Gaming and Fiction Degree Update


Gaming and Fiction Degree Update

The degree changes announced in my report yesterday have been deployed, and several people have received Dark Savant - Tactics in the process. I'm going to address a few of the concerns and questions posed to me yesterday, both in the comments to the report and by email:

Will I lose my degree(s) or Shadow Academy Society rank?

No. Earned degrees are unaffected by this except for name changes: "Dark Savant - Tactics and Combat" is now "Dark Savant - Warfare" and "Dark Sage - Gaming" is now "Dark Sage - Warfare." The way the system is set up, substantive changes to degrees are never retroactive. That means no matter how many changes I make to a degree's requirements, once you've earned it you'll keep it (unless you're bad). Likewise, once you attain a particular SA Society rank, you'll never be reduced to a lower rank.

That is a LOT of Clusters of FIce

Yep. As I said in my report, though, I will adjust based on results and feedback. I'm hearing everyone who thinks it's too much, and I am looking at options for tweaking that particular requirement. However, just because only a handful of people currently meet the 3500 CF requirement does not mean it's totally out of whack. Here is the breakdown of Dark Sage holders by degree:

Degree # of Holders % of Membership
Dark Sage - Law 19 0.23%
Dark Sage - Programming 2 0.02%
Dark Sage - Service 19 0.23%
Dark Sage - Tactics 0 0.0%
Dark Sage - Warfare 14 0.17%
Dark Sage - Writing 12 0.14%

No Dark Sage is held by more than 19 people. The number of people with more than 3500 CFs is currently 14, or the same number that hold Dark Sage - Warfare. There is some overlap between those 14 people, but not all in the 3500+ club yet hold the degree because they haven't met other requirements. My point is that the limited pool of people qualified to hold Dark Sage - Warfare today or with a relatively small amount of work is in line with the other Sage degrees.

Of course, the Dark Sage - Tactics degree is in a different situation, given that no one currently holds enough CIs to meet the requirements. However, it is also based on a relatviely new medal that has only been awarded on its current rules (1 CI per 500 words) since the end of December, 2014. I worked with Shad to set the CI thresholds (and actually reduced them at the last minute) based on our aspirations for the medal -- we are both hopeful that many, many more CIs will be awarded throughout 2015 now that it's firmly established and the endless Crusading/Fading/Great Jedi Warring is complete.

Neither of the new Sages was designed to be earned by a lot of people on day one -- they're built to last. We have Battlefront III on the horizon, followed, I hope, by a full slate of great new Star Wars games that could pile on those CFs. Currently, with Diablo III, it's possible to rack up thousands of CFs in a matter of weeks. If new Star Wars games allow for similar earning capacity, I think this cap may ultimately prove an easy hurdle. If the Fist tamps down on CF earning capacity, I will take that into account and revise the requirements accordingly. The same goes for changes to CI awarding. The launch of the Fiction Society will also result in changes to the Tactics line of courses.

These requirements are far from final, but I do promise that -- barring unforeseen circumstances -- any changes to the numbers will make the Sages easier to earn, not harder.

What about Old ACC matches or judge service?

After discussing this with Shad, Wally, and James, we came to the following conclusion: old ACC matches recorded here will count for Tactics degree purposes. James has already grabbed the data from that page and plugged it into the fancy new databse, so if you're on that list you should see your matches counted in Promotheus.

Past ACC judge service, on the other hand, will not be applied towards the new degrees. Two reasons: first, the old website did not record ACC judge service in a way that we can pull hard data to verify it as we can with matches completed; second, the Old ACC experienced long droughts of activity, making it difficult to compare the workload of an old ACC judge to that of today's busy bunch.

Why is TOR Basics still required for Dark Sage - Warfare?

Furios pretty much nailed this one in the comments. I want SA courses represented in these degrees to the maximum extent practicable. We have more courses in the pipeline, including, quite possibly, full courses on at least some popular games. As those are launched, I'll be reassessing the current degree structure and adding courses in where they seem to fit best.

