RL has continued to hold us in a very firm grip. We have not had time to get the planned coding tasks completed for a mini “relaunch” at the ascension of Aegon IV. Instead, we will simply go ahead and start scheduling weekly scenes with the intent of driving things forward in a more hands-on way. To begin with, these scenes will take place on Saturdays at 14.00 Game Time (see +time) and will alternate between King’s Landing and Sunspear. We will add reminders to +events and we’ll try to get logs up for each one as well.
We have installed a new webclient for the MUSH which can be found at http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Portal/
For the time being, it will supplement rather than replace the existing webclient (found at http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Client/), but we recommend that those who have characters on the game use the new webclient and not the old one. With the new one, you are not automatically logged in as a guest first but can login straight to your character. It will be very helpful for our greeters if we don’t have a bunch of “false” guests connecting.
The new webclient is a work in progress and there are some of the standard menu items that do not work with Blood of Dragons. But we are collaborating with the developer and hope to see this evolve quite a bit in the future. If you have any suggestions or any feedback, do let us know.
Following the update of the Recent History and the State of Play in King’s Landing, we have now updated the State of Play in Sunspear. We hope to be able to keep these more regularly updated this time around. The Chronicle still remains well behind, unfortunately, and we will probably have to prioritise other projects over updating that one.
The “state of play” article for King’s Landing has been updated to give players a sense of the current situation at court and in the city. An similar update for Sunspear will be coming soon. The article can be read here.
The Recent History articles, which in broad strokes summarises the history of the game (as well as VERY briefly touches upon the history preceding the opening of the game), has finally been brought up to date. You can find it under Articles, at http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Articles/Entry/Recent_History
The State of Play in King’s Landing and State of Play in Sunspear articles will soon be updated as well, picking up from where the Recent History leaves off to give a sense of the current status of the game’s two open areas.
On October 1st this year, Blood of Dragons will have been open for 10 years since its beta opening in 2006. Of course, the game was founded much, much earlier than that and the full opening followed after about a year of beta, but we still consider this to be our anniversary date as it was the start of IC time on the game (Year 158, Month 1, Day 1).
We would like to mark the occasion in some fashion and we thought that we’d start off by saying that we’d love to see suggestions from our player base for what it might involve. We can’t promise that we’ll be able to use any of them, but we will certainly give them consideration. If you would like to contribute, use +mail in-game addressed to Nymeria and Balerion and with the subject “Anniversary Suggestions”.
As you know from his post, Damphair will stepping back for the foreseeable future. He will remain on Staff, but his active involvement will be highly limited. This has raised the question among players whether we plan to recruit or open applications for new Staff. The short answer is no, we have no such plans at the moment. We’ve never entertained applications for Staff and we don’t feel that is the right way to go about things. We have always kept the possibility open of asking additional players if they are interested, but at the moment we do not have any such candidates in mind. We have a good number of experienced players, but we know from experience on other games that this is not the only important factor in putting together a functioning Staff team.
Now, the reality is that this will mean we are somewhat understaffed, in particular when it comes to GMing scenes, which was something Damphair has been doing a fabulous job of for years. It is an area which neither myself nor Balerion excel at; our MUSH backgrounds involve minimal exposure to GMing, as either players or staff. Given this, that is an area which will see less staff involvement for the moment. Instead, we will be focusing on trying to cut back on the +jobs queue as well as looking at some larger projects that we would like to finish in time for the 10-year anniversary of the beta opening this autumn. These projects include some CharGen changes (how ambitious these can be depends on whether we feel that we can leave existing CGed characters with a different setup than future CGs; not in terms of numbers, but in terms of some of the written parts), the reputation/renown system, further house expansions and maybe (a very big maybe) the combat system. As we are quite unlikely to do the same kind of coverage of Season 6 of Game of Thrones as for past seasons, we won’t be as swamped during the show period as previously, though keeping the website from going down with some regularity will undoubtedly still take extra work.
When it comes to plots, we are working on some long-term timelines for both areas, with the Dornish one being the furthest along so far. For King’s Landing, we have some canon events to build around, but we need to work on some more solid details. Considering the lack of a dedicated GM on Staff, we would certainly like to see more plot proposals from players willing to take the lead on such projects. However, we do have to stress that one reason we’ve been hesitant about this in the past is that we’ve often found that the requisite updates have been very hard to get out of players afterwards; any larger plots need submissions for Tidings and for the Chronicle, Events for any CDB NPCs that are used and so on. But players who are willing to step up and run plots with these requirements in mind are more than welcome to submit proposals.
