Club Leader Spotlight - Leftymaster (All in Four / PC)
This time on Club Leader Spotlight we talk with Leftymaster who runs the All in Four club on PC.
Thanks to Steedfeed for organising this interview.
Article image titled All in Four Spawn.
- What can you tell us about yourself and your club?
- Where do your character and club names come from?
- What’s your favourite part of Trove? What keeps you coming back?
- How did your club start out? And when did you start being responsible for it?
- Have you managed clubs/guilds in other games?
- What motivates you to continue managing a community on Trove?
- Which other clubs would you like to highlight and why?
- What is the most challenging thing about running a community on Trove?
- Are there any members or particular builds in your club world you would like to highlight and why?
- How do you like the current club building and management tools and what would you like changed?
- As a leader, what are your thoughts on the Club Adventures and Fixtures system?
- What advice would you give people looking for a club or thinking of starting a new club?
- Any final words?
What can you tell us about yourself and your club?
I am Master Lefty (IGN: Leftymaster) from the rock band “All in Four”. As the lead singer and leader of the band, it’s safe to say I’m quite enthusiastic about it. As a result, we’ve got a whole club in-game themed after the band!
In real life, I juggle a lot of different jobs. I’m a musician, leading my rock band as described above, and composing many different kinds of music. I’m also a book writer, having published two novels on Amazon and now working on a third one, to complete my first trilogy (Free Seas Trilogy). My academic background is in the technological field (Systems Analysis and Development, aka software development and IT project management). I’ve got 6-7 years of loose work experience in that field, but nothing near that of a 9-5 job.
My real full-time job was that of a teacher, giving English classes to foreigners (ESL) and helping them master the language from the most basic levels (through classes in their first language) to total proficiency. While I quit that job recently in order to dedicate more time to my book writing career, I’m still working as an emergency replacement teacher at my old workplace.
In a Trove context, there’s quite a bit to cover as well. I’m a passionate builder, having built All in Four singlehandedly and helped with some small builds in a few other clubs (The North and Varros come to mind, but I’ve helped with several others in the past). On the community side, I’m one of the primary founders of the Trove Ethics Alliance – a chain of clubs dedicated to protecting the community from threats such as cyber-attacks, extreme toxicity and hacking. I also lead the Espers of Trove – a chain of no-requirement clubs which started at 12 but now hosts over 20 clubs.
I’m nowhere near as “hardcore” as most other endgame players when it comes to grinding. I got where I got the passive way, by playing the game ever since it was released, a little at a time, claiming time-gated bonuses and stacking those goodies. And I’m still behind by about 70 mastery levels! Over the years I’ve been finding myself congratulating many of the friends I’ve made who started playing way later and caught up to me, subsequently even passing me in Mastery Rank.
But managing and building are two whole other ball games. My passion in this game, besides making beautiful voxel art and sharing it with the world, is meeting new people and making club alliances. My goal is to give every awesome club in this game the spotlight they deserve. I’ve made friends with many leaders who hated each other, and worked to help them eventually make amends and team up. If anything, my experience in this game has honed my skills in diplomacy. I may be a total casual in terms of grinding and mastery (the game itself) but I’m probably the most well-known diplomat among the game’s leaders (the game behind the game)!
All in Four is themed after Aristotle’s “Four Elements of Nature” (I know it’s a cheesy, overdone theme, but the real reason the band based itself on that was related to its members’ personalities) – Earth (Litty), Air (Lopy), Fire (Luke) and Water (Lefty).
To suit the theme, we’ve got a nice event arena (box) with each wall being themed after a band member and their element, with their main musical instrument highlighted. We’ve also got four portal chains (conveniently the four the game allows us to have) hosted in four small crafting areas themed after each element (a forest, an aeroplane, a draconic stronghold and a boat). The crafting areas were built extra small for convenience – it’s all a stone’s throw away!
In the game’s club connection context, All in Four (A4) brands itself as the game’s go-to free-to-join club. Ranked within the game’s top 15, we’ve achieved the highest tier of clubs with no requirement to join. It’s part of our mission to welcome all players and help those who are starting the game now by providing a club with all the functionality they’ll ever need, as well as a thriving, active community of fellow beginners and endgame players alike.
