This is why we’ve created this series: The Dual Universe Community Spotlight. With it, we hope to interview some of our most interesting and influential community members to showcase their contributions to the Dual Universe Community. We hope that you look forward to hearing their stories as much as we do!
This time, we have a chat with Falstaf. He’ll tell us about his thoughts about the game and his project Outpost Zebra, a cool fan-run website publishing articles on many aspects of Dual Universe.
Novaquark: Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Falstaf: Well, I go by the handle Falstaf. I'm 34, male and I'm from Belgium. I've been playing MMO's since 2004. With Anarchy Online being my first big love. I've played it for years but at some point I started looking for a new game to call my home. This lead me here.
Novaquark: How and when did you discover Dual Universe?
Falstaf: It was in February 2016 when massivelyop.com had a short article about Dual Universe. It had 2 screenshots and not much info about the game. Even though I stopped playing MMO's back then I kept up to date on the development of MMO's. Hopeful that some day someone would be capable to develop a game that I felt was needed to push my favorite genre forward. I found the forum, read the developer blogs and I took a wait and see approach. It's only with the Kickstarter that I became more than casually interested in Dual Universe. Naturally the E3 trailer and the multiple interviews with J.C. helped me in trusting Novaquark as a company.
Novaquark: Since you mention your need for a new breed of MMO, something that pushes the genre forward, what makes Dual Universe unique to you, in that regard?
Falstaf: Oh where to start. In essence, for me it's DU's and NQ's attempt to create a virtual world with a strong and respectful attitude towards its community. We are at a point where the industry tries to convince me that a 32 player area counts as MMO, being a player from the 2nd generation I strongly disagree with that. You could also say that in general to me the genre became anti social in design and limited in scope. I firmly believe a major component of moving forward as a genre is technology based and DU is based on cutting edge technology.
For me DU also ticks all the right boxes in a genre that (to me) stagnated for a decade or more. A big selling point for MMO's is its ability to interact with 1000's of players in a virtual world, supporting amazing communities in the process. DU embraces that and takes it a few steps further. There is literally no one that I know of who is doing anything close to NQ. It's missing a few features to make it my dream game but NQ has gotten closer to creating my dream game than anyone else. Naturally I'm speaking from my consumer point of view, I'm not a developer and I don't wish to belittle the efforts from other developers.
Novaquark: With other community members like ATMLVE, Kael and Aetherios (who was interviewed here on a totally different topic), you created Outpost Zebra. You’ve gathered several contributors like Astrophil, Lethys, Kurock, Ben Fargo, what is this project about? What sparked the idea and how did you gather these folks in this adventure?
Falstaf: Basically, Outpost Zebra is a community driven and focused effort to create content for and by the community. There are a lot of initiatives to create in game content or develop tools for the game and its community. I wondered how I could contribute in my own way and so Outpostzebra.com was born. A platform where everyone is invited to read and share stories or other game related content. And I really can't and won't take credit for everything.
After I had developed the idea I asked my organization, the Heimera Trade Xchange, for help. That's how Aetherios and ATMLVE got on board as writers. Another member, Kael, donated the domain and helped me in working out the technical issues that the general public doesn't see. Another organization member called Anonymous gave me invaluable advice along the way. Last but not least: Adamantine11 who donates his time whenever possible as an extra pair of eyes. NQ-Nyzaltar was also kind enough to answer some questions I had.
Everybody chipped in where possible to make my project come alive. Lethys, Kurock and Ben Fargo have been very supportive to the project with offering me their feedback and contributing content whenever possible, I hardly had to ask them to contribute. Astrophil was asked by my organization leader, Aetherios, to publish Ark Central on Outpost Zebra to increase our content schedule and increased exposure for Ark Central. All around everybody has been a delight to work with. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved, from the contributors to the people I've interviewed to the readers. Without them Oz wouldn't be what it is today and what it can be in the future. It's a true work of passion for and by this community.
Novaquark: What are the next steps for Outpost Zebra?
Falstaf: My idea for Oz was to create a service for the Dual Universe community. Today that translates in articles and opinion pieces related to Dual Universe. My ambition is to expand on the idea of a service for and by the community. I wish I could go into more detail but I don't want to give away too much before things are ready to launch. I don't want to announce a feature and then we realize it's impossible to deliver.
Novaquark: It’s understandable. However, could you elaborate a little bit further on what you mean by “service”? Outpost Zebra is free for everybody as we speak but do you intend to monetize it in some way in the future?
Falstaf: I see Outpost Zebra as a service in the sense that it provides content that is tailored to the community. As a platform that is willing to change and adapt to a specific need of the moment. Right now that means providing articles for the user to read but in time the intent is to add features that makes Outpost Zebra more than just a blog.
As for the cost, we don't run any advertisements what so ever and I hope we can keep it like this for ever. I don't like advertisements and I can imagine a lot of our users don't like them either. It is free to read or submit material and I don't have any desire to monetize that either. Perhaps this makes me a bad business man but it is a fan project and I want to keep it free. I'd rather shell out some money than place some 3rd party advertisement.
We do have some banner art from Dual Universe organizations but they are more for flavour than for any monetary gain.
Novaquark: Still looking for new contributors? How can they join?
Falstaf: Yes, I'm always looking for new contributors for a number of reasons. The 2 biggest reasons why I'm always looking for new people are to increase the content schedule and to find new and fresh voices. People can contribute in 2 ways right now. On one hand we have a contact form that you can use to submit articles and on the other hand there is Team Oz. Team Oz are people that have committed to produce content on a regular schedule. They can acces the back end of the website to write their articles etc. It's a system that has worked very well so far. Although I would like to find some new regular writers so that Oz can deliver content on a faster schedule.
Novaquark: So it’s open to everybody? Do you operate some curation?
Falstaf: Everybody is free to choose to write about what they want although I reserve the right to make suggestions or refuse submissions to prevent abuse or questionable content.
If anyone feels the urge to contribute its as easy as submitting their article with the click of a button. And if you want to join Team Oz it's just a matter of either contacting me, Falstaf, on the Dual Universe forum or by using the contact form on the website. All applications will be considered.
Thanks to Falstaf for taking the time to answer our questions. We hope that you enjoyed our little conversation as much as we did. In the future, we’ll be reaching out to more community members on a host of topics, introducing you to them, and sharing their unique contributions to our incredible community. If there is someone you feel should be in the spotlight, please let us know!
Link to Outpost Zebra Website: https://www.outpostzebra.com
Previous interview of Aetherios is still available here: https://www.dualthegame.com/en/news/2018/01/31/community-spotlight-1/