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Blog Post - Imms For A Day

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#1 Duende


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Posted 08 October 2018 - 12:38 AM

In the past 10 months, we've had 5 mortals participate in Immortal For A Day.  For various legal and technical reasons, they don't receive 242s, but get added to a channel on our MM Slack and get a personal, direct channel to have a conversation with me for a day.  This is a 'fun thing', but its additional benefits are manifold. By electing a representative, the playerbase (hopefully) chooses someone whose views are representative and whose desires are justifiable.  While most of our changes require a number of different influencing factors before we act on them, Immortals-for-a-day can surface their pet peeves and wishes as is their whim. It's novel, it provides fresh eyes, and gives me the opportunity to justify past and future decisions that they want to talk about.  

The people who are elected are frequently those with strong opinions, a list of priorities, and the drive to impact change.  The various wish lamps (bugfixes, feature requests) act as todo lists which, given sufficient leverage, give us the opportunity to re-examine previous game design decisions.  Immortals-for-a-day are provided the set of these wishes, along with the sum of votes these wishes have received. As game admin, we're constantly playing a tug-of-war with 100 ropes joined at the center.  Every choice we have to make not only has a cost, but an opportunity cost, and we have to weigh building infrastructure against features against bugfixes against community management against scores of other things.  Immortals-for-a-day can lobby for whatever changes, bugfixes, etc that they want- but they're given the community's list of requests as well, to provide the perspective necessary to contextualize their own personal desires.


Of the scores of distinct requests made by those 5 immortals-for-a-day, about 65% of their requests were their own priorities, and the other 35% were chosen from the wish lamps.  Mortals don't have visibility into our infrastructure needs or long-term future plans, and after taking that into consideration. That's not far off of our own ratio of accomplishing "what people want us to do" vs "what we need to do".  Everyone can see, while voting with wish lamps, what your fellow Adventurers want. The "what we need to do" list includes making lower-level content more accessible, working on upcoming Globals, making special quests more straightforward to obtain, and improving the Build command.  These changes benefit everyone and are the best way for us to grow and become more user-friendly, even if nobody has asked for them.


About 64% of the requests made by the immortals-for-a-day have been already been added to the game.  These include being able to send tells/replies while asleep, boosting buffs in safe, investigating spell damage caps, and a host of bugfixes.  About half of the remainder, 15%, are things which we can't or won't do, like reverting the rejuvenation/no-regen change, "finish all promised content we've ever heard of", and having velocity tokens buyable with RU.  The other half is stuff that we want to do, but is lower priority or requires further new technology to implement correctly. These ratios are about in line with our own personal todo lists, of which 70% of the tasks are completed, 20% bad, and 10% which are still good ideas but haven't happened yet.  

We've started planning out the bare bones of what 5.0 will become, and are looking at a timeline on the order of 18 months.  We're ready to announce a full-fledged major revision, our first in 20 years, because we're so excited about the features it will add and what gameplay it will provide.  A chunk of our infra work for the past few years has made our codebase much more modular, so we aim to deliver periodic reboots with new features and content, as we work on this large update.  We won't have details on what will be in 5.0 until our plans are significantly more concrete, but know that this is something we're working towards, with an eye towards more solo/small-form content, healthily incentivizing PK for this who like combat, and further diversifying the ways you can progress your Adventurer for those who don't.  

As we focus on the long-term, where 5.0's 18-month plan is twice as long as the longest we've gone without rebooting, we'll need to continue working on the short-term: listening to #troll, working with prays and novice, and shoring up what we can as we can.  We'll continue the Immortal-for-a-day experiment as we work on that, due to its successes in helping prioritize quality-of-life changes and fixing bugs that might be more impactful than we realize. This experiment is paying dividends, and we're grateful to everyone who's been an imm for a day, and everyone who voted for people who do good.