So 12 July, Aria, Illiete, Reignfire, Nex, and I held a massive hours-long brainstorming session when concerns were brought up about the ever elusive “fun factor” in our initiation process. The major concerns were that the initiation has long since been one of exclusion and speculation for individuals who feel a social pressure to attend. That means it is boring. I don’t want it to be boring. If members of the guild want to be included in the process, then I am all for hoisting that responsibility on you, should you want it. It was just never expressed that anyone would want to do that whole thing, but I had an idea of fragmenting it into a multi-part process, rather than a single-day thing. So here’s the idea of Initiation 3.0.
With the idea that inclusion means more fun, I have decided upon an initiative that compartmentalizes our initiation further. I am strident about everyone having a base amount of knowledge before their character can become a fully appreciated member of the guild, and I refuse to budge on that. We use too many terms in-character that I can’t have people in the dark about what we do, who are are, and how we fit into the scheme of things. That may change with Fallen Empire; every single roleplaying guild is going to have to deal with what comes in their own way.
This third iteration of our initiation is meant to be the most inclusive yet. I am delegating 90% of my authority and responsibility to members in good standing who want to take it. The opportunity is going to be there to lead, teach, and put your character out there for other new members to attach. I am basing this third revision on the Personal Qualification Standards, or PQS, that was instrumental in obtaining warfare insignia during my time as active duty. The layout of the PQS system was compartmentalized in such a way that one person would have to visit each workcenter in the command and learn from the boss of that workcenter the purpose of each cog in the machine. The workcenter supervisor would then sign off on that section of the workbook and you would move to another section. Once the workbook was filled out, you were ready to be qualified. That’s the mechanic I’d like to try out for this next iteration with the utilization of player character Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) representing each goal of what we wish to accomplish. I am also removing myself as a primary and secondary SME position, only to be tertiary in unexpected circumstances. What this means is that initiation is on all of you now, not me.
Because we are Sith-centric, what I’d like to do is introduce this mechanic in a codex-friendly way, utilizing the Spheres of Influence of the Dark Council. I believe this will allow a customized characterization of these miniature events that can be quite varied and illustrative and enhance the fun of the situations. By making the initiation into smaller pieces, more hands can be put into the experience, fleshing it out with less waiting and reading, and more in-character interaction and flourish.
I’ll be taking in more ideas as we go, but I plan to stay very flexible with this, allowing up to twelve different subjects (each with 1-3 SMEs) that explore everything players should need about being in this guild and possibly more depending on their experience with SWTOR and MMOs in general and tailor-making our initiation to the player and their character, rather than this one-size-fits-all pony that people no longer enjoy riding. I’ll put out a couple of threads out there on the forums to detail the mission statements of each of the Twelve Spheres and what we can learn from them, then we can take applications from players to whom would be best in fulfilling that diplomatic obligation. They will compile a lesson plan and go through a dry run with yours truly. If I like what I see, then that’s that. We’ll have a Core Set of Spheres that must be represented, as well as a secondary/optional set of Spheres that can be assigned based upon the needs and desires of the player. This can be done via a call on the Sponsor to the applicant or a pre-interview process with me.
Ultimately, I believe it should fall on the Sponsor’s call. They’re the ones who should be around to take care of the applicant. They’re the ones that will need to interact with SMEs to get those books checked off. They’re the ones who will communicate with me when they believe their applicant is good to go. I am relinquishing the power, my friends. Who will drink from the cup?
Edit: Page added here.