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Ender [1]
Administrator
rank 9
2017-03-22 23:37:55
[1 year, 60 days ago]

tl;dr: I took a short break. The game isn't going anywhere. I'll be a little less active on the forums going forward, in the hopes that this frees up development time/energy to make the game more awesome instead of just talking about doing that.

Hey all,

As some of you probably noticed, I've been absent for a few weeks. In addition to wanting to make a cheesy reference to a book in the Ender's Game series (ha), I felt like I should provide a bit more background about what's been on my mind and what you can expect in the future from me.

Over the past year or so, I've began to see bots4 less as a recreational activity and more as an obligation. This game has always been something I've done for fun (the extra income from donations has always been a greatly appreciated perk, but it’s ultimately a very small portion of my total income), so that has made it a struggle to want to login everyday and engage with the community. I don't think there’s anything to gain from hashing out the specifics, so I'll just say that what I felt in the few weeks leading up to my disappearance was a general but very persistent feeling of frustration.

This wasn't triggered by anything in particular. I think it was more of a "straw that broke the camel's back" sort of situation. I wasn't dealing with anything new - players have always complained about things like low frequency of updates, unfair forum moderation, game balance, and so on. Having been running this game since 2010 now (time flies!), I've grown pretty used to all that and very much get that it comes with the territory as the admin - gamers are opinionated mofos, myself included. It’s my job as admin to sort through all that and pull out the important bits, even if I sometimes don’t like the form the feedback comes in.

So where do I go from here? My old approach clearly wasn't working out and as I grow older, I've become much more defensive about how I spend my very limited time. Doing something that makes me unhappy and that I don't get much out of...well, there's not much point to that. It’s clear that something needs to change - only time will tell what I really do, but in short, my plan is to reduce my frequency of engagement on the forums going forward. Before it sounds like I'm just checking out and officially putting the game in maintenance mode though, hear me out.

I've never wanted this game to be about me, the person. I hate that I even have to make this post (hence my posting it to misc instead of as a more visible announcement - the players that care about community developments will see this, but players that just want to play the game and don't care about random personal drama don't have to read it). I like to work in the background and actually do stuff, not talk in front of a group about what I plan to do. I think most players don't give a hoot whether I've logged on in the past day, week, or even month. And nor should they - at the end of the day, what I assume really matters to the majority of players is the quality of the game and how fun it is. Who built the game is nothing more than a piece of trivia. I think a vocal and curious minority may comment on my whereabouts and that's fine, but I owe it to myself and the silent majority to stop tricking myself into thinking that I'm providing value with daily forum rounds and getting into in-depth discussions with players about my vision/plans for the game.

Going forward, I'm going to be making two concrete changes in how I operate the game:

  1. First, I'm going to login less frequently. I'm thinking weekly or every other week instead of daily, but I’ll figure out a schedule that works for me with time. I don't think my daily presence provides much concrete value to players, while risking that I get too emotionally involved again with day-to-day stuff, which only hampers game development.

  2. Second change is that I'm going to discuss ideas and changes less ahead of time with the community. I've often gotten great feedback from players about things I hadn't considered, so this one is a little harder to swallow, but the feedback has often come at a high cost - it’s usually difficult to pry out, taking many rounds of discussion and clarification, frequently with less-thought-out (or self-serving) ideas being offered by some players too. My rationale for this change is that it will allow me to iterate faster by operating more independently and not being shackled by seeking approval from players (a tall order even for the most mature of gaming communities). Any changes that really don't sit well with players can always be corrected; nothing is permanent. I think we can all agree though that most people will prefer (a) active development with some duds or missteps along the way to (b) active discussion of ideas without much movement on actual development. This is more how this game was run in the early days anyway.

Finally, I want to make it very clear that I have zero intention of shutting this game down, just in case anyone was thinking that. Much of the game was architected to be automated, so it requires very little recurring maintenance. Operating costs are very low and I'm happy to continue footing the bill indefinitely - bots2 and bots4 will always have a special place in my heart. It’s just time to try something a little new. I hope you all understand.

Your sometimes whiny creator and admin,
Ender

P.S. Note that I haven't yet read anything to do with bots4 (forum posts, bmails, IRC, FB stuff, etc.) since I've been gone. I'll definitely read all messages eventually and get back to people, but I wanted to first share all my honest thoughts without being influenced by whatever reaction (or lack thereof) there has been to my hiatus. My next step is probably going to be a medium-size non-controversial update that a lot of people will like - a win for everyone! Hopefully I can deliver this sometime in April, so stay tuned - I'll be back then to catch up on everything.


