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Blog Post - Duende - 10/13/17

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#1 Duende


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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:54 PM

This started out as a very different blog post, announcing some different things. But in the course of writing it, while doing due diligence, I discovered the subject i was going to change not only was a subject nobody knew anything about, but that nobody would know about it because it never worked. So I'm going to write a bit about that, instead.

Last summer, as a means of thanking players who donate to keep Materia Magica afloat, I wrote a little script that would grant players a wand of whalesong every time they made a donation. the goal was to let this happen for a while, and once it had been in place and keeping track of donations for a few months, expand this into Patreon-like functionality where players who had donated $5/month for 3 months in a row would get fun little bonuses. Things being what they are, my todo list got out of control and that's been in my "todo for next reboot, no, seriously" pile since last July. You got 17 new bosses instead.

I finally sat down to actually write about how I'm going to change the bonuses from whalesong wands into a new flavor of wish lamp- and in doing so I discovered I'd never actually turned on the bonus gift functionality, and I had a backlog of over a year's worth of donations who'd never received their gifts- and worse, didn't know they were supposed to. So this is equal parts blog post and mea culpa, as I turn that on, spin it up, and give a bunch of people new wish lamps. These won't actually be wish lamps, they'll just leverage the same infrastructure, and be conceptually similar enough that they won't need the same amount of introduction. These new lamps will come in two flavors, 'nomination' and 'voting', and will have rotating themes based on time. We've had some discussions about what cool things we can do that will encourage donating but will maintain system stability and not facilitate pay-to-play patterns.

Our first lamp will be nominating a player to become an Immortal for a day: writing some new content and taking part in discussions with us. Future lamps might include thinking up a new boss, new minigames, or fleshing out a particularly salient piece of content. the wish lamps can be used for either nominating or voting, and voting lamps will be available from non-donation sources, such as leveling and bosses. We're currently busy working on preparing Halloween and getting ready for everyone attending the next convention for the blind, in early November, but these new lamps and donation grants should show up in the near future.


Speaking of wish lamps, we've hit a bit of a point of stability with them. All wishes are mentally scored on a 3-axis graph, comparing 1. the cost of implementing the wish, 2. how desirable we think the wish is and 3. how many people want it to happen. Everything that is easy to do and either gets upvoted a lot or we want, we do ASAP. More difficult things get prioritized and placed in the todo pile, alongside maintenance, new content and bugfixes. We've implemented nearly 100 wishes in the ~year that wish lamps have been available, and a lot of the unimplemented wishes fall into at least 1 of 3 categories.

Some wishes have a lot of support, as we've written about before [NEWS 303]- Rewriting the Nezak's Treasury run is the most upvoted wish, but represents a development burden of week(s), which we haven't had bandwidth to support yet. We plan on doing them, we'd like to do them, they just represent more work than can be done in a night of resigned codefrenzy.

In the second category are wishes which are intractable for one reason or another, like "undelete my clan", "you should load me 100 vandy orbs" and "add a dedicated music channel" won't happen for one reason or another, #music not withstanding. The third set of wishes are wishes that have been available to vote on for many months, and never received much appreciation. "readd consecrate food", "add racial languages" and "add more events to personal logs" are all things that could be revisited and worked on if there was sufficient interest. Without the supporting upvotes, those ideas get deprioritized.

Due to the way that voting lamps work, every wish in the system reduces the frequency with which later wishes will get seen and receive the proper attention. In order to make sure that all wishes are getting a fair shake, we're going to start cycling wishes, based on the ratio of their age to the number of votes they've received. In order to kick this off, we're going to go through our existing list of wishes manually, saving some percentage of them and culling the rest. After these steps are taken, we'll start distributing both kinds of lamps more frequently.


Let us know if you have any thoughts or questions on these additions - they're not in yet, but will be soon.