Apologies for the delay in getting this report out, as I wanted to make sure the Pro Bowl content was starting to take shape on the site prior to the publication of this report. I'd penciled in last weekend to take care of the lion's share of that, when a wild family member appeared (Fight/Item/Run)! However, this weekend has now become Pro Bowl Report weekend, so let's get to it!
Welcome back to the fifth Plagueis hosted Pro Bowl, this year featuring Clans Scholae Palatinae, Vizsla, and Naga Sadow! The 2021 Pro Bowl will pit two teams, the Frog-dogs and Rotworms (titans of the Huttball court) led by leaders from each clan and made up of equal parts of each clan's roster. The Pro Bowl will be hosted by the four sitting Consuls of each of the participating clans. The team captains will be a mix of the summit and senior members of all four clans, as such:
Pro Bowl V is a three-week, multi-event competition designed to test each and every member of the Clans. An opening event will determine which order the teams will have in a Draft-style event led by the Pro Bowl organizers. The teams will alternate their selections until the entire roster of all four clans are split between them. Once the roster is set, the two teams will battle it out in a series of twenty-four events spread over the course of three weeks. Events will include the standard fare of Fiction, Graphics, Gaming, and Trivia, along with some less common events designed to help test each member of the Clans.
Upon completion of the final scoring, the team with the highest cumulative score will be declared the winner!
Each individual will earn five points per event they participate in. Participation is defined as a valid submission for an event. Simply signing up for an event or uploading an unqualified submission will not count. You have to put in the effort in order to receive the reward. Participation will earn 5 points.
In addition to participation points, the top three individuals in each competition will earn placement modifier points. First place will earn 4 points, second place will earn 3 points, and third place will earn 2 points, and all other entries will earn 1 point. Events themselves will have modifiers based on their perceived difficulty/level of effort required. For example: the modifier for fiction will be 3, the modifier for gaming/graphics/poetry will be 2, and no modifier will be added to puzzle/trivia/flash events.
Grading formula: (Placement Score * Event Modifier) + Participation = Event Score
At the end of the competition, the individual scores for all three weeks will be added up, and the top three individuals will earn crescents for the overall competition. Total scores for both teams, including the Week Zero event, will determine the victorious team.
The big thing that we're bringing this year is Discord support for the Pro Bowl teams. I spoke with crusty old Plagueian (and also DGM I guess) Dacien Victae and he has been gracious enough to set up a Pro Bowl chat area on Discord for the event. Team members will all be assigned roles for their team channels, so make sure to get your invite to the DB discord today and authenticate your dossiers!
Another big, Pro Bowl Eve announcement: Some of you might have noticed recently minted Sinya Ani has been a veritable whirlwind of activity. In recognition of the hard work being done by this new member, I asked for Sinya to take over the newly created Battleteam Talzin in House Tyranus. A new team that will be looking to fill the sneakier, huntery-er role as a counterpoint to Battleteam Opress, they'll favor the more subtle approach to accomplishing their goals favored by their namesake Nightsister. We've also leveraged the new sub-unit possession assignment system (shout out and special thanks to James for making that a thing!) to make sure that Talzin, like Opress, has their own stable of toys to play with. I've heard tell that Sinya plans to get some fiction out to illustrate the, shall we say, create methods of acquiring their new toys as well. Stay tuned, same Talzin time, same Talzin channel!
The debut of Plagueis's new Discord thread "Ask the Dread Lord" generated a few very good questions, so I wanted to make sure to address some of them here:
Kamjin asks: With the introduction of the new RP society how are you seeking to integrate it within Plagueis?
Honestly, I just found an answer to this question! It sounds like Sinya has some ideas about working direct RP into Plagueis, so I'm happy to defer to the motivated expert and offer any and all support I can!
Atra asks: Discussion, especially where opinions differ greatly, is always difficult and can lead to heated confrontations and a sense of aggression. How do you perceive these sorts of conversations and what steps can be made to mitigate their effects in order to promote healthy discourse?
I see you, Atra, trying to keep things off your desk! But, in all seriousness, this is an important question that we all need to think about the answer to. I think one of the biggest things to remember about "aggression" in the Brotherhood is that we're all communicating in text most of the time, and both as people sending messages to others and reading them ourselves we need to be aware that those messages are going to be read and given the flavor of tone that the other participant didn't intend. I think there are two big steps that we can all do (beyond being careful with how we read or write our communications, of course). The first is to take any opportunity we can to talk to one another instead of type. It's harder to get angry at a voice that sounds like a real person than it is to get angry at text, though of course not impossible. The second is to do everything we can to reach out directly to people to attempt to clarify what the intent and reasoning that we were trying to express. Now, the important thing here is that this isn't about "correcting" the person who read what we wrote "wrong". It's about making sure that we, as communicators, are communicating what our intended message was better. Additionally, I think that sort of engagement is far healthier, when all is said and done, than having both parties retreat to their own respective echo chambers to complain to like minded friends about how bad the other participant was. We're all nerds of some stripe here, and it's rare that anyone comes here with the purpose of screwing with other people. Always something for all of us here to keep in mind.
Sarai Andromeda asks: How are you planning to shake things up when/if they need to be?
