Year in Review: 2014

Lusternia reached a tremendous milestone as 2014 marked its ten year anniversary. It seems like yesterday that I was rushing to finalize the rooms and skills so Lusternia could be released in October 2004 as we had planned. There was so much to do! The Skarch Desert had to be completely described (for rather contentious reasons that I won’t get into here), the race names needed to be finalized (were some of them too “cute”?), god roles needed to be assigned (Lisaera almost didn’t come into existence), and I was more than fairly stressed over all the balls that were still in the air. There was a lot that we had to shelve, including three player organizations (Glomdoring, Gaudiguch and Hallifax) and we had to trim down the number of archetypes (after ten years there is STILL one archetype that hasn’t been released).

There were a lot of late nights and dark moments of the soul. Were text games sustainable for the long run? My strengths were on the creative side (building and storytelling), not so much on the business side. Did I have what it takes to run the whole shebang? After ten years, those moments have waned but sometimes resurface. I believe (hope!) that I’ve grown through experience. I may have come across as too harsh or too controlling and I certainly made mistakes through the years, but I believe (and hope!) that I’ve grown and adjusted from every stumble I made and am a lot more flexible now than I was.

Probably the biggest project we’ve ever undertaken is still bogging us down. Yes, we’re talking about the overhaul of the combat system. However, about midway through 2014, we decided to change course and focus primarily on streamlining the affliction and cure system as well as the buff system. We believe this is much more manageable for the coding team, and will ultimately make combat more accessible for new players and less overwhelming when balancing skillsets. However, even this narrowed vision for the overhaul has been much more time consuming than I imagined but I promise that it will be finished this year even if causes my head to explode!

There were a lot of interesting events and releases in 2014. Some interesting developments occurred in the Undervault among the illithoid during the Cyaethl Affair. For the chefs among you, we saw Gourmet Ghetto open. For history buffs, the darker side of the Paladins’ past was revealed in the Skarch Desert by way of a ghostly village, and the role of Gaudiguch in the time of the Old Celestine Empire shocked many when the Laboratories of Xeeth was found, a research facility that was built during the Nature Wars. In Verasavir Valley, Mwauka the Taurian tries to resurrect the Elder God Tauro with disastrous results. Also, don’t forget the ongoing story of the poor mugwump known as Slegi Vleemgol whose research took her to the Meliashmora Repository in search of answers.

It was also a year with lots of activity among the gods. Viravain became much more active in Glomdoring. Lisaera returned to lead the Serenwilde. It seemed as though the Elder Goddess Carakhan appeared for the first time, until it was dramatically discovered that it was the Traitor Goddess Drocilla who was unveiled when the real Carakhan was released from a trap in Aetherspace. Shikari returned from his endless hunting, and Darvellan the Navigator arrived and settled in New Celest. Finally, during the Solstice Season, Crumkane was found drunk with the gnomes.

This leads us to the year end event, where a small Soulless God known as Nemach, the ancient nemesis of the Elder Gods, was discovered still active, having hidden himself from the appetites of the Five Greater Soulless. He tried to make his move for power by using the artifacts of the Elder Gods in a place called Mornhai Sanctuary to seize the power of nature. This led to an epic showdown with the Elder Gods and he was eventually trapped by Yomoigu with the help of many mortals and many lives lost.

There were many other small releases, including the newbie feedback system, forum banners, colour expansion, timezone configurations, rpwho, etc., etc. We released many promotions that some loved and some hated, including aethergoop, hair and beard curios, and the wonder wand. I also really love our new solstice tradition with “elf on the shelf” mini-quests for each of the main player organizaitons. I hope that will become a tradition! And there was great heartache in the tragic passing of the player behind Visaeris, who was one of the most active and controversial characters in the early days of Lusternia, and even though not as active recently, greatly impacted those of us (both players and admin) who knew Visaeris. The player behind Visaeris was a woman born a man, and our eyes were opened to the struggles of the transgendered, a conversation which carried on into the forums.

My thanks goes especially to all the volunteers behind the scenes. As I say every year, without the volunteers, Lusternia (and my sanity) would not exist. So thanks to Shikari and Carakhan and Jadice all of whom I love and wish I could see more of, to Raezon who is one of the smartest persons I’ve known, to Mysrai who is as deep as they come, to Viravain who is a rock of stability, to Morgfyre who is simply the best at everything, to Lisaera who always makes me laugh, to Nocht who I can always count on, to Yomoigu who is smart as a whip, to Isune who is the sweetest person and very creative, to Drocilla who is extremely dedicated and much different than her role, to Crumkane whose presence brightens up the room (virtual or not!), to Darvellan who is amazingly talented at everything he does, and to all the ephemerals who are working hard and rising up the ranks. I can’t wait to see you become gods! Let’s also give a shout out to Ieptix who remains coding quietly behind the scenes and doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves. And also a special thanks to Roark who has been by my side for the past decade and continues to be an invaluable talent.

And, of course, to all the players for putting up with me for the past decade, and who together are the soul of Lusternia. Everything we do, we do for you.

Much love,
Robb French
Lusternia Producer