Welcome V:TES players! I thought it would be useful to create a mini-blog and progress report to keep you updated on how things are developing with the upcoming 2012 Storyline Events. There is a TON of work involved and most of it is behind-the-scenes work which you don't see. So even though it might appear like nothing is happening at the moment, rest assured that I am working assiduously to perfect the storyline events in a timely manner. Creating this page to keep you updated is meant to improve communications so you can see the progress I have been making. It also helps me personally maintain the momentum in getting things done. And finally, it's good practice in playing around and familiarizing myself with the V:EKN website and specifically the back-end interface.
- Eric Chiang (V:EKN Storyline Coordinator)
02/02/2012: David Tatu and I have finalized the storyline packages for the non-European countries. David has sent me the promos for event organizers who don't want to buy any booster boxes and those have arrived. I have e-mailed Walch & Nusser about providing storyline packages in Europe - just waiting for their reply now. I have also made some minor tweaks to the mock-up cards to cut down on text and make them easier to read.
01/25/2012: This progress update page is created!
1. Storyline Rules (for Constructed, Limited, and NAC)
A. The planned rules for the storyline events have actually been in development for over a year now. I started working on them when I first assumed the duties of Storyline Coordinator (back at the end of 2010). 2011 included lots of turmoil, especially with the CCP situation and the V:EKN website was still nascent. But now with the V:EKN site maturing and new developments on the horizon, 2012 is a much more opportune time to launch the next series of storyline events! I'd say that the storyline rules are at about the 90% completion mark. Just need to make some final tweakings, and then get some last minute feedback.
B. After the rules are finalized, I still need to convert it into a fancy-looking PDF (ideally so that event organizers can easily print out a copy of the rules). My PDF creation skills are a bit lacking (though I am eager to learn), so when we reach this stage, I might need some help from an expert.
C. Then the storyline rules need to be posted to the V:EKN website. I'm getting better and better at working with the website, so I think I will have this part under control.
2. Fiction (for Constructed, Limited, and NAC)
A. This has actually been the major bottleneck the past couple of months. I've already completed the research phase (going through lots of the relevant sourcebooks). And I've actually finished a first draft for each of the sections, but I would like to get several additional drafts and revisions done before formally releasing things. I would hardly consider myself a writer (I'm competent, but I'm not going to be winning a Pulitzer Prize nor am I going to be making a living this way). So this is where the most work still needs to be done. I'd say it's probably at the 20% stage.
B. Once finished, it needs to be converted into a PDF (like 1B)
C. Once finished, it needs to be put on the website (like 1C)
3. Mockup Cards
The storylines will use altered versions of existing cards and will also have a few "player aides" to help players keep track of the special rules. I have actually had excellent success on this front. A technical expert has been helping me, and I have already created very nice and impressive PDF's that can be easily printed by players and organizers. So this section is 100% done and ready.
4. Official E-Mail Address
It's relatively minor, but with the upcoming storyline plan, it makes sense to have an official Storyline e-mail address to collect the results and help administer upcoming events. Robert Goudie was kind enough to help with this, and we now have an official "@VampireTheEternalStruggle.com" e-mail address. So this is 100% completed.
5. V:EKN Website
A. I have some placeholder pages ready with a skeleton framework. It still needs to be populated further but most of that can't be done until later. I'd say it's about 33% ready.
B. Besides the actual end product website, there is also the hurdle of figuring out how to do everything! Ginés gave me some excellent training when I was first preparing the V:TES Artwork Database website (which has proven to be a useful test run for the Storyline website). Even doing this update right now has taught me a lot more about how the V:EKN website works. The eventual benefit is that gaining this expertise means that the Storyline pages can be customized better and I can do it directly instead of waiting for someone else to do it when they have the time. Also note that I will be able to promptly update the tournaments results, so you have a more accurate update of which clans are in the lead. I would also like to include features such as winning deck lists linked to the results page, as well as statistics on number of players, clans played, etc.
6. Tournament Support
A. I have been working with David Tatu to figure out ways to distribute existing promos (left over from CCP) and offer storyline packages (existing product) to storyline event organizers. We've finalized the process of handling the promos (for everywhere outside of Europe) so that portion is 100% complete. We are also 100% done in terms of figuring out potential storyline packages (similar to the Tournament Support Kits that Rose Tatu Productions offers but with a slight discount). I'll explain the process a little more later on.
B. I am in the processing of negotiating with Walch & Nusser regarding whether they can offer similar storyline support for European events.
7. NAC Scheduling
For the one-shot storyline at the NAC (similar to Black Miracles and Lies at the 2008 NAC and Friday the 13th at the 2009 EC), I have been working with Kevin Mergen on choosing an ideal time and date during Origins. We have settled for the evening of Thursday, May 31st. More details below. So the administrative and scheduling prepwork is done here (100%).
