A Return to Free(Form) for SWRP

Johnnysaurus Rex

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And I'm not saying they should remove sub-accounts by any means. I left around the time some of the changes were being made, so I've never actually played in that system. We had sub-accounts before, but they were never treated as a necessity. Just a nice option for people who wanted to make use of them while other members could just use one account for everything. So it'd be nice if it was just a choice rather than a mandate.
 

MasterTyvokka

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Imho, the sub-accounts by themselves aren't such a bad thing. It's the things associated with sub-accounts that could make things a chore. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean.

The pros:
  • You always see the character's portrait (good for visual reference and navigating the forum).

  • The links to all the relevant stuff are always at hand.

The cons:
  • The level system that determined your character's power and fame. It existed around in 2018, but has been abolished since then. "XP points" for leveling up used to be assigned for the number of words. I'm not sure how it turned out, but my thought is that it might have promoted word-grinding instead of crafting the story together in the best way possible.

  • When something changed about the character (faction, rank, etc.), you'd have to run it by the admins and gather all the threads leading up to it. Even the acquisition of some ordinary weapon (tech plots). It appears that rule simplification has been an ongoing process, because tech plots were a thing in 2018 (when I first joined), and are no longer a thing.

  • The limitation on characters you can write for at a time. Personally, I don't have a problem with this, but I see how it could hamper one's creativity. Like being forced to abandon a character that you don't have inspiration to write for a while.

P.S. I wasn't around during the freeform days, nor do I know what rules existed back then, and what didn't. I just see some cool stuff. Like sub-accounts, or the awesome tech board that gives you the idea how things work in comparison to each other, and how to balance them. And the amount of effort people have put in producing AND reviewing great content.

P.P.S. Either way, I'm looking forward to see how it turns out.
FWIW the limit on the number of characters you can write has been around since before I joined, maybe since the beginning. In the 5th timeline, when I joined, it is was 6 and it was 4 for the 6th timeline. I think part of the reason for the limit is it makes it more likely that the person will invest more in those characters. Personally I don't mind a limit and have never written more than two characters at a time that I have actually been able to put a substantial effort into.

I agree with Johnny on the sub accounts. I know there are benefits but I always found it easier to post from my main account.
 

Boli

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I remember back when I was admin and before character limits, at one point there were a couple of members with like....10+ characters. Someone had 20 IIRC.

When we actually looked into the players' activity of actually using those characters, they were lucky if most of them had more than one IC thread to their name. Because of course they didn't have much activity, because it's impossible to juggle that many characters and give them the the time and energy they deserve.

Sometimes being forced to give up an old character in order to start writing a new one isn't such a bad thing - I think the one major benefit is that it forces players to consider it more carefully - both from an 'is this new concept good enough that it warrants replacing one of my existing characters' perspective, and from a 'do I really dislike my existing characters enough to warrant binning one of them to try something new' perspective.
 

Sovereign

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I agree with Johnny. I'm not going back until the sub account system is completely removed from the boards. It's a complete farce. Is this even serious? I have to make an account for each of my characters? Are you kidding me? Theoretically, if someone had ten characters, then that would mean ten accounts. Do you not see how this poses a problem? If the site had 1000 members, and each of those member had 10 characters, which is not impossible, that would mean 10,000 accounts. If each member had 100 characters, then that would mean 100,000 accounts. You read that right. A hundred thousand accounts. That would break the website. And for what? That's just ridiculous. No one buys that. This rule is turning this site into an absolute joke. Fix this immediately. I've been here since 2005, and I haven't seen anything as bad as this. 2005. That's four years after 9/11. I'm sure some of you weren't even born there. I joined this site and the war in Afghanistan had just started. Bush was still president, and the Eminem was still in his prime. I'm a thirty year old man. I had back pain for the first time last year. Almost got married too. Some of you haven't even had your first period yet. I might not have a job right now, but that's not the point. I come here to escape. This whole site is a fantasy. It's supposed to be fun. Are you serious? And I'm telling you, this is the most ridiculous thing I've seen on this website. Fix it.
 
