing.
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.
Here is to another twelve years.