Grand Master Report


Grand Master Report

A dozen message centers blinked at the same time, the missives from Antei's proprietary holonet having burned through space to reach them. At Sepros, at Yridia, at Selen, at Judecca, Kurufr, New Tython and some darker places.

The crimson glow of viewscreens bathed them all as they navigated the connections. Relays activated under security protocols. Passwords were needed, biometric readouts analyzed to ensure the right eyes were upon it before the stream decrypted.

Targets were uploaded, objectives scanned. Hyperspace lanes mapped. The intel wasn't just complete, it was comprehensive. How they had gotten it without their knowledge was a passing thought. The plan was elegant. Simple. Brutal.

It wasn't what they expected.

This was winnable.

All that remained was to decide where they would strike first.

The brief fiction above basically explaining what most of you may have heard already: the summits have been given the chance to select the targets that their units will be going after in the next month's Crusade. There's an element of tactics involved, based on what units that they want to go up against, as well as 'cool factor' based on what is on those canon planets. Between this and the actual plotline, this should be an interesting event.

-> <- <p>

The word I have been using a lot lately has been 'Discovery'.

Not the channel with Gold Rush and Yukon men (although those are both super cool and manly), but the element of discovery. Allow me to explain:

Everyone here knows how to get to Dark Jedi Knight. The guidelines are listed on the wiki, and every summit member knows them almost by heart. Everyone knows how to get a Cluster of Fire, and what they need to do to earn a Emerald Crescent. These things are easy, quantifiable and simple.

In the past, we took this principle of making everything easy to understand and completely obvious, and spread it among a number of things.

The result is that there was no mystery, no cool secrets to find out for yourself. And let's be honest here, one of the coolest elements of playing a dark sider is the element of secrecy. (at least I think so).

Now, we don't want to make it a mystery as to how to get DJK. DJK is the 'graduation' rank for the brotherhood. Once you have earned your knighthood, you're basically released into the DB to find out what you want to do, where you want to focus your efforts, what exactly you plan to accomplish with your time here. If you want to own vendettas, awesome. If you want to build up a unit, perfect. If you want to do graphics or code, great. If you want to sit around on IRC and just hang out, that's cool too. There's a million ways to get equite ranks, which is why there's no checklist for them.

But what I've been doing for some time is build up some hidden(ish) stuff. Giving people stuff to do is easy. Any of us can run a competition, and most of us have. Even harder is running competitions that people want to do. We learn by those things that don't get a lot of attention and try to build things that people like more.

Raken talks about running the Brotherhood like a business.

Businesses sell something, and get money in return. Instead of money, we are vying for our members time and energy.

So we are trying to do things to make people enthusiastic. To make people want to spend their time and energy with us.

Having a 'price list' is cool for certain things. Promotions, medals, etc. Other things should have an air of exclusivity and secrecy. There should be things that are hidden, and ways to earn things that aren't listed on the menu, as it were.

There's something awesome about being the first guy to discover how to do something. To discover a new award or perk. To find something somewhere that no one knew about.

We started this with the new Grand Master's Royal Guard. The rewards were kept secret, and what people had to do to earn those ranks was kept quiet.

And then someone who should have known better put the secret list on the wiki and messed it all up. :(

But people were having fun messing around and trying to figure out how exactly to earn ranks and scrambling to discover what else unlocked for each rank.

Since then, we've had similar programs for the Antei Combat Centre society and we're working on another one for the Shadow Academy. We haven't published a list of prestige values for medals and ranks for a reason. I've had 'easter eggs' built into the possessions system since inception that some have spied in the screenshots i've posted. I'm going to build in kinda hidden messages into things that help forward the plotline and give those of us who have a mind to dig some sort of award for doing the digging, even if only in secrets and so forth.

So, what do you guys think about having hidden stuff in the Brotherhood to discover?

-> <- <p>

Raken and I have gotten a good sized pile of applications for T:Forums. There were a lot of people who had logged a lot of hours in various internet clubs, working on message boards, forums, et cetera. There was a lot of skill running for the gig, and i hope that some of it will be willing to take up staffer positions. Unfortunately, we can only tell one person yes.

That person is Socorra.

I could tell you about her experience with forum-only clubs, and how she had a pretty solid plan for organization. I could talk about her career in Arcona so far and how this step for her is a pretty natural one. But I'll save that for her to explain in her first report.

Congratulations, Socks. Get to work. Bring a shovel.

-> <- <p>

My staff is still compiling data for the 2012 year. Once that's done, Raken and I will put that together with the Internal Reports (and the responses to our questions therein) and the AWOL results so we can do a 'State of the DB' report. We'll also be crafting up individualised plans of attack for each unit to figure out how to get better.

-> <- <p>

It's been announced that J.J. Abrams will be directing the new Star Wars films. Some people go 'Bah, lensflare!', but there's actually an interview out there where he pretty much apologizes for it. The other stuff I have seen gives me hope, and gives me a lot of faith in the Disney corp for letting a real director do it, one who cares about story instead of explosions and aliens.

Another tidbit I have heard through the grapevine is that the new films will be in the 30-40 ABY range of time. That is a double edged sword. The question that was posed to me was 'Should we freeze time and wait for the films?'

There's pluses and minuses on both sides of that. What do you think? Should we use the 'crusade' to hold time back a bit and wait for the films to catch up to us? Or should we just keep going and make people retcon based on canon?

-> <- <p>

Ask the GM time!

Troutrooper asks: GM, what color are you going to paint the Avenger II (once we get it for you)? Also, are any Clans/Houses in danger of being reorganized out of existence after the recent AWOL purge?

I'm not sure. Probably leave it the normal grey/black that these sorts of ships get. We're going straight into war after a momentary refurbishment(the storyline where we are taking the thing is a few weeks displaced, due to people not running their clan/house feuds when they were supposed to), so we won't have much time for painting flames on it.

