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Perspectives of Crystalline LS - Honest Feedback Sought


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We would like to hear what you've heard of Crystalline - all the good and the bad. We are considering making some adjustments, particularly if there are things that we are doing that are being interpreted in ways that we do not intend. We invite you to share your honest feedback about your experiences with our group or what you may have heard about us. Thank you!

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I'm about to say something that is of absolutely no help. I have heard nothing about Crystalline at all. Nothing bad, nothing good. I've read your linkshell page though, and thought that the ideas were interesting. I like that you put a hold on recruiting until you have all your ideas ironed out. I respect that. I could see, if you choose to keep the charity side, X'sato finding an interest in allying with y'all. But that breaks away from the topic at hand. To answer your question, while simultaneously being absolutely no help, I've heard nothing of your Linkshell. I'm new to the community, so I haven't had experiences with the LS. Sooooooooo yeah. Sorry to be of no help whatsoever.

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This is actually somewhat helpful X'sato, thank you for the comment.  :thumbsup:


I suppose I probably could have elaborated a bit more since I imagine a lot of folks newer to the RPC (particularly after November of last year) may never have heard of us.  While we've been around since 1.0 launch in some form or another, we're not actively recruiting so we haven't felt much need to bump our thread (although I did earlier today because certain wheels are now being set into motion and I wanted to give a kind of timeframe for those who have been patient with us so far).  Other than that, it's made little sense to advertise ourselves since we're not actively recruiting, nor have we figured out our structure in-character or anything.  But I'm glad you looked up our Crystalline community thread here on the RPC.  There is more information there that details what exactly we're all about, if that helps.


We have set some of our forums up to be available to the public and we've heard from a number of folks so far who have shown interest, offered encouragement, or just wanted to spitball some ideas with us.  Despite our current - and let me stress temporary - closed-door recruitment policy, we're hoping to be a very active and open part of the RP community on Balmung - er, once we're officially founded in character.


For now it's just kind of a fun and wild ride between Point A and a sort of amorphous Point B. :dazed:

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I've heard a few things OOcly but nothing criticizing the guild ICly, if that's whats your asking.


If you mean OOCly, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with stating what has been said and what has been said to me because I don't want that negatively effecting me or my guild. I know you say it wouldn't, but I feel if I said anything there would be a negative slant whenever you looked in me and mines direction if I did.


One more edit for good measure: It's no one in my guild saying anything, just want to make that clear. xD

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IMPORTANT EDIT: This post doesn't make a lot of sense without the context of the original post (which is located in a spoiler tag further down on this thread).


First off, I want to say that I really don't know anything about the LS, other than I seem to recall its existence from way back in 1.x before I drifted away from this site. Personally, I have no information about the guild and no real experiences with members of it, so I have no negative inclination towards it or its members starting out. In fact, I start with a positive inclination towards all RP groups because, hey, other RPers are usually good people and I like to assume the best about people unless proven wrong. :)


So, when I say anything here, I want you to know that I'm trying to offer an objective critique from a "new player" who's also done the guild leader and officer thing a few times in a few different games. I'm emphatically not trying to shake up a can of drama nitroglycerin and hit it with a blowtorch. :)


With that disclaimer out of the way, let me suggest a few things that might be giving people impressions you don't want. First, your LS contains most of the leadership of this site. That makes sense to me, as it seems like your LS is basically the "survivors" of 1.x who came together out of friendship when the RP community (and the game's population itself) imploded. However, to some, it might seem like a clique of the "old guard." That perception may be amplified when you consider that your recruitment is closed and there's little indication on your page of when it'll open again. You do say it's temporary, but temporary can be a very long time. Those susceptible to crying "Conspiracy!" might ascribe ulterior motives to that and, by proxy, to this site and potentially Balmungians in general.


Second, in a similar vein, a guild that says it's open to RP with everyone and wants to play a role in the larger guild and RP community but that also closes its recruitment might appear a bit hypocritical. This is due to the entirely logical propensity for guilds to RP internally more than they do externally. "If you want to interact with people so much, why are you closing yourselves off?" some might ask.


Finally, threads like this come off as defensive and as "traps." It's a bit like when a teacher says he'll turn around and let the guilty party step forward to return what they stole, then whips around and yells, "J'accuse!" at the thief. I've personally been part of a guild that did a similar thing on their forums -- asking the players what they thought was going wrong -- and then pointed to the thread in the officers' forum as a list of "internal enemies" of the guild. (Yes, this really happened; yes, I was an officer of this guild and had an alliance with it in the guild I ran; yes, that precipitated the end of the alliance between those guilds, in addition to causing a nuclear drama blast.)


This last reason is why I was quite reluctant to post anything on this thread and, when I did, why I put the big disclaimer in the second paragraph. I share ArmachiA's fear of receiving retribution for offering some honest feedback. Even as I type this, I'm concerned that someone's going to look at it and say, "AHA! FreelanceWizard is the guilty one! He's been stabbing us in the back this whole time and is foolish enough to admit it in public! Prepare the pitchforks and torches!" I obviously don't think that's the case or I wouldn't say anything at all (hey, I play political LARPs, I know how to keep my mouth shut :) ).