 
Gpof2 [130]
rank 9
2017-03-22 23:54:58
[1 year, 60 days ago]

Great to see you back, I was getting genuinely concerned about your well being after such a long hiatus. Despite you being gone, I've found myself playing quite a bit as of late and enjoying myself. You probably don't hear thanks and gratitude enough, so I thought I'd let you know. Plus I think that ties in quite well with how you touched on the game being intended to be mostly automated. I doubt I'm alone in the players that still find enjoyment out of what the game continues to be without administration.

Anyway, welcome back. Hopefully trying to limit yourself from communing with the game doesn't inhibit you from the IRC as well ;)


 
Nosferatu [280]
rank 9
2017-03-23 00:52:31
[1 year, 60 days ago]

tl;dr You suck Ender

Just kidding. As much as I enjoyed this game when I was younger (I started playing in June 2003 for those wondering), I can definitely state the only reason I continue to "stick" (I use this term loosely considering my lack of actual playing for quite some time) is the people I've come to know while playing (I would actually consider Gpof a "real life" friend).

That being said, I can concur that lack of development or absence of admin would really hinder this game much, if at all. It runs and plays like it always has. This doesn't imply that updates should cease and the game should run as is, there is always room for improvement - obviously - but that has no merit on the current state of the game. It seems it's very close to the same as it was when you first reintroduced it, albeit with a few improvements.

Just stay the course Ender, do what you feel is necessary for your well-being and sanity, and enjoy what you are doing. For the fact that the people who bitch and moan about this game day in and day out continue to come back and play this game day in and day out. Why? Because they like it for it's simplicity.


 
F1fty [280]
rank 9
2017-03-23 02:53:56
[1 year, 60 days ago]

i'm exciting the game maybe third or fourth time? And i hope this game wont die ever :) Probably we will be playing this game even if we are 40's years old :P


 
Dynamitecop [300]
rank 9
2017-03-23 07:50:07
[1 year, 60 days ago]

I am in complete agreement with Gpof.

And

Thanks for everything Ender! I come and go from this game a lot but I would never leave it completely. The game is a part of me and I shall be here until the very end. I have always said the game doesn't need many changes because as long as you can fight or train that's all that matters to me ^^

Take it easy and relax, you deserve it :)


 
MrZal2 [100]
2017-03-23 11:29:53
[1 year, 60 days ago]

I could bitch and complain here but instead I'll just add a list of things you could work on in the game that would be cool. From easy to hard difficulty:

  1. Add colors to clan rank.
  2. Add clan forum moderation.
  3. Add separate clan leaders forum so spies can't access them.
  4. Fix imgur stuff. The site has updated a bit.
  5. Add clan merging so people don't have to skip clans and lose all their energy anymore. Having a total energy that stays with a bot is good too.
  6. Fix the weird security stuff on Firefox and Chrome on the homepage while logging in.
  7. Get rid of broken weapons, maybe do 2/3s stats or something like bots2.
  8. Do something with diplomacy so people don't have to rely only on dumpers for a secure way of scoring energy. The idea that this game is PvP or real wars has obviously been destroyed at this stage so may as well just add this back in. Having so many stars and money concentrated in one or two clans in dumpers has given them too much of an advantage in this respect. Or you could do a combination of this and PvE.
  9. Adding something closer to jans index might be an interesting idea.
  10. Maybe do something where fully freaked bots can't attack normal bots due to the overkill factor (sure durability goes down fast, but with stars, nobody really cares).
  11. Reduce experience points needed to level for higher levels.
  12. Increase showroom chances for items.
  13. Rework the showroom to get rid of useless weapons/armors and add new ones.
  14. A full tutorial is needed for new players.
  15. We need lots of advertisement for new players but without a tutorial, it depends heavily on them meeting a mentor, so maybe a mentor program?
  16. Have events and celebrations again!
  17. Encourage more participation by actually allowing more people to help you. Either from more moderators to a community advisor to just generally listening to people and appreciating their concern.
  18. Implement one of my ideas over the years, any of them, I dares ya ;)
  19. Piddle with tournaments a bit like I suggested before that made Myriad and others go off on me like tax officials on Wesley Snipes. Or do something different, I don't really care about tournaments. Maybe make them active participation, that'd be cool.
  20. Streamline the game by making certain scripts part of the game in the workshop perhaps like show energy or hotkeys. Maybe also do that login thing you wanted to do beforehand.