3500 CFs is insane Bubba. Currently we have a single game that makes earning CFs even slightly viable, and 3500 CFs is roughly the equivalent (in my experience) of playing D3 for 2 hours every night for 116 Days straight. There's also been talk of drastically reducing the amounts of CFs earned from D3.

Otherwise it's playing and winning 3500 Duels, or matches, or anything. Assuming that you never lose, or that if people play pazaak which is the most accessible platform, that's 7000 games of pazaak (probably actually closer to 10000 Pazaak matches.

13 people is how many folks in the DB have earned the required amount of CFs. It's not how many people would have the degree. The degree has other requirements that still need meeting, like the various courses and such in order to get there. The only way we can evaluate the specific number of CFs required by the rank, is to look at CFs in a vacuum, and when you do that, account for the fact that TOR and early D3 wildly skewed the numbers for CFs, you should be able to reach the same conclusion as everyone else has:

Too High

^ This.

With most of those CFs earned by farming when the CF count was higher than it already was, it's sort of... ridiculous.

The amount of complaining is too damn high. Seriously. This isnt something to be grinded, but to be earned. Other sages require YEARS of service and you MIGHT just get it. Some lesser degrees require 180 days of activity (thats 6 months), if you play D3 on a regular basis, or pazaak or whatever game that generates CoF, you'll get it faster then some people who are stuck waiting for the day requirement of a Service degree.

This is fine, it can be EARNED just like any other degree. You see the degree as something that has to be grinded, i wonder how much fun you really have playing games, if all you do is worry about a number that can be gotten in time. Theoretically, EVERYONE in the DJB can get this degree. Why complain and whine about it when your going to have to "grind" for it anyway. Whether its 3500,300 or 2500 you are still going to have to put effort into gaining this degree. Just like in real life. Stop complaining, imho, and get to working on it.

You're breaking down the degree into how many games you have to play to get it. Are you this picky about real life degrees as well? This amount is meant to reward the people who spend the time to get it, who put effort into it and actually want it. Just like the real world. Or the heavy grinding of other games like WoW, or whatever else is out there atm. Ok you cant compare the DJB to a MMORPG, but the basis is the same. Work hard, get rewarded.

I guess I'm one of the few who is just super happy the TOR2 exam is removed, and now something more reachable has been put into place. But you'll always have people who complain. Maybe we should just hand out free degrees? Like a raffle. Seems more up your ally.

Ah. I look at this as something to be obtained as a side effect of your gaming. A part of the journey, not the end of it. Three thousand and five hundred Clusters of Fires seems quite reasonable to me. The important thing is that people are having fun and enjoying themselves. The titles, ranks, and of the sort do not mean that much in comparison. At the most they are recognition, which is something that by itself should not be the primary motivator or reason behind obtaining, naturally due to the fact that large amount of ego is quite detrimental, and a bit silly.

Moving on, having some harder to reach degrees, even by a count of what most people would say "insane" can be a good thing. Some people will be motivated by such things, and it can be a rather enjoyable learning experience for them to go through, or a grindfest. Whichever way the lessons come, during, before or after.

Respect. Much Respect, my friends.

Just pixels on the dossier. I guess I don't mind either way. If I stay 16 years in the club like some do, I will eventually make it. I think Art was right in the sense that making something that hard to achieve is a good motivating factor for some to stand out. I believe only 1% of the RL population hold some type of Doctorate, so it could apply in the same type of way.

This is of interest: Dark Sage: Tactics ✗ Serve at least 180 days as Voice of the Brotherhood (0/180) ✗ Serve at least 180 days as Magistrate to the Voice (0/180) ✗ Serve at least 180 days as Praetor to the Voice (0/180) ✗ Serve at least 180 days as Combat Master (0/180) ✗ Serve at least 180 days as Deputy Combat Master (0/180) ✗ Serve at least 180 days as ACC Judge (0/180)

It would be nice to see this list expanded to include Consuls, Proconsuls, and other Magistrates/Praetors. Otherwise, the degree is effectively limited to those few who manage to make it onto the Voice or ACC staff.

