The following post was just released for Star Citizen on www.robertsspaceindustries.com. If you have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
One of the first lessons we learned during Star Citizen's campaign is that players like to form their own groups. Whether you want to game with friends or work with like-minded strangers to impact the universe, you want to come together. We knew going in to the project that Star Citizen would need a robust guild/squadron system... but we had no idea we would need it before the game launched! As soon as the RSI forums went online last year, players were already building their own squadrons, pirate clans, merchant companies and more.
As a result, we decided to start building Organizations into the website today instead of waiting for the game to launch. Players who want to form groups will soon be able to do so right here at RSI... and those groups will transition directly into Star Citizen. The organizations you form today will be the ones you fly with in the 'verse! The web team at Turbulent has been hard at work integrating these plans and today we're going to share details about how the first release is going to work.
Part of the Global Org Hub
When the organization system launches, group leaders will be prompted to select a name and a unique ID for their group. Once registered, you will be able to set up a public page for your group right here at the RSI site! Leaders will then be able to upload their own logo, banner and background for the site and choose a preset color theme. They can enter information to be displayed on their public site, including the organization history, manifesto and charter.
With your own page, you will be able to start recruiting and organizing your group! In the first version, leaders will be able to pick an organization type, view their member list, invite new recruits and assign ranks and roles to members. Organization leaders will be able to delegate responsibilities to members.
On launch, you will be able to select a type for your organization. This defines the groups overall goal. We've divided organizations into four archtypes:
Archetypes are a roleplaying element and do not impact the actual functioning of the organization; you'll still be free to organize your group as you wish regardless of which type you choose.
There's two ways to join an Organization: either by applying through the group's page, or by invitation from the group itself. If you find a group you're interested in joining, you can fill out an application which will then be reviewed by the leadership. If they like you, you're in! (Organizations can enable or disable public recruiting.) If you're the kind of group that wants to actively recruit, you can invite members directly. In that case, the user would receive a request that they would need to approve in order to join the organization. Keep in in mind that while players can come and go as they please, they can join only one organization at a time.
Player Ranks and Roles
Organizations can establish two pieces of information about every member: their rank and their role. Roles are user-defined subgroups inside any organization that define the jobs assigned to players by the organization. Maybe you have a role for accountants or one for turret gunners!
Organizations have a set of six ranks that their leaders can assign to players. Ranks are user-selectable. One common military-styled setup might be:
But your organization can set its ranks however it likes. If "Peacekeeper" or "Technician" or "Spaceman" makes more sense than "Colonel," you can make the call.
Syndicate-themed Org Header
We know that a lot of Citizens are concerned about keeping their existing group names in the new system. Like Community Monikers, Organization names will not be unique. An unlimited number of players can form groups named "Red Squadron." Every organization WILL have a unique Spectrum ID ("SID"), a ten-character (all cap) alphanumeric designation. The SID will be used in the organization's URL and will be displayed prominently with the name to distinguish similarly-named groups.
Conflicts which arise will be treated on a case-by-case basis by the moderation team, with absolutely no tolerance for copycat or parody organizations. The archive of 'recruiting threads' in the Organizations subforum at the RSI site will be referred to determine claims of pre-existing organization ownership should the need arise. CIG will moderate public facing group areas for content, organizations will be responsible for moderating their private discussion areas.
Expanded Live Chat
Live Chat Update
Goodbye, Chatroll! As part of the Organization launch, we will be introducing a new, XMPP-based, live chat system to the RSI website. This will eliminate the 500-user limit on chat and will enhance it in a number of other areas as well. You'll be able to connect from outside the RSI site using any XMPP-compatible client. Like the Organization system itself, this chat will transition through to the communications system in Star Citizen and the future mobile app.
Citizens will also no longer be limited to a single general chat room. Every organization will have its own self-governed discussion channel and officer chat. If you're a member of a particular org, you'll automatically join the appropriate rooms when you connect! In addition, there will be special chat areas for groups like Subscribers, Concierge and more!
Pardon our dust! In preparation for the Organizations rollout, you may have noticed some changes to the RSI forums. Users who have either backed Star Citizen or have had a game pack gifted to them now show as part of the "Ready" group. Users who have not backed Star Citizen now show in grayscale at the forums and cannot post to some deeper areas, like the Off Topic forum.
In a system related to the 'under the hood' upgrades we've made for the Organization rollout, we're pleased to announce that, starting today, you will be able to apply any ship upgrades to your existing ships and packages! If you have a Colonel Package and you've been waiting to see your Super Hornet, today is your lucky day. Upgrading a package will change the overall value and will allow you to see the enhanced ship in your Hangar. Once an upgrade is used, it's gone; you will now have the new ship type in your inventory.
The following upgrades can now be applied to the stock ships in all packages.
Note that the F7A Hornet body kit upgrade will appear as an item for use in the finished game (similar to a skin or an additional gun) and will not be applied through this system.
Public testing of Organizations begins later this month with a planned rollout in early January. That's just the first step! Future drops throughout 2014 will greatly increase customization and functionality as development continues. Here are a few of the features that will be included with future releases:
... and much, much more!
We're excited about the Organization launch because it aims to do exactly what we're striving for with Star Citizen: better immerse players in the Star Citizen universe. Even better, it does so by giving Citizens the tools to help create their universe rather than locking them into any one experience. We're looking forward to seeing where you take your organizations!