I guess my "tl;dr" point here is that I think there's a few things at play here that may, to some, engender negative perceptions about your guild and its members. Obviously, that will always be the case with some people, no matter how hard you try to fight it; I can cite innumerable examples of that. The worst thing is that it doesn't seem like there's much you can do to address some of the key drivers of that perception, so I guess the only advice I can offer is to ignore it. TBH, as a GL, your perception of what other people think about your guild will always be inflated out of proportion to what it really is. :)

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^ Hell yes I do.


Okay, so Freelance just said everything I've been hearing so... I guess I'll just talk about it.


For reference, I'm a big mouth, I'm a huge defender of "the noobs" coming to the RPC and RPing and being welcomed into the fold. You've probably seen me fight about it on the Beta forums, on HERE, and I have questioned it in the only leaders meeting I've been to. I have a problem with not shutting up when I have concerns. Because of this, I've heard from people on the Beta forums, on here, and off site about Crystalline being utterly and completely exclusionary, and by extension the RPC being the same way (One person joked that the RPC was really just "Crystalline forums 2.0.")


(Disclaimer: This doesn't mean anyone in Crystalline is not a big defender of "the noobs", I'm just explaining why I have a wealth of info :P)


One person told me to just give up on anyone in Crystalline being welcoming to noobs, they don't want anyone new playing with their ball (I heard this about specific members too from different people, but I won't say who, cuz that's getting mean :/).


I've heard many people saying they are interested in the Crystalline story (yay) but the fact they are closed off (Even for good reason) is completely unacceptable. Some even feel hurt about it.


Okay none of that above is my opinion. That's just what I've heard. MY opinion boils down to this


~ The Night Blades also won't exist till launch but we found ways to recruit and make new people feel welcome. So... I don't think that's a good excuse. Sorry. I'm personally not gonna judge ya for closing off recruitment or whatever, I just think "It's because it won't exist till launch!" it a thin and floppy excuse. (That's really my only negative-ish thing to say)


~ I think the fact a lot of mods (not all, but a lot) and popular members are from Crystalline that kinda helps with this "We don't like you" reputation. Everyone see's Crystalline as the top dog LS because of it. "They control the RPC! They only know each other! They aren't recruiting, QED the RPC hates us all" etc etc etc


Also pretty much everything Freelance said.

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Because of this, I've heard from people on the Beta forums, on here, and off site about Crystalline being utterly and completely exclusionary, and by extension the RPC being the same way (One person joked that the RPC was really just "Crystalline forums 2.0.")

A bit off-topic, but I can't help but be reminded of a situation I experienced while managing a roleplay forum for my old WoW server. There was a... very large and incredibly involved fiasco, and one of the accusations hurled at the admin team (myself included) was that we were biased in our moderation because two of the three admins were part of the same guild, and I was part of a guild that was friends with that guild. Needless to say, the accusations were complete bullcrap.


I'm not quite sure what my point is here. Perhaps it's just to caution against perceptions of bias in leadership just because said leaders happen to be a part of the same external organization. I don't really know anything about these people or whatever has gone on, so I'm totally just basing this off my own experiences, but... There it is. Whatever it is. I'm not sure.


I think I'm just rambling now. *shuts up*

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I'm very new, and Crystalline's one of the LS'es I'm interested in because everyone I've met from the LS is really friendly. I can understand the issues some people have about the current closed recruitment, but as the game hasn't launched yet, I don't have any. I've poked around the Enjin site and people seem to have thought out their characters and developed them quite well.


I can also understand the insular thing. With any group of people, it becomes easier to RP with those you know than those you don't, but as I mentioned, everyone who I've met from Crystalline is really friendly, and I've RP'ed with a couple of your members. I look forward to more of it in the future!

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Because of this, I've heard from people on the Beta forums, on here, and off site about Crystalline being utterly and completely exclusionary, and by extension the RPC being the same way (One person joked that the RPC was really just "Crystalline forums 2.0.")

A bit off-topic, but I can't help but be reminded of a situation I experienced while managing a roleplay forum for my old WoW server. There was a... very large and incredibly involved fiasco, and one of the accusations hurled at the admin team (myself included) was that we were biased in our moderation because two of the three admins were part of the same guild, and I was part of a guild that was friends with that guild. Needless to say, the accusations were complete bullcrap.


I'm not quite sure what my point is here. Perhaps it's just to caution against perceptions of bias in leadership just because said leaders happen to be a part of the same external organization. I don't really know anything about these people or whatever has gone on, so I'm totally just basing this off my own experiences, but... There it is. Whatever it is. I'm not sure.


I think I'm just rambling now. *shuts up*


But the perception is there, is all that I was putting out there. It is in like 99 percent of all cases, a totally unfounded perception, but the perception easily comes up if it even looks like one guild seems to be modding a bunch of other guilds. Hell, I even remember back in 1.0 Kylin didn't even want to announce what guild he was going to for fear of that perception.

