We’ve been getting a lot done behind the scenes, and it’s about time for another update on the Intermission agenda. This is our master-list of tasks that need to be completed before we can start the next arc. (When will that be? We don’t know. I think we can likely be ready to launch by sometime in February, but I’m committed to taking all the time we need to ensure it runs smoothly.)
I’ve (literally) flagged certain parts of this agenda with an “Assist” icon, to mark tasks that could readily benefit from some community help. If you’d like to pitch in, these tasks are a good place to start. In just about every area, I’m thinking about how I could delegate more, but there are some places where that would be simpler than others.
Perhaps the most obvious way for people to help out: run Intermission matches. This provides a number of important benefits. For one thing, it’s fun, and kind of the whole point of Factions. For another, it helps welcome new people into the community. It also lets people try out the various factions, balance-test the rosters, generate more skill-gap balancing data, and so on. Give it a shot!
Without further ado, here’s the revised Intermission agenda. The full GDoc is available here. Anyone can add comments to the margins of the official document.
Complete Nyroth Lore
We need to finish up the lore from Nyroth before we divert lore resources to developing a new arc.
Revise Lore Updates 10 to 20
Many of these are really very rough. We dramatically overcommitted in terms of the number of updates this arc; we’ll likely have to fill many of these in with simple summaries. We can’t promise too many literary masterpieces.
- Update 11—Argyre
- 2015-01-25: Revised.
- Update 12—Korag
- 2015-01-25: Revised somewhat. Could benefit from further revision. Any takers?
- Update 13—Sannig Kloster
- 2015-01-25: Revised.
- Update 14—Return to Argyre
- Would benefit from considerable revision. I thought I revised this at some point; I may have saved it somewhere.
- Update 15—Neritum
- Needs revision.
- Update 16—Mag Mell
- Needs revision. Also, uh, did “Darrosh Jewfist” get a namechange? If so, can we fix that?
- Update 17—Lack of Jurisdiction
- Relatively speaking, decent. Will need stylistic revision later; still quite rough.
- Update 18—Kibu
- Needs revision. In particular, the “gamey” writeup needs to be swapped out.
- Update 19—Scheria
- I’m going to be honest: I do not understand what is going on here.
- Update 20—Krocylea
- Needs revision, and should probably be pretty epic. I have some notes and drafts.
Add a couple more updates
I hesitate to add anything more to that, but we’ll need at least one lore update for the final lore event and one more to briefly describe how the arc resolves in the end.
Finish Lore Event VI
Lore Event VI is mostly ready. We just need to get the Bilgewater piece posted. Once we have the votes in, we’ll write the resolution.
Not really a lore event, but once we’ve resolved Lore Event VI, we do need to give each faction a final post-arc poll to let Summoners set the path for their factions going forward. A small amount of lore will probably be required to garnish this.
The Summoner’s Herald
I’d like to put out at least one or two retrospective issues of the Herald. Companion Prism is working on this, but could probably use some help.
As something written by many in-universe authors, the Herald is a natural place for people to contribute their own stories. (They may, however, be rather mercilessly edited—as they would be in-universe.)
We may be able to kill two birds with one stone here, by pulling in some applicants to the lore team to help us with these lore updates and these Herald editions.
Beyond the Battlefield
We have some BtB entries that still need to be revised and posted, as well.
Revise World Systems
World Systems needs some revision. Naggarok and his team are working on this.
Prepare final internal staff draft
The next task is to distill our discussion notes into an internal draft for final staff revisions.
Publish first community discussion draft
Once we’ve got something concrete to put forward, we need to do so, sharing it with the community to get comments.
Revise community discussion draft
We’ll then revise the draft based on community feedback.
Testing and final revision
The final phase before adoption will be to have some teams of playtesters try the system out and find as many ambiguities and gaps as they can. We can then make the necessary improvements and formally adopt it.
Revise faction rosters
We’ll need to go through and clean up each faction’s Core, Secondary, and Tertiary rosters. Fortunately, we already sort of have these; they just need some adjustments.
Revise arc rules, match rules, etc.
There are a bunch of organizational rules that need to be re-examined: how many tournaments per arc, how tiers are counted, what we do about disconnections, how tournaments are run, and so on.
If some members of the community would like to come forward and get this discussion going, I think that would be helpful.
Right now, the various rules are somewhat scattered about. The first step would be gathering them up and indexing them, and identifying rules that are in need of attention.
Discuss and propose revisions
Next, we’d need to take those rules that are in need of re-evaluation and start coming up with proposed changes.
Adopt final ruleset
Before the next arc begins, obviously, we have to formally adopt the new ruleset.
This is a big enough topic to warrant its own heading. We’ve had some attrition, and it may be that some staffers who helped out in Nyroth will not be available for Intermission or the next arc. My current plan is to do a clean sweep of the staff list, and then rebuild with whoever can make the committment to Intermission and next arc.
501st Big Mike and Sgt Porkchop are, of course, the core of matchstaff. They’re already working on getting a new team together. They’ll be starting with a slew of match-creating volunteers, whose main job will be to help get Intermission matches going.
I’m quite impressed with how Mike and Porkchop have managed to run so many Featured Matches all by themselves, but perhaps it’s time for them to expand their staff so that they don’t have to be on call every weekend. (I did that solo for a while, and I found it pretty exhausting.)
