Grand Battle Planning and General Discussion Thread

Grand Battle Planning and General Discussion Thread
#1
Welcome to the Grand Battle Forum! This is where we engage in battles to the death with words.

Some of you are very familiar with Grand Battles, as writers, readers, or both. Others have heard us babbling about them in IRC and other venues but don't know much about them. And then, of course, there are people who just stumbled onto this section of the forum and wonder what all this is about.

Well, fortunately, I have some answers right here, written by Not The Author in the introductory post of Petty Squabble. (With a little rewording for context, seeing as this is more general than just one battle.)

Rules and Explanations of a Grand Battle:
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In general, when signing up for a battle, you'll fill out a character profile, which looks something like this:

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Finally, a note about "Seasons".

A season is a set of eight battles. Currently, we have four of these. Seasons 1, 2, and 3 are all in the same continuity; Season Intermission, abbreviated as S!, is not officially in that same continuity.

The current plan is for Season 4 to start when all the battles in Season 1 finish, not counting the All-Stars battle with the winners of the eight battles in that season. However, that doesn't mean that other people can't start their own unofficial battles. Go ahead and do that if you think it sounds fun; it won't be declared Official, but that's not a big deal.

There are also Mini-Grands, which are battles with only four players and three rounds. Sometimes these are treated as being in a shared continuity with other Mini-Grands, and sometimes they aren't. It's pretty much entirely up to the people involved.

I think that's about it. Somebody yell at me if I missed any major points.

Feel free to use this thread to talk about ongoing plans, your favorite characters, or rounds, post fanart, and just generally talk about battles.

Links of note:
The Grand Battle Discord server. This is where we actually talk these days.
The #grandbattle IRC channel - Where we talk about battles and other things. Usually other things. (Edit: we use Discord these days instead. Only keeping this link for archival purposes.)
The Grand Battle Wiki - Where we post information on battles, characters, rounds, and other things.
Grand Battle TV Tropes page - Not really important to read, but you might find it entertaining.
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#2
I should really get around to tidying up and standardizing that damned rule list already.

Speaking of which, it was repeatedly implied but not explicitly stated that exceptions to the rules as given above do exist. Often there will be variants which do not involve fighting or killing (Grand Bachelorette), and sometimes special rules or restrictions are in place (Fatal Conflict). Don't assume all battles are the same, and make sure to pay attention to each individual battle's rules to avoid accidental gaffes.
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#3
So the original planning thread on MSPA had a list of things going on with the Network and Grandmasters at one point. (Said list was originally put together by Slipsicle.)

It's probably out of date, and has a couple of messy tags because I just copied and pasted from that thread, but I thought I should bring it over here anyways for reference:

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#4
As that one person who was tasked with starting S4, please discuss the following. This chiefly goes out to people who are already in Battles, because the existing agreement from people not in Battles is "when can we get in on one".
  • S"4"G1 starting this summer.
    - Minimal links to the S1-3 canon (and less Grandmastery bullshit in general).
    - Six contestants.
    - Strong selection bias against anyone who already had enough writing to be getting on with in other battles. Strong preference for new players.
    - - The above criteria may change if I decide to host a second battle.
  • S4 will not have a set host list.
    - S4 is not guaranteed an All-Stars battle.
    - S4 will have minimal metaplot, excepting that which arises in the course of the narrative and players/hosts' attitudes.
    - I probably end up choosing (in a consensus/consultation-heavy way as I'm inclined to do) which battles if any are my "Season".
  • Making new battles is a free country.
    - This is done at the risk of more aborted battles (which honestly, we already have and are just too proud to admit), but let people innovate and not get stifled and actually maybe have fun dicking around again.

I've kept thinking about and been hearing from more friends of friends that they want to try out Battles, and it's quite plausible that whatever "S4G1" is it won't fix the existing tensions and frictions and oddities of the community.

