Sword 2

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It wasn't me, honey. It was Murphy!

Raiden Chronicles - Written by Raiden

This is turning out to be a busy and yet a lazy evening. I am not sure if it is the bright afternoon or the fact that I slept around 3 am, I am drowsy and I am fighting a writer’s block. Days such as this can only be salvaged by a nice cup (or 10) of coffee.

But what has excited me and have inspired to pick up the pen (so to speak) in spite of the drowsiness is what happened this morning.

This chapter began somewhere around two weeks ago. So let us go into a flash back and work our way from there.

Scene changed to black and white… Chicago, early 1920s… a figure in pin stripe suit and hat is intently staring at what appears to be a cookie… next to him is a tommy gun!!


Ok… let’s not flash that far and leave Al Capone out of this. Two weeks will be more than enough to get this story going. But let’s stay in black and white mode, alright?

It all began the day I sent a mail to Quinzel with a bunch of item IDs (the number that we use to identify an in-game item). Little did I know that I was CCing Murphy in the mail. The e-mail included a few costumes and an idea for a promotion that we can push out.

Since a long time, we had not done promotions involving costumes and I figured that you would love a costume give away, especially if it came along with the gold that you purchase from our website – instead of purchasing the costume itself.

Scene change – fast forward to 9/23

We launched the Elegant Panthera Jacket Costume (Green panthera) promotion

Fast forward to the week after the promotion

Someone asked in the forum whether this costume was tradeable and that’s when I discovered that it was not. That day I called up Quinzel and informed her about it and we both went “oh crap!”.

Now that we have reached the end of our flash back, shall we go back to the color please? It’s no fun having M&M’s in black and white. :(

Back to our story…

Usually when we design promotions and events, we try to check every aspect of what we are about to do and try to also see from the user’s perspective to gauge if it is worth the effort we are about to undertake. We try to figure out every angle, every possibility and try to gauge the pros and cons.

So when it comes to a promotion using a costume – especially an unlimited costume give away – it is obvious that many will have multiple costumes and would like to trade/sell the item, right?

This is when Murphy came knocking at the front door.

What was supposed to be an obvious question and a procedure that I have been following since many years, slipped right out of my mind.

But come on… we have a gazillion costumes and they are tradeable. What could go wrong?

So yea… I’m the evil monster you are searching for with pitch forks and torches – the one who is responsible for all the non tradeable costumes that are now rotting away in your inventory.

Kill me not already, angry mob. We still have to get to the climax of this story :s

On Friday we decided that we will talk to IMC and request them to make the costume tradeable and also talk to them about a few other things that we are working on. By the time we collected our thoughts and created an action plan, IMC had already gone home for the weekend. That left me with a choice to wait until Monday.

During the weekend, the weight of the situation started weighing heavily in my mind and I just wanted to get this over with.

What if IMC says that they cannot change this costume?
What would be our plan B?
What if IMC says that they will create a new tradeable version of costume and leave the old one alone? What will happen to all the injections that were going on at the time already?

“We HAVE to convince IMC!”

Monday arrived and first thing I did was to launch MSN to ping our contact and guess what else I forgot?

Monday was a holiday for IMC. /facepalm

After another long day, I finally got to speak to our contact this morning and told them about our lil situation. Even without waiting to hear an answer, I kept pursuing the fact that this request is important to us.

Now I am not sure if I was still lucky (by the way, luck seems to favor me a lot ^^) or because the promise of an ice cream worked, the team from IMC said that they will make the costume tradeable!!

By the time I post this blog, you would have already received your non tradeable costumes and would have already set fire to the thread in the forum. But I am happy :D

We will not be able to change the costumes this week though because in less than 24 hours we will have the maintenance and we still do not have the patch. The change is expected to happen by next maintenance. J

Good news, no?

The question for you at the end of the blog is this.

How evil am I to make you sit through a huge blog post instead of just telling you that the costumes will be made tradeable?

Hehe but I know you love our blogs. Until next time… ^^

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Injections, Injections, and More Injections!

