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Messages - Talan Va'lash

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General Discussion / An Open Letter to Leanthar
« on: July 21, 2007, 11:32:41 pm »
An Open Letter to Leanthar

"Because of the nature of the quest and what the result could be there are a few WL's that will have the focus on them. That is not a favoritism thing ( sad I even have to say that ), it is the nature of the quest and what the end result may be." - Leanthar:

Dear Leanthar

This is favoritism. There is no other way to put it. However that said it is also of the justified variety. Please in the future honestly admit that the quest’s focus will be on established players. With that said I must also state that I approve of your explanation that there is a reason behind this choice; that being that they may have some negative results. So this is a simple request from a long time player; remove the 'That is not a favoritism thing ( sad I even have to say that )'. I would rather approach the quest with the knowledge that people whom have invested over a thousand hours into the server will get theirs, then approach it with you being a limp noodle because you’re stricken with terror that rewarding some diligence openly will cause the community to go up in arms. Thus I propose this revision:

"Because of the nature of this quest, and what could be the various results in what I have tentatively planned. There are a few longstanding players, some of which are World Leaders ( WL's ) that will have the focus of the quest on them. This is because, the nature and history of their characters and their immediate and long running future could be seriously endangered. As a quest and series it is not only about these individuals and will affect everyone, therefore your participation in this quest is critical for it to succeed. So please approach this quest with the attitude to help your fellow players, as someday it will be you, not may but will."

Now I may poke fun of such a statement, but I really can't find anything genuinely wrong with it. In the past you have stressed that your quests are about the world, and effect everyone in it. Sometimes people could use a reminder that the quests are, and that people whom have stuck it out a long time will have sometimes RP clot. Also I suspect a reminder that a healthy community is one where people try and help each other succeed instead of being purely self serving.I have made this an open letter so that any whom think they can do better than me can take a try. That and so that those that will violently disagree can have their chance to call me a buffoon in some great pretty way.

