May flew by! I will keep trying to check in monthly and am squeezing this in just before the start of June. I hope you all enjoyed the Eskplorers event — I have to give a huge thanks to the TWWM team for organizing and running the event in its entirety while I was on hiatus, and I'd also like to thank them for coming up with the unique concept! I want to keep having activities in TWWM that can cover different genres and mediums. I hope all of you photography fans had a good time :]
My life is still topsy turvy but I'm not totally absent for now. My living situation is pretty unstable so I am in the midst of moving again, have a lot going on in offline career land, and have been sick for the past week, so things are totally overwhelming x_x it is still a good time to direct your group questions to the staff by group note or Discord instead of noting me privately, just to make sure you get a more prompt response. I am glad I could squeeze in the violet sale this month and am looking forward to trying out the semi-custom approach, I won't be able to match the pace of doing almost 30 adopts per month anymore... on top of working as an admin it made TWWM into a beyond-full-time job and I have too much else going on. I really hope the increase of guest sales, batches, and raffles offsets this. I'm psyched to see the guest artist feature grow and I am pleased at how well-received the guest sale changes have been. It is so so important to me that guests feel their experiences here are fair and balanced, and fun!
I would like to be honest about a few of my stumbling blocks this month. As the game has grown (over 1000 esk!) I have found that it's more important for me to be more firm about how traits are interpreted and how we can maintain a cohesive game/species aesthetic. For the record, I never want "aesthetic" to place any judgement on art style or skill level, and I never consider the word "aesthetic" to mean Whether Wither Likes It Or Not. What's important to me is that you are happy with your character and are able to reach your design goals within the game and species limitations, and I hope that we can keep that going as a collaborative process that feels respectful and unbiased. I do understand that some of the areas I have been more strict on may have been frustrating for some, and expressing what is "esky" enough can be very difficult to put into words, I'm really sorry if this has been tough and it is definitely a learning experience for me. In the beginning I very much had an "anything goes" mentality but as the game has expanded so quickly it seemed like I would have to step in more as a sort of Art Director to gently guide the designs so it feels cohesive enough without suppressing your individuality and creativity. I love seeing all of your new esk ideas and I want to make sure we can keep working together on the species growth, it's all about the right balance and I want to make sure the scales lean more on your end always — your unique ideas are what make this game really great.
If I (or other MYO review staff) have to discuss changes to your esk it is not a judgement on you or your character, I appreciate the thought you put into your designs and stories and want to be as respectful as possible. I will continue to work on being a better communicator and I will be offering private feedback in the future for complex review concerns. Thank you for working with me on this and being patient as I try to improve.
Also — I have been asked by a couple people to create an "esk aesthetic guide" but I have no plans to do this... I want my idea of what an esk is to be the framework you build upon; I fear that creating an aesthetic guide is saying "my way or the highway" and that's not at all what this game is about. This is why I want to keep focusing on having open dialogue rather than piling on more rules or restrictions — I want us to work together. I hope this all makes sense and comes across the right way, it has been a tough thing for me to take on because I worry about people feeling criticized or like their creativity is being squashed. I am really blown away by the designs and ideas that are coming into the group, and it means a lot to me to see how far the species has come.
I'm looking forward to having a new admin on board and hope to keep having the team gradually expand in the future, right now I need a lot of help and I'm lucky to have a great team! The New Growth position is very complex and I am leaning on them a lot for lore development, I really want to have more of the NPC stories and Conservatory lore come out this year and I am picking up the pace with the NPC releases (new one coming in the next 1-2 weeks!).
I am sure some of you noticed that the staff rewards are currently being revised, this is another thing that has changed with group expansion and I have been working with the team on adding more rewards for them. They work incredibly incredibly
hard — often as many hours as you would in a "real" job, and at this time I am not able to pay them directly so it's important to me that we offer them something in exchange for their time. I will be transparent about these changes as they arise since I understand there has been some confusion in the past because I have been pretty unstructured about what rewards I give the staff... sometimes I have taken premades out of sales for them, provided MYOs, sometimes I have allowed them to place their esk in the Masterlist queue if a number they want is coming up (I know this one is particularly confusing — they cannot reserve numbers ahead of time, it has to be the next number in line when they are submitting their esk to the masterlist), I have provided Core subscriptions, and other odds and ends, these are just individual examples — it was always sort of set on a case-by-case basis which was hard to put into a simple outline to post anywhere, it's not my intent to be secretive or weird about it. Upcoming changes to rewards will be posted on the TWWM Staff Directory
and will be more clear and structured so it's less ambiguous going forward. I am doing my best to find a system that rewards team members adequately for their intense time commitment without making players feel uncomfortable or confused, I appreciate your understanding as I learn how to do this better for everyone.
Another long post! There's always more to talk about but I will check in again in June. Thank you for your support and amazing contributions to the group, we will have a new event coming soon and I can't wait to share new content with you all!