Mightier Than the Sword - Written by Quinzel

For the month of September we’ve kind of gone crazy with promotions.  This month we’ve probably had the most promotions in a single month within this entire year.  I say probably because it very well feels like it with the amount of injections we are currently working on, particularly the most recent handful of promotions.  As I am writing this Raiden is diligently putting together three different lists while I’m pulling up data for a fourth one:

  • Green Panthera Jacket Promotion
  • Enchant Boosters Promotion
  • 24 Hour Sale - +5 Vet Lacquer
  • Le Pouvoir BOGO Sale (still going on until Oct. 1st, 2011)

Typically, as most of you know injections can take a few days to complete after we’ve gathered all the data.  Most of you are probably wondering why it takes that much time and why it can’t just automatically appear the second you make your purchase. 

In the past we have made a mention on the forums in a few threads about how injections are done on our end, but rather than making you looking for a needle in a haystack I figured it might be beneficial to have this entry in plain sight right here on our blog.  Hopefully, this post will provide some answers. 

The first thing that I ought to explain is that we do not have access nor do we have a tool/system in place that would allow us to do automatic injections.  Certainly, we have tools that help us to moderate the game and allow us to inject manually, but there is no built in mechanic that automates this process.  I’m going to try to explain roughly through a hypothetical example of how this all works.  Imagine two different databases – let’s call them DB1 and DB2.  DB1 has all your GamersFirst information including your Sword 2 accounts and your payment history.  DB2 has all the in-game data including your Family names, Character information, Inventory information, and anything else in-game related.  What’s one thing both have in common?  Gold.  When you purchase Gold through the Sword 2 Marketplace that information gets saved in DB1 and when you spend that Gold that information gets saved in DB2.  The issue is DB2 - the one controlling in-game items - doesn’t really talk directly to DB1.  DB2 only cares about Gold coming into your in-game Wallet and Gold that is spent in the Bazaar.  That is the extent of the conversation.  For example, DB2 does not tally up how many times you’ve purchased 3,500 Gold so it can give you X amount of Green Panthera Jackets.  So that leads me to discuss our injection process.

I’ll use the Green Panthera as an example.  I pull up a report that queries into DB1 and I set the dates for the range of data I need.  I can then export the report to an Excel and start sorting it out and creating pivot tables.  The Green Panthera had about 2,000 lines of data that had to get sorted down to the Unique S2 Game Accounts and the total number of Gold purchased.  Then I have to tally up how many times an account purchased 3,500 Gold so I can give them X amount of Green Panthera Jackets.  The report does not give me the Family and Server Name, and it only gives me about 90% of the Sword 2 Account Names (which one the player purchased Gold for as sometimes players have Alt accounts or linked accounts).  In most cases if you are expecting a promotional item you should find it has been injected in the inventory of the Family and Server you were purchasing for.  Sometimes the report cannot determine which account is your main playing account (account you were purchasing for) so there might be an issue when we are running the injections.  Other times, (depending upon the item in question) your Inventory or Premium Inventory is full and the injection fails.  If you end up having to submit a ticket we are able to rectify this almost immediately as our AMs have the full list (and even the raw data) for our injections.  Just keep in mind that when you’re ticketing in, we usually specify that it will take a few business days to complete all injections.  After going through each step I hope it is apparent why it might take that amount of time to complete.  Our goal however is to always try to get it done as soon as possible.

We understand full-heartedly that this is not the ideal process for promotional item injections, especially for our players who we would like to give instant gratification to when possible.  At the least we would like to offer promotions that make the couple days of wait worth it and hope that the community finds some pleasure in receiving a little something extra for their time and money.  This process, although it is the current system available to us now, does not mean it will always be the same system we will live with forever.  Our team will continue to work towards improving ways for us to more efficiently and effectively moderate the game and that includes improving or changing existing systems, tools and resources made available to or created by us.  As we work towards these things we only hope that the community will understand that those changes and improvements will take time and effort. 

I’ll give one example of something that culminated from a long haul of time, resources and effort.  It wasn’t until about 2 years to 1 ½ years ago that we were able to create a functioning promo code system.  For the longest time, we did not have the capability to give a Sword 2 player a code they could redeem to get in-game items.  This limited both our ability to run certain promotions and marketing campaigns.  From this need we were slowly able to build a system with the help of IMC Games. 

