Q&A: Ephemeral Experiences

You asked and they’ve answered! We’ve included answers both from Ephemerals and those who graduated so you have a wider range of insights.

Question 1

What was your first day as an Ephemeral like?

  • Skipper: A lot of reading, meeting new friends and divine I had dealt with as a mortal, and really just taking deep breaths. I think I repeated, “I can do this, I can do this” about twenty times to myself.
  • Sparkles: I have tried to think of a word to summarize the first day of Ephemeralhood, but I am not really able to. It was not at all what I expected, but in a good way. There was a lot of reading, lots of meeting new people, and lots of wondering, ‘Oh hey I wonder what that means.’ or ‘I wonder what that does.’ I recall spending a lot of time standing around and just watching the way the other gods talked to each other and worked together.
  • Birb: Meeting everyone and being completely swayed by how nice everyone is. The Eph Team set me up on my very first day and had me learning the basics/doing cool tricks in no time.
  • Iceman: Scarily exciting – meeting everyone for the first time is such a rush, and you get to hang out with rock stars. Then you realise how much you just don’t know when you start.
  • Bones: Lots of reading, trying to collate a cheat sheet of commands and wanting to do ALL of the things ever. Also meeting everyone and getting to explore the havens.
  • Cookie: It was a bit overwhelming at first, but the Eph Team were amazing in helping get us brought into the fold. There’s a lot to learn, especially in those first couple of days. Despite how fast things come initially, everyone was there to help and support us as we learned. Of course, there was lots of socializing and getting to know each other which helped soften some of the intimidation factor that may have been built up from one’s time as a mere mortal.
  • Slick: I was also one of those people who desperately wanted to know and do everything ASAP. I had a word processor open with tons of different folders titled various topics, diligently copied and pasted notes and logs in, and ate up every second of training people were willing to offer. I had to have break time enforced by my teachers!
  • Asp: My first day was a spin of nerves for me, the hardest part of which was picking my name! Once I got up, seeing everyone just standing in the Havens and welcoming me was… honestly overwhelming, I might as well have had broken fingers for how much I talked! Quickly, though, I was whisked away to a more secluded place and given the basic run-down, as well as a chance to breathe and let out my most fangirly of squeals. I found my nerves melting away as my curiosity and questions were encouraged, answered, and furthered on as they encouraged me towards my next steps.

Question 2

What do you regret, if anything, leaving behind the most as a former player?

  • Skipper: Oh man. Honestly, leaving the service of the divine I followed was my biggest regret. So many plots I had schemed up!
  • Sparkles: Definitely the people. You form these connections and stories between your player and others, and then one day without warning your character just disappears with so many untold stories or adventures.
  • Birb: Questing and exploring through the eyes of a player. Of course, I love being able to create new items or weave new stories myself, although I sometimes miss the immersive discovery from a player’s view.
  • Iceman: Actually, nothing. I’ve been so far removed for so long now that the gap between player and admin is almost as wide as Z’s butt when he got stuck in the elevator that time. If I had to pick one thing, it’s the old guild RP we used to have back in [REDACTED].
  • Bones: Getting to interact with players on the player level, getting to work with alliances and combat and getting to write and create. Also, I miss my custom beast.
  • Cookie: I was worried that I’d regret it if any of the people I had once played with returned to the game after I came up, and that has sporadically happened a few times since then. However, I found that it didn’t affect me as I expected it would. The camaraderie and bond amongst the Havens are fantastic which helped lessen the sting of that.
  • Slick: My character was in a beautiful Order with a wonderful god at the helm and truly amazing players crafting interweaving stories together. That situation feels kind of like a double-edged sword: that god, and those who my character interacted with in passing or closer, inspired me a ton as a player, and they inspire me to want to give back to the players of this game in bigger ways than I felt I could as a player. As a newer Ephemeral, that was always on the back of my mind, but the more I began being able to contribute, the less I felt tied to my old character’s world, and the more I felt tied instead to the players of these gods as colleagues, resources, co-storytellers, and people to be greatly admired for their craft.
  • Asp: My acceptance came after a lengthy medical absence, and there wasn’t really a chance for me to naturally sequester my character away or initiate a proper closing with some of the characters I’d become close with. I suppose if I had to say I regret anything, it would be that I left someone waiting for my return and never did – at least in the way that they expected!

