It is no secret that Vesteria has been facing blisteringly unpopular changes in recent memory. While discussions such as permadeath and data wipes were merely conceptional and had little effect on the actual game, they violently fractured the community. Vesterian took arms against fellow Vesterian, filling Discord chats with bloodshed.
Things start changing. The Vesteria team ditched our office and we went remote. Davidii came onto the team and prisman departed. The enchantment and money wipe shook the player base, lowering motivation to play what was an already declining game. It seemed that increasingly, the developers had no idea what they were doing and the game was on a nosedive all the way to the bottom.
Permadeath. Wiping data. These and other fiery conflicts started conditioning the most passionate and dedicated players to fight for what they believed in. To stop at nothing to save their favorite game, regardless of which side of the fight they were on.
Then these ideas started to escape the realm of conceptualism. They began to bleed into reality.
Trapped Reality of War
Drawn 7 years ago by Chris.
The most recent update started out as only an idea, just like the ones that came before it. Stamina re-introduced to the game, but more restrictive than ever. Hold-to-attack removed, requiring mouse-mashing to use your basic attack. Player collisions re-enabled.
This was it. The perfect update to take arms against. Players against it (the majority) had plenty of explosive ammunition in the fight to come: of all of the things the dev team could be working on, they decide to undo progress to make the game clunkier and more tedious. But some players managed to see a silver lining in these changes, among the chaos. Perhaps these mechanics make sense in a different game, but not in Vesteria.
Today came a new battle. The dev team announced the next big idea for everyone to go mad over: death. The announcement was callous and blistering. You will lose one third of your money when you die. Whatever map you were grinding on, you will be returned to your home city. There are no exceptions, we don’t care if you die in a duel, die from resetting because you got stuck or die because you fell of the map. You died, and you will pay the price. Don’t even think of hiding your money away on another account, because a 30% tax is being applied to trades. And no, we won’t give you secure money storage.
I don’t need to tell you what happened next.
Forest Service, USDA
The Woolsey Fire, California. (Photo courtesy of Peter Buschmann)
I write this post tonight, somberly, to inform you that the swathes of disenfranchised players proclaiming “Vesteria is dying!” were correct.
Vesteria, as you’ve come to know it since it’s Beta release, is dead.
I have grown to deeply loathe what this game has turned into, and now I intend to take it apart and build it back up as something that, to many, will appear unrecognizable.
You may ask, why am I doing this? To the game that you have purchased and spent much of your time playing, and thinking about even when you’re not playing. To the magical world that for many of you has forever cemented itself it your hearts and your memories.
It’s because the first heart that this game touched was mine. The first memory of Vesteria wasn’t made in our Alpha, or during our weekend play-tests. The first memory of Vesteria was over 10 years ago when a young boy found an escape from reality sitting on a couch glued to his laptop. When he logged onto Maplestory to forget that he didn’t fit in at school. To forget that his mother ran away with him while she was pregnant with his brother. To forget just how lost he was in a seemingly uncaring, unwanting world. He stared at the game on his screen and dreamed that it could one day be his.
Chasing this desire to create led the boy through a life-bending roller coaster ride that few could even begin to imagine the intricacies of. Creating games became his escape instead of playing them, and the games he loved when he was younger had left a never-fading imprint in him.
One day, the stars aligned and the world gave him one shot to turn his dream into reality. The Roblox Incubator program. “Get a team,” the kid was told, “and get an idea.”
I knew from the start what I wanted Vesteria to be. Maybe I didn’t have every tiny meticulous detail planned out, but I knew that everything I needed for this game was in my heart. It had been with me my entire life and this was my shot to make it happen.
Three times I presented Vesteria, and each time it was rejected. Until finally we got in. We were one of the last teams to be accepted to develop at Roblox in the summer of 2018.
It was after we made it in that my dad called me in a moment that I will never forget. I was staying at my girlfriends house for the weekend and ran out onto her porch to talk to him. “Are you home?” he asked me. “Call me when you get home.”
