2020 Year in Review

2020 was a complicated year! With some of the real-world events, let’s just say it felt like three or four years. With the crazy year in mind, I was surprised when I looked back over the year’s accomplishments. Many things felt like they were AGES ago. As usual, many plans were derailed and many new, exciting projects were born. This year looks nothing like the plans I had made and that may have been a good thing!

With the lockdown in mind, we made the general focus of the year on activities and quality of life. The addition of Credit Milestones drastically changed the dynamic in the game. Milestones sped up content and provided more tangible results for the effort. The Duel received an upgrade that makes it easier and nicer to hold, promotional odds were made more visible, and the Farming system received a better map system. We also added our single most requested player idea, Polygamy.

Aetolia Classic was far more of a hit than expected, leading to the return of some older players. Classic gave us a nice look back on how things have changed and what might be resurrected. We also had to change up the customize and housing systems to account for all the new purchases via credit milestones! But my -favorite- part of the year was working with RIP Medical Debt, where our amazing players gave so much that we were able to donate $15,000. Our players are amazingly generous, making May the most valuable month in Aetolian history. In the end, IRE as a whole was able to eliminate 2.2 million dollars of medical debt.

Second only to the RIP Medical Debt fundraiser, Ylemnics was my favorite new addition to the game world. Aetolia now has a completely player-facing visual coding language. The system has enabled all sorts of activity. Ylemnics let players help up discover a strange connection between random number generation and Roulette that left us all scrambling. The system was entirely volunteer made and has been incredibly impressive.

2020 was slim on major storyline events, save for the return of Varach Scolrys. We decided, early in the year, to steer away from major plots. Instead, we would shift to small, freeform events, sometimes just telling a tiny story, sometimes letting it grow organically into something larger. The goal was avoiding adding more stress to player and admin lives while continuing to keep Aetolia growing. The response overall has been terrific, from Bloodloch keeping their holdings in line to epic wars between an invading cat and a chicken in fullplate (it’s not as silly as it sounds, promise).

If you compare this year’s accomplishments to the 2019 plans post, you’ll notice a lot of things didn’t make the final cut. We had to reevaluate our goals several times this year, for multiple reasons. One major goal that is still missing is Mining, having hit some technical issues, and taking much longer than initially anticipated. Mining is still due to be released soon and we hope to have it out this month. Two Mirror Classes are on the way, are nearly complete, and coming your way soon. Holidays need their upgrade, Major Foci need that new bossfight, and there’s a talent nearly finished! Lastly, our story really wants to get moving, so we need to toss these self-imposed shackles and move forward with some major plots.

Despite not hitting some of these major goals before the end of the year, 2020 has been Aetolia’s best year. Playtime is at an all-time high and we’ve received more goodwill and outpouring of kindness than any year I’ve been here. 2020 has been trying in many other ways and I appreciate your understanding and ability to maintain kindness while the world went mad. With that in mind, we are looking forward to an exciting, adventurous year on Aetolia as we stride into 2021.