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#9855783 Aug 09, 2014 at 03:25 AM
1197 Posts
Yay! *Scrooge McDucks right in to a big pile of cookies*

The threads are up, but the polls are pending actual server lists. Bookmark 'em!

European Unofficial RP Server Thread

North American Unofficial RP Server Thread
#9881515 Aug 15, 2014 at 02:17 AM
88 Posts
I can tell you guys, for a fact, even if a server was RP preferred (like EQ2 has) trolls still will come and those who don't RP. If the server is popular and lots of people on it, of course many with gravitate towards it.

I guess I am pretty jaded since dealing with them back since AoL and EQ days in 2001. So yeah, nothing really phases me anymore. I report and ignore, and move on.

Sadly, there are many new players and RPers who don't know how to do so, or have never had it done to them. So the first reaction alot is to get upset and rant. And that makes those trolls happy.

I think a good thing we could do, as 'veteran RPers', is to talk about proper ways to handle such things, and to assist new RPers on how to handle such situations.

Heck, back in FF14 when servers were being picked outside Balmung for RP, players were going nuts because guilds of known trolls on Reddit were thinking of going to certain servers. And I read this thinking ... so what? If we spend all out time worrying what other people do, something we have no control over, we ruin our own love of RP and fun.

I'll be keeping my eye on polls to see what servers are being looked at.
#9881795 Aug 15, 2014 at 04:21 AM · Edited 8 years ago
70 Posts
Edit: Woof. This turned out longer then I expected. May want to grab a glass of water, or come back later, or ignore it.

So, I've been reviewing this situation with my guild as well and I think I can safely float this notion at this point.

We tend to agree with your ultimate assessment Wanderer. Keeping the community 'occult', as you so wisely pointed out, renders little benefit to anyone. Plurality is generally a strength in any setup, and numbers do ultimately assist a roleplaying community survive. Anyone who has had experience with roleplaying communities has seen the situation where a small group slowly bleeds out, one by one, and what ends up remaining is a ghost town. My observation has been that one can easily track the failing to the self imposed exile of the community.

Back in the old UO days, you know, we had Stratics and our respective towns, cities, tavern nights, etc etc. The strength of this setup, before the age of faction chat, group chat, and whispers sent privately was that Roleplayers were forced to operate out in the wide open. Something I bet many people don't realize is how often this simple act of... sitting at a bank and talking about the weather recruited new roleplayers. People would get curious, and they would give it a go.

Consider now how few subscriptions UO really had, compared to modern games, at its height... Yet it still generated these large and colorful communities. The situation there as compared to now has led me to believe that there are many roleplayers out there who don't yet know they are roleplayers. When we decide to go creeping around the sidelines ultimately all we achieve is a disservice to those yet undiscovered roleplayers and ourselves.

We are completely against the self imposed exile. The comfort and stability that it creates is ultimately an illusion; what a community operating that way is really doing is leading itself to a slow but inevitable erasure by degrees.

Now, having said all that, one point raised on the other end is absolutely true... We do need to be careful about server selection for reasons that extend even beyond the roleplaying bit. Ques, massive guilds consisting primarily of YouTube commentators, hyper competitive hordes of manchildren are all a very real threat in this games setup. One need only browse the main forum for a couple minutes to determine that they are coming, and they are coming in force.

Putting aside entirely all the logistical and game experience issues this creates it does provide a subtler threat to us, as a community. No matter how you parse the data at some point one has to recognize that a large percentage of roleplayers are pretty gentle folk, all things considered. If you surround them with a truly hostile environment they will leave. I don't think it takes a prophet to figure out that some of the Archeage servers are going to be particularly brutal places.

Our lilies wont enjoy the experience. How could they? They don't have the time, energy, or inclination to compete with the most vicious denizens of the intrawebs. I certainly don't think any rational person can blame them for it.

I generally believe that a strong community protects the most vulnerable members of the community. As the old adage goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. In this particular scenario I think this observation is extremely apt but it does raise the question... How do we protect our community?

Well, the first and most obvious solution I think is don't put them in the firing line. Instead of immediately releasing a poll upon the server list arriving we could choose to simply wait. Let the harsher elements, guilds, and organizations begin to immediately assemble themselves on that list, stake out their rivalries, broadcast their intentions. I'm fairly certain it's going to be a feeding frenzy. At the point where we know X and Y insane organizations are going to be on Z,C, and B servers we can then curate the potential server list to remove ourselves from even the threat of sharing a server with patently obvious threats to not just gameplay experience, but roleplayer comfort. In the time it takes for a new harsh element to take shape (and it will, on any server we choose) we can at least put down the foundation and logistics necessary to provide the greatest degree of comfort and protection we can.

If, at server list release, we steel our patience and give ourselves enough time to get a hawks eye view of the situation we can at least avoid obvious threats. At that point and with this plan I think many of the more (earnestly and honestly) worried roleplayers would be less inclined to fear a poll conducted on the main Archeage page. I'm going to be shouting it from the rooftops in any event, but I wouldn't mind shouting with these other voices, and I wouldn't mind if the plan was arranged to maximize the benefit of utilizing the main Archeage site while minimizing the inherent and real risks.

