Author Topic: Dead Horse? Think again, sillies.  (Read 16908 times)

Doppelganger

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Dead Horse? Think again, sillies.
« Reply #150 on: August 03, 2007, 11:03:29 AM »
Quote from: "Delirium"
Golly gee, you mean the wilderness is a dangerous and lawless place where you're very likely to die?!


I prefer to view wilderness as a place where everyone is likely to die, not just me or just mundane classes. One thing is when my elf expects to meet Serpent and his boys in mid-alleys, another thing is when I have to enforce on him idea that every time he attempts to slip into Allanak he is very likely to be ambushed by magicker near the entrance. One thing is when I meet Shatuka on the road near Outpost, another thing is when I see Krathi patrolling there.

World has changed in many ways. So many times staff has said in reply to proposed changes that this and that should be result of IC effort. But here they go, they break the world over the knee with changes to code and not only they forget about IC efforts, they don't even make IC coverage for changes, they don't even bother to correct guidelines. Were changes good or bad is questionable, but don't tell me that the world is still the same. And strong feeling that there was no coherent idea behind changes piss me off more than the change itself.

But okay, some of you are convincing beyond belief. I will need time to see if I am not exaggerating problem. Besides, I don't think I have much to add.

Sanvean

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« Reply #151 on: August 03, 2007, 12:22:43 PM »
Wow, that dead horse sure does twitch when you smack it like that.

Some feedback:

We've discussed measuring the number of special classes in the game and trying to limit roles. Problems with that include: 1) to be fair or even accurate, such a system would need to factor in how much people played in order to avoid having slots filled by inactive characters, 2) location should be factored in as well, 3) how to handle people who log in and immediately kill the character by chance or due to other players screaming magicker! and whacking them.

As someone noted, the PC population is not considered to be indicative of the general population - a surge in the number of PC Whirans doesn't mean that a flood of them is overtaking Zalanthas.

Remember that there may be some NPC magickers around in various plotlines.

One of my thoughts in the past in approving elementalists pretty liberally is that they entertain each other. A solo elementalist is somewhat boring, and having people to hang out with in the temples and do things with helps keep people from getting bored and powergaming. However, this approach does not seem to have worked well, and I apologize for whatever part I've played in unleashing a horde of elementalists in the past, although 95% of them seem to be dead now.

<WHINE>Handling special applications is, imo, the single most thankless task on the game.  If you let too many through, both other staff and players will complain about it. If you don't let enough through, you'll hear complaints on the other end of the spectrum.  If you do them too quickly, you get flooded with more apps; if you do them too slowly, you get flooded with inquiry emails and complaints.  

Invariably it involves dealing with people who want to argue about why you're saying no and how they have changed radically in the week since that last negative note.  It's difficult to balance the wants of new players against the needs of the game. Since I don't want to discourage people from playing so I spend a lot of time trying to explain to people why their app was turned on and how they might increase their chances of having one approved in the future. Sometimes people are nice about it, but sometimes they're jerks and personally I feel my daily jerk-encounter ratio is already high enough as is. This is why I was overjoyed when Vanth said she'd hold onto it for now, and you should all praise her to high heaven for being willing to cope with it.</WHINE>

Remember that the effect of an approved special app is not instantaneous -- there's considerable lag built in as people log in and try to find their feet   or build the character's skills to the point where they're an actual pkill danger.   We can throttle down hard on special apps, and have (note that 1 out of 12 psis getting approved, for example), but the results of that may not be apparent.

I would also suggest that OOC coordination leading to a bunch of experienced players with special apps or karma characters playing together in the same clan or group can lead to this perception, and is one of the perils of such coordination for other players.

In brief, we've done what we can short of yanking characters from the game. If you want to see fewer magickers, then I suggest not contributing to the perceived issue by apping your own, fwiw. Not to throttle back the conversation any if you want to keep on arguing about it, but right now the staff is pretty much limited to watching and seeing if being considerably more stringent about apps will work, so we've pretty much said all that we can about it for now.  I suggest checking in a month or so and seeing if the perception is that it's gotten better or worse.

PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT CURRENTLY HANDLE SPECIAL APPLICATIONS. DO NOT SEND THEM TO ME.

a strange shadow

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Dead Horse? Think again, sillies.
« Reply #152 on: August 03, 2007, 12:54:02 PM »
FWIW, I would seriously, seriously suggest putting a moratorium on special applications. Let those who have earned the karma play the karma-required roles. Focus more heavily on keeping up with those who have their 'review' flag on. Requests to be watched and considered for a karma-bump can still be sent in, but special applications: nada.