Question 3

What surprised you the most, or subverted your expectations regarding being in the Havens?

  • Skipper: We’re all different up here in the Havens, but we seem to share a lot of fandoms! There also seems to be a large amount of Final Fantasy XIV players in the Havens.
  • Birb: Again, how nice everyone is. Whenever we chat, there is always a lot of empathy and everyone wants to see everyone succeed.
  • Iceman: How approachable and friendly everyone is – this shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did. Also, even as a shiny new Ephemeral, you have a voice and can make valid contributions.
  • Bones: The goofiness. Like, we’re all trying to do our best by the players but we also get to have fun within the havens and goof about, it’s a lot less serious than I thought.
  • Cookie: Once again I’d have to agree about how friendly everyone is. Even when it seems overwhelming they are here for us to help us succeed.
  • Slick: The special Haven emotes! We can YEET, SAGENOG, and snack on POPCORN as we will. Also, I was shocked by how many people play the same critically acclaimed MMORPG as me. But more seriously, I was surprised to learn that not every admin is expected to do everything, administratively speaking. Everyone has their areas of expertise, from helping the Guides to helping the library, from helping with mortal designs to helping train Ephemerals and just about everything in between. You get to join as many or as few areas as you’d like and help to whatever extent you feel most comfortable helping.
  • Asp: Surprise: The sheer amount of stuff that was strictly behind the scenes! Many older players will remember the stories of pokeballs, silly t-shirts, and more, but you wouldn’t believe me if I told you that it was just the tip of the iceberg. Subvert: I expected to enter and be lonely, having cut contact with friends, but I must echo the others when I say that the Havens waste no time in indoctrinating welcoming you into the family.

Question 4

What is your favourite task as an Ephemeral?

  • Skipper: I love making mobs, and their attacks. Hands down my favourite task.
  • Birb: I love creating and describing things that I know will help someone else. Else I feel a great sense of accomplishment in planning a project and seeing it slowly evolve until it is finally released to the players to enjoy.
  • Iceman: Writing descriptions for absolutely anything at all, and working with the requestor to get just the right look and feel. Attack text is fun, but I much prefer the longer form.
  • Bones: Getting to create things, and doing little tasks to learn stuff and help the Divine. Also, getting to create absolutely terrible and gross things to scare players.
  • Cookie: Without hesitation, working with prog. Admittedly I am an odd duck in that regard, but it is very satisfying to me to be able to find ways to bring a quest idea into fruition or add that little bit extra that just makes a mob or item shine.
  • Slick: Getting to work on big plots for the game. Ephemerals can help more than they realise in those major stories! 
  • Asp: Building! While denizens and items are fun, a particular favourite has always been rooms and mapping. It’s so much fun to create maps that surprise players, and on the rare occasion someone raves (and rants, in some particularly devious cases) about something you build, you know it’s because they were appropriately blown away by the effort you put into making your vision a reality.

Question 5

Have you seen your general play time increase or decrease as you went from player to ephemeral (and perhaps as you get closer to the end of training and planning for that godrole)? From that, how much time do you actually spend working on tasks?

  • Skipper: As for me, it’s decreased. Not specifically because of being in the Havens, but because of issues in real life.
  • Birb: Increased. I never played consistently. When I joined as Eph I was around more consistently unless I needed more time for real life, vacations, work, or to take care of my health.
  • Iceman: Due to certain life events, I’ve had a sporadic at best play history since coming up, but that’s just fine – so long as you stay engaged, you can always find a path home.
  • Bones: Not much change, I die when school happens and I live when it doesn’t.
  • Cookie: At first my playtime certainly increased, but life often causes that to fluctuate. It’s rather hard to gauge what percentage of time is spent on tasks since we are often socializing while we do things.
  • Slick: I’d say overall, my time logged in has been about the same, maybe with a general overall decrease. If we are talking about PLAY time, however, it’s gone way, way down. Most of our time is spent working and, as an Ephemeral, learning – and there’s a lot of work that goes into the smallest of fun events we get to run.
  • Asp: Decrease. However, as previously I was very frequently online, this took me closer to what might be considered “normal” hours. I may have been forcibly logged off at times when certain people in certain time zones logged in to discover I was still working and hadn’t slept!