I’ve listed matchstaff first for a reason. Matches are the core of Factions. We really need a robust team to help people get into matches. This is one department that I don’t mind “overstaffing”. One of the most common gripes from new people is “I joined the chat but no matches were happening”. In theory, the response is, “So go start one yourself”, but new people may understandably be anxious about doing so right out of the gate.
Even though we hope to streamline many aspects of World Systems with the revision, I think we need to amp up our staffing here. (I heard that someone threw a handful of dice at Naggarok the other day and he just started bawling. Or wait, maybe that was me.) Naggarok is already putting together an Intermission team to start with.
Lore is really, really hard to staff. The reality is that it’s difficult to find people who write really solid material. There are also lots of people who are really strong and imaginative editors but aren’t as well suited for writing drafts. We need both, and I think we need more of a clear organization: we need some leads who routinely write drafts, and we need some assistant authors and editors who help rework and develop those drafts into finished pieces.
The good news: we’ve got lots of lore-work that needs to be done, so there’s ample material for “tryouts”. I’ll start by revisiting that GDoc full of applications from before. I might also start checking out some good fanfic writers; I’ve heard people mention some of the favorites. Maybe we should compile a list and start inviting them to join in.
Lorestaff need to be creative, well-versed in general League lore and Factions-specific lore, and good at working collaboratively. They must also be able to accurately distinguish between Data and his evil twin brother, Lore.
Rewards and Recognition
We should take a moment to recognize and reward Summoners who helped Factions grow during Nyroth by recruiting new Summoners, running matches, and so on.
These tasks really should get done before the next arc starts, but may have to be abandoned if the other tasks take too long.
I’d really like to get a wiki going (I know there’s already a proto-wiki focusing on Summoner backstories) for Factions lore. It’d be a really good way to systematically document Factions lore.
It would be great if we could find someone who’s really good with wikis—templates, formatting, and so on.
One option: I could try to get the basic structure set up, and then we could literally just leave it to the community to fill everything in. It might be pretty chaotic, and we’d then need to close it up and have staff revise it, but that might be one way to very rapidly get a lot of material on there.
I think tabletop roleplay is really cool. I know it’s not a top priority, but I’d like to help get some basic character generation rules set up. I have some ideas for a simple roleplaying system that would let people quickly do Factions-verse roleplay without having to learn a fancier system like Pathfinder.
Select a new arc
Obviously, before we can start the next arc, we need to figure out what it will be.
I find it helpful to come up with some viable arc models before we get into the detail-work.
For example, Hextech Revolution was based around the idea of having a tech-oriented arc (pyrikhos) without a ton of fighting (well…), and also the idea of an arc centered around a person (Merricurry). Meanwhile, Nyroth was an attempt to have an exploration-driven arc.
I might be overcompensating here, but my first thought is: simplicity. I think Nyroth was an exercise in complexity, and it was certainly interesting, but right now I have a hankering for a nice simple arc, in more of the Shon-Xan style. For example, if we go with Shurima, it might be something like, “Azir is trying to bring Shurima back onto the world stage; how will that work out for him?”
How many factions?
Four factions is a pretty tried and true number. On the other hand, I find the idea of another two-faction arc somewhat appealing; we’d just have to time-limit it.
Two-faction arcs are nice in that it’s really easy to get matches going, and the story tends to be much clearer. Shon-Xan was a great arc in that it was easy to start matches and also easy to explain the story: “Noxus and Ionia are fighting over a piece of Ionian territory.” Hextech Revolution was also a great arc, but it was a bit more complicated.
I’m leaning in favor of four factions, but this warrants some discussion.
Would someone like to get a forum discussion going about how many factions people want to see next arc? Edit: thanks!
Vote in the new factions
Shurima or not Shurima? If we follow the Nyroth model, we could begin by having staff select a faction to anchor the arc. (I have a strong suspicion this would be Shurima. I have mixed feelings about that. Shurima is cool, but it’s also not clear that Riot’s dust has settled just yet.) On balance, I do think that the “staff anchor faction” idea is a good one.
We’d then have two factions selected by public vote. Ionia would then get a private vote to add another faction as its reward.
An alternative: rather than having staff decide the first faction, we could just hold a big vote to choose an “anchor” faction. Perhaps we could ask people to select the faction that they find most fascinating, and that they most want to see in a new arc.
Write the story
The next task would be writing a story for the chosen set of factions.
Once the basics of the arc are established, we have to do some logistical work to get it ready to launch.
Before the new arc starts, we need to have at least one more “okay everyone, look at the rules and find the problems” session. Revising rules of any kind partway through an arc is a recipe for drama and unpleasantness. We skipped this step for Nyroth due to lack of time, and we paid for it—though people were remarkably chill about the whole thing, which was deeply appreciated, I don’t like having to make ad hoc rulings. They’re inherently unfair.
Outline the arc
I also would want to have a clear calendar drafted up for the new arc, with specific dates chosen well in advance for tournaments and other major events. We made this up as we went along in Nyroth, and unfortunately, it showed.
New balance of power
I’ll need to code up a new Balance of Power document, and associated GDocs for scoring.
We’ll need a nice big team of scoring staff to keep the BoP updated.
I want to start the next arc off right. That includes a nice lore piece and maybe a Herald edition.
Well, there you have it. And now back to work for me. I’m going to focus on that revised World Systems draft for starters.