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  1. Bismarck

    [F01-PP] Of Iron and Fire

    "I guess you could say that." Bismarck surprised himself with the ease of his own words. He didn't often like to think about his past. Not because of the life he'd lost, but because of how he'd changed. Pleasant in nature though his many memories were, they all came with the same harrowing reminder. That he might no longer be the enthusiastic boy who lived them. So he was surprised with how easily the reply came to him, a sincerely friendly expression returning to his face. As though it had never faded. "I'm not looking to teach it or anything, but it's fun to learn about." He continued, the smile showing in his voice now as well. Perhaps it was the normalcy they'd managed to inject into their words. When they talked about their past lives in the present tense, it cut out the grim middleman of their lives in The Game. Of his life in The Game. "I'm mostly just interested in the wars, but history in general is always pretty cool." There was a legitimate cheer to his words now, even if it was still a tad subdued. "Most recently I'd started hearing a lot more about The Great War. Stuff I'd never heard about in class before, like The Christmas Truce. I would've looked up more, but-..." Bismarck trailed off, glancing off in the direction of Floor 1's artificial sky. "Well, y'know." This time the acknowledgement of their virtual prison didn't delve into the despair it had held mere seconds earlier. Instead it was more of an offhanded snark at the castle's creator, carrying a tone that was more annoyed than helpless. "It's weird to think how almost everything that's happened in the last century can be traced back to a single war." Without skipping a beat he just let his train of thought keep running, his piercing blue gaze returning to Lessa as he spoke. "That's probably one of the main reasons I like studying it nowadays. It and the whole 20th century that came after." @Lessa
  2. Bismarck

    [F01-PP] Of Iron and Fire

    It surprised him to hear such doubts coming from a more experienced player. Perhaps it shouldn't have, Bismarck was no stranger the existential worries that many players expressed about their imprisonment. Even he had been assailed by such grim fancies from time to time. An uncharacteristic pessimism lurking in the wake of his stagnating melancholy. Still it caught him off guard to hear the words from Lessa, cutting in to interrupt their pleasant conversation. It was something he'd never expected to hear from a higher leveled player. Maybe this girl wasn't the type of person he'd pegged her as, or maybe the vulnerability she'd just shown him was a bit more common than he'd like to imagine. Certainly it made this soldier of Aincrad a little easier to relate to. Loathe though he was to admit that he could sympathize with her conflicted words. Before SAO, before all that time he'd wasted away, Bismarck would've had a response to Lessa's uncertainty. Dismissing her doubts out of hand on the grounds of their futility. He still knew what those words would be, but now he hesitated to give it. Instead he just watched, his smile mostly fading, as she shook off the dark topic and returned to answering his question. "Where're you getting your degree at?" Ordinarily he might've stayed with the topic of history. It was fun to talk about, after all. Especially where the early twentieth century was concerned. Bismarck, as evidenced by his name, found a certain allure in the horrors of the two Great Wars. However this time he decided to go down a different avenue, unable to shake the dreary subject that had invaded their conversation mere moments earlier. So once she was done speaking, he asked another question about Lessa's life. This time the present tense was intentional. @Lessa
  3. Bismarck

    [F01-PP] Of Iron and Fire

    'Like being a millionaire.' Lessa's casual metaphor carried far more weight for him than she'd probably intended. Just *having* houses on different parts of the castle, no doubt the product of both time and work. It was like he'd expected, the girl had been using her time far more effectively. What a harshly clear representation of what he'd been failing to even pursue. He broke eye contact just before the handshake, glancing off to the side. At the clouds. Nothing like a tangible representation of success to really put his dull life in perspective. However Lessa's words tugged him out of his thoughts mid handshake. His grip had been decent enough, but it seemed fairly milquetoast. A far cry from the eye contact and semi-confident smile he'd approached with. The girl's acknowledgement of his name brought those piercing blue eyes of his right back, a look of mild surprise interrupting his mask of a smile. When that positive look returned, it was smaller, but this time he didn't have to fake it. "Uh-... Yeah. Or the chancellor, if you wanna look at it that way." Bismarck replied, tightening his grip slightly right at the tail end of their introductory shake. "What sort of history d'you wanna teach? Any era or place in specific?" Finally distracted from his own thoughts, he shifted into asking the first question that hit his mind, accidentally phrasing it as if they weren't trapped in a death game. As if they were just having a normal conversation in the real world. @Lessa
  4. Bismarck

