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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:16 pm
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What is 'personal influence'?

Right now influence does nothing... except for change the flags over skylands!

Personal influence would presumably not even be able to do that.

So, it sounds like you would simply be opting out of the influence game entirely. I can see people not participating heavily, but it seems ridiculous to remove yourself completely for no reason.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:42 am 

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Thanks for the compliment, Gilbert. We're happy to have been able to change your opinion. We're also very grateful for the chance to influence the future of factions in the game.

I like your idea set, with a couple tweaks.

Quote:
2. Flight schoolers can gain personal influence, but not influence for the purpose of taking over Skylands.

There should be a hard cap to personal influence totals for members of Flight School, say around 50k influence. If FS is to be a starting location and nothing more, then encourage people to leave. If there are enough options in a player's choice of factions, there's no reason for them to stay in Flight School, and no reason for a Skyland's citizens to grant a student more than a small amount of influence. Additionally, if a handful of people decides to start running influence for FS under this restriction, it should be pretty obvious from the get-go that it's being done.

Quote:
3. Flight School has no faction chat. Instead, everyone has a 'help' channel that they can enable/disable viewing.

I'd also suggest that pilots with a small amount of flight experience (24-72 hours) can only view World radio; they cannot participate. This would help keep common questions out of World and in the Help channel, but not completely isolate new players from the game.

Quote:
6. For events like the Legacy Event, Independents influence totals may be taken into account.

I don't think Independent influence should be totaled for such events, for reasons discussed below.

Quote:
7. Players will be able to switch factions every [period of time].

I support the suggestion that a record be kept of these switches, and that they also be publicized. I'd also suggest that while an individual retain personal influence during a switch, that influence earned under a faction's banner remain with that faction and not be lost should the individual who earned it switch factions.

Regarding point six, I personally feel that an Independent faction should essentially be a 'non-faction'. Individuals who have nothing in common except the desire to be unaffiliated. Such individuals should be able to earn personal influence, but in a major world event such as the Legacy Event, it makes little to no sense for their influence to be totaled.

Deyo wrote:
Can Flight School and Independent pilots be governors?

I would assume so, or there is, as Grant said, no point whatsoever in accruing personal influence. There are a number of players, myself included, who would very much like to earn influence towards a governorship without contributing to a faction total.

Tarlach, I am sad to say that I cannot help but see your arguments as evidence of a very narrow-minded view of the Skyrates universe. The factions should not be governed by (and indeed, it is my understanding that the devs are trying to move away from) a style of gameplay, but by a philosophy. The concept of Blue as a catchall for those dissatisfied with Red and Green has been pitched before, many times, and it always fails for one reason or another; frequently the issue comes back to the concern that for a 'merry band of idealistic misfits' the Blue faction has a surprising sense of culture and identity. I do not believe this to be a bad thing, but neither do I think it represents an appealing choice to individuals such as myself. As for what additional factions could 'contribute to the political landscape of the Skyrates story universe that is not already present with the three-faction system', I need point you no further than the Earthen Order's religious and philosphical beliefs for the simplest example. There are nearly infinite possibilities for faction backgrounds outside the three philosophies currently expressed by Red, Green, and Blue.

Regarding faction switches, I think you're finding complexity and mistrust where others would find options and depth. It was not too long ago that factions could be changed freely, and there was a great deal of factional loyalty to be seen. Ask anyone that was around for the previous two rounds.

As for who earns influence, factions or individuals, I would like to point out that currently individuals earn influence on behalf of their factions, and that influence stays with them if they change factions. I personally think that separate totals should be maintained for factions and individuals (rather than a running total of current members, as seems to be the case right now) so that an individual could freely switch factions without skewing factional standings wildly. The pilots in Skyrates seem to be presented as something like privateers or freelancers, and as such it shouldn't really matter what they do once they finish their mission on behalf of faction X, although most will likely have no small amount of loyalty to one faction or another.

Quote:
If the story universe of Skyrates becomes a labyrinth of retcons and shoehorned-in story elements which were simply added to please a small group of players rather than to fit in with the overall vision of the game's creators, I think fewer people will feel it's worth their time to figure it all out.