Sincerely with Respect

P.S. I know I could of worded things more eloquently. So feel free to edit what I've said in your head a little to be more palatable. Such as 'focus will be on part' or the like, you know normal procedure when dealing with me.
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General Discussion / Weary of Friendly Fire
« on: July 20, 2007, 11:51:10 pm »
I hope you folks find this constructive.
 I'm getting a little weary of the blind pokes from the wings.  And it's towards one thing in particular: That roleplay has depreciated on this server.  I don't care who's saying it or whether they have more or less experience on this server then I do, I'm just a bit weary of that sentiment.
 Now, I haven't been here as long as a few of you, but I've been playing NWN since it came out and Layo for the majority of it.  Here's what I've noticed of what goes on in any module:
 - There are new players
 - There are old players
 - There are plenty of players in the middle
 - There are young people
 - There are old people
 - There are those suffering from college omniscience
 - There are snotty people
 - There are brown-nosers
 - There are anti-establishment ranters
 - There are quiet people
 - There are nice people
 - There are people that rp more then adventure
 - There are people that adventure more then rp
 - There are people that think adventure can not be rp
 - There are anti-progressionists or those edging towards it
 - There are powermongers or those edging towards it
 - There are people who play 10 hours a day
 - There are people who play 1 hour a week
 - There are people who get along
 - There are people who don't get along
 There are people you end up loving, likewise there are those that rub you like rough grain sandpaper.
 There are all sorts of personalities and people and varying tenures and maturities that have been on Layonara at any given point in its online existance.  Same goes for every other server.  These roles and this variety has never changed in it's overall percentages from what I've seen, it's always a true mixed bag.
 Likewise, there are the all too common sentiments always bouncing around:
 - We don't roleplay enough
 - We are too harsh on rules
 - The cliques are unbearable
 - There isn't enough community
 - Things aren't balanced
 - Devs need to be more open
 - Devs need to use more discretion
 - XXX gets preferential treatment
 - XXX shouldn't be where they are
 - XXX dev(s) are out to get me
 - And of course:  Us versus them, in any of it's myriad forms
 - And finally: Times have changed for the worse
 If I spent more then 5 minutes hatching this I'm sure I could list a hundred more, all bouncing back and forth against each other in the ongoing pendulums of opinion and emotion.  The same themes passing by, generation after generation of players and devs alike.  It's the last one that usually makes me chuckle, but as of late is growing tiresome on my ears.
 "Times have changed for the worse".  I've heard this many times, and it comes in generation-based waves usually.  The thing that always irks me is not so much the ignorance or self-righteous tone it usually takes, but the contradiction it typically puts on their grievance.  Whatever their issue, most often depreciation of roleplay or playerbase, they usually voice this before or during their departure from the server, which is usually just proving themselves quitters who never quite got it.  And here's why.
 Generations come and go.  They attain server lore, they participate in events changing the server.  On a server like Layonara where there is so much player impact, the server shapes itself around them.  Usually it's a particular era of players, people that became their own little adventuring company during those times.  They become the center of roleplay focus, not based so much on their *ability* in roleplay, but by the fact that they are so engrained in things and happenings on the server.  And in these little era's coming and going, there seem to be a few trends.
 Many head towards development for the server since they've helped shaped it during their era.  Some get sucked into development so far that they don't re-emerge.  Slowly the adventuring companies of 'old' wither, "this dev doesn't log onto play enough, this guy got bored and left, this guy started playing another game, we can't do anything without the people who don't play as much anymore," etc etc... while there's still a core group struggling to hold on.  Some adapt, some leave.  And I honestly can't forgive the excuses of 'the server has changed for the worse' before departure.  
 The correct response has luckily happened for the majority, and can be summed up  as:
 What did XXX player do when his favorite RP and adventuring buddies left or moved onto pure development?  He picked up new players, gave them a chance, brought in new generations of server shapers, and continued to have fun.
 Generations come and go.  Eras of lore come and go.  It is not an easy thing.  It is not easy to find your favorite individuals moving on.  But get off the high horse, roleplay is not depreciating, the server is not changing for the worse.  The excuse of roleplay caliber is age old inaccuracy.  If you simply let new people in they find their ground, probably at the same pace you did.  
 People saying this have just lost their immediate reminders of identity.  There are always going to be the different types of players coming and going;  good, bad, experienced or inexperienced.  There is always going to be the same percentages of those types of players coming in.  These sentiments are a pretty simple matter, you think the community has lost it's sense but it's you that has lost your sense of community.
 Community is always going to be changing.  To be a long standing player on any server, you need to accept this.  Community is bigger then just one generation, just look at the progression of Layonara.
 Now, in all of this I will make one concession.  A significant chunk of the Bloodstone era generation, the people that shaped a lot of the lore we have grown to know... they are gone.  Some left around or immediately after the fall of Bloodstone, Reventage for example.  Some have just recently not so much left, but have moved into development of the new Layonara, Rhizome or Orth for example.  They log in now and then, but not like it used to be.  And hey, I get it.  It's a downer, those are the people I really miss adventuring with.  And they do hold a lot of the server lore for their eras of gameplay that we currently regard as Layonara history.  Our personal sense of lore has definitely hit a struggling point due to this change.  And yes, it's a downer.
 And in this concession I will say that we could in fact use some change, that some of the "let-down" complainers may have some footing, however poor their delivery.  Plot quests need to be reinvigorated, perhaps redelegated to bring forth new and motivated blood.  Generations of players need to be fostered through a server-wide cause.  Once it was Bloodstone, the mainstay of plotlines to maintain that community gathering point.  I will conceed this, that things could be worked on in this sense to bring forth some cause.  There are so so many players just waiting in the wings, waiting to find some cause to get back in there.  For some it's the update.  Fair enough, I can't say I can criticize that heh.   For others it's apparently roleplay, and the simple solution to that folks is to just log in and try it.  But yeah, I'll go with it, we could use some plotline cause, so however misguided this roleplay sentiment may be, I can somewhat see an issue in it all.
