I've been analyzing how factions currently work and affect the community and setting, in CD, for a while now, so that I can provide some useful feedback and suggestions for Nadir to consider. For those that aren't aware, I'm one of the game designers for the Saints Row reboot, and I've been making 3rd person multiplayer modern urban faction based games for 24+ years now. And I have been part of the CD and RP communities since 2006 here in SL, and so I want to help 🙂
So here are my current thoughts on things I've analyzed and some suggestions. I'll add to this post as I think of more.
After observing how the factions have evolved over the years, being in a handful of them myself and running Sumfai and now the Bones, listening carefully to folks around me when they had thoughts or ideas or concerns etc., I've come to the conclusion that factions are incredibly limiting currently.
Currently, factions aren't balanced at all around what they should be balanced for. Factions should only exist if they're being fully encouraged to thrive in RP, so that the only thing that matters and can be judged, is the RP. But currently factions are framed around XP/size being the major pillars of judgment. This is a common problem when you have multiple factions that are player based, in games. There has to be a type of measurable competition. XP, or points, is the easiest and most easily grocked type of measuring stick in this way. But it is also the one that most often causes more harm than good, in these situations.
The moment a TTRPG teaches the player that the thing that matters the most is numbers. Points. XP. Levels. Chapters. etc., is the moment that TTRPG has failed.
While yes, XP and chapters and levels and all of that DO matter to some degree, and we ALL know as players that what ACTUALLY matters most is the RP--that is NOT what CD's current system for faction encouragement, is designed to support or reflect.
Currently, the system clocks how much time you spend on the sim, and it counts your post count/word count, and it counts visits to HPD/HGH and from what I've been able to tell, it also seems to have trigger words it picks up on, such as violence or sex type words. But I can't prove or disprove that so take that with a grain of salt.
The chapters are what allow a player to get a firearm, which is a very valuable asset in CD. They also encourage bragging rights and if you're in a faction it boosts the faction rep etc.
And the gang tags around the city must be earned by filling a progress bar via logging more time and effort into the sim.
All of these things encourage and support the notion that XP/points are more important to factions than the RP (despite, again, stating that we all KNOW that the RP is the most important. But the system CD has at its foundation, is not reflecting that belief, currently.)
My suggestion to improve this design would be as follows:
If we open up the notion that factions don't all have to be permanent long term fixtures, then we can welcome in an entirely new type of roleplay wherein folks can create a temporary or short term faction to spend 1-3 months at most, doing heinous shit and then ultimately fading out in some way: did they flee? did they all go to prison? did they die? disband? The options are limitless there. This kind of roleplay would create ripples and waves of tension and excitement and relaxation and peace, that would help shake things up in between the longer term stories that tend to take months or even years, to swell and ebb.
Alts should not be considered to be a bad or negative thing. They are throwaways that allow players to explore things they wouldn't likely be able to explore on long term, main characters. I heavily encourage Nadir to consider this, and redesign the system to support emergent ever changing, creative, inventive RP...instead of remaining a system based on XP that only really rewards long term, main characters.
((I'll add more when I think of things, but these are my notes thus far. If anyone else has any notes or thoughts, let's compile them here. All I ask is that everyone remains respectful, constructive and polite if they contribute here. If you're combative or abusive, well...you'll be hurting the future of the very place you enjoy. So let's try to remain civil and remember we're all trying to contribute and improve and help and support. You can 100% state that you dislike the current design of something, while doing so in a respectful manner. I love CD and appreciate it. Which is why I want to offer my professional help and encourage dialog and brainstorming here. Let's have an awesome chat! :3 ))
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