Game Direction

The purpose of this thread is to share our game vision and the steps we will be taking to achieve this vision.

What is our vision for Ironclaw Online?
This little blurb on our website says it best:

“Ironclaw Online is an anthropomorphic role-playing game set at the cusp of change on the large island continent of Calabria. Many different sentient races, cultures, and societies are converging upon the dock town city of Triskellian. As a player, you will start with humble beginnings, only to become involved in machinations as each noble house vies for control and the guilds strive for power. Which side will you take? Will you throw your fate in with the Bisclavret, becoming a mercenary hoping for riches and glory? Can you stand against the Avoirdupois warriors, in their staggering numbers and unyielding formations? And what of the mysterious Doloreaux, with the rumors that they may have unlocked the secrets of the wizard-kings of yore? Or can you really hope to remain neutral as the destiny of the world is decided? Join us on this epic adventure of life and the quest for control in a world filled with many people stretching their imaginations to the limit.”

We want to create the world of Ironclaw and for you to feel like you are in the world of Ironclaw from the moment you step into chargen. We want to give you all the tools you need to tell your stories and fulfill whatever hopes and aspirations you had in your head when you first made your character.

So, this is where we want to go but how do we intend to get there?

Step 1: Establish Theme and Setting
There are two facts known to be true about our theme and setting:

Ironclaw Online is based on the Ironclaw tabletop game.
The setting of Ironclaw is based loosely on the Italian renaissance

As staff, it is our responsibility to enforce these truths in the game world. As we review current systems and content (Step 4), we will keep these two questions in mind: Does this accurately reflect the Ironclaw brand? Does this enforce the setting we are trying to portray?

As players, it is our responsibility to maintain the atmosphere of the game by enforcing the setting through roleplay. We are in the process of developing roleplay guides to shed light on how the world we live in is generally perceived. These are not intended to tell you how to roleplay your character but more-so to inform you what the social expectations are for whatever role you choose. While it might be socially expected for commoners to show respect to nobles, that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to plot against nobles. Depending on your story/faction, you might be expected to plot against nobles! The fun challenge of roleplay is figuring out how to destroy your enemies while also maintaining social expectations. More to come on this once the guides are actually released. We have players actively working on this project and we could not be anymore appreciative of their assistance.

Step 2: Kill the Busy Work
In an effort to free up staff time to work on the overall picture, we have began the process of automating common player requests:

Custom engravings, paintings, embroideries. The system to automate this is complete and has been thoroughly QCed. I haven’t received much feedback from this system so I’ll take that as a good sign.
Storypoint requests. Azrael is working on code to automate most storypoints requests (body mods, gaits, speech, etc).
Token plot requests. We are opening up access to plot locations (Three Corners, Akoma) so you guys can have your adventures without needing staff to be involved. Three Corners is currently accessible along with the wilderness AA you need to go through to get there. We are in the process of opening access to Akoma (along with a sea adventure AA).

Not only does this free up staff time but it greatly reduces the turnaround time on common requests. That is a win-win for all!

The down side to this is you will not be seeing the same level of token plot support as was present in the past. Staff spending a solid 2+ weeks building and preparing for a 3+ day plot (that we also have to be present to run) is not the best use of our time. We will provide some support, just not on this scale.

Step 3: Documentation
This can be broken down into two parts:

Staff policies and procedures. In an effort to further reduce turnaround time on assists, we have started to consolidate/document our policies and procedures down to the nitty gritty detail. The end goal being that it will empower all staff to handle most assists that come in without the need for lengthy discussions or digging up old forum posts. This consistency means faster turnaround for you and less frustration over perceived favoratism.
In-game help files. Staff as a whole (but me especially) have failed miserably to keep up with in-game help files leading to confusion and frustration. We have some awesome volunteers from the playerbase to help get us back on track. The end goal being this: if you have a question, you can find an answer to it using the in-game help command.

Overall, we want to keep most info contained on our website and in-game help files. The forums have become an unreliable source of information with all the spam attacks.

Step 4: Review Current Systems
Another source of frustration from players it the amount of unfinished/buggy systems that exist. A prime example being the lack of support for most careers. As we review systems, this is what we will be looking for:

Does this system enforce theme and setting?
Does this system have support systems or features that haven’t been written yet?
Is this system balanced?
Has this system been thoroughly debugged?
Has this system been thoroughly documented

As we review our systems, the goal will be to finish them as best we can. Examples include: chargen, careers, combat, @crime, @guild. Ideally, we want to finish current systems before implementing new ones though it may be necessary to introduce a new system/feature/minor code to move a current system to a completed status. We will try to save major code for step 6.

Step 5: Focus Building On Triskellian
This step goes hand in hand with the last step but from the builder perspective. We want to bring life to all of Triskellian, not just in the rooms surrounding the couriers. That means overhauling/finishing current rooms, adding access to other areas of the city (i.e. Oldtown), environmental emits, more interactive npcs, adventure without the need to leave Triskellian! We currently have a group of builders working on this step.

Step 6: New Systems and Content
Once we have completed the aforementioned steps, we will be in a place to start developing new systems and content (adventures to capital cities, other AAs). This doesn’t mean we will never add new content or systems until old systems are done but it isn’t where our focus will be until we reach this point.

Step 7: Plot Focus
This goes hand in hand with Step 6. And again, this doesn’t mean we will never have plots while we work on other things, it only means our focus will not be here yet. We do have some ideas for VPs and players interested in playing VPs. This will help provide story to the game while staff work on developing the bigger picture.

I hope this provides some insight on where staff are heading with the game and what we want the end goal to be. If you have any questions regarding any of the above steps, feel free to let us know!

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