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Boli

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I agree with Johnny. I'm not going back until the sub account system is completely removed from the boards. It's a complete farce. Is this even serious? I have to make an account for each of my characters? Are you kidding me? Theoretically, if someone had ten characters, then that would mean ten accounts. Do you not see how this poses a problem? If the site had 1000 members, and each of those member had 10 characters, which is not impossible, that would mean 10,000 accounts. If each member had 100 characters, then that would mean 100,000 accounts. You read that right. A hundred thousand accounts. That would break the website. And for what? That's just ridiculous. No one buys that. This rule is turning this site into an absolute joke. Fix this immediately. I've been here since 2005, and I haven't seen anything as bad as this. 2005. That's four years after 9/11. I'm sure some of you weren't even born there. I joined this site and the war in Afghanistan had just started. Bush was still president, and the Eminem was still in his prime. I'm a thirty year old man. I had back pain for the first time last year. Almost got married too. Some of you haven't even had your first period yet. I might not have a job right now, but that's not the point. I come here to escape. This whole site is a fantasy. It's supposed to be fun. Are you serious? And I'm telling you, this is the most ridiculous thing I've seen on this website. Fix it.
didn't mention the illuminati 0/10
 

Bigfatpenn

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This is exciting
 

TWD26

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Sounds good, I was around for the second half of the 5th, I've been here for the other systems. Each has had their own + and -. I'll keep RP'ing regardless on my character.
 

Yuan

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Hey guys! Been a while! I've been missing the creativity and the friendships around here and been thinking about coming back. I just saw this! Sounds interesting! I know all of the old timers around here have always talked about the "good old days" and it looks like there are a significant number of old members talking about coming back in this thread. I'm interested in seeing how things turn out!

One question: How will this system change affect technology? Will tech plots still work the same way? Will players gain the ability to gain npc crew, larger ships, etc? And how will these things be obtained?

If the answers to these questions are still in the works, that's cool. Just thought I would ask.
 

Thluna

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I wasn’t around when this (Freeform) first happened but I like the idea and can definitely get on board with it, it’s also allowing members to get creative with characters and stories which is why we all love to roleplay.

I agree that this shouldn’t feel like a chore and with most roleplays I’ve participated in felt like that. Too much pressure and too many rules that hampered on creativity.

On a side note, as this is not a timeline change does this mean that all threads are death enabled or does the death disabled by default unless stated rule still apply? Considering that now we are doing the freeform?
 

Johnnysaurus Rex

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Gotta dust this bot boi off.
 
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Brandon Rhea

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I wasn’t around when this (Freeform) first happened but I like the idea and can definitely get on board with it, it’s also allowing members to get creative with characters and stories which is why we all love to roleplay.

I agree that this shouldn’t feel like a chore and with most roleplays I’ve participated in felt like that. Too much pressure and too many rules that hampered on creativity.

On a side note, as this is not a timeline change does this mean that all threads are death enabled or does the death disabled by default unless stated rule still apply? Considering that now we are doing the freeform?
We haven't discussed the death rule yet so TBD.
 

Aurius

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I love this idea! Personally, the 7th Timelime was the one I had most time to be involved in, but I did manage some pretty fun Roleplays in the 6th - just not that many.

I’d absolutely love a return to free form. As much as I liked the idea of a leveling or reputation system, I thought it kinda took away some of the magic of roleplaying for roleplaying’s sake - I also really like the idea of having reputation and “level” of ability scale as the character themselves progress. It could potentially be easier for newcomers to jump into the story and find a reputation or role that suits them, without having to worry about a Level 3 (or even 2) coming to rock their world.

It may be unpopular but I personally love the addition of Subaccounts. Only because I clearly know who is who, what faction they represent in seconds. When they didn’t exist, I was sometimes confused as the same user had multiple characters active in multiple different threads with my own, leading to some swift post-editing. Sometimes I’d even type for the wrong character - but that may be a personal issue.

I do hope the site lore we built up will be still referenced or kept in some way. I kinda love how the Drast Empire, the old Jedi Order and the ridiculous space epic we crafted still has echoes in our current timeline’s history :)
 

Yuan

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@Brandon Rhea

So, if we have new characters ready to put up for approval, should we hold off until the switch? Or can we go ahead and post them up cause the change won't affect characters much?
 

Dmitri

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@Brandon Rhea

So, if we have new characters ready to put up for approval, should we hold off until the switch? Or can we go ahead and post them up cause the change won't affect characters much?
You could always go ahead and post the profile and just hold off on making a sub-account/using the character for now. Gives time for people (as in general community) to check it out and give any feedback.
 

Yuan

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You could always go ahead and post the profile and just hold off on making a sub-account/using the character for now. Gives time for people (as in general community) to check it out and give any feedback.
Yeah, I suppose that's true.
 

