Dear erepublikans, as today is not only Erepublik anniversary, but also a special day for all of us, the most prominent figures in the developing team have agreed to take part in an interview in which they talk about Erepublik, themselves and yet again about Erepublik. Older ecitizens might remember a similar interview I took with Alexis Bonte and George Lemnaru back in March (article HERE); this time, Cristi Badea will double the excitement, making this article a TRInterview.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody in the team for continuously adding to this wonderful product I have started to believe in 10 months ago, and for sustaining the true community I have watched grow over the past 8 months. I would also like to thank again to the three protagonists of this article, both for their work and their openness towards their users. Without further ado, here is the interview, structured in two parts.
1. What is your most vivid memory of the 14th of October, the day of V1 launch? Or was it that the month that followed wiped out everything before it?
Alexis: Getting 2 out of 5 in the trivia and thinking it must be the questions
George: We were very tired as we haven't slept at all the night before. I was happy to see the project live and scared of all the work that we must do very fast.
Cristi: On the night before the 14th of October most of the team stayed at the office. Devs working on a final touch of the product, moderators on a race against time for updating the wiki - actually "headless chickens" is the right way to describe us during those moments. But now when you're thinking about it, it's bringing a smile to everyone's faces. I think we can truly say that we will be done with V1 by the end of spring 2009.
2. What would be the first 5 things you would do in Erepublik V1 if you had never had admin privileges?
Cristi: I was born in the New World on the 15th of December 2007 and I joined the team in March 2008, so at an early stage I was just a regular citizen. So those 5 things I would do were actually done and you can see them in my wiki page: http://wiki.erepublik.com/index.php/Cristesco.
George: Get a job, work, train, choose the smartest party, basic steps to conquer the world in the end.
Alexis: Thank God I don't - it's the hardest thing, I really respect the admin guys and you really don't want me to have admin privileges, I'd probably screw everything in 5 days.
3. And now, the cliché question: what do you like best about V1?
George: Scalability, raw materials, my places, shouts, resistance wars.
Cristi: This is an easy one: the in-game subscription system.
Alexis: What is under the hood. OK, I'll be clearer, beta looked good but it had the engine of a Lada car (no disrespect to Lada owners), V1 needs work in terms of looks and some gameplay but it's got the engine of a Ferrari ;o)
4. Cliché question, part 2: what do you miss most of beta?
Cristi: I'd say the adviser. It helped the young players a lot and the experienced citizens loved the idea of a new entity like Plato or Julius Caesar in the New World as personal advisers.
Alexis: The advisor (hint), more PvP stuff (hint 2).
George: Plato and the “About me” part in my profile.
5. Erepublik has already reached 50.000 users (and counting), 15.000 more than at the end of beta. How does this fit to your plan/project from the management point of view?
Alexis: A little behind but overall on track. Most important right now is to give all the old citizens and the new citizens a great experience. We are not there yet but working on it and I think we have improved a lot since launch. Kudos to the team and citizen feedback.
George: Knowing that we have focused since the V1 launch mainly on improving the product and less on the numbers, to be honest I think the number went up quite well.
Cristi: The community development brings more requests and needs each day, so facing this challenges means getting back to the drawing table. I see community administrators in each country, forum and game moderators that will help us manage this great community in eRepublik. This is from the community management point of view.
6. Not only the user-base, but also the community has grown tremendously, with about 30 eRomanians present at our last monthly meeting in Bucharest (approximately 10 times more beer than at the first meeting back in March). So, cliché question number 3, what explains this development?
Cristi: Actually, right now the community growth is based on the same principles as it has always been. Great products don't need fancy campaigns for their promotion.
Alexis: I think it's all based on the fact that eRepublik is really about people having fun in a new way - and from what we can see pretty smart people usually.
George: People are starting to feel Erepublik as their place, are starting to feel the other citizens as their friends. Erepublik is not just a website, it's a place where you can meet very, very interesting new people. Plus that in the last community meeting there were some very good looking girls.