 But the community is still there.  The caliber is the same as it's always been and there are a lot more individuals waiting in the wings to surprise you with their roleplay.  It's not like the people sticking with NWN after all this time are the click-happy powermongers looking for more.  More graphics, more monsters, more killing!   No, it's the people looking for community.  To any of you calling out the depreciation of roleplay, wake up.  Find your sense of community instead of needing the last generation of players to hold your hand through it.  Honestly, step it up.   Instead of floating on the outskirts proving yourselves not of the caliber you preach... step it up.  Talk to the new player, the younger generation, do what the generation we hold in such high regard did before us and continue to help the Layonara community find new roots.
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General Discussion / The Final Stroke of V3
« on: June 05, 2007, 12:00:53 am »
 [SIZE=16]I've always found pictures to be a good snare for you unfortunate readers.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]I've been on three servers where they announced plans to at some point end their module progress. What I've found is a typical response from the playerbase, including myself. Interest in progression of your own character lessens, and the sudden reminder of the server mortality usually hits me for about a two week depression.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]There's a lot of major differences here however. First, the timeline put on NWN is of our own making. The new medium for Layonara is a massive effort very good people are working on. But it is going to take time since it is such a massive effort. And it's not two months, or six months... it's a long time. I hope the team working on it doesn't mind me saying that. NWN truly is in the hands of the players here. And this brings me to the second major difference. Layonara is continuing. The campaign and histories are continuing. The histories your characters are creating and helping to build are continuing. Characters of your own making are going into the very written history of Layonara. Look around. We *are* Layonara. This is not a plug pulled.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]What is going to keep us going is simply the continuation of motivation. Any way you slice it you're playing Layonara, be it this generation or the next. Had you found out that v3 would've been a character wipe, would you have fled? How many of us have started new characters since that discussion and found them in late stages of their life, engrained in the server, fulfilled. A lot of us I'd say. This is absolutely the same thing. I mean, Ketil is barely over a year old. I think of the time I've had playing him, and sure I want more, but that was a really really good year I've had with him. The same opportunity is in front of each of your characters right now. People just tend to get down when they see some finality to a character, it's something we don't like to admit as being possible. But we're talking about a *long* time here. Get over that sense of impending closure and realize it's not changing the game for you whatsoever.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]We play here for the community and that is what we must retain. Levels, progression, everything tangible to a single character ends up falling back on your interest in the community when it's said and done. When you've seen it all, when you have no more surprises around the corner, it is the surprise from a trusted and dynamic community that you will find your interest has been in this whole time.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]I know what the pessimists will pick out of the big announcement post, as they like whispering it in my ear now and then. Timelines, character closure, last update... things of that nature. [/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]So let me shed some light on some realities on the update side of it that you haven't been able to see yet. For you players playing here in the years of 2004-2006, think of the updates you witnessed. The new scenery, it wasn't all that major. Mind you, a lot was going on, the game was being refined, scripting was allowing greater diversity and variation of gameplay, on the whole the NWN engine was being perfected for Layonara. Then came the V3 announcement. The initial update for V3 is what you have seen so far. It seemed like a significant change for some, the pessimists did their pessimism thing and probably complained about rangers or barbarians or bards *winks*. Some were blown away by the change in appearance. Most were merely excited about the newfound source of motivation.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]I usually stick to that middle crowd, complaining. That said, this "final" update, this conclusion to the major push for V3 of NWN, it's been worked on for several months. Several months where wives, husbands, coworkers or bosses of those working on it narrowed their eyes at the bags under eyes or the far away looks. I know for a fact that my wife is plotting a detailed sabotage of the server machines, bioware, Leanthar's house, and the developer of our computer to top it off. It's a big update that took a lot of work.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]This update is more substantial then what you're used to. It's quite likely the most substantial percentage change of material in NWN Layo to this point. And that's what I'm mostly going to be talking about here.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]Updates come and go, and with version changes they hit surges. We didn't hit all the changes proposed for the V3 vision. That's clear to everyone. Kingdoms, farming, etc.... they never hit home. But updates also hit lulls. Lulls where there's not a ton to do. I can say with confidence that in the grand scheme of what V3 was realized as, this is the typical final stroke before the standard lull. We've made the important stuff hit home, we've made the core of V3 hit home. So to hit the stuff we should be concentrating on...[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=18]The Scope of the Final V3 Update[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]What's new, what's different, and why should I be excited? Well Leanthar detailed the percentage changes on the servers. Bear in mind that this is a massive amount when compared to other updates you've seen. I don't want to go into the unknowns and mysteries that are in there waiting, it ruins most of the fun, but I can detail what they mean for you as players.