    [F01-PP] Of Iron and Fire

    Of course she wasn't there to see the sights, why would an experienced player like her go sightseeing on the first floor? There were undoubtedly many far more interesting places to visit farther up. Places he would never see. Jace had to take another breath, had to catch himself. Day by day it was getting easier to fall prey to that kind of thinking. There was a time when he would've dismissed such notions out of hand. Better yet, he would've cut them from his mind before they even formed. Maybe he really had lost sight of himself. The slender fingers of his hand curled violently around the railing, his knuckles turning white from the pressure. Just a bit of venting while he tried to continue the conversation. Hopefully the girl, Lessa, was too far away to see it. "You live on the first floor?" He asked, wondering why a higher leveled player would bother living so far down. It would put her away from the front lines, away from any valuable quests, and away from all of the better NPC vendors. To him there wasn't really a reason to purchase a house all the way at the bottom. Unless of course she just liked the aesthetic of the place or something. "Never thought anyone would choose to be down here, honestly." Jace let out a short chuckle at this, letting the grim irony entertain him a bit. The first floor was the last place he'd ever think to live in. Finally he let go of the railing, his long legs casually closing the distance that Lessa apparently hadn't wanted to cover. He stuck out his hand once they were close enough, meeting her blue eyes with the icy hue of his own gaze, keeping up that smile of his all the while. The same old social routine. Sometimes it felt like that was the only thing he did anymore. "I'm Bismarck." He stated, still keeping up that friendly mask in both expression and voice. @Lessa
  5. Bismarck

    [F01-PP] Of Iron and Fire

    Immediately the young man straightened his posture, turning as a girl's voice called out to him. His icy blue gaze seeking out the person who'd caught him at a less than proud moment. He hadn't expected his solitude to be interrupted so soon. Although it didn't take much thought to figure out why she'd approached him, especially considering her words. Especially considering her distance. Of course Jace probably looked like everyone else who had stood alone on that edge. No doubt the girl knew what that usually meant. This was an encounter he never thought he'd have. It spoke volumes about his state of mind, that someone else would make such an assumption about him. The realization sent a stab of dismay through his heart. Did he really look like that? He took another deep breath, letting it out in a much lighter sigh as he stepped away from the edge, only leaving a single hand to rest on the railing. Then he forced a friendly smile, responding with a lie in a similarly friendly tone. "Yeah, I'm fine." From the looks of her, and judging by her familiar, she looked to be a more experienced player. Someone who hadn't wasted her time. Of course he was going to lie to her. The feelings such a person stirred within him were bad enough, the regret and envy from what felt like years of empty stagnation. How unbearable would it be if someone like that came to pity him? "What's brought you all the way out here?" Jace asked, glancing at the cloudy mountains shifting beside them. Just outside their reach. "Sightseeing? It's a pretty day, the weather outside Aincrad can actually be pretty impressive." It was better to keep her from pursuing the issue, to change the subject. If he was lucky maybe he'd get a decent conversation out of it. Something to pull his thoughts away from the edge, away from all that wasted time that kept crashing down on his shoulders. @Lessa
  6. Bismarck

