It's almost two months now since Avalon redevelopment started again and we've skittled off a few thousand bugs, but there's still hundreds left and much to finish / balance out / rationalise. The past few weeks we've been focused largely on the new novice/LW system, replacing the 25 year old new player handler - the boring accolades and school - with something more interactive, informative and dynamic. Some of you will have gone through and checked it out while it was being developed. Early results seem promising. The blog at vale.avalon-rpg.com gives some idea what we'll be working on the next couple of months: warfare's return not least. I'll be making a more detailed post about this in due course.
Now, onto a more egregious topic.
Avalon is and has always been a labour of love. It will continue to develop and throw out its tendrils onto the internet to court new players. We will continue to back it, with time, for as long as it has players wanting to play. Not for nothing was it the first game of its kind and it remains something special, for all the recent years of neglect; a neglect that's emphatically over. Nobody needs to get rich by profiteering from Avalon. We don't carry adverts. We don't sell/share the half a million plus \"gamers\" mailing lists we've accumulated, or five figure monthly site-visitors website. Where \"real\" money comes into the picture, in Avalon, it's a case of needs must and that's that.
Avalon doesn't need to do any more than sustain itself and meet the needs of ongoing expenses and whatever development we can't do inhouse. This is why we have subscriptions, lesson procurement, micropurchases, CROWNS and trinkets.
Trinkets aren't a choice. We've tried to keep them both balanced and defensive/passive/quality of life rather than directly enhancing the win-or-lose between players pushing their abilities to the limits. This isn't always an easy balance hence I've no problem with folks reporting abuses or oversights that're being exploited to make the trinkets more influential than need be. But they're not optional; at least until a day subscriptions and general game revenue reaches that point of self-sustaining we have no need to supplement with large ticket purchases. Some like trinkets. Some hate them. Some simply can't afford them. Personally I won't mourn us getting to the point we can phase them out. This won't affect folks who've already bought trinkets - of course - but it's one of the reasons we always intended the limited lifespan (even if as high as 5 years).
Right now, there's a tendency to treat sponsorship as an entitlement rather than a boon. This isn't an issue with someone new or yet to be convinced Avalon is worth playing long-term. Nor is it an issue for those who're simply unable to support the game with even a bronze subscription at 8 dollars a month. Everyone's welcome here. Avalon's a broad church. Many, I think, recognise this already and we greatly appreciate the spate of subscriptions that've joined the lists, especially since I started working on Avalon again in October.
But many of you take for granted this free playing, despite being perfectly able to support the land. Now, we're never going to take out sponsorship or delimit it so it can't be - in effect - used indefinitely. But understand, we work hard on Avalon and it is not casual, inexpert work, and there comes a point when being sponsored on and on, when playing thousands of hours of Avalon and enjoying unrestricted characters, influencing subscribers and sponsored alike, becomes a comment on how much you value what we're doing here and what you yourself are able to do in Avalon. It starts to look like entitlement at best, disdain at worst. It is playing at other people's expense (me included!) and that's not right.
In any case, the above is an opinion - albeit one that carries weight in this microcosm as it determines how and where and when the game evolves as time goes by. Still, just an opinion and if you choose to scorn any quid pro quo for playing Avalon, in the end, you're still going to be able to play. Free. For as long as Avalon exists in this form.
That said, subscriptions start cheap and don't get expensive even at the highest tier. 8 dollars for bronze, 15 dollars silver, 25 dollars gold and 50 dollars platinum. All get free crowns each month and lesson gain and free lesson boosts worth many times their cost. They're available to old lifetime subscribers as an extra layer, all gains in addition to the benefits enjoyed by lifetimers already. Subscribing is done outside of Avalon via secure website @ https://www.avalonrealtime.com and in-game you'll deal only in customer tokens so no private/financial data is left on Avalon itself. Card processing is by Stripe and they're the most reputable in the world.
If ALL players who are currently \"regulars\" in Avalon were to support the game by subscribing, we would be self-sufficient in a day to day sense. Simple as that. And we're not talking high numbers here, are we? Might not cover Jasper app development but that just means it gets done slower, not that its development doesn't continue. We're funding this separately, though it'd be wonderful if the game were contributing too.
I think that's enough on this subject. We'll be interested whether simply laying out this little reality check and leaving the \"do I care? \" and \"should I support? \" question entirely with those who are playing Avalon (and those who'll become players and read this as part of their catch-up on recent posts) is enough to engage some of these \"regulars\" to make real some flavour of support for this venerable game-world.
What happens with support-or-play free-or-disdain won't affect ongoing commitment to driving Avalon forward. Nor will there be another long post about it in the foreseeable future.
On another matter, there has been a vast accumulation of legions in all four cities so the return of warfare after the new year on a clean Avalon map. It may turn out to be somewhat epic. It's certainly going to be game history, whatever happens...
Written and shown unedited exactly as rendered by text based game bulletin board on Avalon Online RPG and by my hand on the 7th of Midwinter, in the year 1441.