Over the past few months I've heard quite a few complaints, the main one being how empty the servers are these days, and more specifically, a comment that the team doesn't seem to care. The latter comment, to be honest, irritated me. This post is probably long overdue, but it has taken me a long time to mull this subject over. So, where to begin?
I had the privilege of helping beta test Elder Scrolls Online a couple of times this last month. Its not bad at all for a MMO. The graphics are pretty good; there is plenty to do; and like Skyrim, the is a whole open world to explore....and about an hour into it I was beating my head against my desk, wishing I was running around CoPaP with friends. I suppose my point is, even with state of the art graphics and a zillion quests an online multiplayer game is only as fun as the people you are playing with.
In that light, the State of Hala is pretty damn good. We have awesome players.
But the complaint about empty servers is a valid one. It creates a catch-22 situation when the servers are empty. What are we going to do about it?
Yes, we could use new blood. The best way to bring people in is to let them know we are here and, speaking as a small business owner, the best way to advertise is by word of mouth. Most of my customers are people I've talked to, and people they've talked to, etc. Banners, and ads, and all that are barely worth the time it takes to create them. People have become so used to seeing that sort of advertisement, we automatically tune it out.
So, I am putting this burden on everyone's shoulders. If you feel we are lacking in players, then talk about us - tell your friends, post on Facebook, Tweet, blog, whatever.
It doesn't matter how many new players we recruit if the they can't find anyone to help them get started. If the servers are empty, people are less likely to log in. If nobody logs in, the servers remain empty. Like I said, its a catch-22. Goodness knows, many of us have been playing for years and have a lot more RL responsibility these days to interfere with game time. I'm not suggesting anyone should forsake RL to log in. I'm saying...if you do feel like logging in and find an empty server, don't move on to something else. Log in anyway and you may be surprised at who joins you.
It always seems like there is more that can be done to improve Hala than the team has time for. If you would like to lend a hand in some way but don't want to join the team please let us know. We gladly accept subcontractors for toolset work (unlike full team members, you gain access to our builders forums, but not anything that contains spoilers). If you don't like to build, ideas for quests or loot drops, books, and bug reports are always helpful.
If you are interested in joining the Hala Team, there is a team application around here somewhere....that you can just throw out the window. PM myself or Psye Shaar with your interest and we will put it up for a vote.
We only have a few requirements.
1. You can't have broken any major rules.
2. You can't be a current member of another CoPaP team or have been fired from another CoPaP team.
3. You have to have played on Hala enough for us to know who you are.
4. You must have a good attitude.
Notice that experience with PnP, DMing or building is not required. We will teach you. We are also happy to hire people on a trial basis so that you can decide whether you are comfortable being a DM. The Hala Team is small, close knit, and laid back. My only expectation of team members is that they enjoy themselves and that they make the world more enjoyable for others. You learn, build, and DM at your own pace.
All this brings me to a more personal note, and the comment that the team doesn't care. I started playing Sara because NWN could be played with one hand and it kept me sane through hundreds of long nights with two very fussy babies on my shoulder. Those babies are 8 and 10 now. As some of you already know, both of them are autistic, my son more severely so.
Please don't mistake this as any sort of plea for sympathy. Autism is what it is. I absolutely adore my kids and wouldn't have them any other way.
But, when it comes to my son, everything is two steps forward one step back. When he is moving forward, I can move forward too and focus a little more on my little business and my hobbies, which means I can spend more time working on Hala. When he takes a step back, everything suffers including my mood. And because I don't want to impose a bad mood on people here, I avoid Hala more. Last Fall the school made some changes to his support system and he took a HUGE step back that we are still recovering from. This is why I've not been around much these past months. Believe me, its not that I don't care about Hala.
And, I think its safe to say most team members are in a similar situation. Most of us started playing when we had plenty of time to spare. Now... Arkon is away working two jobs, or so I hear. Zombie is a parent. Psye is a (unofficial) Grandparent...I could go on. Somewhere along the line we all became responsible adults (yuck). We all still care a great deal about Hala, but RL comes first.
So the bottom line here is Hala (and all of CoPaP) is still a great place to play because of the players, and as long as we have even a couple of you around it's not going anywhere.