Dude, where's my plot?
There has been very little movement in the game’s official storyline in recent months, leading to raised voices among players for whom story and plot constitute a large part of the game’s enjoyment. The purpose of this blog is therefore twofold: one, to give you guys a little insight into Content’s current situation and where we’re headed; and two, to make it clear that we have not forgotten about the storyline and do indeed intend to pick up the threads where they’ve been left off.
Here’s the situation:
The Content development team consists of 11 people - Clover, Hammerhead, LeMonde, Masha, Sir Tuxford, Skellibjalla, TomB, Zrakor and myself, with Oveur at the top whipping us into shape and Kieron keeping the masses happy and informed. Of the nine of us directly involved in development in a non-administrative capacity, three (TomB, Hammer and Tux) are involved in the creation and balancing of tangibles (ships, modules, game mechanics) and so have one foot in the Game Design Dept. The other 6, myself included, populate the game world with phenomenals; Skellibjalla is responsible for the vast majority of dungeons found in-game, Masha and Skellibjalla are the joint creators of the new tutorial system, and Zrakor, Clover, LeMonde and I handle most of the content that impacts directly on the story, with areas of both specialization and overlap between the four of us. Put simply, the first three handle the numbers while the latter six handle the words.
With the game's near-exponential growth in recent weeks and months, we latter 6 have been called on to step up the production of static content dramatically. This has had the unfortunate side effect of the dynamic aspect of things falling by the wayside. I’m not going to go into a lengthy discussion here about the pros and cons of static content vs dynamic content, but I want everyone to know we are acutely aware that a balance is necessary. It’s skewed at the moment, but as the company grows we will come closer to equilibrium; with new personnel lined up for the Content Dept already, there is no question things will improve as we get more people to cover all sides of content creation.
What you guys need to be aware of, however, is that due to CCP’s ongoing growth spurt, we’ve presently hit the absolute limit with regards to how many people we can fit in our current housing. We physically cannot add more people until we move to our new facilities (a move currently scheduled for next month). Therefore, to meet current production schedules with available manpower, our focus needs to remain squarely on static content for the time being.
AURORA, likewise, are not to be blamed for the state of affairs. Most of the story arcs left unfinished were not in their hands to begin with; the larger prime fiction arcs are directed by CCP, with assistance given by AURORA only in the actual running of the events. When threads are left hanging, it’s not due to AURORA inactivity, but rather to reallocation of CCP manpower to other tasks deemed more immediately urgent. Since the events team does not have carte blanche to go where they want with prime fictional entities, they have no choice when this happens but to sit on their hands and wait. Those wanting to direct their ire somewhere are thus asked to please point it in our direction and not AURORA's - they do their level best with what they're given, as they always have. And again, this type of situation is something that should be fixed when we have more time – and people – to devote to dynamic content.
In closing, I want to ask you to rest assured that we do care; that we haven’t forgotten; that we are watching; and that things will get better. Our company’s having growing pains, but once they’re past us we’ll be better equipped to bring you a more well-rounded gaming experience.
P.S. Darius (and anyone else thinking along the same lines) – vis-à-vis your comments in the GD thread, if you’re really serious and think you can contribute, this is the e-mail you’re looking for.
P.P.S. Death to Amarr.
P.P.P.S. Just kidding.