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]Belinara and Dregar[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]These have been merged. I actually view this as a plus because communication and grouping will be on the rise. Green tells or not, being a server apart limits grouping, and I'm glad to see the merge. More importantly, you are looking at huge rebuilds and added material. The first time you travel to Arnax you are going to immediately be hit with the changes with some impressiveness. Travelling north, you will be lost. It's a good thing. Dregar has likewise seen some major changes, I'm not going to tell you much about them. I can just say that the adventure is going to be new, exciting, and if you thought the new Firesteep was something... you ain' seen anything yet.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]Obviously new material is great, but a lot more has been done. Traffic has been funneled in ways that will pool people for roleplay and roleplay adventure. Thematic environments have been added, those places that naturally attract people for myriad reasons, and promote that magnet for roleplay.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]A few ambassadors for lore that we have all grown accustomed to listening to over the years have been made aware of the specific histories and themes of some of these grand new schemes on Dregar and Belinara. Look to them, you know who they are. Follow them to the new focal points for roleplay and adventure, prepare for the new adventures, and better yet the new campfires and places we'll come to know and love and gather at.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]The New Balance[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]The balance of the world has not shifted in any wild manner. What has been done is the empowering of particular classes that until now have been left wondering why they are so unable to deal with the world around them. It's not a matter of changing a class, or limiting another. It's a matter of creating environments that foster certain character types that may have been limited before. Where and how? You'll figure that out quite fast I'm guessing. To what scale are we talking here? A massive scale. I'm fully aware of the woes of melees, the fact that a party of one class can do all while the party of all another class can do naught. You'll see role reversals in this regard, without taking anything away from a certain class. But it will be a new and dynamic set of environments that will let all characters have their shining moments instead of being left in the dark on all occasions. Additionally, a slight shift in magic level will be realized. It's not profound, since anything profound would be a true mistake. But some class characteristics have met with limitations given magic levels, and the bar has been slightly raised. Be patient, meet the adventure head on, and look forward to a big smile here and there. Even you rangers. I am very proud of what people have come together to achieve on this front, and all I can say is that I'll see you all at the crossroads.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]Epic Themes and Adventures[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]Creating themes for epic characters has always been a problem, everywhere in NWN, whatever roleplay-based server you might be on. There seem to be only two speeds in epic adventure and challenge: 1) Everyone in your group dies ultra fast, or 2) Everything you're fighting dies ultra fast. NWN is what it is and it's hard to combat the tempo of adventure in epic levels. Roleplay is limited due to the tempo of epic grouping. [/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]But there are themes, hidden themes here and there, that will bring new dynamic to epic adventure. Thought process, lore, decision making, the demands of what roleplay servers should be. It's the best possible that people can do with NWN and I'll say that in full confidence. Look forward to those massively epic adventures, and enjoy the new style of play. That said, good luck finding them.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]Oh, and additionally, the bar has been raised all you epics. Every CR abounds, finally. Have fun, and don't be hasty or the soul mother will steal your company from the rest of us.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]Leanthar's courtesy in informing the community of plans in motion that will not be seen by us for a long time I deem a gesture of faith in the playerbase here. Our server here is made by the motivation of the playerbase and the higher standard of gameplay that continues to grow. Realize that Layonara is here to continue, in two ways. In one, NWN will keep going for some time to come, Leanthar was just gracious enough to share the full picture of things. A long time! Don't get down because the doc just told you that people typically don't live past 100. Appreciate your time and the people you're sharing it with. And in the other way, Layonara persists. It has blown through the roof of being held by a single game engine, and the histories we have all come to be a part of look as though they will continue far beyond the lifespan of a single engine. And this is something we should all be grateful for.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]I'll see you at the crossroads soon. There's a lot of new adventure for us to enjoy. Oh, that's right, and it's coming in the next few days.[/SIZE]
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General Discussion / Why Do You Play on Layonara?
« on: May 11, 2007, 01:25:41 am »
[SIZE=16]Maybe you play on Layonara because you love the unknown...[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Or perhaps the adventure draws you in...[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Maybe you're looking for peace and quiet...[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Or perhaps just a pleasant place to call home....[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Or simply a place to meet some friends...[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Perhaps you enjoy the majesty of civilization...[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Or maybe just the majesty the lands offer...[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Maybe you love the thrill of great battles...[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Or just maybe... a glutton for punishment?....[/SIZE][/U][/B]
 [SIZE=16]Whatever the case may be... one thing is clear.  Layonara is the world for all imaginations, and it is on us to live those dreams.[/SIZE]
 [SIZE=16]V3.  Still on the rise....[/SIZE]
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General Discussion / The Ups and Downs
« on: May 09, 2007, 05:42:13 pm »
You know how some times you have "good" days and "bad" days?  Being part of the Layonara community is like that too. defines community as, "A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage."  There's no need for me to point out the truth in each of those aspects of community; I'm sure you all can think of examples that would qualify.