    [F01-PP] Of Iron and Fire

    Jace had mixed feelings about Aincrad's sky, so why did he keep visiting it? Glistening white clouds billowed past him, framed by the bright blue background that periodically interrupted their chaotic spires. It was as if he could reach out and touch them were Aincrad's balcony to extend another fifteen feet or so. A beautiful sight, perhaps even a deadly one. Briefly a disturbing thought flashed across his mind. Had anyone ever died like that? Accidentally falling off as they literally reached for the sky, just to see if they could touch the clouds? What a tragedy that would be. He doubted it, such a thing could never happen outside the bounds of a drama. Then again he knew of many seemingly impossible tragedies that were very much real. They were often intimately entwined with his favorite parts of history, after all. The thought sent a shiver down his spine. Reflexively Jace took a small step back from the railing, the only thing standing between him and his own tragic accident. He had picked such a peaceful, secluded spot to escape the fear of death. Not stoke it. The young man rocked back on his heels, taking in a deep breath, before exhaling as he gently pushed himself back against the rails. Leaning forward to stare down at the endless blue below. It was a little disorienting, with nothing but sky surrounding his point of view. There was something enticing about that, though. How much more exciting would the skies of Aincrad be if it really was just the skies? If players could fly and fight among that great expanse? A war in the clouds, with the endless sky as the only limit. What a double edged sword his mind had become. With the thrilling concept finding birth within his head, so too came the familiar fog of melancholy. The freedom of flight seemed antithetical to the way he'd lived his life within SAO. Was he still that kind of person? Sometimes he felt like a shell, a hollow remnant of the eager young man he'd once been. Kept alive only by sheer force of selfishness alone. Jace forced his eyes closed, cutting off the image of the sky as he furrowed his brow. What was he doing? Wasn't the point of going all the way out there to avoid the things that provoked those kinds of thoughts? He took another deep breath, clenching his fists and tensing his shoulders, before releasing it all in a heavy sigh. Once more his bright blue eyes opened to meet the blue skies below. Perhaps he was right, perhaps those beautiful skies really were dangerous. Though not for the reason he'd initially entertained. @Lessa
  7. Bismarck

    [F01-OP] Curse of Versailles

    Jace's bright gaze focused in on two more girls as they interjected into the conversation. First a girl who presented herself rather politely, with a small dragon peeking cautiously over her shoulder. A familiar. Shortly after she was followed by another much smaller girl, armored and hyper. They both looked to be a higher level, not only in their equipment but in the way they carried themselves. Of course he would encounter such people on a night like this. Still he kept up his smile, concealing the spike of regret that such players evoked within him. The conversation would likely become tedious if any of them noticed something wrong. Tediousness was the last thing he needed. "Sure! I don't see why not." He replied, following the first girl's example in extending his hand. Apparently her name was Kirbs, and the polite girl was Jewel. "I'm Bismarck. What's brought you girls to the first floor?" Bismarck asked, letting Kirbs handle the 'nice to meet you' sentiment that he normally would've given. Tonight wasn't the night for him to be saying something like that. @Kirbs @Krysta @Sunova
  8. Bismarck

    [F01-OP] Curse of Versailles

    Did he live there? Jace glanced away at the girl's question, his greeting smile fading a bit. She had unwittingly struck a very unpleasant cord. Yes, yes he did live around there. For far, far too long. He tried to keep these feelings hidden, passing it off as though he'd been looking around at the buildings as well. Those icy blue eyes of his quickly returned to the girl, watching her rather unusual body language while she abruptly changed the subject. Had he been too obvious? Jace forced his smile to come back, at once both silently cursing himself and hoping that the girl was just socially awkward or something. That she hadn't actually noticed the chinks in his own behavior. "Yeah! Weather's great, I actually really like it." There, something he could use for conversation without having to lie. He could sincerely say that he enjoyed the weather. Especially after having seen what it was actually like outside of Aincrad. "Anyways..." Of course she probably hadn't been expecting an answer, talking about the weather was practically textbook small talk. Looking to move the conversation back to something a little more useful, he brought his gaze back down to the girl. "You said you're looking for a cafe?" @Kirbs
  9. Bismarck