We’re strict enough on our rules to ensure toxicity is avoided at all times, but we are not overly punishing when slip-ups occur. We do not have a “catch-all” rule (where staff can act at their own discretion) for the sake of integrity. I may be president of the club but that does not put me above the rules in any way.
Where do your character and club names come from?
The club is named after the rock band, as described in the previous question. “All in Four” refers to how eclectic the band is: you’ll find everything within the scope of these four members. Split the universe in four, in any manner you like! There you have it.
In a Trove context, this translates to our mission of grouping all the game’s clubs in one place and having all the features a club might need whilst accepting applications from any and all interested players (except those who are banned/blacklisted for past transgressions). We strive to be the game’s most eclectic megalopolis!
“Lefty” = left-handed
“Master” = I’ve got a decade of experience as a teacher and I always like to explain things to everyone
It all started when Luke named himself “Lukemaster” (generic screen name) in a game in the early 2000’s. Litty, on his end, has had his nickname ever since he was 2 years old (1996), so he named himself “Littymaster” to match his older brother. I’m a cousin to those two, but I grew up with them as though I were a third brother (aged between the two).
Since I’m left-handed, the appropriate, similarly-sounding nickname for me to fit into the group was “Lefty”. So it stuck – Lukemaster, Littymaster, Leftymaster. Lopy joined us later by coming up with his own name out of thin air and with probably no etymology whatsoever.
My character, Master Lefty, the pirate Water Elemental who sails the seas fighting crime on his own accord, can best be described with the word “irony”. He’s a pirate, yet he fights crime instead of committing it like other pirates. His ship is called “The Fallen Angel” and yet he sides with justice, honesty and selflessness.
Yet he’s still a rowdy pirate! Understand the rules – don’t just follow them blindly! That’s his way of thinking. As goes his motto, “freedom and justice” – symbolized by the black-and-white pattern on his sail, flag and outfit (split in half, black on the left, white on the right). He still comes off as goofy and juvenile on numerous occasions – more irony, considering he’s the renowned yet mysterious captain of the mighty and feared Fallen Angel.
Some people may also derive political inclination from my nickname. I’d like to remark that there is no connection there – if anything, it’s another beautiful piece of irony. While I don’t condemn any specific way of thinking and I respect all opinions (and people’s right to have them), I stand with the Right as it currently is (obviously not far-right, though). I do not wish to get into more detail in this article, since it is not a topic of sufficient relevance here.
Another piece of irony – I use my right hand to write. I learned how to hold a pencil at age 2, and at age 3 I could already read and write. That’s way too young to have fully-developed motor coordination. As a result, my handwriting is awful and I struggle to even be able to duplicate my official signature. I simply don’t know how to hold a pencil properly. Ironically, I’m a book writer! Add that to the fact that a significant degree of dyslexia prevents me from reading books faster than a slug’s pace. I need to keep re-reading everything and analyzing it. Therefore I rarely ever read books. Still, notice how much I write. I just don’t stop.
I’m a graduated software developer and I dislike how fast technology evolves. I’m always way behind on updates to every piece of tech I own, and yet I hold the ironic title of “technology expert”, as per my academic background.
My graphic arts also suck because of the hand thing. Ironically, I’m a well-known and admired voxel artist. The list can keep going on but I’ll cut it off at this point. Irony is my game!
What’s your favourite part of Trove? What keeps you coming back?
I love the game’s community and I love making voxel art and easily sharing it with other people on the fly. Hosting Minecraft servers is a hassle and it considerably limits the amount of people I can share my work with on a regular basis. Trove just allows me to build and share at any time! And, most importantly, spotlight other great artists and creators I come across.
Special mention to minigames like coin collection and Bomber Royale. They’re all a lot of fun. Bomber was more fun when more people were into it, but the issues currently plaguing it can be solved. Just a few days ago, I got together with three friends of mine (Seedlings, Surge and Dan) to queue together and have some fun. It was awesome, just like the early days.
Besides the fun features, what keeps me tied to the game is the community I don’t ever want to disappoint.