See how that works for a few months, and then consider whether the headache of special apps is still worth it.

Sanvean

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« Reply #153 on: August 03, 2007, 01:57:37 PM »
Well, certainly we've considered that.  Problems with it, though:

1) It's a necessary antidote (imo) to some problems with the karma system and helps ensure karma levels are getting looked at periodically.
2) People are always going to want to have a special character with a mutation, or some code-tweak, or a creature, and this provides a process for reviewing those. The alternative is just not to listen to people's requests, which I don't like very much. Some of the characters that have come out of that process have added a lot to the game.
3) If we remove the option right now, with the new game coming, people will feel despair at the thought of never being able to play guild/race X in the old game. At least, that is something I have heard multiple times in emails.  Yes, the answer is to play and get karma, but in some cases the amount needed is great enough that it indeed does not seem possible. The amount of ill will and flamage this action would cause seems like something that should be factored in, at the least.
4) There won't be karma at the onset of the new game, so we'll be watching that before thinking about karma and special apps.

bardbard#4

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« Reply #154 on: August 03, 2007, 02:57:35 PM »
I think all special-apps should have a mandatory one-month wait period from the date that the staff member approves the application.  That way people will be less inclined to put in apps, yet those who REALLY want that psi-sorcerer-dragonsthrall will suck it up and wait for a month.  Might dilute things a bit.
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Yokunama

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« Reply #155 on: August 03, 2007, 03:04:11 PM »
Quote from: "bardbard#4"
I think all special-apps should have a mandatory one-month wait period from the date that the staff member approves the application.  That way people will be less inclined to put in apps, yet those who REALLY want that psi-sorcerer-dragonsthrall will suck it up and wait for a month.  Might dilute things a bit.


One month wait period to send in another special app or one month wait period to play the special app?

Code: [Select]
>drop pants
 You do not have that item.

mansa

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« Reply #156 on: August 03, 2007, 03:13:54 PM »
I don't think wait times is the solution to the problem.

I simply think the answer is that the immortals reply, "No, there are too many of that specific guild in the game right now.  Please choose another."


And, I believe this should all be backed up by stats.

Like,

How many whirans are in the game at 5 p.m. est
Where are they?
How long did they log in for?

How many psis are in the game at 5 p.m. est
Where are they?
How long did they log in for?

And so on, and so on.  With these stats, you can get a better judge of how many is too many.  



Because the problem can arise when you allow 5 mindbenders into the game, and their players only log in for 20 minutes each day.
And you have 5 sorcerers whose players log in for 6 hours each day.


More statistics, more things you can do.
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Malken

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« Reply #157 on: August 03, 2007, 03:16:32 PM »
Right... I don't think that it's the special applications that are really the problem, I think it's more the fact that you can special app while you still have a living character to play with, or that you can create a mundane character while waiting for your special application..

So in that case, why wouldn't I apply for a special character while I'm still playing the one I have, I mean, I don't -really- want to play a Whiran but why not special app for one? Who knows if I'll want to play one when my current character dies, and then I'll have that one that I can go with right after, and if I don't? Well, I'll just create another character that is within my karma range and keep that special app'ed Whiran aside for when I'm willing to play it, no?

If someone doesn't have the karma to play a sorceror and he is way off from being able to play one, I don't see why he should be allowed to play one even through special application.. I can understand giving a role to someone who is just a karma or two below what's needed, maybe, but going from having 1 karma to being a mindbender via special app? That should never happen in my opinion, and if some are allowed to do that, then maybe it's what causes all the bad reputation of some non-mundane roles lately..

Maybe that way you would have more time to spend watching the characters and award the karma deserved to the ones who keep quiet and shy about special apps, instead of burning yourself out answering hundreds of them a month because people are just requesting them "in case" they feel like playing them or in case they get lucky this month and get awarded a mindbender, no? :)
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Tisiphone

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« Reply #158 on: August 03, 2007, 03:23:06 PM »
I think special apps are only a very small part of the problem right now.

The problem, as I see it, is more generally with specific characters who have already been in the game for a long time.