And no. All of the houses and clans fell on the right side of the AWOL check to avoid the mandatory screaming. We could have done better, and we'll be addressing that in our plans that we give them later on.

Vynn asks: _ So i have a question and figured this would be the best place to ask. In ToR some characters have Shield generators that either Block all damage for a few brief seconds or reduce damage taken for a longer period of time (both measured in Seconds). Would it be possible to use something similar in general use such as having the ability to activate it and it absorb blaster fire for 3 seconds or some such. Naturally i would write it so that it has a limited time frame and a high recharge rate or even a one time use before i have to recharge it or install a new power pack. Thanks_

Actually, if you look at the sneak peek for possessions in one of my last reports, you can see one of those so yeah, we're going to have those available.

Troutrooper and Vynn both score DCs for hitting up questions for AskTheGM. Raiju also gets a DC for emailing me the question regarding the Timeframe and the new films. If you want to score one of the easiest DCs ever, simply wait for me to change my nick to 'AskTheGM' and hit me up, or email me.

-> <p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p> <-

-> <- <p></p></p></p></p></p> </p>

I believe discovery should be limited to rewards and perks ONLY, not advancement. Without knowing how to advance in specific activities, especially if the requirements are far removed from the activity in question, you'll have a lot of people getting frustrated when they hit an invisible ceiling. For the ACC and GMRG this is especially bad.

With requirements hidden, in a gaming society like the GMRG most members would be of the belief that more CFs == higher rank, but what happens if you had thrown a hidden SA course in there? The crazy awesome gamers would be stuck at the low ranks because they're not interested in taking lots of SA courses. Then you have the imbalance of the highly skilled people with 1000s of CFs ranking below the guy who played 10 matches and did all the SA courses. That doesn't really match the GMRG's nature.

The issue with the ACC is even worse because the ranks were based on actual numbers of wins and losses. So normally, you'd have the people with lots of wins (aka the best ACCers) at the highest ranks. However, you throw in a hidden, non-ACC requirement and then you have someone with 100 ACC wins sitting at rank 2 whereas the guy with 10 wins and a bunch of SA courses is ranked 8th, which will really throw people off when they look for potential opponents.

Ok, I will be how I say this.

I think the hidden stuff is crap. We're not going on Easter Egg hunts, we're here to enjoy being fake badass Dark Jedi. Contrary to popular belief, I don't spend most of my time focused only on the DB (shocker!), so when I do get to do DB stuffs, I'd like to make sure that my time invested maximizes the output; what do I mean by that? I mean that between all the studying, working, and RL I have to do, when I wanna try to get a higher rank in the ACC or a SA Degree, I don't want to have to spend my time doing useless activities that aren't geared towards my goal. You say this place is supposed to run like a business? Well, a business doesn't tolerate excess and inefficiency in its processes, and it doesn't stifle internal growth. In fact, a business makes sure that its internal processes are as lean and straightforward as possible, or if there are any external agents/factors that influence the process, it is known what they are and how much they impact the business' resources.

That said. "Raken talks about running the Brotherhood like a business." Well, Raken is wrong. Or at least not completely right; yes, we are a business in the sense that we have employees and that we have revenues and expenses, and that we offer products. However, we are not a for-profit business, we are more like a government: what the Dark Council does, is it incurs costs to provide services for the population, who are also their employers. In this case, the membership. A government that lacks transparency is not a government the people support, or one they vote to keep in power. A government's main job is to incur costs to provide services, and must not ever start cutting costs and services because they cannot come up with adequate revenue sources. Membership activity and contribution is not the payoff, it is the revenue of this business model. How do you increase the revenue? By offering the services your population wants; how do you make sure the population responds to those services and utilizes them, so that the costs don't start becoming too large to handle? You make utilizing those services as transparent as possible.

TL;DR: Fuck secrecy, no one's got time for that. We're not a business, we're a government; people love transparency in their governments

Come at me, bro.

All hail those whose opinions are not valued. Hail! Beyond that however… the Brotherhood in my opinion has moved away from secrecy where it belongs. It used to be, where promotions and medals required, the people in charge were the primary judges of value. The person who works for a promotion, whether it be to acolyte or dark adept, their work was evaluated by the person most directly in command of them. Their leaders were the primary gatekeeper in choosing whether they would be rewarded with promotion or award. These days, there is a formula, defining when someone’s growth is sufficient, or whether that person has jumped through enough predetermined hoops in order to grant a summary promotion.

Dark Jedi Knight should not be a rank that people can attain through a checklist. It should not be a rank that most people who try, should be able to get. That may be an unpopular opinion, but it is a simple fact as far as I’m concerned. A Knight of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood should be someone who is willing to figuratively “die” for said Brotherhood. It shouldn’t be some schmuck who can read a wiki article.

The bottom line is, that someone who is truly inspired, can reach Knighthood in today’s Brotherhood, with Guidance of not, in under two months. Fictionally, we’re talking about someone figuring out they have force sensitivity, and then jumping up to being a full Knight in a month or two. No questions, just bullshit checklists. But hey, that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about mystery in the Brotherhood. We’re talking about obfuscating the SECONDARY parts of the DB, while making the PRIMARY parts of it clear enough that a monkey with wiki access can figure out.

Why do we devalue our core systems for the benefit of the secondary? Why is stuff like ACC/GMRG, which is entirely bonus material in the DB the beneficiary of super secret special status, when “fictionally” the learning and mastering of the force is laid out in the most simple, basic of steps. Sure, we can create the super soldiers of the Star Wars universe in a turn of the hat, but if they want to guard the Grand Master? Oh well shit son, then you need to figure your own shit out, ain’t nobody gunna teach you! Oh hell, you want to learn how to manipulate the very matter of the universe? Sure, we can do that…. But you can’t know the secrets of being a third level master spit swapper in the ACC till you pass some arbitrary line that we don’t tell you about.