Morse

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I've been off and on in here for over ten years, and I remember the free form days and have a strong preference for them. Getting older and learning RP through years I know that Free Form has the best activity and easiest time of playing. As long as there is some Admin/mod guidance on major story to help with continuity its great.

And I never minded sub accounts. The best rps I've been on all used them.
 

Boli

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I think it should be made as easy as possible for both new and returning members to get from signing up to the site, or logging in for the first time (or the first time in x months/years), and writing that first in-character post. Being forced to create sub-account for your character - when you're just trying to see how the site runs and if you like the actual RP or if you're going to stay for longer than that first login - kind of gets in the way of that.

I just feel like, as a general broader policy, the RP should cater to all skill and writing levels, and there should be as few barriers to entry as possible (because, generally speaking, actually getting into the RP is what is going to get people to stick around and....yknow, RP.) Sure, there can be systems in place like sub-accounts that allow members to get more elaborate or immerse themselves more deeply over time as they get more involved with the site, or their skill level with writing or coding improves, or even just as they get more experienced with RPing.

But they should be optional so that experienced members who prefer to use those extra bells and whistles can, but also without penalising less experienced or less forum-savvy members for not using or understanding how to use them either.

I compare it to character profiles. Like....if you don't understand or like spending hours on elaborate coding, you don't have to use it - there's no penalty for not using it, and noone's forcing you to use it either. As long as the basic character information is there, it should be fine, because that's primarily what the character profile is about. But for members who like to make their character profiles shiny and have elaborate coding and use photoshopped images or custom art with elaborate menus and graphics and whatnot, then that's there as an option for them to use too.

But it's an option.
 
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Pontus

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I understand where you're coming from from an ideological point of view, but in more practical terms I don't feel that to be as big a deal. I've returned to the server after a hiatus myself (this is not my original account) and found the use of these sub-accounts confusing at first as well. But the process has been refined into something people can breeze through, even with little help to no help.
(Spoilered because I imagine it's something everyone reading this thread is familiar with, but I figured that in the event that new arrivals found their way here, it'd be no skin off my back to explain it)

To create a sub-account: Click the linked chains between the notification bell and the search button (on the top right-hand corner of the screen), then click "Manage Linked Accounts". Punch in the name of your character in the box (underneath "Create New Account") and click "Submit". That's all!

To post as a character: Go into the "The Story" subforum on your main (and really 'only' account), create (or reply to) a thread and type it out, just as you would if there were no sub-accounts. At any point before you click 'Post Thread' (or 'Post reply'), click on the slider that reads "Post as:" and select whichever character of yours the post pertains to. Your post should now appear as if posted by your character! You're able to edit or delete sub-account posts from your main account, as well.
There are no additional usernames or passwords to be remembered, and even logging in to sub-accounts should be something to consider only in the event that you want to embark on the "beautification" journey that you've aptly (I think) described as optional. More so now that the Reputation system will be retired.

Using your "Character Profile" analogy, I'd liken the sub-account system as less of a 'using of BBCode to tweak a Profile's aesthetics', and more akin to a Template for said Profile: a standardised version of things allows for readers to have privileged access to essential information by having it be separate from things that can be considered extraneous. One that, with the required know-how can be tweaked, sure, but the core aspects remain.

For Profiles, this information consists of a Character's Name, Faction, Species, Gender, Age, FS, etc, which as a result of the template are cleanly outlined and visible even at first glance, as opposed to, say, buried in Biography or Appearance sections.
For Accounts, it's a character's RP interactions in the site, which Sub-Accounts afford easy access to, without having to hope that the player that runs it has kept an accurate list, or to dive into a single account's log and sift through OOC content and other characters' posts.

It is, undeniably, an extra step and, particularly when first joining (or returning to) a server, anything that adds to the inertia and the to-do list is seldom a good idea. I 100% agree with you there. But, at the same time, it's 3 clicks to create a sub-account (and undoing it is just as easy), and one conveniently placed slider to post with it. And they do make lives easier, both for players looking to find new and interesting characters to RP with, and for Staff-members that will at some point or another be forced to look through someone's posting history, to ensure rules are being followed. So, personally, I find that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.

Those are my 2 cents, anyway, and hopefully they made sense. I do understand where you're coming from though, and am glad the discussion is taking place. Means people care and makes it more likely that something better will follow.

Also: Love the Freeform change! Automation can be helpful, but I do think there is a line after which creativity begins to suffer. Think it's a very cool move forward, and am excited to see where it leads!
 
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