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Friday, July 22, 2011

Copypasta

Prevalent habit of clans on RuneScape is copying and pasting. Rank Structure on many RuneScape clans that even have it (and borderline all Stellar Dawn clans) is a flat copy-paste-edit from Wikipedia's article on the clan's theme. This is nothing wrong with highly specifically themed clans copying and pasting, but many clans pull shit out of their ass or Wikipedia without thought of what ranks mean.

Arguably the most popular is 'Private->Corporal->Sergeant...,' this started because majority of RuneScape players are American and drag whatever the US Army has into RuneScape without mind of what the fuck it all means. Moreso, that setup was given a boost when Jagex got lazy and didn't feel like inventing a creative, contextually accurate setup for the clan chats and glued a 21st Century military setup into a fiction fantasy game.

Let me explain.

Today's military rank systems are bonded to organisation and duty, not cool sounding names and General I-Do-Exactly-What-The-Soldier-Does-Because-Michael-Bay-Wants-Badass, which doesn't exist.

Most nations have enlisted ranks and officer ranks (com and non-com).

Enlisted (private, specialist) are the grunts. They ride around in camo and shoot stuff. They make up the largest, most important part of the military.

Commissioned officers (captain, colonel, lieutenant) are management, tactical and strategic specialists. They're guys who went to officer school and were trained to lead large groups on a large scale.

Non-commissioned officers (corporal, sergeant) are people not specifically trained to lead, but have some leadership skill and were likely promoted to a position of leadership for a small area of expertise, like squads.

The thing they all have in common is that the average clan ranking system copied and pasted from Wikipedia uses all of them out of context. Clans make no effort to divide the different roles from each other into clear duties and lump them all into the order Wikipedia has them placed and say, "Private is on the bottom, leader is on top, good luck," which comes down to the fact that there is no difference between Colonel and Private besides the fact that Colonel bumps the thread and shows up at events. Privileges issued to ranks are lost completely and a Colonel might be able to kick. No respect for leadership, no clear roles.

Clearly defined roles are lost in copy and paste. The same follows for others like, 'peasant->squire->knight...'. Peasants could almost never advance their standing and almost never worked in a combat capacity. They were supplies. The farmer who is the only reason you are not starving is a peasant. The blacksmith who saved your life is likely just a respected, skilled peasant on the scale. Which means, if you want a realistic setup, you will have a SHITLOAD of peasants doing zero combat, squires doing whatever the knight says and knights being the only fighters. Roles are lost again.

Developing a rank structure for your own clan which is within context and fitting of the clan's goals is a challenge that should be tackled by every leader. If The Combine used a copy and paste, we'd have about a dozen privates and 5 members somewhere in between, who got no clear recognition for their achievements short of, "This guy did wrote a bunch of crap, but has no moderation experience, so they're allowed a prettier name and can kick."

Combine Rank Structure is built to around roles. The stupid-ass one that is on its way out with the Augurs and crap is still better than the RuneScape one. There're no real clear definitions besides "This one is a bit better," and a moderating segment. It was built to the role of the Mechanised Combine, which was supposed to help a bit on the side, but be mostly normal. The ranks were there to show who you should go to for advice and who can boot your ass.

The overhauled system which includes Citations integrated as more than cosmetic features and split rank structures is an evolution of, "Do what makes sense, not what is easy."

That's why I implemented Citations.

Citations mean a universal award systems for people based on measurable merit applied to practical applications and some other fancy-ass shit.

There's an award for forum activity. For administrative writing. For Wiki contributions. It's not, "Help a bit, I'll promote you and wind up confusing people who think you're good at one thing when you actually suck at it," it's, "Help in a field, get a related award."

Citations are flexible and if someone wants qualified help and is willing to sift through the paperwork we have (hoshit, there's a lot of paperwork), they'll find exactly what they're looking for with a history of their talents. Instead of asking every Colonel about a topic only one Sergeant knows but is unacknowledged for, Citations give us a broad variety of awards for uniquely talented people who may not be any good in another field. That means the guy who sucks at bumping won't lose out on awards and the guy who bumps too often won't shoot up in rank next to the guy who helped found the clan, update the clan, was present at all events, is a great speaker and other nice junk. It's not entirely about quality over quantity, but specific quality in measurable quantities.

There's also room for the standard stuff like Moderators and Recruiters. Title packages assign a title and set of Citations granting privileges once pre-requisite Citations are met. This gives people motivation to actually do shit and makes sure only the qualified ones get the position. Someone without a clue about game mechanics could have a skillset well suited to recruitment. They (probably) won't be ignored and will be given a position related to their talents.

The current Militant Arm has exactly 4 unique ranks out of 5, all with very different roles. Members are given ranks based on their ability to perform roles and the ranks can be ordered into a hierarchy. It's not a, "I killed more people, so I'm better competition." Clearly defined roles means everyone knows their job and knows who's in charge. Organisation becomes fluid when people each have an assigned duty. Making a Colonel do work because he's higher ranked than a Sergeant because he posted more, when a Sergeant is clearly more talented means that talent is lost to a pretty title.

This shit's subjective, people.

Our new Scholarly Arm takes full advantage of universal Citations and ensures proper organisation with clear roles and proof of qualification. The criteria can be FUBAR, but the reward comes with knowing that you earned it through work in the right fields and can prove it on the Archive. Hell, maybe one day you can wave your Archive page in another clan's face and show them how good you are. They might give you priority.

The Combine has a mission and organisation within is structured to complete that mission as efficiently as possible.

Regards, IVIilitarus

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