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Everything on this journal should be okay for as long as LiveJournal is around but if you have an entry or picture you like I recommend saving it.
- The GMs don't seem to be playing the game so you have Slartibartfast saying Wetlands is balanced when anyone who spends even 15 minutes there knows it's not. He can point to his spreadsheets all day long but it's clear to me he's not interpreting the values right or doesn't understand how they all go together to determine who difficult an area is. Maybe if they played Clan Lord they'd have a better understanding of how the game works.
- There's also an attitude I'm picking up from the GMs. Somewhat of a "I'm working on this game on my own time so you should be grateful I'm doing anything at all for you so don't criticize what I do or ask for more because I could just leave and you'd have nothing." I'm grateful to them for their hard work, probably without pay, but that doesn't mean I can't give them feedback about what I think they're doing wrong as well as what they're doing right.
- There's very little communication between the GMs and the players. We have no idea what long-term plans they have for the development of Clan Lord, the direction the game is playing, or what they're working on right now. This makes the changes to the Mushroom Hut even more confusing. Don't they realize how much they're hurting Clan Lord?
- When the GMs do talk to players I sense antagonism from them. They seem to think either the players don't know what we're talking about or are trying to manipulate the system to get unfair advantages so the GMs don't have much willingness to view us as people they can talk to and work with for the betterment of Clan Lord.
People don't hunt Wetlands. People are not going to hunt the Mushroom Hunt. People are going to hunt the Foothills less often because of the decrease in coin.
Do GMs want people leaving the library at all? Do they want Clan Lord to succeed? Do they have any idea of what direction they want to take Clan Lord?
Then the GMs do something so stupid I really wonder if I want to give Delta Tao any of my money. I wonder if Clan Lord will still be around when the ranger has enough ranks to be fun to play with. Heck, I wonder if Clan Lord will still be around when Jeanne finally has enough ranks to be a good Bloodmage, because right now she is barely stronger than a regular fighter. I just hope the ranks she's putting into Bloodmage skills aren't going to be wasted.
What did the GMs do this time? They not only nerfed the Mushroom Hut, they made it practically unusable. This was the one place where 3rd and 4th circle fighters could effectively get experience outside of the library to have a hope of catching up to the folks who've been around for years. Slartibartfast can go on and on about how Wetlands is balanced for the difficulty but he's wrong and no one goes there because it's too dangerous for the experience it gives out. I don't go there on Jeanne because she barely survives there and the place gives out no coins anyway.
First Eldon removed the ledge in the Mushroom Hut. This was so people couldn't put a healer there that they have on a second account so they could hunt there in the first place. I know Fafnir/Gustave used to do that quite often but he would invite anyone who wanted to go with him so it wasn't just him benefiting from his healer it was a lot of other fighters (and maybe even mystics) as well. In addition, if a real healer wanted to go with him then Fafnir would not use his healer because that was only a last resort. By removing this ledge, Eldon punished everyone who wanted to hunt there but couldn't get a healer to come with them. It didn't encourage real healers to play more often, but real fighters to play less often.
What Eldon did was wrong and punishing people who use healers on a second account is bad for Clan Lord. I think the GMs believe that people who have a healer bot is the reason for people to not play real healers and for real healers to stay in the library. Therefore, by punishing people who have healer bots and removing the ability to use them they will bring back real healers. I believe this is wrong and that people only use healer bots because they can't find real healers and would use them in a second if they were available. By punishing the fighters, the GMs are removing any incentive they have at all to leave the library and if fighters don't leave the library there are even fewer reasons for healers to be around so they don't leave the library and you have what we have today. A game which has 70 people on at one time only if there is an event such as a planned invasion or a trip to Trillbane and has about 20 people otherwise. A game that is slowly dying.
The second thing the GMs did to the Mushroom Hut was add Large Death Vermine and reduce the experience the tiny mushrooms give. Keep in mind this place is supposed to be tailored for 3rd and 4th circle fighters and healers so adding LDV there is absolutely insane. LDV do so much damage that there is absolutely no way anyone of that level could survive there if even one of them spawn. Since they seem to go for healers first they'll fall before the fighters have a chance to blink. Even if they manage to kill the LDV the healers will likely be fallen which means they either chain them out or they call for a rescue. Since you need an Orga Eye and a Crowbar to get in that means they might have to wait quite a while. What was the point of this change?
Reducing the experience the mushrooms give out is another insane move. The Mushroom Hut was probably the best place for fighters and healers to level in the somewhat difficult 3rd and 4th circles and to essentially remove a hunting ground means they will have to go somewhere else. My question is where. Certainly not Wetlands because it's too difficult. Noids? Valley? Melabrion's Island? Acceptable but once you've cleaned it out they spawn too slowly to be able to stay there and if it's empty the only thing you can do is go elsewhere. The Mushroom Hut is one of the few low-level areas with a good spawn rate and good experience to make it worth your while.