Today, we are thankful that as a team to have the resources available to us now… but it doesn’t mean we will stop asking for more/better tools and resources anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Birth of a New World

Raiden Chronicles - Written by Raiden

Last week I revealed my name and suddenly I feel like I have been exposed to the elements. My picture has become public and a lil bit of me is out there now. The shenanigans have already started in the forums.

It was not unexpected nor a bad thing. In-fact, it makes me feel more connected to the people around the world. I am no longer just a game avatar and I bet that things are only going to get more personal in the days to come. I just need to get used to the members from the community calling me by my real name.

We launched the Sword 2 Production Blog as well last week and this is my first entry into the collection. The blog will be updated more often with Quinzel and me contributing almost every week. What this means to the reader is that you will get to hear a lot more of what is going on behind the scenes. More information will be posted out there about the game that you love and we will get to share the candid moments that normally stays within the office.

Today I am writing this with the PVP server in mind. The Sword community around the world – including those who are from a different planet (I’m looking at you mods) – have been waiting for its release. Though we are working on it on a daily basis, we haven’t had headway in this department due to technical issues.

Before I get into it, I must reiterate that Sword server architecture is different from any of the games out there. The complexity of the set up makes it sturdy and volatile at the same time.

A major advantage that a user can feel from personal experience with this kind of set up is that when something goes down, it does not take the entire server down with it. The crash is often compartmentalized into a channel or a zone – leaving enough room for players to circumvent the crash without being locked out for an entire night.

Last Friday we made progress with the troublesome PVP server. However, by the time we reached what we think is the root of evil, we had to call it a day. I am not saying that we have found a fix. I am not saying that PVP server will be launched within a week or a month. I am not even saying that I like Twilight.

We simply had a breakthrough. Is it the root of all evil? We will not know until we take steps to correct it and initiate another PVP session. If it fails, we will go back to the drawing board.

This is what I love about this job. Things are never easy and nothing is handed down in a silver platter.

Why am I telling you about something that’s not working? I believe that this contains more information about the PVP server than “It’s not working right now”. The saga continues…

With that said, I am off to do things that I normally do on a Sunday.

Meanwhile, take a look at this image that Quinzel sent a few weeks ago ;-) Maybe in the next blog, we will talk about it and tell you the story behind this image.

Oh and don’t forget to leave your comments about the new Sword 2 Production Blog. ^^

Thursday, September 15, 2011

No Longer a Noob?

Mightier Than the Sword - Written by Quinzel

My body just isn't what it used to be.  Two weeks after first coming in contact with the contagion known as the PAX Pox, I am still experiencing sporadic fits of lung-hacking.  In one sense I am sad I missed out on the last day of the expo and in another sense I am proud to have been inoculated - my right of passage.  (Neume has started calling me a biological weapon.)


Funny enough, I’ve never gotten sick during E3 the past 3 times.  That wasn’t the only difference I noticed though between the two trade shows.  As much fun as I usually have during E3, I did get more of a communal sense from PAX.  At PAX I got more of a “for the people by the people” vibe.  To some extent E3 feels more like an industry media show where companies vie and compete for having the most scandalous booth babes or most debaucherous parties.  That’s not to say there is a lack of either of those things at PAX, but you do feel a little different.  At PAX, I actually had a couple people ask me (with genuine interest) what it is I do for the company and how I started working in the gaming industry.  I’m not sure why, but I was kind of surprised when the first person asked me.  They mentioned they were currently going to school for pre-med or something along those lines but had a strong interest in game design.

 “So how did you start working in gaming and how long have you been a Producer?  Was it something that you went to school for?”

Uhhh... Well, it’s kind of a long story but I’ve been working in the gaming industry for almost four years now and have been a Producer for over two years.  It happened pretty organically.  I started entry-level as a Game Service Rep and focused primarily on one of our titles called Knight Online.  I got promoted to a Senior GM, for a title called Red Stone (until that sunsetted) and helped lead our Payment Support Team.  As a Senior GM I also provided production support for a game called GoGoRacer, during which it became very apparent that I really wanted to move towards working in production. 