7. How are you celebrating the first year of Erepublik? Will we get another one of the famous laptop-made videos by Alexis on this event?
Alexis: Yep, except this one is made by George (I do have a few stored somewhere for future occasions).
George: I think Cristi has some interesting surprises here.
Cristi: He he, we have no clue about what we will be doing
🙂 that's why we've asked for the community to help in one of the latest Insider articles.
8. Which is your favorite ecountry? What makes ecitizenship there so desirable in your view?
Cristi: Spain and Romania, but this is for sure because I was able to have real meetings with the community from these two countries. I'm positive that each time I'll travel for a community meeting in another country, that one will be added to my list.
Alexis: Just like in real life my favorite eCountry is wherever I'm living in at the moment, I like reading the news and understanding the dynamics etc. This is why I move a lot.
George: I like traveling a lot around the world. I like US because they are very organized, I like France because there is such a cool community, I like Romania because I am Romanian, I like Italy because a lot of things happen there and I like Brazil just because.
9. What goodies will future updates bring to the game? Please do tell, at least on this special occasion!
George: We have a long list of things that will be online until the end of this year and next year too. Let's name two of the very important ones: API and “Create a poll” system.
Alexis: I don't want to steal Cristi's thunder on this one, plus if I say something and we are late you'll kill me ;o).
Cristi: API, Multi languages in eRepublik and adding new countries like Croatia, Chile, Colombia and the Baltic countries.
10. In an intense work environment, people sometimes do the craziest things. Do you remember any funny moment, discussion or line of yourself or of any of the boys and girls at ERPK Web you could share?
Alexis: Well I guess a classic is arguing with George about a module or feature for 30 minutes with the team watching us until someone just gets tired of it and says "guys you are saying the same thing"... and we are... It happens all the time but we promised we would get better.
George: There were many times in which we had a lot of fun in the office. But maybe the funniest time happened outside the office in a rafting team building. I was close to get back with only half of the team.
Cristi: I do remember the last team building trip we had. We went rafting on a local river in Romania and I was about to lose my life (no kidding - I cannot swim) and George saved me. It was too embarrassing to blog about it
11. Imagine you are (once again) on the Le Web stage, receiving the grand prize on behalf of the team. To whom are you going to give thanks to (specific users, co-workers, friends, family, girlfriend, employees you have fired etc.)? Please present your 'speech'!
Cristi: "I'd like to give a special thanks to the best online community and for our fans." - With this kind of speech I've for sure minimized the chances to be one of the team members who will be receiving prizes.
George: I am not good at speeches but let's try: “I would like to give thanks to all the people that believe in Erepublik. This includes tens of thousands of people in the community, 20 coworkers and Alexis Bonte (because he was crazy enough to be the first one to believe in Erepublik).”
Alexis: They actually told me I could only say a few words and had 10 seconds so I said: "eRepublik is the first massive online social strategy game. For an invite email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - it's eRepublik with a K!" Believe it or not, 100 people asked for an invite, so I guess with 10 seconds, I'd say the same again. Don't look back, look forward.
12. Please nominate a movie/song/dance/any other piece of art/technology that would be representative for Erepublik (as a symbol or anthem and so on)!
Alexis: I'd love to have an eRepublik song but we don't have one yet. If anyone has an idea I'm a taker. One video I'd recommend and is representative of eRepublik in my opinion is this one: http://www.alexisbonte.com/?p=24, but there are others.
George: I love old music so here is some music that might be funny enough to fit with our ideas: Mcfadden and Whitehead - Ain't no stopping us now.
🙂 A woman - always surprising.
13. Let us get to know you guys a bit. Please describe your co-interviewed co-workers briefly!
George: Alexis is addicted to everything that is new, organized, supportive.
Cristi is eager to win, even more organized, motivated, has great leadership skills.