No, I can't back that up, and yes, it frustrates me just as much as it frustrates you.
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Malken

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« Reply #159 on: August 03, 2007, 03:37:06 PM »
And now I also want to add, on a more positive note, that where I'm playing right now I am not having or seeing the problem I had six months ago or so, so perhaps things are getting better, I think so, anyway, so I'm not just complaining for the sake of it, I just want things to get better and if they are getting better, then I'm happy with that :)
“When I was a fighting man, the kettle-drums they beat;
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Lizzie

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« Reply #160 on: August 03, 2007, 03:40:55 PM »
Perhaps something to limit karma approvals could be useful. Like, if the staff had access to a list of ALL PCs with any magicker guild or psionicist guild, broken down by guild type.

The list could be summaried simply with numbers, like this:

Elementalists:
vivaduan/rukkian: 4; most active average 2.5 hours/day (Grasslands), least active 1 hour in the last 2 months (last known location Red Storm).

krathi/elkroz: 3; most active average 4.8 hours/day (Allanak); least active not seen since 1998 (last known location, old Tuluk before the war destroyed it).

psionicists: 3; most active average 3.25 hours/day (Tuluk); least active average .5 hours/day (Canyon of Wastes).

and so on and so forth.

With the locations being the places the most/least active PCs spent the majority of their time.

That way, if someone wants to create (using the made-up info above) a Luirs-based vivaduan, it's a pretty safe bet that he'll be the only one, or at least, the most active one in that area. And if someone wants to make a elven psionicist based in the Canyon of Wastes, the imm looking over the application will be able to check on the details of the already-existing one, to see if it would be too many in that location to approve the app.

A quickie chart just showing the staff how many of which type are in which location and their average play times should be sufficient to give them a fair accounting, and make it easier for them to determine whether or not to approve an app.

The only drawback to this, is that someone who gets rejected, would then know OOCly that there's a psionicist who lives in the Canyon of Wastes. This could be problematic in less trustworthy players.
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Cale_Knight

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« Reply #161 on: August 03, 2007, 03:50:59 PM »
In theory, if a less trustworthy player apps a psionicist he shouldn't be expecting to get one anyway.
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FightClub

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« Reply #162 on: August 03, 2007, 04:28:54 PM »
Quote from: "Cale_Knight"
In theory, if a less trustworthy player apps a psionicist he shouldn't be expecting to get one anyway.


In theory aye, but I've seen people who really didn't need to be playing those roles get away with it, and worse.  I've seen people who didn't even have a basic grasp for emoting get 1-2 karma roles before.  But even more sadly, I've seen a lot of people get turned away from things they probably should be able to play because these roles are being flung out and anyone and everyone, despite the karma requirements.

Partially I'm glad we are being given chances to play things we otherwise couldn't have.  I've been playing for -- fuck knows how long now, and I've amasses a grand total of one karma, so I'm glad I had the chance to special app an elkrosian (which I really shouldn't have been able to.) But it was a fun break from the mundane, and the delves, until I could get back into the warrior mode.
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ale six

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« Reply #163 on: August 03, 2007, 04:33:15 PM »
Sanvean, thanks for such a long and thoughtful post on this, it's nice to hear thought has been put into this issue (and that the issue has even been acknowledged.)

I just wanted to add that maybe some in-game reinforcement of stereotypes and the docs would help some things. If a mage is being obnoxious with their power in a way that might be disregarding NPCs or the virtual environment, maybe staff could step in a bit to nudge them back into place. Gemmed mages in Allanak who (for example, not sure if anyone does this) walk around outside the Elementalist's Quarter in Allanak while GLOWING AND ON FIRE would probably start riots and panics. Even just a few echoes would hopefully be enough to make someone realise they're being a bit too blatant with their power in a place they shouldn't be.

The problem, as some people said, may not be more magick, but that more magick is visible. I think if the game were made more dangerous for mages to go around flaunting themselves as a mage, by both PC actions and NPC reinforcement, we might get back to a place where magick would seem more rare because it is seen less.

Belenos

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« Reply #164 on: August 03, 2007, 04:36:10 PM »
The problem with statistics gathering is that where people 'perceive' the problem is does not quantify well.   Just saying a person is 'active' doesn't tell you a lot.  

Consider the situation where a person is a sekret Nalzi, yet doesn't play the nalzi aspect of his character very much, the majority of the time he acts as a merchant, yet he is logged on and interacting quite a bit.  Compare this to a less skilled roleplayer who has a rukkian that likes to do lots of magicky things with whomever he meets, but doesn't log on near as much.   From the majority of player's perspective the first person would come across as a mundane, while the second is very visible.  