My opportunity came when I was given a chance to interview to become an Assistant Producer for Sword of the New World.  At the time there were a few other individuals interested as well so I had to sit back and define my strengths that would make me a good candidate for the position. Why did I think I could do the job? I wasn’t necessarily a bigger gamer than any of the other candidates. In fact, in some cases I was probably less of a gamer. I forget now the exact questions (Neume and Linus) asked me during my interview, but I do recall mentioning what I could bring to the table.  First, I had a proven track record within the company that I could manage a team (as Senior GM/ Payment Support Lead I had 10 employees reporting to me). Secondly, I had a bit of production experience helping on GoGoRacer (specifically game production), but also in my previous work and educational experience (film production). Lastly, I mentioned that another thing I would bring to the table was a new perspective.  Sure, anyone new to the game could say that, but the fact that I defined it as a strength I think helped convey my work ethic and attitude.  In the end I got the job, I jumped in head first at the deep end, took what guidance was given to me, and ran with it.  Less than a year after I became Assistant Producer I was promoted again to be an Associate Producer for what is now known as Sword 2.

My educational background actually was not in gaming.  I had gone to school for Film & TV, but I found that there was some cross overs.  Production - whether you are working on a video game or working on a film - there are some inherent skills that you need to have to do the job.  You need to understand how to manage and work well with teams/departments.  You need to have a passion or interest in the projects you work on.  There’s a balance between art, entertainment and commerce that you should be privy to.  Furthermore, you must be ambitious, willing to work crazy hours, be resourceful, and you have to know your numbers.

When I first started working at GamersFirst, I was far from a college graduate.  I had been out in the work force for nearly four years mostly working for big corporations, making a decent living, and paying off huge school loans.  I did everything from free-lance video editing to corporate sales.  Despite making a decent living I was still searching for something more; I wanted to make a living but work with people I could have conversations with about the things that interested me the most in life. Finding the right company culture is sometimes harder than it seems.  I am a nerd at heart so gaming, comics, films, and TV are all my cup of tea. I’ve been pretty fortunate that I’ve found a nice little home at GamersFirst where my personal interests and career goals can finally go hand in hand.

  I was a complete noob. 

Volktreau bugged me daily about leveling. He posted on my Facebook “Nub, level faster!”  Another co-worker commented, “Be nice and leave the poor nub alone.”

I had to learn how to manage the International Operations for our title and work with new people for the first time.  I had to learn how to work effectively with various departments from PR, Marketing, IT, Customer Support, and Creative. I had to build a relationship with our partners IMC Games and Hanbitsoft.  I had to learn how to analyze game data and make better decisions for the game.  I had to learn to prioritize and work within the greater scope of the company.  In short - I had to learn a TON!

Sword of the New World first launched commercially in July 2007.  I was brought to work on the title two years later.  Since then my team has launched almost double the number of expansions.  We’ve established new systems that did not exist prior, and learn how to utilize the resources and tools made available or unavailable to us.  We’ve broken several records for the highest grossing revenue days, including the top three days (by three fold).  We have worked towards establishing a strong relationship in our International Operations and also a stronger relationship with our development partners.  We have also worked towards building a stronger player community and an environment where we can have open dialogue with our players.  This blog is a perfect example of our efforts towards that end; we want to give our community a greater insight on our day-to-day and who we are.

Looking at how much my team has worked towards, all the challenges we’ve faced, and all the milestones we’ve reached together - I don’t know if I would consider myself a noob anymore.  I’ve gained quite a bit of experience in the past two years a Producer, but it is hard to say if I have really mastered my job because there are always new challenges, new opportunities, and new circumstances that I will face.  So long as my team and I strive towards improving and trying out new and creative ideas - we will always continue to learn.

Revelations of a Centaur

Raiden Chronicles - Written by Raiden

I always knew that one day I will be writing this and have thought about a million ways to present what I am about to say to the world. Right now is the time and I couldn’t have asked for a better name for the current game version that we are in.

Sit with me through a few game updates while I guide you and set you up for something that I think is a pleasant surprise.