What Macron said, which is highly improbable for guys like us who are genuinely good at writing and want an achievement to show, but cannot because we simply were not chosen for this role. This type of requirements makes SA work unproductive and ultimately forces many people to leave the SA work simply because the work given heavily outweighs the rewards received.

Well then, a response.

To Mr.Macron, a few change could be made, however, the reason I can see that those positions are exclusively required are because they deal with this subject.

To Mr. Galleros, I do fail to see how it makes SA work unproductive. The Shadow Academy is done not only in part for some fancy pixels or titles on the Dossier, but for knowledge, enjoyment, and even a sense of Role-Playing(As your character). I tend to think of something like this as a higher end award. If you want to be "chosen" for the "role", then simply apply yourselves. The statement that you were simply not chosen for the role seems a bit silly, as if this degree is handed out by some sort of exclusive club. I sincerely do not believe in that. You are not chosen, you apply yourselves and move forward. E pluribus unum.

The rank requirements seem quite fine, since this is supposed to be a higher end degree. It should also be taken into account that the Headmaster and Magistrates have stated that more courses and or degrees are in the works, so their shall be quite a bit more material, or more of those "achievements."

You can have anything you want, just not everything.

Thought, after all, just pixels ;P. Just some food for thought, is all.

Artorias: I'll give you the benefit of the doubt considering that you haven't been here that long, but the factor remains that many higher summit people chose their staff over 'executive choice' rather than fairly looking through applications. Yes it is unproductive and yes the work heavily outweighs the rewards, as some say its a pixel on the screen. You cannot input into this without seeing the hard work, extended hours and thorough tactics for yourself. You can apply yourself to as many things as you'd like but if the office in question prefers a different candidate simply because 'they know his methods' then yes, it is a major factor in this Brotherhood.

Then the problem is not the Degree then, but the system itself. That should be what should be resolved, rather than the degree itself, if that is the issue. :)

Welcome to the real world, Artorias :)

Let me just say, wow! Here we have Journeymen demonstrating more wisdom and maturity than some of the Club's Equites and Elders. Artorias and Darkblade, I like the cut of your jib gentlemen. Bravo!


I agree with the updated degrees as they are. Sages are supposed to be our equivalent of a doctorate. The current settings are reachable for everyone but will take time and effort and as such serve as a badge of honor for those who earn them. If they are made to be easily reachable with a few simple checks in the box they loose their meaning and deny the pride of earning them to those that do. If we make everything easy then whats the point in doing anything?

So, Turel, applauding someone for ripping into another (rather than focus on the issues) is both mature and wise? I mean...I saw one guy commenting on the specific issue of CFs and another telling him he's a whiner and complainer. Well, duly noted.

Yes yes, I know this has nothing to do with the issue involved. Doesn't appear like there will be any give one way or another anyway...just had to make the comment. Sorry :P

Please note that the requirement also allows for fulfillment through earning Clusters of Ice and placing in competitions, Macron. It is not exclusive to those that hold positions.

The higher level SA degrees are meant to be challenging AND attainable to members who wish to put in the work to obtain the degrees. My objection to this CF level is that currently there seems to only be one gaming platform with which you could meet the current requirement. Realistically, the CF level should be obtainable by members who own and play any of the games we support, not just one specific platform.

Ah okay. A closer read indicates that, thanks. I think it's doable then.

Fair points Halc, I may have been unclear. Allow me to elaborate:

1) Yacks' original comment raised perfectly valid points and backed them up with data. I personally had no issue with any of it. I tend to agree that 3500 is probably a bit too high, but Bubba did say he was making adjustments and indeed has. The he raised over current lack of viable CF platforms are particularly valid. Is it fair to characterize his post as "complaining?" Probably not.