At this point, Trove has reached the level of voluntary work for me. It’s a daily duty. I take my club and the alliances I manage very, very seriously, and I strive never to disappoint those who are counting on me. My schedule is a mess of random tasks I need to tackle on a daily basis (as a writer, developer, teacher, musician) and yet I refuse to slow down my Trove duties even further. I’m already “casual” enough as it is.
I may be drowning in work to do, but I’m always doing all I can to make this game better and better. I love this community, I love this game and how it allows us to share our art, and I will work as long as I need to for it to thrive.
How did your club start out? And when did you start being responsible for it?
All in Four (A4) was founded by Lukemaster in August of 2015. Luke and Litty had always been early-access game hunters, and Trove had just gotten out of beta. They quickly pulled me into the game, which I proceeded to fall in love with. We ran the club as a small community back then, but nothing to write home about. Luke was the president at the time, Litty was his officer and I was the “Architect”. Lopy later joined us, but he played for 15 minutes then never again.
Over time, Luke and Litty lost interest in the game and the club fell to me. The few active players in it also quit, and, when I looked around and saw our tiny, cute club world (the current “Legacy Hub”), I felt the club was a bit too small a fry to shoot for the big goals. So, for several years, the club was my private sandbox. I joined other communities and got to know people there, imagining someday I’d be a club leader. Little did I expect I’d get so far... but it wasn’t without a rollercoaster of intense drama.
Eventually, the Adventures update dropped and I felt that my own club would need a lot more activity in order to thrive. It was about time I got something going there. So, I got some of the great friends I had met at the time to join and help me curate a tiny community again – something like the old A4.
At some point in 2018, I built the club’s first impressive spawn – the Club Hall. With it, I felt confident to promote the club a bit more. With our club linking floor, I started the mission of linking Trove’s clubs and connecting Trove’s leaders. That’s how I met more leaders, helped them with their battles and took their goals as my own. I started to be seen as some sort of ringleader at the time, despite my own club in itself being relatively small. That drew in all kinds of attention and got me started on the big drama coaster.
On January 1, 2019, I decided to start promoting A4 in large scale. Something about a superstition that said that anything started on 1/1 is guaranteed to be successful. For giggles, I decided to test that out. Within two weeks, we were officially a midsize club. In May 2019, we started to do monthly theme events that hyped up our members while I worked on a new spawn for the club – something in a proper scale to match the game’s more popular clubs of the time.
All in Four then made its name and fame by linking other beautiful clubs through miniature builds I always make a point of personally building, as a tribute to all the great art in other clubs. My mission is to showcase all the game’s wonderful voxel art by providing samples, side by side, all in one place. So, while in-game I link everyone through building, and out of it I work as a diplomat solving other leaders’ problems, A4 quickly built the rep of a hub club – a huge neutral zone trying to connect the entirety of the game’s community on ethical grounds.
In parallel, there was more drama concerning other clubs I do not want to go into detail about. I eventually got to meet the game’s most influential leaders and was filled in on all the beef and feuds going on involving what is essentially the game’s “upper circle”. I offered my assistance and joined forces with those seeking to enforce ethics and fair play. I ended up founding the Trove Ethics Alliance and to the present day, I’m happy to meet new leaders and help solve any issues they may have with other leaders.
Miniature inside take
Have you managed clubs/guilds in other games?
I’d like to believe there’s an “All in Four” in every game a band member has ever touched. World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy 14, Pokémon fan games, Tibia, several other MMOs I probably don’t know about (recently our band has been pretty divided in terms of gaming tastes). We were also a pretty strong LoL team back in the day, at the forefront of our local community. Now Litty is trying to pull me back into Rocket League. Where’s the time for that?
If there’s an option at all to found a guild or a team – All in Four it is! If it’s a very high-end, late-game sort of thing... I’ll wait! I’ll work for it. But there’s no going without it!
None of the guilds I’ve managed outside of Trove have been quite as successful, though. Trove is my passion!
What motivates you to continue managing a community on Trove?
My article-dumping self has reflexively covered that in one of the previous questions. Trove is a voluntary job for me, as there are a lot of leaders in it counting on my regular presence. I would never want to disappoint them.
Which other clubs would you like to highlight and why?
