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ct_news_notice_notice [06.04] GM Blog: June 2022 - Posted by Nut

nTD0Iyk.pngHello Royallers!

We bring to you the long-awaited CM GM Blog. I know I know, it's a little late... but better late than never! Let's dive right into it, shall we?


MapleRoyals-2.png Updates 76 - 79: A Summary

We've seen quite a few updates since the last GM Blog. Here is a recap and some highlights of the changes we have made.

First, we'd like to extend our appreciation to the player base for their patience and persistence throughout updates 76 and 76.1, where we switched over to a new client. We've come a long way since then, with many bug fixes and stability improvements, many of which we can thank players for reporting. This new client has enabled our developers to more easily implement positive features, such as:
  • Extending chat history from 64 to 10,000 messages
  • Anti-hack measures
  • Higher quality screenshots
  • Editing built-in commands (/partyinvite for example)
  • Other miscellaneous bug fixes
More client changes are planned for the future, such as a more intuitive experience with using white scrolls and an on-screen ~servertime clock.

Alongside client changes, we've seen many quality of life and general improvements.

  • Wulin Yaoseng, Nibergen, and Auf Haven have all had hitbox adjustments.
    • Wulin Yaoseng, Nibergen: these fixes have made it so ranged characters no longer hit the air during particular attack animations.
    • Auf Haven: her knockback animation hitbox was changed to visually match the animation, whereas previously the hitbox would shrink significantly during this animation (Note, her knockback animation is identical to her idle animation.) Surprisingly, Auf Haven's clones did not share this quirk. This change allows for melee characters to contribute more consistently to the main Auf Haven fight.
  • Mounts were enabled in various PQs and boss expeditions, most notably Mu Lung Dojo, Crimsonwood Keep PQ, and the Sharenian Guild Quest (GPQ). This has given less mobile classes a small boost, and mounts a greater purpose.
  • The entry requirements for Mu Lung Dojo and Crimsonwood Keep PQ have been changed to alleviate organizational pressures and be more inclusive.
    • The 50 level gap requirement does not apply to Mu Lung Dojo parties if the characters are all above level 135. This change was made to bring this content in line with other restrictions in the game (level 135 being the level where players begin to contribute and participate in boss fights.)
    • The Crimsonwood Keep expedition now only requires one of each job to enter. This loosens the 10 person requirement, which did not match the game in this day and age.
  • We've added Tokens of Teamwork to GPQ, bringing us one step closer to a party quest ecosystem.
  • Two highly requested quality of life features have been implemented.
    • A boss cooldown tracker has been added as an NPC in the lounge.
    • Save slots for hairs and faces have been added to Big Headward in FM. Players have access to one slot immediately, and slots can be expanded up to five slots for hairs and faces, each (available with Royal Points.)
These are only a few of the many changes we have implemented throughout these updates, several of which would not have been possible without your feedback.

VL_Shout.png Von Leon: Why the delay?
As we've heard many times before, our developers are hard at work on various projects, one of which is Von Leon. For context, the current developer projects that are in progress are:
  1. Anti-cheat measures.
  2. Updates to our GMs toolkit.
  3. Von Leon.
Significant progress has been made on the first project; we've successfully implemented a handful of additional anti-cheat measures with many more on the way. We've gained insight from these implementations, which will allow us to make adjustments and improvements. We are happy to report that, in this cat and mouse game between rule breakers and staff, hackers have been substantially suppressed, and we are closer than ever to having a functioning auto-ban system!

Providing GMs with new tools is another top priority. @Karven has been hard at work improving GM tools to give GMs abilities previously limited to administrators. Backend work involving some of these abilities goes hand in hand with work involving a new MapleRoyals Library and website. That is to say, the scope of current work is not narrow; projects bleed into each other and are more intertwined than one may think. Let's cheer Karven on (and encourage him to get more sleep) as he works on this and many other projects!

This brings us to Von Leon. There are two challenges we face in designing this content. The boss fight itself, determining rewards, and discussing balancing in the big picture of the server is one challenge. The functionalities of the boss, e.g. skills, animations, and mechanics is the second challenge and involves more constrictive client work. While much progress has been made toward a functional Von Leon boss, there are still significant development hurdles that we must overcome. Your patience is much appreciated as we continue to work toward making this content a reality.

kpq.png Party Quests
Party Quests stand to be one of the most nostalgic and enjoyable elements of old school MapleStory. In an effort to revive PQ activity, tokens of teamwork were introduced in Update 71. Currently, tokens can be exchanged for untradeable cosmetics via Cody. Time has passed, and players have requested more items be put in the exchange. There is plenty of existing feedback, and we've heard you loud and clear. We will do our best to meet the desires of the community.

skillbook.png Skill Changes and Balancing
We've fallen short in the past with certain changes which felt either incomplete or were miscommunicated. This time around, we'd like to make sure the community is more involved in the process. Currently, there are many feedback threads with requests for classes to be changed. We will attempt to collect more recent requests, as well as consolidate all previous, relevant proposals. While some changes may be obvious and well agreed upon, it is preferred to do skill changes in batches carefully, taking the big picture into account.

