I've had a lot of time to think about what is the best course of action for handling this relaunch, given the lessons learned from previous attempts. Everything before this moment has essentially been the alpha and beta versions of the game, much as I've tried to dress it up as being something more. The last time we did a major upgrade, far too much time went into doing character rebuilds. Staff hours are the most valuable resource in the game and I hated to see them spent this way at a time when the game should be full of excitement. That time could have gone towards promoting character interaction and establishing roleplay with the new community. That's not to say I regret going that extra mile for the players that helped us make it to that point, but I'm definitely learning from the experience to get it right the next time around.
Easily the biggest challenge we face is with player items. There's a separate post coming about the lessons learned regarding custom items and how saturated the world became, but it's a problem that has to be addressed and corrected if we are to succeed with this relaunch. We really destroyed the value of materials by flooding the world with so much custom gear. In order to get this right, we are starting over with items. All items have to be wiped from the game so that we can restore some sense of value to what is available. From a player standpoint, I realize this can be a painful loss. Your gear helps define your roleplay and some of you have been defining your characters for over a decade. It pains me to be in this position, but I believe I have come up with the best way to salvage the creativity that went into these unique designs. Your work will live on as new creations that will supply the game with healthy yet finite list of items to pull from for years to come. With your creations we can fully stock all the shops across the game world, including future shops on islands not yet opened to the public. We will also have a sizable cache to pull from for peddles, event prizes, and other scenario and quest rewards. This takes the pressure off future staffers who enjoy things like hosting peddles but dislike the stress of coming up with new designs and having to make them in a short amount of time. Staff is free to focus on the roleplay of the event instead, which everyone benefits from. So much of the work that's gone into relaunching this game has been about how to best utilize the staff's time so that they can focus on enhancing the player experience. This is a major part of that. It's not fair by any means, but I hope that you take away some measure of pride in knowing your item designs will influence the roleplay of future players.
I have spent countless hours agonizing over how best to move forward in a way that benefits the players that have given so much to make this game possible. These last three months spent under different phases of quarantine have stifled a lot of progress that was being made on the game, adding more stress to the difficult decisions that lie ahead. I have not yet finalized how every detail of this will work out, but I want existing players to know I will do right by them in whatever way best helps the game move forward. I have compiled a list of "testers", those of you that have played and contributed to the game since its inception. I've done this without any input from other staff, and I've narrowed it down considerably to a final list of players who will be invited to rebuild their characters should they wish to do so. When the time comes, I will send out email invitations so that you can get an advanced start on the relaunching of Shattered Isles. I have several other benefits I am contemplating for returning players, staff players, and Patreon supporters. I have not yet settled on which these will be, but it's likely returning players will get for free some or all of the paid Patreon benefits like additional character slots, private discord server access, and custom forum titles. These will be explained in further detail in a later post.
I will have more information on everything after the server work is hopefully finished this weekend. Thanks for your continued interest!
Hierophant of Itzal