I created my Shroud of the Avatar account in 2014. At that time it was a game that many contributors, like myself, thought could become the game of their dreams. I think many of us had such dreams of a panacea, a revival of an age gone by mixed with the blood of a new generation. We all imagined creating a new deep alternate reality in which millions of players would collide. In the initial years, we feverishly debated on the forums and often attempted to hold the company at the gallows to try to build the game of our dreams. And I believe that Starr and Richard really did try to compituate all those ideas. Initially, I met many fellow avatars at the first SoTA cons and formed very close friendships with Minerva, Catherine Rose, Roper DocHoliday and Fenrir Jaegerson among many others. I also met both Richard and Starr at a dinner in Richard’s home in NYC. Let me tell you, Mr Garriot is an adept collector of oddities. There is nothing quite like seeing people in their chosen element. I had a blast! I spent my initial years on this very forum arguing profusely for the game of my dreams. Some of the same people still frequent these forums. I argued, like Robin Hood, to prevent pay to win elements. After all, what is the value of being a hero of a world you own? I also argued for harder PvE elements and reasonable PvP elements (trying to nix the burn of griefers). It was a noble effort! But, THE RECKONING WOULD COME! The developers obviously felt the pressure from the community and did their best to compromise between visions coming from everywhere. At this point, I am ready to take the blame. I finally have to face the results of my actions. There were others, but I played a role here! This turned into a game that “seemed” disjointed and without purpose. Some elements were too easy, many players created “ugly” or neglected elements, new players off the street had nothing to gain from playing. Or so I THOUGHT. I took a 3 year hiatus and came back to liquidate…. At best I found a world that did not seem as vibrant as it used to be. Some might remember my first few posts after returning. As I was running for the exit, Minerva asked me to stay for a guild meeting. This action changed my SoTA life. The guild meeting reminded me of what was right about SoTA from the beginning, the players! So I hung out another week… It would be awesome to say that it was only the awesome community that kept me playing. I certainly would have 3 years prior. But these days, I am in several communities. Not this time… Instead I took my old avatar into adventure zones. And I noticed that easy is only the precursor to pain. I really started respecting this element. It starts easy and ends with blood, your blood! Also, as I got to know my new friends, I began to really see those people I am playing with. Our friends come from all walks of life, from all means. Instead of viewing SoTA in comparison to competitive games, I started to see how it’s strangely appealing quirkiness is making this game more available and accessible to more people, more important people. As a result, I have learned to adjust my lens to appreciate that the quality of this game is better than most. That is what I mean when I post about getting out of my own way and getting rid of preconditions. But perhaps the most compelling change for me has been the developers. The developers were always awesome, but they were constantly stuck inbetween some dumb debate on the forums from making solid game desicions, or so it seemed. This is easily the biggest plus for me. Now the developers stay mostly silent and just implement what makes sense. This is a BIG FREAKEN DEAL because not a single friend in this community is a good game designer (neither am I), no matter what any of us say. ← hence the title of the post Also, I feel more than ever that the game staff is really on our side, just like us, wanting to make the game what it should be. When I send an email to support, I feel like I am talking to a friend. It does not get better than that! Keep on trucking my friends!!!