Faction Reform and Ideas

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Profile photo of kurtissketch Resident

kurtissketch-resident

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Hey folks!

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:

  • remove the notion that bigger factions equates to more successful factions. create a voting system in the hud that all citizens could participate in. each citizen gets a set, equal amount of votes per week, for good rp etc. and you can upvote another player and allow that to influence and help judge a faction's success. size and activity obviously still are part of it all. But allow the individuals of a faction to be the reason a faction is doing well or getting praise ooc. We as faction members should be leading by example, even when folks aren't watching. This addition to the system would encourage that, and also reward folks that are doing well. Acknowledgment is sometimes very opaque and we don't always think we're doing well. Getting positive feedback from the community in an easy to share and communicate way...would go a long way to help boost some folks' confidence and encourage more RP, and positive vibes.
  • get rid of the notion of alts being a way of cheating. This ties in with the overall issue with the system being points based. If a system is point based, cheating is possible because there is a 'win' and a 'lose'. But that's NOT what TTRPGs are about. You cannot LOSE at D&D. You cannot LOSE in roleplay. The only thing that matters in roleplay, is "is everyone involved having fun?" That's it. That's the only thing that matters. Allow players to explore all aspects of CD as a setting, without being labeled as cheating. If a player wants to put an alt into another faction, let it happen. So long as no one is actively doing things that would still be considered cheating (for instance, if player 1 had 5 alts in a fight against player 2 who had just one character...that's obviously cheating.)
    • If we allow players to explore new concepts and ideas without limiting them to veer away from all faction supportive content...we allow CD's story and creativity to bloom. We allow all those creative folks to explore other options and contribute even more so to the faction based RP.
  • Faction creation needs a 2 tier design
    • Currently we have 1 path of faction design. You create the faction in a soft stage, and eventually submit a proposal to be voted on in the forums and once then, you get the official group made and progress with turf etc.
      • This is fine for a main faction that's going to be around long term.
    • If we added a 2 tier design, we could have a second path of faction design. What does that mean? That means folks could explore short lived faction ideas. Not every faction should survive for years, after all. Some factions burn bright and then die fast. This would add an entirely new level of content for faction rp. The rise and fall of short lived factions by design, encourages other factions to get involved, encourages individuals and citizens and HPD to get involved. And there's clear rise and fall story so there's a returned sense of 'justice' in a setting that is so rife with injustice. Now I know what you're thinking "CD is meant to be full of injustice" And you're right. It is. However, if you breathe some justice and comeuppance into the setting now and then...it's like a palette cleanser for the victims and those struggling against all the injustice, which then makes the next round of injustice more intense and flavorful.
      • This would also encourage folks to explore weird, quirky, interesting ideas for factions, without fear of it not being successful for 2+ years.
      • Some examples of faction ideas that would work here:
        • a gang of elderly folks that have an assisted living old folks home as turf. tortures include cheek pinching and prying into your love life
        • a gang of undertakers that roll into town with hearses for a while
        • a gang of teens that take over D8 park and their drug of choice is caffeine. They rob everywhere of anything with caffeine
        • a gang of roller derby girls comes into town for a short lived tour and gets up to no good. their turf is a temporary roller rink or something

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 ))

March 5, 2022 at 2:29 pm
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