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2012 Letter to Players, Members & Staff

January 17, 2012 12:10AM

General News: 2012 Letter to Players, Members & Staff
Posted by Bob Baldwin on Thursday 12 January 2012 at 11:38 UTC
831 words

Dear players, members and staff,

I hope you have all had a good holiday season and are looking forward to a great new year. I have been thinking about a lot of things recently, including things related to Star Trek: A Call to Duty. It has taken me a long time to finally write this message. I have procrastinated for a while, but cannot put it off any more. In short, I can assure you that this note was not written on a whim.

The Game started back in 1995, and I am proud that I have been around continuously, almost since the beginning. Back then, we had the benefit of being on MSN and Paramount servers. When those affiliations ended, we moved to privately held servers. Since then, there have been several owner/game managers. The Game progressed from one chat venue with one or two ships, to include both newsgroup and play by email venues, and well over thirty active ships and stations. At one point, we had over 400 players. Information systems, ODN, SubSpace, ASDB Tech Specs and a number of other things have been developed and implemented over the years. At one point, we could barely keep up with training new players. We enjoyed some ‘conventions,’ starting with Chicago, and followed by a number of other locales, including Vegas and my own back yard.

However, it’s a different story these days. We have about half the people spread out on about 25 ships and stations, still across the three venues. Many of our ships and stations have only a couple players, with all too many having less than a half dozen. We’ve consolidated, merged, closed down a number of ships and fleets. Almost nobody posts to SubSpace any more, and less than a handful hang out together on-line. Most in Chat come, play their mission, leave and maybe write a log. Managers beg for people to meet the minimums. The economy and a true lack of very much “Star Trek” coming out of Paramount these days have taken their toll on things. Occasionally, we have a new player and once in a great while, an old player returns. Last year, we tried a few things to spark some enthusiasm, podcasts, ID badges, and a new logo contest yielded only a marginal response. I appointed a Special Event Coordinator, to maybe get something going, but that too has led to very little response.

Today, playing and participating in all aspects of the Game is still free to all our members, just as it was the beginning. The Game currently operates on two servers, one paid for by a game member out of his own pocket and the other paid for by a former game member, also out of his pocket. The combined monthly bill to them totals around $200 and it has been this way for a good number of years. There has been the occasional donation, but those have been relatively small and few and far between. When I took over, the Game had about $630, which through a couple donations, went up to almost $880. Recently, there have been hard drive failures and over-usage costs that have been paid for out of pocket. I took about half the Game’s funds and dispersed them to our two providers to help defray a bit of their out of pocket costs.

Both our providers have done so willingly and without complaint. They have been happy to help the Game. The cost was considered a “hobby” by them. However, both have growing families with growing needs. As I stated above, the Game operates free to its membership, and will continue to do so until they can no longer afford this particular hobby. Again, and I want to stress this to the nth degree, neither has complained, used the situation to enhance themselves or their situation, or held it either over my head or over the Game. In fact, both will probably be perturbed that I even bring this up. However, things cannot continue like this indefinitely. It is a simple fact that someday, the cost of providing the servers for the Game is going to exceed what they can afford.

On the day when we can no longer afford the cost of the servers, or the hardware, or the other problems being faced, the inevitable will happen, and the Game will come to a screeching halt. The funds the Game currently has would not pay for more than a couple months of time. I wish I could tell you that my own funds were unlimited and that the Game would go on forever, but my friends, that is also not the case.

While it is my intention to continue the policy of not requiring a fee to play the Game, I am asking for the membership to “heed the call” to donate what they can, when they can, and as often as they can, to defray the cost of our servers and ensure that our Game will continue run. For those who can “heed the call,” the donation information is on ODN. It is my hope that Star Trek: A Call to Duty will be around for quite a while longer.
Reposted from ODN: http://odn.acalltoduty.com/news/article.php?id=899

CO Captain Harvey Kirkman
SM Valdivian Station / USS Trinity
7th Fleet Manager
Newsfleet Division Manager
Player - Mike Yan

  2012 Letter to Players, Members & Staff

Mike Yan1776January 17, 2012 12:10AM

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