In some ways, becoming an eph comes with as many losses as it does gains. The first thing you do is qq your mortal for the very last time, and that, for many of us, was a hard decision to make. There’s a good number of admin who chose to apply for Havens because they felt they had finished their mortal’s chapter, completed all that they wished to do, but I was not one of those people. I applied to be an ephemeral because I felt I would better enjoy working behind the scenes in Lusternia, where I could focus more on creativity and storybuilding – the things I loved doing most in-game.
But in the process, I lost the people my mortal had remained close to. I prematurely ended stories that I had originally assumed I would have months left to continue. I left things unfinished in the orgs I loved, and for the first few months or so as an eph, all those unfinished things gnawed at me. I would have nights where working on my eph projects felt so exhausting, that quitting seemed so much easier than earning godhood. Sometimes, talking to other ephs, I’d learn I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Even now, sometimes ephs express those feelings to me.
Being an ephemeral is a time where those doubts come easily. Until you’re an Arch Ephemeral, your only constant interactions are with the other ephs and the gods, who are sometimes intimidating and other times busy. This isolation from the players is intentional. It’s to encourage you to learn basic building skills, and to get to know your fellow admin, while breaking your mortal ties. That doesn’t mean it’s not lonely sometimes, though. And you can wonder if you’re really cut out for all this work (because it does take work), and think wistfully of the mortal life you left behind.
Many wind up returning to it. The majority of my eph group did.
Sometimes the gods in the Havens joke about what we’d do if we became mortals again. Start up the Fyrgenwig family in Serenwilde as a bunch of crazy mugwumps, for example. Or be Jane Austen trills. Beauty-obsessed y’Bolgari. But the longer you’re away from your mortal, the stranger the idea of going back can seem. Living without instant teleportation? Remembering history without lore on-hand at all times? Logging in and not being able to gossip with Nocht and Raezon about Downton Abbey?! Unthinkable!
And yet, being able to talk to players in actual, real conversations that you don’t have to constantly police? To bug quests for admin instead of fixing bugged quests? To be able to casually complain about the game, instead of being obligated to smooth out its flaws? That’s appealing. Players have a sort of freedom admin don’t, and it’s hard to explain exactly. When a player goes inactive, you can contest their positions and IM them to keep in touch. When a god goes inactive, it takes a lot of hard work and interest to take on what they left behind.
Before I applied for ephemeral, I did something my roommate in college taught me to do: make a list of pros and cons. I filled them out as thoroughly as I could, and I learned something surprising about myself- I disliked a lot of things about being mortal, and I looked forward to a lot of things about godhood. I don’t know why that surprised me so much, but it felt groundbreaking. I wanted to brainstorm areas, play diverse characters, enmesh myself in Lusternia’s history, and affect the game in a greater capacity than I ever could as a mortal. I was frightened at the possibility of being a Divine, but I was also excited at all the new doors it would open. Still, the old doors had to close first, and at the time, it felt like they slammed.
Now, it’s like I’ve gone so far down the rabbit hole that being mortal again would be confusing. I don’t even know how I’d roleplay my character anymore. Barely anyone I was close to plays nowadays. And with player-meets suddenly hugely popular and publicized, I’m not even sure I’d ever have the opportunity to truly start over my mortal life on a clean slate. “It’s never the same,” I’ve heard it said from those who quietly faded back into mortality. And I believe it.
This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy being an admin. I do. If I didn’t, I don’t think I’d still be in the Havens as Isune. Joining the admin has been the single most rewarding experience I have ever had in Lusternia, without question, and it’s introduced me to some of the most brilliant and kind people I know, as well as some of my closest friends. But sometimes, every so often, I do miss being mortal – just enough to love making mortal fun for the rest of you, so I can share in your excitement from my distant, cloud divan in the sky.