Month of the kinship seems like a distant memory now, however, there's so much potential to improve the current kin system I think it deserves to be explored. Why?
Social interaction within an MMO is one of the most important factors of the gameplay, if it wasn't we may aswell be playing any random single-player game. One of the most common ways to communicate with other players in-game is through joining a kinship. Here you are able to chat with one another, organise events, and really enjoy the online aspect of the game.
At present the kinship system in Lotro is Ok, it provides players the most important feature - kin chat. However, the system can be evolved to something greater that will really help unite kinship members towards a common goal.
- To increase the reasons for joining a kinship
- To encourage players within a kin to work together
- To provide players with rewards for their efforts as a kin
- To increase the options available to kin members and officers
- Update the kinship UI so it's in-keeping with more recent UI changes
- To provide Turbine with a source of income to help fund the cost of the revamp.
The User Interface:
Before setting off into the methods we can use to improve the kinship system, I thought I would kick it off with how I envision the UI to be and how the components will all fit together. As this post is going to be image-heavy I feel it would be best to describe what you are seeing before jumping into the details.
Roster with player note:
(Updated with store buttons).
Roster with officer note:
So you see we have a menu down the left side, here you have the kin's rank, how much money is in the kins bank account, menu options to bring up different screens, and the normal invite, remove, promote, and demote buttons. Some things will be very desirable such as the kin bank and option to increase MotD size, these could be sold as store perks.
The roster is where you will find most of the information from the current kin system, so the kin name, message of the day, and the list of players.
The most helpful update to this is a wider member list which will display the player note alongside the rest of the information. I don't know about other kins, but we mainly use the player notes to list our alts and mains so we always know who is who. By bringing the player note to the main window it just makes it that little bit easier to identify.
I think it would also be helpful to have officer notes. Something that can be set by officers with the necessary permissions. This would be a beneficial tool for officers to communicate with one another over particular members, whether it's to highlight someone who is in need of help with something, or someone who has been causing problems.
I have also designed the UI with a larger message of the day box. At the moment it can be a struggle to fit much in there, so more space would be great.
One other suggestion for the UI from a kin leader perspective is an added store button to change the name of the kin.. I know this was a premium service at one point, not sure if it still is, but being able to rename the kin through the store would be helpful to a select few.
Other than that, for the roster view, I just wanted to move things about a bit and make it less cluttered.
Next I'm going to jump down the menu to..
At present we have 5 ranks within the kinship system, taking out the leader and successor we really only have 3 ranks that we can play around with. It would be great to see this doubled with editable permissions for each rank. These additional ranks could be sold in the store.
I think that most of this is self-explanatory, there may be some that don't make sense now but they should do by the end of this post. Even if all this gets pushed aside and we never see any further ranks added, it would be great to at least set permissions for each chest in the kin house (whether through the kinship panel as above or through the housing permissions window). As a kin leader, I would love to be able to set aside one chest for officer use only.
I feel it's important to have more ranks and to be able to edit the permissions so we can have more control over our kin members and what they are able to do within the kin. At present we can't really do that. If we want someone to recruit for example we have to make them an officer, which gives them access to a lot of other permissions we may not want that particular person to have.
edit: I recently changed this design to allow players to customise the rank names and titles (the kin title that is displayed if the player wants to display their kin rank as their character title). This was suggested in some of the replies to this post and would be handy for different themed kins to devise their own names and titles.
This is something that will be a huge asset to the kin system, as a method of tracking kin activity. Whether this is a security measure or just a way to celebrate recent member successes which we may not otherwise know about.
The log will have filter options across the top to quickly help you find what you are looking for.
The log itself will be made up from:
- Promotion/Demotion activity
- New members
- Players who have left the kin
- Mile-stone level advancement of each player (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 65)
- Deposits made to the kin bank
- Withdrawals from the kin bank and why
- Deposits to the kin housing containers
- Withdrawals from the kin housing containers
- Blessings that have been earned by the kin
- Kin quests that have been accepted
- Kin quests that have been completed
This will give officers a much greater way of knowing what has been going on in the kin while they haven't been playing.
Permissions for who can view the log will be settable for each rank.