POLYchromatic

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Journal Community
Name: POLYchromatic
Date(s): 23 March 2005 - 01 March 2014
Moderator: silvernaofficer, stormcoming, icarus_suraki, mollypocket
Founder:
Type: Livejournal based Fandom RPG
Fandom: multifandom
URL: LJ(Webarchive), DW(Webarchive)

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Overview

POLYchromatic was a multifandom RPG created in March 2005. It was set in a fictional City, in an alternate dimension, where various characters were pulled in, at various stages in their canon. The City was plagued by one-day "curses", which were events that altered the reality of the game and/or personalities of the characters. The entire In-game setting was quite complex, and new players could sometimes felt overwhelmed by the seemingly chaotic game[1]. However the game had a very comprehensive documentation, complete with FAQ and in-game plot details adding to the experience.

The community was originally created on Livejournal, before migrating to Dreamwidth in 2012.

info box on polychromatic's profile
The game consisted of three communities:
  • Main polychromatic community (LJ/DW/DW2) where the mod announcements were made
  • The OOC community poly_tldr (LJ/DW) where the players could discuss in-game events, organize, as well as make announcements of their own.
  • The action log community tampered (LJ/DW), where players could log third-person action threads.

Additionally, players (and by extension the characters) made use of the Network (in-game, magical bersion of The Internet).

Big emphasis was put on playing In Character and staying active (as defined by two network posts a month), with mods running monthly activity checks[2]

Player Engagement

There was no limit on a number of characters one person could play, as long as they were able to keep up the required activity for all of their characters. The majority of play happened in Character Journals. It took place either as virtual character behavior (Network text, video, or audio posts) or action logs. Network posts were heavily influenced by LJ privacy settings allowing only some characters to see specific parts of the posts etc. While the majority of play was done in real time using separate character posts, a lot of players also employed sticky posts for additional play, allowing different characters to engage with their characters outside of regular events posts, as well as giving other players the opportunity to interact out-of-character.

  • Action logs - Were sticky posts designed for third-person action threads between characters, not logged in the main tampered community. Those were considered private. Sometimes, back when Livejournal still allowed titles for comment threads, they were sorted by using different song lyrics or overall descriptive.
  • Phone post - was a type of a voicemail for specific characters that allowed for texts, voicemails and phone conversations, often referrencing the events happening in specific event posts. Phone posts sometimes doubled as a place to play out action logs.
  • HMD post - inspired by community wide How's My Driving posts, these were more personal, inviting criticism and feedback outside the regularily scheduled HMD posts.

As was common in the LJ-based Fandom RPG circles, players often used character icons to illustrate character's non-verbal response.

Moderators

The game was moderated by silvernaofficer, stormcoming, icarus_suraki, mollypocket, who moderated the community using especially created mod accounts (pirate_mod, samurai_mod, robot_mod, and viking_mod respectively). Additionally, they used in-game personas of the dieties (mechanicalmouse, rumblelina, sabine, and unborn_of_this).[3]

IC and How's My Driving

Because POLYchromatic put a great emphasis on playing In-Character, How's My Driving was a regular OOC event that allowed players to solicit feedback on their playing[4].

The original solution that I quite liked about Poly, is a regular “How’s My Driving” event, where other players can comment on your use of your characters. Whether they think you’re doing things right, suggesting improvement and being all kinds of helpful.[1]

The players could comment on the HMD post (participation was optional and not mandatory) with their name, the list of characters they played, and whether or not they wanted anonymous feedback. The overall mood of these post has always been enthusiatic and possitive, with plenty of capslock being used.

Move to Dreamwidth

On December 26, 2011 the mods posted to the main community with an announcement that they were considering moving the POLYchromatic community away from Livejournal.

At the moment, lot of LJRP games are thinking of moving due to that selfsame clusterfuckery and drastic changes on Livejournal--especially to Dreamwidth, but also to InsaneJournal. We thought we'd come out with our stance at the moment:

We, the mods, do know that moving is absolutely an option in response and in regards to these recent changes at Livejournal. We are prepared to take that option and permanently move to another journaling website if it seems that that is going to be the best decision for the game. We already have communities reserved around which the game could be built after moving to a new website (at present, we have communities set up at Dreamwidth).

We know that many people are both comfortable and uncomfortable with the prospect of a move like this and we completely understand. It makes us pretty anxious too. And we would, of course, be concerned about losing players or details or parts of the game in such a process.[5]

They followed that with a poll on January 2, 2012 asking the players whether or not they wanted to move to Dreamwidth. After the decision's been made to move to Dreamwidth[6] another poll has been set up to decide the format of the game: whether the players wanted to keep the journal-based game format or change it to a community-based format. Though it wasn't included in the poll, players raised up the possibility of a hybrid game format[7]. In response the mods made a list of pros and cons of eah gaming format.

Because the hybrid system was proposed after the opening of the poll we will be doing a run off vote based on the winning system. Therefore, if a community based system wins we will be doing a run off between a pure community system and a hybrid community system. If a journal based system wins we will be doing a run off between a pure journal system and a hybrid journal system. A hybrid is a compromise meant to utilize the format of one system while still allowing players to somehow utilize the benefits of another.[8]

After said poll was closed, it was decided the game would adopt a community-based format[9][10].

Reviews and Comments

Polychromatic might come of as chaotic and complicated, but they have a very detailed guide to the game and equally helpful moderators. Players themselves also try to help all the way. If you’re an RPG fan, this is one game you should consider joining. The experience is unforgettable.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 review at ReviewStream, accessed December 14th 2015
  2. example inactivity check at the main poly community, accessed Dec 14th, 2015
  3. Dieties post, accessed December 14th 2015
  4. sample HMD post, accessed December 14th 2015
  5. initial post, accessed December 14th 2015
  6. POLYchromatic post from january 10th 2012, last accessed December 14th 2015
  7. comment thread about the hybrid system, last accessed on December 14th 2015
  8. a follow-up post from January 13th 2012, last accessed December 14th 2015
  9. Poll, last accessed December 14th 2015
  10. official results post, accessed December 14th 2015