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The State of A'therys - An Honest Message to Our Community

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The State of A'therys - An Honest Message to Our Community



Hello everyone. It’s been a while since you have last heard from us and it’s finally time we speak up. We owe it to everyone who has stuck with A’therys through all these years to give a fully transparent message about what’s been going on and the current state of Horizons. 

 

TL:DR - Horizons is still in development. There have been many issues preventing its release but we're finally taking steps to fix things.

Even with these changes, if Horizons doesn't release within this year, it will likely fail. This is an honest post explaining our past and current situation with the project.

 

First and foremost, we are still working on Horizons. We haven’t given up yet, and would give an official statement if the project were ever canceled. However, it goes without saying development has been very slow. It’s been 4 years since the announcement of Horizons and we still haven’t released... In short, we’ve been stuck in development hell. There’s been many factors contributing to this but to name a few prominent ones:

 

The Decision to Go Modded - This was a big decision and looking back, it should have been thought out more. Conquest reforged looks great, however, the costs outweigh the benefits. We must use sponge instead of bukkit/spigot which also means coding our own plugins.

Modded means less reliability, requires more maintenance, higher system requirements, and overall reduces the potential player base that can’t or won’t play modded.

 

The Lack of Precise Planning - Another big factor in the slow development has been the lack of extensive project planning for a server with such large scope. While we began with a project document, this was more of a broad list of features and ideas which lacked a lot of details. Over time, this lack of planning and direction has caused many arguments, indecision, and has proven to be very counteractive to getting things done. Not to mention that much of the original staff has left and been replaced, causing many loose ends and perpetuating things further.

 

Map & Build issues - To the utter disappointment of many of you, our build team included, we still do not have a full world map completed, or well, not any more... Without knowing the full details, while nearing completion, the world file and the most recent backup files(?) subsequently became corrupted and unusable. The latest working backup is roughly a year outdated so a large portion of the map must be remade.

Another issue being the capitals and other builds themselves. The increased scope of Horizons coupled with the lack of foresight with builds has caused them to become a huge undertaking. The capitals we have completed are gorgeous but they are way too big and densely-packed. Matching the size & quality of the other capitals takes a long time, especially with a diminishingly active build team.

 

The Public Test Server - Last year we released the first substantial version of A’therys since the closing of Evo. We wanted to once again have a live server which people could play. Even if it was just an adventure PvE/PvP test world to start out, it did see a lot of players on release. However, after so long with only this to show, many of you were left disappointed. Later on we released a Towns expansion to the PTS which was rushed, poorly executed and ultimately failed.. Afterwards, we decided to close down the PTS and we are currently still up in the air about reopening it, or possibly a more permanent server which is used even after Horizons launches.

 

Poor Management - Unlike Vorske, Sellt hasn't been the sole leader driving the project, which has allowed us as staff to plan and make decisions as a group. However, with group decision-making comes a lot of arguing. Tying in with the lack of decisive planning, many meetings have been spent discussing how things should or could be, only to either be undecided on, or “decided” then forgotten over time, repeating the process over again. The lack of a proper management structure, unproductive meetings, indecision and lack of steady progress has severely damaged staff morale and overall productivity.

Throughout all of this, Sellt has been dealing with personal matters and has recently stepped away from project management for the time being. This has caused us to also take a step back and assess our situation.

 

 


 

 

Although, despite what it may seem like from everything above, we have made a lot of progress and the end goal is in sight. Here is what the current state of the project looks like, and the steps we’re taking to help change things for the better.

 

New Staff Structure & Management - In Sellt’s absence and not wanting to make the same mistakes as before, we have put together a new staff structure to streamline decision-making and increase productivity. This system consists of a council of team leaders, a project coordinator, a full-staff voting system and structured meeting agendas. We are still getting used to this new structure but it is helping.

 

Definitive Planning - Like it was mentioned before, lack of proper planning has been a big detrimental factor. In order to combat this, we have been putting together an official game design document (something we should have made a long time ago). This document will have an outline of the server vision, every feature and their details. This together with the new staff structure and structured meeting agendas and notes, we will finally have a plan which staff can follow freely and know what to do.

 

The State of Plugins - From what you might have seen from the test server, our core plugins, Towns and RPG/Skills are functional. They have a few bugs and lack some polish but they work.
We have also worked on a “Battlegrounds” plugin which you may have seen. This will facilitate most nation PvP in the shattered lands.

The Quests plugin is functional but is somewhat buggy and lacks a lot of user-friendliness.

A plugin for dungeon instancing has been worked on but is not quite functional.

Most of the other plugins are functional but everything will need thorough testing together later on.

 

The State of the Map and Builds - After losing most of the map, we are still moving forward.  We have assembled a small team to complete the map (again), and progress is moving steadily. Capitals are built independently on separate cut-outs of the map.

Falkynthos, Seten-nan and Korth are all complete which you can see from our preview videos.