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Finally' date=' threads like this come off as defensive and as "traps." It's a bit like when a teacher says he'll turn around and let the guilty party step forward to return what they stole, then whips around and yells, "J'accuse!" at the thief.[/quote']


I wish we could be more open around here, but I do know that people sometimes don't feel comfortable sharing their feelings. If anyone wants to post something without your name, just let me know and I'll be happy to compile them, if that's okay with Eva.


That being said, I don't know that a lot of people have problems with the group as a whole. I think a lot of the problems could be stemming from a perceived notion of a few people and how they act. (perhaps?) This sort of activity has been seen in public channels (so I've heard), and I don't think that it's helping things.


Personally, I've never had a bad experience in game with any of you guys. I have enjoyed the little bits of RP that I've had with your members, from the Mavanix downfall to the bachelorette party for Nel. I think that being more open helps people to see this about you, however. I understand that you guys aren't established yet, but you do have a core group of people. What harm would come from adding more people to your roster, but having them wait until you guys are established ICly to actually let them in, as it were? I think that would come a long way to dispelling any notion that you guys are being closed off.


Also, to those people who think that Crystalline runs the RPC, let me tell you that Kylin and Ellie are a part of Crystalline, while Merri, Xenedra, and myself are not. We are the moderation team of the RPC. Please do not think that we don't have checks and balances here. Trust me when I say that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that everyone here has a voice and can be heard in a fair manner.

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Sadly -- and now this is getting totally tangential :) -- there's no way to avoid the perception of conflicts of interest in this sort of thing. Back on CoH, the admin of the Virtueverse wiki wouldn't disclose anything about himself to avoid the perception of CoI, and several other admins used aliases on the wiki to avoid the perception of bias. Way back on Firiona Vie, the forum owners were extremely careful to select mods who were from different guilds, who were not in any guild, and some who didn't even play the game any more to remove the perception of CoI.


Naturally, perceptions of CoI were not eliminated in any of these instances. (In fact, in the case of the Virtueverse, they got worse because people assumed there must be a conspiracy if people are keeping their identities private.)


There's one other thing I want to say, just to make it totally clear in case anyone didn't catch it the first time: I absolutely don't have any quarrel with Crystalline or its members. They all seem like very nice people. :) Nor do I hold any contempt for the admin team of the RPC site. However, advice was requested by a guild, and so I replied with what I think may be rubbing people the wrong way based on my experiences as a GL. Please don't assume that I'm grinding an axe against either group, because I'm not.

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There's one other thing I want to say, just to make it totally clear in case anyone didn't catch it the first time: I absolutely don't have any quarrel with Crystalline or its members. They all seem like very nice people. :) Nor do I hold any contempt for the admin team of the RPC site. However, advice was requested by a guild, and so I replied with what I think may be rubbing people the wrong way based on my experiences as a GL. Please don't assume that I'm grinding an axe against either group, because I'm not.


Here as well. I have no issue with anyone and I haven't even interacted with anyone to form an opinion more than what I just said. IN FACT, I may just join their forums [if I'm allowed] so I can form a better opinion on the group as a whole and maybe come back to this topic at a later date. I would surely be interested in seeing their RP style at the very least.

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I appreciate all of the feedback so far, and thank you for sharing.  There are a lot of points here I'd like to address, so I apologize if I don't manage to touch upon everything said, but I'll be glad to clarify anything further if it's needed.


I would imagine most of the comments that are being made are being made OOCly or refer to that aspect of the guild and/or its members.  As there's not yet much of a guild to speak of so much as 'the idea of a guild' it's tough to legitimately point the finger at something like that and say 'good', 'bad', or otherwise.  So I understand a lot of the feedback may stem from OOC reactions to forum posts, or some of our members' participation along the various avenues of chat.


I can also understand wanting to preserve anonymity with regard to who may be spreading certain things about us.  This would certainly not be the first time that someone has taken something said by one/some of our members and either split it from context or outright distorted it with the perceived intent of making us look bad.  Most who know me well enough will attest that I'm not one who is prone to flying off the handle about things, and I wouldn't have asked for honest feedback if I wasn't prepared to hear what had to be said.  I'm not looking to point fingers or make accusations.  Being that I'm feeling somewhat villainized myself of late, I have no desire to pass that buck along to anyone else.  I would however like to clarify what is truth and what may have been fabricated somewhere along the lines.  I'm not perfect, and neither are our members.  We have our own internal issues that we deal with on a more regular basis than I'd like - and I feel a lot of this stems from the fact that we are a high-immersion guild that has been stuck in a state of OOC for a rather extended period of time.  For those of us who are devoted to this game and to preserving character, that is a rather daunting thing and the past several months have been pretty tough on some of our members, and there has been friction - and I'm sure some of that has at times spilled out into more public channels.


