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GM Rauric
Hello and welcome to Rauric’s Biography!

As already made official I have decided to withdraw from my duties as GM Lead and GM in general. This thread is to share my take of the past five years with you. If you are looking for the screenshots, please follow the link to the Peanut Gallery.
I have also decided that I will take this opportunity to answer select questions that you may have always wanted to ask but would never receive a response on. Give it a try! AECwink.gif

To avoid any silly rumours a short disclaimer:
The reason for my retirement is the decreasing amount of leisure time I have left to dedicate to Ashen Empires. I believe a game of such potential and its amazingly vibrant community rightfully requires consistent and high quality support. During the past year it became very evident that it was time for someone else to take on the lead role and ensure that this requirement is met on the volunteer side. GM Timaeus has always been the first choice and has proven to be perfect as my successor. I am very happy that he has accepted the nomination and therefore allowed me to retire properly.


***

Near the end of March 2004, while the game was run by TKO, I was approached by GM Seanoge and invited to ‘come GM Ashen Empires’. Having played the game for already almost five years and back then even more heavily into roleplaying than now, I was very excited about the prospect of getting involved more. However, instead of simply accepting the nomination willingly my reply contained many questions regarding the nature and duties I was expected to fulfill. It wasn’t until 6 April that both GM Chiron and GM Seanoge had convinced me (I believe Chiron had replaced Seanoge at that time) and thus Rauric was born.

Under TKO and with the two GM’s Delphian and Leander each heading up a team of their own my AE career began to unfold. Most of my duties at the time involved assisting players with the heavy bugs and support issues that were left behind by the company’s mismanagement. Our tools back then were quite rudimentary and we had to work hard to ‘level up’.

Yet even then I’ve had a great time with players, staff and developers. While Delphian was the sensei for smooth public appearances, Leander taught me how to deal with the difficult players. I also owe a great deal of thanks to the retired GM Destinie, a great friend and exuberant role model in the world of moderation.

At TKO’s peak of player disappointment, when a loophole in the new billing system allowed a very easy takeover of virtually any player account, I was approached by Leander with a simple question. Paraphrasing: ‘The core AE team is going to go separate ways, are you with us?’ What sounded like treason at first sight was the beginning of IronWillGames.
With a smaller staff and a lot more dedication and increasing control over the game, things began to look up again. Although we lost Lothgar from the original founder team, the game took a steady direction towards creative improvement on all levels – including moderation tools.

The best part about having left TKO and its update muppet show behind was that the quality improved so much that moderating the game became less intense on the bug-tracking side and, slowly, more about event management and socializing.

None the less, there was a lot of work to do. With the planned release of IWG’s first big update, Demon Spire, a lot of effort went into beta-testing. Selecting the right players, coordinating them and typing up bug reports as well as testing by myself was one of the most rewarding activities I’ve spent my vacation on.

The release of Demon Spire gave Ashen Empires a first boost of new confidence and subscribers and required expanding the team. GM Wintergreen joined in June 2005 and has since been heading up business support. If ever there was a worthy successor to the legacy of GM Cordelia, Wintergreen is that person. From the beginning on he has put in a tremendous effort in handling all of the issues that land on his desk and has become a true professional over the years. GM Siyone followed in November to reinforce the moderating team. IWG also decided to re-introduce the foreclosed Dransik (Classik), much to the joy of many old-timers.
Beta-Tests for the first expansion – Talazar’s Revenge – soon followed and took up most of my time. In addition, I took on new tasks such as restructuring the forums and creating more transparency by giving the community a clear development direction and sketching out volunteer positions. TR was then released in October 2005.

After the release of TR the next expansion, Sands of Creation, was in development and behind the scenes I was talking to OneEye and Burning Spear about their idea of micro-payments and how they would revolutionize the game. I still remember saying, paraphrased: ‘By shortening subscription periods you realize your clients will expect a steady release of new content or they will take their money elsewhere, meaning you have less grace period for development’.
It was one of the many great discussions I’ve enjoyed having with our developers. Being able to talk to them about the game and its developments always gave me the feeling that what I did and said contributed to the direction Ashen Empires was taking as a whole. I still feel very strongly about this and believe it is one of the biggest assets of both a small, community-oriented company and the beneficial role of a game moderator.
GM’s Tremere and Juniper joined in January and February 2006.