Well, the biggest shake up that we needed as both a club and a Clan (see a certain Panda's MAA report for more) was to make sure we're focusing on rewarding our members. A good example of what my approach is when and if the need to shake things up arrives is how I approached that: Jump in feet first with purpose and without reticence. Examine the situation, develop a solution with your staff/advisors, and then implement solutions with conviction. Hence our focus on things like the Pro Bowl to give our members activities that focus on fun first and foremost, and taking members that have earned their shot a chance to get their feet wet on a summit for the first time (Like Sinya here!)
Tasha'vel Versea asks: Where do you get your stylish outfits?
From a lot of talented artists, either adapting pieces of existing costumes and/or concept art or taking some of my ramblings and turning them into whole cloth examples. Never underestimate the amazing results an artist can bring!
Raleien asks: Is there going to be, or have there been discussions of, a fictional tie-in story for the impending Pro Bowl?
Essentially, nope and nope. On this one, we've eschewed the idea of trying to force a narrative onto the four participating Clans for characters to be forced to adhere to and write around. This also allows us for some more open ended prompts when it comes to fiction events and for the members to focus more on their own personal and ongoing Clan narratives that are out there. It's experimental, so we'll have to see how this goes over with folks when all is said and done.
Raleien asks (in a two part question this time!): a) Do you have a favourite competition type and b) how do you motivate yourself to do competitions or other activities out of your comfort zone?
For me, it's probably a close tie between fiction events and graphics as far as a favorite. On the subject of competitions outside of my comfort zone, I tend to balance the equation along an axis of how much of my time it's going to take up vs how much I'm going to contribute to the efforts of my clan/house/team/etc. There is a long, long list of quick and dirty competition entries on my competition history that aren't competitions I much enjoy (looking at you, Jedi Academy and trying to sword fight in the Quake III: Team Arena FPS engine) that I was able to bang out in 10 minutes tops. If I end up using the time that I might spend watching an episode or two of Drachinifel's Five Minute Guides to Warships to help out my clan mates? I figure that's a viable trade off. But, that calculus is different for everyone, as I'll get deeper into later (spoilers!).
Raleien asks (again!): How do you approach change management and adaptation to new methods of activity and/or engagement in the club?
I think the most important thing is for us as leaders at various levels of the club to become early adopters of change and adaptation. Change is always hard for members and leaders alike, and I'm not a fan of change most of the time even when it's warranted since when I get into patterns I like to stay in them. Heck, I've been using the same model of mouse through at least two replacements even though it's neither fancy or a gaming mouse just so I don't have to get used to having a new mouse shape in my hand. However, I think it's critical to ensure that the leadership that is here to, as it's number one job, serve the membership is there to offer our support and make sure we learn these new methods of activity and engagement. We're there to help our members navigate changes to how the DB does business as much as we are to help them navigate how the DB does business upon their initial arrival. I have said this for years: As a leader, it's often our job to make sure everyone else is having a good time even when we might not be. The job of the host of the party is never done. Doing anything less than embracing change early and getting out in front of the curve on adoption, and therefore knowledge, is doing a disservice to our members who are trying to navigate the same bumpy road as we are.
Raleien asks: I know you’ve spoken about this at length before, but how do you recommend we balance encouraging activity and participation with having fun and people’s real lives and schedules?
Who are you, Comrade Question? I kid! For this one, it's all about making sure that we are positioning participation, in whatever amounts that a member has the time and desire for, as something we are thankful for. In the end their participation in an event, even in a Great Jedi War where Clans are ranked, is not for us as leaders. It's for them to work their way up the Brotherhood's reward structure and get medals, promotions, credits, etc. I was just speaking with another Plagueis summit member on this subject this evening, and what we boiled it down to is that leadership is about helping members find what level of participation or what type of events works for them. If a member doesn't have a lot of free time? Help point them in the direction of the couple of things you know they might enjoy so they're not overwhelmed with the wall of available activities and most importantly so they're not having to waste what limited time they have to have fun in the Brotherhood digging to find something fun. This often boils down to making sure you do your homework and know your members. Take a look at their dossiers and see what they participate in the most, things they might place in. If participation just isn't in the cards for them this time around, that's 100% OK and nobody should be made to feel guilty that they haven't done what is "required" of them. As referenced above, everyone has a different calculus as to what they'll put up with or how much of their time they'll devote to the DB. Just because a leader thinks that calculus should be different doesn't make them right. I've often said that, outside of a small number of examples, nobody actually "doesn't have time" to participate. The issue is that they don't have the desire to carve that time to participate out of their day. They might spend it watching a TV show or movie, spending a Sunday at their friend's house for football, or just any number of things. Our job isn't often to find these members some time to spend on the DB, it's to make sure we as leaders are making sure we're giving them something that they're eager to carve that time out of their day to actually do.
Anubis asks: Do you liek mudkipz?
All I know about them is that they exist and my little brother liked them. So, data not found?
We're just barely a week out from the Pro Bowl and I can tell you I'm very excited. This is the first Pro Bowl I've been able to be involved in for almost four years now, and I'm glad that CNS, VIZ, and CSP all agreed to come along for the ride. I still can't believe that we're also up to five Pro Bowls, given that it was a silly competition idea that Teylas and I threw together as a one off back in the day. Well, here's to the next five!
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