Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

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DM Theophanies
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by DM Theophanies »

SoThereIWas wrote: Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:42 pm If I may ask, will this have any bearing on hidden biographies support?
We will still retain the forum for hidden biographies for those who wish to write one. The only difference now is that they too will not be reviewed for reward.
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Steve »

The DM staff has decided on rewarding you the players for putting the extra effort in fleshing out your characters. Each character (new or old) in which this template is filled out for will receive a one time reward of 2000 xp or 4000 gold if said character is already level 30.
Is 2,000 xp really any big/little/middle-of-the-road deal here, in the first place? 1 hour of investment on BG city quests net one the same amount. Average XP gain per hour is 3k xp (even more if you're in a group).

The ONLY reason for a reviewed biography was the HOPE that a DM would incorporate that into something they were cooking up, directly. And actually, did/has that even ever happened for anyone? Never for me...10 years going. EDIT: I've heard tales that DMs made PC background events, but a paradigm existed some years ago that DMs were steered toward multiple-PC event structures, in order to discourage actual or perceived favoritism. Which is a fair steerage principle.
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Maecius
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Maecius »

This is a greatly needed paradigm shift in my opinion. DMs should be in game, running events, not getting lost in their emails.

DMs will continue to have the authority to enforce basic RP standards. Just as they can presently make paladins fall if a paladin is clearly breaking the paladin code, they are also entirely free to "fall" a Shadow Adept who angers his or her one and only benefactor (i.e., Shar).

Of course, neither of those things will ever happen if the most active, engaged, and excited-about-DMing-for-the-server DMs are spending hours every day organizing forums instead of playing the game, interacting with players, and telling fun stories.
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Steve
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Steve »

Maecius wrote: Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:18 pm ...DMs are spending hours every day organizing forums instead of playing the game, interacting with players, and telling fun stories.
Does this thinking have a possible shift, as well, that Players should reduce their usage/reliance on the Forum for Role-play and IC communication? Because if PMs and Forum posts are depressing the DM Staff and “getting in the way” of what can be manifested IG, then I think it should be expressed more clearly.

For a long as I can remember, BGTSCC has functioned best when a healthy, balanced mix of IG/Forum RP was “played.”

So if possible, can it be clarified that the DMs are distracted by technical/administrative/practical Forum discussions, that need to reduce, and not by RP related—which does include Bios!!—IC posts and PMs that actually are part and parcel to the storybuilding that is the foundation of the game.
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Wolfrayne »

Steve wrote: Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:32 am
Maecius wrote: Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:18 pm ...DMs are spending hours every day organizing forums instead of playing the game, interacting with players, and telling fun stories.
Does this thinking have a possible shift, as well, that Players should reduce their usage/reliance on the Forum for Role-play and IC communication? Because if PMs and Forum posts are depressing the DM Staff and “getting in the way” of what can be manifested IG, then I think it should be expressed more clearly.

For a long as I can remember, BGTSCC has functioned best when a healthy, balanced mix of IG/Forum RP was “played.”

So if possible, can it be clarified that the DMs are distracted by technical/administrative/practical Forum discussions, that need to reduce, and not by RP related—which does include Bios!!—IC posts and PMs that actually are part and parcel to the storybuilding that is the foundation of the game.
Agreed. Bios are an important part of building good characters.
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Max Hatchet »

Wolfrayne wrote: Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:09 am
Steve wrote: Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:32 am
Maecius wrote: Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:18 pm ...DMs are spending hours every day organizing forums instead of playing the game, interacting with players, and telling fun stories.
Does this thinking have a possible shift, as well, that Players should reduce their usage/reliance on the Forum for Role-play and IC communication? Because if PMs and Forum posts are depressing the DM Staff and “getting in the way” of what can be manifested IG, then I think it should be expressed more clearly.

For a long as I can remember, BGTSCC has functioned best when a healthy, balanced mix of IG/Forum RP was “played.”

So if possible, can it be clarified that the DMs are distracted by technical/administrative/practical Forum discussions, that need to reduce, and not by RP related—which does include Bios!!—IC posts and PMs that actually are part and parcel to the storybuilding that is the foundation of the game.
Agreed. Bios are an important part of building good characters.
Maybe they can be but how many people have actually been making them? I’m pretty sure that 90% minimum of people actually playing don’t make them. The vast majority i play with don’t look much on the forum. Maybe this is a bad thing. But a lot of people don’t have time to play AND look on Discird AND check in the forum.