8. Storyline Reward Cards
The V:EKN decision to keep V:TES alive with a PDF set is actually quite opportune for the storyline because it means that storyline promos (and specifically reward cards) can be continued. The recent January 14th, 2012 V:EKN announcement stated that the first round of playtest for the PDF set has begun. In addition to the 30+ mini-set focused on the Sabbat, there will also be some storyline reward cards that reflect the results of the Eden's Legacy, Battle Lines, and Friday the 13th storyline events. These storyline cards have been designed in parallel with the Sabbat set and will be fully playtested in conjunction with the PDF set. They aren't formally part of the set, however. They may feature different mechanics and themes from the Sabbat cards and will likely have a slightly different release date (depending on when the storyline starts and/or when the cards are ready). Please note that while these reward cards honor the past storyline events and the hard work of my precedessor Ben Swainbank, that does *not* mean I intend to continue the same trajectory the storyline had been following. There will be some continuity for a smoother transition, but it will be going in a different direction that I think a lot of you will enjoy!
The plan is for the Constructed and Limited storyline events to run over a 6 month period. Previously storylines were run over a 2 or 3 month period, but I thought that expanding it to 6 months gives players more leeway. With a 6 month window, obviously it would have to start by June 2012. Also, it makes sense to have things going by the time of Origins (which will have a special one-shot event) which is at the end of May, so it would be even better if things were going by the time of May.
Ideally, it would be nice to have the start of the 2012 Storylines synchronized with the official release of the Storyline Reward Cards but realistically that's probably not going to happen considering the amount of time still needed for thorough playtesting, artwork commissioning, and any final editing and touchups. Postponing the storyline events just to wait for the reward cards doesn't make too much sense either. So the likely scenario is that the Storyline events will begin and then midway through the Storyline Reward Cards will be officially released and then be legal for the remainder of the storyline season. The Sabbat mini-set may also become legal midway through the storyline season.
Running a Storyline Event (Rough Draft)
1. Once the rules are officially released, if you decide that a storyline event would be fun, you go about organizing and running the event in the normal way (with a few minor differences).
2. You'll register the storyline event by e-mailing me with the event details and the expected number of players. I will keep an updated list of storyline events on the webpage.
3. If you don't care about promo cards or support kits, then you can go straight to running the event and then reporting the results to me (I'll be asking for slightly more details regarding the event particulars, but it shouldn't be a signficant hassle).
4. If you want tournament support kits, then you can order them from Rose Tatu Productions (and hopefully Walch & Nasser). Since you'll be getting a discount on the products, you will need to have an approved storyline event (listed on the Storyline webpage calendar) in order to purchase these special kits. You will also get an amount of promo cards based on the number of expected players.
5. If you want just promo cards (but not full tournament support kits) then after you have officially registered your event, I can send you promo cards but you'll need to pay for shipping and handling. Sorry, I'm a volunteer - I'm not interested in making a profit but I do need to break-even. I'm located in the U.S. by the way.
NAC Storyline at Origins
There will be a special, exclusive storyline event at the 2012 North American Championships at Origins. On Thursday, May 31st, there is currently an afternoon event and an evening event. The three preliminary rounds of the Last Chance Qualifier run from Noon to 6 P.M. with the final starting at 6 P.M. Those who do not make the finals and those who arrive later in the day can attend the Late Night Last Chance Qualifier starting at 6 P.M.
After discussing things with Kevin Mergen, we decided that having the special NAC Storyline on Thursday evening as a shadow/alternate event to the Late Night Last Chance Qualifier would be the best option. So the tentative plan is to have the NAC Storyline start at 6 P.M. that Thursday. There will be no ticket or fee required, but you will need a badge for the convention.
Storyline Cards & Playtesting
As mentioned earlier, the upcoming storyline reward cards are being fully playtested with the Sabbat mini-set. I do think it is important to clarify and correct some misperceptions about past storyline cards during the tenure of my predecessors Robert Goudie & Ben Swainbank.
After talking with many players and seeing a variety of forum posts and threads, many players are under the impression that *none* of the older storyline-related cards were properly playtested. While many storyline cards were not playtested (to the best of my knowledge), there were many that actually were playtested. Also note that there are non-storyline cards which do not appear to have been playtested (10th Anniversary being the primary example that is commonly cited).
Lilith's Blessing, Guide and Mentor, Infamous Insurgent, Karsh (Advanced), and Claudio Severino underwent three rounds of playtesting with the Heirs to the Blood set. Most of the time it's people claiming that Lilith's Blessing was never playtested. Though some people might be in denial of the facts, Lilith's Blessing did go through the entire playtest process. (Personally, I agree that it needed *more* playtesting beyond that but that's a different issue and the fact remains that it *was* playtested for three rounds).
Reverend Adams (Advanced) went through three rounds of playtesting with Twilight Rebellion. Of course, he was actually part of the Twilight Rebellion set (as opposed to being a standalone promo) but it's another case of a storyline-related card being fully playtested.
Treaty of Laibach and Nergal (Advanced) were playtested with Lords of the Night. It's arguable whether Treaty of Laibach is truly a storyline card, but I have always viewed it as a consolation prize for the Return of Nergal storyline. There were complaints that things were heavily stacked in favor of Nergal winning. If you ignore the Nergal wins, then it would have been a tie between the Followers of Set and the Tremere, so I like to think of the Treaty of Laibach as being a nod towards those results (remember that Baltimore Purge also rewarded the second place clan). In any case, Treaty of Laibach went through the full three rounds of playtest while Nergal (Advanced) went through two rounds of playtest.