The Dark Brotherhood, despite my own beliefs and ideas on the matter, is a Roleplaying Club. We have ranks, we have structure in order to make a club of our size work, and we have these things for a reason. In any system, order is the most important and most basic requirements. Any system without order is inherently chaotic, and therefore flawed.

Bottom line: awarding people for their awesome efforts and work is good. Hiding behind secret bullshit that they may or may not ever discover, and telling them that they’re not good enough because they’ve missed one minor element that adds nothing but a letter on their ID line (I’m looking at you, SA) and didn’t do every possible activity in order to account for that possibility… That’s idiocy bordering on the criminal.

And because I won't be like my peers:

I think it's actually a great idea, Muz, considering there are times that puzzles are fun. The basic things that people can do on a day to day basis and see progress in should be laid out. Goals make people work.

For some little extras? Sure, some little treasure hunt rewards would be nice.

Because waaaaaaaaah, I actually like being a person and having fun.

If to be honest, discovering new options is something good. Something, which may motivate people to work harder for their promotions and awards. However, we may not make important matters be shrouded with the cloud of secrecy just for the sake of allowing members to discover them. This is particularly true, when it comes to certain types of activity, like it has been described by Shadow and Tarax. We need to know exactly, what needs to be done for the sake of qualification or advancing in ranks of the Societies, like the ACC or GMRG.

I am going to partially disagree with Keirdagh, as I see the point behind establishing clear requirements for the ranks up to the Dark Jedi Knight. It has simply limited the risk of bias against members or unintended, but unfair treatment of members, because of higher expectations of one unit's leader than of other's. Now, all the Journeymen are aware of what to do, in order to earn a promotion to a higher rank. That is definitely a plus of clearing this matter up.

The opportunity to remove time requirement to obtain some of the Journeymen ranks may be another plus, as it does not force people, who are excellent members of the Brotherhood, to wait for unnecessary amount of time to earn the fictional right to wield their own lightsaber. Such members will also quickly advance through Equite ranks. However, ( here is the part, where I agree with Keirdagh ), it leads to devaluation of this rank. I am aware that even fictionally we need as many Dark Jedi Knights as possible, but this rank shall be something special, not just another Journeymen rank, which may be easily obtained. It shall be recognized as an important achievement, which shall take some time and effort. Still, there is no room for any secrecy. It has to be clearly explained and stated why such things take place. No matter, if this is allowing members to advance in ranks quickly or making sure that they undergo a test, which helps to select excellent members.

If we wish to go into secrecy, I would suggest going into secrecy with background fiction and small add-ons, which do not influence one's advancement itself, but rather provide deeper insight in a role of / in a Society.. It shall take some time and not all people will get interested in such small bonuses, but I believe that it would be better to make it in this way, instead of covering important matters in the cloud of secrecy. coughs Prestige coughs.

Not sure who Mirus was referring to when he mentioned having "peers", as there weren't a ton of relatively new and inexperienced ill fitting kids posting, but I'll just run with it.

I like the idea of 'secret' an extent. Earning a super-secret shiny can be enjoyable. I like that in small doses. So kudos for that. Do I like having that as part of the GMRG? Sure! Do I like the thought of having secret easter eggs hidden throughout the DB? No. I view it as a waste of time on behalf of the leadership, and easily abused (Hey, I just unlocked XXX. You're my buddy, here's how to do it!)

That being said, do I think that the super secret is necessarily the best thing to be tied to promotions, the Shadow Academy, and the ACC? Not so much. Clear cut. Straightforward. If you want to run the DB like a business (I get that we all like to take business courses in college. We're 'consumers' of your 'product' and your role as Chief Executive Officer is to promote the highest profit margin for the board of dire-...nevermind) then keep things simple. Don't establish twenty hoops that the kids need to jump through to score their next rank. I'm a fan of a time in rank requirement (To prevent the ever popular "I will send you naughty pictures and you promote me" feat) and keeping the ability to use common sense in the hands of the Summits.

I sort of like the idea of easter eggs - but the way it is done now is completely ass backwards. The fancy new lightsaber design that hidden in the code of the website that is unlockable when someone hits a certain ACC rank (That is absolutely spelled out in detail - and should not require Shadow Academy courses) - that's a fun little surprise for someone. Burying the requirements so a person has to grind out all forms of seemingly semi-related activity (ACC + Shadow Academy courses + maybe a degree? Who knows?) on the off chance they might hit the mark? That's insane.

So basically, I agree with Shad.

Well, I guess that we know how the Old Folks Home thinks. :P

A bit of history is needed here, maybe. Time was, when the leaders/masters were the sole arbiter of who would be ready for knighted, there was an intense amount of complaining due to a lack of standards enforced. People who would continually be told 'no, you're not ready for DJK' would simply scoot over to another clan where they were a lot less strict to get knighted. This caused some units to lose entire groups of journeymen, and really hurt them in the long run as those members stayed in the clans that told them that they were worthy.

Knighthood is not the pinnacle of achievement in the Brotherhood. It's the equivalent of graduation from high school. It gives you the tools to sort out how things work. It's easy to graduate high school. Yeah, there's work involved. But it's teaching you what we do, how to deal with different things in the club, and how to (for some) get into college (Equite ranks).

Imagine how bad high school would have been if you didn't know how many credits, how many passing grades you'd need to graduate.

That's why Kaek put standards up, for all the clans and houses.

But that's not what we're talking about, we're talking about the bonuses. The stuff that you can earn aside from what you get unlocked in due course. This is the ACC, the GMRG, the SA 'societies', Prestige. These things are not required for advancement in the club. These are simply ways to get more things for your dossier. And it's my thinking that maybe it shouldn't be the easiest thing ever to get these things. People complain that certain things get undervalued when it gets too easy to get them (even above, in the comments, this is said).

