New Rule: Trial Matches and Undeclared Summoners


I earlier proposed a new rule concerning trial matches and undeclared Summoners. There have been a few discussion threads on the topic, and though there hasn’t been much discussion so far, I do appreciate the comments and suggestions I received.

The gist of the change: rather than forcing our scorers to track trial matches, we’re just saying that undeclared Summoners (1) can’t participate in Featured Matches, Tournaments, or lore events and (2) count as subs, significantly reducing the value of any match they’re in.

Objectives and Dangers

There are a number of considerations at play here. Declaring for a faction is a core aspect of Factions. This is why I’ve declined to have a “free agent” option: this is a bit paternalistic of me, but I’m concerned that a large number of people would simply remain undeclared and never really commit, and in the end they’d have a less exciting experience. I think it would also generally sap energy from the Factions community.

There’s also an administrative concern about enforcement and tracking. Factions is run in volunteers’ free time, and we have limited amounts of time and energy. We’d rather spend that energy on running matches, writing lore, or otherwise enhancing Factions than operating a sort of DMV that processes Summoner paperwork.

There is also a fairness element. Declaring for a faction gives people an incentive to fight hard for that faction. I know I’d be somewhat dismayed at having a match thrown by a bunch of undeclared “randoms”, when my teammates and I are working hard to fight our way to the top for our faction.

This is the reasoning behind the current faction swap rules, which essentially state that you get a faction swap after recruiting three Summoners. (You can only make one swap in a given arc, and I’ll probably put a “freeze” on it for the current arc starting on December 1.) The primary purpose for this requirement is administrative: it would be a full-time job processing faction swap requests if they were freely available. It’s also a way to encourage people to recruit friends and build the community. But it’s also significantly about making a declaration feel weighty and meaningful.

Previous and New Rules

Hopefully, that helps elucidate some of my priorities and concerns. I’ll move on next to both re-state the current rule andpropose a new rule.

Previous Rule

Summoners who are not declared for a faction may not participate in Featured Matches, Tournaments, or Interactive Lore Events.

Undeclared Summoners are allowed one “trial match” before declaring. After their trial match, they may not participate in matches until they make their declaration and choose a side.

New Rule

Changed text is in italics. (Notes that are not part of the rule are in parentheses.)

Summoners who are not declared for a faction may not participate in Featured Matches, Tournaments, or Interactive Lore Events.

Undeclared Summoners are counted as subs in all matches, until they declare for a side. (The more subs a match has, the less it counts on the Balance of Power.) (This effectively replaces the old “trial match” rule, which was becoming a real pain for our scorers to track.)

Note: Withdrawing from Play

Once you’ve declared for a faction in an arc, you cannot “un-declare”. There is no mechanism for becoming a “free agent”. Remember that faction allegiances reset at the end of each arc.


Caitlyn, you monster.

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