As 2019 moves in to memory, I thought that instead of doing a retrospective of the previous year, it would be more important to discuss the year to come, the challenges we face, the things we can look forward to and what we as a community,will be doing to ensure that the time you spend with us will be the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences that the ARMA series has to offer.
Reality Gaming is entering its 12th year, this is quite the milestone for any online community, especially one centered around one particular game. Arma 3 itself well in to its sixth year of release. The fact that so many people still want to play it is impressive in itself and the community is still fairly healthy.
However, despite us being in a good place with player numbers, it is important that we don't take this for granted going forward. Reality Gaming is in a strong position due to the work that's gone before it, our goal should be to continue to evolve and continue that work through this year.
We must be under no illusion that the player base for Arma 3 is on the decline, attracting new members will be more difficult than in previous years, with hundreds of other milsim communities all trying to attract an ever shrinking pool of players. We must stand out from the crowd.
Before worrying about attracting new players however, we should also ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep your own interest and enjoyment at a high and not sacrifice the quality of our community and play sessions to grow our numbers.
Our intention is to end 2020 on the same high note, if not better than we finished 2019.
It is easy to say 'we will do this, we will do that', however the point of this address is to explain to you how we intend to make good on this.
There are multiple avenues that will need to be looked at and tended to. Targeting a specific thing and hoping it will be enough simply wont work. To make 2020 the best year yet will require efforts from everybody.
Firstly we will be looking at training sessions.
I am a firm believer that training sessions are vital to the communities success and enjoyment of missions. However, I am happy to admit that often training can be overlooked and become more of a chore than a joy.
So what can we do to improve this?
Firstly, training maps will become more varied, although we will continue with a 'main' RGTA, you may well see other maps in use on wednesdays in order to train and practice on other terrain or with other equipment.
More organised training courses will be worked on and provided, in order to develop the skills of more players and allow more versatile equipment to be used in missions a wider range of people.
More 'fun' or PvP style sessions will be organised,with the hope of them having a training benefit,
We may also look at linking training sessions into missions more closely, but more on that in a while.
In essence, we know that a lot of people do not see the value in wednesday sessions, we hope to change that to the point where if you miss a wednesday, you will notice the difference.
In the future I will be accepting requests from ANY member that has an idea for a training session. There is a lot of knowledge within the community and we should start to take advantage of that, as long as they are in keeping with the usual SOP's, but that is something for discussion later down the line.
So, in summary, we intend to make Wednesdays far more relevant once again with more organisation and planning going into them than in previous months.
Missions are why we are all here.
One large take away from D11 was that the community enjoyed added levels of detail, immersion and atmosphere and that sometimes 'less is more'. Whilst large cinematic set pieces were loved, missions with more delicate pacing and details that were allowed to sink in made the whole experience better. Variation is also key to keeping minds interested.
A big goal for us going forward will be to provide that added level of immersion and atmosphere. Less, yet more deadly AI and missions that challenge and engage everybody using a variety of equipment, terrains and objectives.
We are going to attempt to achieve this in a number of different ways.
Firstly, more mods. We will be introducing a number of mods that are purely for creative reasons that will allow us to do more. We will also be making more of an effort to give mission makers time to develop missions yet have more freedom with them. If they want to do a 3 mission campaign, sure, if they want to use a Wednesday to rehearse specific things for the mission, no problem. Also, if they want to include Wednesday as part of the overall mission, that's fine too. For example, recce the position Wednesday, to assault on Sunday, that kind of thing.
We may introduce things for specific missions, specific rules for example, more creative freedom for the commanders, fail states.
We will be trying new things, some may work, some may not. We ask for your patience during this and for constructive feedback. we will also be looking to streamline debriefings so we can have more targeted and meaningful feedback on what works and what didn't.
I'll be speaking to NCO's and leaders in due course about what they would like to see and change during missions too so if you've ideas right now, pass them up the chain.
However, the key thing for keeping missions fresh is fresh ideas, and we can only do that with more mission makers. We have made this battle cry before, but if you have any interest at all in making missions for the community, you must reach out ASAP, even if you have zero prior experience we will help you, but you have to pro-active in it too.
Development is going to be a big area of focus. In order to keep up to date, using the latest and greatest of mods and to keep things fresh, development will likely be heavier than in previous years.
I've already said we will be adding mods, but you can expect the modlist to go through some changes over the coming months. We wont be growing the pack to ridiculous proportions, however we will be more inclined to add things in if we feel it will help missions and or immersion. Most of these will be simple workshop additions, but you may hopefully see more regular 3sync and steam updates.
We will be looking at changing our 'style' and perhaps introducing other load outs to keep our Sundays fresh.
So, in short, you can expect more mod additions, more changes to load outs and more toys. Although we realise for some of you, hard drive space is hard to come by, we believe we have to relax on our mod restrictions in order to maximise our play sessions. Even so, we wont be getting silly with it. So don't panic.
That being said though, development won't be possible without the community, the Tech team at the moment have their hands full, so if you can help in any way, step forward. If you can make textures, can work with configs or even just have time on your hands. We would like to know about it, there is a chance that you can help. Even just suggesting mods, scripts or things of that nature can be helpful.
We will see some changes quite early on, some will take longer. But rest assured any and all changes have been carefully evaluated.
Development of course is not just about mods. We also have to consider servers, templates and any other background stuff.
Again, if you would like to help with development in some capacity, please reach out.
The sections that make up the task force will be maintained in their current Orbat. However we must be open to changes should the need arise, however unlikely.
For now our target will be to strengthen the bond between all three. Allowing for cross training, closer operational support and in essence, a better working relationship.
More specialised training and more confidence in each other will allow for more in depth mission capabilities and more variety for each section. This will be more something that happens in the background, the end results should occur naturally for most of you.
As you can see, there are many plans afoot. Although some of my points above are very brief, there is or has been a lot of discussion behind the scenes and these ideas are fleshed out to some extent.
Again, these changes will not happen straight away, these things take time.
We will be opening back up persistent operations and are considering starting public server, and have a lot of ideas we would like to see come to light, but simply lack the man power.
But that is where you come in. We need the community at large to be more pro active than ever. If you want to help in some way, put your head up and say so. There is a tonne of things that need doing that can help grow and better this community. From recruiters and media makers to admin guys. If you can spare time, we can put it to use. Last year there were a lot of parties registering initial interest in helping out, yet nothing came from it. We need the community to step forward this year more than ever.
Personal projects are welcomed and we would encourage you to pitch them, however don't be disheartened if they are rejected. We will look at various aspects of it and consider points such as 'ease of adoption, ease of use, need, and viability'.
A rejected idea doesn't mean its a bad one, just that it was not suitable at this time. So we do encourage ideas or projects to be pitched. Although, as stated man power is a premium so you must consider the amount of work during the pitch.
So, in summary.
Going into 2020, we will be focusing on immersion, variation and development of skills and assets, with the ultimate goal to offer the finest missions that Arma can offer. We need your help and your feedback to accomplish this and encourage any one of you to step forward if you can help in some way. The community is what we make of it, and i'm looking forward to seeing how we make this year better than the last.