I do find it a little surprising that there is some perception that Crystalline "owns" the RPC.  I admit this was a concern of ours awhile back and a large part of the reason I stepped down as one of the forum moderators.  I also wanted to focus more on developing the guild and had some personal matters going on at that time as well, and I'm still happy with that decision.  As has been mentioned, Kylin and Ellie are both members of Crystalline and moderators here.  Kylin can attest to the fact that I disagree with him regularly and would manage things with the RPC differently if I had the patience and tenacity that he possesses in his own management methods.  I tend to look at Kylin the LS member as being separate from Kylin the RPC mod.  We have an odd relationship like that, and we can disagree regularly and still respect each other in spite of those disagreements.  But really I think the moderators chosen were selected not for being a part of one community or another, but rather for exhibiting calm and cool reactions in the face of some rather unpleasant situations.  But you are correct - there is that perception of favoritism when a number of people from one group are in moderator positions.  All I can really say is that there is no "power" being wielded, unless locking threads which are inflammatory is considered such - and most of the time I think almost all of us can agree with their decisions, when that happens.


Regarding the temporary block on recruitment, I do maintain that this is what's best to ensure the health of our community given what we are trying to do with it in-character.  Towards the end of 1.0 we had a slight rise in membership and it is important to us that each pearl issued to a new member have a fitting reason attached to it.  We're not a guild that hands them out willy-nilly - not that there is anything wrong with that.  We are different, according to our stated purpose in 1.0 and transitioning that to our new purpose in ARR is proving to be a challenge.  We have found some creative ways to introduce a few people in "under the radar" as it were, however after a certain point it goes against the goals of the community to allow a handful of people in when there isn't some sort of in-character mechanism in place for that.  I don't expect this to be understood by all RPers, but it is an immersion thing and we do want all our members to be relatively comfortable with each other.  Where we're at right now, we have a handful of members who joined up from various places who haven't had much time to interact in-character with the group from 1.0.  This has always been intended to be a very gradual process of integrating new members.  I've been doing this for a very long time and problems seem to crop up in some groups where too many new members are taken on too quickly without being given a suitable amount of time to integrate and feel the guild's style.


With regards to how long the recruitment status will be kept "temporarily closed", I bumped the LS thread just earlier today to indicate we're on goal with having doors open for potential new members sometime around mid-to-late August.  I can't give an exact date because the events in RP govern this but I will bump the thread again when that happens.  Even then, I think we'll be looking to keep our influx to a steady trickle.  A poll of our members was conducted some time back and this has been generally agreed upon as the best policy for us.


I realize this may give certain perceptions which I really can't help.  All I can say is that it's the nature of the beast.  "Insular" and "Reclusive" are words I've heard spoken.  Many of our members are pretty active on the forums and Skype channels - many will be joining multiple RPLS's to broaden their characters' horizons.  This is not being discouraged.  Most of us are looking forward to creating and hosting events.  While I've admired the beta events posted that I've seen so far, it has been difficult for me as I've been wanting to create, schedule, and host similar such events but not being able to due to these temporary restrictions, however I still think it's for the best in order to preserve the essence of what Crystalline is and what it will become.  I look at us as a horse that is going to be a bit late coming out of the gate, but one that runs strong.  Of course now I'm sure someone will look at that metaphor and think we're competitive rather than collaborative.  So instead, I look at us as a horse that is going to be a little late coming out of the gate, but one that runs strong so that he can join the other horses for tea and crumpets at the big horse table!


I guess I also don't really see us as a top dog LS for that reason.  I think there's bigger groups now, and certainly those who are more clearly defined.  I suppose we've been around for awhile and we've had a lot of good memories, but we were open to new members back in 1.0 and will be looking forward to welcoming more new faces again in ARR to join us in our adventures.  We have some event ideas in store that we'd like to include the bigger community in.  We're really excited about a lot of this stuff.  So I guess I'm just a little taken back when I hear some of the more negative comments that have been stamped upon us.


All I can say is where I'm coming from with it.  If you're not comfortable posting though, please feel free to take Alothia's advice and send her a PM to her to have a question or comment posted anonymously.  I have no qualms about that.  Or I invite you to send me a PM if you'd prefer not to post.  I'm always glad to talk about the LS or RP in general.


Thank you for all the comments and constructive criticisms so far.  I really do appreciate it.  :thumbsup:



Footnote:  Please feel welcome to visit our forums!  We have separate designations for prospective members and a category designed just for visitors from other guilds who have no intentions of joining but just want to hang out on our forums and gab.  Most of the relevent forums are open to discussion.  I just need a PM to tag you into the appropriate group.  More information about that may be found HERE.

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That's really good response, Eva, and I've really no quarrel with anything you've said. IN FACT, your explanation as to why you closed off recruitment is much much better than what the impression Crystalline has been giving off and it's completely understandable. In fact, it's much better than what it says in the recruitment thread


"It should be noted that our recruitment is temporarily closed. This is due to the nature of our group, and our mutually accepted desire to see its creation and establishment transpire naturally over a span of time rather than the linkshell immediately cropping up right away."