Pardon my harsh tone, please, but quite frankly I think you're letting your paranoia run away with you. The Skyrates story is pretty {static} convoluted right now, so anyone likely to be discouraged by that is already looking elsewhere in the game for their entertainment. Those people who like a good, deep, twisting story would like to see the Skyrates universe expanded and added to; by the devs' own declaration, there's a lot more to it than what we know right now. If what we're seeing with the Legacy Event, the Court, the Order, Eltsina, etc. is any idea, I think things are going to get much more interesting...or convoluted, if you prefer the term. 'Labyrinth', 'retcon', and 'shoehorned' are pretty strong language, and I think you're overreacting.

Take a few deep breaths and try to remember that the changes currently being considered may be for a 'small group of players', but we are not an insignificant portion of the Skyrates community. Skyrates is made up of a small group of players, and it is the devs' attention to the requests and pulse of the community that makes it the great game it is.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:43 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:46 pm
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Sildar wrote:
I'd also suggest that pilots with a small amount of flight experience (24-72 hours) can only view World radio; they cannot participate. This would help keep common questions out of World and in the Help channel, but not completely isolate new players from the game.


I disagree.. that would really throw out potential active players. I'm sure those in the world chat will often tell people to direct their questions to the help channel. Besides, I'm also sure the help channel will be actively patrolled by recruiting faction members...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:21 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:50 pm
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[Removed. Apologies to Sildar for being an {static}.]

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Last edited by Tarlach on Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:09 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:32 am 

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Tarlach wrote:
In fact, the current blue faction forum name is "The Blue Independents," suggesting that the faction exists to cater to those who don't feel they fall into either of the other factions, but still want to play a part in the overall political landscape of Skytopia.
A new independent faction will fill the niche of "those who don't feel they fall into pure combat/trade but don't want to play a part in the overall political landscape of Skytopia".

Tarlach wrote:
Faction switching would complicate the game's structure, and faction members would never be able to completely rely upon the loyalty of their faction-mates. This is where things can get really hairy.
Isn't true loyalty/friendship when you're able to trust that faction-mates won't turn on you?

Tarlach wrote:
Only allowing switching after a predetermined period of time? Having to leave a comment on why you're leaving one faction for another? A 'permanent record' of faction loyalties over time? Get real! Who is honestly going to spend their time trying to figure out all the ins and outs of faction-switching?Who is realistically going to be able to keep an eye on things to make sure the system isn't being abused? This is unnecessary complexity.

We can get a robot to keep an eye on the time limits and organize the permanent record. As I see it, the comments are just an optional thing. No one's really going to make sure that your reason's valid.

I don't see potential for abuse based on the current benefits that factions give: if you want to get into their forums/chat, alts are way more convenient than switching.

Tarlach wrote:
What if a player decides to leave a faction and become an "independent," taking their personal career accrued influence with them? What are they going to do, go out and start their own personal faction? What use would they have with all those influence points if they join a faction that can't earn influence?
These are more of questions that need to be answered rather than an argument against the suggestion. The mechanics of "personal influence" needs clarification.

Tarlach wrote:
If players leave one colored faction for another, taking their accrued influence with them, all I can see this leading to is faction leaders attempting to court players who already have massive influence 'accounts', and the political landscape of Skytopia changing wildly and unpredictably as a result of individual player factional decisions. If you thought the bickering was bad now, just wait until the accusations of foul play start flying between factions... Come on, people--think these things through!
This argument only works under the assumption that you'll bring your influence with you when you switch. I'm sure that the abuse from that is obvious enough for the devs to see.

Tarlach wrote:
I think this game could fall prey to "World-of-Warcraft-itis", a condition in which the story universe becomes so convoluted and confusing that new people are intimidated, and don't feel it's worth the effort to find their place in it.
Skyrates already deals with complexity by limiting it at first with flight and trade licenses. The faction complexity is limited at first by range and flight licenses. You're underestimating people when you think than an extra faction and faction switching is too confusing for them.

Tarlach wrote:
If the story universe of Skyrates becomes a labyrinth of retcons and shoehorned-in story elements which were simply added to please a small group of players rather than to fit in with the overall vision of the game's creators, I think fewer people will feel it's worth their time to figure it all out. Keep the story universe coherent, and let that drive the game structure.
The fact that the game's in beta means that retcons will be part of the game. The changes in geography, for example, are quite large. Rushed story elements won't be a problem if the writers are good.

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 Post subject: Re: Flight School Faction
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:40 am 
Flight Master

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Deyo wrote:
Can Flight School and Independent pilots be governors?-c.


Yes on Independents. Maybe on Flight School.