How do you create formulas behind this?  In truth you can't, it is all subjective. One magicker may add a lot to the game, drive plots, and be overall entertaining, another may not.  My personal opinion based on what I have observed, is that a moratorium on special applications, or running things 'by the numbers' would have a negative impact on the game as well as the players.   The best way to deal with perceived imbalances is to tweak them by looking at the subjective trends and the individual players, adjusting things using old fashioned good judgment.
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a strange shadow

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« Reply #165 on: August 03, 2007, 05:51:39 PM »
Quote from: "Sanvean"
2) People are always going to want to have a special character with a mutation, or some code-tweak, or a creature, and this provides a process for reviewing those. The alternative is just not to listen to people's requests, which I don't like very much. Some of the characters that have come out of that process have added a lot to the game.


This point could be addressed by allowing special applications for character concepts that cannot be created using the karma system as is, e.g. a psionic vivaduan, a mutant that can climb like spiderman. The rest of the points I can't really argue with. I will just say that special applications seem like a huge waste of time that is better spent elsewhere.

Perhaps special applications are a necessary evil, but it appears to me like there is one main problem that is the root of this recent explosion of complaints about the visibility and power of mages: lack of responsibility. Cutting back on special applications and forcing people to earn the karma is just one suggestion to curtail irresponsible players. Granted, we get people who abuse their karma privileges as well, so it wouldn't be a failsafe solution. I'll concede that point.

However, as alesix illustrated in her post above, I would like to see a lot more crackdown on those who throw around their powers or fail to consider the IC (often virtual) consequences of their actions.

One other major thing that I believe is leading to this perception of "mages everywhere" is that high-powered characters are getting far more casual with their abilities. They're walking around with openly visible affects, casting in the middle of the road or where virtual and (N)PC populations exist, floating around willy-nilly, and in general just not bothering to hide what they are. That in itself is not always bad role-play, as it may be in character to be arrogant or confident enough to believe they can get away with it. What is bad about it is that, frequently, they are getting away with it.

Someone who doesn't bother to hide that they're a spell-slinging, psionic, or sorcerous freak should expect the reprisals that should be sure to follow. The one slight exception is the gemmed of Allanak, but frankly, I haven't seen nearly the level of "casual casting" from those as I have from the ones who have gotten cocky in their wilderness playground.

mansa

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« Reply #166 on: August 03, 2007, 06:35:39 PM »
Quote from: "Belenos"
The problem with statistics gathering is that where people 'perceive' the problem is does not quantify well.   Just saying a person is 'active' doesn't tell you a lot.  

Consider the situation where a person is a sekret Nalzi, yet doesn't play the nalzi aspect of his character very much, the majority of the time he acts as a merchant, yet he is logged on and interacting quite a bit.  Compare this to a less skilled roleplayer who has a rukkian that likes to do lots of magicky things with whomever he meets, but doesn't log on near as much.   From the majority of player's perspective the first person would come across as a mundane, while the second is very visible.  

How do you create formulas behind this?  In truth you can't, it is all subjective. One magicker may add a lot to the game, drive plots, and be overall entertaining, another may not.  My personal opinion based on what I have observed, is that a moratorium on special applications, or running things 'by the numbers' would have a negative impact on the game as well as the players.   The best way to deal with perceived imbalances is to tweak them by looking at the subjective trends and the individual players, adjusting things using old fashioned good judgment.




Hey Belenos,

You're right in that it's not perfect.  But it sure helps in making decisions!
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Fathi

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« Reply #167 on: August 03, 2007, 06:36:53 PM »
I think a lot of the special app problems could be solved by slight tweaking and careful monitoring of the karma system.

Theoretically, like Cale_Knight said, we shouldn't have to worry about someone who isn't a responsible enough player to handle a psionicist or high-karma mage being granted one...

But FightClub says he's got one karma. No offense to FightClub, I don't know his account history or PCs or the imms' opinion of him or anything, I'm just saying that the idea of the karma system is a measure staff trust, yes? In theory, FightClub's karma level would have been bumped if the imms trusted him enough to play a Vivaduan or Rukkian. He was not given these options, and yet when he applied for a much more karma-heavy mage, it was accepted.

If the imms decide this 1-karma player is trustworthy enough to give him a mage, why not simply bump him up to karma level 2 to reflect that trust? I know Vivaduans, Rukkians, and Elkrosians are all very different, but I guess I'm just saying that my opinion on the matter is that unless someone has proven themselves trustworthy enough to have open access to the first two, I don't think they should even be considered for the third.

