Secret: I hate running events. Well, let me put it this way. I stress out ridiculously when I’m in charge of a release event of any sort. There’s a lot I love about being an admin, but freaking out for hours over tiny lines of script that constantly defy me? That, to me, is less fun and more soul-sucking.
I’ll tell you another secret: my first event release ever ran about five hours longer than it was supposed to. The admin overseeing my ephemeral needs went briefly afk, and around this time, everything in my teensy-weensy quest broke. It was mortifying. I was so scared I could barely read the script I’d written, much less make any sense of it. Didn’t this quest make sense yesterday? Was I really the one who wrote this malarky, and did someone actually approve it, knowing fully well I would destroy Lusternia with its horrible, buggy bugs?
And then, lo and behold, Elostian logged in. I did the sane thing and proceeded to panic at him in all caps about how EVERYTHING WAS BREAKING. And then, very calmly, he took over my mob and talked circles around the mortals doing my quest, in seconds giving me the time needed to figure out what precisely was going wrong. Many lessons were learned this day. I wish I could tell you I am no longer the admin who panics in all caps when things bork, but alas. I am she.
What I am about to tell you has been passed down by many a godly generation: a litany of secrets as to what really happens during event releases, and how to prepare for them. They do not remove all problems you will encounter, but they will certainly help lessen them.
1) Go to the bathroom before starting an event. You may not get to go later.
“Oh pfft,” you think. “It is a simple release.” Very easy scripting. You just carry over some items, influence some mobs, everything is going to be just peachy. And then players start killing your quest mobs, your scripts bork, it’s five hours later, and your bladder hates you more than Kethuru hates Avechna. Do yourself and the players a favour: use the restroom first.
2) Bring food. You may be starving for hours.
This is self-explanatory after tip #1. If you can’t run off to use the bathroom, chances are you can’t eat either. So have something to munch and drink. If you don’t, you will wish you did.
3) Try not to schedule events around important RL events.
This is a biggie. You have no idea how many admin (myself included) run what they expect to be two hour events that then escalate to six, seven hours long, all while bemoaning to their fellow admin “omg I have to go to work in six hours, why can’t I sleeeeep.” It puts you in a bad mood which makes everything 150x harder to do. Also, you will be grouchy and sleep-deprived wherever it is you’re going to be later.
4) Always leave time for errors.
In a perfect world, all your testing will uncover every bug known to man. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in Lusternia, where Kethuru manages to break through the Seals on a yearly basis. Players will think of doing something you never thought of. Thinks will break. Swearing will be had. Leave yourself some wiggle room.
5) Do not run events alone. Ever.
There is a caveat that admin who are well-versed in the ways of event-planning and running are capable of doing this solo. However, for most of us peons, running events is a crapshoot. Things break that we swore were unbreakable and omg we don’t know why. My brain tends to go completely blank in the middle of quest-running nonsense. Get a buddy who can stall players while you get your stuff together. Better: get a buddy who is smarter than you. You will need the extra brain when yours explodes.
6) Make a plan, Stan.
This is usually discussed with Estarra & co. prior to an area or pocket release event, and for good reason. It’s very difficult to just say, “Golly, here’s a new thing that no one happened to bump into before! How about that? Neat-o.” Once you’re a fully-fledged god, though, you start making your own calls when it comes to your orgs. How to release a patron request? Your new priest? Your godrealm? Winging it can work, but it adds more stress to an already stressful situation. Plans are good. Live them. Love them. Embrace them.
7) Take notes. Your area? Your newspost.
It can be hard to pay attention to everything that goes on during your event, but I promise you, it’s even harder to remember it in the aftermath. Keep a wordpad document open. Scribble in it. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, it just has to be useful. When you’re done with the hectic roller coaster ride that is event-running, you will love your past-self for it.
8) Testing? Testing. Testinggg.
It’s obvious. It’s annoying. It’s important. Because even if you will get bugs no matter what you do, it’s nice to halve the number beforehand. I spent about an entire month testing my area as an ephemeral before its release, and it went entirely too smoothly compared to the pocket disaster mentioned earlier, despite the area being infinitely more complicated. Try to get other admin to do your quest, if you can. You already know what your quest wants you to do! Other people, conveniently, don’t.
One final secret: yes, running events is stressful and all kinds of bonkers. But the feeling you get, knowing you’ve added something to Lusternia in some way, is amazing. The unbridled gratitude you feel towards the admin who help you drop your mobs, fix your bugs, and stall your players, makes you feel like you’re part of a team that really matters. Seeing players really enjoy what you bring to the table is the delicious icing on the cake. And that, I think, makes all the crazy worthwhile.