"It is very difficult for us to report exactly what Crystalline will be as it has not officially been formed, and we don't want to hash over the details too much out-of-character so as to let the pieces fall as they will in-character.


This is also why recruitment is temporarily closed. There is technically no linkshell to join in-character right now, though we welcome visitors to our site and forums to browse around and many of us remain active here on the RPC."


Which can basically seen as "New people? Nope." [And apparently has been.]


All of us had had to shut down recruitment in our guild at one point if we had any success, as too many new people coming in is -- frankly -- stressful. I think it's best to be frank and real with people about the reason. I mean, I know your a picky linkshell by nature, but that never bothered me and stating you need to all get to know each other [all over again in some instances] is much much more valid than "We just won't exist."


I'm going to go check out your forums now.

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To the Original Post;

   I'm not going to read all the replies you've received thus far, that's between you and them and I honestly don't care what other people think of you.  


   I can say however that I honestly have had absolutely NO negative experiences with your guild thus far.  I can also say that I have had absolutely no positive ones either.  I don't believe that I've ever run into any of your people in 1.0 or any of the betas.  It's a small world yet so very big.


   I admire your attempt to reach out to the community.  I can see how honest criticism can help you to grow and adapt to the ever changing world.  I can also see that it can lead to disaster if not properly handled.  


  A rod that bends in the wind is not easily broken.  To sway with the winds of change and harmonize with world around you is a valuable gift.  The rod does not turn itself into an Oak nor does is lay down and become fodder to be trampled on. 


     In straight English, I  hope that you don't become so worried about what other people think of you, that you loose sight of what you truly wish to accomplish in your guild.  You'll never please everyone and if you try, you'll please no one.  As long as you can be yourself and enjoy the game, you'll always be ok by me.


  ~~Hope this helps.

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I think FreeLanceWizard's post was quite accurate. We should give him a cookie.


I do have to say, however, that I know of a few people who refuse to use this forums because they equate 'Admins and mods are on the same linkshell' as 'they will be an evil tyranny of evil', based on that lone fact, or on anecdotal experience from other, unrelated communities. As if that somehow proved that a knit close group of people couldn't be any good ever. I find that quite silly.


But people will think what people will think. There's not much to do about it. You either ignore them and continue or you can adapt, which I guess in this case would mean to form a multi-linkshell moderator team. But then they will think you are part of a conspiration. Somewhere someone somehow will think that a group of people from various linkshells really mean that you are evil anyway. So there's no victory move at all, really. Quite a sad thing.

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We're often labeled "elitists" and the sort by folks that don't know us real well. I mean, there is some merit to that, though. And to kind of add to what the most recent Gideon's Bible-sized post Eva made:


So We're "Temporarily" Closed


As ArmachiA commented above, I'm sure a lot of linkshells/guilds had to curb their recruitment at one point or another. We're no exception. The way this new linkshell is being put together is a narrative in and of itself. From an IC standpoint, since we're aiming to do literally most of the LS-building IC, it's fair to argue that Eva (IC) has been timewarped, is scared and has no idea whats going on. She's slowly been RPing finding old (and new!) friends as she picks up the pieces of her life. Since the Calamity wrecked pearls, she has ICly bought a new linkshell and has begun passing them out to those people she was close to before the Calamity. She still hasn't figured out WHAT to make the linkshell into -- her main concern is getting her friends back together by shoving pearls in their faces. 


From an OOC perspective, I think this was a wonderful move. The game went down like eight months ago. Back in September of '12, Eva whiped the idea out of Crystalline going from an IC-friend pearl to something else in ARR. That was in September of 2012. If Eva ironed out everything herself, had a recruitment drive and a hierarchy ironed out in April of 2013, that's still three months of sitting on our hands and biding our time with Skype or beta RP. That just seems like it would have been chaotic and stressful as that with any large linkshell, especially ones that ain't got a game to go to!


From my OOC point of view from the earliest point to now of the "temporarily closed" stuff, I still think it was the best thing we did. Both from a narrative point and from a book-keeping point. Being called "elitist" is just the nature of the beast I guess. I don't see that in a negative term. What we want is to have a linkshell that is both inclusive and long-lasting, and if that means nurturing it slowly, then so be it. And having to build virtually all of it ICly affirms our characters will be as dedicated as ourselves are (immersion thing, lol).


We're "Insular RPers"


Clearly having our doors closed means that we aren't interested in outside RP. Right? Not one bit! I know I am not the most active outside-RPer, but some of our other members are. My issue is that I'm still working on character stuff (and am kinda lazy about that right now!). I'm kind of late to the game anyways, but that's a whole other story. Just like new RPers being too shy to initiate RP with someone, so can "seasoned" RPers! Just because you ain't personally RPed with us doesn't mean we don't want to, we just might be flies on the wall!


I would like to have the majority of my interactions be by chance from other linkshells or freelance RPers since that's just a whole other level of fun. Two people are discussing what to eat. JJ walks by and says "MEAT!" and goes on his merry way. Things like that. That being said, I'm not opposed to "randomly" meeting as discussed via OOC means. 