Having said that (and speaking to the veterans right now), I got given this responsibility, and I want to get more newbies in on Battles. I think it'd be fun! I think (hope) that they'll have fun! But "start All Stars" isn't a metric new folks care about, it's a metric for the oldbies. Hence my compromise, where we can start starting Battles again but have some kind of incentive to get the old shit done (or agree that we won't. Maybe a discussion for another time?)
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#5
A couple questions about S4. First, when exactly would you start? I would like to join, but I have something that might not let me participate from June 17th to July 24th. 2nd, you seem to be implying that S4 doesn't involve too much continuity. Does this mean new members won't have to read the older battles? Finally, do you have any tips for newbies who are interested in joining?
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#6
A tip I'd give is that the timespace of June 17th to July 24th is a really short one in terms of the glacial pace of grand battles and you'd miss the signups for like two at the very most extremely optimistic.
They are long things, they will be going for a long time. Years even. People don't usually seem to get that.
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#7
I feel like the sweeping changes suggested by Schaz might alleviate some of the timescale "issue," Jac. Glacial pace seems largely to be an issue with the existing Battler population, and while Battles are a significant time investment, taking a less structured approach to Battle management might help.

My one issue is calling it S4, really. I feel like we could open up the Battle formula and get lots more experimental (and, if you will, "fun") Battle variants, and while good, one of the draws (for me) behind the Season structure is that it does form an ongoing narrative... thing. It's admittedly bloated and kinda stagnant, but there is an appeal.

That said, such sweeping changes (all of which sound beneficial) feel more like a rebranding or reimagining of Battles, rather than the next entry in a series. I'm not saying don't do this (again, I like all of the ideas), I'm just saying it may be better to not associate it with the bloated, stagnating de comatose relic of a bygone age.

I'd put it less blunt were I feeling it at the moment. Frankly, the original stipulation of "no new battles until S4 by Schazer" was made while we were still an insular niche on the Other Forums. Battlers made of a significant portion of the ET founders, however, and since the Scrape we're in a position to make the concept as a whole more inviting and enjoyable to the masses. I think the best way to spread the joy we once knew (see again: bloated, stagnant) is to rethink the formula behind the battles and to separate it from the insular niche project thing that Seasons started out as.

Nostalgia's already shunning the spiel above, but that was the way it first popped into my head, so some part of me sees it that way.

TL;DR
  • Schazer, those are good ideas
  • But I don't think it'd be Season 4 at that point
  • And I'm not sure how it being Season 4 helps it any
  • Aside from a feeling of "officiality"
  • Which would only be upheld by the old nostalgic farts who were part of Seasons 1 through 3 anyway
  • At which point our inability to move on is only a detriment to Battles as a whole
  • Which it probably already is
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#8
I'm pretty sure "people post slowly" is not something we're going to escape from through any kind of reform because it's been a constant on any forum-based activity I've done anywhere on the internet regardless of whether it was a grand battle, but hey you can feel optimistic if you want .P
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#9
I am a little bit concerned about just splitting them off from the Grand Battle title, because that would make them non-canon. I know that "canon" is a very silly title, and means nothing to new writers, but keep in mind that non-canon battles very rarely even make it past the first round. I think that working towards a future prospect (the All Stars thing) might be the factor motivating people to continue writing for canon battles, as glacial as that rate is.

The six character thing sounds fine to me. In theory, I'd be a little bit vexed that it doesn't follow the standard of 8 characters, but standardized character count was already shot beyond all hell with full character replacements anyways, so yeah that's fine.

I'm all for the newbie thing, though. Maybe we could even abolish the profile selection thing we've had, and just go the path of 300kfat, accepting all new players. This seems more friendly and inviting than before, although we risk more inactive players that way. Hell, this might even improve productivity, by having plenty of new writers who aren't burned out by other battles. I mean, look how fast KFAT went at first.

That being said, I will now announce my intent to host a battle. I guess it remains to be seen whether it will become a part of S4, but this battle is happening, unless I don't get enough interest in my battle, or if my doing so will clog the forums with a ton of other people who wish to do the same. It would be a standard battle, newbies very welcome. 8 contestants, maybe, unless 6 contestants go well.
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#10
I pretty much agree with NTA here; let's open up battles and not worry about calling it Season 4.

Heck, that's more or less how I imagined a hypothetical forum that was All About Grand Battles. There would be Official Battles, namely the Seasons, which would be organized and structured and generally treated as a Big Project; and there would be Everything Else, where anyone could start a battle and do whatever. They could even start their own unofficial seasons and run them as they see fit.

The main issue I see with that setup is the implication that Official Battles Are Automatically Better; I'm not sure how to avoid that, but arguably we're carrying that implication around as it is with the notion that "Spinoffs always die".