Besides being president of All in Four, I am also VP of Varros and officer in The North. I guess those two would be my greatest highlights.
Varros is the legacy of one of the most talented voxel artists who have ever played Trove. I’d cite Fallen Q Gods and Altaria (/joinworld aitaria) as two other clubs in its lofty tier of awesomeness. Varros is now reopened as a free-to-join club with fixtures that complement A4’s and North’s.
The North is the game’s most influential flagship of honesty and fair play. With a relatively low entry gate of 250 Total Mastery, it’s my personal recommendation for a top-tier, page 1 club with a vast experienced community. I’d call it an “endgame club” but it’s open to early-mid game players too, in true Esper fashion.
What is the most challenging thing about running a community on Trove?
“Everyone’s problem is your problem”. As an empathic leader, I feel the urge to help everyone with everything and solve every issue. That can be very stressful and lead to burnout. Benji, one of All in Four’s officers, struggles with that on a daily basis. He has a heart of gold and a resolve of steel – but he often gets very stressed out for not being able to tackle every single problem he comes across. I can relate to that, despite always doing my best to keep my cool.
Are there any members or particular builds in your club world you would like to highlight and why?
Probably the best staff team I could possibly ever wish for.
Seedlings is among the kindest and most well-centred people I have ever met in my life. He is also an experienced leader, leading a small club of his own (Seeds of Friendship) and having moderated a number of other games over the course of his history. If I’m known for being diplomatic, understanding and clear in my wording, Seeds outdoes me at the art. We are both skilled book writers too!
LittleBigBenji (Head Officer)
As mentioned in the previous question, Benji is A4’s true bringer of order. Seeds and I are soft towards members very often and somebody has got to draw a hard line to enforce the rules. Benji tends to take everything that needs solving into his own hands and that can (and will) stress him out sometimes. I salute his effort and dedication.
The other active founder of the Trove Ethics Alliance and leader of The North has gone from a status of widespread community controversy to that of a friendly, well-humoured influencer looking to help the game deal with its longstanding issues in a (mostly) nonaggressive way, and to provide feedback and suggestions to improve the whole community’s experience at all times.
This game is as much his passion as it is my own, if not even more so. I’ll stand with him to the bitter end and work so he is never again misunderstood the way he was in the past.
Shankara Rhuddlan (Officer)
Leader of Varros and one of the greatest friends I could wish for. He has got a heart of gold, simply put. Pretty much the most drama-free person I could know, and he is on excellent terms with so much of the game’s community, regardless of the beef they may have among themselves. I admire Shank’s tenacity and constant positivity, and I strive to always return that positivity whenever I can.
Other staff members
It would be unfair with the rest of my staff team, even members who joined the team more recently, not to mention them here too. A special shout-out to Alinah, Xpolonia, Kamriver, DarkSyrex, GoTurbo, Stanagley, TiGonn (vice president of The North who has been staff in A4 since well before I even met Surge), IcedInk – you’re all awesome!
And another shout-out to our legacy staff – awesome people who helped shape the club in its growth! Nikitablam, Siebzehn, Dee, Jonathan, Dolkia, Tang, Smexx, Sander, Crafstar – the club would never have gotten where it got without you!
I build miniatures of every awesome club I come across, and place a portal to the source club in each build. The panorama is starting to take shape and it’s looking cool!
Two minigame maps as of October 2020 (though they’re both over a year old) – a coin collection map in a half-frozen castle, and an underground flying race in a green neon pyramid with crazy, trippy patterns.
An official club quest, which starts at some Qubesly plushies representing the band members in each of our four portal hubs. The quest leads to an abandoned kingdom which is now in ruins, and there’s lore all around to find. Ultimately, once each individual leg of the quest is done and an alien language is decoded, the final part leads to a huge underground maze with trivia about other clubs and riddle-like gauntlets. Those who get to the end room can screenshot it and send it to me on Discord for a spot in the club’s Hall of Fame.
A patchwork city built by our members over the years. Each plot is assigned to one different member.
How do you like the current club building and management tools and what would you like changed?