September has been (and still is) a slow month for us around here. We have gone way ahead of ourselves and have completed and scheduled most of the work that will get triggered when the time arrives.

This month as Quinzel adeptly calls it (she has a name for everything!! Don’t kill meh) - is a month of reflection where we are taking a breather - reevaluating a year’s worth of work - comparing it with all the years Sword has been online and re-focusing on key areas. Because of that, things are not too hectic around here this month.

I think I am used to the mayhem that usually surrounds me and sadly, I am missing it right now.

We have already made detailed plans that will last us until February. Well, at least one branch of it. Many other aspects of the game are being worked on and all those will come into place like clockwork. IMC is discussing their plans and vision for the game with us that is almost a year away – maybe more. Things cannot get smoother than this.

I am sure the community would be happy to hear that Sword is doing exceptionally well at the moment. Though I cannot go into numbers, from the revenue standpoint, Sword is back into its glory days.

Although it looks like there are rainbows and pretty ponies everywhere, we still have a few hurdles in front of us. The PVP server seems to top the list of “the most likely to get spanked in 2011” category. I cannot get into intricate details… but I can tell you that IMC and we are on the case. We are troubleshooting the server on a daily basis, collecting logs and analyzing the problem and trying to fix it.

We are hoping to release it as soon as possible. “When” is the question that we do not have an answer for yet. We have always loved a challenge and this is just another one that we are facing. Oh we will get there soon.

Another critical project that is looming in front of us is a DB upgrade. It is a month or maybe even a few weeks away and it will be performed during a weekly maintenance. When this happens, the usual 3 hours of downtime will be pushed further in to the night.

We will inform the community in advance once the dates are confirmed so that you can prepare and brew enough coffee to keep you awake for the spam.

Apart from these, we are also raising a baby named Dominus. This project is Quinzel’s crème de la crème and the passion with which she is pursuing this, we are sure it will attain the results that we are looking for. We are currently at a stage where we are waiting for certain assets to be created.

We still have a long road ahead of us in realizing the visions that we have for Sword. As a part of this, you will be seeing a lot of activity (apart from the weekly release of patches that has been on since many months) and will be hearing terms such as “Project Aurora”.

Aurora is not a game patch or content or system or NPC or any of those sorts. But it is connected to an aspect of the game that would interest most of you. However, for the moment I will leave that mystery hanging heavily in the mind of my readers.

I guess I now owe you a revelation to balance the scale.

Since many years, I have been behind a veil of smoke – working, interacting, playing, laughing and exploding as Raiden. It is time to step out from the shadows and into the chaos.

Bit of bookworm, biker, explorer, gamer, hopeless romantic, writer and a rebel...

Born into the constellation of the Centaurs, a Sagittarian by birthright, I was not always Raiden. My parents probably didn’t think that it would be an apt name for a boy to live with.

I am Vishnu Vijayakumar… Assistant Producer – Sword 2

The Ripples of Yesterday

Raiden Chronicles - Written by Raiden

Been a while since I wrote something and I guess today is the right time. Gauging the current mood that I am in, I do not think this blog will be much about Sword. I do not have a specific topic in mind nor am I looking for a topic to blog about.

All I am doing right now is ramble on about a bunch of nothings.

I am slouched in my seat staring at the window curtain flap around in the cold air that is blowing from the AC duct. I can hear the QA guys shouting and screaming as they are playing a game of unreal tournament behind my bay. It is their way of relaxing for half an hour from the hectic months they are having since a while. The hard deadlines that we imposed for Revelations, APB, Victory, Warrock, KoL and some other projects have taken its toll on everyone.

It is only right that they energize themselves with a fiery game of Unreal Tournament.

I still have the unopened UT DVD at my desk – waiting for me to install it and start pwning the QA noobs.

Sword team as a whole is in high spirits. Our plans are seeing the light of the day faster than what we did back in November, revenue is looking good, plans for the future are already taking shape months ahead rather than in the last minute, bugs are getting fixed, things are getting released and a whole bunch of things are happening in the background.