2) Darkblade's post was the more problematic of the two Journeymen I applauded, especially on a closer read. I'll concede that his post was more personal in its tone than it needed to be to make his point. So, Halc, your criticism on me giving him blanket applause has validity. However, the CF issue was addressed in his post. DB's central counter-argument regarding the amount of time/effort equivalency between the sages (6 months to a year in most cases) was as valid as Yacks argument, even if it wasn't presented in the best manner. DB's premise of put in the work instead of trying to lower the bar is also commendable.

3) I was particularly impressed with Artorias, he presented his arguments in a clear and extremely respectful manner, even after catching some flak. I find no fault with any of his posts and will give him a standing ovation without reservation. He is a credit to Taldryan and you should be proud of him Halc.

Im sorry if it seemed too personal, i have much to learn when debating things. And yes, it might have seemed as a personal attack since it was a reactionary post to the first one, as the second post was just backing up what the first poster said.

But i did try to make it clear that although i disagree with poster #1, no matter what happens with this degree you still need to put in hard work, and i would rather see it that it stays as it is and have to work towards it then have it lowered to people's "standards" of what they think is more correct. A Sage is still a hard to get degree and should be more in line with what the rest of the Sage degrees are atm. Making it an easier Sage to get then the others really defeats the purpose of making it a Sage. Im an avid SA person. So its only natural i want to protect it as much as i can, before it gets deluded to easy pixel rewards.

Anyways, sorry if I got a little too overzealous. Although i stand by the points i have given. I'll try to better myself in future discussions and keep my arguments out of the personal level.




I'm very confused as to all the drama surrounding this. High level degrees are not about instant gratification. If you are actively trying to obtain one, good for you, go after something you'll enjoy. If you like gaming with fellow Brotherhood members, the gaming Sage isn't really a big deal, down the line you'll get it. If you enjoy writing, like me, eventually the writing Sage will pop up in your inbox and you'll go 'Oh, hey, look at that'.

The high requirements are meant to show you really earned it, and if it's for doing something you enjoy anyways...what's the problem?

Kordath, hard is good. Earning it is good. Feasibility is also good. The Cluster of Fire has been actively awarded in the Brotherhood for 13 and a half years. In 13+ years of the medal being awarded, 13 members have earned enough CFs to even qualify for the degree as it stands. Personally, I'm already a SA12 dude with all the SA Society Perks and a vast majority of the Sage Degrees. I don't care about whether or not I ever get these two new sages or not. SA is something I do when I'm bored, and otherwise generally don't care for.

Some people though do care a lot about it, and they do want to get all the shiny little things. Maintaining the ability for things in the DB to be at least somewhat reachable by the average member is part of the whole point. Designing things only for the exclusivity of it in mind... well, I'm sorry, I tend to like to give opportunities to people in the DB, not set the bar so wildly out of place that its not even something they actively aim for.

Ultimately, if people like the idea that only 0.0018% of members in the DB will ever get a chance at earning a degree in the SA? So be it. I just personally feel that 3500 CFs is a number that was decided on without taking into consideration the TOR/D3 skewing effects on the medal, and doesn't represent a reasonable goal for the majority of members in the DB... and I would honestly like the majority of people in the DB to at least have a chance to participate/earn what we offer them, because I just honestly don't see the point otherwise.


Yacks right now.

Look everyone has valid points. Some might have used harsh language in expressing, but in the end we exist because of the members. Doesn't matter if you have been here for 20 years or 1 day. Every opinion counts as long it is constructive and not hostile. When it comes to SA academy I am no pro, but I know the way many games work now days is it gets harder as you go up. 3500 might be too high, but it's also gaming. If journeyman are gunning for this degree from the get go I say it just Spurs activity. I for one game for the relationships I build in game and on Teamspeak with members. CFs and shines are an extra bonus. As Kordath said if I get an extra degree in the email, than that's sweet. I really don't think our junior population is thinking this big when it comes to SA. This degree for the most prt is for members who are big time in the SA, not the everyday member even if it was brought down in ability wise to attain. Anyhow this is much higher than me, but like with any good game it is always good to have those hard to attain goals.