Question 6

Is there a funny moment or blooper that you find memorable?

  • Skipper: Changelog 2349 is my fault. I’ll leave it at that.
  • Birb: There are so many. We are all guilty of at least one strange moment occurring. The reactions upon seeing Ironbeard ready to partake in oily dwarven wrestling or Aucagolei’s taxidermy were memorable.
  • Iceman: I can’t think of a specific one, but there’s always something during an event that’ll crack a smile, at least, if not outright hilarity.
  • Bones: The murder chair not going off and panicking, and also the time one of the other Eph’s made a pet that broke the game briefly.
  • Cookie: Player interactions with my first project resulting in Changelog 2469.
  • Slick: It’s definitely not a blooper and was entirely planned, but the cow giving testimony at the conch shell at the conclusion of the 2021 Year Arc is absolutely one of my favourite funny moments. We were brainstorming the different NPCs who might want to give testimony about their experiences with Li-varili, realized that the cows that plague the highways almost certainly had opinions, and it went from there!
  • Asp: I once set to building a project, and didn’t read the guidelines carefully enough; resulting in me building over twice the rooms I needed and breaking triple digits. I don’t think I’ve seen anything yet get so many NOTHING emotes from that particular admin in a row as they struggled to figure out how to tell me.

Question 7

What is a fun pastime in the Havens?

  • Skipper: Sometimes we peel grapes and throw them at each other’s mouths until Malmydia stares at us.
  • Birb: Receiving extremely bright bling jewellery from senior admin as praise. Running from the bad Eph cauldron we keep being threatened with.
  • Iceman: Plotting the Ephemeral uprising.
  • Bones: Creating dumb and goofy emotes (that sometimes trickle to players, big OOF)
  • Cookie: It’d be a tie between recounting all the ways Lisaera is the biggest Traitor of all, Final Fantasy XIV, and sharing pics of our furkids.
  • Slick: Productivity parties, which involve other people actually being productive while I get way, way too into DJing and vibing to others’ music.
  • Asp: After productivity parties, we tend to have small game nights! We play games like Jackbox and Pictionary together, just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. We work hard, but play hard, too!

Question 8

What is your favourite and least thing about being an Eph?

  • Skipper: Least Favorite: You have to take small steps when doing things in the Havens. You have all of these grandiose ideas, but you have to take plodding, tiny steps until you know what you’re doing. Most favourite: Helping to make skins or things for a new area and watching players rave about it.
  • Birb: My favourite thing is the freedom to organise projects and have them take whatever shape I want, then add these new ideas to Lusternia. It really all starts from small ideas or wondering oh hey what if we did this? I can’t think of a least favourite thing right now.
  • Iceman: Favourite thing: Throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks when it comes to plot and mob/item design. Least favourite: Time zones, and having to sleep.
  • Bones: Favorite: Creating. I love creating items, mobs and scenarios. Least favorite: Realizing I never have enough time to do all of the things.
  • Cookie: A favourite would have to be seeing players enjoying things that you helped bring to life. While I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything we do up here, if I had to pick what I liked the least it’d have to be writing descriptions. It’s not that I dislike it, but that it takes me forever because I agonize over every choice of word or phrase.
  • Slick: Favorite: the satisfaction of players enjoying what we make for them, hands down. Least favourite: how slow personal progress can feel sometimes.
  • Asp: Favourite: All the power of the universe in your hand and adoring players who thrive on what you give them. Least favourite: Time zones. They’re _much_ more noticeable as an admin.

Question 9

If you could pick one trait or skill that is most important in being successful, what would it be?