The introduction of the token system was a success, especially in financial terms, and allowed the company to continue development on the game and not have to worry too much about having to take on contract work that could potentially cause Ashen Empires to be treated as a side project – this has always been a thorn in everyone’s side in the past.
With subscriptions increasing yet again the Valinor Welcoming Committee was brought to life to help out newcomers through an official organization. The ‘newbs in green’ as they were later called due to the custom-designed green outfit was a great pet project and showed again that our developers would listen to our needs and be willing to support these ideas. Up to now the VWC remains, to me, one of the most vital efforts required to increase the turnover rate from free gaming to paid subscription.
Leading and motivating this group is indeed a challenge, as it has been run by myself and later on GMs Tremere, Shamino and QuanYin (to date). I truly hope that this committee will continue to grow and help out players and receive all the support it requires to succeed.

After a forum restructure and layout re-design that was partly performed on the live system – and thus remembered by some players as Rauric’s Forum Disco – further volunteer positions were created to begin the process of separating in-game responsibilities from forum-based efforts. Thus, the Community Moderator was born.
Shortly after, in August 2006, I was called upon to take on the role of GM Lead and continue my plan of assuring quality, improving the moderating service and creating transparency. This was a big step-up for me as it meant that I would have a greater say in recruitment.
In the meantime, beta-tests for the second expansion Sands of Creation were going on.

GM’s Lanzer, Shamino, Thedris, Seryth and Ohana followed up to September 2006 to increase the ranks in the moderation team. New areas such as Knowledge Management were defined and GM Siyone did an excellent job in consolidating game content, researching articles and compiling these into both player and GM guides. This would serve as basis for many of the marketing efforts in place today.
TheTyrant joined as developer in November 2006 and SoC was released in December.

Next to the desert theme and the long and hard dragon quest SoC also brought new tradeskills and the much anticipated construction ability. It was the nicer graphics, new GM features such as morphing into creatures, renaming and controlling them and many other gimmicks, however, that made events more fun than ever to run as GMs.

As GM Lead I have always believed in Empowerment, meaning that I would like to give my team members as much responsibility of their own as possible, defining areas of expertise and having the most apt lead player volunteer groups to help him in his efforts. Alongside this principle I wanted the community to play as much an active part as possible, simply because without it the game would not survive in the long run and because it helps the level of acceptance.
I am confident that GM Timaeus will continue down this path as my successor as he has tirelessly helped improve the quality of the game through the various inceptions of quality assurance, leading the QA efforts up to the present.

Much of my efforts from 2007 on have been focused on realizing the idea of empowerment: recruiting, training and strengthening a highly qualified GM team, building up a community volunteer team, making the forums and the information therein transparent as well as pushing for improvements to the system and tools used by the moderation team. Whether I have been successful in this mission or not, only time will tell AECwink.gif
However, I can say that it has been a great pleasure to seek out individuals amongst the community, who have – each in their own way – affected the player base in a very positive way and constitute even today a strong pillar of our community. Testing, teaching, training and watching them grow and develop into the veterans that professionally handle the game affairs now fills me with great joy as I look back on my time with Ashen Empires.

Well, the token system introduced came at a price and striking the balance of making money without harming the delicate game world’s equilibrium was not always regarded as being performed diligently by the developers. Some of the old-time players felt that the in-game shop was not an incentive to regular game play but encouraged buying yourself out of situations (summon corpse) and sometimes even constitutes a pre-requisite for successful group play (berserk potions).
I believe that maintaining a balance will continue to play an important role in the future and that all items added to the shop need to be evaluated carefully. However, I also believe the token system as a whole and the ability to enhance game play is an improvement and a necessary change for the game to remain competitive in the MMO sector.

In May 2007 IWG received its first marketing manager, FujiQ. Struggling to find accommodation within our very special Ashen Empires community in the beginning, she quickly continued work in the previous Knowledge Management area and slowly took over responsibility for many of the public relations areas. GM Kuthiak joined the GM team meanwhile.

The summer of 2007 brought more improvements to the game, stabilizing the content. The next revolutionary step was being planned: providing a joint gaming platform for several independent producers with the token system as common payment form. At the time, work on the title ‘Fireteam Reloaded’ was in full progress.
By the end of the summer, Alanzo joined as developer in August 2007.