The second point, and here is where it gets prickly, relates to the possibility of us ending up with two separate polls with two separate results. I think everyone acknowledges that this would be a sub optimal outcome for potentially high double digits of reasons. Every time I have this conversation with someone privately they add yet another observation to this rapidly expanding list. For me, personally, it boils down to the social economy of it.

Already we have a fairly arbitrary divide resting on us in the simple East/West setup. Sure, someone can theoretically make another character on another side, but owning lands, building cities, main characters and main guilds... You are already looking at a degree of splintering based on all the many old reasons, and the new ones offered by the systems inherent in the coding of Archeage. Now take all that and further divide it between two servers. As I am known to say in private, I don't see us splitting the community into two communities with two separate polls... I see it dividing us into four.

What's worse is the possibility that these polls become an actually divisive factor, that they begin to actively compete with and damage one another. Who on the outside, looking in, would want to embroil him or herself in that dramatic affair? In the sheer confusion caused by such a state of affairs how many people are going to be turned off? The anonymity of the internet makes people act in a way they wouldn't if they met and had a conversation at a coffee shop. No one should discount the possibility that some zealotry pops up in a situation like this... and Zealotry has a bad tendency to kill not just it's enemy, but itself.

I firmly believe in planning for the worst possibilities, and I think you can double the chances of the worst possibilities anytime you throw the anonymity of the internet into the mix. I'm not going to predict that this situation will explode, but I will point out that all the necessary ingredients of an explosive device are currently available.

So... Having said all that, what do I ultimately propose? Well, I don't know. I would very much like to be able to lay out a proposal for you that would shore this all up. Unfortunately, I haven't had the pleasure of engaging in this dialogue with any of you so I frankly don't have one yet. What I can stress is the importance and power of a unified community, and the dangers of a disparate one.

I know this has been long, but stick with me for one more hypothetical point... Let's say we all agreed to do one poll, and it turned out to be the absolute worst way of going about it. Well, herein lies the magic of a unified community... It wouldn't matter. Any damage dealt by that one, terrible poll could be repaired. What cannot be undone, what cannot be repaired, is time and kinship lost by splitting the community in twain.

After all, going forward, we must recognize everything agreed upon (or not agreed upon) at this juncture potentially effects hundreds of peoples play experience. Treading lightly, for the sake of the dreams scattered at our feet, would not be unkind of any of us.
#9882324 Aug 15, 2014 at 08:20 AM · Edited 8 years ago
1197 Posts
You make fine points, Ajit, and it's definitely not the first time I've heard the suggestion that we wait. Ultimately, I agree, but a lot of this will also depend on how soon or late we get the official server list. If we only have, say, three days before headstart, I don't think we'll have the luxury of waiting. Otherwise, if we were to get it a few weeks in advance at least, I'd be totally fine with not amending the poll threads for a few days, then adding the polls with curated options.

We also have the luxury of not ultimately having to accept the poll results if the RP community feels like the end result was skewed and will ultimately be enjoyable. Say, for instance, the zerg guilds do get bored and jump in to cast their votes and ensure we're on the same serve as them. If the end results were with Oran'Thul, Bushi, and whoever else out there exists as generally nothing more than a total killjoy, we'd announce (as loudly and publicly as possible for those undiscovered RPers out there), that we'd be going with the server with the second most votes, or maybe even the third. We'll just have to keep an eye on it, then make a lot of noise when we've determined what works best.

There are a lot of unknown factors, still. I'm not sure we'll really know how to handle them until the time comes that we must.
#9883830 Aug 15, 2014 at 03:47 PM
70 Posts
Well, I don't know if you watched the last livestream? My memory is a bit shaky, but I could swear they implied that they would be releasing the server list well in advance of launch. If we had a well constructed plan in advance of release I suspect it would take at most three days, being generous and giving time to really sift through the data, to get through the curating process.

The great thing about a curating process after all is that we wouldn't need to reject a decision that was made. That's good, because that rejection process will be a pretty chaotic affair. If the situation you point out did occur, that they released the server list very very shortly before release, that rejection process would actually be probably pretty impossible. Even one lone day of curating would likely result in a better server list then one that was just a flat copy of Trions. We will have at least one day.

The real trouble with the curating notion is that it requires some organization and execution. I suspect this could be arranged however.
#9883880 Aug 15, 2014 at 04:01 PM
70 Posts
Oh, and by the way...

I've heard a lot about the worries that these groups will interfere with the poll in some way. I think it's time to stop saying that, to stop raising this spectre.

First, they have their own lives and issues to deal with. While a few of their most unscrupulous weirdos may care, when push comes to shove, the vast majority don't. It's a very common cognitive error to think of yourself, and your community, as the center of the universe. This is hilarious in this case because we as roleplayers are like... the Pluto of our star system. No one who isn't a roleplayer gives a flying ... Double this points effective strength if we have a curated list. Those giant hordes are not as nimble as we are, and they are going to have many more concerns around launch relating to just establishing their empires.

Secondly, when we evoke this terrible option, we actually increase the likelihood of it happening. We invite it directly when we invoke their name. We raise a challenge to them, and if one of them catches wind, we will excite their interest. Dog owners know what prey drive is... better the squirrel just remain hidden.