    [F01-OP] Curse of Versailles

    The young man let out a sigh. One long and heavy, accented by what felt like years of soul sucking inaction. He couldn't sit on this edge forever. Gorgeous though the view was, it did eventually get boring to stare at the night sky surrounding Aincrad. With one last look into the abyss below, a look of both caution and admiration, he pushed himself away from it. Worn leather boots on long legs carrying him back towards the town. The streets were too familiar to him. Pretty as The Town of Beginnings was, the many alleys and buildings of the sprawling settlement had grown stale to him what felt like years ago. Now it was just a blur of vaguely fantasy style, especially with how late it was. Everything not under a light source was a shrouded silhouette under the mask of night. Jace was sick of it. He was so sick of it that he'd stopped caring, then rolled right back around to being sick of it again. One of the many issues his stagnant life in SAO had created for him. It made him clench his fists, a frustrated expression making itself known on his face. It was bothering him more than usual. Perhaps that was a good thing? He felt dissatisfied, like he wanted to strike out and finally get something done. There was someone up ahead. Annoyed with himself as he might be, Jace didn't really want anyone else to see it. Best to at least give off the impression that he wasn't a failure. Even if his level was a dead give away. As he approached the girl, he tried to put up a casual smile, taking in a deep breath as he unclenched those fists of his. "You lost?" He suddenly asked, acting on an impulse to greet her as soon as he was within speaking range. Jace really wanted to do something, the lack of activity in his life was proving particularly unbearable tonight. "You look like you're trying to find something." @Kirbs
  10. Jace had mixed feelings about Aincrad's sky. Not the ceiling that seemed to reflect a gentle blue, but the sky outside. The endless expanse within which the castle was suspended. He didn't see it very often. The young man held somewhat of an aversion to the Town of Beginnings' Southern edge. It was a place where delusional, broken people went to attempt their own twisted escape. At first it had been a place for him to wind down. A place to escape from all the reminders of his inaction, the stagnancy that had defined his life for what undoubtedly felt like years. A place to think. The only hobby he really practiced anymore, save for getting caught up in the occasional conversation with someone who didn't send a spike of regret stabbing through his heart. It was inevitable that he would witness someone take that misguided plunge into the golden skies below. Needless to say it was a horrifying thing to witness. Jace had never actually seen someone die before that point, not in person at least. Aincrad's sky was a sky full of death. Not just that of the castle it hosted but also of those crestfallen souls who hurled themselves into it. He could no longer stand the sight of it, reminded only of the kaleidoscope of crystal shards that had erupted from that other player's body. Not wishing to see such a thing again, he elected to avoid visiting that Southern edge. Fearing that his visit might coincide with another person's breaking point. Yet Aincrad's sky was a beautiful sky. Vast and deep, the clouds painted in all the brilliant colors that virtual sun had to offer. So too was the castle's nocturnal surroundings. A great sea of star filled void. That's how it looked now, an hour past midnight, as Jace gazed at it from Aincrad's balcony. He hadn't been able to sleep. With far too much time to dwell on his situation, the weight of all his lost time had fallen upon him at once. A rare, dangerous case of overthinking. The young man's mind had contrived itself into a dire corner, in a way he imagined was all too common among the great sky's victims, and had lead itself to a line of reasoning he never thought he'd court. A horrific thought that sent him recoiling in disgust at the mere idea. Perhaps the only thing that a person like him could ever regard as sacrilege. Even now the concept made him shiver, furrowing his brow as he stared into the starry abyss. It was the reason he'd decided to visit it once again, to lean against the thin stone railing that stood between him and the sky of Aincrad. Not to follow through with the idea, no. Jace would never do something like that. Instead it was a macabre satisfaction in defying that transgressive impulse. To simply stand on the somber edge and refuse the apparent temptation that had claimed so many lives. Besides, the sky was beautiful, and there was little threat of witnessing another horror so late at night. He needed a break from the city and its painful reminders.
  11. Bismarck