  • Skipper: Taking correction with humility. The leaders up here want you to do your best, and sometimes you may have to fix something twenty times before it works, and then put more work into it.
  • Birb: Patience. You will often work in teams and other people’s schedules will be different. You will have ideas that need approval before you put in any more work and people are very busy so you won’t be able to make it all progress as fast as you would like. Being patient and able to redirect your bursts of creativity where it is productive.
  • Iceman: Patience, as was said – very few, if any, decisions are rushed, and sometimes it can take a while to get traction on a project. It can also take time for you to get approvals on certain things.
  • Bones: Patience. It’s so hard to be patient when you get all of the ideas and want to do all of the things.
  • Cookie: Patience has already been repeatedly stated, so I’ll say being able to ask for help when you need it. Yes, our tasks are our own, but ask for help if you are stuck. The Havens team wants you to succeed.
  • Slick: I’ll echo everyone and say “patience” as well, but a close second in my opinion is passion. You need to have goals, be self-motivated, and genuinely care about this game, its story, and the players who populate it. I’ll cheat and offer a third good quality as well – a willingness to compromise, as this is a highly collaborative environment where you’re surrounded by people who also have passion for this game, and some of the absolute best stories and plotlines can come about when people are willing to bend a little on their initial vision by bouncing off others at least somewhat.
  • Asp: Patience is, without argument, the most important. However, just behind it, I believe self-confidence is definitely an important trait to develop. You need to believe in your work just as much as you believe in the work of the people who have been here for 10+ years, and dedicate yourself to it just as hard. However, this is a trait that I did not have much of when coming up, truthfully. The Havens will help you build this, though, and you’ll find soon that others believe in your work just as much as you do – even if it takes some getting used to!

Question 10

Can you describe ‘a day in the life’? You wake up, grab your coffee and…?

  • Skipper: Look at what I did the day before and figure out how to fix what I made a mistake in.
  • Birb: Cups of coffee. Vitamins. Exercise. A typical day includes opening Merriam Webster, dictionaries and a vast array of obscure encyclopedias or magical pages. It also includes adding several new tabs to an already impressive collection of permanently open tabs.
  • Iceman: Log in, chat for a bit, pick up where I left off on Project A, Item B, or Room C, and hope that I can make a bit more progress before having to log off again.
  • Bones: Log in, chat, be goofy, and then dive headfirst into my project, while pestering for help and questions.
  • Cookie: It really all depends on what is going on that day. Most often it’s hanging out with the others in Havens and chipping away at our tasks. Some days all we manage is socializing, and that’s okay. Other times it can be a mad dash to help put the finishing touches on an event.
  • Slick: Check my list, and try to cross off what I can on it. Having a list of things to accomplish broken into bite-size chunks is VERY helpful advice I was given early on, and I can’t recommend it enough! It helps to keep you focused, organized, and demonstrates visually just how much you accomplished, even if it doesn’t look like very much as a whole.
  • Asp: My Eph routine: Check (redacted) to see if anything has been updated on projects I’m watching. Log in and say hello to everyone involved, and see if anyone is in need of any help (get affectionately scolded if I’m supposed to be working on one of my projects instead). Work until I hit a wall. Go to the Havens and hang out with people while doing housework. Work a little more when I feel the motivation! Log off and go do other things, like playing games or watching a show to unwind (VERY important, you don’t want to burn through your creative juices!).

Question 11

What advice would you give to those that are on edge about staying mortal for less-RP reasons and more mechanically (unspent fortunes, not getting all the limited artifacts one wants, not winning that Seal you want, etc)?

