Continuing the discussion from Strats: Command Homepage:
So, clearly there is some confusion/concern about some of the recent developments around these parts. Much of this situation lies on my shoulders because we (the Strats leadership, often through me) were pretty tight-lipped leading up to TwitchCon other than vague hype statements. There were a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, we wanted to build hype; we wanted folks to be excited about what was coming. Second, we honestly were not sure how much we would have done and presentation-ready prior to TwitchCon. Our development cycle hadn’t been finalized, we were all juggling some already-crazy days, and we were trying to get ourselves and the site ready for TwitchCon. It had been stated previously that there would be some lapse in communication since everybody was heads-down prepping Command for launch (or trying desperately to get ahead on school work), but I understand that there was still a desire for more information than was provided. I hope this will bring everyone up to speed and clear up any confusion that currently exists. If not, please reply so I can make sure everything is adequately clarified
By definition, “in the social sciences, a clique is a group of people who interact with each other more regularly and intensely than others in the same setting.” Spoiler alert: this is happening to some degree and will continue to happen in Strats. Strats plays way more games on more systems than any one person can be expected to participate in; this is an irrefutable fact. There is nothing wrong with groups, clans, guilds, or cliques provided they do not become exclusionary. I am not a part of the Farm Sim 15 group (or “clique,” if you prefer) because I do not own it or have any interest in playing it. I pop in the Mumble channel from time to time just to chat, but I possess no vested interest in the goings on of the game given my apathy towards it.
Presently, I cannot think of a single group of individuals that would not let another Strategist play a game with them. Furthermore, the threads posted here daily have no bar-to-entry attached to them; none of them require you even play the game to join the conversation (though, admittedly, that does help a great deal more often than not). I speak very infrequently with most of the Destiny players because I have not played with any regularity in almost a year. Do they know me, personally? Probably not, but in a community approaching 2,000 members, the idea of knowing everyone and being good friends is utopian, at best. If there is a specific group or individual that seems to be creating a exclusionary clique, I want to know about it; I will not allow it to continue. This does not mean I will give someone crap for not letting you into a group that one time, but if there is some kind of recurring discrimination of some sort based on anything we stand against, rest assured they will hear from me.
With that said, If they are not grouping with you (for example) on specific game content that requires a skill level they feel you lack, that decision is their’s to make. I will not tell people they must group with people if they feel your presence will be a detriment to the group’s success; if this is occurring, you need to consider improving your skill rather than expecting someone else to toss you in their backpack and haul you to the finish line. We ask that all Strategists strive to be as inclusive as possible, but we are not ignorant to the fact that not everyone plays as well as everyone else; games are the only form of art that require a level of skill to proceed.
Strats: Command is the first entry into software development under this brand for the leadership at Strats. There have been a number of pivots over the last year that resulted in where we are now and, quite frankly, it would be massively-boring to rehash it all. Suffice it to say, the decision was not made lightly and what has been published is the tip of an iceberg that would make the Titanic’s killer feel like a cube in my drink. There are plans for a regular development cycle with many additional planned features. Command specifically targets content creators (predominantly streamers at this stage, but as it expands the benefits will affect a wider berth). In the future, there will be product and functionality that does more, but everything has to start somewhere. When looking at Command (both in its current state and as the sole product of Strats at this time) I invite you to remember this post where @Vocino discussed the MVP process and concept by which we would be developing. You’ll notice one of the specific things he references is “a better way to authenticate (sign in) to all the Strats services;” we have HTTPS/SSL up and running. The profile improvements he mentioned are still planned and under construction; until Command, there was no real need for them, so they had been put on ice in the meanwhile.
Additionally, there were some unexpected delays in the 11th hour leading up to TwitchCon and the decision was made to delay reveal rather than put out something that did nothing while we were out networking. We understand this caused some confusion (particularly leading up to and including the TwitchCon wrap-up stream). Some of this was unavoidable, some of it was a byproduct of being completely wiped out after the Con (personally, I skipped class and slept until I had to go to work at 3:30pm Monday afternoon), and some was purely a failure on our part to communicate the stressors and issues we encountered during the final push and resulting changes to the previously-proposed timeline. We are learning from this incident and will do our best not to repeat it.
Everything is different, but nothing is different. With the launch of Command, we’re obviously (presently) focused on developing tools for our Twitch team and interested users as well as other content creators outside the community that may want to utilize our system. At some point (through a currently-unannounced model and once we feel there is enough meat on the bone to justify it) we will monetize Command in order to keep the Strats leadership from shouldering the costs of all things Strats. For those that aren’t aware, Strats has officially been Strats Gaming LLC since earlier this year. Despite this fact, the leadership is still paying most of the bills. We earn a bit from the Amazon link and LootCrate, but they aren’t covering all our server operating costs (never mind community game servers like Minecraft and ARK). This has not, however, changed what Strats is: a gaming community.
Just because we are working on a product that benefits a subsect of our users does not mean we have suddenly changed. Command is more of a benefit and opportunity rather than a redefining of Strats; it’s a bonus or perk, not a mandate or ultimatum. We have no intent to suddenly stop caring about the games Strats is playing, the guilds therein, or the people that play them. As we continue to grow, however, there becomes a need to monetize in some capacity (preferably with a value proposition rather than just taking donations) in order to sustain. There will be people who join the forums purely to use Command in the future (it might even be all they talk about), but that is no different than someone who signs up only to play Destiny or Guild Wars 2. This is part of the reason the forums are designed to keep Gaming content easy to identify and locate. If anything, hopefully more quality content will be created and posted for your consumption that supports and supplements your gaming habits, tendencies, and preferences. If not, you can just skim past it the same way you do a thread for a game you have no interest in.
As we move forward, we are interested in providing tools and resources that Strategists feel would be beneficial. If you have an idea, please share it! I can assure you we look at everything and take this community seriously. We would all love to one day be working for you lot full-time, but until then we have to make decisions on what we can and cannot reasonably accomplish. We are all bullish on Strats, and after talking with a number of people at TwitchCon, we feel like we’re headed in a positive direction right now. We will always be a community of gamers, of Strategists, but we will also continue to evolve as we grow. Gaming will forever be our focus; with a bit of luck and determination, we will provide more and more ways to enjoy and enhance your gaming experience. Command is the first step in this direction; I am personally excited for its improvement and look forward to what the next chapter for Strats might bring.
If you have any concerns or questions, I invite you to reply below; if you are uncomfortable doing so, feel free to PM me