Bios on here sound good by the vast majority of people don’t even use the Conditional Examine. And I would like to see more people just putting something into the normal examine.
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Endelyon
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Endelyon »

It's not about "reducing forum RP." Part of this has to do with the slow turnaround on biography approval, which frustrates players and causes a wealth of complaints to the administration as well. I'm not mentioning the complaints to imply I had anything to do with this change, I didn't ask the DM team to make it. I do support it however and I think it shows profound maturity to admit problems in workflow. Everyone who seems to be arguing against this change seems to be doing it from the mindset that "everything was perfectly fine before," and that's far from the case.

I'm not going to expand TOO MUCH on internal team dynamics and I definitely don't want to make it sound like the DMs had bios "taken away from them" by the admins because they weren't fast enough or not working hard enough, because that's not the case either. This is something they decided as a team. They identified a very specific problem with our workflow, and we're trying a change to minimize that problem.

Forum RP will still continue to remain as important and visible to DMs as it has in the past, this isn't giving them leeway to ignore forum RP altogether. It was an effort only to remove one or two elements from forum RP and DM forum work that we identified as specifically problematic. Personally, I think not having to seek DM approval will cause an increase in bios in general, not a decrease. I think the argument that it might reduce the lore veracity or "quality" of those bios is fair, but we just don't have the resources (or perhaps the proper motivation) as a staff to get a quick turnaround on these. As such, instead of being something consistently good, it ended up being a system where sometimes DMs had to spend weeks or months at times (and an arduous amount of team discussion and staff-to-player correspondence) working on a single bio to bring it in line with lore.

Since the standards of DM teams change over time too (in terms of how "heavy RP" focused they are), this has led to wildly inconsistent treatment between bios (some themes getting approved in one year and getting denied in the next year because the DMs have changed their RP standards). This is an administrative flaw, in my opinion, one that will be inadvertently solved by this change as well.

And as a final word, changes aren't written in stone. This is something we're trying. Doing nothing to try to mitigate the problem at all I feel would be a mistake. If it ends up being extremely problematic in practice, we'll go back to the drawing board and figure something else out. All I can do is ask the player base to please give us a chance to see how this turns out before assuming the worst.
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Steve »

Totally giving the Team a chance with these changes!

That said, I've not asked the Team to approve any of my Character Bios for years...but if existing bios are to-be-reviewed, and rewarded, please take a look (and actually, it seemed always the state of affairs that ONLY when a Player asked for a Bio review, were they then considered).

Soooo...on a related note, maybe we Players who are Forum Junkies can help our player-mates here and in the future, when Bios are posted, we can give constructive criticism, IF WARRANTED, to the Poster, and attempt to create a new paradigm of Community Review, so that Attention to Lore remains high, on BGTSCC. Just a thought....
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Maecius »

It's also worth noting that the biography forum's not going anywhere. I think everyone recognizes the value in having a character background. All that's changing is that the DMs will no longer actively review and approve those backgrounds.

If someone posts an outlandish biography that's out of step with the server or setting lore, the DMs still reserve the right to ask for changes to that bio. They will continue to manage the server's lorescape.

But since we started the bio approval and award program, the DMs have reviewed hundreds of biographies. In the past year alone, the DMs reviewed, discussed, and eventually approved or archived approximately 75 individual private biographies. Of those characters, I can count on one hand (maybe two) how many of them are still active today. It was an unnecessary time sink that didn't meaningfully serve to improve the server's overall story quality -- and it put an undue burden on the DMs who actively managed the program (which was never 100% of the team).

At the end of the day, things like this are nice to have, sure. But when you have a limited amount of resources (in this case, DM time, motivation, and energy), it's important to determine where those resources should be invested. The server's administrators feel that those resources, our DMs, should be more heavily invested in interacting with the players rather than in managing paperwork.
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Planehopper »

Of the dozen or so biographies that I have submitted through this and other accounts over the years, only one was approved, and that one never collected the reward.

I think the system was just too much to keep up with for anyone, and as long as lore is respected it, the loss won't be hugely felt.