It works. It’s got some glitches here and there, like the one where blocks disappear from your hotbar whenever you break a block, or the one where your building hotbar gets stuck and you can’t take items off of it until you relog. Add that to rubberbanding on a bulldozer and it can be a bit annoying at times. But I’ve grown used to it and I’m patient enough to enjoy building in spite of all those things. That being said, I’m with the crowd in pressuring the developers to address these issues as soon as they can.
I’d suggest adding customizable frameworks for trees and such. It would help a lot with repeated builds. Frameworks, in my view, are not meant to replace building outright, but merely speed up larger projects by providing smaller building blocks. I quote Surge on that.
Another great idea is the ability to change a biome without terraforming it. Something like a sky changer, which only changes the sky, music and overall ambience (it changes the biome, but leaves all blocks intact).
Like building, I’ve grown used to the way things are now. But I do have quite a bit more to add in this regard.
- The club log is too short – it’s very easy to lose track of recent info. A solution would be to group up decor item entries as they spam logs; separate logs related to different things; detect redundant entries (Johnny added a cat mount to the club chest – Johnny removed a cat mount from the club chest – Johnny added the same thing again – etc.) generated by deliberate spam attempts and group them up with a number
- Purging inactive members is a pain. Having to manually click one by one is not only tedious but it leaves room for tragic mistakes. Maybe an auto-purge feature, where those with the proper permissions (usually president-only) can define a number of days for the threshold and manually whitelist some members making them immune to auto-purge forever (until removed from the whitelist).
- The ability to mute members who are spamming would be welcome for the sake of proper moderation. Kicking them is the only current solution and it’s a bit too harsh.
- Make each player’s highest Power Rank always count towards a club’s score rather than the current class they’re on. That should provide more leaderboard consistency.
- Club member limit is too low in my opinion. Popular clubs are constantly hitting 750 and having to tighten up their inactivity thresholds to keep up.
As a leader, what are your thoughts on the Club Adventures and Fixtures system?
I like the fixture system, as it provides some nice benefits for members who use the club as their primary. Maybe it would be interesting to add new fixtures so to break the current “meta” setup, since all top-tier clubs are pretty much the same as it is. It would be nice to see each club offering different perks and no clubs being objectively better than others at the same level.
I do what I can with A4 by offering the Beacon of Heroes as a strategic perk. Other big clubs don’t do that because they opt for the Mount Menagerie since it increases Talisman drops. It would be cool if clubs could afford to pan out a bit more instead of sticking to the same benefits, which are globally acknowledged as “the best” right now.
Adventures... sorry, I’m a bad grinder. Too much other stuff on my mind to have time to grind a lot. So yeah, for me, it’s been worse (horrid in the 220-quest days) but now it’s a lot better than it used to be. More rewards for less grinding, lower cap. There’s just too much to buy with adventurine for it to be walled behind an insane amount of grinding. For the record, I’m still missing the small stuff – 20-mastery allies and such. The little adventurine I manage to pick up goes into clubits for my four active clubs. And I’m still brutally behind other leaders in terms of donations. What can I say? I never took part in “Pirrot farms” and I can’t afford to grind for ad venturine all day.
But yeah, I can’t input on the quests themselves because I’m not into grinding at all. I find them all boring but I feel other people may disagree. My opinion here should not be paramount... I just urge developers to consider their more casual player base!
What advice would you give people looking for a club or thinking of starting a new club?
Well, those are two pretty much opposite paths to take. For those looking for a club, say no more. If you’re on PC, feel free to join mine. Otherwise, there’s no getting to know a community without giving them a chance. Join a club and get to know the people there. You’ll know if it’s your style!
As for people looking to start their own club...
I’ve made my name in this game by helping other leaders start and maintain their clubs. I’m always happy to help people pursue their goals, and if they like making voxel art, then I’m extra happy to promote their work and help them share it with the world.
Running a club is hard work, but it’s rewarding. And I’m personally always down to help with that.
Any final words?
I guess it would be a bit much to push past the forty-four hundred words I just dumped in the previous twelve questions. Enough said!
Other than maybe...
Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB1oKtAgmLw
It’s my electronic rock medley of Trove’s soundtrack. There’s also a cool story in the description. I hope you enjoy it!
Etaew October 4, 2020
Etaew August 10, 2020