There are a few things that are a bit out there: like GMRG requiring some courses. To be honest, those were never coded in except for the entry exam, to my knowledge. ACC needing some courses to prove that you know what the ACC is about is kinda on hold, since the right sort of courses aren't yet even written. We're trying to make them make a bit more sense, but the idea isn't meant to be 'let's make these things as easy and straightforward to get', because that would be like publishing the winning lottery numbers a day before they stop selling tickets.

I'll also fundamentally disagree that we're a government. People don't get to opt out of what the government does. Everyone pays taxes. If you don't, you eventually get jailed. What we do is much closer to a business. We are trying to offer the brotherhood and activities as a service, paid for by time and energy of our members. Some products are more expensive than others. It costs more for an MacBook than it does for a Lenovo. The Society perks aren't things that anyone needs to get in order to survive in the club, just like no one needs a MacBook...they just want one.

But that is where I stand.

"These things are not required for advancement in the club." You're wrong. Are they a part of the DB? Are they an aspect that general membership can participate in if they choose to do so? Do those aspects have ranking systems? Well then guess what, they count as advancement in this club, because they are the club. It may not be the main branch of advancement, but I sure as hell don't participate in them because it offers me shinies on the dossier, I participate because it allows me to explore different aspects of my asshole character that lets him/me advance through the ranks of the DB as a whole.

You don't think we're a government? You're wrong. You disagree with what your government does? You can leave, sure. However, that doesn't mean that the government does whatever it wants and anyone who disagrees must leave. Last time that happened, I think it was circa 2003...It's a system of compromises, as much as anything. Also, of transparency.

Using your analogy? I know what I need to get a MacBook: A shitload more cash; there's no mystery there. There's my checklist. I don't see or need any secrecy behind that. What the MacBook offers me should be a secret and/or mystery (it probably always will be :P), but getting it surely isn't.

Going back a bit: " We are trying to offer the brotherhood and activities as a service, paid for by time and energy of our members." Read my first bit about streamlined business processes; if you're investing yours and other people's times into what comes out for all of us, then as a business leader it is your duty to make it as lean and clean-cut business process as possible. It is your duty to make sure not that there's maximum, inefficient input for marginal output, but that there is relatively minimum input for the maximum output desired. OR we're like a government, and we sink shitloads of costs into our products and services, HOPING that our membership/populace eats it up and continues to vote for us and like us.

You wanna be a business? Go ahead, but choose if your business is cost-driven or profit-driven, because the approach and management of each is different, and you don't get the same results. Oddly enough, both models require transparency and the leanest possible business processes, so that part doesn't change.

I have to agree with Tarax on the whole government thing.

Anyways as for secret stuff... it depends on what type of secret it is, I'm fine with the number of wins or CFs or such required for ACC/GMRG ranks being secret the same goes for what rewards the ranks give you, I don't think other obscure requirements that are less obvious should be secret tho.

While I'm at it I also dislike the whole demotion thing the GMRG has, getting bumped back down to GRMG:I because of two months of exams and exam preparations and such is hardly motivating. I know there are a couple of safe ranks but if you don't manage to reach them before you enter a period where you'll be less active then you're screwed. Of course I might be the only one who has a problem with that but there you go.

In all honesty, I'm all for trying new things; stagnation sucks. But vet how to introduce new things; do your market research before you start phasing in the new idea, instead of randomly introducing it and trying to sort out the pieces and debris after-the-fact. That's just tiring and unnecessary, and frankly very fucking boring.

For fuck's sake, we have a Poll section that only ever got used by Sarin, recently. Sure, the results may be exactly the same as you've read here, but at least you'll know that ahead of time, and might change either: 1) Some aspects of your idea, or 2) your implementation plan.

Planning? Yeah. That shit works wonders.

easter eggs for stuff that doesn't have much influence on progression are pretty awesome. I think having random sabers, robes unlocked by obscure combinations of things completed is pretty damn awesome. easter eggs for ranks in anything in this club (and societies count there to me) seem like a bad idea.

anything that gives prestige, promotion, or award, should probably not be an easter egg. it doesn't need to be explicitly outlined in cases where that is difficult to do since it is up to the discretion of leadership (as an aside, on promo requirements: I actually do not really like the current promotion requirements, but a large part of that is that I have an issue with checklists to DJK, and the ability to bypass any time in grade stuff and just get a promotion for doing tasks that don't seem to directly benefit the DB as a whole, just the member in particular - would rather see different tasks, and not have to do one at every rank.), but some something like most society ranks that actually do have a list of requirements, that list should be posted.

the one thing that worries me with these "discoveries" is that in MMOs they are often a developer's way of avoiding putting in new content / prolonging the usefulness of current content by instead forcing people into repetitive and sometimes random tasks in order to try to accomplish something hidden. I don't know that is what is going on here, but hidden requirements for advancement tend to exist as a way to keep people from achieving something too quickly and easily, because the tasks themselves are too simple.

I like the idea about robe/saber unlocks by obscure combinations, hadn't thought of that.

This debate would be much more useful if there were particulars involved. Like, the first thing we should stop hiding is the particulars of what we are thinking of hiding. How about a list:

i. Saber/Robe easter egg unlocks = awesome. ii. Hidden rank requirements for main ranks = not awesome iii. Hidden rank requirements for "Societies" = also not awesome; this is tied into advancement too much and people are not her for grinding. iv. Hidden prestige rankings = not awesome, but it doesn't matter because it's not locked to anything yet. v. Possession System unlocks = meh, fine, if there are suitable replacements vi. Hidden anything in relation to Vendettas = completely not awesome.

So, what else are we talking about? I think the only real debate here is #3, above.


