Interview with Shadow46x2
GLN: Hello Mistah. Lets talk about you before we come to the interesting part. Who are you? Age/Sex/Location and the FUMBBL add-on: How did you come to Blood Bowl/FUMBBL?
Shadow46x2: I'm 31 and I'm from the Washington DC metro area. I've been on FUMBBL since late 2003. A few friends and I had our own in-house tabletop league, and once it started to stagnate, I wanted to keep playing. After a little bit of research, I found FUMBBL online, and have been playing ever since.
GLN: Besides your work on STUNTY, you are a kind of an admin thingie. What is your job exactly?
Shadow46x2: I've been a forum & chat moderator for a little over a year, I think. Also, I've been working with the tourney staff for about the same length of time, and took over as head of Scheduled SMACKs after Qaz took a vacation from the staff.
GLN: Now you are the new big boss of the goblins playground: STUNTY! But why?
Shadow46x2: I started playing in [S] a long time ago, when I needed something different from the cutthroat environment that Ranked has always been. I was, and still am, one of the old school coaches that was big into Stunty before the original changes came through. Once the old changes went through, the division started to stagnate without an administrator. Christer wanted the division to recoup its old glory, so after a lot of deliberation, and fear of killing the division, I took the jump and offered to run it.
GLN: And Christer accepted?
Shadow46x2: Yep. I mentioned that I would love to do it, but I had some reservations due to caring so much about the division, and not wanting to be the one responsible for burying it. A few days of decision making, and I threw in my application, and he pinged me pretty soon afterwards. He asked a few questions about my goals with the division and a timeline, and then offered me the position.
GLN: The goals are?
Shadow46x2: The first step was to review all of the races, and try to streamline them a little bit. I wanted to see every race have the ability to win on their own merits, and knock down a few of the races that are too successful. While I didn't want it to be a rock/paper/scissors on who wins (some races still struggle, which is ok in my book), the discrepancies between successful teams and failure teams was too great, and needed to be evened out a bit. After that, the next step is to get the tournament environment reestablished, and give people something to play towards, instead of just a series of one-shot matches with no end goal in sight.
GLN: Bring teambuilding into stunty?
Shadow46x2: I wouldn't necessarily call it teambuilding, per se. Ranked thrives so much, not only because it's the main division, but because it has major tournaments on a set cycle that people can look forwards to winning for bragging rights, rewards, or whatever they look towards. League thrives for the same reason, and Blackbox has grown in popularity, in part, due to the tournaments being established. The divisions become much more fun when there's something to play for, even if it's just something as simple as "I won this tournament, and you didn't".
GLN: The popularity of [B] certainly comes much more from the scheduler than from the tournaments. It has his very special thing. Stunty had that and was running low before HunterX took over, he tried to "streamline" the division with the tools that might wrk in ranked, and killed it. That wont happen this time. Why?
Shadow46x2: Stunty was doing well for itself for a long time. Evo & peikko did a great job running the division in the old days. Once Evo & peikko stepped down from the division, it went along for a while, but started to slowly stagnate. Then the first wave of changes came along, with the ill-fated "no G big guys" phase that Christer implemented. While his actions had the best of intentions, the execution was not so great. It ended up driving a lot of older, loyal coaches away from the division, and the newer coaches who started playing, refused to play against the grandfathered teams. After a while, HunterX took over the division, but retired soon after, having done very little for the division. The plans that I'm working towards implementing are focused on trying to find a happy middle ground between the older loyal coaches, and the newer ones, as well as bringing in fresh blood.
GLN: So perhaps the original rules were just fine, but it just needed constant administration?
Shadow46x2: I won't say that as much. The original rules turned teams into big guy teams, with stunty support. The major players on each team were the stunty killers, and while that's fun and everything, it turns every game into "who can kill the opposing little guys first", and that gets old after a while. These newer plans that Christer & I have put into place are catered towards giving big guys a little bit of threat, but not allowing them to become so powerful that they take away focus from the little guys. Additionally, it's a small nod to the original, old school, loyal fanbase, but also keeping the newer coaches in mind, as well. The big guy rules are as close to appeasing both crowds as I can get, without starting to alienate one side or the other.
GLN: You said in the beginning: "I started playing in [S] a long time ago, when I needed something different from the cutthroat environment that Ranked has always been.". As old as stunty got after a while, that purpose you used it for was served perfectly, and I dare to say that the majority used it for the same purpose. Stunty alone was about to run against a wall with those rules. Stunty as part of the fumbbl universe however... Isn't that all the division could hope for?
Shadow46x2: I don't ever foresee Stunty being the main division on FUMBBL, and that's not something that I'm trying to achieve either. With that in mind, it can very easily be a popular sideshow attraction to the main ring. Stunty is, in my eyes, supposed to be a lot more lighthearted than the competitive divisions. Not to say it can't have it's own level of competition, but the division itself is geared more for goofball antics... ...than it is towards the bloodthirsty, win at all expenses, that the other bigger divisions are for. I think it's very reasonable to aim for a smaller scale, fun division, and still give the community a competitive side of the league.
GLN: We had a real wave of enthusiasm when you took over, now we are back to where we were: http://fumbbl.com/FUMBBL.php?page=stats&op=games&type=week&div=3. But stunties success needs the enthusiasm of the coaches. Do you think there is a chance for that, now that all the "let's try something new" credit goes to the lrb5 client?
Shadow46x2: I do. I was happy that the initial roster changes drew a lot of traffic to the division, and I had hoped that a lot of it would continue through, but a small part of me expected the popularity to return to what are normal levels for the division. That's part of why I'm looking towards the tournament revamp, as I think that end goal reward will help bring more to the division. Also, I'm expecting to implement a few different types of tournaments to the division, that other leagues don't have, as well as some of the old classics. On top of that, once I've been able to get the ball rolling, I'd like to try and bring some of the minors from Ranked over to Stunty to give more entertainment value during non-tournament seasons. I don't think there's any quick fix, or an on/off switch to the division's popularity. I always expected this to be a long-term project, but only time will tell if things will go as planned.
GLN: Shadow46x2, thank you very much for taking this time, it has been highly informative and gave a nice insight to what stunties' head thinks. Any words of wisdom to the community other than the "Mind your language!" we know from chat?
Shadow46x2: Yeah. Enjoy your time here. FUMBBL is a lot more than just a site where we play a video game, it's a community with real people behind every conversation. Cherish every friendship you make here, and you'll walk away from here with a lot more than just a few games under your belt. Sappy... But true. :)
As we go to print, Shadow has just announced news of the Cheater Invitational, though why he didn't give us the scoop we can't quite figure out!