Greetings Dark Jedi Brotherhood!
Before we get into this report, let me remind you all that the Fist office is looking for a Magistrate. For more info, please review Fist Supplemental 2.2. Apply today (or tomorrow but definitely before the deadline)!
If you have been following my reports to date, you should be familiar with my frequent use of the term “gaming community”. Shifting gaming within the DJB from its footing as an activity to a community is no small feat. It also is not a goal that can be accomplished overnight but instead this is an iterative process.
In an effort to begin to make progress towards this goal, I am happy to detail here Phase I of what I have named “Operation Stomping Grounds” (OGS). If anyone is unfamiliar with this phrase, a “stomping ground” refers to the place you grew up and/or spent a lot of time in. It is a term of endearment towards a place you are very familiar with and have affection for. I think that this phrase encapsulates what we want to continue to build within our club.
The first phase is made up of smaller changes or ideas that can be implemented quickly. I have begun building the framework for additional phases but those are not yet ready for release. One item that falls within these later phases is active recruitment. This is something I am interested in but, as I have said before, I felt strongly that focusing inward is required first. To recruit, the sales pitch to the rest of the gaming world would be that we are a robust gaming community. I believe it is important to build some additional layers to that within our walls first, which is exactly what Phase I consists of. Simply put, new members need a base of activity to come into. It is rare that new members come in and spur the participation level of veterans across any of our core activities.
Without further ado, Phase I of Operation Stomping Grounds.
I begin with a call to arms! I’ve said in previous reports, and conversations with others, that this development will require a team effort to be successful it. This is why I am kicking this entire project off with an announcement that I am actively encouraging members to begin running gaming related competitions. Member run gaming competitions aren’t a change, they have always been allowed and encouraged, but I am making an increase in their prevalence a top priority.
The role that I am looking to play in this is to be your sounding board for competitions. Let’s get as creative as our system allows for. If there is an idea you have but aren’t 100% sure if it fits please feel free to email me and we can try to work through it. One caveat is that I will be keeping an eye on how many concurrent competitions are being run. If I feel like there is a log jam (which I would consider a great problem to have), I will suggest moving the dates of your event. This isn’t because I am being a pain in your butt, it is because I want each competition to succeed.
Two examples that inspired me to want to promote this idea are:
Hearthstone: Enter the Battlegrounds - This was hosted by Reaver Scudi Ferria. Battlegrounds are a new mode for Hearthstone and Scudi took the chance to run a competition based on it. We had a small exchange on how to best score it so that it was fair and then it was off to the MAA for approval.
Overwatch: Crashing the Archives - This series was hosted by Warlord Rajhin. This series was based on a limited time in-game event in Overwatch with competitions for a few of the different missions that were available during the event.
Both of these are excellent examples of content being generated by our fellow members. You may be saying to yourself, “self, this is the job of the Fist office and I think they shouldn’t be so lazy.” My counterpoint to that is to point out the the Voice office does not generate the bulk of the fiction competitions, outside of major events, and neither does the Herald’s office for graphic design. The Fist office will still be doing our plenty own work on this front and my hope is that we can also lend our support to your own efforts as well.
As far as I know, there has not been a specific rule against running competitions for games that haven’t received official support. However, I personally had a competition denied in the past that fell into this category. After speaking with Mav and Evant they are on board with officially opening up the opportunity to run competitions for a wider set of video games.
This is one way I am trying to address a few different challenges. The first being the limitations of our platform approval process. I fully understand the comments that get made about how slow and cumbersome the process can be. Comments have also been made that “the DJB doesn’t support my favorite game”. It is my intention that this step helps address those concerns without having an impact on the integrity of our larger events. As with all things gaming related, I’m always open to possible improvements but any changes to the platform approval process have to take into account a myriad of factors, the largest of which is to ensure fairness in the club’s major events.
But, as Vaeril Aeraeth , aka Kris, wisely pointed out to me in a conversation, major event gaming and year-round gaming are very different. My hope is that by running competitions for a wider array of games this is a way to be much more open on the ability to earn in club rewards for more platforms. I understand that these won’t generate clusters but competition participation, and the crescents gained from winning them, is a core activity in this club. Regular competition activity is a great way to increase the flow of credits into your account and is also a key part of awards, which come with their own substantial sum of credits. While Clusters have been part of the gaming identity in the club for a very long time, and will continue to be, focusing on them the ONLY factor that matters in gaming activity is limiting our potential. Clusters will remain an important part of our gaming community but it is time to move beyond thinking of them as the only measure of gaming activity.
With all of that said, having competitions run for unsupported games should also be a tool to gauge interest in a gaming platform. It’s very inefficient for the Fist office to run a poll for every single game ever created, which is why this hasn’t ever happened in the past. With the ability for members to host competitions for unsupported games, and freely promote them, this is a great way to constantly be “polling” the interest level of different platforms. A game that has high levels of interest when competitions are run won’t automatically be considered for support but it will grab my attention for further review.
