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Xelachai added a topic in SuggestionsThe Seer System/Dynamic EventsHello all. Long time lurker, first time poster. Every so often I come across a game that reminds me of the love and passion that I had for Ultima Online. I wrote fanfiction, I made crappy .bmp art and I even volunteered to help out a part of the game when I could. No greater has that impact been more well-known in longstanding RP communities than Ultima Online, and it's Seer Volunteers alongside Interest Game Masters through the Seer System.
Yeah, it's a roleplay post primarily. But there might be a little bit of something for everyone, I'd think.
Though to properly explain, a little bit of history is needed. Back when Origin owned the rights to UO in the Renaissance Expansion days, Roleplayers and K3wl d00ds alike could join together in dynamic events brought about by volunteers known as Seers. Seers were players that volunteered their time to providing dynamic experiences to the Ultima Online community. Imagine you're in town doing your thing when all of the sudden the chat goes wild after a GM announces that there seems to be an intelligent dragon making it's way for a key city. Players run in droves to discover that it is indeed true! A massive dragon has been spawned and is slow walking towards a town. But it's not hurting anyone. It's actually flagged as friendly and even talks! In actuality this dragon is a player, whose avatar has been changed to an in game dragon monster by the Interest Game Master. The two, while working in conjunction with one another, gave their server and channel roughly 3-4 hours of fresh, original content just by walking around and randomly talking to people.
There are no prizes. There is no loot or gold to be won. There's no story, no enemy grind, no nothing. It's just an interaction for the players to give their world more life. The dragon of course was kept in character and would only respond to someone every so often when something interesting was spoken, and when it was bored it emoted flying away and vanished, never to be heard from again. People trying to grief immediately realized their mistake when the dragon would just one-shot them after that person continued to spam chat or just generally violate ToS for the sake of irritating people, and in the UO days when you died you dropped everything you had on you all the way down to your shoes.
And people got killed for having the wrong color shoes.
Now these events weren't simply limited to just chance roleplay opportunities either. Sometimes dynamic events came in multiple different flavors. A city being invaded by a raiding party of monster types with only one hit point. Players get to feel important and needed while not having to worry about whether or not their gear is up to par, or if they've played the game enough. At some points events with loot were given out, however items were given off of a randomly generated treasure chest with nothing being of superb value. Seers would come seeking adventurers to go on an epic quest in groups of 4-5 or more, and the players would then spend hours globetrotting to find other Seers that have been stationed, in order to get the next clue. This would go on for some time until finally you'd solve the riddle, and take home your reward. Sometimes it was dyes, sometimes it was gold. Sometimes it was your name placed on a plaque for all the in game world to marvel and be envious over. It could be trivial or grandiose, depending on the situation.
But the biggest aspect of the Seer System? Roleplay; and two prominent guilds come to mind: The Shadowclan Orcs, and the Undead Necropolis. (if anything at this point I'm dating myself with these links) These two guilds which were strictly player run, did so well that the game devs actually made persistent parts of the land specifically for them to use because of the impact they had through interacting with the entire server player base through the Seer System and storylines developed through them. I would love to see this system here in Black Desert, as it would breathe even more life into the roleplayer community. I know most gamers like to advocate on the PvP, and PvE aspects and while they can have some entertainment value from the seer system (I can imagine a literal God of Battle spawning outside of Heidel Arena and challenging players to a one on one face off for the right to call themselves a God of Battle) but I come here on behalf of the roleplaying community.
I know that the Seer program ended back in the EQ days where some player threatened to sue the company for their Volunteer work and it has since put an immediate damper on that idea for the longest time. However with today's technology and this game's platform I'd like to believe that this system can make a massive comeback and help increase your interactivity with your player base. A direct feedback line where you can immediately gauge reactions and check on your populace while making note of what major adjustments can be made in the future. Should this idea even be entertained, you can protect yourself legally so that the past need not repeat itself.
One, outline clearly and concisely that any players that want to participate in the Seer Program are strictly there on a Volunteer Basis. Their ability to use a Seer Character is a privilege, not a right nor means of employment. Clearly point out what is expected of the player that is put into that position, but also ensure that they have the tools in order to meet that expectation. Allow Volunteers a small amount of command access. Perhaps their account is given access to a tool or useable item that allows for the spawning of level one 1hp Shadow Knights that will move to a fixed location or will just aggressively menace (though not attack) any player that comes near it, or maybe they can teleport another player short distances. There's a lot of different varying ideas that can be applied as to how much leeway a Volunteer is given.
Two, ensure that the selection process is in open writing. You'll want creative and energetic people to fulfill the role of Seers, so a multiple choice quiz would be useless. Instead, ask essay questions for those who'd really like to participate. If they really want to give their time to the community, they'll undergo the tasks needed to do so. Volunteers also need to be instructed that they must be fair and impartial. Simply because they are a roleplayer, does not mean that they can only create roleplay friendly events, and that goes even further to favoritism amongst friends. The position does not exist so you can just give your guild the best storyline ever, or the most exciting event for some group. The Seer System is for all players to have access to in order to encourage a living and breathing world. As a part of the interview process, ask Volunteers in detail on different scenarios. Ask for a scenario for PvE, PvP, Roleplay, and General. Finally use an NDA clause to ensure that your Volunteers keep their interactions with Daum/PA confidential. Granted that nothing illegal, immoral, or unethical is happening, but as I'm not a legal genius, I am quite sure there are some loopholes that could be found and exploited if not properly contained, as it would be in any sort of arrangement with Volunteers.
Third and most important, make absolutely sure that Volunteers are told in explicit, bolded, italicized, fourty-two font, times new roman, that they are NOT an employee of Daum/Pearl Abyss (Or any other parent company involved) and DO NOT represent you. They are not entitled to any sort of pay of any sort, be it in or out of game. Their time is strictly on a volunteer basis and that their access to the Seer Program can be terminated without any prior notice. Note that violating any part of the agreement can lead to the termination of the Volunteer's account should they be found guilty of abusing any of the privileges afforded to them and stress that point as much as you can during the interview process.
Now as for staffing, this project wouldn't be a massive undertaking, save the proper coding for the Seer System should it be implemented but beyond that it's continued running can be overseen by a few people. Give a few interns something to do by staying in contact with Volunteers on a weekly basis for data collection, with one Head Interest Game Master per server (Being a lead tech or game dev), With three or so lower tier employees (or even interns actually cause their job will literally to be sit there out of the way and use their imagination) as Acting IGMs (The Acting IGM Role being the official part of the agreement that maintains a background role, ensuring that the Volunteers' activities are logged and going over data collection to submit on higher) and I'd say no more then 2-3 acting Volunteers per Channel or per server if you prefer.
Please don't misunderstand, I love the game for what it is and it's been a very long time since any game has made me feel that way about it. I know that it takes a lot more than happy thoughts and wishful thinking for ideas and suggestions to be realized, but this is more of a "Hey do you think it's possible" suggestion. I'm happy that we have timely events as we have, I'd just like to see even more options available to us in this game. (Though if I had to make any from the hip suggestions, it'd be to add some original NA/EU content to the Cash Shop instead of just following the trail left by the KR version. We can be relevant without being completely up to patch I'd think)
In any event, this is the rough and unshaped version of the idea that was the Seer System. I'd love to see something like it again but it doesn't need to be. Thank you for reading my long winded post. I look forward to hearing (if any) feedback that anyone may have.
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