I can't believe I'm agreeing with OFH on anything here, but I really dislike the way that the ACC ranks are now set up. I dislike the fact that I worked my arse off in matches to get my rank up and now I have to do SA exams and stuff? How does that help you with your writing in the ACC? It doesn't. You want people to be better in the ACC, make them do more matches and make Shad mark them all to punish him for being Combat Master or something. :P

I haven't read all the comments, but I'd pretty much agree with what Jac just said: hidden Easter Eggs and the like? Cool. Hidden rank requirements? Not cool.

On a separate issue, regarding "freezing" time, Muz: surprisingly, I'm actually not that bothered. The Dark Crusade is clearly going to dominate all fiction for the foreseeable future, which will put a throttle on people doing much "other" stuff anyway, so if we're just focusing heavily on Dark Crusade, then it not fictionally lasting years actually has a certain appeal to me.

I actually think something Bloodfyre once thought of many years ago could be the best option here: just not being specific about what year we're in. (Which year we're in can be a "hidden" thing :P)

By leaving it open and not being specific, if the Sequels are set in this period? Awesome. We can say the Dark Crusade only lasted six months, and maximise our exposure to the films. Vice versa, if the Sequels are set ten years later, we can say the Dark Crusade lasted years, and bring ourselves closer to the Sequels for the same reason. But since nobody knows right now, that's why I think BF's idea of just saying we're in "Post-Vong War" and leaving it at that, might be the best approach atm.

And, obviously, if the Sequels burn the EU to the ground, none of this will matter anyway :P

I totally agree with Jac, I don't have a problem with not knowing what goodies I get for reaching a certain rank of a Society (ACC/SA/GMRG) but at least I would wish for a list what I need to do to advance in rank like it already exist for the GMRG.

Also the thing with the rank demotions for being unable to hold a specific level in the GMRG seems pretty hard, even with the safe-ranks, I know many people with stressful RL-schedules and those will always be those wo will not benefit from such solutions, if you say without that we would have too many people who unlock the best things too easy, make the goodies require higher levels.

As for the promotion requirements, I agree that there is a need for a structured list of requirements up to the rank of DJK, but there is also the need for excepions, that the Clouseleaders can use to bypass certain requirements on a Summit based level.


Sang, I'm going to address your comment directly. There were others I was meaning to respond to, but I can't be bothered reading comments from last night :P

I don't think anyone has said there is or will be a SA requirement for ranking up in the ACC, other than the basics course which is used to even start with the ACC. Once you're there, and writing in the ACC you're golden, forget about the SA is that is your thing.

I think people are getting confused by this sentence: "Since then, we've had similar programs for the Antei Combat Centre society and we're working on another one for the Shadow Academy."

That doesn't mean we are rolling SA-ness into the secret requirements of the ACC Society, it means we're working on a SA-centric society, separate from any other societies.

Also, people keep saying that hidden Easter eggs of unlock-able robes and sabers are awesome, but (society ranks) are not. When you boil it down, the society ranks are PART of those Easter eggs. For the most part the society ranks exist purely to facilitate the unlocking of robes and sabers.

Sure, GMRG may fictionally see you guarding more important people and ACC may give you a few small points (is this even going to be a thing in the future?), but they are optional.

Finally, I assume most of the DB membership don't like puzzle games, or hard, old-school, RPGs? :P

"Old Folks' Home" indeed, Muz. There are so many here that take this club, and themselves, FAR too seriously. This is a place for fun, for relaxation, and for leisure. Some of the "Elders" around here are teaching new members that rank only comes with being sour, insulting, sarcastic, conservative and elitist. By those standards, I'll be at Dark Jedi Knight forever. What happens when ALL our new members are discouraged? Lighten up, people.

At the end of the day, this is a social environment, and the perpetuation of friendships is all that is truly achieved. It's pathetic to see people sharpening their tongues all day, waiting for somebody to dispute their dissertations on commercial and political ethics in the context of a roleplaying club instead of, uh, roleplaying.

I applaud Muz and Co. for trying to keep the club fresh and fun, because that is what is most important.

"Well, I guess that we know how the Old Folks Home thinks. :P"

Somebody has to think. Might as well be us, even if our opinions don't matter. :P

Regarding a history lesson...

The flipside to what you're pointing out is that the clans with higher standards may lose members, but also retained quality over quantity. Some may have learned to adapt and reward activity with medals. Others may have learned to be less anal about requirements to reach Knighthood. On the other hand, if journeymen want to jump ship to go where it's easier, I'd be of the "Better off without them" mindset. If we're really going to discuss loyalty, it would be worth mentioning that the current scheme of things seems to encourage more loyalty to your TOR guild than your clan.

High School Expectations:

That's a nice thought, except that the Dark Brotherhood isn't high school. We're not a Jedi Academy (tm!). The backbone of this club has always been good summit leadership. Another history lesson is the time when the Summits ran their units and the Dark Council concentrated more on turning out quality competitions (Still waiting) and less on micromanaging consumer resources(I threw in more business terms for Raken's benefit).

But I digress. I'm going to agree with the rest of the previously successful leadership that managed to run a productive and healthy Brotherhood before the advent of. Hidden rewards good, hidden requirements. I think it's super cute that you can code in a bonus robe or bonus whale harpoon. So cute I'd pinch your cheek if I could. It's something innovative. I think it's bad, however, to hide rank requirements, scoring systems, and other things that the membership needs to know to thrive. Since the Dark Council seems so oriented towards running this like a business, I'd point out that keeping your employees and mid-level management in the dark and feeding them crap not only makes them feel like mushrooms, but also makes the DC look Enron-ish. :P

On a happy sidenote to that last kid, perhaps some of the Elders remember brighter and better times. Whether the fault of the downslide lies with the leadership, or with factors such as a lack of new gaming platforms and lack of anything LucastArtsy, who knows. Maybe we're crotchety elitists for expecting more from our Dark Council. I'm sure in a few years once you've experienced a variety of styles you may develop your own opinion. ;)

But that's just my two cents folks. Now get off my lawn. :)

P.S.: Yay Socks!