    You can just say yes or no to these 1 and a time if you want, I don't need explanations. Just 1. Yes, 2. No, and so on. If you want to use your time on development like you say you want to.

    I think that a change in energy is needed the most so smaller clans have a better chance of doing something every month and having better competition overall. These suggestions should also keep you busy until 2020 or so.


 
Project XYZ [42]
2017-03-23 12:55:31
[1 year, 60 days ago]

Welcome back Ender, I'm glad to hear that everything is ok with you. I for one was starting to worry.

I like what you wrote above (and you certainly do not need my approval for anything). At any rate, you have made some very good points. I'm just happy to hear that the game will continue on.

Mr. Zal offered up some nice suggestions above. I would like to add to that a bit if I may.

1). I'll say this first. Your idea, Ender, of cutting your forum appearances back is a good one and it's not because we don't like or enjoy your presence on the forum. We do and I do. Maybe create an alias account if you want to come on to read the forum or whatever?

If my opinion counts for anything (even if it doesn't) I will give it and say this. This is your game and you owe no one any explanations, reasons for doing something and you do not need approval from the community. If or when you have an upgrade finished then just implement it and make an announcement. If theres a bug and the community finds it then it can be fixed. No discussions or opinions allowed simply because you will NOT respond to them.

Opening up discussion about upgrades or anything in the public forum will only incite bickering (which only serves to put you in the middle and you do not need that.) The game population is deeply divided between two differing sides and that will never change. Whether the change is liked or not it really doesn't matter as long as you think its good then thats all that matters.

2). Mr Zal made a suggestion that you should get some help administrating things and helping with the day to day operations of the forum and other things. I'll volunteer to help in any way can. I'll further this by saying #3.

3). This goes towards getting some other help. I have worked on various forums and video game reporting web sites in the past. One of these sites was all volunteer and we wrote game reviews and stuff like that and the site owner promoted and published the articles. He also was involved in programming in order to improve the appearance of the site. He was no where the programmer that you are plus he really didn't have the time. At any rate...

What he did was ask for volunteers from the site population that knew programming to see if they could do small tasks, he would give them projects to complete that he would check out and then implement. Maybe there are people here that could help with that? There are people out there that just like doing stuff like that. You just need to find them.

Another thing he did on a regular basis was to contact schools and entities that did such things as that. He asked them if it would be possible to get students from the school to do programming tasks for college credit. Don't laugh because we got a lot of real good help that way and some of them stayed on as permanent volunteer staff. He also got on different web site forums and asked for volunteers. (You could ask for volunteers here to do that for you.) The subject was writing game reviews and this isn't like that but there must be forums devoted to that.

My point is that you don't need to hold the game populations hand and ask for their approval. Number two, there are ways to get help in furthering the games development. Why not turn some of the things here in to a volunteer situation and all you will need to do is supervise things. There are a lot of people out there that would be willing. It might even get some new players in.

Thank you for your comment and I'm happy you are back. :) Cheers.


 
Dragon Summoner [91]
2017-03-30 14:15:21
[1 year, 53 days ago]

I was really hoping you'd just swerve everyone and suggest everyone read the book, and that's it


 
Ender [1]
Administrator
rank 9
2017-04-25 23:41:31
[1 year, 26 days ago]

Thank you, all of you. Your words are all very appreciated!


 
Samuli [150]
rank 3
2017-04-26 06:06:32
[1 year, 26 days ago]

Thanks Ender for all the hard work that you've put in this game. To be honest we have seen A LOT MORE updates than I ever could have expected. All the updates have been carefully planned (no testing in production environment) and I've felt like that the changes you have done have been for the good of the game (EXCEPT CRAZY EPH)

I think the only real problem with this game so far has been that fact that at some point you made too much promises that you couldn't keep and the fact that you did so should be acceptable and understandable for everyone. (ALTHOUGH IT ISNT FOR SOME REASON)

With very warm regards,
Samuli, who is still waiting for christmas 2012 and the PvE update


 
Triumph [209]
rank 9
2017-05-04 13:22:03
[1 year, 18 days ago]

Thank you for bringing bots back and continuing to run it even though you're not getting much out of it anymore. You'll never be able to please me, bots2 is gone forever and so are those days!

-Angelo


 
dragonrose [40]
Head Moderator
rank 9
2017-06-18 13:40:07
[338 days ago]

*hugs wiggin

you are appreciated & loved :)


 
Escobar [1]
2017-07-09 09:41:20
[317 days ago]

Greetings Ed! How's going ?


 
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