Also, there's one point in that list that I'm not so big on:

Schazer Wrote:- I probably end up choosing (in a consensus/consultation-heavy way as I'm inclined to do) which battles if any are my "Season".

This strikes me as something of a bad idea - it's an incentive for people to seek approval by our Shadowy Onanistic Cabal rather than just start a battle and have fun with it. If anything, it's strengthening the "Official Battles Are Better" implication.
(Although I'm interpreting this as "people start battles and then I pick some of them to be in S4"; if I'm misreading it, then this doesn't necessarily apply.)

I suppose that's arguably an issue with any method of choosing hosts for a season, but at least "pick someone and they start a battle" has less implication that "you, yes YOU, might be the next person to run an Eagle Time Approved Grand Battle ™!" Basically, I think it's better here not to actively solicit interest in hosting; while I'm fine with not having a set hosting list from the very start, personally I'd prefer it was more Season Two-ish, where there was some planning ahead but only when the season was already underway.

I think that basically covers my thoughts on it.

Edit, because Garuru posted before I finished this:

Garuru, you've pretty much illustrated my point that "Official Battles Are Better" is already being implied. That's exactly what I want to downplay, and I think the best thing we can do to counter it is to have some Not Official battles succeed. ("Succeed" does not necessarily mean "finish".) Opening the floodgates without an Official or Quasi-Official season makes that more likely, just because we have more Not Official battles going on to potentially prove the point.
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#11
Six players does seem like a good idea. My (admittedly uneducated) perspective as I've been slowly consuming these things over the last few months is that eight is a bit too many, and four doesn't quite seem like enough variety.

Even as someone who's not in an "official" battle but would like to be, I feel like opening up the field for people to start more battles at-will might cause more problems than it solves. People already have a hard enough time posting in the ones that exist currently. Being in a battle that you can't do anything in because nobody else posts is not productive. To me, that's more frustrating and less fun than not being in one in the first place.

I don't feel like there's a shadowy cabal from whom battlers need to seek approval, I feel like there's a pathway to earning enough respect in the battling community to be able to do something like host a battle someday. I, as a newcomer, feel like the presence of that pathway is important to the feeling that these "official" battles mean something, and I don't think that's really a bad thing. Also, the official battles are the ones the community was sort of built around. They're the ones I want to be in if I'm going to make a mark. When I'm picking which battle to read next, I generally don't even consider the unofficial ones.

Except the Grand Bachelorette, because that's fucking hilarious.

As for metaplots, they do seem intrinsic to the battle format and I don't want to see them done away with entirely. That said, it's extremely intimidating for me to know that there are plots that could affect any battle I'm in that could come from any other battle ever. In order not to get left behind when someone else addresses those plots, that means I essentially have to read every other battle in their entirety. That's a daunting task. You guys write a lot. So, metaplots being restricted to a per-battle thing would be good. Maybe a per-season thing, at most. I don't mind the idea that we're working towards an all-stars round, either; it would just be nice to see that actually happen once.

tl;dr: 6 contestants sounds good, I would like to keep the official canon seasons, keeping people from starting a flood of new battles sounds like a good idea, keep metaplots in a small enough container that reading all relevant material isn't a chore.
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#12
I don't like the idea of giving up on All-Stars All-Stars even though I know that it wouldn't happen until we were all dead and then we would really need replacement writers.
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#13
(06-04-2013, 08:36 PM)Elize Wrote: »keeping people from starting a flood of new battles sounds like a good idea,

I think a "flood" is unlikely.

I doubt we have more than 30 or so people with a strong interest in battling who aren't already involved. And that's a high-end estimate.

With five or six battles (if we go with six players each), we could accommodate all of those people, and maybe even have one or two more for people who want to try another.

And there wouldn't be a need to start them all at once, either. One or two battles a month would probably be plenty to keep up with the demand - and again, this is assuming there are a lot of new people who want to join battles.

In short, my personal feeling is that, as long as the primary reason for starting a battle is "there's enough interested new people who want to join a battle", we won't get overwhelmed with them.

