Before I go into the fine detail about my trip to Jagex, I want to address the contentious issues of Squeal of Fortune and the NDA. I know that many of you reading will only be interested in those, so it'll save you wading through the rest of my waffle.
There was a NDA, as we all knew that there would be. It wasn't the one on the door, that everyone has to sign. It was a separate, single-side of A4 letter, which was handed to me by Mod Poppy. It was in plain English, not legal speak, and it did not even seek to silence me beyond the hours spent in Jagex Studios. Even then, we're talking restrictions, rather than shut up about it. In a nutshell, the NDA stops me giving away spoilers or compromising player safety or game security. As far as I'm concerned that's fair enough.
As for Squeal of Fortune, I knew my duty there. It was to ensure that I'd raised player objections wherever and whenever the opportunity arose to do so. I did that. I crow-barred some opportunities into the mix. I handed over the Sal's Realm questions, which mentioned it. I talked about it constantly throughout the afternoon. Poor Mod Poppy, Mod Murray and Mod Emma F heard it so often that they must have inwardly cringed whenever someone inadvertently gave me an opening. They all had the patience of saints and never once told me to STFU with SoF protests already! Short of standing in the stairwell or central courtyard and screaming it, so that even the people working on Transformers, 8Realms and the like heard all about it, there's little more that I could have done.
With the emphasis on 'little more'. I was halfway down the motorway when it occurred to me that I'd missed the biggest opportunity of all. I'm sorry. I called myself every form of freaking noob when I realised, but by then I was roughly at junction 28 of the A14, battling through a torrential downpour in the dark, and the moment had long since past. Right at the end of the day, I'd briefly bumped into Paul Gower. I should have complained to him about Squeal of Fortune, but it didn't cross my mind. I don't know why. It had more than crossed my mind all day long to the point where I sounded like a stuck record. All I can think is that the tour was officially over with Mod Poppy just ninja-ing an extra hour on the end (in her own time) to show me the rest of the building. I was tired, hiding cramps, but utterly fascinated by all that I was seeing. I relaxed too soon and for that I'm really sorry.
If my remit was to waltz in there and get Squeal of Fortune taken down right now, then I was never going to win. If it was to get the words said, the impact understood, the pure emotion of feeling that we're all losing our game, then I did it. Hand on heart, I can say that dozens of J Mods heard that plea. They all listened intently. None of them apologised for it.Your Tweets and Facebook messages, while I was there, helped too. I did my absolute best.
I was invited as a guest of player support only as a result of an article I wrote on Internet Safety and as much as I tried to crowbar SoF into every conversation Mod Murray made clear from the moment I arrived that we wouldn’t be discussing it that day, we would be discussing only player support related matters. I don't even have any impressions to share with you about the future of micro-transactions. I wish I had.
For the rest of the trip, I'm going to unfortunately have to direct you over to Wizzley. Sorry!