If you have suggestions or comments, please take the time to head over to [Feedback Request] Skill Changes and Balancing to contribute. We are counting on your expertise as players!

mush_bonk.png Events: Old and New
Have you all enjoyed the events so far this year?! We are happy with how these events have come together over time. We've seen the return of the well-liked and competitive Egg PQ during Easter, along with all of the sought after cosmetics and Fluffy Snow Bunny Chair. For MapleRoyals' Anniversary, we've pulled out all the stops for a well rounded, jam-packed event with something for everyone. Stick around, because this summer we'll see the return of traditional, as well as more recent favorites.

If you haven't already, check out the submissions in our two most recent forum events, the Valentine's Card Contest and Royals Spring Film Festival. The community's creativity knows no bounds, and we are utterly blown away by your submissions. Perhaps... we will see the return of a long awaited, beloved contest... Let's look forward to the rest of the year!

gmhat.png Terms and Conditions: Changes and Enforcement
Over the course of several months, players have expressed concerns about the Terms and Conditions and their enforcement. We've since made some small changes, including:
  • Moderate Infractions:
    • Solicitation: clarification to include advertising other private servers, along with providing discretion to staff in regards to punishment.
    • Vote Abuse: changed once per 24 hours to once per day (UTC) to more accurately reflect the game rules.
  • Appendix:
    • Objectionable Behavior:
      • Clarified mass defamation to be three or more defames.
      • Added use of monster sacks in the context of harassment.
As for the forums, we would like to highlight a specific issue: alternative accounts, which are strictly prohibited. In the past and more recently, players have used alternate accounts to preserve their identity while participating in discussions on forums, commonly with ill intent. Going forward, such behavior will be dealt with as swiftly as possible, and no warnings will be issued prior to an account merger. We are always looking for ways to improve the forum experience, and we will be looking at more ways to improve the Forum Rules and Regulations. If you have any ideas, feel free to drop them in the feedback section.

We would like to also address what have been ongoing, hot topics of discussion: leniency on punishments (permanent bans), ban appeals, and rule-breaking investigations. Changes to these systems require staff to not only have lengthy, productive discussions, but also develop proper tools to enact a plan. Reducing what used to be a permanent ban infraction to a temporary one would open ban appeals up to a massive influx of requests. This would undoubtedly place an enormous workload on our GMs, even with proper forethought. The truth is that many, if not all, propositions are infeasible or open to some form of abuse. You may read more about it here and here, where current and former staff members have voiced their opinions.

What we can ensure is that every report and ban is handled to the best of our ability, and rule enforcement is not taken lightly. There is regular communication between staff members involving sufficiency, and interpretation of evidence, as well as votes on appropriate punishments for a determined infraction. Lastly, it is often difficult for staff to reveal detailed evidence to players in general; a balance between obscurity and transparency is necessary. There are exceptions where evidence is revealed in a ban appeal; however, we are careful to ensure that these do not guide rule breakers to better evasion methods, or expose a reporter's identity in case of retaliation (cases of harassment, for example.) We find that rule breakers fishing for loopholes and information is a common occurrence. With all that said, we ask for your understanding as we continue to enforce the rules to ensure a positive experience for all.

chalkboard.png Affirmation on Feedback: You Are Heard
Over the last four months, @Zancks and I have been working diligently in the feedback section. Prior to joining staff, we both were active participants and avid readers of the section, and now, we have the power to push forward changes with our knowledge. Our workflow currently consists of:
  1. Reading and briefly discussing new threads that are posted among ourselves.
  2. Determining feasibility of a proposed change. Is it technically feasible? How would we expect a staff discussion to go? Is the development time worth the benefits? Is this something that fits MapleRoyals?
  3. Gathering all possible information about a particular feedback. Has it been discussed before? If so what were the results and are they still relevant? Is the truth being presented (e.g., are player calculations accurate?)
  4. Putting together a case. Once we have a satisfactory understanding, we pool together the information needed to begin a discussion with the rest of the staff.
We do our best to cast aside our bias when sifting through changes. That is, even if we do not agree with a proposed change and expect it to not pass through, we still bring it to a vote. So far, we've been discussing feedback topics in batches by first creating a preliminary survey. We gather around twenty feedback topics, and for each topic we provide background information and a series of questions. This preliminary survey approach allows us to determine which proposals can be immediately denied or accepted, and which need further discussion. Further discussion is often needed when discussing development (how to implement something) or balancing, two examples being GPQ Tokens of Teamwork (how to distribute the tokens) and Removing the Level Cap of PPQ (how to balance the EXP gain.) If a proposal is denied, we work to give an explanation as to why. We hope this provides transparency into the decision-making process. You can be confident that your voices are being heard.

unknown.png That's all Folks!
We hope that this blog has been to your satisfaction, and that we've given you much to look forward to. Stay lovely and cutie, everyone :sammykiss:.

Have a wonderful day, aramia.png

-The MapleRoyals Staff


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