Cristi: George: As much as I loved eRepublik as a citizen, he was the guy that had the final word for my arrival in the team. He is a great partner, more like a friend than a boss. We do have an average of 6 - 8 hours to spend daily together (week-ends too).
Alexis: Incredibly proactive guy, with a lot of management and leadership skills. Each time he visits us in Bucharest you can sense the joy in the office and it is not like: "Guys, pretend you're working, the boss is here!". Also, his time management capability is something you read in books written by experts.
I couldn't ask for better leaders in the company I work for.
Alexis: George "simulator" Lemnaru and Cristi "social" Badea were probably twins in a previous life, they just don't know it yet.
14. What other (online or not) games do you play?
George: Civilizations 4, Age of Empires 2 (multiplayer only) and Medal of Honour (still, multiplayer only).
Alexis: I still play Civ from time to time and have recently tried spore. I'm trying to find more time to play but it's really hard. Good thing there is eRepublik!
Cristi: Friday evening several guys from the office get together for a Medal of Honor and Age of Empires marathon. Geeks... I know. Strategy and sports games I like the most (almost everything developed by EA). From the online field, managerzone is my favorite (although I got banned for multi accounts there) and several others, I can't name all of them here.
15. How did you get the 'buzz' for the online domain? What made you transform your passion into a workplace?
Cristi: It was actually a workplace and then a passion. Three years ago, I got my first job as an e-commerce officer for a local online store. Then I've started some homebased online projects and then I was doomed... eRepublik eRepublik eRepublik
George: I entered the Internet industry by chance as in high school I thought I would build an economical career. The Internet is a huge opportunity for anybody smart enough to try new things and believe in them.
Alexis: Work, lots of work and... passion plus fun from George, from me, from the team and from the community!
And now, Trivia time! As Trivia was a major addition to the V1 a month ago, we can see that the admins expect us to know many things about the real world. But how much do the admins actually know about the very world they created? I have taken the liberty to simulate a e-work day for the admins (as Alexis isn't an admin and he is on holiday – thank you again for accepting to give the interview in such conditions – only Cristi and George got a go here), and have done a calculation of their productivity. The possibility of supershots has also been assesed, so next to their admins you will see a number of seconds. The correct answers to the questions below are at the very bottom of the article, so the readers can see whether they can actually score better than the admins!
1. What does "Za Warudo" mean?
a. "Dio's children"
b. The greatest sandworm
c. "The world"
d. A Q7.5 Weapon
George: a (6 sec)
Cristi: c (3 sec)
2. How many days did it take for The New World to reach 1000 citizens?
George: b (4 sec)
Cristi: d (3 sec)
3. How many wars (Conquest or Resistance) have there been in the New World, as of 18th of November 2008?
George: b (3 sec)
Cristi: a (4 sec)
4. Who is The New World's first General?
a. Alucard Bloodlust
b. Chuck Norris
d. Nave Saikiliah
George: a (2 sec)
Cristi: a (3 sec)
5. God said: "Let there be light!" What did Alexis Bonte say one year ago?
a. Mmm... George? I found a bug!
c. In 5 years, when people see this, they will say "This is how it started... they even had a camera!"
d. Let there be gold!
George: c (16 sec)
Cristi: c (5 sec)
6. Bonus Trivia Question: How much (percentagewise, from 0 to 100) do you think Erepublik has already reached its potential?
In order to calculate their productivity, I have considered (they do not know this
😛) the answer to their 6th question as their base productivity and have added bonuses from correct answers and supershots.
George's productivity = 15 (base) + 30% (correct answers) + 20% (supershots) = 22.5 (enough to feed two soccer teams);
Cristi's productivity = 4 (base) + 30% (correct answers) + 30% (supershots) = 6.4 (enough to kill the referee).
If, after reading this interview, you still feel the need to find out more about Alexis, here is an interesting (1st part) and funny (2nd part) interview with him: interview (Kudos to Sergiu Biris for the link).
Trivia answers: 1c, 2b, 3c, 4a, 5c.