This past week, I asked several figures one question:
What did you learn from Civ in 2022, and what do you hope for in 2023?
I essentially asked them to reflect on the past year and reminisce about the events that conspired throughout 2022. I also asked them what you hope for, whether changes or desires, for the next year of Civ going forward.
I’ve asked several community members, notably ones that have gone through rounds of war and fatigue, as well as admins (and those hopeful) for major Civ servers coming out soon.
Note: several of these interviews were shortened due to length.
Up first, I asked for reflections on the development of Pavia from Duke of Bedford and Monument Group Board Member, BritishWanderer:
As I reflect back on the past 6 months of Civ, one of the more memorable events that stands out to me the most was the defense of Pavia during the Rhode Island conflict. The essence of support and solidarity that we received from the community and being able to reconnect with so many lost pals and meeting new ones really reminded me of what civ is about in my eyes. Our small yet-unique community, with this conflict bridging the gaps and bringing together every individual on our little ‘model UN Minecraft world’ for the purpose of something greater. It is this sense of community that makes Civ a special place, we sit in our corner of the internet roleplaying our ideal nation states, hosting Olympics, diplomatic affairs and just hanging with our pals that we feel like we’ve known forever (or maybe have!) and it’s that in particular that makes me so glad I stumbled across this niche genre back in 2015.
Looking forward to 2023, I personally hope that Civ can be a lot more peaceful. By focusing on talking to one another more often - not being trapped in our nation bubbles, we can create a more positive and welcoming environment for everyone, especially newjoins. I look forward to the events of 2023 of which I’m sure will never fail to be exciting reads and of course for many more weekly newsletters to come! 🥺
Next, I asked about the impacts of the Generic War and Icenia’s incredulous resurgence in late 2022 from President of Icenia ChrisChrispie:
I’ve learned quite a bit from Civ. The first has to do with newfriend retention. Icenia has managed to increase its retention by leaps and bounds this iteration. I credit this entirely to resources on the ground. It’s one thing to simply hand a newfriend some stone and wood and tell them to build a house and choose their own adventure, and another thing to have a library of bots, public farms running 1 run of exp per run, and opportunities to expand those farms, build wealth while doing so, and see the city run more efficiently as a result.
The second thing goes hand in hand with this but is different: don’t be afraid of including fresh faces in the mix. I was deathly afraid that Icenia would die early on in this server. I don’t think we have the carte blance yet of nations like Mount Augusta or Yoahtl or Estalia. I’ve always felt like our community has had something to prove and that we don’t have the core culture they do. The fact of the matter is that Icenia does and it’s not just centered around the competent people at my side. Most of the old guard has gone inactive and […] many didn’t play in Icenia in Classics, or are totally new to the game, and they’ve fundamentally altered Icenia in so many positive ways.
The third thing is to not take people at face value. I used to think Orin[n]ari was some e-lawyer bastard, I shittalked Gjum in Classics, I didn’t think a lot about Cammo. They know all this, I’ve told them. But they’re awesome people. I hopped on this “hate everyone” train late in classics and I hate that I did. Give people a chance on this game, even if they’ve been opposed to you at some point. Often times it comes back to help you out down the road.
The fourth thing I learned is that Icenia is a much stronger community than I imagined. If you told me that we’d be kicked out of our city for a month and have layers upon layers of obby dropped on us by Addie and crew and come out ok, I would have called you an idiot. The fact that Icenia came back stronger than ever is still one of the craziest things I have ever seen in my 8 years of playing civ. Nations on this server were killed off under lesser circumstances. But Icenia somehow survived the worst circumstances.
Third, I asked for reflections about the process and CivReign’s development throughout 2022 from Community Coordinator and CivReign admin Cortwade:
The last year for me has felt like it’s gone by incredibly quickly. CivReign officially began development in November of last year (which means we just celebrated our 1 year anniversary as a project) and since that time, myself and the team have learned a lot about civ as a genre, what it takes to run a server, and especially how to manage expectations.