Now there are even fewer reasons to leave the library which means the GMs put another stake into the heart of Clan Lord. Do they have any idea of what they're doing? Do they want Clan Lord to survive? Do they have a long-term plan they're working on or do they just do what's easy? Do they have any idea of how to balance areas and classes? Sadly it seems the answer to all these question is no.
I was a little hesitant at the start of this trip. Not that those present were inadequate for the challenge but that Orga lands are very dangerous and a lot can go wrong very quickly. The orga are able to cast lightning bombs that land and damage everyone in the vicinity. They can also cast fire bombs which act somewhat like a Champion's Lava Cloak in that if you're on fire you spread it if you touch any exile. In the cramped quarters of the forest the fire bombs can spread rapidly before you have a chance to get out of the way and they hurt a lot. Plus, the larger the group the less likely people will actually listen to the leader(s) and when you have one tiny to go in and out of snells and lots of people it can be easy to have a blockade of exiles unable to leave.
However, I was wrong. The exiles present were able to mostly listen and while there were a few times folks were slow in exiting, for the most part their reaction times were good. With good coordination, there were few times when I thought the group would all fall and we made it to Trillbane in only one hour. I couldn't believe it myself. Have we really gotten that much stronger?
The only disappointment was when Angadol followed Creed through the wrong path in the area before Trillbane. There are a number of paths that are one-way and one of them leads to the Waterfall snell. It's great to use when you want a quick exit home, but not so great to use when you want to visit Trillbane. Those present couldn't be clearer that you wanted to go to the northeast path to go to Trillbane and that if you didn't know where you were going you could lose the chance to train with Trillbane. The path to go to the Waterfall snell isn't in the northeast corner at all so I don't know what Creed was thinking at all. Maybe she wanted to go home early and didn't think Angadol would follow her or maybe he wasn't paying attention to the directions but regardless, he missed out on his chance to get Trillbane. Fortunately everyone else got the training, the group didn't wipe, and we all walked home to town.
Best of all, I got started on Trillbane!!!
I thought people needed a place to talk to each other so Vagile made a forum on the Sentinel for us and yet, no one came there to talk.
I thought the SDC needed a revamping of the clan charter to simplify the rules and to encourage recruitment and yet, no one gave their ideas.
I thought if we brought in new folks from the Winds of Dawn clan then there'd be more activity and yet, no one leaves the library.
I thought we needed an event so I wanted to revamp the Newbielympics and yet, no one offered to help.
A clan is a group of people and I can't do everything by myself. I can't make people care if they don't or participate if they don't want to or leave the library if they have other things to do.
I just wanted to give them a reason to be involved but even with trying to be active and encouraging they just didn't take the bait. I can't do everything by myself. I can't do anything by myself.
I'm the worst clan leader. I can't lead anyone.
Even though I've been in the SDC for years and years, I think that after I pay them back for what I borrowed I'll leave. I simply can't handle trying to make something out of the clan only for everyone to shrug their shoulders and turn away. I give up on clans altogether. No one wants to do anything!
First, the GMs need to look over the stories they and they alone can advance and decide which ones have dead ends and how to continue them if it's decided they are good enough. Such as the Brions, the Noid civil war, Orga/Centaur war, catapult parts, Ethereal Plane and Tenebrion, and much more. Many of the stories have been forgotten for years and if the players are allowed to be involved in them the world will be a lot more lively and interesting. If there's not a Story GM then there should be one that will oversee this effort.
I think that players, at least some of them, should be entrusted with more powers to start their own meaningful stories. Whether it's to change their appearance, summon monsters, introduce new NPCs to engage with, or whatever it takes to create conflict and interactive stories. These stories would be like the filler stories in Anime. They can't advance the main stories that only GMs can do, but they can create fun diversions. These could be apprentice GMs that would work with the Story GM to work on his stories and work on their own stories together or alone.
Just as long as they don't end up like the recent Forest War which just ended and everything that was changed reverted back to how it was before. There wasn't even a proper ending so it felt like none of it really happened and was a horrible story anyway.
I think that there should be many apprentice GMs. They'd have to have some training to use the tools and would have to coordinate with each other so there wouldn't be competing invasions or stories. I just don't think there should be a chosen few with the ability to add something to Clan Lord. My idea is that if there are more people who can create big stories there will be more people who will want to create small stories.