Just last week we received a patch from IMC that will however see the light of day only after a month or two. We are ahead of all curves this time and we are not running around like a bunch of headless chicken – Quinzel taught me that analogy.

We have been working on a lot of future plans and most of them are nearing the first stages of their completion. Excel documents are waiting to be sent to IMC after one final run through, a bunch of bugs that still needs to be documented, patches waiting to be pushed live to fix some critical bugs… How can we not be ecstatic about the things to come?

Back to the game – later today there will be a regular maintenance with the release of a patch to fix the critical dual login bug. While talking about it, I also need to appreciate and thank the few users who have come forth with this information as soon as it was discovered. We are aware of the harm this kind of bug can bring and IMC will be helping us pull the data we require to gauge the damage that has been inflicted. This normally ends up with a few mischievous users banned. Come on… you didn’t think we wouldn’t notice, did you? ;-)

All that aside, I need a vacation. Some quality time with my friends who has been around in my time of need. I will be away for 4 days starting this Friday for a lil “me time”. I need to recuperate and focus and save my energy for the months to come.

I know that I have been absent from the forums for a very long time compared to how much I used to spam along with you guys. I apologize for that. However, we are trying to bring in Fynlo into the active forum duty while Quinzel and I work on keeping the ball bouncing. In all sincerity, we love spending time in the forum and talk with everyone. Alas, spamming in the forum does not keep the engines running.

The release of Revelations with fewer bugs has given way for new things to look forward to and enough time for us to work on other aspects of the game. I just realized that it is with Revelations that we are finally leaving behind the tough times that we endured during the past and the ripples created years ago has finally settled.

With that said, I am wising all of us good luck on the things to come and hope to see the game reach newer heights!

Behind 3.4

Raiden Chronicles - Written by Raiden

1 March, 2010

First day of the month and possibly the first day I am working since the launch of 3.4. Even though it is a Monday (my busiest day of the week), it feels like a storm has passed after the weeks that we had.

We have been working against time since a couple of weeks. So many things went wrong during this update that it looked like 3.4 would have been delayed indefinitely. It all started with the making of the server. Evora was one adamant baby who refused to go live no matter what. Without this server, we couldn’t even begin testing the content.

It took us a month and required us to build the server twice from scratch just to install the content on Evora and bring it to login conditions. From there on testing went smoothly. We encountered a major bug that crashed the client and locked test accounts from the server. Through each passing update, we lost few brave accounts to this bug. *maintains a minute of silence*

During Feb, we held a meeting with the Production and the QA team to share updates on the progress of the new contents. It was during this meeting that we set a deadline for ourselves that seemed impossible. 24 February. At this point, we had lost the cash shop on the server and IMC and HBS were trying to revive it.

19 February: We received a huge patch that was supposed to upload the loading screens into the game. Since we had few beta players on Evora, we decided that we will upload it on Montoro first and reduce the Beta Server downtime. Now I am not sure if it was because Montoro was feeling jealous of all the attention given to Evora or global warming, the loading screen patch nuked Montoro. We were not even able to enter the server.

The release was looking impossible during the next maintenance. The crash bug that claimed the test accounts were still existent and the colony wars were broken. Apart from these major issues, there were tons of other bugs that hindered the launch. The QA team was already exhausted due to their 12+ hour schedule everyday and the report at the end of that day suggested that release on 24th was IMPOSSIBLE.

22 February: The Sword team entered the office looking like a bunch of people who just came out from a month long ordeal in prison. By now we had figured out most of the bugs after working over the weekend. However, Faction Wars were still broken and the game breaking bug still existed on the server. Cash shop was pretty much in a mess.

Most of us started looking at 3rd March as the possible launch date. But we were not ready to throw in the towel yet. We stuffed ourselves with coffee and sugar and everything that could keep us awake to get 3.4 out the door.

Pressure was mounting on everyone due to the self declared deadline. Even the guys from IMC were eager to get 3.4 out during the maintenance and they too were working overtime to fix the issues that were being reported on a daily basis. They delivered 5 patches that day that fixed most of the critical issues.

Time spent awake in office: 19 hours
Colony war status: Down!