    Bismarck's Report

    Profile Name: Jace Rose Username: Bismarck Age: 21 Gender: Male Height: Approximately 6'2" About Jace Rose has always been a product of luxury and free time. Arguably too much free time. He was born in the heart of New York City, the child of two very successful parents. Their whole lives having been defined by hard work, they naturally attempted to instill a similarly strong work ethic into their child from a young age. An attempt that yielded mixed results. Jace is a naturally eager and friendly boy, traits that made him quite receptive to the idea of putting effort towards the things he wanted. However the things he wanted weren't always the things his parents wanted him to want. He was never too interested in the dull, repetitive work required by the public education system. Much more exciting were interacting with his fellow classmates, playing games, and learning about the things that interested him far more than the basics he was taught in school. This negatively impacted his grades all through his first decade of life. Not because he couldn't comprehend the material, but instead often because he didn't bother doing the work. The boy was always occupied with something else. Out playing with his friends in everything from outdoor sports to violent video games. It wasn't until high school, when his grades became far more important, that Jace finally started being at least slightly responsible. That is to say he became a master of cramming. While his grades became consistent A's and B's, nothing really changed much about his overall work ethic. The only difference was that now he'd complete his assignments right before they were due rather than simply biting the bullet and taking the F. He became quite proud of this ability he'd developed, as he often did with things he was good at. Now he too had something to brag about when it came to academic achievement, citing the times he'd completed a week long assignment in an afternoon or prepared a speech mere minutes before he had to give it. The boy was no model student, but he was no longer a failure either. While he still had very little interest in school, Jace found his successes addictive. Who knew that work could feel so good? This channeled into his hobbies and even his self image. Before long the boy was feeding his friendly demeanor into confidence, his love of gaming into competition, and his fledgling historical interest into a martial hunger. From Jace's years in high school all the way through to graduation he had always had more free time than most other young adults. The success of his parents meant he never really had to do actual work outside of school, so he commonly found himself alone with nothing to do. These are the times when he either read, listened, or thought. History, philosophy, politics, all manner of things that had struck his interest but which his school had never really delved into. Even history class never spent enough time on the aspects of history he was most excited by. They never spent enough time discussing the wars. Jace himself was never particularly interested in becoming a soldier, although he admired the idea of being an officer. He just wasn't willing to put his life on the line, nor did he want to have the responsibility of taking lives. However the idea of war itself was fascinating to him. The battles, the tactics, the weapons, the excitement of a life or death struggle. It became a passion of his to find ways to simulate mankind's greatest competition without actually putting himself in danger. Video games, martial arts, board games, airsoft, even LARP. Everything fulfilled some aspect of what he was looking for, but none ever did it all at once. Jace wound up with a chaotic mess of hobbies that alternated depending on what specific mood he was in. A mess made unsustainable as he moved on to university. Unlike high school, college offered many detailed and interesting courses concerning subjects which Jace actually took interest in. While he certainly didn't abandon his habit of cramming, it gradually became a much less frequent event for him. Now the boy was actually paying attention, participating in class, and doing his work. This meant less time for his gaming, but he decided it was worthwhile. Many of the ideas he'd read, watched, or listened to were now presented and fleshed out in an academic setting. When he wasn't in class or playing games those ideas roiled about in his head, gradually forming into a decisive world view. A way of thinking about things that the young man found both satisfying and useful. It wasn't without holes, of course, but was far better than anything he'd dreamed up in high school. He had become an opinionated young man. A patriot who loved the individual, a militarist who despised death, a nihilist who failed to see the despair in a lack of meaning, and a compassionate friend even as he espoused the philosophy of Ayn Rand. The process of growing up didn't mean he lost his interest in games, however. If anything that passion for simulated war only grew stronger as he learned more and more about the world. More about the real thing. Then SAO was announced. It wasn't so much the game itself that caught his interest, Jace had never been much of an MMO-RPG type, but instead it was the precedent that the game would be setting. A fully simulated virtual world? Perhaps with this technology finally hitting the public market he might one day be able to see the battlefield he's always wanted to set foot on. A war without all the things that made it terrible. The idea consumed his thoughts, exciting him like few things had done before. He couldn't wait for the right kind of game to come out, he had to witness the potential in person. Jace pre-ordered the game as soon as it was available. When it finally arrived he set aside the whole day to explore it, setting up the nerve gear and starting it up. "Link start!" 