Deyo wrote:
Can Flight School and Independent pilots be governors?-c.


Yes on Independents. Maybe on Flight School.

Tarlach wrote:
I personally disagree with Gilbert's plan, because it would result in a substantially more convoluted story universe, and would make the faction system more confusing. Here are the elements of the faction system I would like to see preserved as they are:


Undoubtably it would make the system more complicated. The question is, how much so, and is it a worthwhile trade of.

Quote:
Three colored factions. The current three-faction system provides three political entities, three different ideologies, and three different storylines. The Red faction caters to those who have a competitive streak, and like to let that show, optimizing their planes for combat. The Green faction caters to those who would prefer simply to play the trading side of the game, optimizing their planes for cargo capacity and learning how to maximize their profit. The Blue faction is a catch-all for those who didn't fit in anywhere else. In fact, the current blue faction forum name is "The Blue Independents," suggesting that the faction exists to cater to those who don't feel they fall into either of the other factions, but still want to play a part in the overall political landscape of Skytopia. The reliance on "soft power" within the Blue faction underscores this idea that Blue is a merry band of idealistic misfits, in which each member should feel free to do what he decides to do. I do not see what two additional "independent" factions would contribute to the political landscape of the Skyrates story universe that is not already present with the three-faction system, but I do agree that the additional independent factions should not be allowed to run influence -- that is, unless it's decided that these factions should exist for the purpose of taking political control.


The two proposed independent factions serve two important purposes.

First off, Flight School would not even really be a faction. They would have no flags, no private channel, and no private forum.

Independents, the group that gains no influence, is important because there are a bunch of people out there who really don't want to be involved in the influence wars and need to be separated from the flight school 'newbies.'

Moreover, the political landscape right now in Skytopia is flawed for a number of reasons that we can get into at another time.

Quote:
No faction switching/Once you leave Flight School, you're gone for good. I grouped these two together because one follows from the other. Faction switching would complicate the game's structure, and faction members would never be able to completely rely upon the loyalty of their faction-mates. This is where things can get really hairy. Only allowing switching after a predetermined period of time? Having to leave a comment on why you're leaving one faction for another? A 'permanent record' of faction loyalties over time? Get real! Who is honestly going to spend their time trying to figure out all the ins and outs of faction-switching? Who is realistically going to be able to keep an eye on things to make sure the system isn't being abused? This is unnecessary complexity.


I have watched people join a faction, decide they really don't care for the people there, and then just leave the game because the character they spent a lot of time on is stuck forever. That is terrible. There needs to be a way to leave a faction once you've joined it.

Quote:
Factions earn influence, not individuals. What if a player decides to leave a faction and become an "independent," taking their personal career accrued influence with them? What are they going to do, go out and start their own personal faction? What use would they have with all those influence points if they join a faction that can't earn influence? If players leave one colored faction for another, taking their accrued influence with them, all I can see this leading to is faction leaders attempting to court players who already have massive influence 'accounts', and the political landscape of Skytopia changing wildly and unpredictably as a result of individual player factional decisions. If you thought the bickering was bad now, just wait until the accusations of foul play start flying between factions... Come on, people--think these things through!


I don't think you quite understand how influence works. Influence is per faction, per skyland. An individual switching factions does not take their influence with them, and thus swing a skyland to their new faction. Now, they will take their personal reputation with them, so if they are governor, they will stay governor, but switching factions will NOT change the influence totals. Things have been thought about a bit more than you imply.

Quote:
I think this game could fall prey to "World-of-Warcraft-itis", a condition in which the story universe becomes so convoluted and confusing that new people are intimidated, and don't feel it's worth the effort to find their place in it. If the story universe of Skyrates becomes a labyrinth of retcons and shoehorned-in story elements which were simply added to please a small group of players rather than to fit in with the overall vision of the game's creators, I think fewer people will feel it's worth their time to figure it all out. Keep the story universe coherent, and let that drive the game structure.


It could, and that is a danger. However, this is also a beta, and as such we will likely be trying things to see how they work. The thing about the story is that at a surface level, the new player doesn't get their face smashed in with it. Like many things, it can be encountered at the player's discretion. The new discussion about factions is based a lot on the developer's desires for game mechanics, NOT a need to twist the story around.


Last edited by Lord Gilbert on Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:46 am 
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Quote:
I personally think that separate totals should be maintained for factions and individuals (rather than a running total of current members, as seems to be the case right now) so that an individual could freely switch factions without skewing factional standings wildly.