I'm always interested in what drives the most comments. I would not have guessed this.

The good news is that the DC is tasked with improving their position and systems day by day and in increments. Bubba is attempting to do that with the degrees and your input will help craft his future improvements.

I don't have a strong opinion on the CF total and the opinion I do have is skewed by the fact I have a metric ass load of CFs. So, I'm content hearing from the masses, but rest assured your input will have and impact on the final product.

Woohoo for 3500 CF's!

As someone who has that many, I don't think it is that high of a number considering the amount of CF farming that goes on these days. With the high limit on games per day, it shouldn't take a dedicated gamer that long to meet that. Hell, it took me years to get that high with all of the old limits we had set up... :)

as per the 3500 cf count. a year ago I have 16 cf's and now after spending a vast amount of time gaming a bit under a year across multiple platforms (TOR not being one of them) I am less than 50 away from 3500. so it is doable in under a year you just have to get gaming...a lot. That said the Guardsman spots for the GMRG X Members really amps up the competition to get CFs once you achieve GMRG X, in the last 3 quarters I don't think there has been a GMRG XII that has not had over 1000 clusters for the 3 month quarter. that said I didn't check these figures just from what I remember. I have dropped off gaming heavily in the last several months for reasons so if we only have 1 or two viable CF earning platforms that would be more for the Fist and his very capable staff to look into finding a remedy for. But the bottom line seems to be that you have to be willing to put in the work. but over all this has been a rather civilized and informative debate imo and that is something I like seeing, communication for our collective betterment :)

Can I say something. 3500 cfs are insane for those who like me are limited on gaming whether time or platform availability.

In three years, I've only gotten 57 cfs since I picked up gaming. I'm looking at 2050 before I get this degree.

I like that there was a split to have two different types for gamers and writers.

But 3500 is extremely high.

Just my opinion

For the most part, these extremely high CF counts have been achieved with a large dose of PvE, rather than strictly PvP play. I believe that was the essential point Yacks and others were trying to make. For the most part, to achieve such high amounts means you must play games that allow you to earn CFs through PvE (TOR, D3, Destiny, etc...)

Now, there will always be exceptions to the rule. Dante would be one of them, but he has also been here for 12 years and has generally been one of the more prolific gamers, period. No one is saying that real effort shouldn't be involved, but the question of who your target audience is must be asked. Is it just for the truly super-active gamer? Is it for the person who does a lot of PvE? Essentially, someone who is active, but not "super active" using only PvP gaming probably won't be able to earn this for many, many, many years (if ever).

In the end when making these sorts of achievements and what not, you do need to consider who you are looking to award and whether it is attainable by the systems you currently have in place. In gaming, I believe it has been proven that to attain a large amount of CFs in a fairly reasonable time means you need to game using the PvE platforms. Otherwise it will be quite some time (unless you are a member who goes above-and-beyond most anyone else) to attain those same CFs focusing on PvP.

(If you only care about my opinion on, "Are 3500 CF too many?" skip to the TLDR at the end)

I agree that large quantities of CFs are generally gained through PVE, instead of PVP. I think part of this is because the general mindset of the club at this time is more in favor of PVE games than 1v1 PVP battles. Newer games tend to provide more incentive to play co-operative PVP Battles when they are implemented (Warzones). Consider TOR, is there any real in game incentive to dueling? What about Diablo 3 Brawling? So the only reason a person would duel is either for bragging rights or they really enjoy it. Chances are the battles will end up pretty one sided and there will be no gear / exp gained from them to advance your character, so how many people would duel for 4 or 5 hours if caps were even removed for matches? Groups will often play for that long when facing PVE content together though. There's generally no in game carrot for 1v1 Dueling, the only thing is CFs and the weekly PoB.

My honest opinion as a gamer is that 1v1 dueling is slowly fading away. Team PVP is where its at now, what games typically reward, and where games will continue to move as they are developed, Destiny doesn't even have a dueling mechanic. With current game Matchmaking set the way it is (you can only organize your Team, not pick the Team you face) the vast majority of new games do not support Team PVP in a way that the Club traditionally views it. That creates a problem for us.