While FujiQ was heavily involved in marketing campaigns to win more volunteers for content-creation such as AE reporters I was also trying to open up more positions and recruit more players. GM Siyone produced the Ashen Empires player guide and gave our game a handbook that would play a vital role for attracting new gamers and help them get acquainted. GM QuanYin joined in November 2007; GM Anduin in January 2008.
In the meantime, the third expansion – Tides of Fate – was in development.

By 2008 FujiQ would find her place and most of the official PR communication would skillfully be delivered by her. It is also her merit that the webpage received a complete makeover and GM Siyone’s heritage in Knowledge Management would be turned into useful guides and FAQ’s and enhanced further. I am thoroughly convinced that without the efforts of GM Siyone and later on FujiQ (up to today) Ashen Empires would never have grown as much during the past years and am very grateful for the work they have done and continue to do.
In March 2008 the joint gaming platform was announced through the Pixel Mine Games distribution channel and by April the new forums were introduced which brought a significant improvement in terms of security and moderation.

By this time work had begun taking up virtually all of my leisure time and my efforts on Ashen Empires were reduced to recruitment, team management and general strategy, with rare appearances in-game. It was time for a change and this needed to be prepared.
After much evaluation GM Timaeus was made co-lead in June 2008. Timaeus had already been taking charge during my absence and had significant experience in all disciplines required, therefore being the ideal choice. GM Kermode also joined our ranks.

The last and therefore youngest addition to the team is presently GM Temujin who joined in September 2008. With him my recruiting efforts have ended and I had to withdraw completely due to work. GM Timaeus thankfully took over this duty as well.
The beta-test for the latest expansion, Tides of Fate, was completely led by GM Timaeus too and much of it has gone by me unnoticed and therefore I was very proud and delighted to experience the result during the release in December 2008. I can safely say that even without the novelty of ships this expansion has been the most smooth and successful update to Ashen Empires ever. It was a final confirmation for me that all of my previous duties now lie in very skilled and capable hands.


Looking back now, in April 2009, at all that has come to pass since Rauric was born, I am proud of the long way game and community have come. Without the contributions of each and every one of you reading this final, long-winded letter, however, this would not have been possible.
Therefore, from the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank you all sincerely for being players of Ashen Empires.


You are more than welcome to comment and ask any questions if you like. I will try to answer them if I can AECsmile.gif

Sincerely,
- RaWr
acrytex
Sorry to see you have to leave Rauric. I use to play back until the DS update came and I switched over to Dransik.

Always enjoyed your nekkid orc parties with orc lord helmets back pre-ds.

Arazel
Goodbye, Rauric. You were a great GM. It was cool when you'd pop up in the crim towns or channels. Good luck!
reikoshea
The Tech Wizards shall miss thee......am I the only one left?...........ok......Ill miss you.
Ashleigh
Take care Rauric...You were a good GM - hope life delivers to you pleanty of fun!
Still Da Mom
Gonna miss you terribly Rawrie! Who am I gonna harrass now? No one will tolerate my BS. AECwacko.gif

(There were a few GMs you failed to mention AECmad.gif )
Vaensarius
Best of luck in the future, hope things go well with you.

Morgan Fey
Farwell, Rawwwr! I will always fondly remember that day you crashed our "T-party" at the Tricksy Triddle with your floating horror! AECwub.gif
Ertzel
Bye Rauric, have fun with irl stuffz. You were a cool GM I remember some of your random pizza server messages :P
Zues
sad to see you go Rauric, you were a good GM - in the serious parts and also could let go and have some fun and joke around!

hope to see you in game sometime - sorry if i owned you that bad you had to leave ;) can also go to L server!!! :P

Peace
Sean
Take care Rauric, enjoyed reading your bio and looking at those screen shots of yours. Its nice reading about your experiences with the game and compare them with my memories of the game. Wish you the best of luck in whatever you do next, and would like to thank you for all the work and time you have spent with the Dransik/AE community.
Emma
ALLL this time you were in T and never told us? pff.
Austen the 1st
Bai bai :(
Maniac
Best wishes for the future Rauric. Farewell. smile.gif
Valok
Wow Rauric you will be missed, You were a great GM/player that helped this game so much. I wish you the best in whatever your life brings.
Erudite
Farewell Rawrie, may you be successful in all your endeavors. We'll miss you!!!!
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