That is the case. Governorships and Faction Control are two separate concepts. As i said, if you were to change a faction, you would maintain your standing in the run for the Governorship, but the numbers for Faction control would not change.

Quote:
Then why, pray tell, did the devs opt to discontinue this? I'm sorry, I haven't really been around quite as long as you have, so you've probably got further insight you can offer into this. Would the devs have simply decided this on a whim?


When you can switch on a whim, the factions have no real importance whatsoever, and the decision to join one becomes meaningless.

In the current state, it's a BIG decision that you can't go back on. Honestly, it's a decision that is much more intimidating to a new casual player. Once you're in, you're stuck forever.

At this point, we are attempting to find a middle ground.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:59 am 

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I like your suggestions, Gil.

:grin:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:22 am 

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I like tryst's 'no switch backs' suggestion. I might also add that it should not be a simple, easy interface switch. I would suggest a petition to the Devs. That might make to much extra work, so perhaps a petition to a inter-factional group of 'moderators' selected by the Devs. Perhaps if you're switching factions, the faction you're switching into would be the group to which you would submit the proposal?

Alternatively (or additionally) requiring some in-forum Role playing of the factional switch or the completion of a extra set of quests/requirements to prove your worth and commitment to your new faction?

Basically, I don't think a time limit is enough. Switching Factions should not be easy. Once you join, you're in for better or worse, except for extreme circumstances.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight School Faction
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:25 am 
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Lord Gilbert wrote:
Deyo wrote:
Can Flight School and Independent pilots be governors?-c.


Yes on Independents. Maybe on Flight School.

Deyo wrote:
Can Flight School and Independent pilots be governors?-c.


Yes on Independents. Maybe on Flight School.


I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.

-c.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:30 am 
Flight Master

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Quixotic wrote:
I like tryst's 'no switch backs' suggestion. I might also add that it should not be a simple, easy interface switch. I would suggest a petition to the Devs. That might make to much extra work, so perhaps a petition to a inter-factional group of 'moderators' selected by the Devs. Perhaps if you're switching factions, the faction you're switching into would be the group to which you would submit the proposal?

Alternatively (or additionally) requiring some in-forum Role playing of the factional switch or the completion of a extra set of quests/requirements to prove your worth and commitment to your new faction?


At the moment, we also looking at solutions that can continue to work even if the game is scaled up. Petitioning the developers, a selected group of moderators, etc just may not be realistic.

Additionally, some people don't want to roleplay, and I'm not inclined to force them to roleplay to accomplish what they want.

Quote:
Basically, I don't think a time limit is enough. Switching Factions should not be easy. Once you join, you're in for better or worse, except for extreme circumstances.


And again, right now it is too important a decision and I think it can be brought back. The idea of not being able to join a faction again once you leave is interesting, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Flight School Faction
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:06 am 
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There seems to be little difference between FS and the Independents in this plan, in which case FS might as well just be the Independents (and it sort of makes sense that they don't get an actual Faction Chat, as the idea is that they don't collaborate/aren't affiliated with anyone, including each other).

If the point is for them to be separate, I agree with the cap on FS influence. In that case, FS really is just the starter faction, which you're encouraged to switch out of if you want to gain influence points at all, even for yourself.

I like the idea of faction switching, but agree it needs to be a suitably long time to prevent abuse. The idea of locking down leading up to an event also sounds good. I've heard of multiple people who wanted to switch factions, and were locked in after having made their choice. It wasn't such a big deal when we were expecting a reset in the not-too-distant future (this round has gone on far too long), but if resets are going to keep getting put off like this, people need to be able to switch as things change.

I also like the idea of having somewhere people can check who's switched between which factions. (I also would like the idea of having built in "private forums" that involved unlocking/earning, so that alts and people switching had to earn the right to see them. Some people have claimed this will lead to "cliques" ruling the factions, but that sort of happens already, and besides, if you don't let people in and they can leave, they won't stick around, they'll just jump to a friendlier faction.)

For the major Events, I don't think it's fair to keep the "Independents" out. It makes sense that they could put their Event Points (of whatever types exists) towards the faction of their choice. The other option would be to let them (and only them) switch to another faction at any point during the event (and be free to switch back to Independents afterwards). That way, if someone who only plays sporadically misses the window to switch to a faction for the event, they can still participate. Still, I think it would be more interesting to just let them give their points where they see fit (and then the factions and the Independents can do political maneuvering to try to encourage those points to go where they want...)