Haha. Nostalgia does funny things to people, I guess. ;) Last I checked, this Brotherhood literally has holidays celebrating a departure from a worse club, not a better one. I've been here four years and not fourteen, but in my short stint there have been plenty of new games, plenty of progress and a fully functioning Brotherhood. Not perfect, but what is? The grass isn't always greener. The same time the United States was triumphing in wars and freeing one group people, we were simultaneously segregating another - but to hear the Baby Boomers tell it, there's never been a greater age!

I respect the leadership and experience of long standing members as much as the next guy, but I don't think it takes a decade to recognize the Old Guard being the Old Guard. We're all just grown men and women pretending to be Spellswords, and we're equals. We all start life in diapers, and many end life in diapers too. :D

See if I throw the newspaper at your house on Sunday mornings! :P

I've been reading over the comments, taking a step back, and reading them again to make sure I'm correct in what the general complaint is. If I'm wrong, forgive me.

Do I agree with the ACC rank requirements as they stand? No. I don't understand how someone with 15 wins can be the same rank as someone with 4 wins. However if memory serves me, promotion to DJK doesn't say you have to reach a certain rank in the ACC. you just have to participate and complete matches. Maybe I'm wrong but that part seems easy.

As for everything else effecting the promotion standard - I've been under the impression that as long as you demonstrate leadership qualities, give back to the unit (Battleteam or the DB as a whole), and maintain activity, then you get promoted. One of the examples given is reaching a certain rank in the GMRG... Well if you're a hardcore gamer, that shouldn't be an issue. I mean at this point, even I could score Clusters of Fire easily and I'm a writer/gfx monkey. So, it's basic activity that translates to something that applies to a Society.

At the end of the day, I know I'm not going to be a hardcore gamer and with so many hands changing in the ACC, it gets hard to stick to something and roll with it. However, I gotta make due with what I can access and roll from there. As an Elder and a DCer, there's not a whole lot I can do for anything. I don't get to work on the vendettas, I don't write the storyline for the Brotherhood; I draw pretty pictures and hope you guys like them. Does it get me promoted as fast as someone who gets to participate in vendettas? Nope but I knew that coming into the position I'm in now.

Lastly, I'm sure Korras isn't such a huge douchbag that he's not going to find ways to help people after DJK in getting promoted. Ask a question and you're bound to get an answer. I do this all the time. Never had him chew me out yet.

Like Kalmah said, this is a game and lord knows I've invested a lot of time into it. I know the OFH has too. Want to get promoted? Want help taking the next step? Hell, ask me. If I can't get an answer from Muz, I'll get it from someone one way or another.

Still <3 you guys, even if you are pains in my ass. No homo. :p


Plenty of new games in the last four years? what other star wars game have we gotten outside of TOR? :P

My bad for not being more clear on that. It's just not what was released in the last four years I am referring to, but what games (Star Wars or not) that are allowed (or have been re-allowed) in competitions (whether it be major console/PC games or even Flash games online, etc.) and how they are used. Getting anything new to work on the system we have set up here takes time, and considering all that has transpired since I first came here, I'd hardly say there's a "lack of new" anything. I see nothing but people busting their behinds to make this place great like it's their job...and it's not.

Making things harder to achieve is good. Hiding the things we need to achieve them is no bueno. Hiding the things we GET when we achieve them is awesome. I have no idea what I am going to get when I get to my next rank and it only motivates me to get there more. I don't think there should be 'requirements' for gaining an Equite Rank anymore then there are in place now. Consistent, hardworking, dedication. These should be what strives a member to the next rank.

I don't want to bust my ass for a club, month after month, year after year to never find myself above an EQ2. It's that simple. I'm sure others would feel the same way.

I think people need to keep in mind there are two very distinct types of "ranks."

  1. The "regular" ranks you get promoted to, e.g. Jedi Hunter, Krath Epis, Dark Jedi Master
  2. "Prestige" Society ranks, e.g. ACC: III

We aren't talking about obscuring how to get promotions, in fact Muz says in his report, "Now, we don't want to make it a mystery as to how to get DJK."

What we are talking about is how to get SOCIETY ranks, i.e. ranks INSIDE the ACC and GMRG (and one day SA).

The societies are OPTIONAL, and shouldn't (though they currently are) be engrained so much into gaining promotions. What I mean by this is that when writing a recommendation for promotion, it shouldn't read "Member X got ACC: II" it should be "Member X won three ACC matches, and is now ACC: II" (made up numbers)

To recap, and make things perfectly clear: The requirements for gaining ranks in optional prestige societies are obscured, so that part of the fun of that optional activity is figuring out how to get to the next rank, and maybe gaining a cool robe or two along the way. It's up to you to figure out the secrets, to blaze trails for yourself. There's something kinda cool about making the map.

And again; we're not talking about changing promotions!

I'm pretty sure most of us already got that part Windos. But making all requirements for prestige ranks hidden might as you say be fun for some but it might just as well be enough to make a lot of people decide not to bother with it and isn't the point of societies to encourage people to be active and take part in them?

"isn't the point of societies to encourage people to be active and take part in them? "

Yes, and for the most part the society ranks are setup so that you will naturally progress through them if you actively take part in "department" they relate to, sure you may have to dip into other departments, but this is minimal.

Also, the reason why I felt the need to spell out the difference was Jaek's comment, which seemed to be focused solely on promotions and was afraid there were more people thinking that is what we're talking about.