But I'm getting off topic I think. I'd like to think myself as a pretty broad RPer, at least when the game gets up. Some of our members may be insular RPers, but I don't think as a linkshell as a whole we are. :)


Other Little Tidbits That Don't Get Their Own Sections


I don't see Kylin or Ellie as RPC admins in our shell, I see them as just other folk. Just because they're in Crystalline doesn't mean Crystalline does or should have a big say in the RPC (I don't know RPC workings, but I never felt that way). I would RP with either of them regardless of their OOC obligations and stuff, they just have their hearts in RP. I like that. E>





I would like to add more, but this is the best I could crank out in forty five minutes. Time for work!


Also, please note I literally woke up an hour ago and didn't have time to proofread. :D 


TL;DR = JJ loves you and you love JJ (even if you don't know it yet or even want to. Law of Nature. Don't fight it. E> E> E>)

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There's a lot of information being presented here, so I'm going to try to put in my take very briefly.


From my perspective, just from what I see, Crystalline is the kind of linkshell that thrives from interacting with the entire RP community, and not just its own members. The idea is to be an asset that other people or other groups can call upon if they need help. This means that once the organization is rolling, anyone can participate at virtually any level, whether through open events or joining as a part-timer or volunteering full time.


The issue with recruitment is something we've been struggling a lot with, but the fact of the matter is that before we can recruit people with confidence, we need to know what skills Crystalline is looking for. The last thing we want is to promise people that they can be in the group only to find out later that they don't have a role they can fit into. We don't want to push that kind of rejection on anyone.


On a lighter note, though, how did Crystalline get this "top LS" label after Blue Skies held an event in closed beta that drew around 100+ people?

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SO.. I know Crystalline exists, cause I see the name around on the forum. I never really looked into it (or any other LS aside from Silver Anvil which I was part of in 1.0) so I don't know anything about it.


I wasn't aware of any rumor or anything about it either.


I know there's a bunch of Crystalline members on the forums who speak their minds but looking at how I speak mine, I'm not gonna judge any FC or LS based on how outspoken its members are, or what their opinions are. o_O


Also, even though some of the RPC staff is in Crystalline, the idea that it owns the RPC made me laugh. We all own the RPC. Kylin created it and is admin-ing it, because someone has to, and the moderators are moderating because someone has to.


Eva, there will always be rumors about this or that, wanting to clarify things is fine, but don't take it too seriously. If people believe enough in a rumor to spread it, they're not very likely to believe whoever the rumor's about anyway. :P



Oh and as far as being temp closed and insular goes... I remember Balthazar's Favor back then... Taking only 2-3 members at a time to make sure it's all friendly and close-knit rather than take a ton of people and nobody knows each other. Wonder what people would say about it now. :P

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Perception's a bitch. That's basically what it boils down to and what I feel like the key issue you're running into is.


Mine is a "sort of outsider perspective but not really". For those who are confused by that statement (which is probably all but about 5 people), I was a member of Crystalline back in FFXI days. I've had no interaction with the shell during 1.0 (which I dropped out of not long after it started billing) and the limits of my interactions thus far have been bouncing over to the forums to see who's still around that I remember and to try and rekindle old friendships.


On which note, good to see you're still bald, JJ.


Fact is, a fair amount of the more active posters in the more popular threads tend to be affiliated with Crystalline in some way. Gerik's fantastic art thread naturally involves a lot of Crystalline members, for example, while I constantly see Aysun posting all over the place and generally being awesome. This is a FANTASTIC thing and while I don't remember those two from FFXI days (unless names changed) they both seem to be great RPers that I'm hopeful to get to play with once the game launches proper.


However, this combined with earlier things mentioned like Kylin being a Crystalline member can lend to this perception of control or elitism, especially when coupled with the closing off of recruitment - which I get, incidentally. Assuming the status quo persisted, I can personally vouch that Kylin and Eva disagree quite frequently >.> In fact, when the two of them instantly see eye to eye it's usually a good idea to pay attention because there's a 99% chance whatever it is, they're right about.


So, what's the solution? Well, there's not a clear and simple one. Never is, especially when what you essentially have on your hands is a PR situation. Language is key here. I'd be genuinely curious to see if what you've heard would be different if your recruitment status said 'pending' (much more open to possibility) instead of 'temporarily closed' (in which the use of closed sounds very final, piss off, go away). It's one of those odd things where you can say the same thing two different ways and people react very differently.


Disclaimer: my adventures in self-promotion have given me a crash course in how important that is to people's perceptions >.>


On the flip side, the 'problem' such as it is isn't only yours. Perhaps other shells can be more public in their activities? Not saying that they're not already, but even more so? The whole concept of a 'top shell' referenced in Ellie's above post really sets my skin to crawling and isn't a term I've heard referenced before so I really hope that's not getting thrown around a lot. Every single shell should be considered equal in my mind.