As for making things "more convoluted" and requiring "tons of retcons" - it's a beta. It's gonna happen. It should be cohesive once it's out of beta, but the devs are still experimenting. Thus, lots of retcons.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:20 am 

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After some discussion, I can see where an additional, 'independent' "faction" might fit into the game, but I hold that the 'Independent' faction should be prevented from running influence altogether, if its members wish to simply avoid political affiliation -- otherwise, you're not simply creating another kind of political affiliation that's "just none of the above" - you're creating another functional faction. But look at me -- I haven't run an influence-gathering mission for months, until just last night. And until now, I've been silent on political issues, only speaking up now because changes in the game structure are what are presently being debated. I'd say that I've done a decent job of avoiding the stickier parts of the political situation of Skytopia altogether, within the freedom afforded by my Blue faction affiliation.

I still maintain that additional factions should not simply be created willy-nilly, without a very convincing argument, as well as a description of where that faction would fit into the world of Skytopian politics (where they came from, why they want control, etc.), and I should clarify that I don't have anything against a couple of new factions, if they can fit into an actual niche in the storyline. I just want to avoid sixteen other groups knocking at the devs' door explaining why they should all get their own factions.

I also maintain that players shouldn't take influence points with them if they are allowed to freely switch factions. I know they can take their reputation with them, but reputation points aren't handled the same way as influence points, and for a player to take their influence with them when they go would necessitate a change in the way influence points are handled.

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Last edited by Tarlach on Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:28 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:20 am 
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Quote:
For the major Events, I don't think it's fair to keep the "Independents" out. It makes sense that they could put their Event Points (of whatever types exists) towards the faction of their choice. The other option would be to let them (and only them) switch to another faction at any point during the event (and be free to switch back to Independents afterwards). That way, if someone who only plays sporadically misses the window to switch to a faction for the event, they can still participate. Still, I think it would be more interesting to just let them give their points where they see fit (and then the factions and the Independents can do political maneuvering to try to encourage those points to go where they want...)


This appeals.

It would be interesting to see Independents as almost like mercenaries.

In regards to why the difference between Flight School and Independents, it comes to a few things.

1. We need a newbie status free from the intricacies of factions and the like.

2. We need a faction for people who really just want to sit out from the influence game.

3. We want to make sure that just because you don't want to do the influence game, you can still have a private place where like-minded people can chat.

Hence, Independents.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:27 am 
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Tarlach wrote:
After some discussion, I can see where an additional, 'independent' "faction" might fit into the game, but I hold that the 'Independent' faction should be prevented from running influence


And that is the current plan, although they CAN still become governors. Rather, if some independent becomes the most loved person at a skyland, they will govern (regardless of the faction affiliation of the skyland). This is the way it's always been.

Quote:
I also maintain that players shouldn't take influence points with them if they are allowed to freely switch factions. I know they can take their reputation with them, but reputation points aren't handled the same way as influence points, and for a player to take their influence with them when they go would necessitate a change in the way influence points are handled.


So noted. Although I will point out that I don't think *anyone* has even proposed players taking their influence points with them.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:02 am 

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Tarlach wrote:
I should clarify that I don't have anything against a couple of new factions, if they can fit into an actual niche in the storyline. I just want to avoid sixteen other groups knocking at the devs' door explaining why they should all get their own factions.


If the devs decide they want to create another inf-running faction for the FS4L members, I wouldn't mind. Mad Hatter said something about "variety" earlier that I didn't notice until just now. So long as the storyline of the game remains coherent.

[Abuses the 'edit' function again, just for fun.]

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:03 am 
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...okay?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:12 am 

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((OOC: Apologies to Sildar for being a jerk. I fell into my old 'internet argumentation' role, and lost sight of the overall goal I wanted to accomplish, in order to not look like I'd been taken to school, if you'll forgive the pun.))

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:16 am 
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Haha, we had a loooooong conversation over IM. =P Tar's overdoing the clarification in here.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:27 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 3:02 pm
Posts: 673
Faction: Flight School
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Apology accepted.

I'm holding a grudge for the pun, though.

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Former Flight School Faculty
Failed Incarnation of Speech
Nihil aliud scit necessitas quam vincere.


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