Great job guys. I come back after a month and I find a major shitstorm brewing. sighs A bit of mystery is good; but only if it purely concerns bonus dossier "perks" such as robes and sabers. I do believe that all "societies" should be separated as far as "advancing in societies" should be concerned. Having the SA supply courses to supply the basic information of both the ACC and the GMRG is all fine and dandy. But in the end, its the activity that you put in either 3 of them that should decide what place you have in that particular society. Like it has been pointed out above; swamping hardcore gamers with SA courses to advance in the GMRG, or forcing combat writers to do (often times) monotonous and "brain-dead" copy/pasting course notes into blank fields is pointless from an ACC point of view.

Just my 2 cents.

P.S. Muz, you made a typo in your fiction. Kurufr -> Karufr

"Another history lesson is the time when the Summits ran their units and the Dark Council concentrated more on turning out quality competitions (Still waiting) and less on micromanaging consumer resources(I threw in more business terms for Raken's benefit)."

Another history lesson is the time when Taldryan actively competed in competitions and concentrated more on turning out quality submissions and less on shitting on every new idea that the Dark Council has.

Oh, and those "quality competitions" you so fondly remember? Yeah, they sucked. "Here's a plot we slapped together in five minutes. Fiction event, poetry event, XWA and XvT ladders, JA/JO ladders, go. See you in two weeks for the next round of events, which will be exactly the same as the first round's events."

As for the topic at hand, apparently we can't stress the fact that the society ranks are completely optional.

People...Okay, old members bitched about how the SA meant nothing to them (market research done). So we brainstormed ways to make the SA more appealing and came up with something akin to the GMRG and ACC. Might get a few more equites and elders interested in the SA. Maybe not. We'll see what happens. But yeah, completely optional.

What's wrong with a little mystery? Oh right. That requires (re)investment in the club, putting time and energy into uncovering what's hidden. Luckily all these societies are--say it with me!--optional and thus, those who dont want to do dont have to.

I like how you took this discussion and turned it into an anti-Tal thing, TT. Kudos. I mean, I don't think anyone else had managed to bring up nonsensical unit bias. By the way... offering your personal opinion doesn't it's the unit's opinion. They are separate things. As to the rest:

1) Whether Taldryan is active as a unit or not does not immediately invalidate opinions offered by its members that the GM asked for in his report. Members of Taldryan, as any other unit, choose which activities they participate in for their own enjoyment.

2) You realize that, aside from a few, minor format changes for some events, you've basically described every DB competition from its inception to the stuff currently being run?

3) Optional or not, societies should not be structured differently from the rest of the DB "just because", which is basically the reason offered for hiding requirements. You mention forcing people to "re-invest" in the club... what about all the "investing" they've done up until now? Does that just get thrown out because it's not current? So should we start dropping any member who AWOLs out or goes Rogue back to apprentice so they can "re-invest"?

4) You made the SA more appealing... by shoving it down people's throats? I mean, that is what is happening here, right? You take this optional society that is designed specifically around one type of activity and then have it so the rank requirements demand you branch out into other, supposedly optional aspects of the club. Hidden or not, that's something I can't get behind. We're here to find our own amusements. If I choose to ACC, there should be no other activity required for me to advance in that society. Same goes for GMRG. Same goes for the future SA society. That's fundamental to the DB's design. That's why the promotion requirements that DO exist offer a variety of options for people to advance in a matter that appeals to them.

Spoken like a whiny little fish. :)

You lovingly passed over my statement that Muz's hidden robes/etc idea is brilliant. For a former (albeit mediocre) SDIR, not a whole lot of intelligence there boy-o :) If all we did was deposit fecal matter on the DC's ideas, we'd have almost as much as you've spewed here. We disagree. We have opinions. Even if you don't really care about them. That's the beauty of it. Muz asked for opinions, and received them. You missed the group discussion on this earlier. Go back to sleep, bro :)

Reinvestment means changing and growing with the club, meeting new requirements, setting higher (and, yes, DIFFERENT) standards. The "investing" up til now has been rewarded with great rank and the greatest fictional power - not to mention the clout required to browbeat from the peanut gallery.

Face it - we have Elders who respond only to AWOL checks but no longer participate in competitions. They make sure that their characters are the prodigal, shadowy fictional leaders in House/Clan story lines, but they are never the ones developing or writing them. We have DJKs and EQ I & II as Summit Leadership, doing all the work - but where are the Old Folks? I mean, the roll SAYS they are there....

I don't see the wanton destruction of the Brotherhood occurring. I don't see progressive concepts shoved down anybody's throat. New ideas are being presented, and Mustache Pete types are going to have to learn how to play nice and function in this new environment. You know what the mob did to the Old Guard, as times changed?

They killed them.

Why would you want to kill us? It's just a disagreement, chum. No need to bring threats of violence into this. :)

LOL. No matter what, I wish every member of this club health and prosperity.

Not to pour more fuel on this fire but, Kalmah. If it wasn't for the "old guard" that you seem so eager to replace. This club wouldn't even be here anymore if it wasn't for them (and I'm not talking about the Taldrya alone).So please, show some respect to them. They have already invested more of their personal time and ideas into this club than you give them credit for. I'm not saying we should drop to our knees in worship and give them what they whatever for their accomplishments in the past, but don't be so quick to dismiss their opinions on this matter. Some of their points are pretty solid and currently valid.

Guys, let's just end this shit.

It got way out of hand; our arguments were laid out, they were rebuffed, let's just close this fucker and go home to our sweet, glorious porn.

This is all I've got to say... and it's kind of important.

I'd just like to point out that for the MacBook analogy...MacBooks were phased out, so, I think you meant MacBookPro, Muz?