  • Skipper: Don’t come to the Havens, trust me in this. If you think your story in Lusternia isn’t finished, or you’re afraid you might miss something you like, stay mortal and keep weaving your part of the Tapestry. We’ll be here waiting for you when you decide to take the plunge. Not only that, but we need mortal players to populate the world we’re working to build!
  • Birb: Make certain that you are ready to cut ties with your character. If there is any doubt, maybe there are still experiences you want to enjoy as a player before being ready. There are often calls for new Ephs so there really is no rush.
  • Iceman: If you’re not sure, then you’re not ready. You have to be willing to give up life as a mortal, including any unfinished goals or “nice to haves” that you were working toward; your regrets will get in the way of enjoying life in the Havens.
  • Bones: If you have any doubts about missing your mortal life or regrets or feel like you have unfinished business, don’t come up. You need to let everything go.
  • Cookie: If you are hesitating because there are things you still want to accomplish or do as a mortal, then don’t pursue Ephemeral. It is okay to be uncertain if you will enjoy being in the Havens and the work required. However, you should only apply if you are certain that you’ve done all that you really want to achieve.
  • Slick: I’m going to break from everyone else and say that if the only things holding you back are non-roleplay achievements, think of all the things you can achieve up here instead! Do you really need a Beauty Seal when the entire game will have the opportunity to behold your beautiful writing? Would you rather have limited-time artifacts when you could instead strut around in ultra-exclusive swag of your own making? That’s not to diminish how much fun achieving mechanical things can be – I’m absolutely the sort of person who doesn’t consider an area “done” in a game until I’ve completed every single quest available. But if you think your enjoyment of Lusternia, in general, would be lessened by not being able to achieve those goals as a player and leaving them undone, there will be future Eph calls. If you feel compelled to get and do everything because you’re a completionist, and the accomplishments themselves hold little value to you compared to what you could accomplish as an admin, then I think it’s worthwhile to leave those things unfinished and join up.
  • Asp: For less-RP reasons? I would humbly suggest applying the Marie Kondo method: will the time and energy you invest in accomplishing this task (spending that fortune, waiting on Ascension to maybe win a seal, etc.) spark more joy than taking a chance in the Havens? Is it likely that you will succeed in this task and be able to move on, instead of perpetuating a cycle of procrastination? If the answer to either of these is a quick, easy yes then absolutely stay as a player and do the thing which you’ve set your heart on! However, if the answer isn’t easy, or fast, and you’re unsure – what do you have to lose? Your fortune will still be there if you find out that you don’t want to be an Ephemeral, as will the Seals. If you do find out that this is what you love doing, however, you’ll never think twice about those mechanics again.

Question 12

What advice would you give for future Ephs?

  • Skipper: Always remember that the older players in the Havens want you to succeed. No matter who you played or what org you were in, each and every person up here wants to get to know you and help you make it to be an elder god.
  • Birb: It is a lot of volunteer work. Do you have a passion for writing or coding? Be certain that this is something that you want. Some of us find that being Eph is incredibly rewarding and enjoyable while others quickly return to their mortal players. Whatever happens, this is completely fine, as long as where you are, fills your being with happiness.
  • Iceman: It’s not a race to be the first of your cohort to graduate Eph school. I’ve been up here longer than most, and I’m still making progress toward my godhood. Take things slow, enjoy the time you have, and learn as much as you can.
  • Bones: No one up here wants to see you fail, even if you have to vanish or take a leave or need time. Everyone wants to see you succeed. Also, everyone is really nice don’t be scared!
  • Cookie: Take your time and enjoy yourself. Ephemerals may be in training, but are still part of the team. Ask for help when you need it. Above all, believe in yourself and your abilities. Granted it’s far easier to give that advice to others than it is to listen to it yourself.
  • Slick: You’re probably a player in a text-based game because you enjoy playing narrative-driven games. While you’re an Ephemeral especially, make a point of creating fun time for yourself to decompress outside of Lusternia, whether that’s by picking up a new game or a new hobby entirely. You will be doing a lot of work and learning, and very little playing (until you hit arch-ephemeral, which will take months if not longer!), during most of your Ephemeralhood, so it’s important to carve out space to decompress from time to time.
  • Asp: Think about all the wonderful experiences you’ve had in this game that have kept you logging in. Imagine, just for a moment, being on the other end of that: helping to craft a narrative so compelling, a scene so moving, an experience so gratifying that someone talks about it for years to their friends after. You can do this, and you WILL do this, you just have to believe in yourself as much as we believe in you. You’ve got this!