Caenglare, the capital of Atvoria is roughly 25-30% complete and Daidama’s capital is still in the early stages. We have a lot of unused builds which we can paste around the map and shattered lands once the map is finished. We are also discussing lowering the scope of the last capitals to speed things up. If we can raise morale and activity within the build team for one last push into release, we are not that far off.

 

Community Relations - As you’re probably aware, our communication for a long time has been near-nonexistent or just ignorant to the community that has helped shape A’therys.

We know we’ve been pretty terrible in this aspect but we wish to rebuild the trust and relations of the community, or what’s left of it.. With this post as a first step in honest communication. The next steps we have are more interaction between staff and community, continued transparency on what’s going on as well as sneak-peaks, feature beta-testing and more.

Following this post, we will have a Q&A session on discord where you can ask any questions and we will answer them in a later post.

 

Release Date -

While we don’t have a set release date, we are aiming for a release this year, and if we can't, it is likely Horizons will fail. Despite the new staff structure and being closer than ever to our goal, our staff team is still at a low point. We need help. If you or anyone you know might be interested in joining the staff team or helping in general, please reach out to an admin or one of our team leaders on discord. We also have a few unfilled lead positions.
Project Coordinator - Rhykker

Lore Team - Jynxie

Build Team - Rvrviper / Redninja

Dev Team - Rynelf

Quest Team - (unfilled)

Economy Team - (unfilled)

Combat Team - cicetil

PR/Media Team - TheSandersLad

 

With all of this, hopefully it helps all of you better understand the issues we’ve faced and how we’re dealing with them.

I would like to thank all of you for being with A’therys for so long and I hope we can play together again in the near future.

 

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Thank you for the honest message.  I've missed this community and the play very much and hope for the best.  Please keep us posted!  You are all wonderful for still working so hard to get us going again.  :) 

Edited by Ravyhn
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yay i hope to see yall at launch. ive been telling people i know to watch the trailers. sweet stuff cant wait to see it thoroughly tested and to help with testing if the public test server comes up i'll be there. :3

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What a well-organized post. Good job Cice!

A'therys has always been dear to me, but I am a bit concerned how well Horizons will be recieved when (or if) it gets released.

Of course that's a harsh topic after all these years - and you've worked so hard for it! But don't be hard on yourselves about community relations. That's indefinitely tough to care for over such a long period of time. 

Considering the somewhat failed attempts at the public test server, I hope you find a way to test your features again. Because if people keep disappearing after testing, then we might have a problem after a Horizon launch 😅

Thanks for doing what others do not. The fact that there's anything going on with A'therys at all is because of the staff. I hope I some day will be able to lend my support 

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Even though I've fallen off in recent years, A'therys has always held a special place for me. Even if Horizons fails, I'm sure the community will still stick around the forums and Discord server. 

I'm so glad you guys are being honest and transparent about the struggles in development, a lot of teams like to pretend "everything is going fine" even when they're clearly crashing and burning. 

If I just had more time I'd be willing to help out with development, but as things are in my outside life right now I just can't. Good luck guys, here's hoping that you get this done in the best way possible.

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Tldr: As a player who grew up on this server i am sad to see were things are at but im glad you guys are working on it. Also i told you so  and then some input from my perspective.

To the staff and players who see this YOU ARE ALL GREAT, that being said it has been many years of Atherys and everyone including myself has an opinion on were it should go. ( if you remember at all you know were i stand.) A vote style system is good if you guys are having trouble with vision and coordination on the Atherys project however it is a monster that requires ONE VISION and i would hope Sellt gave you guys a vision to work towards as that is necessary for this type of project. This is why i have nothing but respect for the unwavering vision Vorske put forth for Atherys even if every decision made wasnt always for the best.

 

While im never going to be a fan of using a Polished mod pack i would argue you dont need to polish the entire project before releasing it. Atherys has never been in a finished state and i dont think it ever should be ( Live development allows for player input.)  I would also like to put out there a public and updated guideline on what the staff desire to be finished before the server goes live and goals before implementing subsequent updates would help both staff and players visualize were things in the project are at ( Ex. goals before release finish capitols and get plugins functioning. ) 

 

As for community relations WE LOVE YOU BASTARDS even if you stress us out and even if were stressing you out. We care about you guys as people you are our friends that we have played with over the years and dont you forget it. That said i dont think focusing on community relations will work all to much before a live server is released I hope this part dosnt come across wrong. It just seems until people can see results i just dont think people will be able to put trust in the Atherys project.

 

To conclude  Bring back the dictatorship we all love and cherish, Nation head classes are pog, Dont worry about being perfect, Fuck that Carl guy he is dumb, Httot Vorske.

 

#Nationheadclasses #BreadGang  #VorskeChat #Vrobros #Fuckthatcarlguy #<3thestaff #Vanillagang #Zorozeeineedtothewheatplshurry #Sandersstopstarvingtodeath #Stopboltingmesanders #<3sanders and finally #AtherysisaCommunistDictatorship

 

 

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I loved A'therys and have missed it incredibly.    I sincerely hope you all can resurrect it.  I appreciate the honesty and will continue watching and waiting.   It will be worth it, for sure.