To return to something that is maybe a little less contentious: congratulations, Socorra. I'm sure you'll make a fine T:Forum! (Although I'm still not sure whether that is some addition to 4chan).

bahahah and people were worried when the appeals panel was announced that Tarax wasn't a good fit. Way to settle things down, Tarax. Cheers. :)

A lot of things were brought up over this conversation, (and im sure more on IRC, but I haven't been around for the weekend...thankfully? shrugs) Anyways, I too want to add in on the discussion but I have a number of points(ill try to underline idea, but no idea if this will work):

Timeline & Films I do like what Yacks pointed out about using the Dark Crusades as a method of freezing the timeline. Like he said if we wanted to play with the timeline of these events to be months or years, we can manage to set ourselves up wherever we want. Excellent idea.

T:Forum: Congrats Socorra! Looking forward to what you can do with the forums, and seeing someone in charge of them.

Hidden Items: Jac's outline is pretty much how I would describe my feelings on the issue. T recap: i. Saber/Robe easter egg unlocks = awesome. ii. Hidden rank requirements for main ranks = not awesome iii. Hidden rank requirements for "Societies" = also not awesome iv. Hidden prestige rankings = not awesome v. Possession System unlocks = meh, fine, if there are suitable replacements vi. Hidden anything in relation to Vendettas = completely not awesome.

If we were to look at our experience here in the DB as an MMO, there are a number of things one can do in the game. You can explore, kill shit, pvp, quest, do space battles, whatever. There are a number of activities anyone can do to advance their main character and have fun. We have that covered. Games also add in easter eggs for those that want the fun of trying to find that stuff. But it doesn't effect the main progress. <

I believe that how our experience should be, simply put. SO yes, I would be up for hidden robes/sabers/etc as perks but discovery shouldn't be necessary for the main experience.

Hidden Rank Requirements:Since this was a sub-section of its own, I will speak about this for a second. I would agree that rank requirements lose the flare of getting promoted. I remember my first time to OP as Warhunter and I fought tooth and nail to get there, judged on the value of others. Then when I "leveled" as Raiju when I rejoined, I have requirements outlined until DJK and have to figure out OT and OP before Kraval even had the equite tip sheet. When I was promoted the first round as Warhunter, my promotions had great recommendations. As Raiju? Only one person stood out each time and that was a crusty old vet who knew the importance of recommendations. But wanna know something funny? Even with the rank requirements, it took me more time as Raiju to get to EQ2 than it did as Warhunter. Even with the benefit of having a list, and even having been in the DB before. Because the values of the people who promoted Warhunter weren't the same as those that promoted Raiju (and both times these promotions highlighted that it should have came much earlier than it did) I was held back. So I have beefs with both systems, but not with the systems theirselves but rather underlying stuff. Standardization is important for ranks, if for not other reason than to protect from incompetent leaderships who are relied on for member retention but may drive away that membership from not having a clear understanding of the promotion system. I also belief we need to reintroduce value to the promotions and they shouldn't be just "JoeBlow has done X and X, because the requirements say he is ready I think he should be promoted". So in essence, I'm okay with standardization but recommendations need to be better delivered so a real value can be attached to ranks.

Old Guard vs. Change: There's two rules everyone in the DB needs to follow: 1) Don't complain of nothing changing, and then shit on every new idea that comes out. 2) Don't wake up the old guys and be surprised if they are grumpy. They are usually the first to comment and provide feedback and have proven to be the most loyal and dedicated to the DB.

Every unit I have been in there is always been some sort of clash between the old and the new. Here's the thing, we need fresh & new ideas to bring in new people and continue to evolve. We also need the old guys who have a good idea of the past and who continue to be involved despite years here. As I mentioned above, it was old crusty people like Rekio/Bloodfyre/Oberst who made me value promotions in a standardized system. It was also fresh ideas from Ronovi and Ji that kept me interested in Tarentum at the same time. But the same was in Scholae, Taldryan and Arcona during the time I was with each of them. Both sides need to be engaged by the leadership, and both sides need to come to the table KNOWING that a balance between new and old needs to be achieved. Compromise ladies, otherwise we might as well just be sitting in a tree throwing poop at each other.

Passion and Feedback: Last thing I want to point out. This has to be the largest amount of comments I've seen on the news page (or at least for awhile). Wherever you sit on one side or the other, I do want to thank everyone for their comments. Its activity like this that will further our club. Discussion and debate, maybe even a little drama; shows new people to our page that there is something here and we are dedicated to it. Likewise, it also provides the DC and other summits with the feedback of the membership they are trying to serve. So, again, thanks to those that commented. And to those that didn't, join the conversation. You might have some fun, make a friend, maybe an enemy; but in the end it helps develop our club.

OMFG, I broke it blushes

Last bit I wrote:

Every unit I've been in there as been a conflict of old vs change in some way. This was true in Tarentum, Scholae, Arcona, Taldryan and Plagueis (though I recognize its an still new to other units). We need the new things just as much as the old perspective. Change brings members and evolves us. The Elders make sure we don't lose core values. As I mentioned before it was a crusty old vet that gave me an appreciation of promotions in a standardized system. Though it was also crusty people that drove important change from the same unit. Fact is both sides need each other and we all need to come to the table together to compromise. Just like we can't completely change the game, we also can't ask for new stuff and then shit on fresh ideas.

Anyways, last thing I wanted to add. This is the most I have seen comment on a news page in a long time. Thanks everyone who has commented. Whether you are on one side or the other, discussion and debate shows people we are here and dedicated and even a little drama gets people engaged. :P

If you made it this far, congratulations. Free DCs* if you can explain in relative detail half of the thoughts that showed up here.

  • I cannot guarantee any DCs.

P.S. Consider it a volunteer not-for-profit, not a government.

Hidden perks, fresh ideas, and cool stuff= good. Hidden elevation requirements = Not Good. In fact, it would be nice to see them laid out after the Journeymen ranks even more clearly in my opinion. I agree with Raiju, change is good. And older members helping keep core values is a good thing too. Someone above referenced Old Folks. I'm still relatively "young"- '05- but some of us who have been here a while are pretty active still.

You need to be logged in to post comments