CivReign originally was not going to push the envelope. It was originally envisioned as a CivEx-esque civclone. However, everything changed when CivClassics suddenly closed. Out of the blue, everything changed. We went from a server that would only be able to cater to a niche crowd to one of the possible contenders for the next flagship civ server. […] Some concepts thrown around were redeveloping Movecraft to be more performance friendly, including serverside bots, and introducing new layers to the tech tree by implementing new plugins like Smithery. Our team expanded to include actual programmers, and it seemed like we could take on the world.
Then it came time to actually develop the server. It seemed easy to simply change some code around to make stuff work but oftentimes it was like banging your head into a brick wall. It didn’t help that our development team was limited by time and skill. It was during this period where the team was in constant flux. We’d add consultants and developers then have to remove them only a couple weeks later because what we were trying to do was simply outside of most peoples’ skillsets.
Our launch was famously rough, but initially people really enjoyed the beta it had seemed. But the cracks began to show, as not only was server performance terrible, we had realized, but the meta that was developed was not tenable for months on end. Descent was the culprit for both, as the way it was coded was inherently flawed, creating massive lag spikes as the server processed the commands. […] We had the sudden realization we were not a civ server with descent, but a descent server with civ. The decision was made to scrap descent as a core plugin.
With descent gone, a core feature of the server went with it. We essentially had to start from scratch. We had to once more redevelop plugins and try to figure out how to develop new ones. However, it’s already provided Civ with innovations like CivSeasons, Fingerprinting Redux, and Smeltery, which we feel will push the Civ genre forward regardless of how CivReign does as a server. Now, after all the trials, retrospective, and redevelopment, we stand on the precipice of the launch of a server which, while staying true to the civ formula, we feel will drive the genre to new heights.
While there will be vaults, prot, and obby bombing, there will also be localized resources, trade specialization, fluid metas, the rise and fall of empires, and more. The landscape of the server is no longer set in stone at launch, but will develop dynamically over time as the environment forces players to adapt and overcome. We’ve learned a lot over the past year, but we are now at the exit of the tunnel, and we plan to start the year off with a bang.
Cortwade also asked to mention that CivReign’s launch would not be without the work of dozens of people, notably admins TTastic, Aidan, Owain and Rektangle.
Finally, I asked about the moderation and community efforts see from CivMC admin Ahri:
This year I learned that moderating a community is harder than I thought. Not even because of the toxicity or the insufferable people in Civ (I was already well aware of that). It’s the fact that perfectly good and reasonable people tend to naturally group up into their little corners, and assume only the absolute worst from those outside. I’m sorry if you expected some greater insight than “communication is important”, but at this point I think it’s the single biggest issue for the community. Of course, us admins are not exactly ones to be throwing stones in this department, and I have been and will continue trying to improve our communication with the community. As for all of you, I suggest you all try reaching out to those guys you hate and talking it out, they’re probably not half as bad as the image you’ve built in your head. And this is applicable to real life too, if you can believe that! So there, that’s your free life advice from Ahri. Have a happy new year!
Well said from everyone here. A big thanks to BritishWanderer, ChrisChrispie, Cortwade and Ahri for taking precious time out of their New Years to provide a few reflections on the past year and how we got to this point in the Civ community. Thank you to everyone to getting the community to this point, and I hope this provided insight on the Civ community as a whole and the thought processes behind many of these community leaders.
Another thanks to the creators of the images for this extended blog post are from:
- The skyline of Pavia’s extensive town, from Jaydon;
- An aerial render of Icenia’s townscape, post-Generic War, from Jaydon;
- A teaser from CivReign’s new map and trailer reveal), from Cortwade;
- A screenshot of the early Lusitan skyline, from RektTangle.
And happy new years to you, dear reader, for reading these reflections!
If you want to go back to reading the newsletter (for January 2, 2023), click here.