I know I'm not seeing the whole picture behind the scenes 'cause I'm not a staff member, but I have an idea to toss around nonetheless. It's not terribly fleshed out and I know it's not perfect, but...

What would the staff and players think of a system that would allow someone to special app, but only at two or possibly three karma levels above their current karma? That way they could still try out new things, but I think a lot fewer people would try apping some of those 12 psionicists if they knew they had to have a moderate amount of karma to even be considered.

Sure, it might cause some new, very responsible players to be hampered from possible roles, but my answer to that is this: if they're that good of a player and the karma system isn't being totally neglected, they should have some karma in the first place, even after just a few characters.

Edited for clarity.
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Sanvean

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« Reply #168 on: August 03, 2007, 06:47:16 PM »
My thought is that I don't want someone putting the time and energy into revamping the system when a) it's in place for only a few more months and b) we're just now starting to see the effects of a stricter policy and need at least a month or two to properly see whether or not that's worked.  When Arm 2 is up, we're going to try a karma-less system for a month or so and then re-evaluate.

To people who are saying that people should be RPing out fear of magick -- yep.  And even magickers should be wary of alliance, with some elements inspiring outright antagonism in each other, such as water/fire, earth/air, everyone/Nilaz.

 I think with saying that I've said about all that I have to say on the subject for a while.

jhunter

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« Reply #169 on: August 03, 2007, 08:16:01 PM »
I don't utilize the special app system much myself, but I wanted to throw out a thanks to San, Vanth, and the other imms who have dedicated their time to dealing with them. I'm sure it's a pain in the ass.

naatok

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« Reply #170 on: August 15, 2007, 02:07:09 PM »
a strange shadow wrote:
Quote

Someone who doesn't bother to hide that they're a spell-slinging, psionic, or sorcerous freak should expect the reprisals that should be sure to follow. The one slight exception is the gemmed of Allanak, but frankly, I haven't seen nearly the level of "casual casting" from those as I have from the ones who have gotten cocky in their wilderness playground.

 
There are other cultures in the world besides Allanak with the gemmed who are at least accepting of the idea of magick.
 
As far as cockiness in the wilds goes, well...some people will always be focused on the power they wield, be that a gladiator who is a sword master, an elf hunter with a bow, or a mage or mind bender.  Some will be so focused on their superiority that they will abuse those who may be helpless in the face of their whim.
 
I would hate to think that every mundane sort of character who travels the wilds runs into such with any real frequency.  In my mind, a frequent traveller/explorer would have a once or twice in a life-time encounter with such (twice if they happen to survive the first).  But if this is happening on a constant basis with most people in the wild then I would have to agree something is wrong and out of balance.  Maybe I am being narrow-minded....if so, I apologize.
 
Meeting others with strange powers though, is going to happen much more frequently than these ultra frightening, utterly ruthless and cruel sorts.  Most people are fairly neutral in their benevolence/malevolence toward others and I cannot see those having magickal/psionic powers as much different in severity or scope....depending of course on the background and experiences of those folks.
 
However, travelling to distant lands and, as a player, not expecting your character to have a run-in with the occult is probably not a realistic expectation, imho.  Even in a fully karma governed race/guild rp gameworld.
 
I agree with you completely on the idea that these persons should expect fear and hostility from others because of their display of powers.  Especially those 'outlawed' guilds, sorcerers and psionicists (and to a -slightly- lesser extent, Nilazi).
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Dakkon Black

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« Reply #171 on: August 15, 2007, 02:41:27 PM »
I just want everyone to know that the last char I made was an elven pickpocket, and the next one I'm going to make is a ranger of some sort probably.

I have lots of Karma. So there will be at least 1 mundane in the game!
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Nile

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« Reply #172 on: August 15, 2007, 05:13:45 PM »
^^^ I'm with you man. I decided not to play any magickers until they finally start becoming rare again.
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Mr.B

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« Reply #173 on: August 30, 2007, 06:43:45 PM »
I am also with you, Dakkon Black. I've found that many players who play magickers these days know exactly how to powergame their characters and have it down to a science at this point. Given that there's been so much exposure to magickal guilds and there is alot of information floating around freely both ic and ooc about those guilds, this has caused the loss of mystery surrounding the magickers to a number of players, brought discussion about the magicker guilds and drawn alot of ire from players who know about that. Another big problem is the fact that mage characters can see their advancement and know exactly how they're coming along. I hope that is addressed in the next game since it's too late at this stage in the game to change that. This saddens me and I refuse to play a magicker guild for those reasons.
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