Out of Character Culture

In this post, the Untold Dawn staff discuss how they plan to tackle the common issues of toxicity and controversial staffing in their upcoming RPI game.

Role-Playing Intensive (RPI) MUD games often have a controversial reputation, with many communities in the genre facing criticism for fostering environments that can be toxic, unsafe, and unhealthy. Therefore, it is important to discuss how we are planning to build an inclusive and secure gaming community. In this blog post, we are going to explore our current plans to tackle this problem.

Untold Dawn is an emerging custom RPI MUD codebase being developed in Rust and using Bevy's ECS. Our goal is to build a game by roleplayers for roleplayers, listening to our community on every step along the way, to build a space that is safe and healthy.

Recently, in one of our Reddit posts, someone posted us the following question:

by u/Untold_Dawn from discussion
in MUD

As a project, Untold Dawn wishes to be developed as a more modern approach to the RPI genre, stepping away from archaic rules that attempt to micro-manage the players in their OOC relationships, or design patterns for a time where the average player was much younger and had less responsibilities.

We often see breakdowns in communication between staff and players that stem from the development of an 'us versus them' dynamic, as well. We are committed to preventing this dynamic from arising, and to do so effectively, we must examine the typical origins of these issues and how they manifest into such a relationship.

But just saying that this is our goal is not enough. What steps are being taken?

While we have some initial thoughts on this matter, we prioritize hearing from you about your experiences. Whether positive or negative, every aspect provides valuable insights—helping us understand how to cultivate thriving communities like some games achieve and what pitfalls to steer clear of, and how best to navigate them. We want to build a community with the community.

That being said, let's explore some of our ideas, goals and visions to tackle this problem.

Community Sense

Untold Dawn wants to be a community where players and staffers feel heard, appreciated and cared for; a place where they can find like-minded passionate roleplayers looking for the same thing.

The amount of feedback and love this project has received since its inception has been overwhelming and has made us understand that there is a demand for new ideas in the genre.

We have a policy for open and transparent communication channels with our players; through-out this development process and after it, we want to make this game alongside our players, actively listening to our community.

Untold Dawn will not obfuscate its features nor hide its knowledge; while the concept of discovering everything in game is fun in practice, we want to try a system where our community is helpful towards new players, helping them towards knowledge that would be common towards their goal.

At the same time, our coded features communicate clearly what happens, why it happens and how it happens.

We plan to establish clear community guidelines and rules that everyone will need to follow; we do not plan to ban people for talking to each other about the game, but instead establish rules against coordinating IC action out of the game, similar to more mature communities in the roleplay world that will be assumed to be being followed without intrusive and over zealous meddling by admin. If a complaint is lodged regarding OOC co-ordination against IG activity, investigations and discussion into the event will be performed with complete transparency, with details made available for player perusal. We're still looking into the possibility of auto-logging within the game to support this further.

When our community allows for it, especially after pre-alpha launch, we plan to consult on our community on the direction of the game through the forums and polls, to make sure that Untold Dawn remains a game that for all of us.

Your Sandbox

Untold Dawn is not aiming to be a game where the staff dictate what happens in the game-world. Your actions determine what happens to your character.

We believe that the rules of the sandbox need to be clear; not dictated by the whims of the staffer who is handling a scene. The code sets the rules and, within the rules, everyone operates.

If your character is seeking a promotion, the advancement should not hinge on the subjective opinion of an NPC character, which can leave players feeling unfairly disadvantaged.

Instead, we advocate for a system where promotions are determined through objective evaluations, while also leaving room for roleplay. Factors such as stats, skills, past experiences as well as the evaluation of your fellow players in positions that would affect your job promotions matter more than the whims of a single staffer.

This approach ensures transparency and fairness in progression, creating less room for any bias.

This doesn't mean that all plots will come from players (although the hope is that the majority will), but the goal is to make any staffing be based on rolls, modifiers and skills rather than subjective evaluations.

While many of these ideas might sound dreamy, we are committed to making them work. We wish to hear from you so that we can implement this philosophy to the various game mechanics and systems that we will make in game.

Would you like to take part? Do not hesitate to join our forums or our discord.

Safe Space

The goal is to make Untold Dawn a safe space.

For this matter, we plan to enforce our rules and have a zero-tolerance policy on people that do not respect the boundaries of other players, or are encouraging a toxic environment in the community.

We plan to make the entire process transparent and believe that the OOC health of our community is very important; in this regard, we do not plan to conceal when such actions are being taken and plan to communicate very clearly with the community through the forums when this happens.

While many of these policies are still being worked on and polished, this is the overall plan that Untold Dawn has to tackle this specific problem.

Before the writing of this blog post, our staffer Oracle conducted a conversation in the Discord server to agree with the community on what they wished from the game in this topic.

If you are enjoying what we are doing at Untold Dawn, please consider helping us through our patreon!

Untold Dawn | Patreon