When I logon, there is often some sort of expectation or goal in the back of my mind.  XP, getting a tidbit for a story, crafting, etc.  There are times I logoff disappointed, having not accomplished the goal.  Other times, though, I logoff quite pleased even though I did not accomplish the goal.  Why?  Because of the community.

A two hour boring stand-around-hoping-to-see-someone can be changed in a moment by a chance encounter with a sum total of five minutes of RP.  Or it can be discovering that "~[The sky is falling" will write on a piece of parchment in a language ear.  Yes!  Bee can write in brownie!  He can even read it back with "~~translate" command.

Those bad times, though, can sometimes overshadow the exciting times.  It easy to forget that the GM/project team is working hard behind the scenes.  Sometimes our perspective of the pace things get done is skewed by the fact that we alternate between RL and playing whenever we want.  They have to multiplex their schedules between RL, playing, preparing quests, running quests, scripting, toolset, etc., etc.!

I was rightfully chided today to have "patience young Skywalker!"  That is true.  What is another week or two for a new system?  What is a week before quest is run, or a level gained?  Sometimes that week can seem interminable but on the other side of the fence that week is rushing past too fast to accomplish everything that must be done.

A wise fellow once said, "No! Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."  A community ebbs and flows just as our perception of time ebbs and flows.  Do not try to have patience, do what you can when you can and enjoy it.
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Introduce Yourself / Pen N Popper, metagamer
« on: May 04, 2007, 09:34:19 pm »
When I first joined the server, I was astounded by how much IC info I could find on the forums.  I thought, "This is terrible!  Everyone will metagame!"  It wasn't long, however, before I realized how much I truly appreciated the wealth of information I could find out about others.  You see, I have a problem:  I am a metagamer.

Yes, it's true.  You see I play this game because I like a good story.  I like epic battles, heroes and villains, intrigue and plot.  More often than not I am quite content being a voyeur of the tale rather than its star.  Unfortunately, sometimes the stories get obscured by this layer of obfuscation called NWN.

I strongly believe that more of this would be beneficial in our day-to-day RP as well. All of our PCs have their little stories, histories, flaws, fears, and dreams. Sometimes I feel like we're all in rubber bubbles, in our own little worlds. I can see your PC but his/her story is bouncing around inside out of sight. I try very hard with my PCs to pop your bubbles. Unfortunately, I am a bubble too and we just bounce off each other mostly.
That sums up what metagaming means to me.  I want to know your stories OOCly more than ICly.  Layonara is a place where I can see those stories and enjoy them.

Some choose to use these wonderful stories to abuse and cause angst to others.  Why?  They use the information they learn ingame so that their PCs can dominate another, control them.  Why?  I know why:  They think it is how you win the game.

Layonara is a novel, no a library of novels.  There is no winning alone.  The more novels you can read, even partially, should be your goal.  How many stories do you know?  Only your own?  Do you have one?

I started to write this thread in the General Discussion thread.  I realized, though, that this is who I am not just my opinion.  I am not a bard, but a reader.  Metagaming is good.  Story writers call it foreshadowing.

My PC asked ICly the following:

[SIZE=16] How will you be recalled in legend and lore?  Or will you be remembered at all?[/SIZE][/I]

Well, will you?  When Layonara fades away and we find each other later in life on other forums, what will people remember of you and your PCs?

I have a rock named after my first PC on a PW.  Now that's what I call winning.
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