On June 27, 2001 you released Anarchy Online with great ambition, and no idea just how much your title would impact the gaming scene. Off to a rocky start, the workload was later alleviated by ARKs.
The ARKs handled the grunt-work helping new players traverse this new and vast world and assisting with simple bugs and CS issues allowing you to allocate more resources to larger issues/projects.
Over the years, the ARKs were the first line of defense and pillars of the online community that you created. Little did you know how invaluable they would become.
As you cycled through dev teams, the ARKs became the “go-to” for all things bug related. These volunteers knew the code and it’s intricacies better than many of the employees you hired.
For over a decade the ARKs continued to help drive profits and player retention. Maintaining not only the code, but cultivating a community worth logging in for.
From in-game weddings, funerals, expanding on your lore, and hosting countless in-game events, the ARKs brought your game to life in ways that no other studio has captured since.
We understood when you were forced to reduce the depth of the role they filled. It only made sense and was a step to preserve the world many grew up in. We appreciated the accommodations made to preserve the program.
We also understand the current situation and why you had to end the current version of the ARK program. However there were stark differences this time around. Your message was cold and showed a callous lack of appreciation.
ARKs who had been with you since the beginning were notified through a cruel game of telephone. No notice, no courtesy call, and decades of identities and memories wiped clean as if they never happened.
When confronted, you fed us with PR lines and contradictions. The community was belittled and spoken to as subordinates. Again, as the dust settled and emotions cooled, we understood why. It was the how that still lingered.
With zero intention of expanding the CS team to pick up the slack, how did we forgo a conversation on how to retain the ARKs? Why were steps not taken to legitimize their roles and protect the company?
At what point did you decide that turning your back on the community that made you successful was the appropriate course of action? Over 2 decades of loyalty and free labor treated as if it never existed or had any value at all.
At the end of the day, after you launch your titles, the loyal players like the ones you’ve just turned your backs on are the ones who pay your salaries long after the ether fades. This is your identity. This is your legacy.