23 and 24 February: The final call on the release was handed over to Neume with a compiled report of all the existing bugs.

After reviewing them, it was decided that we will go in for an early maintenance, provided we receive a few more patches that were scheduled for that day. With that in mind, we requested the AMs to start making an emergency maintenance notice so that the players could prepare themselves.

While we were an hour away from the maintenance, IMC delivered a fix for the critical crash bug. The breath of relief that we took at the sight of that patch in our inbox was something we cannot express.

It was much better than the feeling you have when you realize that you just won a round in Russian roulette (I know, I am dark and is next in line to rule hell ).

The patch was uploaded on the test server immediately. Obviously the maintenance was put on hold and we began testing the new fixes.

By now most of us were pretty much brain dead due to the lack of sleep. Lucky for us that the AFK feature is activated by space bar. We were prepared for this and aimed our head to hit space bar in case we crashed. Some of the QA guys actually crashed and took an hour or two worth of nap right here in the office when they simply could not take it anymore.

While the testing was in progress, IMC delivered another last minute fix. Due to these fixes, we had to delay the maintenance by 4 hours. Well, technically it was still early since the maintenance was normally an hour later from when we began.

Faction War Status: Down!

3.4 Maintenance:

I am going off topic for a minute to vent a little. During maintenance, a couple of users had posted some comments such as *puts on a whining voice*’oh…maintenance is late. Another k2 fail.” And a lot of other negative posts by the same two to three all over the forums.

It is not that I didn’t know how to give a proper reply to those. I was just in a great mood and nothing could ruin it for us that day. /facepalm

Disclaimer: The references are fictitious and do not resemble anyone logged in or logged off. The story was illustrated just to prove a point. If it does resemble you, please logout and login with a different account. We are in a virtual world where men are women, women are men and little girls are FBI agents. Batteries not included.

Back to Uncle Raiden’s story…

It took us 7 and half hours to release 3.4 to our community. While maintenance began, Nutc4se was at the hospital tending to his wife who was going into labor. He ran into the office to make a check list of things to be done and hurried back to the hospital. Hours later, he became the father of a son!! What a day! I’m calling the baby 3.4 and Neume is calling him Grenado Espada.

Neume was awake till the wee hours of the morning overseeing the maintenance and keeping the community occupied with cats. It took him a few hours to prepare the patch notes. It was him who told me over the phone that we can inform the community about 3.4 during maintenance instead of keeping that news till the end. My obvious reaction was “BAH HUMBUG!” By about 4 in the morning, he crashed. It is rumored that Senor Gato ate him.

Quinzel was coordinating with IT and IMC to complete the maintenance. While QA was performing the routine checks when servers were online internally, she was at a stage where she PMed me and said that she might crash any minute and if I don’t get any reply from her, know that it is because she is unconscious. But she hung in there and crashed only when IT sent out the e-mail saying “servers are online”.

Everyone took the day off on 24th to simply sleep in and recharge.

Colony War status: Down!

25th and 26th February: Those were the laziest day we had till date. We hardly did anything. I put on my headphones and lazed around in the forum, checking for any issues with the release. It was time to give all our attention to 4.1.

On Thursday, we had one of our weekly production team meetings where we normally decide the fate of the New World. We were all very happy that we were able to deliver on the impossible deadline that we had. But we were so tired that it was reflected on the cheers we gave each other. It was like “WE DID IT!!!” zzzzzz

I was looking like a gorilla with a beard and hair resembling a hot air balloon.

Colony war status: IMC sent an e-mail which explained why the colony wars went down on Evora. This told us how to fix the colony war issue. Fixed!

Even though CW was a critical issue during content release, we went ahead with the release because we had time till Sunday to fix it. I agree. It was a huge risk that we took. But it paid off. 3.4 has been a dream for us and players alike. We were determined that we will not skip the deadline.

Monday: Quinzel is in Korea to meet with IMC in person. The relation with our developers has improved a hundred times since the dark ages. During this visit, she will be concentrating on the future plans we have for sword and speed up the updates even more.

What are our plans from today, you might ask. Well, we are starting all over again.

4.1 will not be as easy as 3.4!