Giving everyone more tools aside from different colored text boxes will be useful. Less powerful tools than the apprentice GMs get but something that will make it so creating their own stories will be fun. I'm not sure exactly what tools are needed but I'm sure many folks have ideas of what they'd like to have.
I think that with the increased number of stories there will be a drive to revive the organizations to counter these threats and be involved in the stories. Right now the monks and knights are unused because there is little point to be a monk or knight. I know because I was a monk and aside from acting like a monk and occasionally showing off some of our monk moves there was no point. It's probably why there are no active monk groups. Yet if there are stories that require people to take a side and have opinions and fight against threats then there will be a point to being a monk, a knight, and more. If they're given more tools to role play that will make them even more eager to do it.
The big weakness in this plan is that it does require the GMs to focus on stories, and there does have to be some players who will work on their own stories and work with the Story GM as apprentice GMs, and the players have to want to react to the stories and revive organizations and clans. Yet I hope that if there's a reason to role play that people will eagerly do it because people do want to role play. They just don't want to role play if all that means is making /narrate and /action text boxes and creating needless conflict with other players.
Actually, I think that's another reason why Player RP has died down. There are so few people playing that people are afraid of making anyone mad at you for fear that they won't let you in their hunting party. The more ranks you get the fewer people who are on the same level and the fewer people who you can hunt with. So people don't want to offend anyone for fear of being ostracized, and a lot of the original Player RP involved creating conflict between people. It actually felt like a soap opera at times with a lot of petty squabbling and backstabbing.
In addition to lots and lots of stories, there should be more importance placed to clans aside from the Suncrystal. Maybe incentives that can only be given to clans that would require them to work together to get them. You couldn't just make a one-person clan and get the same benefits but would have to rely on other people in your clan to get access to them. I'm sure some would cry about being a loner and not getting the same benefits so it's unfair, but I say that if they want to be alone they lose out on the benefits of working with other people and banding together. Maybe clan hunting grounds they'd need to get a key in order to enter. People should still be able to hunt with whomever they want, but there should be some advantages in being in a clan with other people who share the clan's goals and who want to work together and spend time together.
The Clan Lord I envision has stories happening ALL OF THE TIME. GM role playing, apprentice GM role playing, player role playing with player created groups and clans. A game where people have more options than just whether to hunt for experience or hunt for coins. A game where clans aren't just a line of text on someone's /info but where they take part in the stories and where you actually have to consider which clan is right for you.
Why hasn't this happened yet? I think it's because there are few active GMs and the ones who remain are overworked since they do this on their own time without pay. They likely have as many apprentice GMs as they can handle and who knows how many of those are active and how many tasks they have stopped working on. Plus, there's some level of distrust from the GMs towards the players and even a bit of hostility. I think the GMs expect more appreciation of the players for what they do and react badly when we give them feedback they don't want to hear such as "this is bad" or "this needs work" or "why did you even bother doing this" and then don't feel like working on anything else. The GMs don't let us know what they're working on and there's little communication between them and the players. I think that there should be less of a rift between the GMs and the players because it's easy to forget we all want to make Clan Lord a great game.
In the end it'll take work from everyone to bring back role playing to Clan Lord but I think if the player is given more tools to making role playing happen and people are given an incentive to be in groups and clans they will do so and more stories will be told which will encourage more people to leave the library and tell more stories. All it will take is someone to kick the boulder down the mountain and watch as it knocks down the complacency and moss that has been growing on it.
The one big strength Clan Lord had above all other online games was the role playing aspect. It used to be online games were called MMORPG for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game but now they’re just called MMO because it's shorter and most folks know there isn’t really much role playing going on in these games. Clan Lord used to be the one exception to the rule.
We used to have several active groups such as monks, knights, Nox Sorora, loyalists to Emperor Mobius, witches, artists, musicians, actors, and even professors in our own university. Now they’re all gone and while the buildings are still there they’re unused. Even worse there’s no drive to get them back and no one seems to miss them. In addition clans, which you’d think would be important considering the game is called Clan Lord, are unimportant and there’s no incentive or disincentive to joining one. Most clans are inactive and there are few clan activities.
Why has role playing dwindled to such an extent and is it possible to reverse this trend? Firstly it’s important to identify what role playing is possible in Clan Lord. I think there are two basic types of role playing; GM RP (stories started and driven by the GMs) and Player RP (stories started and driven by the players).
GM RP used to be a lot more active as well and it’s essential to a game’s role playing because only GMs can touch certain stories. In Clan Lord only the GMs can drive stories with the Brions, Darshak, Orga, Centaur, Astral Plane, Ethereal Plane, etc. While the player can try to interact with these stories it’s up to the GMs to respond to drive these stories forward.