At the same time, we as a club have to admit to ourselves that the last few approved games (Warframe, Apex: Legends and Dauntless) have all fallen off after their initial approval. Not having enough games supported isn’t the only issue we have with activity. Looking at gaming-only clans in the general community, they generally focus on a small number of games for their activity. Unlimited approved games likely is not the solution to our problems. In fact, I believe that will only exacerbate them. Sure, we might artificially inflate cluster values but we will be no closer to an actual community. Instead, we will have tiny groups of members playing a myriad of different games.
The role of my office in this will be to help members ensure that competitions have fair grading methods and will not cause log jams as mentioned above. Since these may be games I am less familiar with they will receive high levels of scrutiny. In these cases, I will be asking questions and looking for clarification on items. My intention is to find ways to make things work whenever possible while keeping true to our standards.
Once again my offer to send an email my way so that we can brainstorm through the approval process in advance is wide open.
In an effort to do my own part in making gaming competitions more prevalent outside of major events, I am committed to running regular gaming related competitions. Some of these may not require playing a game or they also might be focused on an in game event, or a combination of those like the Destiny 2: Season of Dawn Launch Party . These will focus on only our supported platforms and will include competitions like puzzles, Hearthstone Create-a-Card and hopefully more as I continue to develop a unique repertoire. My hope is that by engaging with our supported platforms more it will help increase interest in them by both those familiar with them but also those who may not have given them a try.
I don’t think that it is a secret that PvP is pretty dead outside of major events. In an attempt to address this we will be changing the base CF award for a loss from .33 to .50. Rewards are not the only challenge facing PvP within the club but I’m hoping it is a start. Effectively, this makes the base value of a loss 1 Cluster of Earth using the conversion rate of 1 CF = 2 CE. This change is scheduled to go live on the site February 1, 2020.
There are some other changes being made to encourage PvP that are detailed in the “GMRG Competition Changes” section.
The Fist of the Brotherhood cordially invites you to join the official DJB Gaming Events Calendar. This calendar interfaces with the Event Calendar on the DJB site thanks to James’ magic, which is I hope gives it even more power.
One of the top comments on the survey was that it is difficult to find other players to group with. This is a first step to addressing that challenge, but not the only one I am working on. One thing I want to be clear on is that THIS IS NOT A REQUIREMENT. This and any future measures I take to help with gaming coordination are intended to be voluntary tools and not requirements. Instead, I would love to see this calendar be used as a tool to notify others of future gaming events and as a place to see if there are upcoming events that you want to engage with.
I’ve posted an event to run Star Wars: The Old Republic flashpoints on Thursday, January 23rd at 6:30PM EST (11:30 PM site time).
Some of what I was hoping this could begin to be used for is:
Posting your own planned play time in advance/looking for others that have posted their. We all lead busy lives so I know it isn’t always possible to identify in advance when you will be playing. However, if you do plan on sitting down for a few hours on a weekend and farming The Old Republic flashpoints, for example, toss that on the calendar.
Clans, houses, battleteams hosting events open to all. Any item posted to the calendar should be open to all members. If you are a unit leader looking to promote your team then feel free to host events that fit it’s identity.
I’m also open to this calendar being used to promote events that don’t fit neatly into a competition format but are still within the realm of gaming.The Card Against Humanity events come to mind.
For now, only the Fist staff will have the ability to add or edit events but anyone should be able to view using the link above and invite others to anything already on the calendar. To add your event simply email the Fist staff at ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]) with a date, time (using DJB site time), event name and event details.
I’ve decided to make a few changes to the GMRG competitions for 2020 as a response to the 2019 series:
The monthly PvP comp will either be a to be a CF race each month. The participation in the platform specific competitions has been low so we are attempting to make it more general to garner higher levels of interest.
The total number of competitions are being reduced from four to three. This will consist of the aforementioned PvP competitions, one skill based competition from one of our supported platforms and one mobile or flash game.
The containers are being changed from quarterly to monthly. My hope is that having the container moved off of the “Long-running/Series” page to the “Running” tab might grab more members’ attention.
Gorefest is making a comeback as a limited time GMRG competitions for each month. I’m going to try to schedule these to coincide with the weekend between the end of one months competitions and the start of the next month’s. For GMRG members, this also means clusters are doubled for any activity submitted to this event, not only for PvP.
As with many of the things we do, myself and my staff will keep an eye on the participation levels and continue to adjust as needed. Please continue to provide me with your feedback on this topic as well.
I’m forgoing #AskTheFist again this month and would instead like to direct you to a forum topic I began on the subject of Discord. For those unfamiliar with it, Discord is a proprietary freeware VoIP application and digital distribution platform designed for video gaming communities, that specializes in text, image, video and audio communication between users in a chat channel. Discord runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and in web browsers.
The Dark Jedi Brotherhood has a Discord server but with our main club also living primarily on Telegram, Discord has been mostly neglected. What I’d like to see is a discussion on the merits and concerns with Discord as a communication platform. How can it be used to grow our community balanced against the ways to combat against concerns like “community splitting”?
I’m looking forward to this brainstorming session and if it is successful will be hosting more of them.
[DB Gaming on Telegram - Log in to view join link] on Telegram. Come be part of the discussion in the one and only official gaming channel of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood!
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