Jay_lee

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Does this remind anyone else of the kotaku article about anthems development? The lack of direction admitted to especially

 

all you are missing is a larger corporation taking away staff you need halfway through development to work on mass effect andromeda

 

Honestly at this point id just take playing the “craft to exile” modpack on an atherys map with the server resources intensive tech mods and minecolonies disabled and towns enabled

itd be PRETTY close to an atherys experience, less class based builds but throwing fireballs and using skills feels very similar

 

actually.... i do have my old download of EVO map, i could mess around in it throwing fireballs for old times sakes, but id miss actually playing with friends for that atherys experience (and the lack of ores you need to progress the modpack on the old EVO map would also stifle the fun)

 

doesn't help that most of my old friends have left, only person i recognize on this thread is tobber

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the decision to go modded was a terrible idea and i'm glad it's acknowledged. your best play is to scrap that idea all together. consider it as a sunk cost and start from vanilla.

and this will give time for your leadership team to do some soulsearching and really think about what this server is all about at it's fundamental core. develop a minimum viable product to be launched asap, cause you're right, if the server isn't released soon this project is done for.

for atherys to succeed you really need to take a look on how you process user feedback. historically i think the listening aspect was really poor on the administrations side and had difficulty implementing features that addressed the feedback. you need to make features and decisions based on the players want and needs, not the inner circle in power wants.

that's the only way that atherys can survive.

Edited by Dan The Derp
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7 hours ago, Baracuda said:

I wouldn't say that Vorske was a dictator... that's not at all how it felt when I was a member of the staff team.

And comments like that don't belong in a post like this anyway.

~Cuda

You're right. Calling him that wasn't intended to be defamatory or anything. Poor choice of words. I've personally never worked with Vorske but from what I've heard he had a strong vision for the server which he was very decisive about. That was the comparison I tried to make. I've since changed the wording to be less harsh.

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I don't think I wholeheartedly agree with Dan on scrapping the modded experience altogether. I understand the point though since a modpack wouldn't garner to as large an audience as vanilla would. Mods such as Towns and Heroes are really what were the core of A'therys in my opinion. But four years of development with no actual playerbase is no good look. I think the mistake was not to have a pre-release early in the development and have continuous player feedback build the server to a fresh look. You don't need all regions of the world built and all mods you envisioned ready to have a server that is playable. Especially in a case like this.

A'therys began in a big way in 2012. Perhaps it would be wiser to start much smaller this time. Maybe Dan is then right about redefining the server and having a working product even if it is not what was envisioned. I think building the capitals to utmost quality and size have been given far too much value. They were mainly there for scenery. Nearly all player interactions in A'therys happened outside them. They were places where new players were in awe before someone guided them to a community made town. Though there is no denying that fancy builds make the server more enticing. I still think that how the terrain is built is more important than capitals.

I think the step to redefine management and to have a proper plan is a right one. I applaud the entire staff team for their dedication to the project. There is a decent outline to what the server will look like. But to me it still misses the big point. That is, what will A'therys be like.

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Hey all. Best wishes on everything, and I sincerely hope that A'therys rises once again (if you ever need an admin-nationhead again, hit me up :P) That being said, I'm curious to know, if the server isn't revived by the end of the year, will y'all be releasing the completed works publicly? What you've shown us so far has by and large been stunning, and if I can't have an A'therys server to run around on, I'd at least like to wander around its builds  and dream about what could have been. Back in the day, Edd and Hinder would periodically release nation capitals or other A'therys related things. It was an awesome little present for those who weren't on the build team, and helped garner interest in the server via PMC.

If nothing else, I feel it would be a nice 'consolation prize' for those of us who have kept on checking these boards for years, hoping for updates :)

Love,

~Fiend

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On 7/8/2021 at 12:53 PM, Gasfiend said:

Hey all. Best wishes on everything, and I sincerely hope that A'therys rises once again (if you ever need an admin-nationhead again, hit me up :P) That being said, I'm curious to know, if the server isn't revived by the end of the year, will y'all be releasing the completed works publicly? What you've shown us so far has by and large been stunning, and if I can't have an A'therys server to run around on, I'd at least like to wander around its builds  and dream about what could have been. Back in the day, Edd and Hinder would periodically release nation capitals or other A'therys related things. It was an awesome little present for those who weren't on the build team, and helped garner interest in the server via PMC.

If nothing else, I feel it would be a nice 'consolation prize' for those of us who have kept on checking these boards for years, hoping for updates :)

Love,

~Fiend

Our first intent is to release whatever we have as the Horizons server, even if it's not all completely ready. If the server can't survive for any length of time after that, we will most likely release any assets like the capital builds as standalone maps or possibly use them for spinoff material. We definitely don't want all the time and effort put in to simply fade away if the server doesn't succeed.

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