Status Report #004
Happy New Year, Mazers! 2017 is over already, and we must now take on the new year of 2018.

First of all, you may notice an immediate change - from now on, all status reports will be public from the day it is posted. The reason for this change is fairly simple; last month's report has been very well received and commented upon on the Discord server, and I felt it would be natural to keep these monthly posts coming for free.

As usual, let's start with a recap for this month, then keep on reading to find out what's planned for the future, what's in the works, as well as important announcements regarding the community itself.

Recap - December 2017

No new game updates have been released in December 2017, however that doesn't mean no work has been done. Since last month, we have gained new backers and the monthly cash flow has drastically increased; I'm very pleased to announce that my initial goal of $30/month (a symbolic $1/day) has been reached. It wouldn't have happened without you; you are awesome! Thank you so much!

Story and quests - Story Arc #2

All of the quests planned for this arc have been drafted, and I am currently steadily working on implementing them into the game. As of the time of writing this post, two quests are complete (M21 and M22), Quest M23 is currently being written, and the remaining quests (10 in total) have been queued. 

Quest-writing is currently top priority work; even with the other features and future updates planned (which will be discussed about below this section), this is the one thing I will be focusing on. As usual, keep an eye on Discord, you may find me occasionally giving updates on where I currently am and which quest is being worked on!

Story and quests - "Emergency" quests and the Menezdu Research Facility

The concept of "emergency" quests has been discussed on Discord a few weeks ago, and the general consensus between players and myself is that they are important to have and should be done as well, also as top-priority work.

For those of you who don't know, "emergency" quests is the nickname I gave to a series of main story quests designed to salvage the player's ability to complete their main objective (finding the Cardinal Amulets), in case they do not want to go through the main story, or have screwed themselves out of it through failures or mishaps.

Although these quests haven't been drafted yet, I can already tell you ahead of time that they will not be easy; the characters owning the Amulets are most certainly not going to let them go that easily. Expects lots of enemies, fighting, traps, and most of all, traveling; the four Amulets are very far apart from one another, and completing these "emergency" quests will be an adventure of their own spanning across the whole map.

In addition, a new sidequest will be created soon to address the mystery of the town of Roazon, located in the Northwestern Zone. It is currently a completely featureless ghost town, except for one thing - the old Menezdu Research Facility, abandoned eons ago, which currently is closed. The facility is said to hold scientific wonders of all kinds, but the rumors also talk about it being infested with prototypal, artificially-created monsters... This sidequest will be aimed at letting the Contestant access the ruins of the MRF, and find out whether the rumors are true and whether the facility holds the valuable artifacts that it is rumored to have...

Second-priority work: Guns, flamethrowers, melee weapons, oh my!

First of all, I would like to apologize for not having been able to make the gun bag update which I promised would come out around Christmas 2017 - many setbacks, mostly related to my health and real-life issues, have hampered my ability to work and hold sessions throughout the month of December (please see community announcements for more details).

However, rest assured that those of you waiting for new weapons and content will be satisfied very soon, with three big updates in the works: the Gun Bag Update, the BBQ Special Update, and the biggest of the three, the Super Melee Update.

The Gun Bag Update will be the traditional "new guns" update that was planned for December 2017; it will contain six new firearms plus accessories, and several new Customs modifications, both for the new weapons and for some of the existing ones; most notably including a ridiculous amount of M1 Garand modifications; if you've ever dreamed about turning your Ping-Machine into a complete mall-ninja tacticool gun, then stay tuned for this update!

The BBQ Special Update (name chosen by the community!) is aiming at finally introducing a category of weapons that was long overdue for introduction in the Mazes: flamethrowers. Being unique weapons, special rules will be drafted for flamethrower usage. They will also require a new and upcoming flamethrower skill; and yes, that will become selectable in the Startgame. And naturally, all-new flamethrower weapons will be added to the game as well.

Perhaps the biggest one is the Super Melee Update, which aims at ambitiously revamping melee combat in the game, making it more of a viable alternative to guns and explosives, and generally make it more fun to forgo the lead-throwers and get up-close-and-personal. This update is not solely my idea, and in fact, was pitched by Groovy_smoothy; you have my undying thanks for helping me fix the game's issues with melee. Among the planned features of the Super Melee Update:

- Brand new and revamped melee weapon skills
, which will be based on weapon type just like firearms.
- Melee weapon customization: A Customs-like service which will allow some of the melee weapons (both existing and to be introduced) to be modified and customized to fit the Contestant's needs
- Skill subgroups and cross-training: An expansion of the training system which will allow Contestants training certain combat skills to also gain (at a slower rate) Training Points in sister skills. This system will not just apply to the new melee combat skills but in fact to all skills. E.g. training in Semi-auto rifle will also give a few TPs in Full-auto rifle. The goal of this feature is to cut down on the time and expenses needed to reach adequate skill levels with weapons. Do note however that cross-training bonuses do not apply to combat - Contestants will continue gaining only the Skill Points relevant to the weapons (and modes) used to kill enemies.
- Simplification of melee combat techniques: Gone will be the complicated, messy grappling skills full of specific rules and exceptions, which nobody used. Unarmed combat (martial arts) techniques will be simplified, leaving mainly a suite of striking techniques. They will be joined by an expanded list of melee weapon techniques, in order to further increase the usefulness of melee weapon combat.
- Various other changes, fixes and balances: Plenty of smaller things aimed at fixing and improving melee combat, and some aspects of combat, training, and weapon usage in general.

Except for the Gun Bag Update, which should be coming out sometime in January, please be patient! These are second-priority updates which I am announced ahead of time for the sake of information, but as the term implies, they are taking a backseat in favor of questwriting.

Important community announcements

Firstly, some of the planned features that were teased about last post have been canned; the "selfie stick" explosive laying device in particular, which I felt would have been way too overpowered. Wanted to get that one out of the way.

Next; I am hereby announcing that I'm taking a three-week break from running game sessions, effective today. It means that I will not be running any MazeWorld sessions until January 21st. Why? Two reasons. Firstly, health and personal reasons; I need time for myself to recover, and regain a better sleep schedule. Secondly, this is time I want to devote half to RL and resting, and half to working on the next updates without worry. Multitasking and sessions have been real killers to my productivity. I will still be around on Discord to answer questions and keep you guys in the loop, but this needs to be done.

Thirdly, when sessions do become available again, I am announcing that I will prioritize players by activity and motivation. The fact of the matter is that I am just one person, and with over 20 different people that have signed up to be players, it is a nightmare to keep everyone at the same level, especially when availability, scheduling, motivation to play, geographic location and resulting time differences may vary greatly. As such I am forced to be a little harsher about who gets spots on the calendar. Please understand my position; I do not want to penalize players who are already far ahead by having to devote time and sessions to three, four, five others who are only just starting out, forcing the more advanced players to wait before they can continue their adventures, and forcing me to GM the same startgame over and over.
That's just how it is, and I apologize for any inconveniences it may generate. This is why I want to devote more time towards actually finishing this game - so that it may be free, untethered from my presence, and so that other members of our community may become GMs on their own and take on more players.

Lastly, I would like to make an announcement regarding the Discord server. After much deliberation, it has been decided by our staff to promote two of our users. Antoligy has been promoted to full staff member, and JadedPencil has been promoted to consigliere/junior staff member. Congratulations to both of you!


That is it for now! This concludes 2017, and this first post of the year is now over. If you have any questions, you know what to do - head on over to Discord. See you in February for the next status report!