An example of this is the recent attempt to rescue Tenebrion from the Ethereal Plane. There was advance notice given so if any GM wanted to advance the story they had plenty of time to prepare something. We found Tenebrion and attempted to rescue him. We could have role played all day long but the game mechanics prevented us from rescuing him. We tried to find a way to reach him but it was impossible for us to do anything. We did our part to make an environment where it was possible for the GMs to advance the story but they didn’t.
There are invasions and the only story that has been done in a long time was the recent War with the Forest, but that ended horribly by just ending and everything that had changed during the story was undone. It felt like nothing happened at all. Anyway, the lack of GM RP means that a vibrant and fun role playing is nonexistent and the game feels a bit stagnant because there are no stories being told. I think this lack is partially why the Player RP left.
One of the main problems with Player RP is that it’s a lot of work both in game and out of game. You also have to be dedicated to playing the role you’ve decided for your character.
If you want to put together a play you have to write it, get musicians to play music they’ve already written or write new pieces which takes time, get people to commit to come together and practice, write macros to say the lines, advertise, and hope people come to watch you perform after you’ve done all that work. After it’s all over if you want the play to have any lasting impact or to be remembered at all you have to make a web site with some information about the play, screenshots, movies, etc. That all takes a lot of time and effort. Since many Clan Lord players are older with families, work, and other interests they just don’t have the time to devote to such events.
Role playing is like putting together a play more or less and you need to have the explicit or implicit agreement of other people to act within your story and to believe that what you’re role playing is true or believable. A willing suspension of disbelief in other words and fewer and fewer people seem to have that capability.
Much as I didn’t when Sutai pretended to be fighting barehanded when he was really holding a Greatsword. At that time so many years ago I didn’t realize that he had to pretend he wasn’t holding a weapon because it was impossible to attack something without one. What I should have done was suspended my disbelieve and agree that he was fighting barehanded because he was role playing that he was. I think there are many people playing today that would act much as I did.
Another problem that occurred to me is needing a developed world because without famous people, events, places, and mythology it’s hard to create new stories. That’s a problem in Clan Lord because there isn’t a lot of story development in the game. What happened back on the mainland before we were all exiled is all written on web sites and a lot of what happened in the game hasn’t been written down either. So much of the role playing that has happened has been forgotten as people who were there stop playing and those that were there forget the details.
This post is getting too long so I’ll save the question of whether role playing can be brought back and if so, in what form for another post.
No one cares about revamping the web site or the kinships. No one comes to Torin's open hunts that we use as our weekly hunts. No one talks on the forum at the Sentinel that I asked Vagile to set up for us. No one suggested events for the Puddlympics which is my idea of revamping the Newbielympics for a broader audience.
That's probably why I haven't bothered to do much on the Puddlympics because I know that I would be the only one doing everything. I don't mind doing everything but to be honest, my clan loyalty is at an all time low and I don't have much reason to try and make positive advertising for the clan when the clan isn't much of one. In a way it would be false advertising. Saying that the clan put on the event when it was really just me.
I'm too tired and dejected to continue on tonight.
I probably don't have much ground to complain because it's not like I've been updating this journal all that often (although I do have a bunch of pictures to upload) and I have some information to post to the Catenae site before I can consider it done.
I hoped that after some folks came from Winds of Dawn we'd have the numbers and the interest to get things done, but that hasn't been the case. I thought that having a forum on the Sentinel would enable us to talk to each other but maybe most people don't read it or they just have stopped playing. Of course they could be playing more than reading the forums which is the opposite of what I've been doing.
I haven't really been playing lately mainly because aside from going to the same places, most of which I go to on Moon Kitty since I foolishly made Jeanne a Bloodmage, there's nothing else to do. There are no quests to do or professions to work on and even if I bought a new character it would be a year before she could go to the really fun places.
I'm not going to say Clan Lord is dead or dying and there are new areas and folks from Arindal might be coming over so there may be fresh faces. It just feels like it's stagnating. The GMs do their best but I doubt they are allowed to make any dramatic changes so aside from new areas and tweaks to classes and skills there's nothing they can do.
Because of this I don't blame the members of the Sun Dragon Clan for not playing and not participating in the forums. I just hoped that there would be more folks who wanted to do stuff in Clan Lord other than go on hunts.
I'm going to try and get some opinions about what could be improved and added before I advertise on the Sentinel and the ThoomCare Media Network. As always, it took a lot longer to move everything over than expected and there's always more to do, but right now I'm happy with how it looks.
I want to put chaining guides for fighters, healers, and mystics instead of the one guide that's outdated and wrong from the original site. That can wait until another day however, as I want to give it my full attention and I'm not up to it at the moment. I'm just glad I was able to get so much done today.