3rd In Game Year How long had it been? How old was he? How long had it been since he'd last done something? Anything? How he'd been so eager back then, so hopeful for the bright future ahead. It was death that had made him this way. No, not his death. Just death. Just the threat. That looming specter of nothing, jaw outstretched to snuff him out. Jace didn't believe in the afterlife. He would stop existing when he died, and nothing was worse than that. He hated it. So often he heard tales about the frontlines. Heroes and martyrs, villains and betrayers. Great people who went out and did great things while he wasted away in the cities they'd freed. It would all have been wondrous were he not so painfully aware of his own relative insignificance. How it injured his pride to know that cowardice had shackled him to the sidelines. Was this worse than death? No, of course not. The people who threw themselves off the castle's side were delusional. Nothing was worse than death. But it came close. Every time he heard about the frontliners, every time he saw a higher level player, the weight of all the time he'd wasted came crashing down on him. Every time was worse than the last. Yet he could never seem to break the cycle. He had been doing nothing for so long that nothing was all he knew. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and before he knew it the year was gone. Inaction had made him apathetic. Was it worse than death? No, of course not, but it came close. He had to break the cycle before it broke him. Virtues Eager: Jace is an outgoing young man with a friendly demeanor, remaining positive in most situations that come his way. He's always eager to pursue whatever catches his interest. From idle hobbies, to competition, even to the occasional person who might prove fun. Things he would consider work aren't exempt from this either, as evident by his decade long history of cramming for deadlines. His enthusiastic attitude is very difficult to disrupt, especially once he's on a roll, although such a thing isn't impossible. Intelligent: It wasn't luck that allowed Jace to so often ace his assignments at the last minute. In spite of his elementary school grades he is actually quite good at learning, both receptive and retentive to new information. So long as it's interesting enough for him to actually pay attention and memorize it. This goes beyond just learning as well, as his mind is naturally predisposed towards analytical thinking. Problem solving and planning are skills he's practiced at least since high school. Skills that aid him in everything from taking tests, to playing games, to arriving at his own world view. Indeed his own ideologies are ones supported by the many hours he's had to think about the things he's been taught. Empathetic: Arguably the one thing Jace has the most experience with is that of interaction with other people. Even from a young age he's always gone out of his way to make friends, or at the very least find people to play with. Other people are the most fun, after all. They introduce an active element into an otherwise static world. Even the best crafted game world will eventually feel stale to him if there aren't other people to engage with. All this time spent with other people has taught him many things. In particular it's taught him, through no small amount of early mistakes, empathy. It made Jace good at understanding people, allowing him to better communicate with and relate to them. Flaws Proud: With intelligence, skill, and experience comes success. Jace knows what success tastes like, and he loves it. He finds quite a bit of pride in those successes. While it lends to his already substantial self-confidence, that pride also makes it hurt all the more when he fails. He hates it when he isn't performing as well as he thinks he should, and such failure often puts a damper on his bright personality until he can resolve it. Additionally it means he doesn't like to lean fully on others. Of course he loves teamwork, few things are more satisfying to him than a well coordinated team, but that's if he's pulling his own weight. He can't stand to be carried, or to lack a capability so greatly that someone else has to do it for him. Nihilist: Jace's logical style of thought has led to him adopting two main philosophies for his worldview, the first of which is nihilism. Unlike the stereotypical nihilist, however, he isn't consumed by some great apathy in the face of meaninglessness. No, he's too positive for that. The real disadvantage of his nihilism is the effect it often has on thoughts about his personal existence. Particularly his fear of death. If there is no god, no afterlife, and no soul then death means he will cease to exist. Every living thing has a fear of death, it's only natural, but there is nothing to comfort Jace when he dwells on his own end. No thoughts of eternal bliss or reuniting with the people he values. It's an almost crippling fear, something he often has great difficulty overcoming. Selfish: The second philosophy Jace has chosen to adopt is objectivism. An ideology that holds reasonable selfishness as the root unit of moral good. This of course stems from his own personal selfishness. That isn't to say he dislikes giving aid, far from it, but when push comes to shove he will put himself before another. Elevating himself at the expense of someone else isn't something he particularly likes or wants to do, but in his eyes it's better than sacrificing himself to elevate someone else. Skills Skill Point Total: 5 Curved Sword: Rank 1 (5 SP) Inventory (Starter Set A "Basic Package") Current Col: 2,500 Gear Consumables Materials Friends List Roleplays
  12. Bismarck