We’d also like to ask players to help us with the process of getting the +jobs queue shortened; make sure to check your +jobs regularly to see if we’ve submitted notes asking for additional information or any other kind of feedback. Its much easier to get a particular +job finished up if once we start working on it the responses come in fairly quickly. And if you do have any outdated +jobs that should be closed, do add a note letting us know that this is the case.
If you have any questions or comments, do let us know. For example, is there anything really major we’ve missed in our list of potential projects for the year? And should we put out a guide/rulebook for GMing on the game and what should it contain?
Following the release of The World of Ice and Fire, we hosted an “AMA” on the game, allowing players to ask questions about the book. We have now posted the transcript of this session. And now that the book is out, we will be making some further updates to “Blood of Dragons 2.0”, for example to make a few more family tree additions that we felt were too spoilery to add in advance. We also hope that players will take the opportunity to dig through the book and come up with some plot hooks from the new material - we will of course do so ourselves as well, but sometimes you’re too close to your own material to see its potential.
While off on vacation, we decided to record a little video providing some basics about Blood of Dragons MUSH, the on-line, text-based roleplaying game we run on Westeros.org with GRRM’s approval. Now’s a pretty good time to give the game a try, as much of the court is off to the riverlands for a Tully wedding at Riverrun… and perhaps some trouble from the Brackens and Blackwoods. Here’s the video!
Blood of Dragons opened for beta on October 1st, 2006, and opened fully about a year later. By the time the beta started we had had George R. R. Martin’s approval for the game since 1998 and been working on it on and off for several years. Initially, we had had the (foolish!) notion of not opening until everything was completed. It turned out that two people working alone in a vacuum wasn’t a good way of completing a game and once we did open we found ourselves reworking many of our initial ideas. The CharGen was tweaked, the application process was streamlined (it was a beast to start with!), and so on.
Of course, once you open a game, the on-going maintenance may make it hard to continue developing things at a good pace. Especially when you’ve setup the game to be pretty maintenance-heavy and made much of that maintenance too intricate to easily be delegated.
We haven’t accomplished everything we wanted with the game. Its not perfect and there are definitely things that could be better. But we now see it as a perpetual work in progress and are determined to keep developing it. During the last year, we vastly improved the documentation available on the website in order to help the many new players who’ve found the game thanks to the rising prominence of the series. This year, we’ve been reviewing policies and working on code to enhance the social and political roleplay that we see as the primary focus of the game.
In addition to various shortcomings that we want to and hope to be able to address, we’ve always been very upfront about the fact that we know that certain decisions we’ve made for the game aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you don’t like consent games, you won’t like our game. If you don’t like a game that follows the canon history of the setting, you won’t like our game.
That said, there are some misconceptions about the game that we would like to address seeing as they were made public with the claim that they, in part, are based on information from current players. This would suggest that there are issues that need clarifying.
The conflict web illustrates, in broad strokes, the relationships between key individuals at court.
With the second season of Game of Thrones just around the corner, we have a lot of plans for things to happen on Blood of Dragons MUSH that we hope will interest current as well as potential players.
This week, expect some shocking news at the royal court in King’s Landing (as if it wasn’t enough that Baelor has already expelled all whores from the city). At the same time, trouble continues in the Boneway, as Lady Yronwood persists in defying Prince Marence.
In April, expect at least one and perhaps two tourneys as well as a wedding or two, one that includes a small trip to a large castle. Following that, in May and onwards, there will be some new faces at court. Finally, during the summer we will be heading to the Riverlands for more weddings and some surprises.
Please welcome Missandei to Staff. She’ll be doing ... whatever it is our Junior Staff does; we haven’t had one for a while. ;)
More seriously, we hope that adding more Staff will help us deal with the likelihood that the game will, once again, see an increased activity when Game of Thrones airs.
Thanks to Walker at M*U*S*H and his Banana back-end for MU* clients, we have added a web-based guest connection to Blood of Dragons. This will allow prospective players to check out the game without downloading a software client to their computers. Once you load the linked page, it will log you into the MUSH as a guest. To communicate with the MUSH, type your commands in the input window at the bottom of the page.
In the future, we may look at also installing the back-end on our own server and creating a front-end that allows not just guest connections but normal character connections. However, it is a little beyond our abilities with both the server and JS-coding, so we’ll see how that goes.
This Saturday, October 1st, at 10.00 AM Game Time (that’s equal to Central Time), we are having an event for the return of King Baelor to King’s Landing. The king has been convalescing at Storm’s End for months since his return from Dorne but is now finally strong enough to return to the capital. All characters in King’s Landing can be present and with a few days to go until this event, there’s still time for new players to pick up Cameos or CGed characters to attend.