I also think the popularity of PVE over 1v1 PVP right now is because our most prolific PVP Platform (JA) is 10 years old. Unfortunately I can't design a "Next Gen" Lightsaber Dueling game for us. I hope that Battlefront 3 will bring us something, or anything, that will fill this gap for 1v1 duels or organized Team battles. My fear is that even if it does the system requirement and pricetag on Battlefront 3 will be set at a place which make it unrealistic to expect to replace JA within the Club, as basically any computer can run JA right now and $10 price won't be beat.

I don't have the breakdown during these timeframes by platform, but related to previous Quarters GMRG XI and XII Clusters earned:

  • Jan-Now (current quarter):

    • 7 members earned over 500 CFs (Pravus very close to 1k)
  • Oct-Dec 2014:

    • 1 member earned over 2k CFs
    • 5 members earned over 500 CFs
  • Jul - Sep 2014:

    • 2 members earned over 1.5k CFs
    • 1 member earned over 500 CFs
  • Apr - Jun 2014:

    • 1 member earned over 1k CFs
    • 3 members earned over 500 CFs

Regarding earning CFs, lets consider the Star Wars Galactic Defense Mobile Game. As I mentioned DeNA has set a standard over the last 3 weeks that they will run an Event each week. Making it to the Diamond Tier in this Event will net you 50 CFs per week, or 2600 per year. Now, its not easy to get to the Diamond Tier, but its still an option.

I also did a little number crunching and it looks like Bubba was trying to remain consistent between the "Mandatory" CFs (GMRG X) / CIs and the "Bypass" awards. The ratio seems to be roughly similar, requiring around an additional 60% to reach the Bypass award.

Something to chew on, when I rolled out the new GMRG Ranks there were only 17 folks who met all the criteria. As of today (14 months later) there are 28, just an idea on how quickly folks may close in on that 3500.


So all of that writing, and I didn't give my opinion on the question everyone is talking about. Is 3500 CF too high? Frankly, I don't know. Let's look at some existing Degrees

  • Dark Sage Service - requires SA Staff for a year, no less than a Magistrate, no alternatives.
  • Dark Sage Law - requires Justicar or Hand full term, no alternatives.
  • Dark Sage Programming - requires SCL Staff for 6 months, no less than a Magistrate, no alternatives.
  • Dark Sage Writing - Does not require Staff position. However it was last run like 3 years ago, and involved reading multiple books per week over a several month period. No one completed it at that time if memory serves me right. I'm not sure the last time someone earned this degree.

Based on the existing setup Sages Dark Sage Tactics and Dark Sage Warefare are FAR more attainable. No Staff work is required and you don't need to wait for a Leap Year to sign up to earn them.

Now... if the desire is to change the way all existing Sage degrees are set up. That's a different topic which my reply isn't directed to. However, difficulty seems to be on par with the other Sages, which do require Staff time to earn.

Just a small note to Val's TL:DR, Dark Sage Law can also be earned if you've served a full team as an appeals panelist.

Malik - not according to the wiki page for degrees.

Hmm. Prometheus says Appeals Panelist works. One of those needs to be changed.

While I am somewhat disappointed that Prior Judging service doesn't count, especially for those who served during the running of the championships, I can understand the reasoning.

As someone who pretty much never games with others for Cf's, and usually gets them only during vendettas, despite playing hellacious amounts of D3, I have to say I don't think 3500 is too high.

Why? Because if I wanted it bad enough, I'd find a way to get there. I'd party up more. Which means I'd get to spend more time with other members of the DB, socializing as I play.

After all, isn't the point of gaming with others not just to enjoy a game you love, but to get to know and have fun with others who enjoy the same thing you do?

If you focus on the numbers, I think you may be missing the forest for the trees of the bigger picture of being part of a Brotherhood.

To clarify, Appeals Panelist time does count towards the Law Sage. I'm updating the Wiki now. :p

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