My dad had developed cancer. Stage 4. Terminal.
@Polymorphic, @sk3let0n and I got into the first day of the Incubator with zero work done on the game. We had never met each other before, I barely knew what David looked like and I had never seen Damien’s face. But something clicked and we hit the ground running. There was chemistry between us that I never imagined possible. I had to work hard for their respect and their trust, but I quickly earned it. Every Saturday I called my dad when I woke up to tell him about how the game was doing. He was so excited, and even shared playful little ideas with me.
After the first month of our Incubator at Roblox, living in California, I received a call from my step mom telling me that my dad was hospitalized and that he was going to undergo surgery. They were optimistic, and he did make it out successfully. The doctors said that he was doing better and that with chemo, there was a chance to fight it. I been given that ray of hope to hold onto… but it would not last.
That hope was viciously ripped out of my heart as his condition quickly worsened. I started making weekend trips to visit him, braving the 6 hour flight so I could see him and help take care of him. He became delirious, fearing the doctors and the hospital and believing that they were trying to kill him. So I began staying the night in the hospital to keep him company. I slept during the day and stayed up all night in a hospital bed watching him rot away. When he slept, I pulled out my laptop and worked on Vesteria.
At RDC Amsterdam, the night after my panel with Tami Bhaumik and Simbuilder on Roblox game monetization, which I will forever consider to be one of the best talks that I will ever give in my life, I received the last call.
“You need to come now.” my step mother called me. I ripped open my laptop in a rabid frenzy and searched ticket prices. There was only one plane going to New York out of Amsterdam the next morning. It was $5,000.
I got it.
When I arrived at my childhome house in New Jersey, where I had made every Roblox game in and grew up to become the person I am today in, I was met with tears.
“I’m sorry”, she told me. She didn’t have to say another word.
I was too late.
I don’t know what I would have done without Vesteria.
I don’t know how the walls didn’t fall in on me.
I don’t know how I kept myself together.
But I stayed focused.
I poured every piece of my soul into the one piece of self-identity I had left: this game.
I went back to the Incubator and I led my team to create the best goddamn game that the Roblox Incubator program had ever seen.
There was so much work left to be done but I knew that we were on the right path, I knew that we could do this.
As you may know, that’s not what happened.
I have alluded to the events that unfolded many times on the forums, on Discord, and on my recent stream. To save this post from becoming too long: I lost control of myself. And I lost control of Vesteria.
Since our Beta release, Vesteria has not been the game I have wanted it to be. Decisions were made that went against the feelings in my heart one too many times and I went numb to those feelings. The stress started to eat away at me. It got so bad that I would start picking at my beard hairs until it became patchy and uneven. Then I started picking at my eyebrows. This feeling of absolute dread and completely inability to accomplish anything layered down on me until suddenly it hit me all the once with the mother of all burnouts. For a month after we left the office, I couldn’t bring myself to write a line of code for Vesteria. I had no desire to work, or to do anything. I sat on the edge of my downtown apartment window and wondered if this was it.
I decided it was time to step away from everything, to figure out what it is I want to do. What I want to be.
It’s only after everything fell apart that I could really start to see clearly again. It was a process, an ongoing one. I’m eternally grateful to the mentorship I received from Jeff at Roblox, as well as the valuable advice and relfection I received from others there.
It’s only now that I’ve begun listening to that kid in my heart again have these feelings and realizations started gushing into me.
That brings us back to today, and what’s been happening in the last few months.
I’ve realized the only way forward for me is to pick up the torch that I dropped when I left Roblox. To continue chasing my dream, unwavering and uncompromising to those who disagree. I am hardened in my resolve. I know what I want to do. What I need to do.
Some players see the light that is waiting for us at the end of the tunnel and are all for it. Others do not see the way but believe, perhaps with little actual expectation, in the magic that once made this game.
But many will not go quietly. Many will leave and not come back. Such is the unavoidable way of things.
For those of you who follow, I’m going to take you on the trip of a lifetime.
Thank you for embarking on this crazy journey with me.