    The Time Has Come

    Thanks! Now it's time I got around to finally writing that journal of mine...
  13. Bismarck

    The Time Has Come

    Ah? Alright, I'll have to do that. Thanks! Also, hi!
  14. Bismarck

    The Time Has Come

    Goodness, it's been over a year since I last did anything on here. Not including my brief stint on GGO, although that site appears to be going through some sort of revamp. (Sorry to the people I vanished on by the way. I should've said something...) In any case I have at last returned! I've decided after three or four years of watching that it's finally time I stopped lurking and actually did something on this site. Well, something other than make a long winded post in a discussion that I probably wasn't qualified to comment on. The original plan was to wait for 3.0 to come out before I joined, since that's apparently gonna be a bit of an overhaul to the system, but it seems that wasn't a terribly good idea on my part. So now I've elected to join and get to writing while I'm still in this SAO phase. I suppose I'll just have to deal with the level gap and adapt to 3.0 once it finally arrives. On that note though, I'm a little dissatisfied with this username. I made it two years ago when I first decided to try to join, naming my character's screen name after Prince Ricard of Dark Souls since I intended to have him use a rapier. A lot of time has passed since then and my ideas for what I want my character to be have changed considerably. Even in light of what I had in mind last year. Because of this I'm wanting to have a different username, but it seems I'm not able to create new accounts under the same email address? Yet I'm also a little reluctant about deleting this account since I've had it for so long. So how should I go about this? Is there a way to just change the name of this account? Would I have to use another email address to make another account? Or should I bite the bullet and delete this account so I can make a new one?
  15. Bismarck