I think the loss of class applications will be felt, particularly with regard to arcane PvP, but perhaps people won't ruin it. Lol.
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Balthomer »

Hmmm really sad, especially not having DM approved bios now, but it is understandable, if it was taking too much time that could be used better, then I hope this helps roleplay in the long run.
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Balthomer »

I hope the second change is reverted!
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Meatiest »

This.
professiondude wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:45 pm If this new strategy to lessen the workload of the DM's by allowing these classes to be free to choose from without Dm supervision, things will continue the way they always have been before:

1.) The players that don't approve of the PC misrepresenting the class will be made a fool of by the king of lore (In Character).

2.) Then the players that don't approve will whine to the DM Team. Probably by mass report to try to force the DM team to make a rash ban decision due to stress.

3.) Or if 1/2 fail. The players will then provoke the Player to PvP to call in the 24 hour rule.

4.) If there isn't a group to take the player down, they will simply ignore the player and continue as usual.

Eventually if this method is used the player will quit the server and we will have 1 less player helping sustain the server, or in this case we will have 1 less "tainted" player bothering our Rp.
Also it seems that we have removed DM "approval" while retaining DM "disapproval" Having gone through something like this I have to say that being "disapproved" of by a bunch of rule-mongering players and DMs is of course unpleasant, but further, when they're done "disapproving" because you've changed your story, there is no "approval" to be gained, you just have to hope you wont fall into disfavor, and it strikes me that this is not a very welcoming community. I've seen in a short time things from female characters getting harassed, including gross connotations involving female halflings, to players feeling sanctioned to treat orcs the way they think black people ought to be treated. Thats all fine, but its not fine to put an unusual backstory to a character.

I have a feeling, like the post above, that this has happened to a lot of players. Luckily there are lots of other games to play. Enjoy the company you keep.

-Meatiest
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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

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Re: Changes to DM Supported Programs – Class Applications and Approved Biographies

Unread post by Zanniej »

Meatiest wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:49 pm This.
professiondude wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:45 pm If this new strategy to lessen the workload of the DM's by allowing these classes to be free to choose from without Dm supervision, things will continue the way they always have been before:

1.) The players that don't approve of the PC misrepresenting the class will be made a fool of by the king of lore (In Character).

2.) Then the players that don't approve will whine to the DM Team. Probably by mass report to try to force the DM team to make a rash ban decision due to stress.

3.) Or if 1/2 fail. The players will then provoke the Player to PvP to call in the 24 hour rule.

4.) If there isn't a group to take the player down, they will simply ignore the player and continue as usual.

Eventually if this method is used the player will quit the server and we will have 1 less player helping sustain the server, or in this case we will have 1 less "tainted" player bothering our Rp.
Also it seems that we have removed DM "approval" while retaining DM "disapproval" Having gone through something like this I have to say that being "disapproved" of by a bunch of rule-mongering players and DMs is of course unpleasant, but further, when they're done "disapproving" because you've changed your story, there is no "approval" to be gained, you just have to hope you wont fall into disfavor, and it strikes me that this is not a very welcoming community. I've seen in a short time things from female characters getting harassed, including gross connotations involving female halflings, to players feeling sanctioned to treat orcs the way they think black people ought to be treated. Thats all fine, but its not fine to put an unusual backstory to a character.

I have a feeling, like the post above, that this has happened to a lot of players. Luckily there are lots of other games to play. Enjoy the company you keep.

-Meatiest
I've replied to this in a PM, since some of it felt better discussed in private, rather than public.

There are two things I do want to respond publicly on.

We do not condone harassment in any form. Unfortunately, we can't be everywhere at the same time, but if you ever feel harassed, or witness such behaviour, please report it to the DMs, HDMs, or admin (whichever you feel most comfortable with).

I also wish to point out that we do not condone OOC racism in any form. However, this is a fantasy world, where prejudice and racism are a part of the setting we are in. Certain amounts of racism towards certain races is setting appropriate. This however, is completely separated from the way any person in the real world should be treated, regardless of race, color, preference, gender, etc.

While this is an adventure fantasy setting, we do have "safe" zones (Baldur's Gate, for example), that you should be able to enjoy free of conflict. Should you ever feel uncomfortable with certain RP, always feel free to remove yourself from the situation. If you are unable to, please come to the DMs, HDMs or admin with your concerns.


If there is anything here, that you have further questions or remarks on, please do not hesitate to let either me, the HDMs or the DMs know. The door is always open, and I always do my utmost to respond as quickly as possible to everything addressed to me.
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