There's another factor, and that's the selection process. The official seasons moved towards "a bunch of people submit profiles and the host picks according to their preferences out of all those profiles", and S! ultimately followed the same pattern for the most part. I think we could do with more first-come-first-served, or at least more "New players get priority". At the same time, personally I'd like the Season battles to be more selective, because I think that's generally worked out for them.

(I realize this opinion carries a bit of the "Official Battles Are Better" implication. On further thought, I suppose I want the implication to be more of "Official Battles Ask More From You", which is admittedly hard to separate from "Better".)

Anyways, right now, I would say our priority is more towards drawing in new players, and so I'd rather not see an Official Season if that's the main purpose. If there's organization to these new battles, I'd like to see it as more of Season Not-Entirely-A-Season or Six-Player Minigrands.

Of course, those are just my thoughts. I think what matters more here is how prospective new players would answer this question:

"If there were new battles you could join, how much would you care about those battles being Season 4 as opposed to something else?"

If being in a hypothetical Season 4 is a big deal to a lot of new players, then I'd say "fine, let's call it Season 4"; if it isn't, I'd stay with "let's call it something else". Personally, I don't see much reason why it would be a big deal to be in Season 4, but that's really a case for the people who think it would be a big deal to make.

Note also that I mean a big deal to you, personally; not that you think it would be a big deal to other hypothetical players.

Edit: In response to Akumu, I am opposed to All-Stars All-Stars, at least as a single climax to the other All-Stars battles. Each All-Stars battle should already be important enough as it is, and I feel All-Stars All-Stars would devalue the individual battles of each season too much. When you have eight battles feeding into a single one, it's not hard to ensure that those eight battles are still relevant even when the winner of one of them dies; when you have 72 feeding into a single one, that's another matter.

I think variants of it could be fun, though; one idea I'd enjoy seeing is a battle where the All-Stars champions were reverted to the way they were when they entered their first battles. No setup, none of the development from their respective battles; just the characters as blank slates. It would be interesting to see how different they turn out.
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#14
"Always accept new players over veterans" is an essential rule. Essential essential essential.

Anyway, wr2 All-Stars All-Stars, personally, I think that's thinking a little narrowly. Now that we have this canon and all this stupid shit going on in it, I think going forward it might be neat to do some in-multiverse spin-off projects outside of the Battle schema. Between a few years of character origins and round settings and all the other stuff we come up with, there's more-or-less infinite potential to develop some of these ideas without sticking to the formalistic constraints of a Battle.

That's long-term thinking, though. Which in this community usually ends in pain.
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#15
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(this is so old im sorry)


new people probably dont care about seasons nomenclature
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#16
I can't say I know a whole lot about ~the issues at hand~ but I like all of Schazer's ideas right now?
I dunno, lots of more laid-back noncanon battles will be more welcoming for new people and fun to play around in and stuff, and I'd probably enter into one myself
but on the other hand I have some characters (ok really just one at the moment) that I don't want to put in something that's not gonna be all that recognized/important/participated in
yeah
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#17
I wasn't being real serious earlier, to be more serious now the ideas Schazer outlined leave me with a rug-pulled-out-from-under feeling since I'd been eagerly awaiting whenever S4 started to throw my hat in the the ring for hosting one of them. Having a limited number of designated "official" battles would, I think, keep attention focused. This goes along with Fogel's sentiment of Official Battles Ask More From You.

As far as inter-grandmaster tomfoolery I have no problem with trying to keep that to a minimum, especially inter-season. Things can get really opaque there for newcomers. I still count myself among that group, as far as having a firm grasp on what the hell is going on in grandmaster land, having become interested around the start of S3.

We basically already did this, having a sequence of "official" battles but separating it off from the overall meta plot (but not completely). Are people not happy with how S! is going?
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#18
Speaking as probably the most S! person after, I dunno, Ix I guess, I'm unhappy with it in the sense that most of the battles I'm a participant in are fairly inactive? That's common to nearly all battles at this point, however, so take that how you will. S! was kind of a colossal failure in its ostensible goal of being a season for new people, however-- it did succeed in attracting some new people (like me, seeing as I was still a newbie and if it hadn't existed I likely would have drifted off after quitting FE), but in terms of being a season solely in the interest of attracting new people it didn't really succeed.
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#19
Hello I'm a new person can I expound my opinions on seasons? Tough biscuits if I can't. Yer gettin em.
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Seasons is a nice word, that's about it. I couldn't care less about the canon though, like really, I could not. That's like, your story man. Tell it (collectively) and when it's done it'll be a nice read for your grandkids who will likely be around by the time it's done. (haha I can make jokes on pacing, am I a kool kid now)

I like the idea of seasons though! 'specially the idea of an all stars thing at the end of a season. Sounds, very interesting and fun! I'd love to actually be a part of something like that.
Isolated battles sounds actually like a really good thing too actually. Why does a battle need to be in a season anyway?