    State of the Site Discussion

    I'm going to add a preface to preface my preface here in post, my past self didn't realize quite how much opinion he had floating around in his mind. This post is probably way longer than it should be, so I should warn any prospective readers that you're in for quite the ride. Incidentally, I'm going to go in and tag where I mention specific names. It's not so much to address people directly. I'm more so trying to bring attention to this thing that probably took me two hours to write, as I've a vague suspicion that this thread died eight days ago. We'll see how that goes. In all honesty I feel quite awkward tagging people who don't know me like this. I suppose this as good an introductory post as any though, putting up this wall of text to offer up my opinion. As a preface, I've had literally no interactions with this site prior to this post (unfortunately). I have however been lurking around for quite some time, at least a year and a half by this point. That probably makes me completely unqualified to make statements on a thread like this, but since I've once again started considering actually rp-ing here I figured I might as well voice my opinion. I also noticed that most (with a few exceptions) of the people here are long time veterans of the site with a top-down view of what's going on. As someone who's quite literally at the bottom in terms of both numbers and roleplaying experience within SAO, I might be able to offer a different perspective. (More likely though I'll just reiterate points that have already been said through a different lens, and maybe try to argue something. I'm not sure yet at the time of writing this sentence. I've mostly just got opinions in my head without a structure as to how I'll present them.) Firstly I'd like to say that I think a hard reset would be an absolutely terrible idea. I saw it tossed around a lot that such a change would benefit newer players, and that's probably true from a numbers perspective. It might even provide that novelty feeling of terror and wonder to the writing as everything is reset to floor one. However I think that would take away from the experience of joining a site and story that's been going on for... I think someone said it was four years now? As much as I hate the thought of having to grind to catch up with the frontliners (more on that in a bit) I actually thought it was kind of cool that there were already these legendary characters who'd molded the setting before the arrival of whatever character I intended on writing. They were figures to look up to, maybe even figures to envy. Perhaps if your character wasn't really motivated to be a frontliner they might instead view those figures as heroes, or perhaps just as fools lacking a self-preservation instinct. That's probably just my own weird perception of it though. I suppose the more solid argument (one of those things I'm just reiterating) is that the people behind those legendary frontliners would lose all the work and storytelling that got those characters there. I'd feel a little off joining a level playing field, knowing what was lost in the process. I should point out though that I'm a little biased on that particular opinion. I may not have been roleplaying here over that year and a half, but I have been occasionally popping in to read some of the threads. It was kinda fun honestly. Popping in every few months to see what was new, check out the latest boss raid, maybe catch a particularly controversial thread. (Not pointing fingers at Dom or anything.) Since most of my reading focused on the frontliners, I personally find myself not wanting them to be erased in a reset, even if it would make things easier on me as a new player. It also may be worth noting that I'm listening to songs from the SAO soundtrack as I write this. It doesn't help at all with keeping sentimentality out of my writing... I said that I'd return to the subject of grinding to catch up with Calrex the frontliners, so here I am. To be perfectly honest, this is one of two reasons why you aren't already familiar with a character of my design. The first (somewhat embarrassing one) is that I could never for the life of me figure out what I was going to write in his journal. I could go more into depth on that, but I'm not going to as I'm here to elaborate on the second reason. The level difference. Knowing what had to be done to earn SP and seeing what the frontliners were already at was quite the demotivator for me. Especially so as I knew I wanted to write a character with a competitive personality, which would mean he'd be constantly pushing to try to catch up with the high level players. Such an undertaking would've required an amount of writing that I don't think I can pull off. I'd be burnt out long before my character actually got anywhere interesting in terms of level. To summarize, about 95% of the reason Ricard isn't already a character is the looming threat of having to grind through that level gap. As for the solutions offered previously in the thread (I told you I'd be reiterating) I'm personally in favor of bumping up the starting levels of newer players. You can sense the bias right? It just oozes out of the text. Yes, that opinion is largely due to the fact that I don't already have a presence on the site. However I also agree strongly with a point that @Shield made, a point that kind of cemented my favor for this idea. I mentioned that I wanted to play a competitive character right? Well since my interest in SAO has recently been on the rise, I've been revisiting the ideas I had for that character's personality. One thing that kept bugging me was how such a competitive, driven person had been sitting around twiddling his thumbs for literally four years. The only solution I can come up with is to somehow shoehorn something into his personality that would keep him stuck in The Town of Beginnings for so long, never even picking up his sword to maybe take a stab at trying to kill a boar. In that context the idea of having a higher minimum starting level makes a great deal of sense to me. It would effectively solve two problems with a single action, helping make newer players relevant while also sealing the gaping plot hole that only gets bigger with each new character. The time skip, however, is an idea that I don't particularly like. While it may have the possibility of cleaning up the stagnation that the site has apparently fallen into (I say apparently since I haven't personally been too in touch. The only indication of that stagnation from my point of view is that there hasn't been a raid in forever.), I think it may heavily disrupt stories that are already occurring. In all honesty though, this is another one of those biases from me. Something that I was annoyed with when watching the show was that massive portions of Aincrad (to me one of the most interesting aspects of the show) were simply skipped. Of course this makes sense when telling a narrative, especially in anime, but I'd hoped that the rp would be able to maintain itself through all one hundred floors. An impractical hope I suppose, but there's a side of me that wants to see all of what that massive floating castle has to offer, as well as the stories that form along the way. I've seen tell of an idea to split the website, starting a new server where newer players might be able to have their experience in early Aincrad without destroying what the veterans have built. From the perspective of my own opinion, I personally prefer the idea of just having the one persistent world. It might be nice to have a fresh start running alongside the main game, but I think it would draw away all of the new players, so there wouldn't be any dynamic between the frontliners and the lower level characters. From a more practical perspective, it sounds as though SAO doesn't really have the player base to support such a split anyway. So my two cents? Probably a bad idea, for now at least. (Oh look, I'm reiterating again.) From a roleplaying perspective, I actually don't mind that Calrex some people are way higher leveled than everyone else. I think it's cool that there's people like @Calrex to be that sort of legendary player within the game. From a game design perspective however, I can definitely see how that absurd level difference causes issues. If I recall correctly even a few of the recent floor bosses were child's play thanks to the sheer power of some players. As someone who's enjoyed reading the occasional floor boss raid, that particular aspect took away some of the intrigue from the fights. It removed a fair bit of tension when I knew there were players on the field who could probably pose a threat to the boss by themselves, let alone with a team of sixteen+ other formidable characters. In this I agree with the idea of a level cap. Whatever form it would take, I think such a cap would go a long way to making floor bosses the milestone threats they're depicted as. It might also serve to restore at least a little challenge to the game for those frontliners who've long since outclassed everything around them. The last point I want to address is @Lessa's, primarily because it's probably the one that I'm leaning both ways on (I'm also totally just reiterating here). To talk about the negative first, I think that bringing characters back from the dead defeats a large point of SAO. One of the main hooks that makes the setting so interesting is that people are permanently killed within the game. On the other hand, from what I've seen written in this thread alone the site seems to be having trouble with attracting new players. I'm not sure how much encouraging experienced writers to come back would do to solve that, but it would certainly bring back some spice to the story lines that may have been lost with their deaths. Take the very post above me, for example. I actually didn't know that @Opal had died before I read that post, and as an outside observer I was honestly saddened by it. I remember being so shocked as I watched her and @Oikawa cut down two of the biggest players in the game, the culmination of Opal's grand plan. Her sudden reveal as a villain was something exciting that I looked forward to seeing in future threads, or maybe even something that might've affected my own character if I had decided to finally join. Now I don't know if she would continue on that line were she to be brought back to life, but either way she and many other characters would likely make the world of this roleplay even more appealing. Huh, I went into that paragraph intending to play both sides. Maybe I just like the character Lessa? Regardless, I think that's all the opinions I have on the subject. Honestly I'll be a little surprised if anyone bothers to read, even more so if someone responds to it or takes it into account. Still, that was my two cents as a lurker who is considering joining once 3.0 drops. Now excuse me while I go add a preface to my preface at the top of the page. On an unrelated note, I remember an announcement being made that accounts who hadn't posted within a certain amount of time from their creation were going to be removed. Knowing this, why is this account still here? I mean I can't complain, but I created this account over a year ago and it's done literally nothing until this very post.