At the end of the day, I would worry less about the shell's overall reputation. The glorious thing about the RPC is that so much cross-shell Roleplay is possible. I know that I personally couldn't care less about a shell's reputation. What I want to know is which individual person I want to roleplay with - see my earlier comments regarding Gerik and Aysun. Focusing more on that - encouraging a shell's members to get out there, roleplay with as many people as possible and generally be all around awesome - will fix the shell's perception as a by-product. The thought process will be "Hey, all these awesome people I've played with are in the same shell! That shell must be awesome too!".


My thoughts probably rambled all over the place there, as they are wont to do. So I'll wrap up by saying politics suck, perception is hard to manage and neither should ever be such a concern that it detracts from the reason we're all here - to bloody roleplay!

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I seem to be prefacing with this a lot, but I'm new. I'm new to the site, to the community and to FFXIV.


That said, I'm a former moderator for the Guild Wars 2 Roleplayers community site, a former member of a guild run by one of its administrators, and a guild leader for one of the larger guilds on the Tarnished Coast server. In other words, I have a perspective that could serve to be helpful for this topic.


Honestly, it's weird to see anybody making a public post asking for people to provide honest criticism, negative feedback and rumors about their guild, promising that they can be totally honest and expect no reprisal or grudges. Does that ever work? And no offense, but such threads come off as defensive, and so do responses to the criticism by the OP.


Granted, you folks in Crystalline have done a good job not seeming crazy, and providing answers that I suppose are helpful to people who may have been confused about your policies.


Still, it looks much better publicly to do more private personal inquiries with folks in the community who are in the know. You know, ask around a bit. This kind of thread is just two steps away from airing dirty laundry, either in the posts or the responses. One has to tread cautiously.



It makes the thread all the more troubling when it is posted/responded to by an admin or friends of admins.



The fact that I feel I must preface this post by saying I hold no ill-will toward Crystalline or the admin staff, no do I intend to, nor do I have any real criticism or comment against Crystalline, is already a discouraging sign. Posting here is a conflict of interest for most members, and providing any useful feedback is potentially worse. It is not that I don't believe that you aren't good folks--you seem cool enough, and have been friendly. But it's the condition of things. There are admins who have very publicly represented Crystalline, and one of them has already popped into this thread.


That may be a part of the misconceptions surrounding your guild.


See, on GW2RP, the mods were instructed to never represent their guilds, not with banners, not with sigs, not with avatars, not with advertising their guild or posting for their guild or even posting in their guild's thread. The site's admin even adhered to this rule, despite being the leader of an active, recruiting guild.


The result? People criticized the mod staff for "unfair" decisions, for vague biases, for pandering, for being all matter of nasty things that nobody cares about.


But nobody ever brought up our guilds. And for a time, the admin, a community manager and one of more active mods shared the same guild. Yet guilds were never a topic of critique, because we had a rule that above all else we were to present ourselves as unbiased in every possible way.


As a result we were treated as if we had no feelings by angry people, and we were sometimes not even treated like people. However, none of that compromised the integrity of our mod staff, or of the site. And most importantly, it didn't compromise our guilds and the fun we had in them and in-game.



I believe that the admins here and that the folks in Crystalline are good people. You've stuck by this game for many years, held together this community site, and have been helpful and welcoming to newcomers, fostering what I feel is a positive overall community atmosphere.


However, you guys have a responsibility, as moderators as well as guild leaders. Having responsibilities can sometimes mean sacrificing personal freedom, and I say this as a guild leader myself. Abstain from even the appearance of any wrongdoing, and you will serve your purposes all the better.

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@Armi:  Thank you for your reply and visiting our site/forums.  I think you'll find that you have access to most of the forums there.  Please feel welcome to create a thread or offer your thoughts on one of the ongoing discussions.


@drake:  I'm concerned about some of what I have heard, but I am not looking to attempt to please everyone.  One of my favorite quotes is by Bill Cosby and goes something like, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."  While we are looking to make some changes to be a bit more accommodating to the larger community, we're not looking to flush the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.  It is important to us that the LS retain its core values and purpose.


@Ildur:  I agree I don't think there's any way to set up a moderator team on any forum that is going to be received well by all members - particularly with a site like that RPC that encompasses so many members with so many different backgrounds and varying opinions.


@JJ:  Thanks for better summarizing what I was driving at with my rather longwinded response last night.  I don't think I can not be longwinded.  It's a sickness.  :?


@Ellie:  Thank you also for clearing up that point about not wanting to promise things we can't deliver and leave prospective members feeling disenchated as a result.   You have a way of taking what I'm thinking and wording it so much better than I am able.  I appreciate that.


@Asyria:  Thank you for your comment as well.  I also agree that the RPC belongs to all of us.  But I am getting an idea where certain perceptions are coming from, which was part of why I created this thread.  I also remember BF from 1.0 and it sounded like a good group!