Man I don't even really give two shits how it's set out I just wanna do something that is a grand battle.
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#20
Yeah, I don't really care too much about the title as long as I get to participate, but a little continuity and plot would probably make it awesomer.
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#21
I suppose I should put in my two cents, since this seems really interesting to me.

I guess I would just like to be in a battle, just to try it out. The idea of seasons and 'canon' sounds really interesting to me (and other newbies, I'm assuming), as do isolated battles and the like. I think what I'm trying to say is that I would enjoy being in a 'Season 4' grand battle and a all stars thing, as it gives something to look forward to, but being in any sort of battle would be just as good.
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#22
Well, if people are still looking at this thread and people still care, I'll have my say.

On one hand, I back entirely the last point made by seedy. I think that we shouldn't have many spin-off battles on our hands. In fact, I don't think "spin-off" should be a classification for battles. I think the people who used the term "isolated battle" put it a little better.

And although you guys are aiming to cut down the idea that Official Battles are Better, but the truth is most of the non-canon spin-offs have died off pretty quickly, and a better tactic would be to make it seem like All Battles Are Official. Speaking as somebody who jumped on when there was already a considerable amount of material, I think new players won't look at a battle that is labeled as "unofficial," "non-canon," or a "spin-off."

Hell, it took quite a lot of references before I even thought to look at S!

Also, I think metaplots are a great part of the Battles. Battles with good amounts of metaplotting seem like grander, more epic stories. Though crossovers between seasons, even battles within seasons, do serve to make the text more daunting. I feel like a battle with no metaplot at all would feel like a bunch of people following the rules they've been given. It could still be enjoyable, since the rules were pretty vague and designed to be entertaining from the outset, but it wouldn't be as grand or as fun.

I think a good battle to exemplify which new ideas work really well and which might not need to be implemented is Epic Clash. It had, as far as I remember, little to no crossing-over with other battles or seasons, but there was a considerable level of inter-battle metaplot. As a result, the battle is immensely entertaining, without being intimidating to people who need a jump point for the various Battles out there.

What else it proves: A battle with all new players, as it was at the time, can have phenomenally awesome results. Also, in my humble opinion at least, it does prove that a six-character system could work really well. I mean, yes, the battle did have the traditional number of characters, but it also had only five rounds. Also, the pacing seems to have been better there, as it did finish before several Battles which started before it.

And back to my original point, I feel like it would be a good idea to make a list of all of the Battles That Aren't Dead, regardless of canonicity. Of course, which battles are connected would be shown, but it would be a list of Battles with the idea in mind that all of them are important, so that new people interested in starting or joining battles don't have to feel like they need to join something "canon" in order to prove their worth or avoid worrying that battles they are involved in will die off before getting off the ground.

Whoever would be in charge of making the list (I could do it, if nobody else wants to) could also put in notes on which battles are good points to jump in and which ones require a ton of extra reading and what that extra reading is.

And... sorry for the textwall that may or may not be a choppy and disorganized mess. I just had a lot to say.
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#23
Ok dudes I made this deal to Godbot and I'm extending it to the rest of you slow-posting dorkuses.

If you get a post out this month (that's 28 days, yo) I will read that sucker aloud in my certifiably amazing New Zealand accent for your listening pleasure. If you don't want me to read your post aloud, you can direct my "talents" elsewhere.

I look forward to making a dick of myself on the quest for More Battle Posts.
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#24
Does this include S!

Or minigrands

What if you can't post nothin' cause the peeps yer in with aren't writin' for the same reason

Can I read stuff too
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#25
My October Voiceover Offer includes S!, Seasons Unknown, and Minigrands.

You can also read stuff. Heck, we could make it a team effort if a particular post has a fuckton of dialogue.
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