@Tyriont:  It's good to see you're back!  Changing recruitment status to something like 'Pending' would be a good idea.  I think we were locked into only a few different options, but this is certainly something worth looking into as well.  I also agree that the 'top shell' remark - which was first introduced somewhere on page 1 - is kind of deflating sort of thing.  I try to view the smaller communities that make up the RPC as cooperating and collaborating rather than competing.  While perhaps not equal in membership quantity, style, immersion, etc., I think it's probably offputting to label any one as being better or worse than another - generally speaking.  For each player or character there may be some that make more or less sense than others or make a better fit, but I agree that tagging any LS as being superior to others for any reason is a big no-no.


@Spiritual Machine:  It's my opinion that this did have a positive impact the last time it was conducted for another community I belonged to at the time.  I can appreciate that a lot of delicate issues may be brought up, but our goal is to improve our community not only for our members, but also to make it so that other communities can easily interface with us for cross-LS type RP.  I feel that there is value in this.  It has also been interesting to read about how these sort of modererator-member matters have been dealt with in other games' RP communities.  Please read on.



After some discussion with my fellow linkshell members, I decided to go back and edit much of the opening post of this thread.  It was pointed out to me - and I agree - that some of the phrasing I used/borrowed may have come off a little bit defensive, and that's really not the message that I'm meaning to send with this solicitation. The OP now reflects what I really feel about the issue, which is simply that I've heard through some of the back channels that Crystalline isn't viewed by some in a mostly positive light, and I'm now concerned about this, since it is as much of a reflection on Crystalline as it is of me, as the group's leader. I'm sincerely looking here for complaints that are registering for Crystalline, so that I can figure out what I can do, as shell leader, to make Crystalline as attractive and friendly as possible both for our members and also for those who may be interacting with us from other linkshell communities.

Since we do not want to be seen as hiding anything, I've preserved the original post and will leave it here beneath a spoiler tag:

Almost a year and a half ago Oskar who led a LS called Everwatch - for those who may not have known -

created a thread to solicit feedback from non-members about the Everwatch LS.  A number of changes within that group (recruitment, leadership, application process, rules, etc.) were enacted afterwards as a result of discussion that stemmed from that thread and even though the Crystalline LS hasn't yet been founded in-character, I've already been kind of hearing a lot of stuff secondhand that I don't really like, so I figured I'd open a dialogue with the broader community with the intent of hopefully clearing up some misconceptions and looking for ways we might be a better part of the bigger community.  I'm going to quote him almost word-for-word here:


As person who isn't part of Crystalline, what are your thoughts on the LS so far?  What experiences have you had with us?  What have you heard about us?  I want to know because it's hard to sense one's place in the larger community from within, and one of our goals is to be a part of the RP community.

Please speak your mind freely and clearly. I know a lot of people are iffy about commenting on linkshells as a whole in public, for fear of offending someone, but I think having open discourses would actually help our linkshell and the rest of the RP community to know what Crystalline is about. We are ready to hear negative feedback, and if we see fit, we're ready to change accordingly - or at least be aware of what's being said in the community, and possibly introduce some clarity to the public.  I am sure folks talk about other linkshells in private, but never in public.

Please, speak your mind, whatever you feel, whatever you've heard, whatever you've experienced.  It's all fair game.  All we ask is that you explain your views a little bit beyond 'You guys are great,' or 'You suck!' as those reasons will help us see things better.

Maybe we can even build some sort of a public trust, or at least, prove once again that mature, open, discussions about linkshells can happen, and by doing so, be more open with each other.



Thank you for sharing all the thoughts and feedback so far!


EDIT: fixed formatting

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I just want to add my quick two cents here. I'm not a member of Crystalline, but I was brought over by Gerik who wants me to join and wait until they're recruiting. I've been doing that, since then I've gotten to know the members. A large majority have spoken to me and roleplayed with me since then. It seems a lot of people are thinking that they don't want to roleplay with anyone outside their linkshell and that's extremely untrue. A few members have been dragging me around to roleplay with some other new players. Not only to introduce them to me, but so that they feel welcomed here in Balmung. I can't tell you how many times I was thrown into a party full of people I didn't know and we ended up chatting, getting to know one another, doing dungeons, or roleplaying. Or how many times I've been thrown into skype OOC and RP chat rooms. Infact there's several people who have been added within the last three days who have just been hanging out. Just because they aren't doing recruitment doesn't mean that they don't want to see your face or talk to you. 


From what I've seen, as long you express your interest in joining them they'll go out of their way to meet you, and speak to you. We have to remember that Eva is not a mind-reader, she doesn't have telepathy and doesn't know that you're interested in joining and roleplaying with them unless you make the members of Crystalline aware. This is what I did, and it was a great turn-out for me. If you're interested then check out the site, leave someone a PM, check out some posts. I'm still not an official member of Crystalline and they've done nothing but accept me with open arms. So you can imagine my slight confusion when I hear that they aren't accepting of new people.


Anyhow, my opinion and views of Crystalline have been pretty amazing thus far and I'm glad that I was introduced to this crowd. Because my other attempts at joining LS's have either gone ignored are have just gone quiet by now. And while Crystalline is on hold, they've still kept me around and let me hang out so that when they're open for recruitment once more, I'll be ready.

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